• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Is the S&C a basket case undeserving of regular public transport?

Status
Not open for further replies.

daodao

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2016
Messages
2,996
Location
Dunham/Bowdon
Northern's approach seems to completely fail to take into account that in big conurbations there are usually bus services which people can use an alternative to a cancelled train whereas on routes like Settle-Carlisle rail is often the only public transport with any significant frequency.
There are no places on the S&C line between Settle and Carlisle that merit regular public transport services at all, apart possibly from Appleby, which has a weekday daytime bus link to Penrith. Settle itself has an alternative station at Giggleswick. The S&C line is a basket case, with virtually no through freight traffic now, the main reason why it was retained when there was a threat of closure in the 1980s. It is right for Northern to concentrate its resources on providing local/suburban services for major conurbations rather than sparsely populated rural areas.
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
There are no places on the S&C line that merit regular public transport services at all, apart possibly from Appleby, which has a weekday daytime bus link to Penrith. The line is a basket case, with virtually no through freight traffic now, the main reason why it was retained when there was a threat of closure in the 1980s. It is right for Northern to concentrate its resources on providing local/suburban services for major conurbations rather than sparsely populated rural areas.

Settle itself is a fairly large settlement that attracts a reasonable amount of traffic. Kirkby Stephen is also a reasonably sized settlement, and although the distance of the station from the town means that it's more lightly used than the other two, I've no doubt that residents value the service.

The settlements between Appleby and Carlisle generate a fair amount of traffic in themselves, and that's before you get to the through traffic and leisure travel that uses the route in normal times.

The route already has a service of roughly two hours to take account of its usage. These should be protected. There is scope for thinning out services on more frequent routes.
 

daodao

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2016
Messages
2,996
Location
Dunham/Bowdon
The settlements between Appleby and Carlisle generate a fair amount of traffic in themselves
Annual station usage figures for 2019/20 for the 3 remaining stations between Appleby and Carlisle are as follows:
  • Langwathby 22,002
  • Lazonby and Kirkoswald 13,452
  • Armathwaite 9,510
This is under 50k combined, as compared to the following suburban stations in Northern land:
  • Cononley 0.187 million
  • Elsecar 0.180 million
  • Rose Hill (Marple) 0.215 million
  • Wylam 0.108 million
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
Annual station usage figures for 2019/20 for the 3 remaining stations between Appleby and Carlisle are as follows:
  • Langwathby 22,002
  • Lazonby and Kirkoswald 13,452
  • Armathwaite 9,510
This is under 50k combined, as compared to the following suburban stations in Northern land:
  • Cononley 0.187 million
  • Elsecar 0.180 million
  • Rose Hill (Marple) 0.215 million
  • Wylam 0.108 million

I'm only going by all the people I've seen getting on at Carlisle for those stations.

My point still stands.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
If your point is that these stations generate a fair amount of traffic, it doesn't!

My point is that the route already has a service commensurate with its passenger market, so it should not proportionately suffer a greater degree of cutbacks than other routes.

Since other routes are not having their operating day cut in the mid afternoon, the S&C is being disproportionately cut, therefore my point still stands.
 

A0wen

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2008
Messages
7,544
Settle itself is a fairly large settlement that attracts a reasonable amount of traffic.

Population of Settle is about 2500 people. There are estates on many towns up and down the country which have larger populations than that yet they don't justify a station either.

The answer to the OP, the S&C was probably one of the "last gasps" of Victorian rail building mania. If you were building a rail network from scratch you wouldn't build it now.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
Population of Settle is about 2500 people. There are estates on many towns up and down the country which have larger populations than that yet they don't justify a station either.

The answer to the OP, the S&C was probably one of the "last gasps" of Victorian rail building mania. If you were building a rail network from scratch you wouldn't build it now.

Yes, but we're not building a railway from scratch.

Settle generates a fair amount of traffic, be it local, railheading from the surrounding area or tourist. This is more important than the size of the settlement.
 

A0wen

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2008
Messages
7,544
Yes, but we're not building a railway from scratch.

