Hope Valley Capacity Scheme updates

edwin_m

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Sheffield to Manchester is very busy.
Sheffield loses both fast services and has to carry the passengers on the stopper path between Huddersfield and Manchester.
Sheffield has no satisfactory road alternative.
Recent history proved that the railway was unprepared for the dam closures and failed to provide anything for nearly two weeks.

If the solutions are to be going via Leeds(dam advice) going via Derby and changing twice or replacing three trains with one slow then I do not think enough consideration has been given to users.

Hulley's X57 is looking a good option.
So if you think it's not good enough, please suggest what else the rail industry could do.
 
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30907

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Killingworth

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The documentation sent to TOCs last October gave a detailed schedule of blockades, to the minute. It also explained where and what work was to be done during those times. It's very detailed.

The 9 day block is for connecting everything up and testing. All the little details are in there, from adding the copers on Platform 2 at Dore to the specific track connections. I've no doubt that between now and then there may need to be some alterations to take account of progress. Weather can ruin the best laid plans

Minimising blockades has been very much a consideration in the detailed planning. If the TOCs are concerned you can bet the FOCs are very concerned about that. Local residents want it doing quickly too.

Another issue is that future blockades for North Pennine works demand that this work is completed asap to ensure there will be more options for diversions.

It's impossible to satisfy all the people all of the time.
 

SuperNova

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So if you think it's not good enough, please suggest what else the rail industry could do.
In the case of TPE, very little. The diversionary route is via Huddersfield and that won't change. Pathing constraints mean that it will likely be an extension of the stopping service and TRU works are set to begin this summer with more scheduled throughout the next few years, which means that a North route diversionary route may not be as widely available.
 

RHolmes

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What does "Not happening." mean in reference to stopping at Swinton? It would be very handy if trains could stop with the potential of solutions for travel problems to Sheffield, Doncaster, Leeds, Rotherham and Chesterfield.

- No C-ASDO beacon
- No route knowledge of driver/conductors
 

Manutd1999

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Once this upgrade is (eventually) complete, will there be enough capacity to run a fast service direct to Nottingham without going via Sheffield?

I know 4 "fasts" per hour was originally looked at and then rejected as it's not possible to get them clock-face, but if they have 3x clock-face Manchester-Sheffield that essentially leaves 3x 20 minute gaps. I guess one would be needed for the stopper, and one for freight. Could the last one be used for a direct Manchester-Nottingham?
 

Manutd1999

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Would enough people use it to justify missing out Sheffield though ?
That's probably a discussion for another thread but I think it would be feasible, especially if the service went beyond Nottingam and/or Manchester.
 

Glenn1969

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The fact that Nottingham- Manchester is currently an hourly service even calling at Sheffield maybe suggests otherwise but maybe others know better ?
 

Ianno87

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The fact that Nottingham- Manchester is currently an hourly service even calling at Sheffield maybe suggests otherwise but maybe others know better ?

The service is really just a hangover from some Regional Railways operating convenience in the early 1990s.

Lumping 15 minutes or so off the Manchester-Nottingham journey time would make the rail journey time extremely competitive compared to the car.
 

Llandudno

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The service is really just a hangover from some Regional Railways operating convenience in the early 1990s.

Lumping 15 minutes or so off the Manchester-Nottingham journey time would make the rail journey time extremely competitive compared to the car.
Here’s an idea, Lincoln to Manchester, in the 1980s there was a regular bus service X67 The Lincman!
 

Dr Hoo

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Once this upgrade is (eventually) complete, will there be enough capacity to run a fast service direct to Nottingham without going via Sheffield?

I know 4 "fasts" per hour was originally looked at and then rejected as it's not possible to get them clock-face, but if they have 3x clock-face Manchester-Sheffield that essentially leaves 3x 20 minute gaps. I guess one would be needed for the stopper, and one for freight. Could the last one be used for a direct Manchester-Nottingham?
As has been stated before at various times, the south curve at Dore is simply being lengthened to take heavier freight trains. (Heavy construction materials don't generally need the full 775m generally envisaged for intermodal and automotive traffics.) The whole point is to be able to 'hold' a freight in either direction between the busy Midland Main Line and the busy Hope Valley with its long blocks. This process may well 'take some time'.

There will be no additional capacity for regular through passenger services avoiding Sheffield. These would completely defeat the purpose of the chord lengthening.
 

tbtc

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At the moment, Manchester to Nottingham is just short of two hours (which includes around five minutes of reversing at Sheffield, plus around six minutes travelling time in each direction from the Dore triangle to/from Sheffield). So you could get it down to around 1h40, if you could find paths in the Hope and Erewash valleys that matched up fairly well without having to sit on the south chord at Dore whilst waiting for a path.

