Casualties of COVID - the emergency cuts of the 20s

Killingworth

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Not humans, rail services. This week we've seen the restoration of many services but there are still a lot of trains that aren't running to the timetables intended to operate from May. There's a £500m fund to restore old railways cut in the Beeching era, but what's at risk now? How many of these cuts may become permanent?

There'll be a host of reasons why this will be possible, probable, or almost certain. The intention here is to try and collate all lines and services that may be under threat. Each may deserve a thread of its own. Some may already have one.

I'll start with 5 examples from within my normal area of travels, all with reasons peculiar to that route. My reasonings for each are speculative examples and may lead to separate threads about each. If I can spot 5 very quickly there must be many more.

  1. Hull Trains. Hull to Kings Cross via Doncaster. Open access operator, all services temporarily suspended from Monday 30th March.
  2. TransPennine Express. Southern route from Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport. Most trains not proceeding beyond Piccadilly.
  3. Northern. Nottingham - Leeds route curtailed to 2 through services in each direction. Others limited to Nottingham - Sheffield only.
  4. Cross Country. Birmingham to Newcastle via Leeds. Hourly stops at Chesterfield mostly omitted.
  5. Northern. Leeds - Goole. Pontefract line via Knottingley. No services between Goole and Knottingley.
Some examples of reasons, there'll be more detailed explanations and discussions for each;
  1. Hull Trains, open access operator funding issues, possibly the hardest example in this list to see restored. Is temporary starting to sound optimistic?
  2. TPE, few using Manchester Airport. Simple economics. May hasten rationalisation to bring reliable frequent shuttles from Piccadilly to the Airport and easing congestion around Manchester.
  3. Northern, apparent difficulties crewing 195s through Sheffield with trains alternating from Leeds to Lincoln or Nottingham. Likely to be resolved by September?
  4. Cross Country. Apparent concerns about timekeeping and saving 3 or 4 minutes by not stopping claimed to improve reliability - not for those wanting to board and leave there.
  5. Northern. Line disrupted by floods earlier in the year. Minimal numbers were using this section in recent years, not least because it was a very limited service. It's a single track with only a daily return gypsum working booked between Hull docks and Ferrybridge. Passenger closure might look logical?
5 varied examples for starters. There'll be dozens more across the nation. How many temporary changes may become permanent? Maybe it will help to get us a slicker and more reliable railway?
 
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bramling

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Not humans, rail services. This week we've seen the restoration of many services but there are still a lot of trains that aren't running to the timetables intended to operate from May. There's a £500m fund to restore old railways cut in the Beeching era, but what's at risk now? How many of these cuts may become permanent?

There'll be a host of reasons why this will be possible, probable, or almost certain. The intention here is to try and collate all lines and services that may be under threat. Each may deserve a thread of its own. Some may already have one.

I'll start with 5 examples from within my normal area of travels, all with reasons peculiar to that route. My reasonings for each are speculative examples and may lead to separate threads about each. If I can spot 5 very quickly there must be many more.

  1. Hull Trains. Hull to Kings Cross via Doncaster. Open access operator, all services temporarily suspended from Monday 30th March.
  2. TransPennine Express. Southern route from Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport. Most trains not proceeding beyond Piccadilly.
  3. Northern. Nottingham - Leeds routed curtailed to 2 through services in each direction. Others limited to Nottingham - Sheffield only.
  4. Cross Country. Birmingham to Newcastle via Leeds. Hourly stops at Chesterfield mostly omitted.
  5. Northern. Leeds - Goole. Pontefract line via Knottingley. No services between Goole and Knottingley.
Some examples of reasons, there'll be more detailed explanations and discussions for each;
  1. Hull Trains, open access operator funding issues, possibly the hardest example in this list to see restored. Is temporary starting to sound optimistic?
  2. TPE, few using Manchester Airport. Simple economics. May hasten rationalisation to bring reliable frequent shuttles from Piccadilly to the Airport and easing congestion around Manchester.
  3. Northern, apparent difficulties crewing 195s through Sheffield with trains alternating from Leeds to Lincoln or Nottingham. Likely to be resolved by September?
  4. Cross Country. Apparent concerns about timekeeping and saving 3 or 4 minutes by not stopping claimed to improve reliability - not for those wanting to board and leave there.
  5. Northern. Line disrupted by floods earlier in the year. Minimal numbers were using this section in recent years, not least because it was a very limited service. It's a single track with only a daily return gypsum working booked between Hull docks and Ferrybridge. Passenger closure might look logical?
5 varied examples for starters. There'll be dozens more across the nation. How many temporary changes may become permanent? Maybe it will help to get us a slicker and more reliable railway?
Night Tube can be added to that list. In all fairness I don’t think many will be sorry to see that go, wonder whose “bright” idea it was in the first place?!
 

