Manchester-South Wales stock

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by Philip, 10 Oct 2017.

  1. Philip

    Philip Established Member

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    Was just thinking with regards to the imminent new franchise for Wales and ideas for the rolling stock; would a similar arrangement to the TPE Class 68/Mk 5 coaching stock work for the Manchester-South Wales services? Perhaps with 3-4 coaches (including the passenger seating DVT) instead of 5 and without first class. Is it likely to happen and would it be worthwhile?
     
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  3. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Neither of the front runners (Arriva nor Abeilio) have shown any interest on LHCS in their winning bids for Northern and GA. Id be thinking along the line of CAF DMU's or Stadler Flirts if they go for new Long Distance stock.
     
  4. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    That's a pity based on that precedent, as from a purely personal viewpoint I think that class 68 push-pull formations would be pretty much ideal for the route. That's speaking as a passenger and enthusiast, though, and failing to consider critical things such as leasing and track access charges, potential Sprinter differentials and depot capacity. I don't suppose the vast majority of passengers care whether they're travelling in unpowered carriages or in an underfloor engined DMU, especially when a precedent for the latter has already been established for over 25 years.

    In the realms of fantasy, I'd not even want to move far from the established TPE formation. Those existing three carriage trains look very busy when I see them at the Manchester end of the route as it stands, and it would be nice to cater for existing and potential standard class passenger demand and also introduce first class provision to a long distance regional route between some notable towns and cities. Perhaps a four carriage, no frills, all standard class formation would be more realistic though.
     
  5. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Swansea-Cardiff-Newport-Hereford-Shrewsbury-Crewe-Stockport-Manchester serves some fairly large regional centres and connects two city regions directly that are not connected directly by another service. However the trains do have to serve some smaller communities as well, the Marches route sits maybe In-between Regional Express and InterCity. Not quite TPE / Cross Country but a notch up from Northern Connect. It needs better than 2/3 car standard class only DMU's.
     
  6. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    It will probably be based on cost more than anything else.

    While new stock is clearly not entirely out of the question, I doubt there will be money for much of it. At the same time there are quite a lot of existing mark 3 coaches from Anglia that have already had controlled emission toilets fitted that will be available with no new home to go to, these have the advantage that a number of the crew already sign them. There are also 4 180s from Hull Trains which have the advantage that they could probably be maintained at Chester and are pretty similar to current traction, and the VTEC mark 3 and mark 4s which have only just recieved quite a thorough refurbishment, the mark 4s I think are accessibility compliant. There are also a very large number of 319s and 323s that their owners seem reasonably confident can be made to work without worrying about overhead wires.

    Some of these ideas are more practical than others, but these bits of stock, along with the Greater Anglia DMUs (only a few of those though and they will probably be in more demand than the rest of this) are what's most likely to be going at a good price when the bidders have discussions with their owners. There will be costs involved in all of it, for example finding sufficient locomotives and places to maintain them, and any mark 3s might need new doors which could turn out to be very expensive. Although Porterbrook seem confident, we don't yet know how a 319 / 323 with diesel engines is going to perform in passenger service. Each option has problems, but I would be very surprised if all of these are ultimately passed over in favour of ordering new trains.

    It's also worth considering that if there is to be some kind of 'inter-city' stock solution that it would probably apply to the North Wales services as well as the Marches line ones from Manchester.
     
  7. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    Perhaps more pertinently, by 2021 there's also 22 class 185s from TPE or 6x3-car and 17x2-car class 170s up for grabs from the West Mids franchise. While ordering large fleets of new stock is all the rage right now, it might not be necessary even excluding the large fleets of available hauled stock that you describe.

    It remains to be seen how appropriate the 170s would be for the Marches, given their notoriously sluggish acceleration when it was specifically allocated higher powered class 158s when introduced to cope with the demands of the route, and there may well be greater competition for the 170s from operators with existing Turbostar fleets such as Crosscountry and Chiltern.

    However, the high powered 185s, designed to cope with Pennine gradients, might be a better proposition if run in 6-car formation on all services that require it, and could either be used to introduce first class provision to the service, or be refitted as standard class throughout to afford a few more seats. Operation on Manchester - South Wales would allow the units to remain based at their dedicated Ardwick depot, and with Crosscountry proposing to move their 170s out of Cardiff Canton to Bristol Barton Hill there could be space for stabling and light maintenance of a few units at that end of the route (depending on the next Welsh operators actual plans for the depot).
     
  8. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    I wouldn't consider either of those commuter style units appropriate for the Welsh Marches. They seem a more appropriate proposition for the South Wales valleys if performance proves sufficient with the initial batch of four. A 3-car diesel engine fitted class 323 could potentially prove a bit nippier than an equivalent 4-car class 769 on the Treherbet/Aberdare/Merthyr routes if wires remain unforthcoming.

    As an aside, I consider it a pity that it has never been possible for the Welsh franchise to get it's hands on all 14 of the class 180s: They'd be quite handy on the Welsh Marches and North Wales Coast services, and perhaps Chester would be able to wring a reasonable level of reliability out of them if maintained alongside the related, and once similarly unreliable, class 175s.
     
