LM Direct Award agreement

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aformeruser

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I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before but the LM Direct Award agreement was put on the DfT website a couple of weeks ago: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...-midland-direct-award-franchise-agreement.pdf

It does confirm the retained 150/1s go off lease in June 2017 and it states they may be replaced by additional 153s. A minimum of 2 x 150/1s must be diagrammed for weekday use currently and if the 150s depart a minimum of 4 x additional 153s (from 6) must be diagrammed for weekday use.
 
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MML

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Does the cascade of Class 153 from other operators offer the new LM franchisee the opportunity to enhance the existing hourly service (Monday-Saturday only) along the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford ?

Platforms are short so cannot adequately accommodate 2 x 23m units.
But use of the single-car Class 153 units at an improved half-hourly frequency could be a solution.

1. The journey end to end is 45 minutes, with toilets at Bedford, Ridgemont and Bletchley stations, there would be no requirement for on-board toilet facilities. So no expensive modifications would be required for PRM toilets on the train.
2. Half-hourly frequency would stimulate growth, where the current hourly frequency deters use of the service.
3. If 4 x Class 153 units were stabled at Bletchley, they would provide resilience in the event of a single unit failure.
4. Introduction of an hourly frequency on Sundays and Bank Holidays would be possible with 2 units, while the other 2 units received maintenance.
 
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HLE

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Does the cascade of Class 153 from other operators offer the new LM franchisee the opportunity to enhance the existing hourly service (Monday-Saturday only) along the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford ?

Platforms are short so cannot adequately accommodate 2 x 23m units.
But use of the single-car Class 153 units at an improved half-hourly frequency could be a solution.

1. The journey end to end is 45 minutes, with toilets at Bedford, Ridgemont and Bletchley stations, there would be no requirement for on-board toilet facilities. So no expensive modifications would be required for PRM toilets on the train.
2. Half-hourly frequency would stimulate growth, where the current hourly frequency deters use of the service.
3. If 4 x Class 153 units were stabled at Bletchley, they would provide resilience in the event of a single unit failure.
4. Introduction of an hourly frequency on Sundays and Bank Holidays would be possible with 2 units, while the other 2 units received maintenance.

Can't see 4 dogboxes being sent to Bletchley even after the cascade and the 150's go off lease.

What are the loadings like in the peaks? Even running a single 153 every 30 minutes sounds like it would cause issues fairly quickly.

All of London Midlands diesel fleet is maintained at Tyseley. Your plan would likely see 2 153's ran up on a Sunday morning with another 2 sent down to replace. Even with an extra 6 153's to replace the 150's it leaves exactly the same amount of units as before.....as in 6 x 1 car 153's over 3 x 2 car 150's.

A half hourly service would also mean extra traincrew would be needed.

A D train might be an option for the route.
 

Ianno87

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Does the cascade of Class 153 from other operators offer the new LM franchisee the opportunity to enhance the existing hourly service (Monday-Saturday only) along the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford ?

Platforms are short so cannot adequately accommodate 2 x 23m units.
But use of the single-car Class 153 units at an improved half-hourly frequency could be a solution.

1. The journey end to end is 45 minutes, with toilets at Bedford, Ridgemont and Bletchley stations, there would be no requirement for on-board toilet facilities. So no expensive modifications would be required for PRM toilets on the train.
2. Half-hourly frequency would stimulate growth, where the current hourly frequency deters use of the service.
3. If 4 x Class 153 units were stabled at Bletchley, they would provide resilience in the event of a single unit failure.
4. Introduction of an hourly frequency on Sundays and Bank Holidays would be possible with 2 units, while the other 2 units received maintenance.

If one put a third diagram on Marston Vale, one could run two trains per hour - each could skip 1-2 of the quieter stations (Kempston Hardwick, I'm looking at you...). This could get the end-to-end time down to about 40 minutes, so it'd be possible to run a half-hourly service with only one extra diagram.
 

Class172

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I can potentially see LM becoming a home for a couple Class 230s, for use on the Coventry-Nuneaton services (and perhaps Kenilworth?), allowing the 153s to be used more liberally elsewhere, such as some previous posters' suggestions regarding the Marston Vale line.
 
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Techniquest

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Bang some 230s on the Marston Vale and send the 153s to somewhere that is in desperate need of capacity. I'm fairly certain GA would welcome them with open arms.

