Abergavenny timetable query

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Ivo

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As with many other stations on the Marches route, Abergavenny has three trains every two hours, usually in a format that runs with one hourly train and one two-hourly train. This stays true until 1600, at which point the hourly service effectively becomes two two-hourly services, which run only 40 minutes apart. In theory, running 40 minutes apart is ideal, because then the two-hourly service would slot in the 80 minute gap and roughly equal intervals, but no - it instead slots into the 40-minute gap, leaving intervals of almost 80 minutes! It doesn't only apply to AGV either - the entire route south of SHR falls foul of this.

How can this be explained, and how can it be improved? Surely there is a path available to run in the 80-minute interval, even if it meant a short service that runs south of Shrewsbury only? I ask this because I got to AGV two minutes after the 1656 departure yesterday afternoon - and had no idea that after 1600 this change came into effect, resulting in me having to wait a ridiculous 78 minutes for the next train to Newport (83 allowing for a slight delay).

N.B.: This relates to southbound journeys only. Northbound the two-hourly service fits into the sensible 80-minute interval.
 
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Gareth Marston

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As with many other stations on the Marches route, Abergavenny has three trains every two hours, usually in a format that runs with one hourly train and one two-hourly train. This stays true until 1600, at which point the hourly service effectively becomes two two-hourly services, which run only 40 minutes apart. In theory, running 40 minutes apart is ideal, because then the two-hourly service would slot in the 80 minute gap and roughly equal intervals, but no - it instead slots into the 40-minute gap, leaving intervals of almost 80 minutes! It doesn't only apply to AGV either - the entire route south of SHR falls foul of this.

How can this be explained, and how can it be improved? Surely there is a path available to run in the 80-minute interval, even if it meant a short service that runs south of Shrewsbury only? I ask this because I got to AGV two minutes after the 1656 departure yesterday afternoon - and had no idea that after 1600 this change came into effect, resulting in me having to wait a ridiculous 78 minutes for the next train to Newport (83 allowing for a slight delay).

N.B.: This relates to southbound journeys only. Northbound the two-hourly service fits into the sensible 80-minute interval.
Its a dog dinner designed to allow some Manchester trains to stop at Nantwich and Whitchurch north of Shrewsbury every 2 hrs in the daytime. Some trains skip Church Stretton and Craven Arms and some Holyhead trains now stop there instead. The times from Church Stretton and Craven Arms are now non clockface with 45 and then 75 gaps.
 

All Line Rover

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Its a dog dinner designed to allow some Manchester trains to stop at Nantwich and Whitchurch north of Shrewsbury every 2 hrs in the daytime. Some trains skip Church Stretton and Craven Arms and some Holyhead trains now stop there instead. The times from Church Stretton and Craven Arms are now non clockface with 45 and then 75 gaps.
The service from Whitchurch and Nantwich is also awful during most of the day. There are two services every 2 hours (Shrewsbury to Crewe stopper and Cardiff to Manchester "express"), but they are within 15 minutes of each other, leaving a 1h 45m gap! :roll:
 

Squaddie

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I really don't understand why it is seemingly so difficult to devise a clock-face timetable in the UK. And the problem of arriving at a major station a few minutes after a potential connection has left is a shockingly common one.

I have long abandoned any hope of ever having a rail network as convenient as those enjoyed by the Swiss or Japanese, but some of the timetables need urgent reworking. Trouble is, the TOCs get the same income whether you have to wait 5 minutes or 75 minutes for a connection, so they have no incentive to provide a decent service.
 

calc7

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I really don't understand why it is seemingly so difficult to devise a clock-face timetable in the UK. And the problem of arriving at a major station a few minutes after a potential connection has left is a shockingly common one.

