Durham Coast post-Pacer withdrawal

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James_D

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Sorry if this has been covered before. I have no doubt that ARN will keep the Pacers going until the very last day they have to in 2019, but was wondering what the Durham Coast services will look like afterwards.

As I understand it, with the Middlesbrough - Carlisle 'Northern Connect' 158's going up the ECML via Stillington and Durham, will the Newcastle - Sunderland - Hartlepool - Nunthorpe services be entirely 156's? or a mix of 156/158's?
 
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ainsworth74

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I'm not sure it's clear what will happen to Heaton's allocation of units. Obviously it's going to gain some 158s for the Northern Connect service but what it will gain to replace the 142s is less clear. I'm wondering whether it might end up being a mix of 150s and 158s with the 156s released to go elsewhere on the franchise.

It would seem too much to hope that it becomes a mix of 156s and 158s! That would be such an enormous upgrade in quality for local services in the North East as to be unbelievable.
 

aformeruser

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Other than the Northern Connect and electric routes Northern aren't giving much away. They've confirmed Leeds to Southport/Harrogate services will get 170s. Even in presentations to PTEs they've just referred to Pacer withdrawal and refurbished trains for other routes.
 

sprinterguy

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It would seem too much to hope that it becomes a mix of 156s and 158s! That would be such an enormous upgrade in quality for local services in the North East as to be unbelievable.
I'm not sure why a fleet of thirty year old (as they will be approaching by the time the Northern Connect 158s enter service) class 156 and 158 units represents such an "enormous upgrade" as to be "unbelievable" in the North East. Such a view seems to support the penny-pinching opinion of consecutive incumbent operators of the Durham Coast route over the last four decades, at least, and fails to recognise the latent demand that could be catered for given an improved frequency, better trains and space to fit everyone on.

It's worth remembering that the Newcastle - Carlisle line was earmarked for an allocation of 158s when they were being built, before the screws were tightened on Regional Railways and a number of 158s were redirected towards Network Southeast.

The bigger problem I envisage with a fleet of class 156 and 158 units is catering for the concentrated commuter and day-tripper markets into major centres such as Newcastle and Middlesbrough, where heavily refurbished and preferably 3-car 150s (although I'm sure they'll hang around the Manchester area) could be more suitable.
 
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ainsworth74

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A 156 or a 158 is an enormous upgrade compared to a 142 is it not? I'm not sure how else you can quantify it to be honest.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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As I understand it, with the Middlesbrough - Carlisle 'Northern Connect' 158's going up the ECML via Stillington and Durham, will the Newcastle - Sunderland - Hartlepool - Nunthorpe services be entirely 156's? or a mix of 156/158's?

Your mention of Stillington awakened the railway historian in me. Stillington station was opened in 1838 and closed in 1952, but after the fire there in 1965, the station was demolished.
 
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sprinterguy

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A 156 or a 158 is an enormous upgrade compared to a 142 is it not? I'm not sure how else you can quantify it to be honest.
156s have been regular traction over the route for over twenty five years, and 158s sporadic visitors for the last twenty, subsequently lessened by the loss of Transpennine status to Sunderland. It won't be a dramatic upgrade to see either class replace 142s on the Durham Coast, particularly when other areas of the Northern franchise will be seeing brand new trains or, for that matter, will have benefitted from electrification.

The change in local train services around the North East will probably be less transformational than in many other areas across the Northern network.
 
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James_D

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I'm not sure it's clear what will happen to Heaton's allocation of units. Obviously it's going to gain some 158s for the Northern Connect service but what it will gain to replace the 142s is less clear. I'm wondering whether it might end up being a mix of 150s and 158s with the 156s released to go elsewhere on the franchise.

It would seem too much to hope that it becomes a mix of 156s and 158s! That would be such an enormous upgrade in quality for local services in the North East as to be unbelievable.
It doesnt really make much sense to me to transfer the unfamiliar 150's to be maintained at Heaton when they already have 156's there and potentially stand to receive a new batch from Scotland.

