Hope Valley Capacity Scheme updates

edwin_m

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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?
Is this actually true whenever a train is standing at S48, or is it an overlap that will time out and free the route after a period that indicates the train approaching it must have come to a stand or almost so?
 
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Tomnick

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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.
Thanks, and indeed. I certainly wouldn't consider it a lame excuse, even more so if it's all kicking off elsewhere on the panel. Personally, I'd love to see more mutual improvement between the two grades, regular cab rides for signalmen and box visits for drivers. The recent discussion about leaving Sheffield on a single yellow on the Up highlighted that for me!
 

WestRiding

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Is this actually true whenever a train is standing at S48, or is it an overlap that will time out and free the route after a period that indicates the train approaching it must have come to a stand or almost so?
Yes. Its true. I work it. A train cannot stand at s48 to then let a train pass on the Down Main. On the panel, the overlap will drop out visually, but the interlocking will still not allow the Down Main to be set past Dore South Junction. The only way this can happen is by way of an emergency release, for emergency use only, if a train has failed at S48 for example, but we need a guarantee from the driver at s48 that no movement will be made, and to advise the driver that trains will be passing on the Down Main. Its a written rule too, in the panels Signal Box Special Instructions. S48, is really close to the mainline. Like I said, that process is for emergency use only. S48 is not a place we can/or are allowed to stand a train when traffic needs to pass on the down. And the other problem, the emergency release has been out of use for the last 3 years anyway.

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?
Yes, I believe it will get a standard length overlap that gets rid of this problem.
 

Killingworth

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What this example highlights is the need for action in several areas, but mostly the need for the two new loops and signalling.

Whenever aggregates leave the Buxton quarries to head east they have to cross westbound traffic on the Hope Valley line at Chinley.. Cement from Earles is the same as it crosses west of Hope. Then they have to fit in with the eastbound passenger services. These freights are then trapped with no place to hide until approaching Sheffiekd if going north - but nowhere to hide if going south.

I can easily imagine a heavy load of limestone being delayed exit from Buxton by a late running EMR eastbound service. Once released it would be followed by the Northern stopper and TPE fast. Being out of its scheduled path that lumbering freight is now going to be a nightmare to control.

However, if the two loops were present, with up to date signalling, it might have been possible to hold that train to allow congestion to clear.

The reason the EMR train was late at Chinley was possibly at the root of a lengthening chain of delays. The Hope Valley scheme can't resolve that, be it the Castlefield curse, or maybe back in Warrington or Liverpool.
 

Killingworth

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Feature article of 4 pages, 68-71, in June issue of Modern Railways about the scheme.

Volker/Story jackets are already in evidence around the sites and neighbours have been warned that detailed investigation and preparatory works may start in June. The major construction contract is 15 months April 2022 - September 2023.

The additional paragraph "Following in Ferdinand's Footsteps" overlooks the fact that the Dore chord/loop is designed to serve freight trains between the Hope Valley and MML. If that was to be restored as double track it might have been possible to plan a reliable restored Rio service. It's not in the scheme and without it would just create a new bottleneck.
 
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BrianW

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Probably a 'dumb' question at this point (over 800 posts from 2018)-
Was a cost-benefit assessment carried out to compare a two-track south-west chord and/or storage/ overtaking loops at some appropriate location?
I can see benefit in getting something done at least to which more can be added or changes made at a later date; important to avoid charges of 'goldplating';)
Investment deferred is money 'saved'?
 

Killingworth

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Probably a 'dumb' question at this point (over 800 posts from 2018)-
Was a cost-benefit assessment carried out to compare a two-track south-west chord and/or storage/ overtaking loops at some appropriate location?
I can see benefit in getting something done at least to which more can be added or changes made at a later date; important to avoid charges of 'goldplating';)
Investment deferred is money 'saved'?
The tracks through Dore and round the chord were singled in 1985. Plans for redoubling have been prepared, shelved, revised, shelved again, changed, reviewed, put to one side, revised, expanded and delayed so many times that the original brief bears little relationship to what emerges. Add in Covid after effects and how it gets used may change again.

Decide to run a new bus route and it can be done in months, at most. It may take decades to make changes to rail routes! Here on the Hope Valley line we'd really like to get a reliable hourly stopping service that doesn't have haphazard gaps of 2 hours and more to avoid freight services.
 
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_toommm_

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The tracks through Dore and round the chord were singled in 1985. Plans for redoubling have been prepared, shelved, revised, shelved again, changed, reviewed, put to one side, revised, expanded and delayed so many times that the original brief bears little relationship to what emerges. Add in Covid after effects and how it gets used may change again.

Decide to run a new bus route and it can be done in months, at most. It may take decades to make changes to rail routes! Here on the Hope Valley line we'd really like to get a reliable hourly stopping service that doesn't have haohazard gaps of 2 hours and more to avoid freight services.