That'd take the distance down from 84 miles to 76 miles, which is a bit more than the fifty eight miles "as the crow flies" but shorter than the way Google Maps suggests you drive (80.9mi via junction 35a of the M1).

So it'd make Manchester - Nottingham more competitive, but... what market is there? It's a long way for daily commuters (the 1h40 best case scenario mentioned above is comparable to Nottingham's journey time to London). There's not a lot of large intermediate places (Chesterfield, sure, but it's more of a Sheffield commuter place than travelling to Manchester/ Nottingham - I accept that the saving in journey time would make Chesterfield - Manchester more attractive than the current service is - maybe an hour from Chesterfield to Manchester)

And these times are based on not picking up any additional stops between Manchester and Chesterfield - e.g. you might find that this "new" path has demand for stops from people in Hazel Grove or some of the Hope Valley stations, which would remove some of the time saving).

Assuming of course that there are more paths at the Manchester end - part of the problem that Manchester has is the assortment of hourly services that clutter up its junctions - so I'd be nervous about adding even more paths into central Manchester (maybe the plan for an additional Hope Valley service would be something like an extension of Piccadilly - New Mills services (but then you'd end up with a situation where Nottingham replaced it's 1h55 service to Manchester (via Sheffield) with a 1h55 service to Manchester (that stops at several stations between Chinley and Piccadilly instead).

I'm not particularly against it (as long as Sheffield retained two "fast" trains per hour to both Manchester and Nottingham), I'm just not particularly for it either - it seems that a Manchester - Sheffield - Nottingham service ticks three boxes (Manchester to Sheffield, Sheffield to Nottingham, Manchester to Nottingham), whereas a "direct" Manchester - Nottingham service provides less benefit without being a *huge* time saving. By the same token, XC could divert their Edinburgh - Plymouth trains to avoid various intermediate stations to shave off a few minutes for Edinburgh - Plymouth passengers but by removing lots of intermediate links. We'd be better to focus resources on lengthening existing services IMHO.
 

Killingworth

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As has been stated before at various times, the south curve at Dore is simply being lengthened to take heavier freight trains. (Heavy construction materials don't generally need the full 775m generally envisaged for intermodal and automotive traffics.) The whole point is to be able to 'hold' a freight in either direction between the busy Midland Main Line and the busy Hope Valley with its long blocks. This process may well 'take some time'.

There will be no additional capacity for regular through passenger services avoiding Sheffield. These would completely defeat the purpose of the chord lengthening.
Absolutely! Freight traffic is very much the driver of this scheme.

It would be totally incompatible to operate a reliable passenger service round the chord when it's function is to hold long stone or cement trains to be regulated into traffic flows on both routes. They may be stopped there for unpredictably long periods, trapped by late running of services across the country. .
 

Kaydee

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At the moment, Manchester to Nottingham is just short of two hours (which includes around five minutes of reversing at Sheffield, plus around six minutes travelling time in each direction from the Dore triangle to/from Sheffield). So you could get it down to around 1h40, if you could find paths in the Hope and Erewash valleys that matched up fairly well without having to sit on the south chord at Dore whilst waiting for a path.

That'd take the distance down from 84 miles to 76 miles, which is a bit more than the fifty eight miles "as the crow flies" but shorter than the way Google Maps suggests you drive (80.9mi via junction 35a of the M1).

So it'd make Manchester - Nottingham more competitive, but... what market is there? It's a long way for daily commuters (the 1h40 best case scenario mentioned above is comparable to Nottingham's journey time to London). There's not a lot of large intermediate places (Chesterfield, sure, but it's more of a Sheffield commuter place than travelling to Manchester/ Nottingham - I accept that the saving in journey time would make Chesterfield - Manchester more attractive than the current service is - maybe an hour from Chesterfield to Manchester)

And these times are based on not picking up any additional stops between Manchester and Chesterfield - e.g. you might find that this "new" path has demand for stops from people in Hazel Grove or some of the Hope Valley stations, which would remove some of the time saving).

Assuming of course that there are more paths at the Manchester end - part of the problem that Manchester has is the assortment of hourly services that clutter up its junctions - so I'd be nervous about adding even more paths into central Manchester (maybe the plan for an additional Hope Valley service would be something like an extension of Piccadilly - New Mills services (but then you'd end up with a situation where Nottingham replaced it's 1h55 service to Manchester (via Sheffield) with a 1h55 service to Manchester (that stops at several stations between Chinley and Piccadilly instead).

