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Cross Country to operate Leeds-Glasgow via Settle services using HSTs?

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ABB125

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According to the (online) version of the latest edition of Modern Railways, vegetables have infiltrated the DfT Cross Country and the DfT are investigating the possibility of XC running Leeds-Glasgow services via the Settle-Carlisle line, using class 442s (sorry, couldn't resist it!) XC's HST fleet. This would be possible through the transfer of Avanti's voyagers to XC. It also mentions the possibility of voyagers being used on Cardiff-Nottingham services.

Let the wibblefest commence! :D


Here's the headline and first paragraph from the news item; I won't copy any more, I'm not sure what the copyright issues might be.
THROUGH SETTLE AND CARLISLE SERVICE UNDER CONSIDERATION
Cascaded Voyagers could free up CrossCountry HSTs for Leeds to Glasgow operation
PLANS FOR a new Leeds to Glasgow through service via the Settle and Carlisle line are being developed, with CrossCountry and the Department for Transport starting to look at the possible scheme.
 
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JonathanH

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Why would HSTs be used on a direct Leeds to Glasgow service and not Voyagers?

I guess that Neville Hill is conveniently situated to dedicate HSTs to Leeds to Glasgow services but it isn't the best use of the capacity they offer.
 

ABB125

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Why would HSTs be used on a direct Leeds to Glasgow service and not Voyagers?
I'm guessing it's because it's a self-contained fleet, that's the right size for whatever the proposed service pattern is. The article also mentions that maintenance could transfer to Neville Hill or Craigentinny.
 

Ianno87

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I'm guessing it's because it's a self-contained fleet, that's the right size for whatever the proposed service pattern is. The article also mentions that maintenance could transfer to Neville Hill or Craigentinny.

Also, the inferior performance of HSTs will matter less on the relatively sedate Settle and Carlisle (and on a non-stop run Carlisle-Glasgow with little stopping and starting)
 

ABB125

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Also, the inferior performance of HSTs will matter less on the relatively sedate Settle and Carlisle (and on a non-stop run Carlisle-Glasgow with little stopping and starting)
That as well.

I forgot to mention originally, the service would potentially start in 2023. I'm guessing this is related to the introduction of Avanti's new IETs
 

Bevan Price

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Well as an independent XC is likely to disappear in the next few years - and HSTs would be a waste on a line restricted to 60mph north of Settle Jn - I would be surprised if this ever happened.
 

JonathanH

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One other point I guess is that using HSTs on a route with less demand may allow a 2+5 formation and therefore the coaches with the worst corrosion to be jettisoned.

How would the paths be freed up for
a) the trains to fit between Leeds and Skipton between the stopping trains
b) to run non stop over the Settle & Carlisle section with long block sections and headways
c) between Carlisle and Glasgow given the existing services and freight.

It seems a bit improbable really.
 

muddythefish

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Excellent news if true and it actually happens. It would restore a link lost in the early 1980s when the Nottingham - Glasgow Peak hauled trains were withdrawn and which I used on a number of occasions and were usually well loaded.
 

Peregrine 4903

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One other point I guess is that using HSTs on a route with less demand may allow a 2+5 formation and therefore the coaches with the worst corrosion to be jettisoned.

How would the paths be freed up for
a) the trains to fit between Leeds and Skipton between the stopping trains
b) to run non stop over the Settle & Carlisle section with long block sections and headways
c) between Carlisle and Glasgow given the existing services and freight.

It seems a bit improbable really.
I don't know the timetable for those areas like the back of my hand, but this forum does seem very good at saying things are impossible. I reckon this is certainly possible, the whole points of train planners and timetables is to try and make difficult things happen and add things to the timetable, and only reject when there is sadly no path, or the service is deemed a major performance risk and for other reasons sometimes as well, not just hold their hands up and go its not possible.

Don't get me wrong, this would be difficult to implement, but I certainly reckon there are a couple of paths spare, and if cross country are having conversations with the dft about it, they must also have some idea that there are some potential spare paths available.
 