Perhaps once the rail network is ‘nationalised’, GBR can look at removing the freight paths which are only activated once in a blue moon to avoid wasted paths.
 

Killingworth

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Perhaps once the rail network is ‘nationalised’, GBR can look at removing the freight paths which are only activated once in a blue moon to avoid wasted paths.
So true. The 13.14 out of Sheffield sails through Dore & Totley and I've never seen the freight paths used that apparently block it. That leaves a 2 hour gap from 12.14 until 14.14. It's actually quicker to catch the 13.14 to Grindleford, have coffee at the station cafe and catch the eastbound train to Dore than waiting for the 14.14 - which is that incoming train to Sheffiekd after it has reversed in Sheffield!
 

BrianW

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The tracks through Dore and round the chord were singled in 1985. Plans for redoubling have been prepared, shelved, revised, shelved again, changed, reviewed, put to one side, revised, expanded and delayed so many times that the original brief bears little relationship to what emerges. Add in Covid after effects and how it gets used may change again.

Decide to run a new bus route and it can be done in months, at most. It may take decades to make changes to rail routes! Here on the Hope Valley line we'd really like to get a reliable hourly stopping service that doesn't have haphazard gaps of 2 hours and more to avoid freight services.
The Williams-Shapps Review picks up on this as a general point. Indecision and 'gold-plating' and unfavourable comparison with other organisations. Operation SPEED is intended to get on top of such matters! One wonders ... Lack of cash (and commitment) will continue to demand that money is spent (invested?) in the places of greatest benefit. Maybe if such benefits are presented and seen to extend to 'blue wall' seats- a cynic may think?
 

The Planner

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Perhaps once the rail network is ‘nationalised’, GBR can look at removing the freight paths which are only activated once in a blue moon to avoid wasted paths.
It can be done now if there is the appetite for it, part J of the network code facilitates it.
 

Killingworth

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It can be done now if there is the appetite for it, part J of the network code facilitates it.
But who pushes to get it facilitated? Northern's Sheffield-Manchester route starts in their Eastern Region but the service in reality is an extension of their Central Region's New Mills route and is operated from Manchester. For Stakeholder affairs Central cover as far as Edale, Eastern to Hope. The east side from New Mills can be overlooked by both regions.

That 13.14 from Sheffield has been brought up with both over several years and always gets the same response, FOCs won't give up the paths. Regular rail users aren't familiar with part J of the Network Code. Are TOCs aware how it can be applied? Seems it is what we've long suspected, no appetite to take it on. Too late now as its suggested it can all be resolved by December 2023 when the new layout is operational, all being well.
 

furnessvale

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Perhaps once the rail network is ‘nationalised’, GBR can look at removing the freight paths which are only activated once in a blue moon to avoid wasted paths.
Perhaps we can do the same for lightly used passenger trains blocking paths that could be used by valuable freights. Locations like Felixstowe spring to mind.

ps Freight from the Peak District quarries is set to double within the next few years so all those paths will be needed.
 
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palmersears

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The amount of freight out of the Peak District quarries has already increased dramatically over the last 6 months or so, even if most is just using paths that already exist. HS2 progression will only add to this demand. It'll be interesting to see how any increase beyond the current pathing is interwoven with passenger workings (if at all!).
 

furnessvale

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The amount of freight out of the Peak District quarries has already increased dramatically over the last 6 months or so, even if most is just using paths that already exist. HS2 progression will only add to this demand. It'll be interesting to see how any increase beyond the current pathing is interwoven with passenger workings (if at all!).
Exactly my point. Paths which are currently virtually unused will, in the not too distant future, see regular use.
 

The Planner

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But who pushes to get it facilitated? Northern's Sheffield-Manchester route starts in their Eastern Region but the service in reality is an extension of their Central Region's New Mills route and is operated from Manchester. For Stakeholder affairs Central cover as far as Edale, Eastern to Hope. The east side from New Mills can be overlooked by both regions.

That 13.14 from Sheffield has been brought up with both over several years and always gets the same response, FOCs won't give up the paths. Regular rail users aren't familiar with part J of the Network Code. Are TOCs aware how it can be applied? Seems it is what we've long suspected, no appetite to take it on. Too late now as its suggested it can all be resolved by December 2023 when the new layout is operational, all being well.
Of course they are, TOCs always tended to be better versed in the Network Code and how to play it. Its a two way process.
 

Llandudno

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So true. The 13.14 out of Sheffield sails through Dore & Totley and I've never seen the freight paths used that apparently block it. That leaves a 2 hour gap from 12.14 until 14.14. It's actually quicker to catch the 13.14 to Grindleford, have coffee at the station cafe and catch the eastbound train to Dore than waiting for the 14.14 - which is that incoming train to Sheffiekd after it has reversed in Sheffield!
It’s a decent cafe though...!
 