I'm not particularly against it (as long as Sheffield retained two "fast" trains per hour to both Manchester and Nottingham), I'm just not particularly for it either - it seems that a Manchester - Sheffield - Nottingham service ticks three boxes (Manchester to Sheffield, Sheffield to Nottingham, Manchester to Nottingham), whereas a "direct" Manchester - Nottingham service provides less benefit without being a *huge* time saving. By the same token, XC could divert their Edinburgh - Plymouth trains to avoid various intermediate stations to shave off a few minutes for Edinburgh - Plymouth passengers but by removing lots of intermediate links. We'd be better to focus resources on lengthening existing services IMHO.
For information, in 1989 when Regional Railways introduced the Norwich - Nottingham - Liverpool route a few trips used the Dore curve to avoid Sheffield. Typical Nottingham - Manchester Piccadilly timings via the curve were 1hr 45mins - including a detour via Derby (fastest journey time Derby - Manchester 1hr 26min, try bearing that today!). Sheffield passengers were also catered for by a two-hourly Nottingham - Manchester - Blackpool working (which incidentally included some 1hr timings Oxford Road to Blackpol North). Operated by 158s of course, and before more recent line speed improvements and electrification!
 

Killingworth

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For information, in 1989 when Regional Railways introduced the Norwich - Nottingham - Liverpool route a few trips used the Dore curve to avoid Sheffield. Typical Nottingham - Manchester Piccadilly timings via the curve were 1hr 45mins - including a detour via Derby (fastest journey time Derby - Manchester 1hr 26min, try bearing that today!). Sheffield passengers were also catered for by a two-hourly Nottingham - Manchester - Blackpool working (which incidentally included some 1hr timings Oxford Road to Blackpol North). Operated by 158s of course, and before more recent line speed improvements and electrification!
Until 1985 the curve was twin track. The option to redouble was not pursued for this project, a complication not required by the specification that originally required 4 fast paths between Sheffiekd and Manchester.

The growth in the rate of limestone extraction since the 1980s has changed the balance of needs. Longer freight trains mean there don't need to be as many but they need places to wait for gaps in the overall traffic. The passenger timetable as operated pre-Covid included many more services than in 1989. Balancing future priorities post-Covid will inevitably bring changes - one of which might be the need for a third fast train when the stoppers are recovering better!
 

furnessvale

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Absolutely! Freight traffic is very much the driver of this scheme.

It would be totally incompatible to operate a reliable passenger service round the chord when it's function is to hold long stone or cement trains to be regulated into traffic flows on both routes. They may be stopped there for unpredictably long periods, trapped by late running of services across the country. .
I sincerely hope not. Even stone trains have a value and need to keep to timetable.

If passenger trains run late they should take the hit just as a late running freight has to do.

If the purpose of the Hope Valley scheme is to be able to put freights away and forget about them, I have suddenly gone against it.
 

Killingworth

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I sincerely hope not. Even stone trains have a value and need to keep to timetable.

If passenger trains run late they should take the hit just as a late running freight has to do.

If the purpose of the Hope Valley scheme is to be able to put freights away and forget about them, I have suddenly gone against it.
Exactly, indeed they do need to keep to time. Some can run an hour or more early along the route. The availability of loops makes forward progress possible to ensure they're more likely to reach final destinations on time.

Running passenger trains even 5 minutes early to take advantage of available capacity isn't a normal option. It often is with freight. Just check the timings of those trains arriving and leaving Buxton and Earles.
 
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WestRiding

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I sincerely hope not. Even stone trains have a value and need to keep to timetable.

If passenger trains run late they should take the hit just as a late running freight has to do.

If the purpose of the Hope Valley scheme is to be able to put freights away and forget about them, I have suddenly gone against it.
From a Signalling point of view, we certainly do not use loops to put freight away and forget. But it would be stupid to even think about running a 2000t stone train off Dore South when a Class 1 is leaving or even pulling into Sheffield. The only way that happens now, is if, the back end of it trailing out over Dore West with something up its rear on the Valley, and the interlocking prevents us from stopping a freight at Dore South and running a train on the DN Main, across the front of it, due to the proximity of the signal on the curve to the main line.
 
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Ianno87

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From a Signalling point of view, we certainly do not use loops to put freight away and forget. But it would be stupid to even think about running a 2000t stone train off Dore South when a Class 1 is leaving or even pulling into Sheffield. The only way that happens now, is if, the back end it trailing out over Dore West with something up its rear on the Valley, and the interlocking prevents us from stopping a freight at Dore South and running a train on the DN Main, across the front of it, due to the proximity of the signal on the curve to the main line.