Bang some 230s onto Nuneaton to Leamington Spa services too. The lack of toilets on board wouldn't be much of an issue from today anyway, given how many 153s end up running about all day with them locked OOU.

Mind you, we could always send some 230s to ATW land and use them on the Borderlands line. Give the job to MerseyRail, re-cast the timetable as a top priority job and ATW can have a couple of 150s back for use somewhere more useful, like the Valleys!
 

HLE

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I can potentially see LM becoming a home for a couple Class 230s, for use on the Coventry-Nuneaton services (and perhaps Kenilworth?), allowing the 153s to be used more liberally elsewhere, such as some previous posters' suggestions regarding the Marston Vale line.

Can see it being the other way round.

Couple of 230's on the marston vale (think a 2 car would fit?) to the same service and a double dogbox on the Nuneaton branch.

Cannot see the passengers on the marston vale losing the 150's and getting a single 153. A double wouldn't work with the platform lengths. A 2 car 230 would.
 

Class 170101

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Can't see either to be honest.

Both routes are slated for wiring over the next few years.
 

ChrisHogan

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Can't see either to be honest.

Both routes are slated for wiring over the next few years.

Maybe, but the need is next summer when the 150s go; not several years' hence. LM and its successor WM are likely to be chronically short of stock until 2019 (at best). 230s might be better than nothing!
 

Techniquest

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Can't see either to be honest.

Both routes are slated for wiring over the next few years.

A 'few' is generally categorised as three. Which would put us in summer 2019. I'm not aware of confirmed works saying Leamington Spa to Nuneaton is being wired up.

230s from summer 2017 will fill the gap quite nicely. Even if the wiring up does then happen by 2019, that's still two years we'll have needed the 230s for and that's just fine. By summer 2019, if we do indeed have an electric railway for Nuneaton to Leamington Spa, which I'd love to see, then we should also have some Starships down from Northern which will fill the requirements quite nicely.

Mind you, if rumours come true, GA will have an enormous new fleet by then, so we could easily see 317s, 321s, 322s, 360s and 379s suddenly all available for moving around the country. Maybe bang some 90s on MK3s on it, drag in the loco haulage enthusiasts too!
 

MML

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I see what you mean regarding only requiring 3 units for the half-hourly service if you can reduce journey time to 40 minutes.

The suggestion of a 2-car Class 230 would also work given that it is supposed to have better acceleration and be the right length for the platforms along the Marston Vale line.

One unit could be serviced on the Sunday if the service dropped to hourly.
 

ag51ruk

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For the benefit of myself and everyone else not hugely knowledgeable on Control Period dates, could you elaborate as to when CP7 begins?

Memory says it's ages away yet, 2024 maybe?

CP7 is April 2024 - March 2029 (assuming the current funding framework stays the same as now)
 

DarloRich

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As an Marston Vale user on a daily basis i can feel an argument coming on!


Does the cascade of Class 153 from other operators offer the new LM franchisee the opportunity to enhance the existing hourly service (Monday-Saturday only) along the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford ?


In theory yes, in practice.............

Platforms are short so cannot adequately accommodate 2 x 23m units.
But use of the single-car Class 153 units at an improved half-hourly frequency could be a solution.

1. The journey end to end is 45 minutes, with toilets at Bedford, Ridgemont and Bletchley stations, there would be no requirement for on-board toilet facilities. So no expensive modifications would be required for PRM toilets on the train.
2. Half-hourly frequency would stimulate growth, where the current hourly frequency deters use of the service.
3. If 4 x Class 153 units were stabled at Bletchley, they would provide resilience in the event of a single unit failure.
4. Introduction of an hourly frequency on Sundays and Bank Holidays would be possible with 2 units, while the other 2 units received maintenance.

Until we get a direct MK connection from the Vale passenger numbers will be suppressed and I doubt they will support the suggested service. Passenger numbers are up in the 5 years since i moved here but the main issue depressing user numbers is the slow time into MK and the change at Blethcley. That wont change with an hourly service. The villages along the line are growing with people working in MK or London, it is a prosperous area with lots of well paid people travelling daily. These are exactly the sort of people who should be attracted to a decent service.

There is also no way LM would want to out base 4 x 153 at Bletchley. They need 1/2 for Kenilworth and 1 on maintenance. I would like to see a one train Sunday service as trial if possible to test passenger numbers.

