How important is the ECML?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by cactustwirly, 11 Jul 2019 at 13:06.

  1. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Mod Note: Post #1 originally in this thread.

    Saying the ECML is important is neither here nor there, how do you measure importance though?
    The ECML is overhyped because it was the route of a famous Steam train, and it has a railway museum on it.
    The most important 'artery' out of London is probably the Brighton Mainline or the South Western Mainline.
    In terms of intercity lines, I'd say the WCML was the most important, with the other 3 being roughly the same in terms of 'importance'.

    If you look at the roads, the ECML runs almost parrallel to the A1 which is a bit backwatery compared to the M1 (MML) or M6 (WCML)
     
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  3. class26

    class26 Member

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    Yes but it is the M! (proper M1) that runs to Leeds as does the ECML
     
  4. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    No doubt it’s important if one lives on it or uses it! But, seriously, it serves some important population centres - a very busy London commuter belt, a number of places not served by anything else chiefly the north-east, as well as the quickest route to Leeds and Yorkshire. I’d say on balance it’s only marginally less important than the WCML, which will always be the premier line due to serving Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, or perhaps even more importantly wider Strathclyde, West Midlands, Merseyside and Greater Manchester to put it another way.

    I don’t think it can be compared with other routes as they serve completely different flows. Only the ECML and WCML provide a route from London right up the country to and including Scotland. The MML generally serves a much more local base, although of course it wasn’t always thus.
     
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Vital. Serves darlo. Close thread.
     
  6. 800002

    800002 Member

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    Please! And save us all from the (inevitable) raft of personal opinion. ;)

    Every artery is as important as it's sibling! Without one, the rest fall over!
     
  7. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    BR certainly treated the ECML as its "flagship" line, going from steam to Deltic to HSTs to 91s in a relatively short time, whilst the WCML was in the hands of the likes of the Class 86 from the 1960s into the twenty first century. The ECML was much faster too.

    But now the other lines have caught up, the ECML no longer top dog. If I were a visitor to the UK, I'd find little to recommend the ECML south of Tweedmouth as a particularly interesting line nowadays (fast but flat and fairly boring views). From Tweedmouth to Aberdeen, though, it's one of the finest railways in the country.
     
  8. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Thats a big statement and not backed up with fact - it connects major cities all with some importance and not just because of a steam train nor a museum. Just because it may not convey as many passengers in the commuter way as the SWML nor BML it is still an important part of our railway
     
  9. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    We often hear that the WCML is one of the busiest mixed traffic railways not only in Britain but in the whole of Europe.

    On that basis I’d say it trumps the ECML for importance when combined passenger and freight flows are considered.

    Even just considering passenger flows, the WCML links Birmingham and Manchester, (considered the UK’s first and second cities by most), to the capital. This is a greater claim to fame than the ECML has.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jul 2019 at 18:48
  10. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Well yes, the WCML is undisputedly the most important, but the ECML is still very much the 2nd-most vital one.
     
  11. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    But Darlo: Birthplace of the railways. That trumps any manc or brummie thing.
     
  12. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    I was about to congratulate you on the cathedral too.

    Then google told me that, even though Darlington is in country Durham, it’s actually a completely different place :D.
     
  13. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Why though? It basically runs through the middle of knowhere until you hit Leeds, if the MML weren't so windy and slow it would be the main route to Leeds.
     
  14. gimmea50anyday

    gimmea50anyday Established Member

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    Given how chaotic and overcrowded west coast, Midland Mainline, CrossCountry and in particular TPE became once the knitting collapsed yesterday near Grantham, I'd say the ECML IS important. Yesterday proved how much we need all the lines we currently have AND HS2 AND Northern Powerhouse/HS3. In that respect we are massively behind our European and Far Eastern cousins.
     
  15. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    If Grantham was Rugby, Newark North Gate was Stoke and Retford was Crewe, I don't think anyone would doubt how important it is. It very important to me, but it's third after the ECML and GWR in the whole.
     
