Intercity Midland Mainline Timetable

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Kier

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Hi,

Does anyone know a link to an old Intercity timetable - I would be particularly interested in the Midland Mainline sector.

Thanks.
 
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Kier

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It would be the mid 90s just before privatization. I remember using them as a child and going to Luton (and onwards to Brighton) on service called "Intercity Shuttle" calling at Leicester, Kettering, Luton and London St Pancras.

I am interested to see the pattern of calling points and especially how it compares to the twice hourly clock face timetable.
 

JonathanH

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It would be the mid 90s just before privatization. I remember using them as a child and going to Luton (and onwards to Brighton) on service called "Intercity Shuttle" calling at Leicester, Kettering, Luton and London St Pancras.

I am interested to see the pattern of calling points and especially how it compares to the twice hourly clock face timetable.
See if you can spot a pattern in the seemingly random set of stops

Winter 1993-1994

Weekday departures from St Pancras
0700 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
0730 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-LEI-NOT
0800 Sheffield - LUT-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
0830 Nottingham - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-NOT
0900 Sheffield - BDM-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
0930 Nottingham - BDM-KET-LEI-NOT
1000 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1030 Nottingham - KET-LEI-LBO-NOT
1100 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1130 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
1200 Sheffield - LUT-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1230 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-MHR-LEI-NOT
1300 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1330 Nottingham - KET-LEI-LBO-NOT
1400 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1430 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
1500 Leeds - KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF-DON-WKF-LDS
1530 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-KET-LEI-NOT
1600 Sheffield - LUT-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1630 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT
1700 Sheffield - LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF (The Master Cutler)
1715 Nottingham - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT (The Robin Hood)
1730 Derby - WEL-KET-LEI-LGE-DBY (Class 47 and coaches, not HST)
1745 Leeds - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-BEE-NOT-ALF-CHD-SHF-DON-WKF-LDS
1800 Sheffield - LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1820 Nottingham - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-NOT
1850 Leeds - LUT-KET-MHR-DBY-CHD-SHF-WKF-LDS
1920 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-KET-LEI-BEE-NOT-ALF-CHD-SHF
2000 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2045 Derby - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-NOT-DBY
2145 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2315 Derby - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT-DBY (2336 on Fridays with stop at Luton)

Saturdays were 45 minute gaps between departures from St Pancras instead of 30 - ie Nottingham and Sheffield each served every 90 minutes. Sunday close to hourly, ie two-hourly to each destination but some extras, all with seemingly random skip-stopping.

LUT=Luton, BDM=Bedford, WEL=Wellingborough, KET=Kettering, MHR=Market Harborough, LEI=Leicester, LBO=Loughborough, BEE=Beeston, NOT=Nottingham, LGE=Long Eaton, ALF=Alfreton & Mansfield Parkway, DBY=Derby, CHD=Chesterfield, SHF=Sheffield, DON=Doncaster, WKF=Wakefield Westgate, LDS=Leeds

This is why the late 1990s timetable with the Turbostars was revolutionary.
 
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gaillark

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It would be the mid 90s just before privatization. I remember using them as a child and going to Luton (and onwards to Brighton) on service called "Intercity Shuttle" calling at Leicester, Kettering, Luton and London St Pancras.

I am interested to see the pattern of calling points and especially how it compares to the twice hourly clock face timetable.
If memory serves me correctly the timetable was tweaked to incorporate the IC Shuttle concept and to maximise the use of the limited IC125's.
Off peak it was every 90 minutes to/from:
London to Nottingham with some intermediate stops chiefly Luton and Kettering to Leicester then Loughborough and Nottingham.
London to Sheffield principally fast to Leicester. Some also called Luton or Bedford then fast to Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield.
London to Leicester calling Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering and Market Harborough before terminating at Leicester.

The calls at Luton were designed to provide an easy interchange with NSE's Thameslink service to Gatwick and for Luton Airport via the dedicated Luton flyer buslink.

The idea was to provide an even 30 minute service between St. Pancras and Leicester and even 90 minutes to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

EDIT at 2047.
Post 5 describes the situation perfectly whereas my description must be a year or two earlier because MML got extra HST's to boost its services to hourly.
 

JonathanH

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If memory serves me correctly the timetable was tweaked to incorporate the IC Shuttle concept and to maximise the use of the limited IC125's.
Off peak it was every 90 minutes to/from:
London to Nottingham with some intermediate stops chiefly Luton and Kettering to Leicester then Loughborough and Nottingham.
London to Sheffield principally fast to Leicester. Some also called Luton or Bedford then fast to Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield.
London to Leicester calling Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering and Market Harborough before terminating at Leicester.

