Campaign to restore passenger services on the Middlewich Link Line

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by no commute yet, 10 Aug 2015.

  1. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

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    Hi Joseph Locke... Just noticed your quoted statement here. I have re-read the local press article you linked to. I was present at the meeting when NR was asked about the Middlewich line by Pete Waterman and the reply given is accurately quoted in the newspaper article.
     
  2. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

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    Sorry for not having read through all this thread but I've been told that former platform 3 at Northwich on the south side cannot be reused as it's not wide enough to meet current standards. Is that correct? I've not been to Northwich for a few years but I seem to recall that access to the Middlewich line is only from this line.
     
  3. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    Yes. And it would need rebuilding but we're getting ahead of ourselves because Grayling is taking the mickey with it despite having most of the infrastructure in place because (I know I sound like a broken record) it isn't in London.
     
  4. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Forget please the "London is everything comment" , but has anyone asked for a derogation of standards ?

    I was London based at the time , but got a derogation for the Newcraighall platfroms on the first stage of the London funded (then) - Edinburgh Crosslink service - now the Borders (Scottish funded) - where absolute standards on platform gradients for "changing ends" were challenged , risk assessed (quite a simple job with units with spring applied handbrakes etc) , and successfully implemented.

    Standards are there to be challenged constructively. It can save a lot of money. I will not bore you with other examples....
     
  5. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    Hi ChiefPlanner, I don’t know if anyone has applied but it’s another option to explore.

    Hi all, you may be interested to know the consultants have been appointed and are now preparing a ‘long list’ of options- presumably considering issues like the platforms at Northwich.
     
  6. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Just dropping a hint - but saving such a move (as rebuilding a platform) could save millions. Consultants generally tend to seek more work and not challenge. IMHO. Maybe some locals can influence.
     
  7. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    Message received and understood Chief. Thank you
     
  8. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    Can I recommend that a 3rd platform be built. It could allow a service to be terminated there whilst another train occupies other platforms.
     
  9. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Built to current specifications, how much do you think this will cost?
     
  10. Altfish

    Altfish Member

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    I believe it also has no wheelchair access either. BUT that needs to be rectified whether or not Middlewich is reopened.
     
  11. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    The current railway could continue to claim grandfather rights on it, however, potentially near indefinitely.

    Middlewich reopening would almost certainly *have* to rectify it if it were not resolved before (which I'd judge to be unlikely)
     
  12. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

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    Regarding re-opening platform 3 at Northwich - there's a very simple answer if the island is too narrow by modern standards for two platform faces. Change the operation of the station - fence off platform 2 and use platform 3 instead. Platform 3 is bi-directionally signalled and has access from all routes (platform 2 has neither of these facilities) so it would be very useful to have platform 3 back in use. The track at platform 3 sees some freight use but there are only a few workings per day and it might be easy to schedule them around passenger trains. The lack of step-free access is a separate issue, but there are separate pots of money which could be claimed for that.
     
  13. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    As said above, Northwich will probably wind up having step free access & lifts installed so you may as well widen the island platform in the process.
     
  14. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

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    Well, the reason for making my suggestion is that the island platform is surrounded by tracks on all sides so it's likely to be very expensive or impossible to widen, whereas simply switching the platform face in use from the P2 to the P3 side comes at minimal cost. Lifts and a bridge, like at Altrincham, do appear to be only solution to step-free access and they'll have to go at one end or the other of the platform because of its narrowness.
     
  15. Altfish

    Altfish Member

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    I stand to be corrected but aren't there two line round the back of the island platform? If so, you remove the line nearest the platform and widen the platform over the area gained by its removal.
     
  16. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    Yes. There are 2 lines but the third platform will be shorter than the second because of the bridge.
     
  17. Altfish

    Altfish Member

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    It'll still take a 4-coach dmu though?
     
  18. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    Well after posting, I took a further look and platform 2 could be extended north and platform 3 be offset if the 3rd set of tracks go. I'll get my crayons out to show later.
     
  19. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    Hi all, can anyone help me understand how funding works? If, for example, new station funding pays for the stations to be built and the accessibility fund pays for the required changes to Northwich I'm confused about the next bit; I've heard the local transport authority has to underwrite any shortfall in profits for 3 years? Is that right and if so can anyone explain how that works? If it isn't right, but close, what is the position please? Thanks in advance for any help
     
  20. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

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    Correct, there is another track beyond platform 3, but it and the P3 track are used as a run-round loop. There are a few freight workings per week which run round and reverse at Northwich. Maybe they could run round elsewhere in the sidings - I don't know. But a run-round loop has to be kept. More to the point, we're trying to think of ways to re-open the Middlewich line at minimal cost. The advantage of simply swapping P2 and P3 is that there are no track and signalling changes needed at all - potentially saving millions, as someone else said up-thread.
     