I have long abandoned any hope of ever having a rail network as convenient as those enjoyed by the Swiss or Japanese, but some of the timetables need urgent reworking. Trouble is, the TOCs get the same income whether you have to wait 5 minutes or 75 minutes for a connection, so they have no incentive to provide a decent service.
And if there was never a tight connection to be made then no chance to claim delay-repay. ;)
 

The Planner

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I really don't understand why it is seemingly so difficult to devise a clock-face timetable in the UK. And the problem of arriving at a major station a few minutes after a potential connection has left is a shockingly common one.
Whilst that was the scenario many TOCs were working towards, some are going to move away from that in the future, XC certainly will as they try to drive down journey time. TOCs are not obliged to provide connections into other TOCs trains, they may do so, but they don't have to.
 

Oliver

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You're probably right - timetables devised by accountants for the benefit of the TOCs, rather than the passengers.
Accountants would wish to maximise revenue, which effectively means maximising ridership. Therefore for any given amount of rolling stock, the accountant's choice would suit the majority of passengers.

Do you have any evidence that accountants design the timetables at ATW? I think you'll find they employ train planners who spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way of maximising loadings with available resources (which also generally means maximising revenue, neither of which is a bad thing).
 

Ivo

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Accountants would wish to maximise revenue, which effectively means maximising ridership. Therefore for any given amount of rolling stock, the accountant's choice would suit the majority of passengers.

Do you have any evidence that accountants design the timetables at ATW? I think you'll find they employ train planners who spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way of maximising loadings with available resources (which also generally means maximising revenue, neither of which is a bad thing).
True or not, we have no concrete proof one way or the other (unless someone on his is actually employed by ATW in this role, which I doubt). The simple and sad fact of the matter is that too many companies use "planners" that have no experience either in the role or in the routes concerned and thus mess up. In this case I know the Marches line isn't the easiest to plan but is it really that hard to plan the route in such a way that a basic (if not clockface) but more importantly reliable timetable is maintained?

The plan they have is basically right - but the slows are not. On the basis of Carmarthen (slow) and Milford Haven (fast) to Manchester every two hours, and also Cardiff to Holyhead, Birmingham International to Holyhead and Shrewsbury to Crewe, their current plan is this (based on northbound from Shrewsbury):

BHI-HHD; SHR-CRE; CMN-MAN; CDF-HHD; MFH-MAN

Now obviously the HHD trains run a different route, so they can be ignored here. But otherwise, the CRE and CMN routes should not be that close together. Why can't the CRE leave five minutes after the MFH? It meets the +5 requirement at SHR and keeps the timetable fairly close to having identical intervals at Whitchurch and others (it would work out at about 55:65 if the CMN could then be held at SHR).

Whilst that was the scenario many TOCs were working towards, some are going to move away from that in the future, XC certainly will as they try to drive down journey time. TOCs are not obliged to provide connections into other TOCs trains, they may do so, but they don't have to.
XC should try concentrating on other things - like their reliability, maximising fleet usage (HSTs? ;)) and their staff doing their jobs properly and not turning up late! - before they try to improve journey times. That should be the least of their concerns.
 
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tbtc

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I really don't understand why it is seemingly so difficult to devise a clock-face timetable in the UK
It sounds simple, but if you have a clockface hourly service leaving Manchester, but then only a handful of services stopping at stations like Church Stretton/ Craven Arms mean that its not a clockface service by the time it gets to Abergavenny.

Its the problem of trying to run a long distance service on a line which also has to cater for (less frequent) stops at "local" stations. Ideally you'd have a stand alone service for places like Cymbran (given its population), rather than trying to run a "one size fits all" service (with some people going over 100 miles and others only a couple of miles).

The same problem (of local services on long distance lines) exists on plenty of other routes too, of course, its not confined to ATW.
 

Ivo

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It sounds simple, but if you have a clockface hourly service leaving Manchester, but then only a handful of services stopping at stations like Church Stretton/ Craven Arms mean that its not a clockface service by the time it gets to Abergavenny.

Its the problem of trying to run a long distance service on a line which also has to cater for (less frequent) stops at "local" stations. Ideally you'd have a stand alone service for places like Cymbran (given its population), rather than trying to run a "one size fits all" service (with some people going over 100 miles and others only a couple of miles).