The logistics in supporting 4 units away from base would be interesting and leave LM with little flexibility in their operations.

Platform extensions on the Marston Vale then? 2x23m presently doesn't fit.

that is one answer but I doubt it will happen.

Can't see 4 dogboxes being sent to Bletchley even after the cascade and the 150's go off lease.

What are the loadings like in the peaks? Even running a single 153 every 30 minutes sounds like it would cause issues fairly quickly.

Loadings in the peaks are much better than they were and i doubt a 153 would cope with much more traffic. Connections at Blethcley have been improved and Ridgmont is a busy station with Amazon next door. Lots of the staff come by train. However a 30 minute service would be overkill

If one put a third diagram on Marston Vale, one could run two trains per hour - each could skip 1-2 of the quieter stations (Kempston Hardwick, I'm looking at you...). This could get the end-to-end time down to about 40 minutes, so it'd be possible to run a half-hourly service with only one extra diagram.

Kempston is getting busier as people at the nearby distribution warehouses relasie they have a cheap way to get to work. You would have to make sure your trians met this demand.

I maintain, however, that whislt speed is an issue ( bus and car are quicker) the issue is the lack of a direct connection to MK, the biggest employment zone in the area, is the key reason for numbers being lower than they could be. Until then i doubt the service could support more than one an hour.

I can potentially see LM becoming a home for a couple Class 230s, for use on the Coventry-Nuneaton services (and perhaps Kenilworth?), allowing the 153s to be used more liberally elsewhere, such as some previous posters' suggestions regarding the Marston Vale line.

I fear we will end up with these things on the line and i worry that will mean the line is considered to be even more of a back water. Just give us 2 x 150 and all will be fine!

Bang some 230s on the Marston Vale and send the 153s to somewhere that is in desperate need of capacity. I'm fairly certain GA would welcome them with open arms.

Well they can sod off! We are talking about affluent Buckinghamshire here, not some yokel Anglian or dirty northern route. We don't want either the 153's or the tube things! ;)

Can't see either to be honest.

Both routes are slated for wiring over the next few years.

Not before the 150 is due to go away. It will be single dog boxes followed by tube trains followed by electrics on the stoppers if we are lucky.

Cannot see the passengers on the marston vale losing the 150's and getting a single 153.

that is exactly what will happen. The sooner Chiltern take over the better. At least that is the hope following the construction of E-W! The line doesn't fit within the LM or EMT portfolio being a diesel island in the middle of an electric sea

EDIT: there is another issue against the dog boxes: bikes ( and buggies). A 153 can not keep to time even on this simple route. It is late all the time mainly though loading on bikes and the hassle in getting them through the narrow doors and round the corner into the saloon.

I know the train should only take two but no conductor is going to turn people away on a rural line with one train an hour, especially when people cycle to and from the stations. On the 150 there are no problems!
 
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aformeruser

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Well they can sod off! We are talking about affluent Buckinghamshire here, not some yokel Anglian or dirty northern route. We don't want either the 153's or the tube things! ;)

Having been to Bletchley it looks like a place affluent people would only go to if they wanted to visit Bletchley Park. ;)
 

DarloRich

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Having been to Bletchley it looks like a place affluent people would only go to if they wanted to visit Bletchley Park. ;)

it has nice parts ( and rough parts) although the town center is a dump. However the houses aren't cheap. I don't live in Blethcley anyway. Fenny Stratford is an entirely separate town ;)
 

Bletchleyite

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Having been to Bletchley it looks like a place affluent people would only go to if they wanted to visit Bletchley Park. ;)

There are some lovely big houses on the Buckingham Road nearer the town end, while Fenny has a nice rural feel to it. The town centre is a dump, but some would argue in reality the town centre has moved towards the stadium retail park in practice. The station, while it gets slower services than MKC, is much more civilised than MKC for commuting.

The bit I'm in is a bit Barratt's estate, but is OK, and it's cheaper housing than MK proper.
 

TheBigD

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What prevents the service being extended through to Milton Keynes??? Lack of paths on the WCML slow lines, journey times not allowing 2 units to provide an hourly service, or just a lack of will???
 

Bletchleyite

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If one put a third diagram on Marston Vale, one could run two trains per hour - each could skip 1-2 of the quieter stations (Kempston Hardwick, I'm looking at you...). This could get the end-to-end time down to about 40 minutes, so it'd be possible to run a half-hourly service with only one extra diagram.