Settle generates a fair amount of traffic, be it local, railheading from the surrounding area or tourist. This is more important than the size of the settlement.

149,000 isn't that great. But taking that point, then run shuttles between Settle and Skipton or Settle and Blackburn. That's where the vast majority of the traffic is heading. It isn't being used by people to commute to / from Carlisle because the journey is a long slow one and whilst people *might* commute 90mins + to London, Birmingham or Leeds, they won't to Carlisle.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
149,000 isn't that great. But taking that point, then run shuttles between Settle and Skipton or Settle and Blackburn. That's where the vast majority of the traffic is heading. It isn't being used by people to commute to / from Carlisle because the journey is a long slow one and whilst people *might* commute 90mins + to London, Birmingham or Leeds, they won't to Carlisle.

Why, when we have a fast, reliable train service. There are plenty going through to Leeds as well.

On a normal day there are plenty of people on the train North of Settle.
 

willgreen

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2020
Messages
631
Location
Leeds
Why, when we have a fast, reliable train service. There are plenty going through to Leeds as well.

On a normal day there are plenty of people on the train North of Settle.
Why is every statement 'plenty' or a 'fair amount' or 'all the people'? Why are you so reluctant to use numbers and statistics? And when other posters do provide statistics, these are apparently outweighed by your own biased personal opinions. The number of people relying on the S&C north of Settle to get to work is likely less than ten. It being cut is not 'disproportionate'.
 

Peregrine 4903

Established Member
Joined
18 Aug 2019
Messages
1,457
Location
London
I don't really get the point of this thread. The settle and carlisle will not close. And I don't get why some people seem to activaly be so excited about the thought of its closure. It makes no sense. Fair enough if you think the money could be better spent elsewhere, not that closing it would save loads of money. But to be actively encouraging its closure and be seemingly so excited about it I think is very insensitive to the people who rely on and use the line, however few of them there actually are.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
Why is every statement 'plenty' or a 'fair amount' or 'all the people'? Why are you so reluctant to use numbers and statistics? And when other posters do provide statistics, these are apparently outweighed by your own biased personal opinions. The number of people relying on the S&C north of Settle to get to work is likely less than ten. It being cut is not 'disproportionate'.

The last train south from Carlisle is currently at 16:18. Do you feel that this is acceptable for the other routes in Northern's portfolio, and if not why do you feel it acceptable for the S&C ?

A timetable based purely around workers might just about be acceptable for lockdown, but in case you hadn't noticed lockdown ended some time ago.
 

willgreen

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2020
Messages
631
Location
Leeds
The last train south from Carlisle is currently at 16:18. Do you feel that this is acceptable for the other routes in Northern's portfolio, and if not why do you feel it acceptable for the S&C ?
The S&C is, going off station usage, one of Northern's least busy routes. That means that when things are cut it makes more sense to cut it there than on, say, the Harrogate Line. I'd agree a 16:18 departure is not ideal, but the country is still under strict coronavirus rules - it's only on Monday that we are getting back to anything resembling normality, and the number of people impacted on the S&C is less than on other routes. In a time of finite resources it makes more sense to concentrate them where they are most needed.
Don't get me wrong, the S&C is a great line and a great advantage for those who live near it. It shouldn't be closed. That said, it is primarily a tourist service except for the larger towns on the line - it's a different kettle of fish to the vast majority of Northern's other routes - and in a time where there are few tourists it is less necessary to expend crew and diagrams on it.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
18,283
Location
Airedale
That said, it is primarily a tourist service except for the larger towns on the line - it's a different kettle of fish to the vast majority of Northern's other routes
That isn't entirely true - of course there are very few commuters/shoppers over the central section (Kirkby Stephen-Horton) but even in lockdown Northern thought it neccesary to run RRBs into Carlisle and back to cover the withdrawn commuter trains.
 

