1832 Llandudno-Chester Flyer!

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6Gman

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Caught the 1730 Holyhead - Shrewsbury today and was surprised to discover it runs non-stop from Llandudno Junction to Chester! Followed by an 1839 from the Junction to Chester which makes the usual calls.

Two questions:

1. Why non-stop over this section?
2. What forms the 1839? Can't find a logical inward working to the Junction.

TIA

P.S. The 1832 is good fun! Especially tearing through the Up platform at Rhyl without stopping - can't remember the last time I did that!
 
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PHILIPE

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Caught the 1730 Holyhead - Shrewsbury today and was surprised to discover it runs non-stop from Llandudno Junction to Chester! Followed by an 1839 from the Junction to Chester which makes the usual calls.

Two questions:

1. Why non-stop over this section?
2. What forms the 1839? Can't find a logical inward working to the Junction.

TIA

P.S. The 1832 is good fun! Especially tearing through the Up platform at Rhyl without stopping - can't remember the last time I did that!

1D70 1839 formed off strengthening unit detached off 1D15 1509 Birmingham Intl to Holyhead. 1832 runs fast and 1839 mops up.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Caught the 1730 Holyhead - Shrewsbury today and was surprised to discover it runs non-stop from Llandudno Junction to Chester! Followed by an 1839 from the Junction to Chester which makes the usual calls.

The 1646 is also non-stop, although there is not a close-following stopper.
I'm sure there used to be more, one around 0900, and another around 1500.
The latter was off-pattern to get ahead of the following afternoon VT service, and to form part of the extra peak service back from Manchester.

In time gone by, of course, there were non-stop Chester-Holyhead daytime Irish Mail services.
Fantastic value on an LMR Holiday Runabout ticket. ;)
 

Flying Snail

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North Wales coast is pigs breakfast partly caused by obsession with through trains to Cardiff.

Making it worse is the mix of stoppers and semi-fasts making a poor 1tph frequency west of the Junction uneven. Bangor and Holyhead should have a regular 2tph service now, it is a part of the network that has seen no real improvements in a long time.
 

krus_aragon

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The 1646 is also non-stop, although there is not a close-following stopper.
I'm sure there used to be more, one around 0900, and another around
1500.

I believe the latter disappeared some time before the 1648 became non-stop.

The former was the ~0830 from Llandudno to Cardiff. It's reverted to a normal stopping pattern at some point in the last two years.
 
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berneyarms

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North Wales coast is pigs breakfast partly caused by obsession with through trains to Cardiff.

Making it worse is the mix of stoppers and semi-fasts making a poor 1tph frequency west of the Junction uneven. Bangor and Holyhead should have a regular 2tph service now, it is a part of the network that has seen no real improvements in a long time.

I'm not sure that the North Wales-South Wales direct trains are the primary issue here - outside of the peaks they slot into the service pattern to provide an hourly Holyhead-Chester service, which in turn offers alternates between a fast and a stopping service west of Llandudno Junction.

This particular service (and the 16:18 Llandudno Junction-Chester) arise simply due to the need to strengthen the 15:25 and 17:25 westbound departures from Chester due to high loadings.

Effectively the North Wales service pattern is:
1) An hourly Llandudno-Manchester stopping service
2) An hourly Holyhead-Chester semi-fast service which continues to either Cardiff or Birmingham

This gets supplemented by the Virgin services to/from Holyhead, with two around lunchtime to connect into/out of the main daytime sailings to/from Dublin.

The Llandudno pattern gets distorted in the middle of the day by having the loco hauled set go to Holyhead to connect with the aforementioned ferry sailings.

I'm not particularly convinced that Holyhead needs two trains per hour, but I do think some form of integrated service pattern between the two operators should be looked at. The Virgin services and the extra ATW boat train effectively double up one another, as they do at other times of the day as well. Surely there is scope for having some North Wales Coast expresses that run non-stop between Chester and Llandudno Junction en route to Holyhead.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
So what do people think that the service pattern on North Wales should be like?
 
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Kite159

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In the next round of franchises, I would favour 0.5TPH ICWC to Holyhead, 1TPH W&B to Holyhead, 1TPH W&B to Llandudno for starters.

With maybe 1 train per hour being a local stopping service from (say) Chester to Holyhead, allowing those services to Holyhead & Llandudno to run either fast or semi-fast, calling only at the main principle stations on the coast route speeding up journey times.

