Local services on the north ECML

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ainsworth74

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For the purposes of this exercise lets assume we live in a perfect world where pathing is not an issue because as I understand it one of the main issues behind running local services on the northern end of the ECML is trying to fit them around all the EC, XC, TPE and freight services.

So my question is thus, is there demand for better local services on the northern ECML? Say an hourly or two hourly service through the day between Newcastle and Chathill (as an extension of the existing hourly Newcastle and Morpeth service) run by something along the lines of a 380. That gives a massive boost to the stations north of Morpeth which at the moment have a couple of trains per day.

Furthermore perhaps an hourly service from York to Newcastle calling all stops (so Thirsk, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street and Newcastle) again run by something like a 380. Though actually looking at it perhaps it might be better to add more stops onto passing XC and TPE services rather than introducing a local service which covers much the same terrain? Either way it would give Thirsk and Chester-le-Street a much better service to Newcastle.

Thoughts (other than 'how do you propose to path this little lot')? Are these ideas worth thinking further about or am I barking up the wrong tree and there is in fact no real demand for better rail travel options on these local routes?
 
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jopsuk

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North of Peterborough the concept of "local" services seems to have long been abandoned on the ECML, by BR to be fair. if it was four-track all the way to Doncaster, and then local stations on long loops north of there, I'm sure many places that are currently bereft of stations could see good use of the line- and the intercity services could drop some of their smaller stops in favour of good, regular, reliable connecting services.
 

ainsworth74

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and the intercity services could drop some of their smaller stops in favour of good, regular, reliable connecting services.
Well that was my thinking in part. If there were regular local services you could have long distance services drop a lot of their calls on the that stretch of the ECML apart from York, Darlington (though perhaps cut down the EC to hourly each way) and Newcastle with those stations acting as hubs linked together by local services.
 

cuccir

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Furthermore perhaps an hourly service from York to Newcastle calling all stops (so Thirsk, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street and Newcastle) again run by something like a 380. Though actually looking at it perhaps it might be better to add more stops onto passing XC and TPE services rather than introducing a local service which covers much the same terrain? Either way it would give Thirsk and Chester-le-Street a much better service to Newcastle.
The huge gap is a good service from Tyneside to Teeside. If you're particularly interested, the OECD carried out a study of the general state of the North East in 2006, as an example of medium-sized city dominating a region. They found transport connections to be pretty good with comparable regions, with the exception of the Tyneside-Teeside link. Newcastle-Boro is currently well over an hour.

The ideal solution would be the reopening of the Leamside Line, something long discussed but not on any plans. By contrast, I don't think the York-Thirsk section is too badly served considering the population, and there's no great desire for journeys from these areas to Newcastle. So if paths were no problem, and faster trains could be found, then some sort of circular service would be great:

Middlesbrough-Thornaby-Eaglescliffe-Darlington-Durham- CLS-Newcastle-Sunderland-Hartlepool-Stockton-Middlesbrough.

But there's no hope/chance of that anytime soon!

So my question is thus, is there demand for better local services on the northern ECML? Say an hourly or two hourly service through the day between Newcastle and Chathill (as an extension of the existing hourly Newcastle and Morpeth service) run by something along the lines of a 380. That gives a massive boost to the stations north of Morpeth which at the moment have a couple of trains per day.
These stations would certainly benefit. In particular, summer services would attract tourists: if we're really entering fantasy world, then I've just (re)opened two new stations at Belford-for-Bamburgh and at Holy Island (well, where the road to Holy Island crosses the ECML), and extended the service up to Berwick. If space and paths existed then local Northumberland services would almost certainly be sustainable, but the paths don't exist, so they never will be!
 
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ainsworth74

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The huge gap is a good service from Tyneside to Teeside. They found transport connections to be pretty good with comparable regions, with the exception of the Tyneside-Teeside link. Newcastle-Boro is currently well over an hour.
Yeah the thought occurred to me about Boro - Newcastle links but it's not on the ECML so I didn't bother writing about it. Though I'm happy to have the thread go in the direction of discussing local services in the North East as heavenly alone knows that there are plenty of areas that could be improved! Also I'll try to get round to reading that report.
 

