Backwards and forwards on one LNER service

The DJ

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I was really puzzled today at Leeds to be directed to a bay platform for a Harrogate service, with Harrogate being north of Leeds. The service came into Leeds from London and then went out the way it had come in. A passenger travelling London to Harrogate in a booked forward facing seat would therefore find themselves travelling backwards between Leeds and Harrogate. Is there a map of this specific route as I am confused as to how a train heading south from Leeds can finish up at a destination located further north. The route map I have seen simply shows Harrogate north of Leeds with no indication that the service reverses at Leeds
 
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_toommm_

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I was really puzzled today at Leeds to be directed to a bay platform for a Harrogate service, with Harrogate being north of Leeds. The service came into Leeds from London and then went out the way it had come in. A passenger travelling London to Harrogate in a booked forward facing seat would therefore find themselves travelling backwards between Leeds and Harrogate. Is there a map of this specific route as I am confused as to how a train heading south from Leeds can finish up at a destination located further north. The route map I have seen simply shows Harrogate north of Leeds with no indication that the service reverses at Leeds

Harrogate is north of Leeds, so it’s correct in that respect.

7A74CB2E-1ADC-487C-BDFD-505F0A270A92.png

Above is a screenshot from Traksy showing the signalling layout in Leeds. Services from London arrive from the very left-hand side, they reverse, and travel up the four-track section to Armley Junction. They then branch off again, going onto the Harrogate Line.
 

6Gman

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I was really puzzled today at Leeds to be directed to a bay platform for a Harrogate service, with Harrogate being north of Leeds. The service came into Leeds from London and then went out the way it had come in. A passenger travelling London to Harrogate in a booked forward facing seat would therefore find themselves travelling backwards between Leeds and Harrogate. Is there a map of this specific route as I am confused as to how a train heading south from Leeds can finish up at a destination located further north. The route map I have seen simply shows Harrogate north of Leeds with no indication that the service reverses at Leeds
Leeds station lies East-West rather than North-South.

Trains from the Wakefield (and thus London) direction arrive at the Western end of the station, and leave from the Western end for Harrogate, having reversed.
 

dosxuk

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The station in Leeds is more West-East than South-North. Your train from the south approached the station from the West (and yes, London is East of Leeds). The line to Harrogate also leaves Leeds towards the West before heading North.

Reversals en-route are far from unusual in the UK. Norwich to Liverpool contains two (occasionally three) of them.
 

Djminisite06

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I was really puzzled today at Leeds to be directed to a bay platform for a Harrogate service, with Harrogate being north of Leeds. The service came into Leeds from London and then went out the way it had come in. A passenger travelling London to Harrogate in a booked forward facing seat would therefore find themselves travelling backwards between Leeds and Harrogate. Is there a map of this specific route as I am confused as to how a train heading south from Leeds can finish up at a destination located further north. The route map I have seen simply shows Harrogate north of Leeds with no indication that the service reverses at Leeds
Leeds station is more east west then north south, so the LNER service comes from the south and turns east into Leeds, then leaving Leeds west bound turns north, then starts to swing back on itself

on my picture it comes in along the line marked 85mph from the bottom and leaves along the line marked 60mph to the top

hope that explains it
 

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yorkie

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I was really puzzled today at Leeds to be directed to a bay platform for a Harrogate service, with Harrogate being north of Leeds. The service came into Leeds from London and then went out the way it had come in. A passenger travelling London to Harrogate in a booked forward facing seat would therefore find themselves travelling backwards between Leeds and Harrogate. Is there a map of this specific route as I am confused as to how a train heading south from Leeds can finish up at a destination located further north. The route map I have seen simply shows Harrogate north of Leeds with no indication that the service reverses at Leeds
Leeds station is, like Newcastle, Birmingham New Street and many others, on a west-east axis.

Trains from London to Harrogate do not necessarily need to reverse at Harrogate and could continue in the same direction, but they would have to miss out Wakefield Westgate in order to do this. Given the importance of calling at Wakefield, the decision was taken to reverse at Leeds.

