Could LNER services cease operating north of Edinburgh?

GS250

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Inverness is a growing City. Yes it is quite well served by airlines but there is absolutely no justification for cutting it's link to London. I've travelled on the HC around 12 times in the last 4 years and each time patronage has been fairly busy North of Edinburgh. I am actually disappointed that there is no direct link via the WCML as there once was given the growing nature of Inverness.

What happened to that proposed open access service between Euston and Stirling out of interest? Another victim of the pandemic? I guess if this was to go ahead and LNER did can the HC....then it could always tender for a limited stop service from Euston to Inverness given that no one else would apparently provide this service.

'Clipping' a network has been seen before after the introduction of new trains. Most notably Virgin XC in 2002 on. Surely though...lack of stock capacity isn't the issue?
 
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Esker-pades

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What happened to that proposed open access service between Euston and Stirling out of interest? Another victim of the pandemic? I guess if this was to go ahead and LNER did can the HC....then it could always tender for a limited stop service from Euston to Inverness given that no one else would apparently provide this service.
There is provision in the timetable for it, so those trains could run from Dec '22. They won't, but the aspiration is there and can be accommodated.
 

Wynd

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The backlash from such a proposal, sane or otherwise, renders this unlikely to happen.

Direct links to York, London etc are important for many in Aberdeenshire, myself included.
 

EastisECML

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Here's my question- what happens post-HS2?
I haven't seen anything suggesting that HS2 services will be extended north of the central belt.
Of course, HS2 only shaves about half an hour from London-Edinburgh journey times, and I don't imagine the rolling stock will be bi-mode (although I imagine there's a good chance of Aberdeen being wired by the time HS2 is done).
Would it be justified to consider Aberdeen extensions of HS2 services, or will the status quo be fine, assuming journey times via the ECML aren't significantly longer than today?
My follow up question to that is if a future government reverses cuts to HS2 and sees it fully built all of the way to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, would HS2 take over those services?
 

cslusarc

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If a limited number of LNER services do continue to operate north of Edinburgh, i think they should operate faster within England, only stopping at Newcastle like the southbound Flying Scotsman.
 

JonathanH

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If a limited number of LNER services do continue to operate north of Edinburgh, i think they should operate faster within England, only stopping at Newcastle like the southbound Flying Scotsman.
The proposed 2022 recast put the Aberdeen / Inverness services on the slower of the two London to Edinburgh services as it better matched the pathing of the services in Scotland.

LNER had no plans to run Edinburgh services only stopping at Newcastle. In any case, there is a balance between the numbers of people wanting to connect between London and Aberdeen / Inverness and those who want other destinations in England.
 

TheBigD

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The proposed 2022 recast put the Aberdeen / Inverness services on the slower of the two London to Edinburgh services as it better matched the pathing of the services in Scotland.

LNER had no plans to run Edinburgh services only stopping at Newcastle. In any case, there is a balance between the numbers of people wanting to connect between London and Aberdeen / Inverness and those who want other destinations in England.

And with the speeding up of LNER schedules, the northbound journey time was the same as currently, whilst the southbound was 10 minutes longer.
 

GS250

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If a limited number of LNER services do continue to operate north of Edinburgh, i think they should operate faster within England, only stopping at Newcastle like the southbound Flying Scotsman.

Pretty sure the Highland Chieftain used to stop at York and Newcastle only? Definitely didn't stop at Berwick and pretty sure it breezed through Darlington too. Haymarket was also given a wide berth.
 

hexagon789

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Pretty sure the Highland Chieftain used to stop at York and Newcastle only? Definitely didn't stop at Berwick and pretty sure it breezed through Darlington too. Haymarket was also given a wide berth.
In GNER days it was Peterborough, York and Newcastle. Which was the usual pattern for Edinburgh fasts IIRC.

Under BR it did operate as York & Newcastle only to Edinburgh in I think the late-1980s into the mid-1990s, but in its earlier years it made about 4 or 5 stops including Dunbar sometimes.
 

Clansman

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I am genuinely intrigued if someone could enlighten me as to which problem would cancelling LNER services north of Edinburgh solve?

Or is it just because some folk don't like their apples touching their oranges, in the same vein that they are horrified at the sight of a 140mph capable 9-car train being too long for a platform on a 50mph stretch of line in the middle of Falkirk - because "that's not what big trains do"?

If there is demand, which there is - plenty of it - why should it not exist as it has done for 30+ years? A quick glance at the reservation levels on any LNER service running to or from Aberdeen/Inverness will show vast swathes of demand for English destinations - not just London (especially in First Class).
 
