Increasing of Line Speed on Newquay branch.

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CC 72100

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As some of you may be aware, on the Cornish branch line from Par to Newquay, some places had different speed restrictions depending on whether it was a DMU or HST (with DMUs being allowed to travel faster in places)

Last Saturday, the lower & higher speeds were being used - our 8:57 FGW HST from Plymouth arrived into Newquay as timetabled at 10:55. Upon chatting wit the train manager (lovely bloke) he informed me about how the line speeds vary (I was already sort of aware of this) and how they are hoping to increase the permitted speed for HSTs to bring it in line with DMUs.

So, yesterday I was on the same train, instead arriving into Newquay at 10:35. The change was obviously in effect, as confirmed by the TM as we chatted about our early arrival. He informed me that the old timetable would carry on in use, with these early arrivals into Newquay. Despite this, the journey back (11:21 Newquay - London Pad) was at the original, lower speed, presumably to save sitting around at Par for 20 - 25 minutes more.

Had anyone else noticed how journeys on the Newquay branch were quicker this weekend as opposed to last weekend? Shame they couldn't have done it in time for the new timetables to reflect the shorter journey!
 
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The Planner

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This has been on the cards for so long I am amazed it has happened. FGW were quite happy to leave the timetable as it was initially so to gauge what time savings could be had in reality.
 

bailey65

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The most sensible answer for the newquay branch would be to have it rerouted from st dennis to st austell a main centre of population rather than a small village like par.
The line from st dennis could be restored to the existing china clay branch and the whole line could be upgraded to proper line speeds.
This would also give an option of newquay to falmouth services and no more need of a station in par.
Newquay station could do with a second platform too so local and summer saturday services could both run.
Unfortunately it all costs money and you only get whats left after londons raided the pot and newquay is a hell of a long way from the capital.
 

HSTEd

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Second platform doesn't really help until you get proper signalling on the branch which won't happen until ERTMS comes around.
 

Pumbaa

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Shame it didn't stop that 221 completely failing on the branch the other day... 2/5 engines running and couldn't clear Luxylyan bank. Ouch.
 

TEW

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Second platform doesn't really help until you get proper signalling on the branch which won't happen until ERTMS comes around.

It's not really signalling that restrains the branch, it's the lack of and positioning of the loops. Having the loop at Goonbarrow Junction, which is about 1/3 of the distance along the line limits the potential service. If there was a further loop at around 2/3 distance more trains would be able to run. The signalling system itself doesn't limit the number of trains, as whatever signalling system you have you're not going to be able to run trains in opposite directions on single lines at the same time.
 

KA4C

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The most sensible answer for the newquay branch would be to have it rerouted from st dennis to st austell a main centre of population rather than a small village like par.
The line from st dennis could be restored to the existing china clay branch and the whole line could be upgraded to proper line speeds.
.

And how would the existing China Clay operation fit in with this?
 

Drsatan

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The most sensible answer for the newquay branch would be to have it rerouted from st dennis to st austell a main centre of population rather than a small village like par.
The line from st dennis could be restored to the existing china clay branch and the whole line could be upgraded to proper line speeds.
This would also give an option of newquay to falmouth services and no more need of a station in par.

Old editions of the Baker atlas used to show the line from St Austell to Goonbarrow Jnc, where it joins the line to Newquay, as possibly being restored to passenger-carrying status. However, I think that project has fallen by the wayside, although according to the Great Western RUS Cornwall Council want to see the line restored, and a GRIP 2 analysis will be carried out here.

I think there will be problems in running a Newquay to Falmouth service unless the Cornish Main Line is resignalled. There's a very long block section between St Austell and Truro which would make the service difficult to path.
 

KA4C

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Old editions of the Baker atlas used to show the line from St Austell to Goonbarrow Jnc, where it joins the line to Newquay, as possibly being restored to passenger-carrying status. However, I think that project has fallen by the wayside, although according to the Great Western RUS Cornwall Council want to see the line restored, and a GRIP 2 analysis will be carried out here.

I think there will be problems in running a Newquay to Falmouth service unless the Cornish Main Line is resignalled. There's a very long block section between St Austell and Truro which would make the service difficult to path.

St Austell to the former St Dennis Jct, not Goonbarrow (which is Bugle)
 

Zoe

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There's a very long block section between St Austell and Truro which would make the service difficult to path.
It's not one long block section all the way from St Austell to Truro though. The longest section is between Burngullow and Probus (controlled from a panel in Par signal box) and considering for most of the day the train frequency is only 1 tph it would not be impossible to path an extra service.
 
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jopsuk

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Slowly but surely (and has been for a fair while). I worked for Imerys about seven years ago; I believe their current headcount in Cornwall is now about half what it was then.
 
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The most sensible answer for the newquay branch would be to have it rerouted from st dennis to st austell a main centre of population rather than a small village like par.
The line from st dennis could be restored to the existing china clay branch and the whole line could be upgraded to proper line speeds.
This would also give an option of newquay to falmouth services and no more need of a station in par.
Newquay station could do with a second platform too so local and summer saturday services could both run.
Unfortunately it all costs money and you only get whats left after londons raided the pot and newquay is a hell of a long way from the capital.

There was a study for via St Dennis in 2007.
http://www.focal.org.uk/pdf files/Blueprint_ NewquayBranchLine.pdf
Newquay had 3 platforms up to 1980's, the signalbox was closed, and track was removed including a crossover so engines could go around the train. (operated by ground frame at end of platform) A second platform was left 'operational', but may now be removed. Imo sheer vandalism!
Also closed was St Dennis Junction passing loop.
Up to that time there was a limited local Summer Saturday service -DMUs. One or 2 LDHS trains also stopped at a few stations, St Columb Road etc. It was common to see 3 trains in Newquay.