The same problem (of local services on long distance lines) exists on plenty of other routes too, of course, its not confined to ATW.
This may be true but there's still plenty of scope for improvement. Look at the attachment - that was a 20-minute job and runs across two hours much more efficiently that the present set-up seems to. (Before anyone asks - I haven't checked other operators' timetables for this; it's only a vague idea.)

I even considered the possibility of running the train set as "from BHI?" from Bristol TM to Liverpool, opening up the potential for more passenegrs options without fearing about fare abstraction (because the operator would be abstracting from themselves if anyone, which would surely minimise any potential issues) - but that's for another thread (and has been done to death already).
 

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Greenback

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It sounds simple, but if you have a clockface hourly service leaving Manchester, but then only a handful of services stopping at stations like Church Stretton/ Craven Arms mean that its not a clockface service by the time it gets to Abergavenny.

Its the problem of trying to run a long distance service on a line which also has to cater for (less frequent) stops at "local" stations. Ideally you'd have a stand alone service for places like Cymbran (given its population), rather than trying to run a "one size fits all" service (with some people going over 100 miles and others only a couple of miles).

The same problem (of local services on long distance lines) exists on plenty of other routes too, of course, its not confined to ATW.
You are correct. This is one fo the contributory factors, and this is forced on TOC's because there is insufficient stock (or money) to run seperate stopping services and express limited stop services.

This may be true but there's still plenty of scope for improvement. Look at the attachment - that was a 20-minute job and runs across two hours much more efficiently that the present set-up seems to. (Before anyone asks - I haven't checked other operators' timetables for this; it's only a vague idea.)

I even considered the possibility of running the train set as "from BHI?" from Bristol TM to Liverpool, opening up the potential for more passenegrs options without fearing about fare abstraction (because the operator would be abstracting from themselves if anyone, which would surely minimise any potential issues) - but that's for another thread (and has been done to death already).
On a brief examination, the timetable looks good. However, how many units would it require? Are the paths available? How would it impact on other services at junctions and hubs?

I am not saying it wouldn't work, but if it was as simple as that then it begs the question as to why it hasn;t been done. My instinct is that it would cost more, there are train conflicts or both.
 

Ivo

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On a brief examination, the timetable looks good. However, how many units would it require? Are the paths available? How would it impact on other services at junctions and hubs?

I am not saying it wouldn't work, but if it was as simple as that then it begs the question as to why it hasn;t been done. My instinct is that it would cost more, there are train conflicts or both.
Units required: Not a clue.
Paths available: I would expect so for the most part, but... not a clue.
Impact: Not a clue.

It really hasn't been evaluated for that. But given the services run on the Marches Line there does seem to be spare paths available at the very least, although units could be an certainly be an issue. I have tried to match the times at CDF/SHR/CTR at least remotely so they shouldn't be too much of a problem, and CRE is on two alignments that aren't that busy.

You are probably right though: My instinct is that it would cost more, there are train conflicts or both. Given time I honestly believe I could get something together, but I just don't see the point. The simplistic changes in frequency and Whitchurch and others aside, there just isn't enough of a benefit overall.

I have to say one thing though - it is things like this that show how far backwards the fantasy interest (and seriousness) on this forum has gone of late :| This was a very simplistic but perfectly reasonable idea, whereas we get far too many Village Parkway scenarios elsewhere :(

Enough lamenting now.
 

merlodlliw

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As with many other stations on the Marches route, Abergavenny has three trains every two hours, usually in a format that runs with one hourly train and one two-hourly train. This stays true until 1600, at which point the hourly service effectively becomes two two-hourly services, which run only 40 minutes apart. In theory, running 40 minutes apart is ideal, because then the two-hourly service would slot in the 80 minute gap and roughly equal intervals, but no - it instead slots into the 40-minute gap, leaving intervals of almost 80 minutes! It doesn't only apply to AGV either - the entire route south of SHR falls foul of this.

