How did Skipton/Ilkley get electric trains?

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daniel3982

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Was it a pilot project to see how electrification could be rolled out in the North or was it the government throwing a bit of money toward one of their constituencies?

I know that it was done on the cheap meaning 225s can't draw power but if you compare the service to Skipton and Ilkley from Leeds and Bradford with those out of say Manchester then it's probably one of the best commuter services in the North.

Would be great if we eventually saw electrification rolled out across the Pennines through the Calder Valley line and linking the likes of Blackburn and Burnley to Manchester in the same way.
 
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Lampshade

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225s can be used now, it was upgraded last year.

The Manchester area got the Metrolink, plus electrification of Manchester - Liverpool has already commenced.
 

185

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Mostly political I reckon. It under a tory governement in 1994 when the wires went up and there were a lot of marginal tory constituencies on the Ilkley & Skipton routes.
 

hwl

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Mostly political I reckon. It under a tory governement in 1994 when the wires went up and there were a lot of marginal tory constituencies on the Ilkley & Skipton routes.
A certain former chancellor's country home near Ilkley by any chance???
 

tbtc

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For the same reasons as the North Berwick branch - it was a fairly simple "add on" to the ECML electrification, the lines are essentially self contained (if you exclude the DMUs to Settle/ Carlisle/ Lancaster).

If the lines hadn't been wired around twenty years ago then the reality is that they'd still be DMU run today - you either get your line included as part of the bigger scheme or wait a generation for your next chance to be electrified.
 

JoeGJ1984

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A similar situation is the line from Manchester Piccadilly to Glossop/Hadfield - when was this done? Most of the other local lines in the area are unelectrified and it seems that it should have been possible to wire the lines to Rose Hill and Marple at the same time (how come they didn't?).

And I think the Cross-City line through Birmingham was wired about the same time (early 1990s). One wonders why then the line from Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley was not also electrified why they were at it, or the line to Shrewsbury (which covers most of the commuter lines from Birmingham New Street), or even the 'core' central section of the Snow Hill lines (from Worcester to Shirley/Solihull).
 

sprinterguy

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A similar situation is the line from Manchester Piccadilly to Glossop/Hadfield - when was this done? Most of the other local lines in the area are unelectrified and it seems that it should have been possible to wire the lines to Rose Hill and Marple at the same time (how come they didn't?).
The Hadfield and Glossop line is the remaining stub of the Western end of the Woodhead route, so it was electrified along with the rest of the Woodhead in the mid fifties. The Rose Hill and Marple lines had no connection with the Woodhead line.

And I think the Cross-City line through Birmingham was wired about the same time (early 1990s). One wonders why then the line from Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley was not also electrified why they were at it, or the line to Shrewsbury (which covers most of the commuter lines from Birmingham New Street), or even the 'core' central section of the Snow Hill lines (from Worcester to Shirley/Solihull).
The Cross City line electrification coincided with the withdrawal of the first gen DMUs that had previously operated the route, so it was a convenient time to introduce new electric stock on the line with electrification. The Snow Hill lines got their fleet of 150s at about the same time (Actually slightly earlier, in 1991 I think) to replace the slam door stock there, which was a cheaper solution than electrification to provide new trains.

I'm not sure however why the Chase line wasn't included in the Cross City line electrification. I can only guess that it was in order to keep the cost of the project fairly cheap.
 

tbtc

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A similar situation is the line from Manchester Piccadilly to Glossop/Hadfield - when was this done?
That was part of the "Woodhead" line, so was already electrified (albeit to a different arrangement - 1,500 volts direct current).

When the line closed east of Hadfield, the infrastructure was already in place for it to be converted to 25 kV alternating current.

If it weren't for that, it may well still be diesel run today.
 

4SRKT

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Mostly political I reckon. It under a tory governement in 1994 when the wires went up and there were a lot of marginal tory constituencies on the Ilkley & Skipton routes.
Only Shipley really. Which was Tory in 1994 anyway: remember Sir Marcus Fox? Bradford North, Leeds North West and Keighley all Labour. The town of Ilkley is in the Keighley constituency so stuck with what its larger neighbour votes for. Rather like Shipley getting lumbered with bloody tories because the combined might of the reactionary forces of Bingley, Menston, Burley in Wharfedale and all the 'nicer' Bradford villages to the north west of the city outweigh those of us in the town itself.

I doubt the PTE would give a stuff about such matters anyway. It certainly wouldn't care who the Craven MP was covering the bit of North Yorkshire that Skipton is in. I would imagine the PTE would have liked to halt the electrification at Keighley (a much bigger town than SKipton), but from an operational POV this would be difficult.

Personally I'd like to see the turnback facilities at Keighley restored and a more intensive service operated as far as there, at the expense of just an hourly service to Skipton from each of Bradford and Leeds. I guess this would be very difficult to path through Shipley though.
 