Presumably, in the event of a major problem on the network somewhere, the relative proximity of Dore south to Earles Sidings/Chinley mean that a freight train would either simply not leave the origin, or you'd just get it out of the way to Earles sidings as soon as practical, rather than sit it on the curve for an extended period of time for convenience sake?
 

WestRiding

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Presumably, in the event of a major problem on the network somewhere, the relative proximity of Dore south to Earles Sidings/Chinley mean that a freight train would either simply not leave the origin, or you'd just get it out of the way to Earles sidings as soon as practical, rather than sit it on the curve for an extended period of time for convenience sake?
Again, as long as its not right in front of an express. More urgent if it hangs out over Dore South, blocking traffic from Chesterfield to Sheffield.
 

Llandudno

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Personally I think three trains per hour, 2 fast and one slow is sufficient between Sheffield and Manchester but to provide much needed capacity longer trains/more seats need to be provided.

What are the longest/highest seating capacity trains that can be provided on the line based on the existing infrastructure and stopping patterns?

Sheffield - Manchester, all stations Northern stopper
Cleethorpes - Airport, TPE fast
Norwich - Liverpool, EMR fast

Are there any short platform implications for any of the ‘fast’ trains that occasionally call at intermediate stations?
 

Tomnick

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From a Signalling point of view, we certainly do not use loops to put freight away and forget. But it would be stupid to even think about running a 2000t stone train off Dore South when a Class 1 is leaving or even pulling into Sheffield. The only way that happens now, is if, the back end of it trailing out over Dore West with something up its rear on the Valley, and the interlocking prevents us from stopping a freight at Dore South and running a train on the DN Main, across the front of it, due to the proximity of the signal on the curve to the main line.
Whilst I fully appreciate that you’re often in an impossible situation with freights coming off the Hope Valley in particular (having spent more than a few minutes in total sitting at Totley Tunnel East’s Up Home signal!)...

On one occasion, I was stopped at S50 (?) signal, on the Up Main opposite Dore station, with a class 1 train. A minute or so after stopping at the signal, I was told that I’d been stopped there to allow one of the aforementioned heavy freight trains out in front of me. Bearing in mind the time taken to ‘defensively’ trundle up towards the signal, relatively poorly sighted as it is, the freight was only just crawling around the curve as I was being told this. We’d previously been seven minutes late into and out of Sheffield, and this resulted in a further delay of nearly twenty minutes, a part cancellation (as it was then so late), missed connections for passengers and all the rest. That was down to ARS, apparently. I don’t know how much reliance is placed on the computer for those awkward regulating decisions (perhaps out of necessity if you’ve got your hands full trying to sort the station out at the same time?) but it’s certainly my perception that it’s generally still nowhere near as effective as an experienced signalman whenever anything’s even slightly out of course.
 

WestRiding

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Probably because a train was behind the late freight, unable to get into Dore Station. And possibly because a train stood at S48 stops traffic passing on the Down Main. Can't please every train in every circumstance. Sometimes we have a train wanting to use each side of the triangle at the same time. As for experience, I've worked Sheffield PSB and now Sheffield at York, since 2005. You are very much mistaken if you believe it worked better at Sheffield PSB. It was the same track layout and same problems.
 

jfollows

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At the moment, Manchester to Nottingham is just short of two hours (which includes around five minutes of reversing at Sheffield, plus around six minutes travelling time in each direction from the Dore triangle to/from Sheffield). So you could get it down to around 1h40, if you could find paths in the Hope and Erewash valleys that matched up fairly well without having to sit on the south chord at Dore whilst waiting for a path.

That'd take the distance down from 84 miles to 76 miles, which is a bit more than the fifty eight miles "as the crow flies" but shorter than the way Google Maps suggests you drive (80.9mi via junction 35a of the M1).

So it'd make Manchester - Nottingham more competitive, but... what market is there? It's a long way for daily commuters (the 1h40 best case scenario mentioned above is comparable to Nottingham's journey time to London). There's not a lot of large intermediate places (Chesterfield, sure, but it's more of a Sheffield commuter place than travelling to Manchester/ Nottingham - I accept that the saving in journey time would make Chesterfield - Manchester more attractive than the current service is - maybe an hour from Chesterfield to Manchester)

And these times are based on not picking up any additional stops between Manchester and Chesterfield - e.g. you might find that this "new" path has demand for stops from people in Hazel Grove or some of the Hope Valley stations, which would remove some of the time saving).