How can this be explained, and how can it be improved? Surely there is a path available to run in the 80-minute interval, even if it meant a short service that runs south of Shrewsbury only? I ask this because I got to AGV two minutes after the 1656 departure yesterday afternoon - and had no idea that after 1600 this change came into effect, resulting in me having to wait a ridiculous 78 minutes for the next train to Newport (83 allowing for a slight delay).

N.B.: This relates to southbound journeys only. Northbound the two-hourly service fits into the sensible 80-minute interval.
There used to be a six day service around 5.30p.m. from Abergavenny.
A local service left Cardiff at around 1620, all stations to Abergavenny & returned all stations back to Cardiff.
The path was given to WAG1 Mon to Friday, the local still runs Saturdays to Abergavenny , but the return Saturday was withdrawn by ATW at the same time as the withdrawal of the Mon/Fri. Nobody probably noticed at the time.

OK WAG1 goes to Holyhead, but what happens to the Saturday stock when it has arrived at Abergavenny, sent back empty or what. Same applies on public Holidays.

The franchise ATW signed states they have to run a service to Abergavenny Mon/Sat at 1620 all stations, not sure about the return. Also interesting ATW dropped Pontypool Mon to Fri, again probably no one complained

Bob
 
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Squaddie

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It sounds simple, but if you have a clockface hourly service leaving Manchester, but then only a handful of services stopping at stations like Church Stretton/ Craven Arms mean that its not a clockface service by the time it gets to Abergavenny.
I fully appreciate the problems in redesigning a timetable on a network as complex as the UK's, but (to me, at least) the term "clock-face timetable" implies not only a regular pattern of departures from the origin station but a regular stopping pattern too.

Ideally, you would have the longer-distance trains as semi-fast, or "limited express" services, with the smaller intermediate stations being served by local stopping services connecting with the faster trains at convenient points. But that, of course, would demand discipline and, ideally, connection times of five minutes or less, which is probably beyond the capabilities of Network Rail and the train operating companies.

In the specific case of the Marches/Shrewsbury routes, I would envisage an hourly service between Cardiff and Manchester connecting seamlessly (in both directions!) at Shrewsbury with an hourly Aberystwyth/Cambrian coast to Birmingham service, with the Shrewsbury-Wrexham-Chester route being a stand-alone shuttle. Central Wales trains might run only between Llanelli and Craven Arms, but more frequently (maybe every two hours) and with convenient connections at each end.

I've made no attempt to work out whether such a service pattern is even possible, but it's the kind of blue-sky thinking that our rail network needs.
 

Greenback

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Units required: Not a clue.
Paths available: I would expect so for the most part, but... not a clue.
Impact: Not a clue.

It really hasn't been evaluated for that. But given the services run on the Marches Line there does seem to be spare paths available at the very least, although units could be an certainly be an issue. I have tried to match the times at CDF/SHR/CTR at least remotely so they shouldn't be too much of a problem, and CRE is on two alignments that aren't that busy.

You are probably right though: My instinct is that it would cost more, there are train conflicts or both. Given time I honestly believe I could get something together, but I just don't see the point. The simplistic changes in frequency and Whitchurch and others aside, there just isn't enough of a benefit overall.

I have to say one thing though - it is things like this that show how far backwards the fantasy interest (and seriousness) on this forum has gone of late :| This was a very simplistic but perfectly reasonable idea, whereas we get far too many Village Parkway scenarios elsewhere :(

Enough lamenting now.
I quite like the timetable myself. It provides an hourly clockface service for the intermediate stations, and I would always prefer to have a mix of slow and fast trains.

It is the unknowns that interest me, but sadly I don't know wnough to have the answers!
 

tbtc

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This may be true but there's still plenty of scope for improvement. Look at the attachment - that was a 20-minute job and runs across two hours much more efficiently that the present set-up seems to. (Before anyone asks - I haven't checked other operators' timetables for this; it's only a vague idea.)

I even considered the possibility of running the train set as "from BHI?" from Bristol TM to Liverpool, opening up the potential for more passenegrs options without fearing about fare abstraction (because the operator would be abstracting from themselves if anyone, which would surely minimise any potential issues) - but that's for another thread (and has been done to death already).
I like your idea.