A0wen

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2008
Messages
7,544
I don't really get the point of this thread. The settle and carlisle will not close. And I don't get why some people seem to activaly be so excited about the thought of its closure. It makes no sense. Fair enough if you think the money could be better spent elsewhere, not that closing it would save loads of money. But to be actively encouraging its closure and be seemingly so excited about it I think is very insensitive to the people who rely on and use the line, however few of them there actually are.

I don't think "excited" is either fair or appropriate.

It's perfectly fair to question the utility of a lightly used line when there are other services in the area which suffer from overcrowding. It's also a matter of historical fact that this line has never commercially "washed its face" and was only built in the Victorian railway boom - it's not a line that has ever justified its existance other than from a romatic standpoint.

That isn't entirely true - of course there are very few commuters/shoppers over the central section (Kirkby Stephen-Horton) but even in lockdown Northern thought it neccesary to run RRBs into Carlisle and back to cover the withdrawn commuter trains.

Probably a statoutory requirement?

LNW have done the same with the Abbey Flyer and Marston Vale.
 

Peregrine 4903

Established Member
Joined
18 Aug 2019
Messages
1,457
Location
London
I don't think "excited" is either fair or appropriate.

It's perfectly fair to question the utility of a lightly used line when there are other services in the area which suffer from overcrowding. It's also a matter of historical fact that this line has never commercially "washed its face" and was only built in the Victorian railway boom - it's not a line that has ever justified its existance other than from a romatic standpoint.



Probably a statoutory requirement?

LNW have done the same with the Abbey Flyer and Marston Vale.
But not everything has to be looked at through an economic lens. The Settle and Carlisle line is valuable from a romantic standpoint and is a bit of a cultural landmark in the UK.

This is all besides the point anyway as it will never be closed, thank goodness. Well never until technology gets to a point railways are no longer relevant which is many hundreds of years away and even then it would be kept as a cultural landmark anyway.
 

A0wen

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2008
Messages
7,544
But not everything has to be looked at through an economic lens. The Settle and Carlisle line is valuable from a romantic standpoint and is a bit of a cultural landmark in the UK.

This is all besides the point anyway as it will never be closed, thank goodness. Well never until technology gets to a point railways are no longer relevant which is many hundreds of years away and even then it would be kept as a cultural landmark anyway.

I fail to see why it's a "cultural" landmark. Ribblehead viaduct aside it's a standard railway.

Probably the only railways you could reasonably call "cultural landmarks" would be the Stockton & Darlington, Liverpool & Manchester or Brunel's GW mainline.
 

tbtc

Veteran Member
Joined
16 Dec 2008
Messages
17,882
Location
Reston City Centre
Settle itself is a fairly large settlement that attracts a reasonable amount of traffic. Kirkby Stephen is also a reasonably sized settlement, and although the distance of the station from the town means that it's more lightly used than the other two,

Population of Settle is about 2500 people. There are estates on many towns up and down the country which have larger populations than that yet they don't justify a station either.

Why is every statement 'plenty' or a 'fair amount' or 'all the people'? Why are you so reluctant to use numbers and statistics? And when other posters do provide statistics, these are apparently outweighed by your own biased personal opinions.


I think it's always worth using actual facts and statistics to counter Rob's flowery language ("useful" / "reasonably large" / "valuable" etc) - my street probably has a population bigger than some of the settlements that he considers "reasonable"

I've no doubt that residents value the service

I'm sure they do.

Do they actually use it in large numbers? No - but they'd probably sign a petition to complain bout what a "valuable lifeline" to is

Just like people who only use their local pub once a year but moan about its threatened closure

My point is that the route already has a service commensurate with its passenger market, so it should not proportionately suffer a greater degree of cutbacks than other routes.

Since other routes are not having their operating day cut in the mid afternoon, the S&C is being disproportionately cut, therefore my point still stands.

Given that we've been in the middle of a nationwide lockdown (for obvious health reasons), during a driver shortage, of course a lightly used predominantly leisure-based route should be one of the first services to be thinned out/ cut

Key workers still need to get to jobs - which is why we focus on urban services.