The calls at Luton were designed to provide an easy interchange with NSE's Thameslink service to Gatwick and for Luton Airport via the dedicated Luton flyer buslink.

The idea was to provide an even 30 minute service between St. Pancras and Leicester and even 90 minutes to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

EDIT at 2047.
Post 5 describes the situation perfectly whereas my description must be a year or two earlier because MML got extra HST's to boost its services to hourly.
Summer 1989

Weekday departures from St Pancras

0700 Sheffield - LUT-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
0730 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-LEI-LBO-NOT
0800 Leicester - LUT-BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI
0830 Sheffield - KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
0900 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
0930 Leicester - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI
1000 Sheffield - LUT-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1030 Nottingham - KET-LEI-NOT
1100 Leicester - LUT-BDM-WEL-MHR-LEI
1130 Sheffield - KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1200 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
1230 Leicester - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI
1300 Sheffield - LUT-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1330 Nottingham - KET-LEI-NOT
1400 Leicester - LUT-BDM-WEL-MHR-LEI
1430 Sheffield - KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1500 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
1530 Leicester - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI
1600 Sheffield - LUT-LEI-LBO-LGE-DBY-CHD-SHF
1630 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT
1700 Sheffield - WEL-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF (The Master Cutler)
1725 Leeds - LEI-LBO-NOT-CHD-SHF-WKF-LDS
1730 Nottingham - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-BEE-NOT
1800 Sheffield - LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1804 Derby - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LGE-NOT
1830 Nottingham - WEL-KET-LEI-NOT
1900 Leeds - LUT-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF-WKF-LDS
1930 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-LEI-BEE-NOT-CHD-SHF
2000 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2100 Derby - LUT-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-NOT-DBY
2200 Sheffield - LUT-BDM-WEL-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2300 Sheffield - LUT-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2330 Derby - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-NOT-DBY

LUT=Luton, BDM=Bedford, WEL=Wellingborough, KET=Kettering, MHR=Market Harborough, LEI=Leicester, LBO=Loughborough, BEE=Beeston, NOT=Nottingham, LGE=Long Eaton, ALF=Alfreton & Mansfield Parkway, DBY=Derby, CHD=Chesterfield, SHF=Sheffield, DON=Doncaster, WKF=Wakefield Westgate, LDS=Leeds

There were some extra units which ran Bedford to Kettering on top of this service once every 3 or 4 hours (and this was the period whilst the experimental shuttle service from Kettering to Corby ran).
 

hexagon789

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If you think the immediate pre-privitisation timetables were bad, try the earlier post-HST introduction ones, particularly 1984/1985 when not even the departure times each end were regular intervals let alone the calling points.

I remember reading a review of each which tried to make sense of the 'pattern' but honestly I don't think there was much of one.

The May 1999 timetable definitely made things a lot better and simpler.
 

southern442

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It's bizzare to think of a London Terminal recieving only a half-hourly (or in the case of Sundays, hourly) service now, not least one the size of St. Pancras.
 

LowLevel

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It's bizzare to think of a London Terminal recieving only a half-hourly (or in the case of Sundays, hourly) service now, not least one the size of St. Pancras.

Primarily I suppose because fairly uniquely the "local" services were all moved elsewhere, whether in the distant past (trains to the LTS, other suburban services) or more recently with Thameslink going downstairs leaving the main terminal with just a fairly small scale Intercity operation. You can almost see why there was a proposal to shut it.
 

southern442

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Primarily I suppose because fairly uniquely the "local" services were all moved elsewhere, whether in the distant past (trains to the LTS, other suburban services) or more recently with Thameslink going downstairs leaving the main terminal with just a fairly small scale Intercity operation. You can almost see why there was a proposal to shut it.
I suppose Eurostar and HS1 really did save it then (perhaps with the help of the Corby reopening), whilst also simultaneously destroying it in some people's view!!
 