Also, given that the 150's will arguably be the worst quality ARN traction after the Pacers have gone wont go down very well with us up here given that the North East has had to put up with the previous worst (142's) for 30 years, only to receive the new worst (150's) for god knows how many years to come.

Given than electrification of the Durham Coast will probably not happen for at least another 10-15 years (and im being very conservative!), i'd say a mix of 156/158 half hourly down the DCL would be perfectly adequate for the time being. Although I would love to see TPE expanded back to Sunderland again with 185's. Unlikely to happen even after the next franchise period!
 
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aformeruser

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Also, given that the 150's will arguably be the worst quality ARN traction after the Pacers have gone wont go down very well with us up here given that the North East has had to put up with the previous worst (142's) for 30 years, only to receive the new worst (150's) for god knows how many years to come.

Well Newton Heath has had most of the Northern 142s and all the Northern 150s since 2004 (and all the RRNW 142s and 150s before that.) I very much doubt the current Pacer routes will be spared having the 150s considering they'll be more coming to Northern.
 
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James_D

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Well Newton Heath has had most of the Northern 142s and all the Northern 150s since 2004 (and all the RRNW 142s and 150s before that.) I very much doubt the current Pacer routes will be spared having the 150s considering they'll be more coming to Northern.
You're probably right, but my point was that it makes more sense to send the additional 156's to Heaton for fleet commonality, as they're already maintained there, than sending unfamiliar 150's from Newton Heath which is likely to split that fleet too.
 

aformeruser

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You're probably right, but my point was that it makes more sense to send the additional 156's to Heaton for fleet commonality, as they're already maintained there, than sending unfamiliar 150's from Newton Heath which is likely to split that fleet too.

Are the 158s going to be maintained at two depots? A number of 142s maintained at Heaton are used on diagrams in West and South Yorkshire, so presumably some North East 158s diagrams wouldn't prevent them all being maintained at Neville Hill.

Northern will eventually have 47 x 156s, 53 x 158s and 78 or 80 x 150s (two different numbers have been reported) so they'll probably be too many 150s to maintain them all at the same depot, whereas the 156s possibly could all be maintained at the same depot.
 

ainsworth74

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156s have been regular traction over the route for over twenty five years, and 158s sporadic visitors for the last twenty, subsequently lessened by the loss of Transpennine status to Sunderland. It won't be a dramatic upgrade to see either class replace 142s on the Durham Coast, particularly when other areas of the Northern franchise will be seeing brand new trains or, for that matter, will have benefitted from electrification.

I fear we're going to have to disagree. As a local user of the lines in the North East the thought that travellers could be guaranteed either a 156 or a 158 sounds like a significant improvement to me. And 158s haven't even been sporadic visitors to the area (in passenger service on local services at least) for quite a while now.

Is it as transformational as the rest of the Northern franchise? No, of course not, no one gives a toss about the North East. But is improvement? Yes unarguably yes and I believe it's a significant one.
 

James_D

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Yes, getting more frequent and guaranteed bogied-stock, which are also refurbished, is a real step change for local rail services in the North East. This combined with bigger capacity 125mph TPE trains and the new 800/801's on the ECML, is long overdue. Although I will be sad to see the HST's go, which are my first formative memories of any class of rolling stock in my youth!

While we're on the subject. Has there ever been even a sniff of the DCL getting electrified in the long term future? I think I saw a TfN document which said that any NE electrification project that should get priority would be from the ECML to Middlesbrough.
 

aformeruser

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Is it as transformational as the rest of the Northern franchise? No, of course not, no one gives a toss about the North East.

The North East is getting quite a lot of improvements from the TPE franchise:
* New Newcastle-Manchester Airport service every hour
* Existing Newcastle service extended to Edinburgh
* Brand new 5 car trains for all Newcastle & Middlesbrough services
* Services to the North West speeded up

On top of the improvements VTEC are delivering.