JonathanH

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North Downs Line - 1tph Reading to Redhill with a 15 minute pause at Guildford in off-peak trains, a handful of extra trains for the Reading / Guildford peaks and no trains to Gatwick Airport

Complete fall off of traffic to Gatwick, timetable allows for a train to overtake at Guildford which isn't running, late trains cut, limited number of traincrew and units to operate the service.

Cross Country. Birmingham to Newcastle via Leeds. Hourly stops at Chesterfield mostly omitted.
An hourly X using doubled up units seems like it might be a more appropriate service than what they usually run.
 

LowLevel

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September 20th or thereabouts being quoted for a return to the full timetable, subject to amendment obviously.
 

YorksLad12

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TPE, few using Manchester Airport. Simple economics. May hasten rationalisation to bring reliable frequent shuttles from Piccadilly to the Airport and easing congestion around Manchester.
Not a bad outcome, but won't really ease pressure on Ordsall / Castlefield without reducing TPE services to Victoria (which would have a knock-on effect on any remodelling for electrification at Stalybridge, if I read other threads correctly). Would much prefer platforms 15 & 16.
Northern, apparent difficulties crewing 195s through Sheffield with trains alternating from Leeds to Lincoln or Nottingham. Likely to be resolved by September?
'Easily' fixed by reverting to the much nicer class 158s. The sooner the better, I have a friend in Nottingham I want to visit ;)

The Hull Trains issue can't easily be fixed as they're Open Access. But if they don't return, LNER should be 'invited' to take over the services - there's a market for them. Knottingley-Goole, it would be useful to know how many people did those through journeys from Leeds/Wakefield/Castleford, in case there's a better solution. The four stations between Knottingley and Goole are very lightly used... but are all in Conservative constituencies.
 

Bungle

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  1. Cross Country. Birmingham to Newcastle via Leeds. Hourly stops at Chesterfield mostly omitted.
I’m no expert on these things, just going on a few observations on RTT, but what’s annoying about this one is (with the northbounds anyway) that the timetabled stops at Sheffield haven’t really changed (still xx18-xx21), and the extra time seems to have been built in to pathing allowances at Tapton Junction instead. Doesn’t really seem to achieve a longer platform time at Sheffield, which is what they are claiming was the reason. Might as well just have kept the Chesterfield stop!
 

Killingworth

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Looks like Cleethorpes - Manchester Airport will be going no further than Piccadilly for the foreseable future, possibly for ever?

Cross Country seem to be having problems producing a timetable. The one still online is the standard May - December version which is rather better than the reality of barely half a service.

The leisure market is reportedly coming back better than commuting and business. That must be factored in for future readjustments of timetables.
 

yorksrob

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The leisure market is reportedly coming back better than commuting and business. That must be factored in for future readjustments of timetables.
Should be, but experience so far suggests that our railway leaders are completely missing the point and cutting the trains that would facilitate that.
 

Jamesrob637

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Looks like Cleethorpes - Manchester Airport will be going no further than Piccadilly for the foreseable future, possibly for ever?

Cross Country seem to be having problems producing a timetable. The one still online is the standard May - December version which is rather better than the reality of barely half a service.

The leisure market is reportedly coming back better than commuting and business. That must be factored in for future readjustments of timetables.
The ones which do go through to the airport are those early morning from and late evening to, when there are few if any flights even under normal circumstances! Where's the logic there? Should be the middle of the day services running to and from the airport and the early/late services terminating at Piccadilly if anything.

Actually I think one of the Airport starters comes off a North TPE service so maybe there's some sense there.
 

Killingworth

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The ones which do go through to the airport are those early morning from and late evening to, when there are few if any flights even under normal circumstances! Where's the logic there? Should be the middle of the day services running to and from the airport and the early/late services terminating at Piccadilly if anything.

