Helsby to Ellesmere Port

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frodshamfella

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I live quite close to this irregular service branch line, when i get the opportunity (which is not that often considering the service levels!!) I use it. Have done twice quite recently, I travelled on Easter Monday (full service !!) Port Sunlight- Ellesmere Port-Helsby-Frodsham, and also yesterday, Frodsham-Helsby-Ince & Elton-Warrington BQ and back to Frodsham.

I often thought I was the only person ever on this line, but on both these occasions there were other passengers (not many mind, you didnt have to rush for seats !!) . So some people know about it, even with the very limited service. I got off at Ince & Elton yesterday....only person who did, joinned same train on its return back from Ellesmere Port, very lonely station, but quite a lot of housing around, so I would think locals would like a more usable service...maybe one day.

Carl
 
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davelew99

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At one point I was considering moving to Elton and when I looked on the map there was a handy station there, it was only when I checked the timetable I knew it would be unworkable for commuting!
 

exile

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There was a regular service right up to the time the Ellesmere Port-Hooton section was electrified. Since the service had to shuttle back and forth to Hooton the cost of extending the service to Helsby wasn't that great. Now, however, the only practical way of providing a regular service would be to extend the Liverpool-Warrington BQ hourly trains to Ellesmere Port
 

Requeststop

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There was a regular service right up to the time the Ellesmere Port-Hooton section was electrified. Since the service had to shuttle back and forth to Hooton the cost of extending the service to Helsby wasn't that great. Now, however, the only practical way of providing a regular service would be to extend the Liverpool-Warrington BQ hourly trains to Ellesmere Port
Ah, one of the lines in my track map of the UK I have never had the chance to do. Ellesmere Port - Helsby - Warrington. One of the difficulties is that the services are at totally the wrong times of day. Is there no local demand at all?
 

Requeststop

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Helsby-Warrington is hourly each way during the day - Arriva Trains Wales' Manchester-Llandudno trains run that way.
Excellent but it's the Ellesmere Port- Helsby part of the journey that I was thinking about - Actually I have done Helsby - Warrington but thanks for the interest.

Is there no local interest in the Port - Helsby run? I would have thought that a South Wirral link to Manchester etc missing Chester would be a hit? 3rd rail electrification from Ellesmere Port to Helsby thus the links of a direct service to Liverpool one way and the run from Birkenhead South to Helsby a link to Manchester? Has this ever been thought of? Seems to me that the citizens of the Wirral miss out on some good potential upgrades such as Bidston - Wrexham 3rd rail electrification too! Maybe they like being a little peninsular! If i lived there, I'd be lobbying my MP's like crazy!
 

MidnightFlyer

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I think (and don't quote me on this) that third rail has in the past been rejected because of fears about the impact surrounding industrial plants may have on it (such as oil refineries); or something along those lines.
 

nedchester

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There is a twice daily freight return service from the docks at ellesmere port to fiddlers ferry. The motive power is usually a class 70.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedchester/6988078589/in/set-72157629323119737

The village of Elton is quite big and I personally think it would benefit from a more regular train service both to Helsby for the train to Warrington/Manchester and a through service to Liverpool.

Electrifying to Helsby can't be that costly?? There has been some mention of electrified tracks through the refinery being potentially dangerous but I don't buy that.
 

plannerman

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I think (and don't quote me on this) that third rail has in the past been rejected because of fears about the impact surrounding industrial plants may have on it (such as oil refineries); or something along those lines.
Yeah, Stanlow has very strict rules as it is a petrol refinery. For example trucks going in must have battery isolators ets. There is a great risk of flammable environments being created (which is what happened at Buncefield). They're not keen on having 508's sparking their way right through the middle.
 

D1009

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Yeah, Stanlow has very strict rules as it is a petrol refinery. For example trucks going in must have battery isolators ets. There is a great risk of flammable environments being created (which is what happened at Buncefield). They're not keen on having 508's sparking their way right through the middle.
Are there any other places where railway lines which have a potential for electrification run through refineries, but that means that electrification is a no-no, or is Stanlow unique ?
 

Bevan Price

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The problems with the Helsby - Ellesmere Port line are that
1. Ince & Elton is fairly small. Stanlow only serves the oil company factories.
2. Helsby shoppers are more likely to want to visit Chester than Ellesmere Port. Anyone wanting to go to Birkenhead or Liverpool can travel via Chester - O.K. it is a longer journey, but a cheaper option for the railways than electrification of Helsby - Ellesmere Port.
3. DfT are unlikely to support much improvement of a service with little prospects of massive increase in demand.
 

tbtc

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I would have thought that a South Wirral link to Manchester etc missing Chester would be a hit?
I know there's a fascination on here with services missing out large places on the route (like running non stop via the Swansea District line so missing Swansea itself, or diverting some XC services away from Birmingham), but I'd have thought that the Manchester - Chester market was much bigger, and the time saving wouldn't be big enough to warrant avoiding it.