(Although I would imagine that plan will involve a passing loop or two being built on route to allow the fasts to overtake the stoppers, assuming none already exist, plus more rolling stock which could be an ideal home for some Ex-Scotrail 170s)
 

Ianno87

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The Llandudno pattern gets distorted in the middle of the day by having the loco hauled set go to Holyhead to connect with the aforementioned ferry sailings.

The loco hauled set is primarily diagrammed so that it hits both the morning and evening peak at Manchester.

Part of the reason for sending the loco-hauled set to Holyhead and back is that if it just ran Manchester-Llandudno and back after its morning peak run into Manchester as per the standard pattern, it would get back to Manchester too soon ahead of the evening peak.

Running it through to Holyhead extends its round trip time by an hour and puts it an hour later back into Manchester, and thus at the right time to make an evening peak run.

It was a trick that North West Regional Railways used to run - a morning peak Blackpool North-Stockport extra then ran to Holyhead and back during the day for the boat connection, before forming a Stockport-Blackpool North extra in the evening peak.
 

krus_aragon

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(Although I would imagine that plan will involve a passing loop or two being built on route to allow the fasts to overtake the stoppers, assuming none already exist, plus more rolling stock which could be an ideal home for some Ex-Scotrail 170s)

The current availability of passing loops is as follows:
  • Bangor: through (non-platform) lines in both directions, but Bangor's too important to skip
  • Llandudno Jn: Three bidirectional through platforms, with opportunity for trains to pass.
  • Abergele: through (non-platform) line in westbound direction only. To be removed during planned resignalling
  • Rhyl: though (non-platform) line in westbound direction only. Eastbound through line to be reinstated during planned resignalling. Again, Rhyl's too important a station to skip.
  • There are also some freight loops at Holywell Jn, due to be removed.

So the only practical place for passenger trains to overtake is at Llandudno Junction. My limited use of crayons hasn't shown me a good way of doing so, though.
 

PHILIPE

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The current availability of passing loops is as follows:
  • Bangor: through (non-platform) lines in both directions, but Bangor's too important to skip
  • Llandudno Jn: Three bidirectional through platforms, with opportunity for trains to pass.
  • Abergele: through (non-platform) line in westbound direction only. To be removed during planned resignalling
  • Rhyl: though (non-platform) line in westbound direction only. Eastbound through line to be reinstated during planned resignalling. Again, Rhyl's too important a station to skip.
  • There are also some freight loops at Holywell Jn, due to be removed.

So the only practical place for passenger trains to overtake is at Llandudno Junction. My limited use of crayons hasn't shown me a good way of doing so, though.

Is Rhyl too important ? This is partly what prompted the OP to start the thread:)
 

krus_aragon

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Is Rhyl too important ? This is partly what prompted the OP to start the thread:)

~0.5 million passengers annually. The only station on the coast that is busier is Bangor, at ~0.6 million.

I suppose a case could be made for regularly skipping Rhyl on some fast services, if it still sees a regular 2tph from other services. I wouldn't advise trying it on the current service level.
 

PHILIPE

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~0.5 million passengers annually. The only station on the coast that is busier is Bangor, at ~0.6 million.

I suppose a case could be made for regularly skipping Rhyl on some fast services, if it still sees a regular 2tph from other services. I wouldn't advise trying it on the current service level.[/QUOTE}]

Agreed. This one is an isolated case and has a stopper following.
 

berneyarms

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The loco hauled set is primarily diagrammed so that it hits both the morning and evening peak at Manchester.

Part of the reason for sending the loco-hauled set to Holyhead and back is that if it just ran Manchester-Llandudno and back after its morning peak run into Manchester as per the standard pattern, it would get back to Manchester too soon ahead of the evening peak.

Running it through to Holyhead extends its round trip time by an hour and puts it an hour later back into Manchester, and thus at the right time to make an evening peak run.

It was a trick that North West Regional Railways used to run - a morning peak Blackpool North-Stockport extra then ran to Holyhead and back during the day for the boat connection, before forming a Stockport-Blackpool North extra in the evening peak.

I do understand that.

It also means that there is a direct connection for the daytime sailings to/from Dublin to/from Manchester which is a good thing too.

I do wonder though about the service patterns on North Wales.

For example why have both "Gerald" and the immediately following Virgin Voyager call at exactly the same stations to Chester (save for Prestatyn)? Why not let Gerald make the greater number of stops as is, and run the Virgin service as an express?

I'm also not convinced you should convert the Manchester-Llandudno service into an express as someone else suggested - surely it's better to leave it as the stopper but make it consistently hourly - ok in the middle of the day the loco hauled boat train could run fast and be replaced by a separate stopper.