People don't need to go for walks in the Yorkshire Dales, which is a large part of the reason for the S&C, which means that line has a lot less use during lockdown

Your own justification for the line involves tourists, so you can't complain that the services are reduced when there are no tourists

The answer to the OP, the S&C was probably one of the "last gasps" of Victorian rail building mania

Agreed - just a punt by nineteenth century speculators (the kind of capitalists that enthusiasts like, rather than modern day ones) - but apparently we now have to preserve all of their mistakes and speculative routes

Settle generates a fair amount of traffic, be it local, railheading from the surrounding area or tourist. This is more important than the size of the settlement.

Really?

I thought that (in your eyes) "railheading" was a myth invented by Beeching (or at least many an enthusiast has claimed that railheading was an imaginary concept and that nobody would drive to a nearby station if there wasn't one in their village)

So now you're telling me that railheading does exist when it's a justification for keeping a rural station open (but doesn't exist when people suggest closing a rural station because the people who use that station would never ever drive to the closest remaining station)?

to be actively encouraging its closure and be seemingly so excited about it I think is very insensitive to the people who rely on and use the line

People on here suggest cutting/diverting services all the time - e.g. is it insensitive to suggest changing any existing services?

For example, the suggestion on another thread at the moment that Corby should see some of it's London services removed (to use the paths for more Leicester - London services) - are we not allowed to discuss that because it's insensitive to the people of Corby?
 

Peregrine 4903

Established Member
Joined
18 Aug 2019
Messages
1,457
Location
London
For example, the suggestion on another thread at the moment that Corby should see some of it's London services removed (to use the paths for more Leicester - London services) - are we not allowed to discuss that because it's insensitive to the people of Corby?
Yes but there's a difference between just not having a London service, than not having a service or railway full stop.
 

daodao

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2016
Messages
2,996
Location
Dunham/Bowdon
The settle and carlisle will not close.
If the rail network needs to be cut back because of financial stringency, then the S&C line is particularly vulnerable as it is a long expensive-to-maintain line serving a sparse population. Through passengers from Leeds and Skipton to Carlisle could be catered for by building a north-east curve from the WCML to the little NW line near Carnforth and running a fast passenger service several times a day on this route.
 

A0wen

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2008
Messages
7,544
Yes but there's a difference between just not having a London service, than not having a service or railway full stop.
Actually it's not that. In the Corby case it's about increasing a 4tph service from Leicester to 5tph whilst reducing the Corby service by 50%. And both Leicester & Corby have fairly well used stations, unlike most of the S&C's.
 

Peregrine 4903

Established Member
Joined
18 Aug 2019
Messages
1,457
Location
London
If the rail network needs to be cut back because of financial stringency, then the S&C line is particularly vulnerable as it is a long expensive-to-maintain line serving a sparse population. Through passengers from Leeds and Skipton to Carlisle could be catered for by building a north-east curve from the WCML to the little NW line near Carnforth and running a fast passenger service several times a day on this route.
I mean, it won't as it would never be politically acceptable. Considering Johnson is still going ahead with beeching reopenings, its not going to happen, and everyone knows it. There are other lines that would be much more vulnerable to that sort of thing anyway if a situation like that were to ever occur.

Actually it's not that. In the Corby case it's about increasing a 4tph service from Leicester to 5tph whilst reducing the Corby service by 50%. And both Leicester & Corby have fairly well used stations, unlike most of the S&C's.
I don't think you understand what I quite mean. Corby still gets a rail service, its not the entire line closing. People saying the settle and carlise should close means people on the line no longer have a service full stop. I just think advocating for a line closure, personally is very insensitive, but that's just my view.
 

