A Second Highland Cheiftain ?

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fhs man 2

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With Inverness getting bigger and expanding do you think there would be a demand for a second train from London Kings Cross to Inverness ?

With HST's becoming spare perhaps some could be used on the service.
 
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ainsworth74

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What sort of times would you be looking at for running this extra service, when in the day would you like to see arrival and departure? It seems reasonable that once there is stock available consideration be given to introducing another direct service. One thought that occurs is how much through traffic is there from Inverness to destinations south of Edinburgh (I understand that it's well used between Edinburgh and Inverness)? If the answer to that is not much then the arguments for introducing a second service become somewhat weaker.
 

fhs man 2

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What sort of times would you be looking at for running this extra service, when in the day would you like to see arrival and departure? It seems reasonable that once there is stock available consideration be given to introducing another direct service. One thought that occurs is how much through traffic is there from Inverness to destinations south of Edinburgh (I understand that it's well used between Edinburgh and Inverness)? If the answer to that is not much then the arguments for introducing a second service become somewhat weaker.

I would be looking at maybe 10 or 11am from Inverness arriving between 6 or 7pm. This would mean that people would not half to get up really early to go to London, this would be ideal for leisure travellers and maybe some buisness people. If you have an early meeting the next day then the earlier train is not really going to help you as that arrives at 4pm.

If people did not use it for the stations below Edinburgh then why was there a anger and loads of campaigning when the service was at risk.
 

ainsworth74

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I would be looking at maybe 10 or 11am from Inverness arriving between 6 or 7pm. This would mean that people would not half to get up really early to go to London, this would be ideal for leisure travellers and maybe some buisness people. If you have an early meeting the next day then the earlier train is not really going to help you as that arrives at 4pm.

And the balancing move? Remember if an HST is going to go down from Inverness it first has to go up there so when would that leave Kings Cross? Surely people who want to go to a meeting would take the sleeper rather than an 8 hour journey from Inverness and then have to overnight in the capital anyway. Far better to do the 8 hours whilst you're asleep and then wake up in the capital.

If people did not use it for the stations below Edinburgh then why was there a anger and loads of campaigning when the service was at risk.

My impression was that the campaigning was coming from people who lived north of Edinburgh who were complaining at losing their HST to/from Edinburgh and there for their high quality service not their links to cities and towns south of Edinburgh. And I'm not aware of any campaigning (or even of any interest) from anywhere south of the border over the issue.
 

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What sort of times would you be looking at for running this extra service, when in the day would you like to see arrival and departure? It seems reasonable that once there is stock available consideration be given to introducing another direct service. One thought that occurs is how much through traffic is there from Inverness to destinations south of Edinburgh (I understand that it's well used between Edinburgh and Inverness)? If the answer to that is not much then the arguments for introducing a second service become somewhat weaker.

I have only limited experience of using the Chieftain north of Edinburgh, and as you say, it is heavily used between Inverness and Edinburgh (in both directions). However, there is quite a few people who do stay on from stations north of Edinburgh to places south of the border, so there is some demand.

Perhaps there could be a 0800 (ish) Leeds -Inverness (arr 1425) with a return 1545 Inverness - Leeds (arr 2220). It all depends if there is enough paths available between Perth and Inverness though. An alternative is to extend some service which terminate at Edinburgh to Perth so that they are timed to connect to Inverness services from Glasgow QS, but this raises the running of diesels under the wires for most of the journey, so perhaps it isn't viable until all the various OHLE schemes in Scotland are completed.
 

ainsworth74

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Perhaps there could be a 0800 (ish) Leeds -Inverness (arr 1425) with a return 1545 Inverness - Leeds (arr 2220).

You know that's quite an interesting thought, it would be introducing a new service (Leeds not having a direct service to Inverness at the moment) and would increase the number of direct Inverness services at the northern end the ECML as well as adding a second return service on HST between Inverness - Edinbrugh and avoids the issue of trying to find attractive times for an additional London service and making it balance (1 up 1 down). I kinda like that idea.

It all depends if there is enough paths available between Perth and Inverness though.

Of course this is the other issue with both a possible Leeds - Inverness or an additional London - Inverness, is there the capacity at the northern end of the Highland Mainline? It's already pretty full up as far as I'm aware.
 