For most people it isn't a big deal for part of their journey to be facing backwards.

Perhaps LNER should do more to indicate that most of their through services at Leeds reverse there; do you have any suggestions for how they could achieve this?
 
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Llanigraham

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The station in Leeds is more West-East than South-North. Your train from the south approached the station from the West (and yes, London is East of Leeds). The line to Harrogate also leaves Leeds towards the West before heading North.

Reversals en-route are far from unusual in the UK. Norwich to Liverpool contains two (occasionally three) of them.

The trains between Birmingham and Machynlleth do exactly the same at Shrewsbury.
 

Andy Pacer

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Trains from London to Harrogate do not necessarily need to reverse at Harrogate and could continue in the same direction, but they would have to miss out Wakefield Westgate in order to do this.
Presumably if they don't reverse at Harrogate they will end up at York regardless of calling at Wakefield Westgate or not.
 

43066

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Perhaps LNER should do more to indicate that most of their through services at Leeds reverse there; do you have any suggestions for how they could achieve this?

I thought this was clearly indicated on the departure boards at Kings Cross (and presumably intermediate stations)?!
 

Kite159

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Presumably if they don't reverse at Harrogate they will end up at York regardless of calling at Wakefield Westgate or not.
It can head towards Selby before joining the ECML using the connection at
Hambleton Junctions

like this service
 

DarloRich

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Surely a quick look at an actual map rather than a route diagram would clear this up.

This must be a wind a up
 
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Spartacus

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Surely a quick look at an actual map rather than a rlute diagram would clear this up.

This must be a wind a up

It seems a strange request to me too. A reasonable question from someone with no access to maps or the internet, but a bit baffling when asked on the web.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Surely a quick look at an actual map rather than a route diagram would clear this up.

This must be a wind a up

It seems a strange request to me too. A reasonable question from someone with no access to maps or the internet, but a bit baffling when asked on the web.
Really?

Well, I guess that explains where the Viz comic got their inspiration for their "Timothy Potter: Train Spotter" character. It might seem strange if you already know, but it would be an even stranger wind-up.
 

SteveM70

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Well, I guess that explains where the Viz comic got their inspiration for their "Timothy Potter: Train Spotter" character.

Off topic, but I’ve always assumed the inspiration was Chris Donald, founder of Viz and self-confessed crank
 

norbitonflyer

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LNER services to/from Bradford or Skipton (as well as Harrogate) reverse at Leeds

There are plenty of other services which reverse en route

All Caledonian Sleeper journeys except to/fromGlasgow (at Carstairs for Edinburgh, at Edinburgh for the Highlander)
Glasgow to Mallaig (at Fort William)
Middlesbrough to Whitby (at Battersby)
Norwich to Liverpool (at Ely and Sheffield)
Services from Nottingham to Crewe, Leicester or Birmingham (at Derby)
Cross Country services between the north east and the south coast (at Birmingham)
Some Cross Country services between the north west and the south west (also at Birmingham)
Any service from Bristol or Swindon to Cheltenham and north thereof, unless skipping Gloucester
Any Cross Country service calling at Reading
Maidenhead to Marlow (at Bourne End)
Heart of Wales services (at Llanelli)
Any service calling at Colchester Town
The curious Sunday services from Waterloo to Waterloo via both Hounslow and Kingston, which reverse at Twickenham
Ascot to Guildford (at Aldershot)
Coastway services calling at Eastbourne or Littlehampton
 
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61653 HTAFC

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Off topic, but I’ve always assumed the inspiration was Chris Donald, founder of Viz and self-confessed crank
I figured that the character was one of affectionate mocking rather than blind ridicule, not least because some of the "quirks" were very much on point!
 

zero

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I've taken this a few times and the train completely emptied out after Leeds / was empty from Harrogate until Leeds, so in my experience there is no need for seat reservations beyond Leeds. Anyone going backwards after Leeds can just move to a free seat

