Liverpool Norwich service to be split at Nottingham

Chester1

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The East Midlands Franchise award states:

http://maps.dft.gov.uk/east-midlands-rail-franchise/index.html

Norwich - Nottingham - Liverpool
Benefits include:

  • early in the new franchise the Liverpool - Nottingham section will transfer to another operator, which will enable the two halves of the service to better meet the needs of customers
  • refurbished, modern trains with:
    • more reliable service
    • improved comfort
    • passenger information system displays
    • free on-board Wi-Fi
    • at-seat power sockets
    • USB points
    • air conditioning
    • tables at all seats
    • increased luggage space
  • limited services will continue to operate via Stamford and Loughborough
Three big questions:
  • Was splitting the service the correct decision?
  • Will the new service be run by TPE or Northern?
  • What rolling stock will they use?
My guess is that it will be TPE with more 802s obtained to run Middlesbrough-Manchester Airport services to make use of ECML wires and run at 125mph, freeing up Mark V sets for Liverpool-Nottingham. Its a complete guess though.

Please could we avoid talking about the East Midlands franchise award in this thread and concentrate on the future of this particular service.
 
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Jorge Da Silva

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I predict that it will be TPE which would operator the service and I do not personally think it was a correct decision. Nearly 60% of people voted against the decision in the consultation of the franchise.
 

F Great Eastern

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Splitting Norwich to Liverpool is idiotic, but this is the DFT we're talking about so I'm not surprised they do something that is worse for the passengers. No doubt there will be a sizeable wait for connecting passengers.

It probably looked good on paper to some person who never uses trains but ticked a few boxes for someone somewhere along the line because from everything I heard the consultation was heavily against this, but when did the DFT ever listen?
 

eastdyke

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Splitting Norwich to Liverpool is idiotic, but this is the DFT we're talking about so I'm not surprised they do something that is worse for the passengers. No doubt there will be a sizeable wait for connecting passengers.

It probably looked good on paper to some person who never uses trains but ticked a few boxes for someone somewhere along the line because from everything I heard the consultation was heavily against this, but when did the DFT ever listen?
It would be (idiotic) if the majority of journeys on the route involved passengers staying on the trains through Nottingham. That is simply not the case.
It would be if journeys from east of Nottingham to Manchester/Liverpool (&vv) were both quicker and cheaper than via Leeds. They are generally not, split advances often being substantially cheaper via Leeds.
It might be if disruption to one part of the journey affecting another happened somewhat less frequently than it does.
The latter aspect seems to have got progressively worse over time.
I was previously not a supporter of the 'split' but I have changed my mind.
 

chubs

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A split in the Norwich - Liverpool service is a real backwards step.

Although a lot on here try and claim everyone just goes via London whenever it's discussed as a semi regular user of the service I see the opposite. Really disappointing.
 

chubs

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It would be (idiotic) if the majority of journeys on the route involved passengers staying on the trains through Nottingham. That is simply not the case.
Is it really not the case? Do you have links to the data please?

I haven't conducted any scientific studies but from my experience of using the service many people stay on through Nottingham, and many I board with in Norwich alight at Sheffield and Manchester. Biggest flows on and off seem to be Peterborough and Manchester, then Sheffield and Ely.
 

F Great Eastern

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Well I know a few people who frequently go to Manchester via Nottingham from East Anglia myself.

Anyone who uses the argument of going via London can't have booked too many advances to the North from East Anglia, frequently going via Nottingham is much cheaper than via London.
 

eastdyke

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Is it really not the case? Do you have links to the data please?

I haven't conducted any scientific studies but from my experience of using the service many people stay on through Nottingham, and many I board with in Norwich alight at Sheffield and Manchester. Biggest flows on and off seem to be Peterborough and Manchester, then Sheffield and Ely.
I have used the train for journeys to/from Nottingham quite often over the years and a few times over the full length. Apart from the more local journeys at each end, Peterborough and Sheffield, especially at peak times show the largest number of leavers and joiners.
A good number can stay on at Nottingham without it approaching anything like the majority of journeys (on the route).
A previous MD of East Midlands told me that journeys between Norwich and the North West represented less than 10% of those made.
Delays at either end of the journey can impact the other and needs a spare unit at Nottingham to mitigate.
 

DanTrain

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Be interesting to see who gets the liverpool to Nottingham section. Crosscountry? Northern? TPE?
Cross Coubtry is unlikely and would be a mad decision. I reckon (and hope) it’ll be TPE, they have route knowledge on much of the track in question and already operate the other Hope Valley fast so it might rationalise that line a bit, plus they used to operate on the Warrington line.
 