Iskra

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I don't know the timetable for those areas like the back of my hand, but this forum does seem very good at saying things are impossible. I reckon this is certainly possible, the whole points of train planners and timetables is to try and make difficult things happen and add things to the timetable, and only reject when there is sadly no path, or the service is deemed a major performance risk and for other reasons sometimes as well, not just hold their hands up and go its not possible.

Don't get me wrong, this would be difficult to implement, but I certainly reckon there are a couple of paths spare, and if cross country are having conversations with the dft about it, they must also have some idea that there are some potential spare paths available.
It's certainly possible. I agree with you that there are too many posters who summarily dismiss ideas as not possible. They are almost always possible, it's just whether it's worth the effort and cost that is up for debate.

You would think the XC HST would replace the Northern Leeds-Carlisle service in that hour between Leeds-Skipton, leaving the Northern stopper to follow the XC service Skipton-Carlisle or in addition to it. There aren't that many Northern services in a day and there is spare capacity that's no longer used by freight. You would assume XC would take over the current Northern daily 'express' service path too in each direction. This could help Northern release a few DMU's.

The pathing would be more difficult on the WCML, but the fact that freight trains, charter trains, 100mph 185's, 110mph 350's and back in the day Arriva Trains Northern 158's could all manage it, suggests that it is doable.

I'd like to see this and I do believe there is decent demand for a direct, faster, more comfortable service between Leeds/Aire Valley and Glasgow. The Northern express S&C service has always been well loaded with passengers for Glasgow whenever I have used it, and even more would use a direct incarnation. It would also serve as the best timetabled 'tourist train' over the line, creating more capacity on the local services, plus relieving the horribly crowded XC voyagers on the ECML.
 

The Planner

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12 minutes ish for the longest block section if you are following a stopper I think. It would likely have to stop somewhere anyway unless it has shed loads of pathing time in it. Its a minimum of two years away even if possible, lots is going to happen in that time. Depends on whether residual freight paths can be flexed or binned entirely too Id imagine.
 

Peregrine 4903

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12 minutes ish for the longest block section if you are following a stopper I think. It would likely have to stop somewhere anyway unless it has shed loads of pathing time in it. Its a minimum of two years away even if possible, lots is going to happen in that time. Depends on whether residual freight paths can be flexed or binned entirely too Id imagine.
I presume it would probably stop at Settle if it were to stop somewhere.
 

JonathanH

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it could go via Kilmarnock to avoid the crowded WCML.
That would make it very much slower and there are issues with single lines going that way. I suspect that, as a through journey, to be competitive it would need to go via the WCML.
 

30907

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One other point I guess is that using HSTs on a route with less demand may allow a 2+5 formation and therefore the coaches with the worst corrosion to be jettisoned.

How would the paths be freed up for
a) the trains to fit between Leeds and Skipton between the stopping trains
There are 2 standard paths at xx19 and xx49 which are not used every hour
b) to run non stop over the Settle & Carlisle section with long block sections and headways
Present passenger services are basically 2-hourly
c) between Carlisle and Glasgow given the existing services and freight.
Fair point.

I am pleasantly surprised at the report, but MR is generally trustworthy.

OT: I wonder if this also somehow involves a reduced XC service north of York (or Newcastle)?
 

Failed Unit

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That would make it very much slower and there are issues with single lines going that way. I suspect that, as a through journey, to be competitive it would need to go via the WCML.
Depends what the point of the journey is. It won’t compete with the existing ECML service on time. If it is for leisure passengers they won’t care if the price is right. But then if it is going via Kilmarnock it should really stop at least at Kilmarnock and Dumfries to create new journeys. Which slow it down. This service isn’t new. It was operated by a 158 back then and didn’t have lots of through passengers on.
 

JN114

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Also XC have a long term contract with GWR for maintenance of the HST fleet at Laira; with a number of jobs at Laira dependent on that work. Are they really going to rip that contract up to transfer the work to depots which; by the time this is on the cards for; will have lost the requisite HST-skilled and experienced workforce years previously?!
 