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GS250

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I am genuinely intrigued if someone could enlighten me as to which problem would cancelling LNER services north of Edinburgh solve?

Or is it just because some folk don't like their apples touching their oranges, in the same vein that they are horrified at the sight of a 140mph capable 9-car train being too long for a platform on a 50mph stretch of line in the middle of Falkirk - because "that's not what big trains do"?

If there is demand, which there is - plenty of it - why should it not exist as it has done for 30+ years? A quick glance at the reservation levels on any LNER service running to or from Aberdeen/Inverness will show vast swathes of demand for English destinations - not just London, especially in First Class.
Exactly this. If they ever add another vehicle to the 'Azumas'...then they should extend the first class section of the 'composite' carriage and add the extra vehicle as standard. First is always absolutely heaving when I've been on the Highland Chieftain.
 

RT4038

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I am genuinely intrigued if someone could enlighten me as to which problem would cancelling LNER services north of Edinburgh solve?

Or is it just because some folk don't like their apples touching their oranges, in the same vein that they are horrified at the sight of a 140mph capable 9-car train being too long for a platform on a 50mph stretch of line in the middle of Falkirk - because "that's not what big trains do"?

If there is demand, which there is - plenty of it - why should it not exist as it has done for 30+ years? A quick glance at the reservation levels on any LNER service running to or from Aberdeen/Inverness will show vast swathes of demand for English destinations - not just London (especially in First Class).
Suspect is all about a perception that English TOCs are thieving fare revenue within Scotland with is rightfully Scotrail's ; independence agenda etc....
 

Clansman

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Exactly this. If they ever add another vehicle to the 'Azumas'...then they should extend the first class section of the 'composite' carriage and add the extra vehicle as standard. First is always absolutely heaving when I've been on the Highland Chieftain.
Have thought exactly this myself a fair few times. The only thing the Azumas have been good for for the Highland Chieftain is more unreserved seats. First class however, massive capacity issues.

Causes some havoc at Waverley when people at tables of 4 are often sharing with strangers and those with anytime tickets complain at not getting a seat at all! It feels like only a matter of time before another service to Inverness runs, even if just during the summer months.
Suspect is all about a perception that English TOCs are thieving fare revenue within Scotland with is rightfully Scotrail's ; independence agenda etc....
I can't speak for everyone, but I haven't came across this viewpoint on here at all about this topic on any thread. It's mostly those wanting everything rationalised into groups for some strange reason.
 
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GS250

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Suspect is all about a perception that English TOCs are thieving fare revenue within Scotland with is rightfully Scotrail's ; independence agenda etc....

Suppose if Scotrail was allowed to run a few longer distance services further into England to balance up the situation somewhat?
 

hexagon789

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I am genuinely intrigued if someone could enlighten me as to which problem would cancelling LNER services north of Edinburgh solve?
I would like to know as well, because none of the reasons suggested are really major problems even collectively.

Or is it just because some folk don't like their apples touching their oranges, in the same vein that they are horrified at the sight of a 140mph capable 9-car train being too long for a platform on a 50mph stretch of line in the middle of Falkirk - because "that's not what big trains do"?
If they genuinely think like that, I'd hate to have them in charge of a rolling stock procurement plan!

If there is demand, which there is - plenty of it - why should it not exist as it has done for 30+ years? A quick glance at the reservation levels on any LNER service running to or from Aberdeen/Inverness will show vast swathes of demand for English destinations - not just London (especially in First Class).
There's plenty of demand, between just about every stop and just about every stop. There are prime flows for sure, but many of those are cross-border anyway.

Exactly this. If they ever add another vehicle to the 'Azumas'...then they should extend the first class section of the 'composite' carriage and add the extra vehicle as standard. First is always absolutely heaving when I've been on the Highland Chieftain.
Or just convert the Composite to a full first and add a fresh standard. Or vice-versa (add a fresh full First and convert the Composite to Standard).

Suppose if Scotrail was allowed to run a few longer distance services further into England to balance up the situation somewhat?
Berwick, possibly Newcastle from Edinburgh is about the only thing, vice the TPE Edinburgh-Newcastle and serving Reston etc.
 

HamworthyGoods

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Suppose if Scotrail was allowed to run a few longer distance services further into England to balance up the situation somewhat?

Isn’t that what the Overnights, albeit now a different but still Scottish franchise do?
 