MidnightFlyer

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Maybe:
1tp2h - Edinburgh, then all stations (including proposed ones) to Berwick, then Alnmouth, Morpeth and Newcastle.
1tph - Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Dunbar and Berwick, then all stations to Newcastle.

I would also like to see more trains serving Teesside to Tyneside direct, and the removal of 'local' stops on XC / EC trains in the area, such as Morpeth.
 

william

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TBH the ECML doesn't really serve that many local communities imo (other than what is currently seved by more than adequate express services). In county Durham for example, many of the larger towns and communities without rail links were on branchlines or other long removed local routes, such as Bishop Auckland-Durham and Durham - Sunderland, Hartlepool- Sunderland and Hartlepool - Bishop Auckland via Wellfield. These routes often preceeded the faster main routes we see today, which were later additions to the network.

I agree with the lack of a decent Tyne Tees service and have mentioned this many times over the past few years, however I think any proposed service should run along a much upgraded Stillington line. It would need to be well under the hour mark to be attractive imo, and frequent. That would ofcourse mean limited stops. It would also need connections to a much improved local Teesside network imo. Tyneside has the Metro.
 

swt_passenger

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Transport Scotland have just published another report about possible stoppers on the northernmost ECML, ie various options between Newcastle to Edinburgh.

http://mobile.transportscotland.gov.uk/files/documents/reports/j196975/j196975.pdf

A very quick summary:

...As with Dunbar, the business case for a local Edinburgh - Berwick service is weak, indeed weaker than Dunbar. The local train travel times from Berwick to Edinburgh cannot compete with LDHS services so there are few benefits in taking the trains beyond Dunbar

...The business case for an Edinburgh - Newcastle semi-fast service is the weakest of the three. The additional benefits and revenue are not sufficient to outweigh the operating costs of the service.
 

ChathillMan

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Tyne - Tees has a good bus service which takes the same time and half the price for double the service, i would like to see a cross tyne link if the ABT line every opena again. Ashington to Darlo once an hour and maybe a Hexham to Berwick calling all stations
 

OMGitsDAVE

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I feel similar to some of you on here.

-> Middlesbrough - Thornaby - Stockton - Billingham - Seaton Carew - Hartlepool - Seaham - Sunderland - Heworth - Newcastle - MetroCentre
up to half hourly, from the current hourly service.

-> Newcastle - Chester le Street - Durham - Darlington - Northallerton - Thirsk - York
up to hourly, from the current none-existent service

-> Hartlepool - Seaton Carew - Billingham - Stockton - Eaglescliffe - Allens West - Durham Tees Valley Airport - Darlington
Every two hours.
 

route:oxford

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Transport Scotland have just published another report about possible stoppers on the northernmost ECML, ie various options between Newcastle to Edinburgh.

http://mobile.transportscotland.gov.uk/files/documents/reports/j196975/j196975.pdf

A very quick summary:

...As with Dunbar, the business case for a local Edinburgh - Berwick service is weak, indeed weaker than Dunbar. The local train travel times from Berwick to Edinburgh cannot compete with LDHS services so there are few benefits in taking the trains beyond Dunbar

...The business case for an Edinburgh - Newcastle semi-fast service is the weakest of the three. The additional benefits and revenue are not sufficient to outweigh the operating costs of the service.
Best done as an open-access operation then.

Are there any spare paths on the A:B to run a 380 from Glasgow Queen Street (Lower) to Newcastle?

Perhaps serving Morpeth, which could do with being bypassed (via grade-separated junctions) for express services.
 

tbtc

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I reckon there's a case for an hourly Newcastle - Cramlington - Alnmouth - Berwick service, plus an hourly Dunbar - Prestonpans - Mussleburgh - Edinburgh service.

Maybe in an ideal world you'd have:

Edinburgh - Meadowbank - Brunstane - Newcraighall - Mussleburgh - All Stops - North Berwick
Edinburgh - Meadowbank - Brunstane - Newcraighall - Dalkeith - Gorebridge
Edinburgh - Meadowbank - Brunstane - Newcraighall - Mussleburgh - Prestonpans - Dunbar
Edinburgh - Meadowbank - Brunstane - Newcraighall - Dalkeith - Gorebridge

But there aren't many other places of any worthwhile size on the route, tbh.