Par itself may not be large, but if you include Tywardreth, St Blazey, St Blazey Gate, Polmear, Crinnis, and closest station for Fowey, as well as convenient for those on the East side of St Austell, there is a large catchment.
Instead of selling the land off, more parking would substantially increase use - Par Parkway! :lol:
The Port of Par has recently closed, and all clay is now loaded at Fowey. This leaves a site with huge potential - Marina and waterside developments?

Many people considered the biggest loss re the Beeching Axe was the loss of the Truro - Chasewater - St Agnes - Perranporth - Newquay railway which should have been retained in preference to the Par - Newquay. Serving several busy resorts.
Only tickets receipts from Chasewater to Newquay were used in the study? A busy line.
 
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KA4C

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Slowly but surely (and has been for a fair while). I worked for Imerys about seven years ago; I believe their current headcount in Cornwall is now about half what it was then.


And the clay rail haul contract tonnage for the past five years has been greater than it had been for years. It is going to drop for the next five, but only down to what it was five years ago
 

jopsuk

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Is that partly because the clay to Fowey needs to go by rail, whilst much that went to Par was piped? or possibly less going out by ships, more going out by rail to UK destinations? When I worked there, there were about 550 ships per year, split between Par and Fowey- effectively one every day at each harbour.
 

KA4C

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Is that partly because the clay to Fowey needs to go by rail, whilst much that went to Par was piped? or possibly less going out by ships, more going out by rail to UK destinations? When I worked there, there were about 550 ships per year, split between Par and Fowey- effectively one every day at each harbour.

The increased tonnages were from the new (ish) Goonbarrow dry and Fowey
 
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Is that partly because the clay to Fowey needs to go by rail, whilst much that went to Par was piped? or possibly less going out by ships, more going out by rail to UK destinations? When I worked there, there were about 550 ships per year, split between Par and Fowey- effectively one every day at each harbour.

The Buell driers at Par Harbour are also now closed.
http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=51099
Road access to Fowey docks is via the private haul road via the Par Pinnock tunnel Fowey old railway.
Most of the clay going by rail to Fowey (Carne Point) is from Parkendillick, Burngullow, and Goonbarrow (Rocks dries near Bugle)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnpaddy22/6326524990/
 

KA4C

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richw

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It's not really signalling that restrains the branch, it's the lack of and positioning of the loops. Having the loop at Goonbarrow Junction, which is about 1/3 of the distance along the line limits the potential service. If there was a further loop at around 2/3 distance more trains would be able to run. The signalling system itself doesn't limit the number of trains, as whatever signalling system you have you're not going to be able to run trains in opposite directions on single lines at the same time.

What was previously done as i understand it the trains from different destinations followed each other along the branch arriving 10 mins apart, into each platform, waited and then followed each other out. so there would be no trains for an hour or more than 2-3 at a time!
 

bailey65

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It's good to see clay tonnage at a reasonable level it would be disastrous if clay went from cornwall as the county would then be pretty much devoid of freight,there isn't enough in the west country as it is.
 

KA4C

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It's good to see clay tonnage at a reasonable level it would be disastrous if clay went from cornwall as the county would then be pretty much devoid of freight,there isn't enough in the west country as it is.

Hmmm, I did say that was the tonnage up until now, watch this space on that one, tonnages will be there, but the jury is out on how that will be hauled. Apparently, road is now cheaper
 

bailey65

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Hmmm, I did say that was the tonnage up until now, watch this space on that one, tonnages will be there, but the jury is out on how that will be hauled. Apparently, road is now cheaper

It wouldn't be good news for the locals if more lorries were put on their small winding roads and through the villages, i thought diesel for lorries was getting more expensive these days although haulage firms do buy it in bulk.
 

KA4C

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It wouldn't be good news for the locals if more lorries were put on their small winding roads and through the villages, i thought diesel for lorries was getting more expensive these days although haulage firms do buy it in bulk.


yeah, you'd think that would be a concern, would you not?
 

TEW

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What was previously done as i understand it the trains from different destinations followed each other along the branch arriving 10 mins apart, into each platform, waited and then followed each other out. so there would be no trains for an hour or more than 2-3 at a time!

Not sure how they managed that with the signalling system. Currently AFAIK there is a token for the Goonbarrow Jn-Newquay section with only train allowed in the section at a time. Even if Newquay had a signal box, I wasn't aware that there were any intermediate signals along the line before, so you'd only be allowed one train in the Goonbarrow-Newquay section still, so still not a much better service than now.
 

bailey65

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The newquay line is seeing healthy growth and there is a planned eco town along the route,there is also more housing planned in newquay.
If growth continues network rail and the toc will have to look at how services and the branch can be expanded.
 
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Originally Posted by TEW
Currently AFAIK there is a token for the Goonbarrow Jn-Newquay section with only train allowed in the section at a time.

That is correct
Is there still a token machine at Newquay?
(There's one at Carne Point on the Fowey branch)

The passing loops up to the 80's on the Newquay branch were St Blazey station, Goonbarrow, and St Dennis Junction. Two tracks ran across Trenance Viaduct, one (West side) was used for Platform 3 which was mainly used for the DMU on Summer Saturdays. Before the DMU came to a halt in the Platform a LD train often already departing (The signalman had to be pretty quick with the tokens)
The timings worked out pretty well. With tokens the first train in the loop was the last one to depart!
St Blazey and Goonbarrow are still in use. I believe at the time Goonbarrow was to go as well. (Trains were not timed to pass there for a few years after the HSTs were introduced. (Most trains passed at St Blazey)
 
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