JoeGJ1984

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I'm not sure however why the Chase line wasn't included in the Cross City line electrification. I can only guess that it was in order to keep the cost of the project fairly cheap.
When did they electrify the cross-city line to Walsall? And why didn't they extend the electrification all the way to Rugeley Trent Valley while they were at it?
 

sprinterguy

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When did they electrify the cross-city line to Walsall? And why didn't they extend the electrification all the way to Rugeley Trent Valley while they were at it?
Birmingham to Walsall was electrified at the same time as the rest of the WCML through Birmingham in 1967, along with the freight route from Stechford - Aston - Bescot - Wolverhampton, which is of course used by the Walsall electric services between Aston and Bescot.

Additionally, I've only just remembered that the Chase line is a relatively recent reopening: At the time of the Cross City electrification, the route was only in passenger use between Walsall and Hednesford and had only reopened a couple of years earlier in 1989. Patronage at the time would probably not have been deemed sufficient to warrant electrification.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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Birmingham to Walsall was electrified at the same time as the rest of the WCML through Birmingham in 1967, along with the freight route from Stechford - Aston - Bescot - Wolverhampton, which is of course used by the Walsall electric services between Aston and Bescot.

Additionally, I've only just remembered that the Chase line is a relatively recent reopening: At the time of the Cross City electrification, the route was only in passenger use between Walsall and Hednesford and had only reopened a couple of years earlier in 1989. Patronage at the time would probably not have been deemed sufficient to warrant electrification.
The 1967 "plan" included what is now the Chase Line , but due to cost escalalation elsewhere on WCML - a line was drawn through this , as well as the retention of many of the older signal boxes on the mid section north of Nuneaton to Crewe. There would have been an EMU depot at Rycroft. Apart from bridge clearances done in the preliminary sections - not much remains.

The line will be resignalled shortly , and line speed improved. Still an option for a few years away.
 

CaptainHaddock

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That was part of the "Woodhead" line, so was already electrified (albeit to a different arrangement - 1,500 volts direct current).

When the line closed east of Hadfield, the infrastructure was already in place for it to be converted to 25 kV alternating current.

If it weren't for that, it may well still be diesel run today.


Why couldn't the whole of the Woodhead line have been converted to 25kV? I always thought the reason for closure was because it was "the wrong type of electricity" so how did they just change it at seemingly minimal cost from Hadfield westwards?
 

John55

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Why couldn't the whole of the Woodhead line have been converted to 25kV? I always thought the reason for closure was because it was "the wrong type of electricity" so how did they just change it at seemingly minimal cost from Hadfield westwards?
It could easily been changed to 25kV. However the traffic that used the route had gone so it shut. The GMPTE et al wanted the passenger service to remain so that was kept and converted.

You might like to think about this; at the time the decision was to either close Woodhead or Hope Valley not just whether to keep Woodhead open.
 

ainsworth74

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I always thought the reason for closure was because it was "the wrong type of electricity" so how did they just change it at seemingly minimal cost from Hadfield westwards?
No it was more to do with the loss of traffic than the 'wrong type of electrikery'. Passenger services were withdrawn first as the Woodhead was seen as being a duplication of the Hope Valley Line but it stayed open as it was a vital artery for the cross-Pennine shipment of coal. However once that started to collapse you were left with the route having basically no freight and there was no reason to reintroduce passenger services (as the Hope Valley line could happily cope with the demand) so the whole thing was shut down (apart from the stump at the Manchester end).
 

CaptainHaddock

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No it was more to do with the loss of traffic than the 'wrong type of electrikery'. Passenger services were withdrawn first as the Woodhead was seen as being a duplication of the Hope Valley Line but it stayed open as it was a vital artery for the cross-Pennine shipment of coal. However once that started to collapse you were left with the route having basically no freight and there was no reason to reintroduce passenger services (as the Hope Valley line could happily cope with the demand) so the whole thing was shut down (apart from the stump at the Manchester end).
Ah, if only they'd known at the time about the Sheffield supertram! We could have had a fast and frequent tram service from Penistone to Sheffield via Deepcar and Wadsley Bridge!
 

Eagle

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Additionally, I've only just remembered that the Chase line is a relatively recent reopening: At the time of the Cross City electrification, the route was only in passenger use between Walsall and Hednesford and had only reopened a couple of years earlier in 1989. Patronage at the time would probably not have been deemed sufficient to warrant electrification.
Indeed, the section from Hednesford to Rugeley didn't open until a couple of years after privatization.
 

34D

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I would imagine the PTE would have liked to halt the electrification at Keighley (a much bigger town than SKipton), but from an operational POV this would be difficult.

Personally I'd like to see the turnback facilities at Keighley restored and a more intensive service operated as far as there, at the expense of just an hourly service to Skipton from each of Bradford and Leeds. I guess this would be very difficult to path through Shipley though.
Is the crossover immediately west of Keighley station wired? I seem to recall it is.
 

9K43

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To answer your question.
At this time in 1993, traincrew at HM had to learn all the routes from Doncater, all the way upto Neville Hill incl Leeds City Station, and as far as Skipton, Bradford Foster Sq, and up the Ilkley Branch for the elctrification trains starting at Donny.

