London Midland 110mph running from Monday 10th December

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All Line Rover

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(Mod note: I have not put this thread in the Infrastructure or Rolling Stock forums as I would prefer to discuss the impact on rail services on the WCML in general. The 110mph thread in the Rolling Stock forum seems to be completed unrelated to what I want to discuss.)

This press release from London Midland confirms that 110mph running will start from Monday 10th December. I know most people already know this, but this is the first time I have seen a confirmed date on the London Midland website.

What particularly caught my eye is the mentioning of "time savings of up to 32 minutes" between Trent Valley stations and London Euston, with Nuneaton being cited as an example.

On a weekday most London Midland services to/from Nuneaton take 1h 42m (to Euston) and 1h 30m (from Euston). If approximately 30 minutes can be shaved off those journey times, that reduces them to around 1h 10m and 1h respectively. Virgin takes an average of 1h in each direction, so those new London Midland journey times are very impressive. It seems that they will almost match, if not occasionally beat, Virgin's journey times!

Hopefully this will revitalise timetables on the West Coast Main Line. It seems that Virgin/the-then-WCML-franchise-holder won't be able to compete at the Trent Valley stations and maybe even Rugby. Nobody in their right mind will pay a price premium of almost 200% for a time saving of 5 or 10 minutes.

Do you think that the-then-WCML-franchise-holder, whoever they might be (Virgin, SNCF, First...), will consider removing all of the Trent Valley stops and even Rugby? Maybe introducing extra stops at Milton Keynes and Watford Junction to compensate? I have to say that I do have my doubts about Rugby as it is a good interchange station, but then Virgin have neglected it since VHF (in terms of trains stopping there), instead focusing on end-to-end journey times.

One concern I have is that London Midland might decide to scrap the "LM Only" fares. But then Virgin price the "Any Permitted" fares from those stations, and I'd be surprised if they didn't mind LM "claiming" them as that could substantially reduce the current price premium on the section of track south of Rugby.

There are a lot of unanswered questions, but all in all this is very interesting and I look forward to December/January. Hopefully without too many price increases! :lol:
 
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radamfi

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What particularly caught my eye is the mentioning of "time savings of up to 32 minutes" between Trent Valley stations and London Euston, with Nuneaton being cited as an example.

On a weekday most London Midland services to/from Nuneaton take 1h 42m (to Euston) and 1h 30m (from Euston).

There are substantially faster connections by changing at Rugby. Booked at 72-73 minutes. I know the British tradition is to ignore connections, but in this case this connection was carefully planned to give a reasonably fast journey time to the Trent Valley stations to those who want it.

One concern I have is that London Midland might decide to scrap the "LM Only" fares.

That is my main concern. If they don't scrap them, I'm sure we can expect a substantial increase. I am prepared to accept a longer trip via Northampton in return for a big saving in fares. This applies not just to Trent Valley stations but also to the cheap fares to Stoke and Liverpool.
 

Dreadnought

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Do you think that the-then-WCML-franchise-holder, whoever they might be (Virgin, SNCF, First...), will consider removing all of the Trent Valley stops and even Rugby? Maybe introducing extra stops at Milton Keynes and Watford Junction to compensate? I have to say that I do have my doubts about Rugby as it is a good interchange station, but then Virgin have neglected it since VHF (in terms of trains stopping there), instead focusing on end-to-end journey times.
Since Rugby is served by Birmingham trains then I hope they keep those services especially as it is cheaper and quicker to travel by VT from RUG to BHM than it is on LM!
 

mattyb1405

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Do the Trent Valley services stop at Rugby? Almost worth a Virgin ticket from Bham Intl to Rugby then LM to Euston? would it be quicker than the existing LM Bham Intl to Euston service?
 

Waverley125

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In an ideal world you'd like to serve Nuneaton, Tamworth & Lichfield off the WCML, but atm it's just not feasible.

However, can anyone work out the potential impact of LM's higher speeds for a potential service all the way through to Manchester? I.e. 2tph up the TV, one going to Crewe via Stoke, the other continuing to Piccadilly?