Isn't Redcar (population 35,692) the largest place in the North East which hasn't been promised any brand new trains in the next few years? If so I think the North East has done very well overall. Southport (population 90,000) has only been promised the newest cascaded trains from Scotrail# while Altrincham (population 52,000) won't get anything more than Sprinters refurbished to a lower standard than the North East ones. While the biggest improvement for Scunthorpe (population 65,000) is refurbished 185s on the hourly TPE services.

# New Merseyrail trains have been looked at but the same could have said a few years ago and nothing's been ordered yet.
 
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61653 HTAFC

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Northern (old) decided to concentrate fleets at one or two depots for the most part. Whether Arriva do the same is unknown at present, but many of the senior staff have transferred over to the new franchise so the same policy may well be applied albeit with adjustments as units are removed and new ones arrive.
 

James_D

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The North East is getting quite a lot of improvements from the TPE franchise:
* New Newcastle-Manchester Airport service every hour
* Existing Newcastle service extended to Edinburgh
* Brand new 5 car trains for all Newcastle & Middlesbrough services
* Services to the North West speeded up

On top of the improvements VTEC are delivering.

Isn't Redcar (population 35,692) the largest place in the North East which hasn't been promised any brand new trains in the next few years? If so I think the North East has done very well overall. Southport (population 90,000) has only been promised the newest cascaded trains from Scotrail# while Altrincham (population 52,000) won't get anything more than Sprinters refurbished to a lower standard than the North East ones. While the biggest improvement for Scunthorpe (population 65,000) is refurbished 185s on the hourly TPE services.

# New Merseyrail trains have been looked at but the same could have said a few years ago and nothing's been ordered yet.
Well it's all about where the main routes are surely. Sunderland has a population of around 200,000 depending whether you count Washington and will only be getting half hourlies basically to either Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Hexham, while but Northallerton (pop ~15,000) has hourly services to Liverpool and Manchester Airport and one or two trains every 2 hours to Kings Cross because it's on the ECML.

The DCL isnt getting any brand new trains at all. Just refurbed 156/158's
 

aformeruser

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Well it's all about where the main routes are surely. Sunderland has a population of around 200,000 depending whether you count Washington and will only be getting half hourlies basically to either Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Hexham, while but Northallerton (pop ~15,000) has hourly services to Liverpool and Manchester Airport and one or two trains every 2 hours to Kings Cross because it's on the ECML.

That's no different to other areas, towns on a mainline tend to get better services than ones on branch lines.

Sunderland will be getting a limited VTEC service (using bi-mode IEP) alongside the existing Grand Central services.

The DCL isnt getting any brand new trains at all. Just refurbed 156/158's

Arriva have said refurbished 158s and mentioned that they'll be getting a heavier refurbishment than the other 158s. Some routes will only probably end up with refurbished 150s.
 
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GrimsbyPacer

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The North East is getting quite a lot of improvements from the TPE franchise:
* New Newcastle-Manchester Airport service every hour
* Existing Newcastle service extended to Edinburgh
* Brand new 5 car trains for all Newcastle & Middlesbrough services
* Services to the North West speeded up

On top of the improvements VTEC are delivering.

Isn't Redcar (population 35,692) the largest place in the North East which hasn't been promised any brand new trains in the next few years? If so I think the North East has done very well overall. Southport (population 90,000) has only been promised the newest cascaded trains from Scotrail# while Altrincham (population 52,000) won't get anything more than Sprinters refurbished to a lower standard than the North East ones. While the biggest improvement for Scunthorpe (population 65,000) is refurbished 185s on the hourly TPE services.

# New Merseyrail trains have been looked at but the same could have said a few years ago and nothing's been ordered yet.

Grimsby is bigger than Scunthorpe (especially if Cleethorpes is considered), and Gateshead must be the largest place in the North East without improvement (as it only has a subway station). Having been to Redcar, I found the service simple, fast, and often enough (and with my favourite trains!), I think what needs doing in Redcar is a rebuilding of the disjointed Central station, I found it hard to find the platform for going back to Saltburn because the main station building isn't in use.