Killingworth

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The amount of freight out of the Peak District quarries has already increased dramatically over the last 6 months or so, even if most is just using paths that already exist. HS2 progression will only add to this demand. It'll be interesting to see how any increase beyond the current pathing is interwoven with passenger workings (if at all!).
Once the new loops and configuration are complete longer trains should be able to run. Wednesday this week was a particularly busy day and many of the freight paths were used, see RTT; 24 hours at Dore West Junction, 19/05/2021 That's probably the best place to note the choke point eastbound.

Many paths are duplicated along the Hope Valley as they're used for different end points, both coming and going, so several unused paths are inevitable and expected. West Burton power station is as good as shut so there are very rare workings on those paths. A lot of paths between Tunstead and Earles link to Toton or Barrow Hill. That's because there's inadequate siding space for enough empty wagons nearer to the quarries so any not immediately needed go there and are brought in as required. Several paths are for light engine movements.

The two 'Q' paths at 13.26 every week day apparently prevent Northern's 13.14 stopper from Sheffield stopping at Dore at about 13.20. Other Northern Hope Valley skip stops can almost all be justified by freight services occasionally using the booked paths. I've never seen either of these two run, although one probably did many months ago.

Incidentally, there are a lot of paths booked going westside via Chinley. On Wednesday it seems none were used; freight paths booked through Chinley, Wednesday 19th May 2021

There seems to be a reasonable amount of available freight capacity that can still be utilised to allow potential passengers to catch trains that already run.

I'd conclude with the thought that if current fast service loadings along the Hope Valley don't improve soon there won't be justification for a third fast service. TPE are cutting some trains back from 6 to 3 car and EMR from 4 to 2! A second semi fast might fit better alongside freight service paths.
 

Freightmaster

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Incidentally, there are a lot of paths booked going westside via Chinley. On Wednesday it seems none were used; freight paths booked through Chinley, Wednesday 19th May 2021

For clarification, the reporting point for freight services is actually Chinley North Junction:





MARK
 

Killingworth

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For clarification, the reporting point for freight services is actually Chinley North Junction:





MARK
More haste less speed in my research, thanks for correction:)

However my general pont remains, there seem to be a reasonable number of unused paths into and out of the Hope Valley. Of course fitting those trains into paths elsewhere around the country is another matter.
 

Nottingham59

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A lot of paths between Tunstead and Earles link to Toton or Barrow Hill. That's because there's inadequate siding space for enough empty wagons nearer to the quarries so any not immediately needed go there and are brought in as required.
I'm confused. If Dore is such a bottleneck, why hasn't the rail industry built more sidiings nearer to the quarries? And why don't these movements happen at night?
 

palmersears

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I'm confused. If Dore is such a bottleneck, why hasn't the rail industry built more sidiings nearer to the quarries? And why don't these movements happen at night?
Toton and Barrow Hill (and Guide Bridge in the other direction) are readily available, and can be reached in under an hour or so. Why go to the extra expense of building sidings closer at what would invariably be extortionate cost, given the terrain? I'm not even sure there are any suitable locations given the geography of the valley. Potentially you could store a rake or two at Earles Sidings, but that too is busy with increasing demand to/from the cement works.

The quarries are a 24/7 operation, restricting empty wagon movements to the wee small hours would severely hamstring their capacity.

@Killingworth I do agree that there are a few paths that won't see use again. I do wonder if these are left in by the FOCs as if a flow does come up in the same locality it's then an easier sell to NR in terms of pathing if most of it already exists?
 

Bald Rick

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And why don't these movements happen at night?

Many do. But when these trains are on routes that take 7-10 hours, arriving / departing the quarry at night means being somewhere else important on the Network at peak time.
 

The Planner

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I'm confused. If Dore is such a bottleneck, why hasn't the rail industry built more sidiings nearer to the quarries? And why don't these movements happen at night?
Also factor in that not all the routes will be open at night, maintenance etc...
 

Nottingham59

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invariably be extortionate cost, given the terrain?
Not necessarily. For instance, there's at least a mile of former double track from Tunstead Quarry to Peak Forest junction, which is currently only occupied by a single line. Why can't they build a siding along that?

Toton and Barrow Hill .... are readily available, and can be reached in under an hour or so.
But these movements use up capacity, especially around Dore, or so it's claimed above. Network Rail is supposed to levy a scarcity charge for the use of congested infrastructure like Dore, but I understand they don't bother. So practices which waste scarce capacity endure.
 

BrianW

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I imagine a lot of construction-related and other material will be wanted to be delivered 'just-in-time', rather as we passengers do! Storage anywhere is a cost whether in piles or on trains in sidings or loops, and the cost of train stock and staff- all 'dead' costs.
 

Bald Rick

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I was thinking specifically of the paths between Tunstead/Earles and Toton/Barrow Hill that are used for storage of empty wagons.

And some do. But some the wagons may not be ready to be moved at night, if they have to be loaded / unloaded at certain times at the quarries. They have a limit on capacity too.
 

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