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I'd have though any new service south of Edinburgh would take one of the paths currently used by an Inverness to Edinburgh service.
 

fhs man 2

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And the balancing move? Remember if an HST is going to go down from Inverness it first has to go up there so when would that leave Kings Cross? Surely people who want to go to a meeting would take the sleeper rather than an 8 hour journey from Inverness and then have to overnight in the capital anyway. Far better to do the 8 hours whilst you're asleep and then wake up in the capital.

It would work at a pattern like this. These are rounded up to the nearest hour to make it more easy.

Inverness - 8am London - 4pm (Works the 12pm from London)
Inverness - 10am London - 6pm (Works the 2pm form London)
London - 12pm Inverness - 8pm (Works the 8am from Inverness)
London - 2pm Inverness - 10pm (Works the 10am from Inverness)

So the 2 southbound would stay at London overnight and vise versa.
 

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The reason I've suggested Leeds for the second Inverness service is mainly because it's near enough impossible to get an out and back service from London in a day without running at daft o'clock in the morning, followed by a stupidly late arrival at night.

On further checking, perhaps it could leave Leeds around 0730 instead (York 0800ish) to plug the gap in Newcastle bound departures from York at that time. Again, it's all depentand on paths on the HML though.
 

ainsworth74

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It would work at a pattern like this. These are rounded up to the nearest hour to make it more easy.

Inverness - 8am London - 4pm (Works the 12pm from London)
Inverness - 10am London - 6pm (Works the 2pm form London)
London - 12pm Inverness - 8pm (Works the 8am from Inverness)
London - 2pm Inverness - 10pm (Works the 10am from Inverness)

Fair enough. I'm not convinced at all that there would be demand for a second service to London just two hours after the first had left (just as I'm not convinced there would be demand for a second service to Inverness just two hours after the first had left).

So the 2 southbound would stay at London overnight and vise versa.

It would be a bit more accurate to say that the two northbound HST stay in Inverness as there aren't any based there and once they're back in London they'll be wandering off onto any old service ;)

The reason I've suggested Leeds for the second Inverness service is mainly because it's near enough impossible to get an out and back service from London in a day without running at daft o'clock in the morning, followed by a stupidly late arrival at night.

This is the problem. I don't think there is anyway that you can justify another service so close on the heels of the first so really you need one morning northbound from London and one morning southbound from Inverness but then you run into issues of trains arriving or leaving at silly o'clock as you say.

On further checking, perhaps it could leave Leeds around 0730 instead (York 0800ish) to plug the gap in Newcastle bound departures from York at that time. Again, it's all depentand on paths on the HML though.

That Leeds service might have some potential. Just using it to fill the gap between York and Newcastle is quite useful by itself!
 
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I doubt you would convince any future company of the EC franchise to run any more Inverness services which require the extra cost of drivers and guards lodging overnight and then additional catering crew to boot. Maybe a Leeds service would be looked at but Transport Scotland may still have to subsidise it.
 

fhs man 2

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Fair enough. I'm not convinced at all that there would be demand for a second service to London just two hours after the first had left (just as I'm not convinced there would be demand for a second service to Inverness just two hours after the first had left).

If you wanted to catch the 8am train to London you would have to get up around about 6am but with the 10am departure you could get up about 8am. 2 hours more in bed really makes a difference.

On the way back you could get your lunch or if your on holiday spend a little more time in London.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Maybe instead of a 2pm departure from London it could be a 9am from London arriving at 5pm.
 

ainsworth74

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If you wanted to catch the 8am train to London you would have to get up around about 6am but with the 10am departure you could get up about 8am. 2 hours more in bed really makes a difference.

On the way back you could get your lunch or if your on holiday spend a little more time in London.

Or you can catch the sleeper have a full day in London and then either catch the sleeper back or stay one night in London (having had more time there but still only paying for one nights hotel) and catch the midday Chieftain back. Again I doubt there will be much of any demand for a second service so close on the heels of the first (especially seeing as the first doesn't seem to be heavily loaded with through passengers).
 