Then run consistent hourly services to/from Holyhead, semi-fast to Llandudno Junction (perhaps calling only at Rhyl or add in Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay) and then from there alternating between stopping to Bangor then non-stop to Holyhead, and non-stop to Bangor and stopping to Holyhead.

Supplement that with fast the London & boat train services and you probably mop up the demand that is there.

Does North Wales need more direct trains to/from London? If so why?
 
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krus_aragon

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Does North Wales need more direct trains to/from London? If so why?

North Wales currently sees plenty of trains to London in the morning peak, but little thereafter. After 0730 there are only three direct trains to Euston from Bangor for the rest of the day: 0922, 1320 and 1425.

In the other direction, there is a five hour gap in the afternoon with no arrivals at Bangor, between 1216 and 1916. Four of the seven daily arrivals from Euston are after 5pm.

The main thing North Wales needs from ICWC is for some of these vast gaps to be filled. Paths to Euston isn't the problem, as these are extensions of the hourly Chester service. Extra rolling stock (Voyagers displaced from other routes, or loco-hauled Pocket Pendos) is the issue.
 

berneyarms

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North Wales currently sees plenty of trains to London in the morning peak, but little thereafter. After 0730 there are only three direct trains to Euston from Bangor for the rest of the day: 0922, 1320 and 1425.

In the other direction, there is a five hour gap in the afternoon with no arrivals at Bangor, between 1216 and 1916. Four of the seven daily arrivals from Euston are after 5pm.

The main thing North Wales needs from ICWC is for some of these vast gaps to be filled. Paths to Euston isn't the problem, as these are extensions of the hourly Chester service. Extra rolling stock (Voyagers displaced from other routes, or loco-hauled Pocket Pendos) is the issue.

It may not have direct trains but it has a connection at Chester every hour.

Is there sufficient demand to warrant extra services along the North Wales coast?

Are the hourly services to/from Holyhead oversubscribed?

If they're not I'm not sure of your argument.
 
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backontrack

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And then...what do you do west of Llandudno Junction?

Most trains just run non-stop to/from Bangor - but I'd be tempted to throw in a Conwy stop too on some services.
 
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berneyarms

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And then...what do you do west of Llandudno Junction?

Most trains just run non-stop to/from Bangor - but I'd be tempted to through in a Conwy stop too on some services.

I already said what I'd do west of Llandudno Junction - every two hours stopping between Llandudno Junction and Bangor and then non-stop to Holyhead.

On the other hour non-stop from Llandudno Jctn to Bangor and then all stops to Holyhead.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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For example why have both "Gerald" and the immediately following Virgin Voyager call at exactly the same stations to Chester (save for Prestatyn)? Why not let Gerald make the greater number of stops as is, and run the Virgin service as an express?

Does North Wales need more direct trains to/from London? If so why?

The Virgin service is following its ICWC franchise pattern.
Gerald is an open access extra and can stop where the WG likes, as it's paying.
I'm not saying that is sensible.
It doesn't help that Holyhead is the only train/staff depot on the line west of Chester.

Yes, it needs more London trains west of Chester, but not to Holyhead.
Every 2 hours to Bangor/Llandudno (alternating), with the odd boat train, is needed.
At Chester there is a huge and unseemly scrum when VT arrives, and a sizeable proportion of the passengers try to make the (already busy) coast train.
But I don't see where they get off, and for sure they are not all ferry passengers - very few probably.

But anyway, VT don't have the Voyagers.
It needs those employed under the wires to Scotland to be replaced by EMUs, as was intended in 2012.
But the DfT maintained the status quo.
The current ICWC consultation is the place to lobby for changes.
 
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berneyarms

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The Virgin service is following its ICWC franchise pattern.
Gerald is an open access extra and can stop where the WG likes, as it's paying.
I'm not saying that is sensible.
It doesn't help that Holyhead is the only train/staff depot on the line west of Chester.

Yes, it needs more London trains west of Chester, but not to Holyhead.
Every 2 hours to Bangor/Llandudno (alternating), with the odd boat train, is needed.
At Chester there is a huge and unseemly scrum when VT arrives, and a sizeable proportion of the passengers try to make the (already busy) coast train.
But I don't see where they get off, and for sure they are not all ferry passengers - very few probably.

But anyway, VT don't have the Voyagers.
It needs those employed under the wires to Scotland to be replaced by EMUs, as was intended in 2012.
But the DfT maintained the status quo.
The current ICWC consultation is the place to lobby for changes.