The North East has poor services for places like Middlesbrough, and Sunderland, but the other regions also have ignored towns and cities, Bradford, Ripon, Grimsby, Barrow, Beverley, Rotherham, Blackpool, etc for example needs adding onto Transpennine Express. If the Pacers are retained, and new trains still brought in, a doubling of all services would be possible, but instead we're only going to get c. 15% more vehicles if that.
 
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tbtc

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I'm wondering whether it might end up being a mix of 150s and 158s with the 156s released to go elsewhere on the franchise

That's what I'd be putting money on (without any pretence of insider knowledge etc).

Simple logic:

  • Heaton operated routes require more than one type of stock (given the "fast" Newcastle - Carlisle services and the "metro" Saltburn services)
  • It's probably not sufficiently large to justify three or more types of stock (given economies of scale)
  • 158s are coming to the "fast" Carlisle services, it seems unnecessary to have both 156s and 158s at the same depot, so I'd guess at 150s to offer something more suitable to Saltburn services

...therefore put the remaining 158s on services where the 90mph will be useful (anything via Durham, anything to Morpeth) and the remaining routes (Durham Coast, Whitby) are probably going to be a mixture of 150s and 158s.

A 156 doesn't offer much that you can't get from a 150/ 158 but brings the complication of a third type of unit - better to stockpile 156s somewhere west of the Pennines instead where they will be more use.

Altrincham (population 52,000) won't get anything more than Sprinters

The majority of "rail" services from Altrincham each hour are the Metrolink M5000s that are only a couple of years old (unlike the light rail stock used in Tyneside/ Wearside/ South Yorkshire), so I won't be getting my violin out just yet.

Northern (old) decided to concentrate fleets at one or two depots for the most part. Whether Arriva do the same is unknown at present, but many of the senior staff have transferred over to the new franchise so the same policy may well be applied albeit with adjustments as units are removed and new ones arrive.

I claim no knowledge, but the Northern approach did make sense - given the economies of scale - why have 155s and 156s at the same depot? Made sense having 156s mainly on one side of the Pennines and 158s on the other side. Similarly, I wouldn't see the point in keeping 170s and 185s at the same depot, since they do a fairly similar role.

Gateshead must be the largest place in the North East without improvement (as it only has a subway station)

...it also has the Metrocentre station (300,000+ journeys a year) and Dunston (slightly fewer journeys a year!)

The North East has poor services for places like Middlesbrough, and Sunderland, but the other regions also have ignored towns, Bradford, Rotherham, Blackpool, etc

...you'll get complaints from Bradford City fans...
 

aformeruser

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The majority of "rail" services from Altrincham each hour are the Metrolink M5000s that are only a couple of years old (unlike the light rail stock used in Tyneside/ Wearside/ South Yorkshire), so I won't be getting my violin out just yet.

Over 400,000 journeys are made to/from Altrincham a year by heavy rail for connections with Metrolink or journeys where Metrolink can't be used. For instance, most of the school/college traffic from Altrincham is to Hale and Knutsford, while Metrolink doesn't run to Stockport and Chester.

The oldest M5000s are now 7 years old. Don't forget the brand new tram-trains which are being delivered for Rotherham-Sheffield and if the trial is successful it might lead to more being ordered. ;) However, if we're going to count light rail should we also consider how modern vehicles used on bus services are?

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

but the other regions also have ignored towns and cities, Bradford, Ripon, Grimsby, Barrow, Beverley, Rotherham, Blackpool, etc for example needs adding onto Transpennine Express. If the Pacers are retained, and new trains still brought in, a doubling of all services would be possible, but instead we're only going to get c. 15% more vehicles if that.

I'm not sure Bradford does need adding on to TPE. Routing TPE services via Bradford would slow them down, while the 4 new hourly Northern Connect services which will be introduced using new CAF trains probably wouldn't be much different under TPE.
 