EastisECML

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Suppose if Scotrail was allowed to run a few longer distance services further into England to balance up the situation somewhat?
Maybe some sort of joint running arrangement with azumas branded with both LNER and ScotRail logos. Like how NS run their own branded ICE 3's into Germany.
Berwick, possibly Newcastle from Edinburgh is about the only thing, vice the TPE Edinburgh-Newcastle and serving Reston etc.
I'm going to guess Scotland would like North of Edinburgh services to call at Berwick, Reston or Dunbar.
 

Diplodicus

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Once more I read a thread such as this one, looking for any data that supports the assertions of "plenty of demand...; ' etc. I'm not saying there isn't "plenty of demand" but for what? What is the demand for through journeys from Kings Cross and south of Grantham to destinations north of Edinburgh? In a aimilar vein, how many jouneys started north of Edinburgh are for Peterborough and beyond?

I regularly but infrequently caught the last through HST service from Aberdeen to KX and very dew of my initial fellow travellers were still abooard after Peterborough and some of those were off "the rigs" sleeping off a slab of Tennants!

Meanswhile my darling wife is about to visit a friend near Inverness (we live in Hampshire). Train/link to LHR. British Airways direct Inverness. Tearful reunion. Supper. Simples!!
 

hexagon789

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I'm going to guess Scotland would like North of Edinburgh services to call at Berwick, Reston or Dunbar.
I'd be quite happy with the LNER Edinburgh semi-fasts only serving Berwick and possibly Dunbar, but not Reston. What the route really needs is to get rid of the silly TPE Edinburgh-Newcastle and have an hourly ScotRail Dunbar service which extends every two hours to Berwick or Newcastle and serves Reston. Then Dunbar gets a more regular service and Reston isn't so much of a 'squeeze it in any old darn place type' service
 

EastisECML

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I think at the very least all stations with longer platforms between Edinburgh and Newcastle should have a fast train to both cities every two hours. And the smaller stations in Northumberland should get a service which gets them to Newcastle in the early morning and afternoon and back in the early and late evening.
 

hexagon789

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I think at the very least all stations with longer platforms between Edinburgh and Newcastle should have a fast train to both cities every two hours. And the smaller stations in Northumberland should get a service which gets them to Newcastle in the early morning and afternoon and back in the early and late evening.
Dare I say that a ScotRail 1tp2h Edinburgh-Dunbar-Berwick-Newcastle could even serve Chathill? ;)
 

EastisECML

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Dare I say that a ScotRail 1tp2h Edinburgh-Dunbar-Berwick-Newcastle could even serve Chathill? ;)
It'd almost be rude not to. If this train serves Chathill, Acklington, Widdrington and Pegswood four times a day I wonder if it should skip Alnmouth, Morpeth and Cramlington to keep journey times attractive? So going off your suggestion:

1tp2h Edinburgh - Musselburgh - Dunbar

1tp2h Edinburgh - Musselburgh - East Linton - Dunbar - Reston - Berwick - Chathill - Acklington - Widdrington - Pegswood - Newcastle
 

hexagon789

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It'd almost be rude not to. If this train serves Chathill, Acklington, Widdrington and Pegswood four times a day I wonder if it should skip Alnmouth, Morpeth and Cramlington to keep journey times attractive?
Almouth and Morpeth, so long as they retained XC, some LNER and in the case of Morpeth LUMO calls then I think you could. Though there is the issue of connectivity between intermediate settlements as well. Though presumably Reston to Almouth traffic isn't especially high!?
 

EastisECML

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Almouth and Morpeth, so long as they retained XC, some LNER and in the case of Morpeth LUMO calls then I think you could. Though there is the issue of connectivity between intermediate settlements as well. Though presumably Reston to Almouth traffic isn't especially high!?
I'd have to imagine 99% of demand is to get to Edinburgh or Newcastle. It'd be nice to have full local connectivity, but probably beyond what the railway can provide. Buses could provide decent links from Reston to Berwick and Berwick to Alnmouth separately. I'd expect though for 2tph to cover Newcastle to Morpeth ideally. And Edinburgh to North Berwick. With whatever capacity is needed being provided. Maybe an additional track from Waverley to Drem, four tracking from Newcastle to Benton junction and perhaps a Cramlington cut off.

Anyway, maybe:

ScotRail
A1. 1tp2h Edinburgh - Musselburgh - Dunbar
A2. 1tp4h Edinburgh - Musselburgh - East Linton - Dunbar - Reston - Berwick - Chathill - Acklington - Widdrington - Pegswood - Newcastle
A3. 1tp4h Edinburgh - Musselburgh - East Linton - Dunbar - Reston - Berwick - Newcastle

LNER
B1. 1tph Newcastle - Alnmouth 1tp2h - Edinburgh
B2. 1tph Newcastle - Berwick - Edinburgh

XC
C. 1tph Newcastle - Alnmouth 1tp2h - Berwick 1tp2h - Edinburgh

So assuming 16 hours of operation per day Berwick gets 2tph, Alnmouth gets 1tph, Dunbar gets 1tph (maybe warrants another?)
 

davetheguard

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My tongue in check reply to this thread is to suggest that the English trains operating on Scottish branch lines be replaced by new regular flights from a brand new airport located right next to the Kentish village of Wittersham.