43096

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One other point I guess is that using HSTs on a route with less demand may allow a 2+5 formation and therefore the coaches with the worst corrosion to be jettisoned.
The XC fleet has been through Doncaster in recent times for sliding door rebuild, so there shouldn’t be corrosion issues.
 

JonathanH

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Depends what the point of the journey is. It won’t compete with the existing ECML service on time. If it is for leisure passengers they won’t care if the price is right. But then if it is going via Kilmarnock it should really stop at least at Kilmarnock and Dumfries to create new journeys. Which slow it down. This service isn’t new. It was operated by a 158 back then and didn’t have lots of through passengers on.
Possibly. There might be merit in a 'fast' for Dumfries and Kilmarnock but it would still be two hours. A train via the WCML might be competitive with going via Newcastle, and, as 30907 points out, if the current Plymouth to Edinburgh service was chopped at Leeds with Edinburgh and Newcastle linked to Sheffield and Birmingham via Doncaster, this might be a way of keeping the link between Leeds and Glasgow.
 

Iskra

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Depends what the point of the journey is. It won’t compete with the existing ECML service on time. If it is for leisure passengers they won’t care if the price is right. But then if it is going via Kilmarnock it should really stop at least at Kilmarnock and Dumfries to create new journeys. Which slow it down. This service isn’t new. It was operated by a 158 back then and didn’t have lots of through passengers on.
I don’t think many people knew that service even existed, and overall rail use has boomed since then anyway.
 

Failed Unit

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It will be interesting as you say what will happen in the new world for the east route. definitely doesn’t need 4 per hour. So maybe they will cut XC at Leeds and serve Edinburgh via Doncaster. Perhaps even extend TPE to Glasgow (or invite LNER back). One for a different thread perhaps.

But do I get a prize for suggesting using a 2x 442s with HST power cards doing London St Pancras - Sheffield- Leeds - Carlisle - Glasgow via Kilmarnock or should I just get my coat?
 

mspljd1990

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Perhaps I'm imagining things but a while back, didn't LNER run a service between Leeds and Edinburgh via Carlisle using HSTs?
 

JonathanH

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Perhaps I'm imagining things but a while back, didn't LNER run a service between Leeds and Edinburgh via Carlisle using HSTs?
Not via Settle. They will have run Leeds - Newcastle - Carlisle - Edinburgh at start of service when the line is shut via Berwick.
 

D6130

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HSTs would be a waste on a line restricted to 60mph north of Settle Jn
The line speed is currently 60 mph from Skipton Northwards, but I'm informed by sources within Network Rail that the line is fit for 80 mph from Hellifield to Kirkby Thore and 75 mph from there to Carlisle. The 1997 scheme installing AWS and colour light distant signals was designed for these speeds and only fairly minor track and bridge works would be needed to implement the higher speeds.
I presume it would probably stop at Settle if it were to stop somewhere.
The platforms at Settle - and the other intermediate stations between Hellifield and Carlisle, except for Appleby - only take 4 cars, so some platform lengthening would be required.
 

Neptune

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if the current Plymouth to Edinburgh service was chopped at Leeds with Edinburgh and Newcastle linked to Sheffield and Birmingham via Doncaster, this might be a way of keeping the link between Leeds and Glasgow.
I think this is the third time in 3 weeks now.

Why is everyone obsessed with reducing Leeds stations limited capacity. There is not the room to terminate them and either stable them for 65 minutes or shunt them out. We’ve got one thread suggesting Brighton through services using the Thameslink core to Leeds to consider now as well so NR had better get busy looking at widening the station throat and adding several new platforms.
 

Bigman

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They may as well go the whole hog then and make it a Nottingham - Glasgow as it used to be. Operate this instead of the Northern Nottingham - Leeds and send it via Wakefield Westgate as original was planned for the Northern service. An HST gives you substantially faster running which will seriously cut the Nottingham - Leeds time as an added bonus.
 

Neptune

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An HST gives you substantially faster running which will seriously cut the Nottingham - Leeds time as an added bonus.
No it won’t. A 195 accelerates a hell of a lot quicker than an HST and due to line speed can both achieve the same top speed.
 
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