Ideally you'd have services from Bristol to/from the Marches line (there's definitely a market from places like Hereford).

I've had plans in the past which involved linking the Crewe - Shrewsbury stopper to Cardiff (to give a better service to Abergavenny/ Cymbran etc). However the problem there is finding stock that can cope with the frequent stops (Yorton - Wem - Prees - Whitchurch is a stop roughly every five minutes on your timetable) as well as suiting longer distance journeys. A 158 would struggle with the frequent stops (based on my experiences of them on slow Yorkshire services) - I can't comment about a 175 but I doubt it'd be that good at dealing with the frequent stops (though it is decent for the long distance bits). How do you square the circle?
 

Greenback

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OK WAG1 goes to Holyhead, but what happens to the Saturday stock when it has arrived at Abergavenny, sent back empty or what. Same applies on public Holidays.
No doubt the stock returns as ECS.

I fully appreciate the problems in redesigning a timetable on a network as complex as the UK's, but (to me, at least) the term "clock-face timetable" implies not only a regular pattern of departures from the origin station but a regular stopping pattern too.
Agreed, but some high ranking accountants in the TOC's argue that it is better to serve the main identifiable traffic flows rather than have a clock face timetable at smaller sattions.

Ideally, you would have the longer-distance trains as semi-fast, or "limited express" services, with the smaller intermediate stations being served by local stopping services connecting with the faster trains at convenient points. But that, of course, would demand discipline and, ideally, connection times of five minutes or less, which is probably beyond the capabilities of Network Rail and the train operating companies.
It would demand more stock than trying to serve the same markets with one train by skip stopping. There might also be an issue with signalling, as many years of rationalisation has reduced the ability to have parallel movements at junctions and major stations.

In the specific case of the Marches/Shrewsbury routes, I would envisage an hourly service between Cardiff and Manchester connecting seamlessly (in both directions!) at Shrewsbury with an hourly Aberystwyth/Cambrian coast to Birmingham service, with the Shrewsbury-Wrexham-Chester route being a stand-alone shuttle. Central Wales trains might run only between Llanelli and Craven Arms, but more frequently (maybe every two hours) and with convenient connections at each end.

I've made no attempt to work out whether such a service pattern is even possible, but it's the kind of blue-sky thinking that our rail network needs.
The HoW traisn might well be better off running to and from Llanelli, but ehy would have to turn around at the latter without impeding the toher services they are connecting with, due to the lack of platforms and sidings! It may be possible to attach/detach the units to other services, but the timekeeping on the route is not good.

Blue sky thinking is great, but it needs to be tempered by the practicalities. I have a feeling that this type of thinking is not as rare as might be thought, and most ideas suggested will already have been considered and ruled out, probably on cost grounds.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
How do you square the circle?
A huge new batch of stock, specially designed for either fast, long distance work or slow local work, and 5 carriages as a minimum!
 

Ivo

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There used to be a six day service around 5.30p.m. from Abergavenny.
A local service left Cardiff at around 1620, all stations to Abergavenny & returned all stations back to Cardiff.
The path was given to WAG1 Mon to Friday, the local still runs Saturdays to Abergavenny , but the return Saturday was withdrawn by ATW at the same time as the withdrawal of the Mon/Fri. Nobody probably noticed at the time.

OK WAG1 goes to Holyhead, but what happens to the Saturday stock when it has arrived at Abergavenny, sent back empty or what. Same applies on public Holidays.

The franchise ATW signed states they have to run a service to Abergavenny Mon/Sat at 1620 all stations, not sure about the return. Also interesting ATW dropped Pontypool Mon to Fri, again probably no one complained
According to the timetable this service still runs on other days as well...

...but only on BHs, and then only northbound :roll:

I like your idea.

Ideally you'd have services from Bristol to/from the Marches line (there's definitely a market from places like Hereford).