Obviously, as the OP says, pathing is the reason why none of this has happened (and my "ideal" service is complete pie in the sky!), but there's no way round this. Every couple of months we'll have a thread saying "why does it take 90 minutes to do the 100 miles between Newcastle and Edinburgh, why can't services be faster" and another thread saying "why can't there be more local services".

The current set up is probably the best mix of "fast" and "local" we are going to be able to get - not ideal, but a realistic compromise on a two track railway.

Sadly the local improvement between Newcastle and Sunderland (the Metro) means less scope for improvements on the Durham Coast (there's definitely scope for better services, but no space north of Sunderland, and definitely no scope for "proper" electrification)
 

william

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LOL with lampshade.

Try doing tyne-tees in less than an hour, unless your driving between the hours 11pm-7am.
 

IanXC

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Say an hourly or two hourly service through the day between Newcastle and Chathill (as an extension of the existing hourly Newcastle and Morpeth service) run by something along the lines of a 380. That gives a massive boost to the stations north of Morpeth which at the moment have a couple of trains per day.
Aha! I'd electrify Newcastle-MetroCentre and use some of Abellio Greater Anglia's leftover EMUs to run a half hourly service.

I presume the Newcastle-Chathill/Morpeth service is timetabled for 75mph DMUs? Would 100mph EMUs help with the pathing situation?
 

142094

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Newcastle - Middlesbrough should really be sub 1 hour and would certainly benefit from being 2tph. One of the problems with reopening the Leamside line is that it could negatively affect the Durham Coast route, which isn't what is needed - both should be improved.

A good service would be a figure of 8 on its side:

1) Newcastle - Hartlepool - Middlesbrough - Washington - Newcastle

2) Newcastle - Chester-le-Street - Durham - Darlington - Middlesbrough - Washington - Newcastle

As for north of Newcastle on the ECML (not talking about ABT as this should be considered in its own right), you might be able to justify a 2 hourly service calling at all stations to Chathill, but apart from that there isn't enough demand and for most of north Northumberland, the car is king unfortunately.

I suspect many people have never been to Chathill but I did it one morning and the train had me and one more person on (outnumbered by the driver and two guards). One person got on at Chathill on the return south (although I got off so there could have been some commutters going to Newcastle). Once at Chathill I had to walk a few miles to the nearest village (Beadnell) to get the scholars bus to Alnwick. I doubt many people would want to do that often!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I presume the Newcastle-Chathill/Morpeth service is timetabled for 75mph DMUs? Would 100mph EMUs help with the pathing situation?
Newcastle - Chathill is normally a 156 but the MetroCentre - Morpeth is normally exclusively 142s.
 

OMGitsDAVE

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Why on earth would people who want to go to Newcastle, want to go to Middlesbrough first?

There's quite a lot of flow from Hartlepool northbound, and obviously a circle route wouldn't really work as it'd be slightly too big to enable people to have effective journey times.
 

ChiefPlanner

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I would not count on subsidy hungry additional local services being introduced here (or elsewhere) with the economic tightness of the moment - even in Scotland (and Wales) - the T Scotland illustrates that well enough - and stopping faster services at the expense of overall journey time for larger flows does not tick any boxes (for now)

Sorry to put a dampener on this.
 

142094

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Why on earth would people who want to go to Newcastle, want to go to Middlesbrough first?

There's quite a lot of flow from Hartlepool northbound, and obviously a circle route wouldn't really work as it'd be slightly too big to enable people to have effective journey times.
A circular route that goes both ways? Eg. like the Cathcart circle in Glasgow?
 

