Media picks up on transport disparity between London and "the North"

Djgr

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Could someone from the South tell me whether 4 coaches are ever really needed for the Brockenhurst to Lymington shuttle? Or is just an example of geographical featherbedding?
 
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bramling

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Could someone from the South tell me whether 4 coaches are ever really needed for the Brockenhurst to Lymington shuttle? Or is just an example of geographical featherbedding?
If geographical featherbedding is that the area runs a large fleet of 4-car EMUs with nothing shorter based nearby, then yes. The branch ran a 2-car DMU for a while and many here moaned about that.

When it was a 158 I don’t recall reading any comments about overcrowding, so presumably the answer to the question is no it’s not that busy. Certainly when I’ve used it at what would be peak times elsewhere its never been close to being overcrowded.
 

TUC

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If geographical featherbedding is that the area runs a large fleet of 4-car EMUs with nothing shorter based nearby, then yes. The branch ran a 2-car DMU for a while and many here moaned about that.

When it was a 158 I don’t recall reading any comments about overcrowding, so presumably the answer to the question is no it’s not that busy. Certainly when I’ve used it at what would be peak times elsewhere its never been close to being overcrowded.
Then surely the answer is to move stock around so there is shorter stock based nearby!?
 

Adsy125

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Then surely the answer is to move stock around so there is shorter stock based nearby!?
Why though? It’s a huge amount of effort to gain what exactly? Not annoying Northeners isn’t a valid reason to use the most practical unit for the line, and SWRs only 2 car EMUs are all fully accounted for anyway.
 

Djgr

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Why though? It’s a huge amount of effort to gain what exactly? Not annoying Northeners isn’t a valid reason to use the most practical unit for the line, and SWRs only 2 car EMUs are all fully accounted for anyway.
Yep and I'm sure peak hour commuters into Manchester and Leeds crammed into 2 cars will buy this argument.

As ever, there is always a reason why the South should have it all.
 

Ianno87

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Yep and I'm sure peak hour commuters into Manchester and Leeds crammed into 2 cars will buy this argument.

As ever, there is always a reason why the South should have it all.
Please explain how it would make any economic sense to have one or two 2 car units in an otherwise universal 4 car area?

The North(TM) is going to be doing well for new, longer trains very soon...starting Monday in fact.
 

Adsy125

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Yep and I'm sure peak hour commuters into Manchester and Leeds crammed into 2 cars will buy this argument.

As ever, there is always a reason why the South should have it all.
Ah yes, that 750V DC unit could be very useful in Manchester and Leeds couldn’t it.
Please explain how it would make any economic sense to have one or two 2 car units in an otherwise universal 4 car area?

The North(TM) is going to be doing well for new, longer trains very soon...starting Monday in fact.
Seconded
 

AndrewE

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It's a fair point to make though (which will not be recognised south of Brum or Milton Keynes) that it seems that all emus have to be 4-cars in and around the SE to allow fleet rationalisation and inter-availability.
In contrast, in the north (around Manchester) EMUs were reduced from 4 to 3-cars to allow the same to happen (304s and then the more modern units that replaced them,) and we suffer 2-car trains on such [non] trivial services as the 17.30 Manchester Picc to Cardiff!
 
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Djgr

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Ah yes, that 750V DC unit could be very useful in Manchester and Leeds couldn’t it.

Seconded
Even I know that you cannot transfer the carriages currently carrying fresh air from Brockenhurst to Manchester but the point is why is there a default assumption of minimum 4 cars in the South?

Someone tell me otherwise but the new trains arriving on Northern don't have a default of 4 cars minimum do they?
 

Adsy125

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Even I know that you cannot transfer the carriages currently carrying fresh air from Brockenhurst to Manchester but the point is why is there a default assumption of minimum 4 cars in the South?

Someone tell me otherwise but the new trains arriving on Northern don't have a default of 4 cars minimum do they?
It’s by far not a default, as the people of plenty of places in the South will tell you, Salisbury, Southampton, Bristol and more have 2 car services. However due the way SWRs fleet is organised it would be very silly not to put 4 cars on the branch.

Although your (unintentional?) mention of 4 car services from Brockenhurst to Manchester does show that there are plenty of far to short service in the South, as these XC services are far too short, and run almost entirely in the South and Midlands!

On your second point, there are fewer passengers using services in the North, very few need 12 carriages, although I agree that new 2 car units are silly.
 

Bletchleyite

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Could someone from the South tell me whether 4 coaches are ever really needed for the Brockenhurst to Lymington shuttle? Or is just an example of geographical featherbedding?
Like St Albans which doesn't need a 4-car EMU either, it's simply because you don't, in the South East, tend to get EMUs shorter than 4 cars, and having an odd unit in the fleet specifically to run it costs far more than running a pointlessly long train.

If it was DMU-land, St Albans and Lymington would probably be a 153, 150 or Pacer.

