Campaign to restore passenger services on the Middlewich Link Line

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

  1. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    I would guess that the issue is "grandfather rights". NR procedures presumably require the risk assessment for each level crossing to be updated when there is a doubling of service frequency on the line. And then the assessment has to be against the current, more severe, safety requirements. Quite likely these crossings would not be permitted at all on a new or reopened line, even for an hourly frequency.
     
  2. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    I believe that Northern proposed that the second Mid Cheshire train should run between Altrincham and Chester, instead of Piccadilly and Greenbank, to avoid the Piccadilly to Stockport bottleneck. But then Network Rail raised the level crossing concern.

    I doubt that there would be capacity for an additional Piccadilly to Sandbach via Styal service, even bypassing the Airport, because of junction conflicts between Slade Lane and Piccadilly.

    If WSP is really proposing to extend the existing Wigan to Alderley Edge via Bolton service to Preston via Sandbach, Middlewich and Hartford, that would become a ridiculously long route, looping back on itself at Wigan North Western. And Northern is reportedly intending to extend the other end to Southport. Southport - Wigan - Bolton - Manchester - Stockport - Sandbach - Middlewich - Hartford - Wigan - Preston? Seriously?!
     
  3. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    And you know that it was "created" as fact? Do you know what the issies with the crossings are compared to those on the Buxton line? If they require intevention and there is no cash for it then it doesnt get solved. No one will get sacked and nothing will be reorganised over this.
     
  4. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    The Sectional Appendix shows only three User Worked Crossings between Hazel Grove and Buxton, versus six between Altrincham and Mickle Trafford.
     
  5. Mollman

    Mollman Member

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    "After looking at several possibilities, we are now looking at providing a service running from Manchester, Alderley Edge, Sandbach, Middlewich, Gadbrook Park, Warrington and other stations to terminate at Preston."

    Presumably a bi-mode operation given the majority of the route will be under the wires.
     
  6. Chester1

    Chester1 Established Member

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    Ditto.

    The only alternative I can think of would be upgrading the track to 40mph and a weekly parliamentary service without a new station and not calling at Northwich northbound. That would get the line reinstated as a regular passenger line at minimal cost. The service itself would be completely useless but it would be progress. Then reinstating Northwich platform 3 and a station for Middlewich could be the focus.
     
  7. SeanM1997

    SeanM1997 Member

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    Could there be a Crewe-Northwich service which attaches/detaches at Sandbach onto the Crewe-Manchester local service. Therefore not taking up an additional path into Crewe, and allow for a link between Northwich (Mid Cheshire Line) and West Coast Mainline?
     
  8. notlob.divad

    notlob.divad Established Member

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    I had the same question at the other end of the line. What is wrong with a 4 car running Manchester to Northwich, splitting: with half continuing to Chester; and the other half continuing to Sandbach (Crewe). Clearly I have missed something here, because it seems such an obvious solution.
     
  9. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    The track layout at Northwich Station Junction does not enable trains to/from the Middlewich branch to pass through the platforms on the Up Main or Down Main (Chester lines). The only access is to/from the disused platform on the Up and Down Goods line.

    I doubt that there is room between the junction and the station for additional crossovers to enable Chester and Middlewich portions to be split/joined in the Chester line platforms. Even if feasible, the track and signalling changes would be very costly.

    With the existing track layout, splitting/joining would have to take place at Lostock Gralam rather than Northwich, with the portions running separately between Lostock and Northwich. Even then, I imagine signalling changes would be needed to enable permissive working into Lostock station.
     
  10. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Would there be a problem in the way of there being no overhead wires between Sandwich and Northwich, as the Manchester - Crewe locals via Stockport are electric?
     
  11. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    Is a platform 0 like Doncaster possible to the north of Crewe.
     
  12. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

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    I know Northwich station well and greybeard is right about the track layout. Northwich Station Junction is very close to the station platforms and in today's layout, the Middlewich line is only connected to (disused) platform 3, and the adjacent loop line. P3 is on the Up & Down Goods and connects to the main line at Northwich East Junction, about a quarter mile east of the station. P3 is signalled for reversible working from all lines in both directions, which is very useful. It is the only line that is. So the simplest way to split/join trains from Middlewich with trains from Chester at Northwich station is to do it in P3, in both directions. We have discussed here before that P3 is fenced off and that the island that it shares with P2 is probably too narrow by modern standards to support two in-use platforms. So here's an idea; why not remove the fence from P3 and fence off P2 instead. Then trains from all lines can be split or joined in the station using this reversible platform road. It does not see so much goods traffic today that timetabling will be impossible. The existing track through P2 should be retained as a Down Through line for non-stop goods and ECS. No trackwork changes are needed at all. Changes to the signalling interlocking at Greenbank signalbox may be needed to enable trains to run into an already occupied platform. It's much better to do the splitting and joining at Northwich where there is a loop clear of the principal running lines than at Lostock where there isn't.
     
  13. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    This proposal would effectively create a fourth single line section for passenger trains on the Mid Cheshire line, in addition to the existing ones at Cheadle, Navigation Road and Mouldsworth. I very much doubt that Network Rail would consider the performance risk of this to be tolerable.