Hardly anyone lives round there so I'm sure the locals won't mind all the noise & disruption - and after all, it was a great idea for change suggested by one of their own.
 
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tbtc

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Suspect is all about a perception that English TOCs are thieving fare revenue within Scotland with is rightfully Scotrail's ; independence agenda etc....

That's what it feels like to me - there's a seperate thread about ScotRail where people are suggesting that ScotRail's poor passenger numbers/finances (fare income making up just over a third of costs) would be improved if only LNER stopped running a handful of services a day north of Edinburgh - the idea that these passengers are somehow being "poached" (even though BR/ GNER etc have been running these services for decades

The SNP have suggested doing this before, and it's played well with the nationalists, but then some people on here have got tetchy because someone from Kent suggested on here that we should make the cut (i.e. it's fine when Scottish politicians bring the idea up but not when someone from south of the border does so)

Funny that we are having the discussion though - for many years I was reading that the fact that so many people preferred the GNER/ NXEC/ EC/ VTEC/ LNER (etc) trains for internal-Scottish journeys was because HSTs are so wonderful and that passengers would deliberately plan their journeys around these comfortable old trains rather than enduring those horrible modern ScotRail trains...

...now, we have ScotRail operating HSTs on Aberdeen/Inverness - Edinburgh services whilst LNER have these IETs that I keep reading are so terrible that enthusiasts are avoiding them where possible...

...and yet, now we are in a situation where people are complaining that the IETs are more popular and people are basing journeys around these infrequent services rather than the more regular ScotRail HSTs. Funny, eh? From the way that HSTs are lionised on here, you'd think that LNER trains would be empty.

I've no idea about profitability - my guess is that ScotRail replacing LNER on these services would mean more subsidy required for ScotRail - the additional services would probably be less loss making than existing ScotRail routes but that doesn't mean that they are actually profitable. And that's assuming that forcing everyone to change at Edinburgh wouldn't see a lot of the business/leisure passengers switch to cars/planes instead (or even the Sleeper)

That said, I can see that services north of Edinburgh are quite expensive for LNER and XC to maintain, given the staffing/ depots etc (e.g. GNER etc used to have digs in Inverness and have staff riding "on the covers" between Inverness and Aberdeen to balance things up - since I think that the evening arrival into Inverness was too late to permit the same staff to work the southbound departure the following morning?) - I could see the argument that it'd be more efficient to have ScotRail staff crewing these trains north of Edinburgh - if an agreement could be made - but that requires co-operation rather than flag waving
 

TheBigD

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That said, I can see that services north of Edinburgh are quite expensive for LNER and XC to maintain, given the staffing/ depots etc (e.g. GNER etc used to have digs in Inverness and have staff riding "on the covers" between Inverness and Aberdeen to balance things up - since I think that the evening arrival into Inverness was too late to permit the same staff to work the southbound departure the following morning?) - I could see the argument that it'd be more efficient to have ScotRail staff crewing these trains north of Edinburgh - if an agreement could be made - but that requires co-operation rather than flag waving
Unless it has changed since covid, the Newcastle driver who worked the 0710 Leeds to Aberdeen then travelled pass to Inverness to work the following days southbound Highland Chieftain.
The Newcastle driver who worked the northbound Highland Chieftain to Inverness travelled pass to Aberdeen the following day and then worked the 1452 Aberdeen to Kings Cross as far as Newcastle.
 

RT4038

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I can't speak for everyone, but I haven't came across this viewpoint on here at all about this topic on any thread. It's mostly those wanting everything rationalised into groups for some strange reason.
Post #5 refers, I believe.
 

tbtc

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Unless it has changed since covid, the Newcastle driver who worked the 0710 Leeds to Aberdeen then travelled pass to Inverness to work the following days southbound Highland Chieftain.
The Newcastle driver who worked the northbound Highland Chieftain to Inverness travelled pass to Aberdeen the following day and then worked the 1452 Aberdeen to Kings Cross as far as Newcastle.

Cheers for confirming - that's interesting to have it confirmed - are two sets of crews lodging in Inverness every evening or "just" two drivers?
 

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