It's only a "default assumption" in the sense that most of the SE mainlines are based on 4, 8 and 12 car formations of 20m stock, and having something different just complicates it, which is costly in itself. If you go to, say, Chiltern-land, you do get 2-car formations at very quiet times because their fleet is based around 2 and 3-car 23m DMUs.

As another example, the Marston Vale is 2.230 these days. But if they'd bothered to wire it it would certainly be operated with a pair of 4-car Class 319s and not dedicated shorter units, even though no service has the demand for a 4-car set, not even the school trains.
 

AndrewE

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On your second point, there are fewer passengers using services in the North, very few need 12 carriages, although I agree that new 2 car units are silly.
I think you would find that 12-car trains would be full and standing (well-filled anyway) a lot of the time if they were in use on a half-hourly schedule between Manchester and Leeds. The overcrowding on the current 3-cars running about 4 times an hour have really suppressed demand. In fact I avoid the route if at all possible, having been left behind more than once - and this on an inter-city journey with connections to make further down the line.
How often does that happen in the south east?
 

Djgr

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On your second point, there are fewer passengers using services in the North

Annual passenger journeys (from Wiki)

Bournemouth (as example) 2.7m
Huddersfield (as example) 5.1m
 

Bletchleyite

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How often does that happen in the south east?
People being left behind? At somewhere like Clapham Junction many, many times a day, not to mention all over LU.

That said, TPE is a problem (and I too avoid it other than at quiet times of day) - I remain unconvinced that even the fleet on order will be enough to solve the issue, and think they will need to extend everything to 7-car at least in time.
 

AndrewE

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Like St Albans which doesn't need a 4-car EMU either, it's simply because you don't, in the South East, tend to get EMUs shorter than 4 cars, and having an odd unit in the fleet specifically to run it costs far more than running a pointlessly long train.

If it was DMU-land, St Albans and Lymington would probably be a 153, 150 or Pacer.

It's only a "default assumption" in the sense that most of the SE mainlines are based on 4, 8 and 12 car formations of 20m stock, and having something different just complicates it, which is costly in itself. If you go to, say, Chiltern-land, you do get 2-car formations at very quiet times because their fleet is based around 2 and 3-car 23m DMUs.
Can you imagine the DfT agreeing a routine surplus of coaches (4-car instead of 2 or 3) for anywhere outside the London commuter belt on the same basis? (Chiltern excepted)
 

Bletchleyite

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Ah yes, that 750V DC unit could be very useful in Manchester and Leeds couldn’t it.
And there are spare EMUs, and there are about to be an absolute glut of them over the next few years - there will be a lot go for scrap.

What Northern need is lots of DMUs at the moment - hence the 769 project and the likes. The 195s are all very nice, but by the time you scrap the Pacers there's hardly any capacity uplift at all.
 

AndrewE

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People being left behind? At somewhere like Clapham Junction many, many times a day, not to mention all over LU.

That said, TPE is a problem (and I too avoid it other than at quiet times of day) - I remain unconvinced that even the fleet on order will be enough to solve the issue, and think they will need to extend everything to 7-car at least in time.
But how many of them are trying to make long-distance journeys (with connections) rather than just wanting to get a train a few stops down the line? I guess the Clapham Jct problem is only on up trains into London... How long is it before the next one?
 

Bletchleyite

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Can you imagine the DfT agreeing a routine surplus of coaches (4-car instead of 2 or 3) for anywhere outside the London commuter belt on the same basis? (Chiltern excepted)
Yes, I can. Why would they not? It costs more to have and maintain a dedicated set of shorter units in a homogeneous fleet of 4-car sets than it costs to carry a bit of fresh air around. Indeed they used to have dedicated EMUs for it - the old slamdoor sets - and got rid for that precise reason!

I'm sure if you use the 4-car EMU services that presently operate around the North there are quite a few of them that are decidedly quiet in the evenings. I took a Class 321 from Shipley to Leeds the other week, this was about 7pm so well against any flow, and there were about 4 people on it. Should they have pratted around digging out a 153 for us, or were they actually more sensible using the same unit they use all the time for simplicity?
 

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But how many of them are trying to make long-distance journeys (with connections) rather than just wanting to get a train a few stops down the line? I guess the Clapham Jct problem is only on up trains into London... How long is it before the next one?
TPE is a problem and it needs to be resolved. It's been one for years, quite similar to XC in many ways.

On Northern, it's not much different to say Bolton (on a larger scale).
 

AndrewE

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Yes, I can. Why would they not? It costs more to have and maintain a dedicated set of shorter units in a homogeneous fleet of 4-car sets than it costs to carry a bit of fresh air around. Indeed they used to have dedicated EMUs for it - the old slamdoor sets - and got rid for that precise reason!
I'm sure if you use the 4-car EMU services that presently operate around the North there are quite a few of them that are decidedly quiet in the evenings. I took a Class 321 from Shipley to Leeds the other week, this was about 7pm so well against any flow, and there were about 4 people on it. Should they have pratted around digging out a 153 for us, or were they actually more sensible using the same unit they use all the time for simplicity?
Of course a mid-evening train into the city centre is quiet. Can you report on the 10 or 11pm back out? One of the pleasures of travelling within Yorkshire is that 20 years ago they somehow had a tier of local government doing transport planning which thumbed its nose at Whitehall and bought what they needed for their services.
Contrast that with the provision west of the Pennines.
 