Prestige15

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The Norwich to Nottingham section is being extended to Derby. It was originaly ment to extend to Sheffield or Crewe. I personally think Crewe would be the better option
 

Ianno87

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Is it really not the case? Do you have links to the data please?

I haven't conducted any scientific studies but from my experience of using the service many people stay on through Nottingham, and many I board with in Norwich alight at Sheffield and Manchester. Biggest flows on and off seem to be Peterborough and Manchester, then Sheffield and Ely.
What people forget is that when you see the passengers who stay aboard at Nottingham, what you can't see is all the other passengers who've gone via the ECML or London.
 

Sleepy

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Comparing prices in May, Norwich to Manchester via London (0740) Advance tickets available for £47 which compares to via Peterborough prices and timings. Even walk up ex -Saver priced only slightly higher priced via London. The loss of a through service for those with luggage / elderly etc. should not be under estimated, so much for the Dft consultation.
 

DanTrain

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The problem with the split for me is not so much that you have to change per se but that it’s upset the balance. Previously you had the choice of a slow through route or a slightly faster route with 2 changes, now you have a very slow route with a chance or a faster route with 2 changes, at which point many people will look to their car.

Running through to Crewe would have been a very good idea to offer much better connections to Liverpool an Manchester, but alas that would have been too sensible for DafT.
 

F Great Eastern

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Comparing prices in May, Norwich to Manchester via London (0740) Advance tickets available for £47 which compares to via Peterborough prices and timings. Even walk up ex -Saver priced only slightly higher priced via London. The loss of a through service for those with luggage / elderly etc. should not be under estimated, so much for the Dft consultation.
That anecdotal experience doesn't prove anything though, it's one train on one day and when I've booked tickets myself in the past tickets from say Ipswich to Manchester have been cheaper not via London about 75% of the time, sometimes significantly, especially around sporting events.
 

jw

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Northern could operate Liverpool to Nottingham as another Connect route. They already plan to operate other Connect services to both cities (Liverpool to Leeds and Leeds to Nottingham), so there may be some efficiencies possible with crewing and stock. Perhaps an extra order of 195s?
 

Sleepy

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Obviously via London Advance availabity will depend on quota on GA and Virgin while EMT Advance probably much more limited bearing in mind only operated by a 2 coach train normally.
 

Iskra

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As a Sheffield resident, I'm happy with this. This allows 2x185 to run Liverpool-Nottingham, without them being stung by sprinter differentials East of Nottingham.

I'd prefer it to be Northern with 185's for fare competition, but operationally TP would make much more sense.

It's going to release 158's for EMT. It should allow a better early morning and late evening service without the long ECS moves.

End to end journeys are still faster via London. Otherwise, it's only one change at Nottingham.

I'm glad more capacity on the busier end of the route has been prioritised over providing obscure direct journey opportunities.

I understand some people will be worse off, but I think the right decision has been made. Why should the people who can fit on a 2-car 158 per hour dictate the service provision of those who can't fit on a 4-car 158, 3 car 185 and 2/4 car Northern train an hour? Tyranny of the majority.
 

kevconnor

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If it is TPE I'd be interested to see how they staff it.

I guess the first question is whether TUPE would apply? Are drivers or conductors solely assigned to this route or is it staffed in the round along with other routes as part of a rolling rota?

I think I am right in saying East Midlands currently staff this from Nottingham and this is also where all trains start from or end up.

TPE have driver bases in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield so would be well placed in that sense. I remember, from my Sheffield days, there was a TPE unit that was normally stabled overnight at Sheffield, maybe there might be room for another. Pre-HS2 construction commencing is there room at Ardwick for all the new trains TPE will have, may this affect the need for more room being warented somewhere?

I always found a problem with the current service was the lack of direct services this side of the Pennines at the extremes of the day due to all services starting out in Nottingham. This might at least help to rebalance services in the morning and evening. Is there possibility of more trains being stabled in Sheffield?
 

NoMorePacers

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Be interesting to see who gets the liverpool to Nottingham section. Crosscountry? Northern? TPE?
I personally think the full Liverpool-Norwich route should have been put into the Cross Country franchise back in 2007 when it was first drawn up. But alas it is too late now.
 

howittpie

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Splitting the service was completely the wrong decision but not surprising. The change at Nottingham could involve some very long walks especially if the lifts are needed for example if the train from Norwich arrives on 1c passenger will have to walk to the length of the platform and if the Liverpool is departing from platform 4 as an example then you have to walk the full length of the platform.