  16. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    A geography fail my boy.

    Ps a very nice cathedral. Well worth a visit. Also appeared in the recent avengers film!
     
  17. 14xxDave

    14xxDave Member

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    For scenery...the jaunt up through Northumberland to the scottish borders is pretty blooming good. Just saying
     
  18. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    Middle of nowhere? The only highlights that Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have is:

    Derby: They make trains... big whoop, they make trains elsewhere
    Nottingham: Famous for Robin Hood..
    Sheffield: Hardly used airport....

    The Midland Mainline is a secondary mainline in much the same way the Chiltern Mainline is and nothing will change.

    The ECML on the other hand can boost a record 4 beautiful Cathedrals minimum!
     
  19. ohgoditsjames

    ohgoditsjames Member

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    I don’t understand why a proper mainline between Sheffield and Leeds wasn’t ever built.
     
  20. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Well I'd dispute that - Peterborough and Doncaster aren't exactly small places, and the stations between Peterborough and Doncaster act as railheads for the wider areas. Also the ECML serving less populated places between London and Leeds actually plays to the advantage of passengers from there - there's more capacity to serve them, whereas on the MML the trains have to go through Sheffield, Derby/Nottingham and Leicester before getting to London, so the trains would more likely have less capacity for Leeds passengers.
     
  21. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    The fact it takes 40/45 minutes between the two is rather silly I would agree.
     
  22. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    One could argue that the S&D was just a wagonway on stone blocks, unlike the Liverpool & Manchester which was the first proper passenger railway. Just saying!
     
  23. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Wasn't the one through Royston the mainline back in the day.
     
  24. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Yes but the North Midland originally avoided Sheffield (presumably due to the difficult terrain?). Sheffield Midland sits on what is effectively a loop line, although whether one would consider this a “main line” could be a matter for debate.
     
  25. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Well, it did, but when the line through Sheffield Midland was built, it did rejoin this route. It was used by mainline trains up until the early 1980's.
     
  26. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Point of order - Eastern Region treated the ECML as the flagship line. For BR, it was the WCML, hence electrification first. Certainly in my time in BR, the WCML was the premier route, with the ECML seen as the brash but athletic little brother.

    In terms of value today, it goes something like WCML, SWML, ECML.
     
  27. 175mph

    175mph Member

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    We're still ahead of the US and Canada though, it's strange how relatively few people use them as a comparison with us the UK even though the far east is further away.
     
  28. OverSpeed

    OverSpeed Member

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    I'd say that the ecml is as important as any of the other main routes going to and from London, okay the first major "big" town out of london seems to be Peterborough, compaired the wcml being watford or MKC, does not detract from the fact it's not as important.

    Be interesting if anyone can pull up any stats in regards to the the flow of passengers from scotland to midlands and london on both the east coast and west coast mainlines respectively.
     
  29. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Out of interest, how come the SWML is considered more important than the ECML?
     
  30. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    It carries a lot more people for one! Plus it handles many more train services
     
  31. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    There's quite a lot of subjective discussion here about what makes a particular route 'important' or otherwise, especially with regards to things like scenery, city status, history and architecture.

    Economically, there is a lot of interest to say, but for travel to and from central London, it is likely that the West Coast Main Line has a catchment area of slightly larger population than the Great Western or East Coast. It depends a lot on whether you are looking only at long-distance travellers though, or all traffic on the route. The capacity of long-distance trains was clearly greater on the WCML than the ECML or GWML until recently, but the delivery of new train fleets makes this no longer certain. the proposed enhanced ECML timetable marks it out clearly as the primary route between London and Scotland. In terms of revenue, the long-distance trains from London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam seem to generate rather more revenue than the ones to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh (given there isn't a plain road that goes that way though, that may be cheating :p, but it serves to demonstrate why something might be considered 'important' for different reasons).
     

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