Bletchleyite

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Of course a mid-evening train into the city centre is quiet. Can you report on the 10 or 11pm back out?
Just like the fact that it's costly to have a 2-car set in the land of 4-car EMUs, it's costly to provide different units for that too.

There are other examples. Unless there's a failure, all Southern MKC-East Croydon diagrams are now 8-car. It's simpler, and therefore cheaper, to do this than it is to take one off and find somewhere to put it when things are a bit quiet.

Or VTWC - on a Saturday afternoon southbound (quietest time for IC) you'll find 11-car Pendolinos with maybe 30-40 people on. It's cheaper to do that than to prat around diagramming Voyagers.

It is not because anyone has it in for the North.
 

Adsy125

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On your second point, there are fewer passengers using services in the North

Annual passenger journeys (from Wiki)

Bournemouth (as example) 2.7m
Huddersfield (as example) 5.1m
That’s not the point, the overall passenger miles per person, I think I recall, are lower. But also, the SWR franchise, along with LNER are the only ones that make money overall, which partially explains the shorter trains for a northern, there’s less justification for longer ones as they wouldn’t make any money.

On that point, Dorchester West gets 138,000 passengers per year and 8tpd, Staveley gets an hourly service for 40,000 uses. You can pick individual example all you like but they aren’t very useful.
 

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That’s not the point, the overall passenger miles per person, I think I recall, are lower. But also, the SWR franchise, along with LNER are the only ones that make money overall, which partially explains the shorter trains for a northern
The primary reason for ordering 3-car units for Northern being sensible is that they can, if necessary, double them up. Almost none of Northern's network is able to take a 160m unit, but a fair bit of it can take 144m due to being set up for double 323s.
 

Djgr

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That’s not the point, the overall passenger miles per person, I think I recall, are lower. But also, the SWR franchise, along with LNER are the only ones that make money overall, which partially explains the shorter trains for a northern, there’s less justification for longer ones as they wouldn’t make any money.

On that point, Dorchester West gets 138,000 passengers per year and 8tpd, Staveley gets an hourly service for 40,000 uses. You can pick individual example all you like but they aren’t very useful.
But Bournemouth and Huddersfield have almost identical populations. Given that that Huddersfield has nearly twice as many users than Bournemouth with the same population, the idea that the South is a greater user of rail and therefore deserves all this extra shiny stuff sounds fanciful.
 

Bletchleyite

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But Bournemouth and Huddersfield have almost identical populations. Given that that Huddersfield has nearly twice as many users than Bournemouth with the same population, the idea that the South is a greater user of rail and therefore deserves all this extra shiny stuff sounds fanciful.
What "extra shiny stuff"? Class 450s are how old now - 10 years? St Albans uses 319s which are, what, 30-40 years old?

Compare that to Huddersfield, which will be getting "extra shiny stuff" pretty soon.
 

Djgr

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What "extra shiny stuff"? Class 450s are how old now - 10 years? St Albans uses 319s which are, what, 30-40 years old?

Compare that to Huddersfield, which will be getting "extra shiny stuff" pretty soon.
Shiny-as in during the middle of the day you can actually find a seat. In fact between Southampton and Bournemouth you could pretty much choose your own carriage
 
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Yep and I'm sure peak hour commuters into Manchester and Leeds crammed into 2 cars will buy this argument.

As ever, there is always a reason why the South should have it all.
Please explain in some detail how reducing the number of coaches in trains between Brockenhust and Lymington will help "peak hour commuters into Manchester and Leeds crammed into 2 cars"
 

Adsy125

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But Bournemouth and Huddersfield have almost identical populations. Given that that Huddersfield has nearly twice as many users than Bournemouth with the same population, the idea that the South is a greater user of rail and therefore deserves all this extra shiny stuff sounds fanciful.
Bournemouth and Huddersfield do have similar populations, but Huddersfield is actually far better served, with 10tph, compared to Bournemouth's 4tph, who would've guessed that when there are more trains more people would use them!
Shiny-as in during the middle of the day you can actually find a seat. In fact between Southampton and Bournemouth you could pretty much choose your own carriage
I'm not sure what trains you're travelling on between Bournemouth and Southampton but they're very different to the ones that I use!
 

Djgr

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Please explain in some detail how reducing the number of coaches in trains between Brockenhust and Lymington will help "peak hour commuters into Manchester and Leeds crammed into 2 cars"
It won't. But it's a symptom of a longstanding situation where resource, jobs and money are thrown at one part of the country and not at another.
 

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