AS for who operates the Liverpool section I think it is going to Northern no evidence but will see a downgrading of the service as no trolley hope I am wrong and it is TPE.
 

Ianno87

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If it is TPE I'd be interested to see how they staff it.

I guess the first question is whether TUPE would apply? Are drivers or conductors solely assigned to this route or is it staffed in the round along with other routes as part of a rolling rota?

I think I am right in saying East Midlands currently staff this from Nottingham and this is also where all trains start from or end up.
A few units and crew start and end at Norwich.

TPE have driver bases in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield so would be well placed in that sense. I remember, from my Sheffield days, there was a TPE unit that was normally stabled overnight at Sheffield, maybe there might be room for another. Pre-HS2 construction commencing is there room at Ardwick for all the new trains TPE will have, may this affect the need for more room being warented somewhere?

I always found a problem with the current service was the lack of direct services this side of the Pennines at the extremes of the day due to all services starting out in Nottingham. This might at least help to rebalance services in the morning and evening. Is there possibility of more trains being stabled in Sheffield?
Exactly. By sacificing through trains for a relatively small number of people, there is the opportunity for far more people overall to benefit from filling the curremt holes in the service caused by resourcing nearly everything from Nottingham.
 

Ianno87

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Splitting the service was completely the wrong decision but not surprising. The change at Nottingham could involve some very long walks especially if the lifts are needed for example if the train from Norwich arrives on 1c passenger will have to walk to the length of the platform and if the Liverpool is departing from platform 4 as an example then you have to walk the full length of the platform.
You are assuming that the passengers who now have to change will continue to travel via Nottingham, when in reality many will now have a better journey via Doncaster or Leeds instead.
 

dilbertphil

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If TPE were to get it they would almost certainly use 185's and it would be Liverpool and Sheffield depots who got the work.
 

Mugby

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All purely speculation at the moment of course but if the Liverpool service goes to TPE and they use 2 x 185s, I don't think such a formation would fit into Platform 4 at Nottingham.
At present, when the 2x 158s are split, the empty unit goes into Eastcroft sidings until it's required again. Depending on how much layover time is given, 2x 185s could pose a problem for platform space.

And, incidentally, Platform 4 at Nottingham is a complete and utter abomination!
 

Bevan Price

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It would not surprise me if DfT had decided from the start that Liverpool to Norwich was to be split at Nottingham, and that any "consultation" would just be a farce, the result to be ignored if it disagreed with DfT intentions. As for the next operator, I fear that TPE will get it, and that all too many Liverpool / Nottingham services will become just 3 coach 185s. The best solution in my opinion would be Northern, intially operated by Class 158 (4 coaches), and maybe later by Class 195s. Various Northern crews already have knowledge that covers the full route.
 

Sleepy

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You are assuming that the passengers who now have to change will continue to travel via Nottingham, when in reality many will now have a better journey via Doncaster or Leeds instead.
Interesting fares search for Norwich - Manchester Via Leeds or Doncaster : Anytime Single £99.90 and ........ err that's it !?! No other option shown.
 

Iskra

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All purely speculation at the moment of course but if the Liverpool service goes to TPE and they use 2 x 185s, I don't think such a formation would fit into Platform 4 at Nottingham.
At present, when the 2x 158s are split, the empty unit goes into Eastcroft sidings until it's required again. Depending on how much layover time is given, 2x 185s could pose a problem for platform space.

And, incidentally, Platform 4 at Nottingham is a complete and utter abomination!
Perhaps it could be only 6 car to Sheffield? A Cleethorpes-Manchester service could take the 3 cars back across the core in the opposite direction to avoid blocking a platform? It would also reduce the number of units required if Manchester-Cleethorpes was also only 6 car between Sheffield-Manchester.

It would not surprise me if DfT had decided from the start that Liverpool to Norwich was to be split at Nottingham, and that any "consultation" would just be a farce, the result to be ignored if it disagreed with DfT intentions. As for the next operator, I fear that TPE will get it, and that all too many Liverpool / Nottingham services will become just 3 coach 185s. The best solution in my opinion would be Northern, intially operated by Class 158 (4 coaches), and maybe later by Class 195s. Various Northern crews already have knowledge that covers the full route.
You trust Northern to actually run it as 2x158's? This would be back to square one, with it being consistently short-formed. Meanwhile 3-car 158's and 2x158's would be trundling across the Settle and Carlisle as now while Sheffield-Leeds gets 2 car 158's...
 

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