I know all about the Open Access and different franchising and rolling stock limitations - but someone has to call some common sense here in terms of some co-operating along the coast to provide a sensible service - right now it is anything but with regular unnecessary duplication.

My question was what is the right service pattern for North Wales - that means thinking outside the box and not rigidly looking at what is specified at the moment.

Whatever about the "scrum" at Chester - are the ATW hourly Holyhead trains full west of Chester? If they're not I'm not sure that extending VTWC services west and effectively duplicating the ATW service is the best use of resources - people change trains all over the world.

Direct trains to/from London might be a nice thing to have but not necessarily needed!
 
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PHILIPE

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The Virgin service is following its ICWC franchise pattern.
Gerald is an open access extra and can stop where the WG likes, as it's paying.
I'm not saying that is sensible.
It doesn't help that Holyhead is the only train/staff depot on the line west of Chester.

Yes, it needs more London trains west of Chester, but not to Holyhead.
Every 2 hours to Bangor/Llandudno (alternating), with the odd boat train, is needed.
At Chester there is a huge and unseemly scrum when VT arrives, and a sizeable proportion of the passengers try to make the (already busy) coast train.
But I don't see where they get off, and for sure they are not all ferry passengers - very few probably.

But anyway, VT don't have the Voyagers.
It needs those employed under the wires to Scotland to be replaced by EMUs, as was intended in 2012.
But the DfT maintained the status quo.
The current ICWC consultation is the place to lobby for changes.

ATW have a traincrew Depot at Llandudno Junction
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Direct trains to/from London might be a nice thing to have but not necessarily needed!

I mean London trains to replace the ATW locals at least part way, not to duplicate them.
That way you get bigger trains with more through passengers.
Send the ATW locals to Liverpool in alternate hours instead!
 

Welshman

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Yes, it needs more London trains west of Chester, but not to Holyhead.
Every 2 hours to Bangor/Llandudno (alternating), with the odd boat train, is needed.
At Chester there is a huge and unseemly scrum when VT arrives, and a sizeable proportion of the passengers try to make the (already busy) coast train.
But I don't see where they get off, and for sure they are not all ferry passengers - very few probably.

Having on several occasions been one of the unfortunate scrum, alighting from a 5-car Voyager and lugging a heavy case over the footbridge to platform 4 to battle for a seat on an already-loaded 2-car 158 down the coast, I heartily endorse this sentiment.

Having been too late for the 0910 departure, I have even, on occasions, waited around in London for the next through train at 1610 to enjoy a through service.

In my experience, the majority of passengers changing from the Voyager alight at Flint, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Llandudno Junction and Bangor. For these stations are also significant railheads for inland parts of Flintshire, Denbighshire and Gwynedd, as well as destinations in their own right.

An extension to Bangor/Llandudno, would be ideal, were sufficient Voyagers available.
 

DarloRich

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if i may interject with a visitors view: The service to North Wales seems quite good.

I have traveled up there a few times from MK and it is very easy. There are regular trains form London and the option of the ATW train from Manchester.

The service, for what seems like a generally pretty rural/coastal area with smallish towns, seems decent to me. Obviously the service pattern may meet the needs of off comers more than it meets the needs of residents.
 

Welshman

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if i may interject with a visitors view: The service to North Wales seems quite good.

I have traveled up there a few times from MK and it is very easy. There are regular trains form London and the option of the ATW train from Manchester.

The service, for what seems like a generally pretty rural/coastal area with smallish towns, seems decent to me. Obviously the service pattern may meet the needs of off comers more than it meets the needs of residents.

It is an easy journey if you manage to get one of the clusters of through trains.
The service of six trains per day is good, but the long gaps between services during the day is not helpful. So, between 0910 and 1610 you end up on the Chester service and the scrum over the footbridge.

And whilst the Manchester - North Wales service is hourly, I'm not sure if London tickets are valid via Manchester.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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And whilst the Manchester - North Wales service is hourly, I'm not sure if London tickets are valid via Manchester.

Some of them (Any Permitted) are valid via Warrington, so you can pick up the Glasgow fasts.
The standard connections northbound are OK (12m), but not southbound (1m or 61m).
I did it once, to sample a non-stop run through Crewe...
 

Starmill

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The front portion of the 0850 from Manchester Piccadilly runs non-stop from Chester to Llandudno Junction also.
 

Chester1

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Once Northern launchs its Chester-Victoria Bradford service next year, couldn't the loco hauled set be limited to Holyhead/Llanduno to Chester/Birmingham International/Cardiff? Keeping it away from Chester to Manchester would free it for a handful of extra services elsewere.
 
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