  9. Envoy

    Envoy Established Member

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    I agree, all 14 180’s would be ideal for the express services on The Marches as well as North Wales coast. However, the trouble with the present services is that they are effectively doing a dual role of being long distance Inter City trains and stoppers as well - serving small communities like Church Stretton & Craven Arms. Surely, what this route needs is limited stop expresses interspersed with stoppers - with perhaps the opportunity for passengers to swap at places like Hereford & Shrewsbury.

    I also note that fares on this line are relatively expensive - possibly because of the lack of rolling stock v demand and the fact that it only has one operator. Would another possibility be to introduce competition via another operator; Virgin perhaps running direct services from Cardiff to Scotland via this route and/or the London Midland franchise running stoppers - some of which could go to Birmingham via Ledbury?
     
  10. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Established Member

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    What will be specified will be the trains that sound best at the hustings since most voters are not big users of trains. New sounds better than refurbished so even if it means scrapping useable stock and spending more on new when for the same money we could have had more stock that is cascaded that is what will happen.
     
  11. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    I must say it is nice to see a thread on this route not contain the usual demands for 5/6 car trains when you would have plenty of spare capacity during the day with only 3!

    Moving on, it is a very difficult route to provide the right rolling stock for. As has been mentioned, at the moment it is both an express and a local service in one (and as much as it may be crying out for speeding up and turning into a proper Inter City service, there will be uproar from the smaller intermediate locations if you take away their direct link to Manchester).
    It also has to contend with quite a few hills and large sections of sprinter differentials, several platforms that are only 4 cars long, and the timetabling of the Manchester-Crewe section is pretty much set in stone in both directions by the need to cross the WCML on the flat.

    I would seperate it somewhat from the situation in North Wales however - traffic on that line is much more local in nature. Think of all the short platform request stops on the coast that are integrated with the normal through trains, whereas for most of the day that's not an issue on the marches. Also, on the marches there are cities at both ends and big regional hubs in between - on the coast it tends to trail off the further west you go.

    One other final wildcard to throw in; the Welsh Assembly have made it clear the importance they place on Holyhead-Cardiff services (even though the demand for travel between these two locations is negligible) so it wouldn't be too surprising if these are deemed the most important to acquire new stock, even though it's arguable that the Manchester services are the ones that really need it.

    All in all, it's going to be fascinating to see what kind of solution the winning bidder comes up with. The line is crying out for investment - Arriva have done as much as they can under a no growth franchise but there's a lot of untapped potential there - but as to what the future holds, that's a mystery.
     
  12. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Craigybagel will be able to confirm, but I am sure that not every train stops at Craven Arms or Church Stretton. I know that all stop at Ludlow, Leominster and Hereford.
     
  13. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    My sense is that Church Stretton, to take the station I know best, would be happy to lose some of the Manchesters as a trade-off for a more regular service. At present there are too many gaps at busy times: nothing from Church Stretton to Shrewsbury between 11.06 and 12.38, or 15.04 and 17.08; and numerous 1hr30 gaps in the service to Hereford, because of course the HOWL peels off at Craven Arms. An hourly stopper (Hereford-Crewe?), supplemented by HOWL trains and a limited number of calls in the long-distance services where there's demand, would give these smaller stations a better service while speeding up the longer journeys.

    But of course Hereford-Crewe is entirely within England, so unlikely to carry too much weight with the Welsh Government. :(
     
  14. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    As you say the fly in the ointment is the Cardiff to Holyhead Hourly service aspiration of the Welsh Government. The most efficient use of the Marches would be an hourly Manchester to Swansea Express (4 car formation with small 1st class section) and an hourly all stops Crewe to Cardiff service 2/3 car standard only DMU) possibly using the remodeling at Hereford to allow overtaking. Now you would need 9 diagrams for the Swansea to Manchester service plus 2 spare. The Crewe to Cardiff less say 5 with 4 peak strengtheners and 2 spare. Now if you took 11 centre cars out of Class 185's and gave them to the 11 making 11 x 4 cars, you would have 11 x 2 cars also.
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2017
  15. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    Hence my support for the suggestion posted earlier that say LM/WM trains could be given such a stopper service. An example of how it could work is the way LM and ATW serve Birmingham-Shrewsbury.
     
  16. iantherev

    iantherev Member

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    180s? Haven’t the Marches passengers suffered enough? I recently travelled on one from Reading to Worcester. On its return to Paddington it promptly expired in a cloud of smoke and was hurriedly replaced by a 2 car 165 commandeered from a local service.
     
  17. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    They're more reliable than they once were (not that that's saying much). And my suggestion was that focused attention from Chester depot may have produced further improvements in the reliability stakes.
     
  18. Philip

    Philip Established Member

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    I thought 185s were generally given the thumbs down because they'd suffer badly with all the speed differentials on this line?
     
  19. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    I would certainly use this line more with better rolling stock and speeded up limited stop services. I'm sure a lot of passengers from South Wales to the north of England are put off by the long journey times and overcrowded/uncomfortable current rolling stock, with many choosing to travel the longer route using HST's/Voyagers via Bristol Parkway.
     
  20. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    I am afraid not.