Manchester - Chester has been sadly neglected amongst the other improvements in/around North Western England, presumably because it's run by a franchise controlled from Cardiff - I'd have thought that there was a market for at least a couple of Manchester - Warrington - Chester services an hour (which would give better connections with the frequent Merseyrail service at Chester)
 

Penmorfa

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The problems with the Helsby - Ellesmere Port line are that
1. Ince & Elton is fairly small. Stanlow only serves the oil company factories.
2. Helsby shoppers are more likely to want to visit Chester than Ellesmere Port. Anyone wanting to go to Birkenhead or Liverpool can travel via Chester - O.K. it is a longer journey, but a cheaper option for the railways than electrification of Helsby - Ellesmere Port.
3. DfT are unlikely to support much improvement of a service with little prospects of massive increase in demand.
Could I also add that when a half hourly Helsby - Hooton service ran it was nearly always empty between Ellesmere Port and Helsby.

I also think the idea that electric trains past Stanlow would not be permitted is a red herring. The refinery itself is hardly next to the line. Also in the 1960's many oil trains were steam hauled from and to the loading point, next to Stanlow & Thornton station.
 

frodshamfella

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Its true to say most people in Helsby and Frodsham would rather shop in Chester than E.Port. However, Warrington is also a large shopping area, and I think, folk of Elton and Ince, Ellesmere Port and further into the Wirral would enjoy a direct service to Warrington at least.
 

merlodlliw

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Yeah, Stanlow has very strict rules as it is a petrol refinery. For example trucks going in must have battery isolators ets. There is a great risk of flammable environments being created (which is what happened at Buncefield). They're not keen on having 508's sparking their way right through the middle.
I have mentioned this before, there was money on the table to run 3rd rail through Stanlow station which is within the refinery, this was at the same time as Chester got 3rd rail. It was the problem of flashovers that stopped the 3rd rail, Shell who owned the refinery at the time pointed out, should there be a leak of gas at the refinery, a flash over was the perfect means of ignition.
All the statutory authorities agreed the 3rd rail was safe,but the EMU flashovers were the culpit of the DC 3rd rail scheme & flashovers could not be stopped.
A great shame, but safety regulations in 1993,were not present when steam ran to the refinery
Bob
 

Sheridan

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I did Ellesmere Port-Ince and Elton and got the same train back when it returned from Helsby. One of the many staff on board laughed at me when I got back on and said that it was hardly worth it - missing the point somewhat.
There were 2 other passengers on it from EP to Ince and Elton, a mother and daughter who were using it to travel to Helsby, and there was one man who also seemed a genuine passenger as opposed to an enthusiast on the return as well.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I did take this interesting picture on that occasion!
http://yfrog.com/hso0dickj
 
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frodshamfella

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There was a regular service right up to the time the Ellesmere Port-Hooton section was electrified. Since the service had to shuttle back and forth to Hooton the cost of extending the service to Helsby wasn't that great. Now, however, the only practical way of providing a regular service would be to extend the Liverpool-Warrington BQ hourly trains to Ellesmere Port


Yes this seems the Liverpool to Warrington BQ service, would give Runcorn East, Frodsham and Helsby a bit or a boost service wise also. Plus those folk at Elton & Ince and Ellesmere Port, plus further up the Wirral would gain a Warrington service, with connections north and south. Maybe if the Halton curve get reinstated, this might work also.
 

tbtc

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Yes this seems the Liverpool to Warrington BQ service, would give Runcorn East, Frodsham and Helsby a bit or a boost service wise also. Plus those folk at Elton & Ince and Ellesmere Port, plus further up the Wirral would gain a Warrington service, with connections north and south. Maybe if the Halton curve get reinstated, this might work also.
I was sure that I'd posted on this thread to say that the Liverpool - Warrington Banq Quay service will become a Liverpool - Manchester one post-electrification, so that isn't an option (I thought that we got notified if our posts were deleted?)
 

merlodlliw

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I was sure that I'd posted on this thread to say that the Liverpool - Warrington Banq Quay service will become a Liverpool - Manchester one post-electrification, so that isn't an option (I thought that we got notified if our posts were deleted?)
In fairness to the Mods who do it manually I always get told,when its auto perhaps some times,perhaps you used a Yorks/Scots word that was misunderstood by the autocue, or another post