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James_D

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That's what I'd be putting money on (without any pretence of insider knowledge etc).

Simple logic:

  • Heaton operated routes require more than one type of stock (given the "fast" Newcastle - Carlisle services and the "metro" Saltburn services)
  • It's probably not sufficiently large to justify three or more types of stock (given economies of scale)
  • 158s are coming to the "fast" Carlisle services, it seems unnecessary to have both 156s and 158s at the same depot, so I'd guess at 150s to offer something more suitable to Saltburn services

...therefore put the remaining 158s on services where the 90mph will be useful (anything via Durham, anything to Morpeth) and the remaining routes (Durham Coast, Whitby) are probably going to be a mixture of 150s and 158s.

A 156 doesn't offer much that you can't get from a 150/ 158 but brings the complication of a third type of unit - better to stockpile 156s somewhere west of the Pennines instead where they will be more use.
I wont mind 150's on the DCL as long as they're refurbished to a good standard with 2+2 seating. It's just still a bit annoying that the North East seems to be the dumping ground for the worst stock combined with a historically poor service when we actually have some large and densely populated conurbations within a short distance of each other.

If we do lose the 156's though that will be a sad day for me! A big part of my childhood being taken on one to Newcastle most Saturday's in the early 90's.
 

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The 150s would be unsuitable for Whitbby, and even the DCL in my opinion.
That is unless they were refurbished to include 2+2 seating and tables
 

aformeruser

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The 150s would be unsuitable for Whitbby, and even the DCL in my opinion.
That is unless they were refurbished to include 2+2 seating and tables

Biggest priority for Whitby needs to be a proper service. I don't see why anyone would catch the train from Middlesbrough to Whitby when it's so infrequent and takes almost half an hour longer than the Arriva Express bus service. As no-one sensible will use it end to end I don't see why 3+2 seating is an issue given there must be loads of routes around the country of that length or longer where 3+2 seating is used.
 

Paul_10

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I thought 150's were not allocated to Heaton mainly because they are not able to run on the section between Heworth to Sunderland because of gauging issues with the infrastructure or the Metro, I'm not fully certain if that is actually the case or not but if it is, then that surely rules out 150's as the current Newcastle to Carlisle services will be extended to Middlesbrough via the Durham coast line and of course the 158's will be the more express service via the ECML. Some 150's may be transferred for any other services which diagrams does not include heading towards Sunderland but all will be revealed in a few years anyways.
 

aformeruser

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Also, would a 150 have enough seats for the school contract in and out of Whitby?

In 3+2 configuration I would not be surprised to discover that it has more seats than a 156!

The 150s have different seating configurations, while the ex-FNW and ex-ATN 156s don't have exactly the same number of seats. If it's an ex-LM 150/2 it'll have more seats than either type of 156, while if it's an ex-FNW 150/1 it'll have less seats than either type of 156.
 

sprinterguy

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I fear we're going to have to disagree. As a local user of the lines in the North East the thought that travellers could be guaranteed either a 156 or a 158 sounds like a significant improvement to me. And 158s haven't even been sporadic visitors to the area (in passenger service on local services at least) for quite a while now.