    Departures from Shrewsbury towards Newport:
    0532 all stations
    0610 all stations
    0647 all stations
    0718 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Pontypool & New Inn, Cwmbran
    0744 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    0810 Hereford
    0840 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    0914 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Hereford, Abergavenny, Pontypool & New Inn, Cwmbran
    0940 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1024 non-stop
    1039 Church Stretton, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1116 Craven Arms, Ludlow, Hereford, Abergavenny, Pontypool & New Inn, Cwmbran
    1139 Church Stretton, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1239 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Pontypool & New Inn, Cwmbran
    1315 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Hereford, Abergavenny
    1340 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1450 all stations
    1515 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Hereford, Abergavenny, Pontypool & New Inn, Cwmbran
    1540 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1650 all stations
    1716 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1740 Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1850 all stations
    1925 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    1956 all stations
    2050 Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford, Abergavenny, Cwmbran
    2209 all stations
    2308 all stations


    That is quite some variety! A pattern is... elusive. The minutes past the hour are also very unmemorable indeed.
     
  21. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Considering I've caught the 0810 at Ludlow................
    There is no non-stop at 1024. In fact I don't think anything runs non-stop south of Shrewsbury; not even The Gerallt.
     
  22. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    I guess it was all a figment of my imagination then.
     

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  23. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    Sounds like lots of people are recognising now that the current service structures don't do what is needed. We have mentioned Taktfahrplans occasionally when talking about other lines (at which point I usually moan that it's only "business cases" for London traffic that can justify investment in the eyes of the Treasury.) This is yet another example of where 2 levels of service are needed, which would probably be recognised and resourced if the UK network was re-drawn around an overview of public transport needs, rather than just pretending that somehow the "the Market" will miraculously provide! That was shown to be rubbish in the Victorian era...
     
  24. 185143

    185143 Established Member

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    There most certainly IS a non stop at 10:24 as I used it from Chester to Shrewsbury about 6 weeks ago-there were several warnings made that the train was non stop Shrewsbury-Newport both onboard and on the platform...
     
  25. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    I stand corrected.
     
  26. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    The long-mooted plan is for a stopping service either from Newport or Cardiff to Hereford that could serve a new station at Caerleon and possibly one other. This would allow services from Manchester to West Wales to stop fewer times south of Hereford.
     
  27. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    Indeed, and quite often it isn't actually nonstop because it ends up having to stop at Hereford to offload someone who got on the wrong train despite the numerous announcements and the fact it's even marked on the boards at Shrewsbury as running non stop.

    Indeed - but whilst that will help a small bit at the south end, it's the stations between Crewe and Hereford where you lose time with all the local stops that need removing. Most Manchesters skip Pontypool already, so you'd only be removing the stops at Cwmbran and Abergavenny, saving no more than 5 minutes.
     
  28. Philip

    Philip Established Member

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    My initial thought when starting this was to have all Manchester-South Wales services using LHCS stock (class 68 and mark 5 coaches were just an example) with either a uniform fleet of the loco hauling 4 coaches on every service or otherwise a mixture of 3 coaches and 4 coaches (ie. 4 coach trains replacing the 175/1 diagrams and 3 coach trains replacing the 175/0 diagrams).

    I didn't mention it above but the idea I have means using the 12 class 175s cascaded from this route to form an hourly Holyhead-Cardiff service, which could then pick up all the minor calls between Shrewsbury and Hereford (be it every hour or a similar pattern as now with the Manchester trains) and thus allow a more 'express' stopping pattern between Manchester and Cardiff, which would suit the LHCS stock. It'd kill two birds with one stone.

    I don't know if there'd be enough 175s leftover but if there are then you could also replace the Sprinter and 158 diagrams currently working Manchester-North Wales services with 175s and so have a uniform fleet for the route as used to be the case.
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2017
  29. 416GSi

    416GSi Member

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    This plan was first mooted when the University in Caerleon was still open with all the students it made sense. The University campus closed last year (big loss to the area in my view) and there might now be a question on the viability of a new station in Caerleon.

    It would be also interesting to find out where the other proposed station would be. There is not a small town between Abergavenny and Hereford.
     
  30. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    For what it's worth my own personal solution would be something along those lines as well (my main alteration being I'd keep the Holyhead at 2 hourly and use the other 2 hourly pattern for a service to Liverpool via Crewe). I fear however that making the Holyhead service the stopper rather than the Manchester will not go down well with certain people. You'll also have the folks West of Swansea complaining if they lose their direct link to Cardiff as a result (although that could be fixed by running the stopping marches trains through to West Wales and terminating the Manchesters at Cardiff). But I've thought through all sorts of different permutations and whichever system you come up with, people will be upset!

    Like I said above, it will be fascinating to see what the winning bid comes up with.....
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2017
  31. BantamMenace

    BantamMenace Member

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    Hourly Class 769: Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow, Crewe than all stops to Hereford?

    If there isn't space for this between Crewe and Manchester run it with 3-car DMUs from Crewe.

    This allows the Manchester to South Wales to stop Crewe, Shrewsbury and Hereford only.

    The above additional service could even be ran by Northern.
     

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