LNER should advise anyone booking from Harrogate or Hosforth to Doncaster onwards that they should choose a seat facing the direction they want to travel after Leeds, and the seat selector should make this clear (see problems with the Carlisle diversions where the train is the "wrong way round" north of Newcastle to where people expect their coach to be, cue stampede at Edinburgh for the Aberdeen trains, in both directions)
 

Wookiee

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There are plenty of other services which reverse en route
All Caledonian Sleeper journeys except to/fromGlasgow (at Carstairs for Edinburgh, at Edinburgh for the Highlander)
Glasgow to Mallaig (at Fort William)
Middlesbrough to Whitby (at Battersby)
Any Cross Country service via Reading
Cross Country services between the north east and the south coast (at Birmingham)
Some Cross Country services between the north west and the south west (also at Birmingham)
Norwich to Liverpool (at Ely and Sheffield)
Heart of Wales services (at Llanelli)
Services from Nottingham to Crewe, Leicester or Birmingham (at Derby)
Portsmouth - Cardiff at Bristol...
 

800001

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I've taken this a few times and the train completely emptied out after Leeds / was empty from Harrogate until Leeds, so in my experience there is no need for seat reservations beyond Leeds. Anyone going backwards after Leeds can just move to a free seat

LNER should advise anyone booking from Harrogate or Hosforth to Doncaster onwards that they should choose a seat facing the direction they want to travel after Leeds, and the seat selector should make this clear (see problems with the Carlisle diversions where the train is the "wrong way round" north of Newcastle to where people expect their coach to be, cue stampede at Edinburgh for the Aberdeen trains, in both directions)
When ever I've travelled on the Lner service from Harrogate heading to London, it has always been well loaded from Harrogate, never seen it empty.
 

Paul Kelly

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Perhaps LNER should do more to indicate that most of their through services at Leeds reverse there; do you have any suggestions for how they could achieve this?
Marking the reversal in the schedule data so that journey planners and schedule sites like RealTimeTrains and BR Times could show it would be a good start; this seems to be done very sporadically and inconsistently for reversals at Leeds.
 

Watershed

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Marking the reversal in the schedule data so that journey planners and schedule sites like RealTimeTrains and BR Times could show it would be a good start; this seems to be done very sporadically and inconsistently for reversals at Leeds.
Strictly speaking that's makes those schedules non-compliant, but it's very easy to forget to add!

I think any schedule where the same timing point appears twice in quick succession - such as Leeds West Jn followed by Leeds, followed by Leeds West Jn - can safely be assumed to reverse.
 

RH Liner

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LNER services to/from Bradford or Skipton (as well as Harrogate) reverse at Leeds

There are plenty of other services which reverse en route

All Caledonian Sleeper journeys except to/fromGlasgow (at Carstairs for Edinburgh, at Edinburgh for the Highlander)
Glasgow to Mallaig (at Fort William)
Middlesbrough to Whitby (at Battersby)
Norwich to Liverpool (at Ely and Sheffield)
Services from Nottingham to Crewe, Leicester or Birmingham (at Derby)
Cross Country services between the north east and the south coast (at Birmingham)
Some Cross Country services between the north west and the south west (also at Birmingham)
Any Cross Country service calling at Reading
Maidenhead to Marlow (at Bourne End)
Heart of Wales services (at Llanelli)
Any service calling at Colchester Town
The curious Sunday services from Waterloo to Waterloo via both Hounslow and Kingston, which reverse at Twickenham
Ascot to Guildford (at Aldershot)
Coastway services calling at Eastbourne or Littlehampton
Not forgetting Inverness to Wick, reversing at Georgemas Junction and then at Thurso to return to Georgemas and on to Wick.
 

D6975

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Back in the 80s, the Aberdeen portion of the 07:xx Plymouth-Glasgow/Aberdeen used to reverse 4 times en route. (Gloucester, New St, Carstairs and Waverley)
 

Paul Kelly

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I think any schedule where the same timing point appears twice in quick succession - such as Leeds West Jn followed by Leeds, followed by Leeds West Jn - can safely be assumed to reverse.
I disagree! For example for the 07:35 Harrogate to King's Cross the two passes at Leeds West Junction are 12.5 minutes apart and it reverses. But for the 07:30 Chester to Chester circular service the two calls at James Street are only 7.5 minutes apart and it doesn't reverse.
 