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I doubt you would convince any future company of the EC franchise to run any more Inverness services which require the extra cost of drivers and guards lodging overnight and then additional catering crew to boot. Maybe a Leeds service would be looked at but Transport Scotland may still have to subsidise it.

Aren't there air services between Inverness and London run by low-ish cost airlines? I wonder how many day tickets (as opposed to the sleeper) are issued from the Highlands to London? Maybe more from Perth? But I don't know if there are plane services from Inverness to Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, so perhaps another service to the North and even the Midlands may make sense.
 

fhs man 2

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Or you can catch the sleeper have a full day in London and then either catch the sleeper back or stay one night in London (having had more time there but still only paying for one nights hotel) and catch the midday Chieftain back. Again I doubt there will be much of any demand for a second service so close on the heels of the first (especially seeing as the first doesn't seem to be heavily loaded with through passengers).

Maybe there could be 2 services southbound and 1 northbound.
 

ainsworth74

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Maybe there could be 2 services southbound and 1 northbound.

Balancing moves! How do you balance it? If two are going to come down (presumably in the morning) you need to get two up there the night before. Even if you spread it out so there is a morning southbound and an afternoon southbound you'd still need an afternoon northbound and an early morning northbound (for example 0600 and 1200 from KGX forming a 1500 and the next days 0800 from Inverness).
 

fhs man 2

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Aren't there air services between Inverness and London run by low-ish cost airlines? I wonder how many day tickets (as opposed to the sleeper) are issued from the Highlands to London? Maybe more from Perth? But I don't know if there are plane services from Inverness to Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, so perhaps another service to the North and even the Midlands may make sense.

The highlighted places have a airlink to Inverness.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Balancing moves! How do you balance it? If two are going to come down (presumably in the morning) you need to get two up there the night before.

The 4pm to Aberdeen could after arriving in Aberdeen could go out of service and go to Inverness via Dundee and Perth. Or the 2pm could do this.
 

ainsworth74

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The 4pm to Aberdeen could after arriving in Aberdeen could go out of service and go to Inverness via Dundee and Perth. Or the 2pm could do this.

Wouldn't both of those then be needed to run next mornings southbounds from Aberdeen to Kings Cross? They leave at 0752 and 0952 and the first arrival from the south (which is the train from Leeds) doesn't arrive until 1305. So if you remove one of those to run an Inverness then you remove one of the existing Aberdeens.

So far you seem to be coming up with solutions for a problem that probably doesn't exist. On looking at it I don't think it's either practical or worthwhile trying to work in another Inverness - London service (certainly not at the expense of existing services). David's Leeds - Inverness idea is interesting and might be worth thinking about further (especially if there isn't an air service between the two) but I don't think there is any future for a second Inverness - London.
 

fhs man 2

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So far you seem to be coming up with solutions for a problem that probably doesn't exist. On looking at it I don't think it's either practical or worthwhile trying to work in another Inverness - London service (certainly not at the expense of existing services). David's Leeds - Inverness idea is interesting and might be worth thinking about further (especially if there isn't an air service between the two) but I don't think there is any future for a second Inverness - London.

What is there in Leeds that would be relevant with Inverness.
 

ainsworth74

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What is there in Leeds that would be relevant with Inverness.

Maybe nothing (and there is a chance that we're falling foul of picking two places and drawing a line between them), but it certainly would be a lot easier to introduce this than to try and introduce a new London - Inverness and it could fix a gap in the timetable between York - Newcastle. As I've said I doubt there is the demand for a second London - Inverness and the only way to get a new service in means travelling at unattractive times at one end or the other (because there is no way that there would be demand for another as close to the first as you're suggesting).

Then again perhaps like I indicated above you're looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist (one thought: why does Inverness need another service to London other than it would be nice to have?).
 

fhs man 2

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Maybe nothing (and there is a chance that we're falling foul of picking two places and drawing a line between them), but it certainly would be a lot easier to introduce this than to try and introduce a new London - Inverness and it could fix a gap in the timetable between York - Newcastle. As I've said I doubt there is the demand for a second London - Inverness and the only way to get a new service in means travelling at unattractive times at one end or the other (because there is no way that there would be demand for another as close to the first as you're suggesting).