So something like: Watford Junc, Milton Keynes Central, Northampton, Rugby, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield TV, Rugeley TV, Stafford, Stoke on Trent, Kidsgrove, Congleton, Macclesfield, Poynton, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Piccadilly
 

HSTEd

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How does a 10% increase in top speed give a 30% decrease in travel times?
Or is this because the trains will now be permitted on the fast lines?
 

All Line Rover

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It's because the faster trains will avoid Northampton, instead taking the fast line between Rugby and Milton Keynes.

With regard to an earlier post, yes, all LM services stop at Rugby.
 

David10

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Logically LM's 110mph services will be about 12% slower than Virgin's 125mph services assuming similar acceleration and braking ability. So if Virgin can do 60 minutes, LM should be doing it in about 66.

The big saving will be made by running via Weedon and the elimination of the 10 minutes at dwell time at Northampton. Most Trent Valley services currently operate via the fasts south of Milton Keynes only calling at Watford Junction.
 

All Line Rover

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There are substantially faster connections by changing at Rugby. Booked at 72-73 minutes. I know the British tradition is to ignore connections, but in this case this connection was carefully planned to give a reasonably fast journey time to the Trent Valley stations to those who want it.

You're right, it is currently much faster to connect into Virgin services at Rugby, and I do see a fair few people doing this. But that's what makes the faster LM services even more interesting, in that they will beat those "LM&VT" journey times, rendering VT obsolete for such journeys.
 

scotsman

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One concern I have is that London Midland might decide to scrap the "LM Only" fares. But then Virgin price the "Any Permitted" fares from those stations, and I'd be surprised if they didn't mind LM "claiming" them as that could substantially reduce the current price premium on the section of track south of Rugby.

I think this would protect the LM only fares!

At the moment an anytime return from Brummy to Euston is £158 - this is split between London Midland and Virgin.

As Virgin, on the whole, are substantially faster than LM trains, many travellers opt to take Virgin services. This necessitates an inter-available ticket, so LM probably only gets around 40% of the fare. Meanwhile, LM attempts to attract passengers by offering lower fares - an LM only fare is £65, which LM keeps 100% of.

By speeding up services, travellers will be much more likely to take LM, as the anytime fare offers a 59% saving on the inter-available fare, and the train will only take slightly longer than the Virgin services.

Ergo, I expect LM only fares to stay, but to increase somewhat, whilst remaining highly competitive with the inter-available fare.
 

Techniquest

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Well personally I currently prefer the idea of going with Virgin from Birmingham to London as the journey time is so much quicker and you can belt it along the WCML instead of stopping at every lamp post and waiting for hens teeth at Northampton. It's so slow and dull on LM it's no wonder those who can afford it go with Virgin. I also love the tilting, so getting a 390 is the only sensible way to do BHM to EUS.

That said, when this starts happening with 110mph running, will LM's Birmingham to London services see much of this, or will it just be the Trent Valley that benefits? I would hope at least one of the three LM services per hour from Birmingham to London gets to thunder down the WCML via Weedon. However the cynic in me says that it'll be a service that isn't possible to connect into with Advance fares from Hereford still.

Oh, and before someone asks, no I prefer not to go with Chiltern. Might as well go with FGW/FGW+ATW if I'm going to fork out that sort of money!

All that said, this could be very good for LM and if Birmingham gets the benefit of the faster running then competition could get fiercer than it already is.
 

calc7

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My bet's on Virgin to operate a 1tph or 1tp2h service to Stoke or Rugby with decent Advance fares.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The documentation last year for the LM access agreement indicated that 110mph paths on the Fast via Weedon were not yet available on the Up, so LM trains would continue to run via Northampton in this direction.
The journey times in the draft timetable were 56min Euston-Rugby Down and 69min Up (as opposed to 78/92min currently).