    Although there is only 1tphpd off peak, the services in opposite directions are timed only 4 minutes apart at Northwich, and there is little scope to alter the timings because of the constraints of Stockport - Piccadilly paths and potential conflicts on the other single line sections.

    Splitting/joining would increase platform dwell time, with the risk of the platform being blocked if one of the joining trains was late or there was a coupling problem.

    Although freight traffic has declined, from time to time freight trains still need to stop on the Goods line and wait there while the loco runs around the train. That would block passenger services in both directions.

    This is why I suggested that splitting/joining would have to take place at Lostock Gralam (or maybe even further up the line, e.g. at Knutsford). The Middlewich portion would have to be at the rear Sandbach-bound and at the front Manchester-bound, with a wait of maybe 10 minutes or more at the splitting/joining station to allow time for the Chester portion to get ahead/catch up through the long block sections and to carry out the uncoupling/coupling operation.
     
  14. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Any more news in the two months since the last posting? I know there was recent diversionary use made over the line.
     
  15. QueensCurve

    QueensCurve Established Member

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    I think this was discussed previously where I erroneously thought there was space for this adjacent to the Platform 1 Road. I have been disabused of this notion.
     
  16. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

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    How do you know the three Buxton Line crossings weren't assessed? It is perfectly possible for them to have been re-assessed against a different service pattern and determined to be still ALARP safe.

    Oh, sorry it's a conspiracy, all you need is an absence of evidence ... and the occasional statement by people who do know things that conflict with the theory.
     
  17. Ships

    Ships Member

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    To get the route to 40mph would require total renewal of most of the track, which would cost more than 5 million quid. Hardly minimal cost.
     
  18. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    The campaign group has updated their twitter and Facebook accounts. Some interesting docs available and SOBC being completed later this year
     
  19. Mark J

    Mark J Member

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    The thing that annoys me the most is that if plans were afoot for a road bypass through Middlewich, the money would seemingly be found out of nowhere from central Government. However with rail, the excuse always seems to be 'no money available'.

    If the Government put the same amount of money into rail improvements as it does road, there would be some significant improvements. I have suggested a few times that the Government should earmark £1 billion a year, over 10 years on re-openings. The money spent on re-connecting those communities most in need of new rail links. In particular, those with the greatest BCR, or social need.

    My view is where rails are still in place (like in Middlewich), on a route with a few sizeable communities and that goes from somewhere to somewhere, there should be a service of some kind.

    It is ridiculous that some of the tiniest villages can have a 2tph service, yet some large communities in excess of 10,000 have no rail service at all.

    Should Middlewich get a rail service? Absolutely.
    Will it happen? Probably not (at least for the foreseeable).
     
    Last edited: 21 Aug 2019
  20. CdBrux

    CdBrux Member

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    An initial report has been published. In short two options proposed to be taken forward for further analysis

    http://www.871candwep.co.uk/latest-...hire-and-middlewich-rail-study-now-available/

    Background

    2 options

    Next steps

     
  21. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    However most people think HS2 2b won't happen in the light of the Review and any BCR of less than 1 is borderline for acceptance by the Treasury. Unfortunately I don't see it happening
     
  22. CdBrux

    CdBrux Member

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    In the more detailed part I think there is some reference that not all the benefits were yet included in both options (and the one not replying on HS2 2b is a little less bad at the moment for whatever this is worth). As for HS2 review, well most people want to take a negative view so will jump on anything to re-enforce their point of view.
     
  23. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    I think to be approved without question you need a BCR of at least 1.5. Then again I'm no expert
     
  24. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    But didn't it have a BCR of 4 before HS2 & Gadbrook Park were added to the mix?
     
  25. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Er, there is a plan afoot for a road bypass. Plans were first drawn up in the early 1990s. Approval has only been granted this year (with Govt providing around 80% of the funding). So hardly a case of money being "found out of nowhere from central Government".
     
  26. 158756

    158756 Member

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    Was that also before it become apparent that any extra services on the Mid Cheshire line cannot reach Manchester?
     
  27. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    How would this bypass affect Middlewich in relation to general traffic movements in that area?
     
  28. no commute yet

    no commute yet Member

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    The 2008 Railway Consultants report gave a BCR of 5:1. There’s no reason to think it will be less now. I can’t wait to see the figure the new consultants come to once they’ve had chance to factor in all the things the previous consultants took in to account
     
  29. 158756

    158756 Member

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    I've just had a look at that report. I'm sure the consultants know their stuff, but I can't say I agree with all the costings in it - as I understand it, they say a station could be built at Middlewich for £0.6m, and it also seems to allow very little for track upgrades. I would also question the assessment that a Crewe-Northwich shuttle would generate almost as much demand as a through service to Altrincham or Manchester - 200,000 passengers per year is a pretty busy station in the North in 2008 - can that really be achieved with an hourly shuttle not offering connections at Northwich? Hopefully a good case can be out together for Middlewich but I would put the BCR of 5 in the optimistic bracket.
     
  30. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    It basically means that traffic from the Sandbach direction could bypass the centre of the town to reach the Holmes Chapel road, and thus the Northwich road.
     

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