I've had plans in the past which involved linking the Crewe - Shrewsbury stopper to Cardiff (to give a better service to Abergavenny/ Cymbran etc). However the problem there is finding stock that can cope with the frequent stops (Yorton - Wem - Prees - Whitchurch is a stop roughly every five minutes on your timetable) as well as suiting longer distance journeys. A 158 would struggle with the frequent stops (based on my experiences of them on slow Yorkshire services) - I can't comment about a 175 but I doubt it'd be that good at dealing with the frequent stops (though it is decent for the long distance bits). How do you square the circle?
There is a very simple (but somewhat unfair) response to your question - see the attached photo (taken whilst at AGV)...
 

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The Planner

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True or not, we have no concrete proof one way or the other (unless someone on his is actually employed by ATW in this role, which I doubt). The simple and sad fact of the matter is that too many companies use "planners" that have no experience either in the role or in the routes concerned and thus mess up. In this case I know the Marches line isn't the easiest to plan but is it really that hard to plan the route in such a way that a basic (if not clockface) but more importantly reliable timetable is maintained?
ATW train planners have a substantial amount of experience, believe me. They know the routes like the back of their hand but they will be directed by commercial aspects, as all TOCs are.

XC should try concentrating on other things - like their reliability, maximising fleet usage (HSTs? ;)) and their staff doing their jobs properly and not turning up late! - before they try to improve journey times. That should be the least of their concerns.
But it is, as it creates the ££££....
 

tbtc

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I fully appreciate the problems in redesigning a timetable on a network as complex as the UK's, but (to me, at least) the term "clock-face timetable" implies not only a regular pattern of departures from the origin station but a regular stopping pattern too.
...but that means giving some places an hourly service that don't justify it, just to even times up.

Is it worth doubling the number of stops at quiet rural stations just to keep timings consistent?

Ideally, you would have the longer-distance trains as semi-fast, or "limited express" services, with the smaller intermediate stations being served by local stopping services connecting with the faster trains at convenient points. But that, of course, would demand discipline and, ideally, connection times of five minutes or less, which is probably beyond the capabilities of Network Rail and the train operating companies.
That would require a lot more trains - sounds like double the number currently required

In the specific case of the Marches/Shrewsbury routes, I would envisage an hourly service between Cardiff and Manchester connecting seamlessly (in both directions!) at Shrewsbury with an hourly Aberystwyth/Cambrian coast to Birmingham service, with the Shrewsbury-Wrexham-Chester route being a stand-alone shuttle. Central Wales trains might run only between Llanelli and Craven Arms, but more frequently (maybe every two hours) and with convenient connections at each end.

I've made no attempt to work out whether such a service pattern is even possible, but it's the kind of blue-sky thinking that our rail network needs.
If the Aberystwyth - Birmingham service connects with the Cardiff - Manchester service in each direction then presumably you'd have to wait maybe ten minutes at Shrewsbury in each direction to ensure that there was a reasonable connection time?

There is a very simple (but somewhat unfair) response to your question - see the attached photo (taken whilst at AGV)...
:lol:

If long distance passengers would accept a 150 then fair enough - I've sat on a 150 on some stupidly long journeys (twenty five years ago then did a lot of services that are now run by 158s).

However there is a serious point about the lack of a "jack of all trades" unit - I hate to sound like I'm being facetious but the only diesel unit that appears to be able to deal with high speeds *and* good acceleration is the humble Voyager :lol:

You are correct. This is one fo the contributory factors, and this is forced on TOC's because there is insufficient stock (or money) to run seperate stopping services and express limited stop services
Aye, that's the problem - whilst plenty of lines survived the Beeching cuts (in terms of infrastructure) they have gradually lost the actual local service. Not just the Marches line - look at the lack of "local" trains on the ECML north of Peterborough/ south of Drem. Gradually everything has been amalgamated with longer distance trains.
 

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Aye, that's the problem - whilst plenty of lines survived the Beeching cuts (in terms of infrastructure) they have gradually lost the actual local service. Not just the Marches line - look at the lack of "local" trains on the ECML north of Peterborough/ south of Drem. Gradually everything has been amalgamated with longer distance trains.
Yes, usually so that fewer newer trains can replace older stock. That is one of the reasons that a business case can be made for new trains, in many instances.
 