A 32min reduction sounds impressive, and it is, but a chunk of this is the elimination of the dwell time at Northampton on the Down, as well as running via Weedon on the Up.
I'm therefore not sure if the new timetable has trains via Weedon both ways.

Either way, a faster service for TV stations is very welcome.
I should think the ICWC franchise will be quite content with this. It reduces the pressure on them for off-peak long distance services to stop.
The next opportunity to add long distance services will come from the new paths created by the enhancements at Stafford/Norton Bridge.
 

MK Tom

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The wording on LM's press release is very confusing - ''a new hourly off-peak service between Milton Keynes, Rugby and London'' - ignoring the curious order of those stops, does that mean a new 110mph service via Weedon, or a new Northampton-routed service with the existing Crewe service routed via Weedon? I can't see LM routing two trains per hour via Weedon and leaving Northy with only two an hour to London.

EDIT: The timetable is here but doesn't show services that terminate south of Rugby - http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/lm-30sa-class-1s-timetable122012-sx.pdf
 
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David10

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So the off-peak down service will pick up 5 minutes on the journey to Milton Keynes largely due to skipping Watford Junction, 22 to Rugby and 14 to Crewe. Up service will depart Crewe 29 minutes later, Rugby 33 and Milton Keynes 9.

With a 56 minute journey time LM London - Rugby services will be only be marginally slower than Virgin services
 

cle

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If the trains are cleared themselves, then why can't they run 110mph all the way up to Stoke/Crewe - as the old Virgins used to?

Shame Watford is losing another useable service to the north for another Northampton. They should really try to put a stop on the Manchester which runs via Crewe, to offer decent connections.
 

David10

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If the trains are cleared themselves, then why can't they run 110mph all the way up to Stoke/Crewe - as the old Virgins used to?
No reason they can't, journey times through the Trent Valley will be roughly what they are now, more likely to be to do with pathing. 110mph only possible as far as Norton Bridge Junction, route via Stone and Kidsgrove is 100mph maximum I think.

I would imagine LM's Liverpool services will also be able to operate at 110mph between Stafford and Weaver Junction.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Just out of curiosity, is this with existing rolling stock? No-one's said.
Yes 350s to be modified, not sure exactly what this involves.
 

cle

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Oh good, it's nice to see some progress. They should look at 110mph running for the new Thameslink trains, both for MML and GN sections - might help fast line pathing too.

And could the 365s do it on the Cambridge runs? Be a good thing to roll out, especially for the outer GN services, and possibly adding up to Corby onto TL.
 

asylumxl

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Oh good, it's nice to see some progress. They should look at 110mph running for the new Thameslink trains, both for MML and GN sections - might help fast line pathing too.

And could the 365s do it on the Cambridge runs? Be a good thing to roll out, especially for the outer GN services, and possibly adding up to Corby onto TL.

That is extremely logical and makes perfect sense.

As such, it will never happen :lol:.
 

All Line Rover

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Without wishing to sound rude, could we please stay on topic by not discussing infrastructure improvements on other lines. There are plenty of different threads for that sort of thing! Thanks. :)
 

sprinterguy

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In terms of power to weight ratio how does a 350 compare with a Pendolino?
Class 350/2 (A good deal lighter than a 350/1): 166.1 tonnes, 2680hp = 16.13hp/tonne

9-car 390: 459.7 tonnes, 6836hp = 14.87hp/tonne

It's always interesting to compare the two when they "drag race" each other out of Euston.
 

The Planner

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No reason they can't, journey times through the Trent Valley will be roughly what they are now, more likely to be to do with pathing. 110mph only possible as far as Norton Bridge Junction, route via Stone and Kidsgrove is 100mph maximum I think.

I would imagine LM's Liverpool services will also be able to operate at 110mph between Stafford and Weaver Junction.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Yes 350s to be modified, not sure exactly what this involves.

They sit slow line between Nuneaton and Colwich and there is no 110mph until after Tamworth, which if they stop at Lichfield and Rugeley they won't see much of anyway. Nothing above 95 between Colwich and Stoke for non EPS.
 
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