I recall it being suggested a while ago that you could run an hourly fast service (Bletchley-Woburn Sands-a couple of others-Bedford) with one unit, then a two-hourly local service using the other.

TBH, it's only worth upping it if it can stay "im Takt". A non-memorable 45ish minute frequency is less useful than a memorable clockface hourly one.

It seems far fetched, but then I never thought I'd see the day when a Northern franchisee would as part of their franchise agreement be upping Ormskirk-Preston back to 2 units to go hourly!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
all of them!

Except the number of units. There is enough layover to run to MKC and back.
 

The Planner

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Depends on how long LM would accept the turn round time to be between services at MK. If you went on 4 minutes reversal at Bletchley as standard then you need 4 minutes turnaround, 5 minutes to MK, say 5 minute turn round, 5 minutes to Bletchley and 4 minutes reversal. That is 23 minutes to get there and back.
 

DarloRich

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Except the number of units. There is enough layover to run to MKC and back.

you will need 20 minutes i should think. There isnt enougth time in all of the turn arounds ot achieve thta without changing the timetbale, whihc shouldnt be that difficulkt considering the level of service.

The added complication is the access to the carriage sidings and the use of P5 to hide unhealthy freight trains.

I will point out we endured several extra weeks of no service a few years ago during the Beltchley rebuild works and were told by LM that the extra pain was to allow a northbound passenger connection from P5 to allow MK - Bedford services to run.

We are still waiting.................

Depends on how long LM would accept the turn round time to be between services at MK. If you went on 4 minutes reversal at Bletchley as standard then you need 4 minutes turnaround, 5 minutes to MK, say 5 minute turn round, 5 minutes to Bletchley and 4 minutes reversal. That is 23 minutes to get there and back.

EDIT: beaten to it by someone who knows better than me!
 
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Ianno87

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I believe that the December 2008 timetable change did include "Phantom" paths between MKC and Bletchley that align to the current standard hour timings of the service on to Bedford. One of the reasons it was not instigated at the time is that Bletchley remodelling had to be done first to give a passenger signalled route between MKC and Platforms 5/6 at Bletchley - finally done in 2012.

There is also the question of whether sending a 1-car Dogbox along the WCML Slow Lines is *really* the best use of WCML capacity...

A half-hourly service (with the naturally better connection choices this would create at Bletchley for onward travel in either direction) would seem to me to be a reasonable compromise...
 

al green

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Depends on how long LM would accept the turn round time to be between services at MK. If you went on 4 minutes reversal at Bletchley as standard then you need 4 minutes turnaround, 5 minutes to MK, say 5 minute turn round, 5 minutes to Bletchley and 4 minutes reversal. That is 23 minutes to get there and back.

Those times are very pessimistic. Running time Bly to MKC is 3.5 mins in WTT. Reversals are done in 3 mins at some stations, eg Bradford. Current Marston Vale TT has 23 min layover at BLY. That's time to reverse, get to MKC and back, reverse again with layover of 10 mins at MKC. The tricky bit is paths on WCML slow lines.
 

DarloRich

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I believe that the December 2008 timetable change did include "Phantom" paths between MKC and Bletchley that align to the current standard hour timings of the service on to Bedford. One of the reasons it was not instigated at the time is that Bletchley remodelling had to be done first to give a passenger signalled route between MKC and Platforms 5/6 at Bletchley - finally done in 2012.

There is also the question of whether sending a 1-car Dogbox along the WCML Slow Lines is *really* the best use of WCML capacity...

A half-hourly service (with the naturally better connection choices this would create at Bletchley for onward travel in either direction) would seem to me to be a reasonable compromise...

But the lack of a direct service is exactly what puts people off. You can offer all kinds of connections but numbers will be low without that direct service. The research done by the users group shows that.

Offering a half hour service is not sensible as for much of the time the trains will be empty.


Those times are very pessimistic. Running time Bly to MKC is 3.5 mins in WTT. Reversals are done in 3 mins at some stations, eg Bradford. Current Marston Vale TT has 23 min layover at BLY. That's time to reverse, get to MKC and back, reverse again with layover of 10 mins at MKC. The tricky bit is paths on WCML slow lines.

Not on a doxbox it wont be 3.5 minutes and not all MV trains have a 23 minute lay over at Bletchley
 
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