47827

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See if you can spot a pattern in the seemingly random set of stops

Winter 1993-1994

Weekday departures from St Pancras
0700 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
0730 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-LEI-NOT
0800 Sheffield - LUT-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
0830 Nottingham - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-NOT
0900 Sheffield - BDM-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
0930 Nottingham - BDM-KET-LEI-NOT
1000 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1030 Nottingham - KET-LEI-LBO-NOT
1100 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1130 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
1200 Sheffield - LUT-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1230 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-MHR-LEI-NOT
1300 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1330 Nottingham - KET-LEI-LBO-NOT
1400 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF
1430 Nottingham - LUT-LEI-NOT
1500 Leeds - KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF-DON-WKF-LDS
1530 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-KET-LEI-NOT
1600 Sheffield - LUT-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1630 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT
1700 Sheffield - LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF (The Master Cutler)
1715 Nottingham - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT (The Robin Hood)
1730 Derby - WEL-KET-LEI-LGE-DBY (Class 47 and coaches, not HST)
1745 Leeds - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-BEE-NOT-ALF-CHD-SHF-DON-WKF-LDS
1800 Sheffield - LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1820 Nottingham - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-NOT
1850 Leeds - LUT-KET-MHR-DBY-CHD-SHF-WKF-LDS
1920 Sheffield - BDM-WEL-KET-LEI-BEE-NOT-ALF-CHD-SHF
2000 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2045 Derby - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-NOT-DBY
2145 Sheffield - LUT-WEL-KET-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
2315 Derby - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT-DBY (2336 on Fridays with stop at Luton)

Saturdays were 45 minute gaps between departures from St Pancras instead of 30 - ie Nottingham and Sheffield each served every 90 minutes. Sunday close to hourly, ie two-hourly to each destination but some extras, all with seemingly random skip-stopping.

LUT=Luton, BDM=Bedford, WEL=Wellingborough, KET=Kettering, MHR=Market Harborough, LEI=Leicester, LBO=Loughborough, BEE=Beeston, NOT=Nottingham, LGE=Long Eaton, ALF=Alfreton & Mansfield Parkway, DBY=Derby, CHD=Chesterfield, SHF=Sheffield, DON=Doncaster, WKF=Wakefield Westgate, LDS=Leeds

This is why the late 1990s timetable with the Turbostars was revolutionary.

Summer Timetable 1994 the loco hauled set worked a late Friday evening service back to St Pancras and an 06xx SO St Pancras to Derby stopping at lots of stations. As part of first big bash away from home for a few weeks I'd done the sleeper in from Penzance to Paddington and followed a few of the older crowd across to St Pancras for a parcels class 47 up the Midland Mainline. It was my first run along it and a big novelty at the time. Strangely the loco and carriages were rostered to set off from Derby at 09xx to work a Birmingham International service (electric hauled forward from New Street) but they swapped the loco over. It then worked to Paignton and back on holidaymaker services.

They were certainly the days, albeit not much use if you wanted a very high frequency service. I went to London twice for 1730 to Derby when it was a hauled set. Once I was lucky, the other time I missed it by a few minutes as it left vice hst on a Sheffield service with the booked train cancelled, not a completely unknown event to get hauled sets covering for hst's right up until the mid 90s. I also recall using the late night St Pancras to Derby via Nottingham service once to Nottingham for a long wait into a railtour on the Saturday morning.
 

hexagon789

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I suppose Eurostar and HS1 really did save it then (perhaps with the help of the Corby reopening), whilst also simultaneously destroying it in some people's view!!
I think Midland Mainline started that recovery by doubling service provision in 1999 as evidenced by the fact that within one year the 170s were inadequate and centre cars were ordered to augment 10 of the sets to 3-car and then not very long after than the order for the 222s was placed.
 

hexagon789

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That really is a dire service.

What was the Shuttle concept by the way?
Going off my Summer 1993 timetable the opening notes and symbols section defines InterCity 'Shuttle' trains as having:
  • First Class and Standard accommodation
  • Reserved seats available
  • Frequent and regular service
  • Enhanced welcome and access at London Terminal Stations
  • At-seat service of food and hot and cold drinks in First Class and Standard accommodation
I believe it was a concept of providing a better quality of service over shorter InterCity routes essentially
 

LNW-GW Joint

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What was the Shuttle concept by the way?
One IC Shuttle aim was to always have a train to board at the terminus, with doors and buffet open, so no hanging around on the concourse.
Like the one-time aim to "ban paper destination labels on doors", I'm not sure it ever worked quite like that.
BA's "shuttles", on which the BR concept was based didn't work either, in the long run.
I suppose in both cases the resources needed were too wasteful of capacity.

The later VT 3tph Euston-Birmingham/Manchester services were supposed to offer a similar level of service - I don't know if they did in practice.
 

Ianno87

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The later VT 3tph Euston-Birmingham/Manchester services were supposed to offer a similar level of service - I don't know if they did in practice.

When everything is running OK, they pretty much did at Euston and Piccadilly.
 

tbtc

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It's bizzare to think of a London Terminal recieving only a half-hourly (or in the case of Sundays, hourly) service now, not least one the size of St. Pancras.