Then again perhaps like I indicated above you're looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist (one thought: why does Inverness need another service to London other than it would be nice to have?).

If you want to sort out the timetable problem then you could just run a short service that covers Newcastle and York.

I just do not think there would be demand past Newcastle, So maybe the solution is to keep it the same and maybe introduce more Scotrail services to Edinburgh.
 

ainsworth74

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If you want to sort out the timetable problem then you could just run a short service that covers Newcastle and York.

You could but then where does that set come from/go to? Anyway this is beside the point and the points I've made above stand I don't think there is demand for another full London - Inverness service (I see you didn't answer my question in my last post) and certainly there isn't so close to the first and the logistics of trying to run a service of that length at different times mean it will run at unattractive times.

So maybe the solution is to keep it the same and maybe introduce more Scotrail services to Edinburgh.

The solution to what problem?
 

Failed Unit

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If there was demand the solution would be an East Coast Scotrail joint venture with Scotrail taking over the set north of Edinburgh.

Example the current 1335 ex Edinburgh is a 6 car 158 service, replace with a HST and start from London at 0900. The balance from Inverness only runs to
Edinburgh. Likewise you need something to run the 1430 Edinburgh - London service so this could start back.

Unlikely but another solution.
 
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No offence, but this entire discussion is pie in the sky, to put it politely!

Given that there are places like Scunthorpe (similar population to Inverness) with no direct rail service to London, the notion of adding a third daily service between Inverness and London is ridiculous! Especially when there are plenty of flights between the two.

And let's not ignore the cost issue either...I could fly from Inverness to London this Friday for £65 (easyJet website just now). Travelling by train will cost at least that much (National Rail website - can't get onto East Coast at the mo), and will take all day! Kind of blows out of the water the idea of an extra two hours in bed before catching the train...

The Leeds to Inverness idea isn't so bad, but then a lot of people travelling between the two will fly from Manchester - or just accept a change at Edinburgh as they do at present. And what about paths north of Perth? And rolling stock...?
 

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I guess we need to go back to why the service exists, which was to make better use of a HST that arrived at Edinburgh but would have spent a lot of time in the depot otherwise. Giving more peak hour seats in the service was a plus point.

I can't see more services beyond Perth to be honest (once electrification happens) if demand exists which I doubt. I wish the 1906 would extend to Cleethorpes again ;)
 

tbtc

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At the moment East Coast have a few daily destinations that require HSTs due to lack of electrification (Hull, Harrogate and Lincoln get a daily HST in the morning "peak" to London and a daily HST in the evening "peak" back again - until recently Skipton required an HST too).

So it makes sense for East Coast to run an HST down from Inverness to London in the morning (leaving Edinburgh at 11.30, before many London services have arrived, so if it didn't serve Inverness the stock would have been spare until that time anyway) and then work an evening service to Hull/ Harrogate/ Lincoln (forgive me for not knowing the East Coast interworkings).

Similarly the morning service from Hull/ Harrogate/ Lincoln leaves an HST in London that can work the lunchtime Cheiftan up to Inverness.

So, whilst it would be hard to schedule the eight hour Cheiftan to be worked with one unit in each directions on the same day (without having unatractively early/late timings), the interworking with East Coast "rush hour" services to/from Hull/ Harrogate/ Lincoln allows the TOC to provide a daily Inverness train with minimal additional resources.

Try to run a (second) Cheiftan at a different time of the day and you lose that ability to interwork (leaving Inverness late morning may mean arriving in London too late to form one of the peak extras to Hull/ Harrogate/ Lincoln - and vice versa).

Rather than running an additional diesel train four hundred miles under the wires each day, it may be better to pass the staffing of the Cheiftan (north of Edinburgh) to Scotrail, as suggested by Failed Unit, and to give any of the spare HSTs that would be required for a second Cheiftan to Scotrail to work two return journeys from Edinburgh to Inverness a day (freeing up some 158/170s in the process). That would give Inverness (and other places) more capacity for Edinburgh services, it would be more efficient use of staff (rather than East Coast paying for staff lodging in Inverness each night) and concentrate resources on a proven market (rather than trying to create new markets).