We signed on at 17:45hrs to travel by van to The Electrification Depot at Doncaster.
There was 3 sets of men on these jobs eg driver, Secondman and guard, as there was 3 trains to work. The traction was clapped out class 31's.
We left Donny at 20:00hrs and went to anywhere in the in the electrification area.
Our Relief signed on at 00:15 hrs to come to all points of the compass relieve us.
These men then worked the train as required till 05:00hrs when the possesions had to be given up.
The men took the trains via Wakefield Kirkgate back to Donny.
We were then booked back to Wakefield Westgate on the 06:20hrs stopper back to Wakfield.
As usual we alway missed this train and had to ride back on the 07:20hrs.
At Westgate we were picked up by the HM van back to the Mill.
These jobs ran for about 3 years.
The locomotives were changed to Class 47's and the 31's were taken off the trains.
If you were up for it, there was bags of rest days and Sundays to be worked.
At this time the signalmen were on strike Nationally
And that is how the electrification of The Leeds area happened.
The first train I went on was a 00:15hrs upto Leeds City Station.
This was Wednesday, 12th of May 1993.
 

themiller

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If my memory serves, the Aire and Wharfdale lines were electrified instead of the local authority having to contribute to the construction of the Bingley by-pass in a fit of green transport fervour. Thus the cost to the railway was reduced by the council's contribution but being designed to power only EMUs to keep costs low. The by-pass has subsequently been built but at least there was an electrified railway to upgrade to accommodate locos thanks to the decisions made all those years ago by a progressive council.
 

Old Yard Dog

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Was it a pilot project to see how electrification could be rolled out in the North or was it the government throwing a bit of money toward one of their constituencies?

I know that it was done on the cheap meaning 225s can't draw power but if you compare the service to Skipton and Ilkley from Leeds and Bradford with those out of say Manchester then it's probably one of the best commuter services in the North.

Would be great if we eventually saw electrification rolled out across the Pennines through the Calder Valley line and linking the likes of Blackburn and Burnley to Manchester in the same way.

One of the main reasons was to allow through electric services to run from London to Bradford (Forster Sq), the tenth biggest city in England. These have since been whittled down from four trains a day to just one - and as a consequence Grand Central now run a competing service from Bradford Interchange.

Both services take well over 40 minutes to do the 14 miles (as the crow flies) to Wakefield. Electrification east of Leeds to the ECML would remove the need to reverse at Leeds and speed up journey times from Bradford and Skipton to the capital.
 

Welshman

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Both services take well over 40 minutes to do the 14 miles (as the crow flies) to Wakefield. Electrification east of Leeds to the ECML would remove the need to reverse at Leeds and speed up journey times from Bradford and Skipton to the capital.
But would it, really?

Leeds-Doncaster via Hambleton takes the same time[about 30 minutes] as the present route via Wakefield.

EC should be able to reverse a train in Leeds in 5 minutes, and presumably would need at least 2 minutes to load if not reversing, so that's a 3 minute saving and the loss of Wakefield traffic!
 

Tim R-T-C

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I presume the wait at Leeds for the London - Skipton train (currently 10 minutes scheduled) is primarily to allow for the fact that 90% of passengers will be de-training at Leeds and secondly a degree of lag time to avoid missing the time slot on the busy Leeds to Shipley leg.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Mostly political I reckon. It under a tory government in 1994 when the wires went up and there were a lot of marginal tory constituencies on the Ilkley & Skipton routes.
Ilkley became a fashionable spa town in the 19th century and has always, since those days, been a place to where socio-economic groups A and B would gravitate. Look at the type of shopping facilities afforded there and a good mark of Yorkshire "poshness" is to be found where a "Betty's Tea Room" is situated....there is such an establishment in Ilkley, York and Harrogate. This is why the Conservatives have a presence in that area.

Electric traction certainly helps those financial sector managerial staff who reside in Ilkley and commute to their offices in the financial sector that is so strongly represented in Leeds.
 

MidnightFlyer

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Electric traction certainly helps those financial sector managerial staff who reside in Ilkley and commute to their offices in the financial sector that is so strongly represented in Leeds.
I fail to see how the two are linked - Harrogate, like Ilkley is well-to-do Yorkshire town with 2tph to Leeds. However, Ilkley has EMU services, and Harrogate DMU - are you suggesting that EMUs somehow make commuting more common, or increases a town's popularity?
 

Bevan Price

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I fail to see how the two are linked - Harrogate, like Ilkley is well-to-do Yorkshire town with 2tph to Leeds. However, Ilkley has EMU services, and Harrogate DMU - are you suggesting that EMUs somehow make commuting more common, or increases a town's popularity?
Harrogate might possibly have been included in the electrification scheme - but it is outside the West Yorkshire PTE area, so there was nobody willing to provide the necessary funds. For potential commuters, an emu service is more likely to get people out of cars than a bouncy journey in an overcrowded Pacer.
 
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