Primarily I suppose because fairly uniquely the "local" services were all moved elsewhere, whether in the distant past (trains to the LTS, other suburban services) or more recently with Thameslink going downstairs leaving the main terminal with just a fairly small scale Intercity operation. You can almost see why there was a proposal to shut it.

Good points - we've come a long way since the 1980s - we can obviously put our own "spin" on the reasons for this (depending on your politics :lol:) but the frequencies in the 1980s are worth remembering when people complain about how apparently short sighted it was to suggest things like closing Marylebone/ St Pancras - I get frustrated when people moan about how supposedly backward people were back then (whether they blame BR/ Civil Service/ Mrs Thatcher herself for any proposal).

Things were bleak back then - the idea that we'd be arguing about how four trains per hour from London to Leicester would soon be inadequate (and trains of up to ten coaches too) would have seemed rather fanciful.

Similarly, the Sheffield - London service has come down from "just under two and a half hours" to "just over two hours" (still a lot slower than comparable distances on the ECML/ WCML, but a lot faster than it used to be) - the MML has been a real success story of the last generation.
 

Bald Rick

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Good points - we've come a long way since the 1980s - we can obviously put our own "spin" on the reasons for this (depending on your politics :lol:) but the frequencies in the 1980s are worth remembering when people complain about how apparently short sighted it was to suggest things like closing Marylebone/ St Pancras - I get frustrated when people moan about how supposedly backward people were back then (whether they blame BR/ Civil Service/ Mrs Thatcher herself for any proposal).

Things were bleak back then - the idea that we'd be arguing about how four trains per hour from London to Leicester would soon be inadequate (and trains of up to ten coaches too) would have seemed rather fanciful.

Similarly, the Sheffield - London service has come down from "just under two and a half hours" to "just over two hours" (still a lot slower than comparable distances on the ECML/ WCML, but a lot faster than it used to be) - the MML has been a real success story of the last generation.

Perfect summary of the issue.
 

Kier

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Thanks so much to JonathanH for posting the timetable - there is definitely no pattern even though most of the intermediate stops do seem to get roughly a train serving the station every hour.
 

southern442

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Good points - we've come a long way since the 1980s - we can obviously put our own "spin" on the reasons for this (depending on your politics :lol:) but the frequencies in the 1980s are worth remembering when people complain about how apparently short sighted it was to suggest things like closing Marylebone/ St Pancras - I get frustrated when people moan about how supposedly backward people were back then (whether they blame BR/ Civil Service/ Mrs Thatcher herself for any proposal).

Things were bleak back then - the idea that we'd be arguing about how four trains per hour from London to Leicester would soon be inadequate (and trains of up to ten coaches too) would have seemed rather fanciful.

Similarly, the Sheffield - London service has come down from "just under two and a half hours" to "just over two hours" (still a lot slower than comparable distances on the ECML/ WCML, but a lot faster than it used to be) - the MML has been a real success story of the last generation.
This is true, however one can rather than critique the proposals, critique the attitude towards the railways at the time - it's not as though the demand wasn't there, it just needed some forward thinking and innovation to bring it out, and the MML is a perfect example of this.
 

Helvellyn

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One IC Shuttle aim was to always have a train to board at the terminus, with doors and buffet open, so no hanging around on the concourse.
Like the one-time aim to "ban paper destination labels on doors", I'm not sure it ever worked quite like that.
BA's "shuttles", on which the BR concept was based didn't work either, in the long run.
I suppose in both cases the resources needed were too wasteful of capacity.
BA's shuttles actually had a guarantee that if a flight was full and a passenger turned up they would put on a relief flight using a stand-by aircraft. Even if there was only one extra passenger! Not sure when BA phased out that guarantee, but Heathrow was slot constrained even in the 1980s so for BA the idea of keeping aircraft on standby and trying to get it out (and it'd have to come back) would have become increasingly problematic. I'd imagine they would need a couple of standby aircraft (plus crews) as well.

BR ran reliefs generally on Bank Holidays. Could you imagine them keeping fully crewed trains ready to run as a relief day in, day out, if a shuttle was full?
 

Bletchleyite

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BA's shuttles actually had a guarantee that if a flight was full and a passenger turned up they would put on a relief flight using a stand-by aircraft. Even if there was only one extra passenger!

I recall that Concorde was used on one occasion.

Of course that was only needed for planes, not trains, because you can stand on trains.
 