Also, the attractiveness of the Cheiftan is as much to do with the handy journey times (leaving Inverness around eight in the morning, returning from Edinburgh around half four in the afternoon) - and the large gap between services on the Highland Main Line - rather than because everyone is heading to/from England. However you couldn't run a second Inverness - London service at an attractive time in both directions without needing more stock).
 

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An assessment of Intercity rail capacity from Inverness was recently produced by Steer Davies Gleave for the Highland Transport Partnership and can be read here.

Some interesting facts emerge from this report. Most travel from Inverness is to/from Edinburgh/Glasgow. Analysis of ticket data suggests Inverness-London flow is approx 46,500 per annum with an estimated 11,500 changing at Edinburgh and the remainder split equally between the Highland Cheiftain and the sleeper. The top 5 destinations for other cross-border flows are Newcastle (approx 8,500 a year), York (6,000), Manchester (4,000), Peterborough (3,500) and Leeds (2,500). 5 of the next 6 destinations are on the West Coast which suggests to me there may be some suppressed demand for a direct Inverness service along the WCML (not necessarily London). Rail has been taking market share away from air in recent years.

The use of the Highland Chieftain is popular with business users because of the superior facilities offered by the HST sets and East Coast's First Class offering over that offered by ScotRail. There is also a healthy leisure market to Inverness.

The report concludes that the single cross border service is all that is currently practically possible but recommends that a second service should be examined in developing the timetable for IEP by combining with a service from Aberdeen and splitting/joining at Edinburgh.
 

David

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No offence, but this entire discussion is pie in the sky, to put it politely!

Given that there are places like Scunthorpe (similar population to Inverness) with no direct rail service to London, the notion of adding a third daily service between Inverness and London is ridiculous! Especially when there are plenty of flights between the two.

The difference between Scunthorpe and Inverness though is that Scunthorpe is well connected to the rest of the network, with a lot of "bigger" destinations requiring 1 change. While a direct London service from here would be nice, in reality, it's not needed.

An assessment of Intercity rail capacity from Inverness was recently produced by Steer Davies Gleave for the Highland Transport Partnership and can be read here.

Some interesting facts emerge from this report. Most travel from Inverness is to/from Edinburgh/Glasgow. Analysis of ticket data suggests Inverness-London flow is approx 46,500 per annum with an estimated 11,500 changing at Edinburgh and the remainder split equally between the Highland Cheiftain and the sleeper.

All well and good, but what about the stations between Inverness and Edinburgh? Last May when I travelled back from Perth to Scunthorpe, I booked myself on the Chieftain as far as York. There was about 50 or 60 people boarding at Perth, with about the same again at Stirling. Ok the HST emptied a bit at Edinburgh, but roughly half of the people in the carriage I was in stayed on. That to me suggests there is more cross-border demand than that study allows for, simply because of the intermediate stations.
 

tbtc

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An assessment of Intercity rail capacity from Inverness was recently produced by Steer Davies Gleave for the Highland Transport Partnership and can be read here

Some interesting facts emerge from this report. Most travel from Inverness is to/from Edinburgh/Glasgow. Analysis of ticket data suggests Inverness-London flow is approx 46,500 per annum with an estimated 11,500 changing at Edinburgh and the remainder split equally between the Highland Cheiftain and the sleeper

Interesting. So...

  • 46,500 pa = 127 a day between Inverness and London
  • 11,500 pa = 31 changing at Edinburgh
  • = 48 a day on the Highland Cheiftan and 48 a day on the Caledonian Sleeper

The report concludes that the single cross border service is all that is currently practically possible but recommends that a second service should be examined in developing the timetable for IEP by combining with a service from Aberdeen and splitting/joining at Edinburgh.

That sounds reasonable, if we have bi-mode then lets use the five coaches for splitting joining to enable more services like these

The difference between Scunthorpe and Inverness though is that Scunthorpe is well connected to the rest of the network, with a lot of "bigger" destinations requiring 1 change. While a direct London service from here would be nice, in reality, it's not needed

But then a lot of bigger destinations are only one change away from Inverness (by changing at Edinburgh). It does suggest that there's no "outstanding" location for any second long distance Inverness service though.
 
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