Gareth Marston

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Big planing issue on the Marches is the paths through Crewe station for the Manchester trains, the BR remodelling in 85 assumed all the trains from Shrewsbury would terminate there. ATW can only use Platforms 5 or 6 and have to cross the entire northern throat on the flat at low speed to get to Manchester. Therefore the whole route is locked around these paths - which don't coincide with the ATW Birmingham to Shrewsbury paths hence poor connections.

The proposed remodeling of Crewe would have vastly improved flexibility.
 

Greenback

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Big planing issue on the Marches is the paths through Crewe station for the Manchester trains, the BR remodelling in 85 assumed all the trains from Shrewsbury would terminate there. ATW can only use Platforms 5 or 6 and have to cross the entire northern throat on the flat at low speed to get to Manchester. Therefore the whole route is locked around these paths - which don't coincide with the ATW Birmingham to Shrewsbury paths hence poor connections.

The proposed remodeling of Crewe would have vastly improved flexibility.
That's interesting. I lack the detailed knowledge of this sort of thing, but it was the type of problem I was expecting to affect different locations. A lot of rationalisation and remodelling was undertaken in a time of a diminishing netwrok where an expansion of services was simply not anticipated.
 

pmgarvey

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Is it only me who actually doesn't like a 5 minute connection? I'd much stand at a station for 20 minutes knowing my train's going to come rather than make the whole first leg of the journey worrying that a couple of minutes delay is going to give me the sight of watching the doors close in front of me (something I've had my fingers burned on more than once).

Cross Country actually get this aspect very right. The services from Reading/Bournemouth connect in brilliantly to the ones going to Manchester and Newcastle;
 

The Planner

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Big planing issue on the Marches is the paths through Crewe station for the Manchester trains, the BR remodelling in 85 assumed all the trains from Shrewsbury would terminate there. ATW can only use Platforms 5 or 6 and have to cross the entire northern throat on the flat at low speed to get to Manchester. Therefore the whole route is locked around these paths - which don't coincide with the ATW Birmingham to Shrewsbury paths hence poor connections.

The proposed remodeling of Crewe would have vastly improved flexibility.
They are also locked by the approach to Man Picc. This is why they have never managed to get their aspirations of going to the Airport.
 

Squaddie

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Is it only me who actually doesn't like a 5 minute connection? I'd much stand at a station for 20 minutes knowing my train's going to come rather than make the whole first leg of the journey worrying that a couple of minutes delay is going to give me the sight of watching the doors close in front of me.
At the moment that's absolutely true - a tight connection is a cause of immense stress on the UK's railways because few if any passengers trust the TOC to get them to their intermediate connecting point on time. This is something that would have to change in order to provide the convenient connections envisaged.

And it's not exactly rocket science. One of my regular journeys in Switzerland involves three changes of train, including a couple of connections of under 5 minutes, yet I am perfectly happy to make that journey and am completely relaxed at every stage because I know for certain that I will not miss any of the connections (and, just as important, that there will be plenty of free seats on each train).
 

Arglwydd Golau

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Is it only me who actually doesn't like a 5 minute connection? I'd much stand at a station for 20 minutes knowing my train's going to come rather than make the whole first leg of the journey worrying that a couple of minutes delay is going to give me the sight of watching the doors close in front of me (something I've had my fingers burned on more than once).

Yes, I entirely agree with you, and it would make it even better if the twenty minute wait was in a pleasant environment - I don't have a problem with changing trains and would willingly change at an ATW 'hub' if I could move from an 'all stations to Cardiff train' to a connection that was limited stop (but that is just my annoyance at the current timetabling) - recently had a four minute connection to FGW at Newport that I missed, interestingly when I travelled to Cardiff on the same train last week I deliberately looked out at Newport for the FGW and of course I would have been able to catch it when I didn't need to!
 
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