Actually I think one of the Airport starters comes off a North TPE service so maybe there's some sense there.
To be fair, before lockdown I'd observed Northern stoppers through the Hope Valley loaded with Airport bound travellers and luggage, happy to change at Piccadilly because the fare could be half to a third of the TPE price. I'd certainly prefer a through journey, but many would say the numbers didn't justify it even when large numbers were flying.
 

Killingworth

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Let's just unofficially close a station for 4 months without going through the closure procedure then... o_O
That's what's happening already at Snaith and Rawcliffe where the Leeds - Goole service is terminating at Knottingley. Tha section of single track gets one freight a day in each direction, but all the signs suggest passenger closure by stealth - a process already in progress with severely limited services before the serious February flooding in that area and COVID.
 

timothyw9

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I'd argue that keeping the TPE South services terminating at Piccadilly makes good sense.

The xx07 only had a 5 minute turnaround, so if it was late (which it always was) it may have been held to allow the xx18 MIA-CLE off the Junction Lines and onto the main station. In turn this delayed other Airport services coming through Platform 13 and services going into Platform 14.

Long story short, having the service start/end at Piccadilly removes all these conflicting moves, whilst only really inconviencing a small number of people - from experience there was rarely more than 20-30 departing on the service.
 

lammergeier

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AIUI the removal of XC calls at Chesterfield was only partly for timetable reliability. The other reason was to encourage/make local passengers (ie Chesterfield to Sheff/Derby) use the EMR services which are nearer the beginning/end of their journey and are quieter in that region than the XC trains as a result.

I don't know when our timetable will go back to normal, but it's certainly more reliable now, particularly around Sheffield and the double voyagers create welcome capacity. My personal opinion is that it should stay until we can either get more stock or social distancing is no longer a thing, as it is easier for people to plan a journey if they can be more certain of getting on a non-overcrowded double voyager.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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That's what's happening already at Snaith and Rawcliffe where the Leeds - Goole service is terminating at Knottingley. Tha section of single track gets one freight a day in each direction, but all the signs suggest passenger closure by stealth - a process already in progress with severely limited services before the serious February flooding in that area and COVID.
Indeed. It's saddening how this just seems to be accepted as a fact of life.

Sure, the service at those stations was never very usable (ever since the big cutbacks about 20 years ago), but that is not an excuse for closure by stealth. It's no different to all the other stations which have faced the same fate. First they see a service reduction, then service suspension, and then eventually there is no more justification for objecting to closure.

This crisis has gone to show how utterly pointless it is to have procedures set down in law. Because at the end of the day, where there's a will, there's a way to completely ignore it.
 

Jamesrob637

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AIUI the removal of XC calls at Chesterfield was only partly for timetable reliability. The other reason was to encourage/make local passengers (ie Chesterfield to Sheff/Derby) use the EMR services which are nearer the beginning/end of their journey and are quieter in that region than the XC trains as a result.

I don't know when our timetable will go back to normal, but it's certainly more reliable now, particularly around Sheffield and the double voyagers create welcome capacity. My personal opinion is that it should stay until we can either get more stock or social distancing is no longer a thing, as it is easier for people to plan a journey if they can be more certain of getting on a non-overcrowded double voyager.
I'm sure some XC services used to miss out Chesterfield anyway
I also think that half of the Manchester XC services should miss out Macclesfield as they did before very recently. Northern run once an hour and there is one Avanti too.
 

lammergeier

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I'm sure some XC services used to miss out Chesterfield anyway
I also think that half of the Manchester XC services should miss out Macclesfield as they did before very recently. Northern run once an hour and there is one Avanti too.
General rule of thumb was the via Leeds services stopped there, the Via Donny's didn't although there were the usual exceptions in the peaks or very early/late.
 

Killingworth

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I'm sure some XC services used to miss out Chesterfield anyway
I also think that half of the Manchester XC services should miss out Macclesfield as they did before very recently. Northern run once an hour and there is one Avanti too.
XC ran 2 an hour over the core Newcastle - Birmingham section, one via Leeds and one via Doncaster. The one via Doncater missed out Chesterfield and was about 25 minutes quicker to Birmingham. That meant they left Newcastle, Darlington and York within 10 minutes or so of the ones via Leeds. It was similar in the reverse direction with two trains quite close together going north until Sheffield, the quicker from there via Doncaster having missed out Chesterfield.