YorksLad12

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LNER should advise anyone booking from Harrogate or Hosforth to Doncaster onwards that they should choose a seat facing the direction they want to travel after Leeds, and the seat selector should make this clear (see problems with the Carlisle diversions where the train is the "wrong way round" north of Newcastle to where people expect their coach to be, cue stampede at Edinburgh for the Aberdeen trains, in both directions)
How? And might they already?

I only travel Leeds-London so I'm always* facing the way I've chosen but the reservations screen shows the direction of travel when you book your ticket. Is there not a note there to indicate that the direction of travel changes? If not, that would be the best place to put it.

*Apart from the time when there were problems around Wakefield, reservations were all cancelled and we went out of Leeds the other way... and I didn't realise when I carefully chose my seat that I was facing the wrong way. :oops:
 

kieron

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I disagree! For example for the 07:35 Harrogate to King's Cross the two passes at Leeds West Junction are 12.5 minutes apart and it reverses. But for the 07:30 Chester to Chester circular service the two calls at James Street are only 7.5 minutes apart and it doesn't reverse.
I'm not sure that looking at the times at which trains go through anywhere is helpful here (and I don't know if that was Watershed's suggestion or not). The question is (in this case) what the train does just before reaching Leeds, and what it does just after leaving.

It's simple for Leeds, as trains to the west are all timed at Leeds West Jn and ones to the east at Neville Hill West Jn, and anything which is timed at the same junction before and after has to have reversed there.

Castleford (for example) is a little bit trickier, as the junction west of the station isn't a timing point. There's only a short list of timing points to the west before you reach the next mandatory one, so you can easily check if the locations before and after the station are on the list.

I don't know how this works with splits and joins, but identifying reversals seems like something you could have the software do automatically if you wanted to. The rail industry clearly doesn't see it as being worthwhile, though.
 

Fuzzytop

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In the Virgin-era plans for the East Coast timetable recast, I seem to recall there was a suggestion that the extra train per two hours to Leeds would carry on to Hambleton Jns - missing out Wakefield - and approach Leeds from the east.

I am pretty sure that this path was going to be used for the Harrogate services, so avoiding the reverse, although at some point this seemed to switch to Bradford, before the extra Leeds trains got descoped in LNER's 2022 2023 proposals.
 

37201xoIM

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In the Virgin-era plans for the East Coast timetable recast, I seem to recall there was a suggestion that the extra train per two hours to Leeds would carry on to Hambleton Jns - missing out Wakefield - and approach Leeds from the east.

I am pretty sure that this path was going to be used for the Harrogate services, so avoiding the reverse, although at some point this seemed to switch to Bradford, before the extra Leeds trains got descoped in LNER's 2022 2023 proposals.
Correct. As I understand it, Virgin preferred the Wakefield option for the proposed additional trains, for commercial reasons (Wakefield is an important place in its own right and a significant railhead for a big hinterland). AIUI DfT initially thought Hambleton, which went back to the old "electric horseshoe" idea of GNER's, would be better as it would reduce congestion on the West Riding line - and allow trains to go KGX - LDS - KGX without reversal at Leeds and therefore cut down turnaround times at Leeds, so improving train utilisation. It was then pointed out that the latter spiffing wheeze would be bad for performance (i.e. having a short turnaround at Leeds), and would be ghastly for passenger management because of course the train would be "the wrong way around" for half of its journey. And then I think somebody belatedly realised that the East Leeds corridor is if anything more congested than the West Riding line anyway...
 

DunsBus

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Not forgetting Inverness to Wick, reversing at Georgemas Junction and then at Thurso to return to Georgemas and on to Wick.
For many years, trains split at Georgemas Junction with one end going to Thurso and the other end to Wick - the reverse at Georgemas is a fairly recent thing.
 

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