Is it as transformational as the rest of the Northern franchise? No, of course not, no one gives a toss about the North East. But is improvement? Yes unarguably yes and I believe it's a significant one.
I agree that the move from 142s to, presumably, 156s and 158s will demonstrate a marked improvement in the standard of service provided, and is good news all round: WiFi, passenger information systems and LED lighting will be of great benefit to the passengers regardless of the age of the stock, but a region seeing refurbishment and partial replacement of it's local train fleet for the first time in 15 - 20 years does not to me represent an "unbelievable" improvement in its' fortunes.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sunderland will be getting a limited VTEC service (using bi-mode IEP) alongside the existing Grand Central services.
I'm sure those early risers and night owls looking to catch the one train each way per day, surely far less than those required to fill a 5-car IEP, formed of new stock will be grateful for it, but it's not much in the way of new trains across the board is it, away from the main line? ;) Although, there will presumably be other lengthy routes within the Northern area which will also see little other than refurbished stock.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Well it's all about where the main routes are surely. Sunderland has a population of around 200,000 depending whether you count Washington and will only be getting half hourlies basically to either Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Hexham...
There's been no confirmation that the heavy rail service through Sunderland will increase to anything more than hourly, outside of the handful of Grand Central services and the daily Virgin East Coast train.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I thought 150's were not allocated to Heaton mainly because they are not able to run on the section between Heworth to Sunderland because of gauging issues with the infrastructure or the Metro, I'm not fully certain if that is actually the case or not but if it is, then that surely rules out 150's as the current Newcastle to Carlisle services will be extended to Middlesbrough via the Durham coast line and of course the 158's will be the more express service via the ECML. Some 150's may be transferred for any other services which diagrams does not include heading towards Sunderland but all will be revealed in a few years anyways.
The restriction exists between Monkwearmouth and East Boldon, where 150s are banned, and the 150 based Network Rail Track Recording Unit, which sporadically traverses the line, is restricted to 40mph, which suggests that the issue isn't just down to a need to demonstrate clearance on paper, but to an actual physical limitation.
 
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aformeruser

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I'm sure those early risers and night owls looking to catch the one train each way per day, surely far less than those required to fill a 5-car IEP, formed of new stock will be grateful for it, but it's not much in the way of new trains across the board is it, away from the main line? ;) Although, there will presumably be other lengthy routes within the Northern area which will also see little other than refurbished stock.

Sunderland is getting additional VTEC services by May 2019. Unlike some other new VTEC destinations it already gets a service despite being under the 'hard done by' North East.
 

sprinterguy

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That's what I'd be putting money on (without any pretence of insider knowledge etc).

Simple logic:

  • Heaton operated routes require more than one type of stock (given the "fast" Newcastle - Carlisle services and the "metro" Saltburn services)
  • It's probably not sufficiently large to justify three or more types of stock (given economies of scale)
  • 158s are coming to the "fast" Carlisle services, it seems unnecessary to have both 156s and 158s at the same depot, so I'd guess at 150s to offer something more suitable to Saltburn services

...therefore put the remaining 158s on services where the 90mph will be useful (anything via Durham, anything to Morpeth) and the remaining routes (Durham Coast, Whitby) are probably going to be a mixture of 150s and 158s.

A 156 doesn't offer much that you can't get from a 150/ 158 but brings the complication of a third type of unit - better to stockpile 156s somewhere west of the Pennines instead where they will be more use.
While I'm not against 150s being used within the North East as I have mentioned on the previous page, if suitably refurbished as stated by others, I view it as unlikely in reality that 150s would be moved to Heaton: While there's not a great deal of difference mechanically and operationally between a 150 and a 156, Heaton depot and North East area drivers and guards have many years of experience on 156s (admittedly as I say there's a lot of common components between the two) and the units are already there.

Plus, there are still a large number of 142s that need replacing on routes radiating out of Sheffield and Manchester which won't be covered by new class 195s and are commuter based, so better suited to 150s, and I'm not sure what other routes you would consider better covered by 156s (Off the top of my head, 153 diagrams on the Cumbrian Coast could usefully be covered by156s).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sunderland is getting additional VTEC services by May 2019. Unlike some other new VTEC destinations it already gets a service despite being under the 'hard done by' North East.
Ah, so TWO trains each way per day, with one return journey at an amenable hour, then? ;)

You are quite right in saying, however, that Sunderland does get a far better deal; benefitting greatly from the frequent Metro service to Newcastle as well as the Grand Central and one, eventually to be two, VTEC services to York and London; than it's counterpart stations to the south between Seaham and Stockton inclusive, improvements in frequency to those stations being largely hamstrung by Sunderlands' frequent Metro service. At least Stockton is set to benefit directly from the new "Northern Connect" service to Newcastle. :)
 
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