Assuming of course that there are more paths at the Manchester end - part of the problem that Manchester has is the assortment of hourly services that clutter up its junctions - so I'd be nervous about adding even more paths into central Manchester (maybe the plan for an additional Hope Valley service would be something like an extension of Piccadilly - New Mills services (but then you'd end up with a situation where Nottingham replaced it's 1h55 service to Manchester (via Sheffield) with a 1h55 service to Manchester (that stops at several stations between Chinley and Piccadilly instead).

I'm not particularly against it (as long as Sheffield retained two "fast" trains per hour to both Manchester and Nottingham), I'm just not particularly for it either - it seems that a Manchester - Sheffield - Nottingham service ticks three boxes (Manchester to Sheffield, Sheffield to Nottingham, Manchester to Nottingham), whereas a "direct" Manchester - Nottingham service provides less benefit without being a *huge* time saving. By the same token, XC could divert their Edinburgh - Plymouth trains to avoid various intermediate stations to shave off a few minutes for Edinburgh - Plymouth passengers but by removing lots of intermediate links. We'd be better to focus resources on lengthening existing services IMHO.
Manchester-Nottingham is hard, I agree.
When I moved to Manchester in 1996, within walking distance of Manchester Oxford Road station, I needed to go to Nottingham to see my manager once every couple of months.
I tended to drive, because I enjoyed the drive - I didn't use the main roads, I went via Cat & Fiddle/Wirksworth/Crich and there wasn't bad traffic.
The trains were slow and busy and not especially comfortable. The same trains operate today, more than 20 years later!
I was on expenses and had a company car so cost wasn't relevant.
If my experience is anything to go by, there isn't much of a market, I'm keen on travelling by train and it was a door-to-door journey then, and I still chose to drive.
 

Tomnick

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Probably because a train was behind the late freight, unable to get into Dore Station. And possibly because a train stood at S48 stops traffic passing on the Down Main. Can't please every train in every circumstance. Sometimes we have a train wanting to use each side of the triangle at the same time. As for experience, I've worked Sheffield PSB and now Sheffield at York, since 2005. You are very much mistaken if you believe it worked better at Sheffield PSB. It was the same track layout and same problems.
No criticism of you or your colleagues intended - apologies if it came across that way. As I said, I appreciate (probably more than most!) that it's often an impossible situation for you. Given a clear run in this example though, we'd have been well on the way down the hill through Dronfield before the freight was even across Dore West - the signalman in that example was very keen to point out that it was the ARS that had decided to run the freight first! I'm genuinely curious as to how much reliance is placed on ARS in that situation and whether you'd generally leave it to get on with it as opposed to intervening to make the decisions yourself.
 

WestRiding

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No criticism of you or your colleagues intended - apologies if it came across that way. As I said, I appreciate (probably more than most!) that it's often an impossible situation for you. Given a clear run in this example though, we'd have been well on the way down the hill through Dronfield before the freight was even across Dore West - the signalman in that example was very keen to point out that it was the ARS that had decided to run the freight first! I'm genuinely curious as to how much reliance is placed on ARS in that situation and whether you'd generally leave it to get on with it as opposed to intervening to make the decisions yourself.
I suppose its easy to be dealing with a problem at Meadowhall for example and then miss what tricks the ARS is upto at Dore. I try not mentioning ARS to a driver as to me it seems a rather lame excuse, but it can get missed. For example, we control Dronfield, yet could be dealing with turn backs at Meadowhall or whatever. No offence taken, two very different jobs. Good to get a perspective of both.
 

Killingworth

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Probably because a train was behind the late freight, unable to get into Dore Station. And possibly because a train stood at S48 stops traffic passing on the Down Main. Can't please every train in every circumstance. Sometimes we have a train wanting to use each side of the triangle at the same time. As for experience, I've worked Sheffield PSB and now Sheffield at York, since 2005. You are very much mistaken if you believe it worked better at Sheffield PSB. It was the same track layout and same problems.
Living close to this bottleneck I can envisage the signallers nightmare dealing with the build up described by Tomnick. That freight train would have had to wait for the corresponding Norwich-Liverpool to clear Dore West. It might then have been held by northbound traffic on the MML by which time it would be holding the Northern stopper and the following TPE.

If the new loop/chord had been in place the freight would probably have been held there and in a better position to progress forward as soon as a gap opened, possibly held until after Tomnick had passed towards Dronfield.

Events like this happen several times every week!
 

Rail Ranger

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It's ludicrous that the interlocking doesn't allow a train to be signalled on the down Midland main line if a train is standing on the curve at Dore South Junction. Any plans to move signal S48 further away from the main line as part of the impending resignalling?
 

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