Bob
 

tbtc

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In fairness to the Mods who do it manually I always get told,when its auto perhaps some times,perhaps you used a Yorks/Scots word that was misunderstood by the autocue, or another post

Bob
Jings! Crivvens! :lol:

No criticism of the Mods intended (I'm one on another forum, I appreciate its a thankless task) - I was just confused as I was pretty sure I'd already answered the point about the Warrington service - maybe I was sleep-posting again? :oops:

Anyhow, to go back on topic, this short stretch of line seems destined never to get much of a better service, it's stuck between three TOCs (Northern, Merseyrail & ATW), it doesn't really serve any large population centres, it's not much use for the one thing at Ellesmere Port that would attract visitors (Cheshire Oaks), I can't see it getting much of an increase in service whilst Cheshire - Warrington/Manchester seems to be poorly resourced (so any spare DMUs in the area would be better concentrated on services via Chester).
 

Penmorfa

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Anyhow, to go back on topic, this short stretch of line seems destined never to get much of a better service, it's stuck between three TOCs (Northern, Merseyrail & ATW), it doesn't really serve any large population centres, it's not much use for the one thing at Ellesmere Port that would attract visitors (Cheshire Oaks), I can't see it getting much of an increase in service whilst Cheshire - Warrington/Manchester seems to be poorly resourced (so any spare DMUs in the area would be better concentrated on services via Chester).
Agreed, also anyone in the Wirral Merseyrail area has at least 4 trains an hour to Lime Street and lots of onward trains from there to Warrington/Manchester.
 
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John55

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I have mentioned this before, there was money on the table to run 3rd rail through Stanlow station which is within the refinery, this was at the same time as Chester got 3rd rail. It was the problem of flashovers that stopped the 3rd rail, Shell who owned the refinery at the time pointed out, should there be a leak of gas at the refinery, a flash over was the perfect means of ignition.
All the statutory authorities agreed the 3rd rail was safe,but the EMU flashovers were the culpit of the DC 3rd rail scheme & flashovers could not be stopped.
A great shame, but safety regulations in 1993,were not present when steam ran to the refinery
Bob
I am interested in this topic but had not heard that there was a funded proposal to extend electrification beyond Ellesmere Port. Can you point me in the direction of information about this so I can do some more research?

There have been proposals (often from organisations who did not have to pay!) for extending the third rail from Rock Ferry to most railways on the south Wirral since 1928 but it took a very long time for any of it to come to pass. This one however is new to me and I would be interested in more information.

PS. I think you mean arcing from the third rail. Flashover is usually used to describe an equipment fault. Still has potential for ignition however.
 

Penmorfa

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Yes this seems the Liverpool to Warrington BQ service, would give Runcorn East, Frodsham and Helsby a bit or a boost service wise also. Plus those folk at Elton & Ince and Ellesmere Port, plus further up the Wirral would gain a Warrington service, with connections north and south. Maybe if the Halton curve get reinstated, this might work also.
Merseyrail are a self contained franchise. They would not look kindly at another TOC operating services over their electrified lines. Particularly as the aim of that service would be to take people away from Merseyside.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The fragmentation of Cheshire CC into the more localised Cheshire West & Chester means they are not much interested in their bits of rail, especially if it involves spending any money.
They were keen to help tart up Chester station and its approaches as a Gateway development project, and supported the hourly Virgin service to London.
But any other rail developments cross into other local authority areas with very different priorities (Wirral, Halton, Warrington, Taith etc).
If you asked them their current top rail priority it would probably be "through trains to Manchester Airport".
The old county was given the opportunity to support the hourly EP-Helsby service but declined, hence the skeleton service today.
 

SprinterMan

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Would it kill Northern to just stick a 142 shuttling Helsby-Ellesmere port all day, connecting with Merseyrail at one end and ATW to Manchester at the other?

That would be an easy solution and good for the branch line :)
 

142094

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Would it kill Northern to just stick a 142 shuttling Helsby-Ellesmere port all day, connecting with Merseyrail at one end and ATW to Manchester at the other?

That would be an easy solution and good for the branch line :)
Depends on what that unit would be doing otherwise. I'm pretty sure that the units that are used on these services will be booked for something else off Lime Street later on in the day.
 

frodshamfella

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Merseyrail are a self contained franchise. They would not look kindly at another TOC operating services over their electrified lines. Particularly as the aim of that service would be to take people away from Merseyside.
Personally, id like to see Merseyrail expand, and take over more Cheshire lines, I think they provide an excellent service where they operate. We have just an hourly train at Frodsham, very often overcrowded.
 
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