Sad Sprinter

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Good points - we've come a long way since the 1980s - we can obviously put our own "spin" on the reasons for this (depending on your politics :lol:) but the frequencies in the 1980s are worth remembering when people complain about how apparently short sighted it was to suggest things like closing Marylebone/ St Pancras - I get frustrated when people moan about how supposedly backward people were back then (whether they blame BR/ Civil Service/ Mrs Thatcher herself for any proposal).

Things were bleak back then - the idea that we'd be arguing about how four trains per hour from London to Leicester would soon be inadequate (and trains of up to ten coaches too) would have seemed rather fanciful.

Similarly, the Sheffield - London service has come down from "just under two and a half hours" to "just over two hours" (still a lot slower than comparable distances on the ECML/ WCML, but a lot faster than it used to be) - the MML has been a real success story of the last generation.

I think though there was an element of backwardness and entrenched anti-railism, to coin a new term. Post-war opposition to rail was ideological as well as pratical and there was an element of pleasure at the notion of London termini closing.
 

Taunton

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Emphasis here on number of departures per hour, but how many seats are now provided compared to the 1980s, and what are the actual loads.

Certainly there were no 5-car trains running St Pancras to Sheffield, unlike today. Nor a 5-car southbound Sheffield service making all the principal stops, with standees, running just a few minutes ahead of a larger HST from Nottingham, half-empty or more because all its passengers have been scooped by the train ahead. If you asked how many square metres of carriage saloon space were provided, because nowadays the seats have been squeezed up so your knees are up by your ears, an even more telling comparison. And then there's the desire to do an Orcats raid on Thameslink by making extra stops at stations well served by the latter's 12-car trains.
 

Ianno87

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Emphasis here on number of departures per hour, but how many seats are now provided compared to the 1980s, and what are the actual loads.

Certainly there were no 5-car trains running St Pancras to Sheffield, unlike today. Nor a 5-car southbound Sheffield service making all the principal stops, with standees, running just a few minutes ahead of a larger HST from Nottingham, half-empty or more because all its passengers have been scooped by the train ahead. If you asked how many square metres of carriage saloon space were provided, because nowadays the seats have been squeezed up so your knees are up by your ears, an even more telling comparison. And then there's the desire to do an Orcats raid on Thameslink by making extra stops at stations well served by the latter's 12-car trains.

Lots of swings and roundabouts in this; for example, the complete absence of any peak stops at Luton or Bedford between the 1630 and 1900 departures; not great for travelling northward for those stations in the evening peak. Also travelling between intermediate stations (e.g. Kettering to Market Harborough) involved a pretty "random" service frequency!


1630 Nottingham - BDM-WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-NOT
1700 Sheffield - WEL-LEI-DBY-CHD-SHF (The Master Cutler)
1725 Leeds - LEI-LBO-NOT-CHD-SHF-WKF-LDS
1730 Nottingham - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-BEE-NOT
1800 Sheffield - LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF
1804 Derby - WEL-KET-MHR-LEI-LGE-NOT
1830 Nottingham - WEL-KET-LEI-NOT
1900 Leeds - LUT-KET-MHR-LEI-LBO-DBY-CHD-SHF-WKF-LDS
 
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southern442

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That's another very short-sighted thing about the line back then. Whilst I appreciate that the overwhelming majority of MML traffic was to and from London, there seems to be not even a hint of consideration for travel not involving london. In particular, the three intermediate stations between Bedford and Leicester. With a rather random frequency of direct trains between neighbouring towns, despite 2 or 3 trains per hour on the line (at the time), travelling from Bedford to Kettering or Wellingborough to Market Harborough for example must've been a bit of a nightmare and there's no reason why you wouldn't drive.
 

Merle Haggard

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Going back to the late 60's -early 70s there was an even interval standard service.
On the down (and the peaks didn't follow the timing pattern, but had a more frequent service) the pattern was that an all stations St Pancras - Leicester service departed at xx.20, and also a departure for stations north of Leicester at xx.50 or xx.55, first stop Leicester and departing from there 10 minutes after the arrival of the all stations train, thereby providing cross platform connections for the North out of the all-stations. Some hours there was a third departure at about xx.05, which provided another forward service to a different destination, albeit with a wait at Leicester of 15 - 25 minutes.. The 'north of Leicester' services ran variously to Nottingham, Sheffield, Bradford, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and all conveyed a refreshment car. There was a similar pattern, reversed, on the up. All the services were full length trains hauled by Peaks, no hoping there would be space in a 2-car d.m.u..
My memory is that the service was slashed in around 1973 in one of those cost-cutting exercise enforced upon British Railways, but hourly even interval timetables are not a very recent innovation on the MML.
 
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