ChiefPlanner

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Not a problem, the whole exercise in my mind was highly theoretical and firmly in the 'would be nice' column of rail improvements rather than the 'critical' and 'important' columns.
Always good to have some ideas to hand - (working on a nice little project for 2017 today - which could be a runner !!!!) - apart from being a nice project , it has a cracking business case and really does a lot of things. Sorry cant share. :)
 

NSE

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Again, I know its due to pathing issues, but a local service north or Peterborough would also be appreciated. Something along the lines of extending the FCC semi fast to Peterborough (or introduce a fast to St. Neots and onwards from there) all stations to Retford, therefore allowing the new EC slow service to either be axed, or allowed a faster run further north.
Again all hypothetical, I know pathing is far to tight once the four track goes north of Huntingdon
 

ashworth

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It isn't just the northern sections of the ECML where there is a lack of local services.
The same could be said for Peterborough - Grantham - Newark - Retford - Doncaster. Services from these stations are mainly organised to provide journeys to/from London. Journeys between intermediate stations are not always easy. Yet Grantham, Newark and Retford are all sizeable regional market towns. Places of this size and distance apart on a secondary route would normally have a much more regular service between them. However, the recent introduction of the 2 hourly service from Kings Cross to York has made matters a little better providing trains between Newark and Retford, which before the introduction of this service had some gaps of several hours without a train between them.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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Again, I know its due to pathing issues, but a local service north or Peterborough would also be appreciated. Something along the lines of extending the FCC semi fast to Peterborough (or introduce a fast to St. Neots and onwards from there) all stations to Retford, therefore allowing the new EC slow service to either be axed, or allowed a faster run further north.
Again all hypothetical, I know pathing is far to tight once the four track goes north of Huntingdon
This was suggested in 1999 when the then WAGN suggested extending PBO terminators to Doncaster , - at the same time GNER wanted half hourly Leeds and an embryonic Hull trains was setting up. The latter 2 , won the day - whcih on reflection was the best option for many reasons.

ECML capacity and planning continues to be a challenge - let alone day to day performance.
 

swt_passenger

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It isn't just the northern sections of the ECML where there is a lack of local services.
The same could be said for Peterborough - Grantham - Newark - Retford - Doncaster. Services from these stations are mainly organised to provide journeys to/from London. Journeys between intermediate stations are not always easy. Yet Grantham, Newark and Retford are all sizeable regional market towns. Places of this size and distance apart on a secondary route would normally have a much more regular service between them. However, the recent introduction of the 2 hourly service from Kings Cross to York has made matters a little better providing trains between Newark and Retford, which before the introduction of this service had some gaps of several hours without a train between them.
East Coast have just applied to extend their Newark terminators to York, and add a couple of extra Yorks - result being the hourly service Peterborough - York that you seem to be hoping for - to commence Dec 2012:

The proposed amendment will facilitate the continuation of the existing four services per day (SX)
between London and Newark Northgate. In addition this proposal seeks to extend those services
through to York and introduce two additional services between London and York (and v.v.). All
these trains will call at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark Northgate, Retford and
Doncaster as part of the standard pattern of services. The new and extended services will
improve connectivity and journey reliability for passengers seeking to travel between the above
stations, the North East and Scotland.
The additional services from Kings Cross to York would depart at 06:08 and 08:08, taking up
vacant paths in the standard pattern timetable. The existing 10:08, 12:08, 14:08 and 16:08
departures from Kings Cross to Newark would be extended to York.
Southbound the additional services from York would depart at 09:01 and 19:05 arriving at Kings
Cross at 11:27 and 21:30 respectively. The four existing services from Newark are planned to
start back from York at 11:04, 13:04, 15:04 and 17:01.
http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/s22a-eastcoast-34sa-app-form.pdf
 

cuccir

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East Coast have just applied to extend their Newark terminators to York, and add a couple of extra Yorks - result being the hourly service Peterborough - York that you seem to be hoping for - to commence Dec 2012:
Sounds good, the Newark terminators seem particularly pointless - a bit of an afterthought after the Lincoln services were dropped, it would seem.
 

ainsworth74

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East Coast have just applied to extend their Newark terminators to York, and add a couple of extra Yorks - result being the hourly service Peterborough - York that you seem to be hoping for - to commence Dec 2012
I'm sure I read somewhere recently that NR had since told EC that they're on a hiding to nothing with trying to get those extended as there just isn't the pathing for extra services to York.
 
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