See the timetable that's still on the XC site.

As a user of the Newcastle - Sheffield section I'd try to go for the ones via Doncaster for the quicker journey and, usually, the quieter train, but I had the choice of two. Going towards Birmingham, Bristol or anywhere to the south I'd drive to Chesterfield as I'm nearer there in time than Sheffield, but only one an hour - until now. A lot of people in the eastern Peak District and South-West Sheffield do the same.

As Northern aren't running their hourly 'fast' service between Nottingham and Leeds beyond Sheffield the XC is picking that traffic up as well. (Until this month EMR were also picking up the Nottingham - Sheffield traffic when Northern had left that route entirely.
 

Ianno87

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CrossCountry Birmingham-Stansted services are currently curtailed to Birmingham-Cambridge only.

Wouldn't be surprised if there's no great rush to reinstate the Stansted link (GA's Norwich-Stansted service is running)
 

Horizon22

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Not quite the same as others, but Heathrow Express running 2tph instead of 4tph. I could see that staying the same for a while.
 

AdamWW

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Looks like Cleethorpes - Manchester Airport will be going no further than Piccadilly for the foreseable future, possibly for ever?

Cross Country seem to be having problems producing a timetable. The one still online is the standard May - December version which is rather better than the reality of barely half a service.

The leisure market is reportedly coming back better than commuting and business. That must be factored in for future readjustments of timetables.
And for families travelling, the available capacity should be greater because they don't all have to be 2 m from each other.
 

stj

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Talking to many people who were office based most are saying they will not be going back to normal as home working has worked so well.This will have a massive impact on rail services and how long will it be before future rail projects and new stock builds are cancelled.
 

Jamesrob637

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Talking to many people who were office based most are saying they will not be going back to normal as home working has worked so well.This will have a massive impact on rail services and how long will it be before future rail projects and new stock builds are cancelled.
That means they will probably still go into the office, but far from every day. There is a separate thread to discuss future home and office working patterns, however.
 

158756

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It already has it's own thread, but Rose Hill Marple must be the most likely 'temporary' closure to become permanent among stations which previously had a proper service.
 

timothyw9

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It already has it's own thread, but Rose Hill Marple must be the most likely 'temporary' closure to become permanent among stations which previously had a proper service.
How so?

Currently an hourly service Mon-Sat, no Sunday service but hasn't it always been like that?


Scratch that from what I've heard services may be suspended from Sep-Dec
 
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StevieH500

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That's what's happening already at Snaith and Rawcliffe where the Leeds - Goole service is terminating at Knottingley. Tha section of single track gets one freight a day in each direction, but all the signs suggest passenger closure by stealth - a process already in progress with severely limited services before the serious February flooding in that area and COVID.
They binned my favourite train from York to Sheffield via Pontefract that ran like once a day each direction. It stopped at Pontefract baghill
 

Glenn1969

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The limited service at Snaith and Rawcliffe is showing as reinstated from 14th Sept on RTT as is Ponte's 3 trains a day to Sheffield and York. Hope Rose Hill will join them in December
 

bramling

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It already has it's own thread, but Rose Hill Marple must be the most likely 'temporary' closure to become permanent among stations which previously had a proper service.
I don’t see why, it’s a natural place for the services via Hyde Central to terminate, which is no doubt partly why an odd stub has managed to survive in the first place.
 

Killingworth

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Unsurprisingly looks like TPE's South Pennine won't be going to Manchester Airport any time soon. There never were all that many going through and I wonder if this will be a longer term casualty of COVID. Until more return to flying it will hardly matter and must make it easier to operate a reliable service over the normally busier rest of the route.
 

Ianno87

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Unsurprisingly looks like TPE's South Pennine won't be going to Manchester Airport any time soon. There never were all that many going through and I wonder if this will be a longer term casualty of COVID. Until more return to flying it will hardly matter and must make it easier to operate a reliable service over the normally busier rest of the route.
And free up a 185 for strengthening elsewhere.

This is on my list of "is it really a big deal if it didn't come back?"
 

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