D6130

Established Member
Joined
12 Jan 2021
Messages
5,909
Location
West Yorkshire/Tuscany
I fail to see why it's a "cultural" landmark. Ribblehead viaduct aside it's a standard railway.
Rather than being a "cultural" landmark", IIRC, the S & C is described as being a "Designated Heritage Corridor", largely because of the remarkable homogenity of all the Midland Railway architectural and engineering features along the route - station buildings, signalboxes, goods sheds, bridges, tunnels, viaducts......and even down to the dry-stone boundary walls. Given the fact that a large part of the line lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, there are very strict conditions on what can and cannot be altered or demolished. Now I'm very much aware that heritage doesn't pay the bills and the line has never paid it's way, having been built at huge cost - almost bankrupting the Midland - to spite the LNWR over their lack of co-operation with through traffic to Scotland via Ingleton. However, the line could be made to earn extra revenue in a number of different ways. The first and most obvious way would be to reinstate the through trains between Scotland and West Yorkshire, with competitive fares compared to those charged for travel via the East and West Coast main lines. Northern Spirit tried this for a few years in the late 'nineties/ early noughties and the one train in each direction was very well-loaded for most of the year, mainly with leisure rather than business travellers admittedly, attracted by the competitive fares. Unfortunately, this bold experiment was sunk by a certain bearded entrepreneur throwing his teddy out of the pram over revenue abstraction between Carlisle and Glasgow.....and to think that, according to the Major government, rail privatisation was supposed to let passengers enjoy the benefits of real competition! In my opinion, as a former driver over the S & C, there should be two trains per day, seven days a week, from Leeds to Glasgow Central, calling at Shipley, Keighley and Skipton to pick up only; then Settle, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell and Carlisle....and possibly with an Edinburgh portion, in which case a Carstairs stop would be required. With some fairly minor signalling alterations at Hellifield, a portion from/to Manchester (calling at Bolton, Blackburn and Clitheroe) could be attached/detached there - but if the combined train totalled more than four coaches, platform lengthening would be required at Settle and Kirkby Stephen. Appreciable time savings could be achieved by returning the line to its original speed limit of 80 mph South of Newbiggin and 75 North thereof, in place of the current rather pedestrian 60 overall North of Skipton. Mentioning increased line speeds brings me to the line's other (currently unrealised) potential as a diversionary route for when the WCML is blocked for engineering or other reasons. VTWC have shown no interest in this for the past several years but, now that things have changed and the government/DfT are calling the shots and calling for a big reduction in replacement bus use, there are likely to be changes around the corner. The big question is: what will Avanti use for their Sunday Shrewsbury, Chester and North Wales services while their new Hitachi bi-modes are running diverted Euston-Glasgow and Edinburgh services via Settle?
 

willgreen

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2020
Messages
631
Location
Leeds
That isn't entirely true - of course there are very few commuters/shoppers over the central section (Kirkby Stephen-Horton) but even in lockdown Northern thought it neccesary to run RRBs into Carlisle and back to cover the withdrawn commuter trains.
Is this not a franchise commitment though?
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
I don't think "excited" is either fair or appropriate.

It's perfectly fair to question the utility of a lightly used line when there are other services in the area which suffer from overcrowding. It's also a matter of historical fact that this line has never commercially "washed its face" and was only built in the Victorian railway boom - it's not a line that has ever justified its existance other than from a romatic standpoint.



Probably a statoutory requirement?

LNW have done the same with the Abbey Flyer and Marston Vale.

Well, frankly there are no other services suffering overcrowding in the area at the moment, and when there were the S&C had perfectly reasonable loadings for a regional route.
 

A0wen

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2008
Messages
7,544
Well, frankly there are no other services suffering overcrowding in the area at the moment, and when there were the S&C had perfectly reasonable loadings for a regional route.

Once again we have another of your subjective statements: "perfectly reasonable loadings" - where's your evidence? Travelling on it a couple of times in 6 months isn't evidence.

Let's see some proper fact based evidence rather than your normal hyperbole.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
39,270
Location
Yorks
Once again we have another of your subjective statements: "perfectly reasonable loadings" - where's your evidence? Travelling on it a couple of times in 6 months isn't evidence.

Let's see some proper fact based evidence rather than your normal hyperbole.

I generally use the route around twice a month. I also do the Little North Western.

Unfortunately I'm not in a position to undertake regular passenger counts, so I only have my own experience to fall back on.

Have you taken regular passenger counts on the route to back up your assertions ?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top