  21. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    It's certainly a potential saving. But looking at Google maps, it seems that the bi-directional line through P3 doesn't rejoin the 'main' lines until about half a mile east of the station. That might just about work if the Middlewich trains terminate at Northwich and have very short turnaround times. But if (more usefully) you want those trains to continue to Manchester, that means you'll have about half a mile of bi-di track shared between 2tph Southbound to Greenbank/Chester, and at least 1tph in each direction of Manchester-Middlewich-Crewe trains, plus the occasional freight. That would be a very severe constraint on timetables and reliability. I guess if you just diverted one tph from Greenbank to Crewe instead of providing an additional train, that might be more do-able, since then you only have 2 southbound and 1 northbound tph + freights on the single track.

    Either way, you'll also somewhat disadvantage passengers at Northwich by no longer having a consistent platform for departures to Manchester.
     
  22. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    But Northwich needs an upgrade to allow wheelchair access as the current provision requires southbound passengers to go to Greenbank and get on a northbound train. There's also a nice large gap between platform 2 and the passing loops. This was outlined by me and a few others several pages ago. The island platform needs rebuilding (if not, a hell of a lot of work that'll probably equal the cost of building a new platform) so you may as well install 2 platforms there.

    This. This is better than I could put it.
     
  23. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    Basically just build platform 3 and terminate the Middlewich trains there.
     
  24. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    It may come to that, but if that requires slewing tracks over to make the platform wide enough, that will be expensive.

    Looking again on Google maps, if you want to avoid building any significant infrastructure along the existing mid-Cheshire line, then I can only see one reasonable solution: Run the Middlewich trains to Greenbank instead of Northwich. Then they could either run through to Chester, or (perhaps more usefully) reverse so they become extensions of the new hourly Manchester-Greenbank service when it appears. Not sure if the signalling is up to either of those solutions, but the track layout looks sufficient. Running Manchester-Middlewich-Crewe trains via Greenbank would probably add about 8-10 minutes to the Manchester-Middlewich journey times compared to new infrastructure+skipping Greenbank, but then that'd probably be just as quick as (and more convenient and reliable than) having to change at Northwich. It also has the advantage that you get through running to Manchester without having to cram more trains in between Altrincham and Manchester, and without depriving Greenbank of its extra 1tph.
     
  25. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    The signalling in the Greenbank area is supposed to be renewed when Network Rail eventually get to it! Once it's renewed it should allow a train arriving from the Manchester direction to terminate at the platform used by Manchester bound trains.
     
  26. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    I've been told before that stations south of Greenbank don't get enough passengers (apparently) for 2tph. Except for maybe Delamere. Although they want to terminate the stopping train at Greenbank and turn the fast train into a stopping train at Greenbank (ikr, how stupid).
     
  27. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    It's not stupid at all. The fact that services from Chester will have already called at four stations prior to Greenbank will mean they will depart Greenbank with more passengers on board than the service starting at Greenbank. While, with it only a half-hourly service people from Knutsford and Northwich aren't going to catch a train which misses out a couple of stations unless that's also the most conveniently timed train to suit their needs. There's very few passengers from Navigation Rd, Ashley, Mobberley, Plumley and Lostock travelling to stations beyond Greenbank and most of those who are travel at peak/shoulder peak times when through services would have been retained. Saturdays are an exception but on Saturdays there's a lot more Chester passengers so both trains running to Chester on Saturdays is a obvious solution to that.

    However, now it seems we're going to get one train being packed and the other being half empty for the benefit of almost no-one because a few people complained.
     
  28. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    I think maybe the funding of projects is something known only to a handful of intergalactic beings? I’m going to assume the answer is 42 and hope the consultants don’t need challenge or help from locals! If anyone does know the actual answer I’m fascinated to know it
     
  29. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    Rail North committee papers have now stated that the second hourly service will be Altrincham to Chester instead of Piccadilly to Greenbank, because of lack of paths between Piccadilly and Stockport. See December 2018 timetable changes (some now confirmed scrapped) - contagion spreads. Stopping patterns not detailed, but I would hope that the Piccadilly service will now become semi-fast. That would still retain a direct service between Mobberley and Chester to keep the MCRUA Chairman happy!

    No chance of paths for a direct service from Middlewich to Piccadilly.
     
  30. Altfish

    Altfish Member

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    The semi-fast service is not very good for the likes of myself who use Navigation Road to get to Stockport for onward connections.
     

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