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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Djgr, 18 Dec 2019.
Not too late to build one, surely?
Surely not, I can't believe it's not been considered. Even with the layout staying broadly the same it would prevent as much stacking-up of trains coming from Bolton, and would allow Up trains from both Atherton and Bolton to arrive simultaneously. It would also allow the Up & Down Bolton platform to be used bi-directionally by Bolton-bound trains more often.
There were plenty of objections on here. Like LNR's failed timetable, are we allowed to say "told you so"?
It would have been fine if all the Castlefield improvement works were done first - the trouble is they were not. And if money was short, 15/16 would have been more useful.
A lot of it stems from the ordsall chord.
The presence of the chord means TPE uses it, adding extra congestion through castlefield and also through Victoria.
To be able to accommodate TPE at Victoria, Northern are unable to terminate services in the through platforms as much, leading to two services being stitched together and ridiculously long routes.
Said long routes are unreliable due to their length, and also due to the fact they are often crewed in two halves meaning more chance of a freeing shortage half way.
All of it needs to be backed out and the chord mothballed until 15/16 are built. Northern need to go back to terminating everything at Victoria with nothing running through.
Windsor Bridge South Jn - four new movements each hour for every 1tph that goes that way (2 x directions, 1 in move and 1 out move)
There’s no way they’ll mothball the bridge now.
Just the fact that people keep suggesting this and the daily problems do demonstrate that 15&16 and the Oxford Road improvements should have been built before the chord bridge though.
If they don't, they need to remove two other trains from Castlefield.
What purpose is it serving other than messing up the network? Lobby the government hard to get the 15 and 16/Ox Road improvements and then introduce the service.
Of course the platforms should have been built first but as a statement mothballing the bridge would be a useful lobby in terms of getting the needed refurb done to make it useful.
What trains arguably have the least *need* to serve the Castlefield corridor? For example, other than for the Airport connectivity, the Llandudno service could go anywhere - Victoria being better for onward Yorkshire connections (and if you want to do Chester-Sheffield say, via Altrincham/Stockport is just as quick, and for north-south changing at Crewe or Warrington is preferable)...though answers on a postcard for what to do with it once at Victoria....
But gives both 2tph 'fast' Chesters from the same station.
I agree with the mathematics - 1tph each way Salford Central - Salford Crescent - Ordsall Lane would add four movements per hour through the junction, taking the current 26tph max up to 30tph max. A flat double track turnout such as Windsor Bridge South can handle at least double that.
"Mayors demand answers over Northern Rail's future
The mayors of two northern cities have called for "clarity" after a Sunday newspaper was told Northern Rail would be stripped of its franchise."
"The Sunday Times was briefed that private train operator Northern Rail was to lose the franchise and, under plans reported by the weekly title, an "operator of last resort" would be brought in to run the railway, effectively bringing it under direct government control."
Also on Andy Burnham;s Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyburnhamgm/status/1208735721797935107?s=21
The benefits of TransPennine Express using the Chord haven't really been realised anyway. There are no additional services between Guide Bridge and Manchester taking their place.
From Manchester Piccadilly, the committed fourth Northern service to Hazel Grove, second Northern service to Macclesfield and second Northern service to Greenbank haven't been delivered.
So what was the point of services from the North TP route moving over to Manchester Victoria, given the huge pressure it has put on Northern?
The journey times for people using or making connections at Manchester Piccadilly are now worse than before, as its no longer possible to travel between Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds in 48 minutes.
Might as well take down TPE as well and amalgamate the two together to get one sensible integrated operation for the North of England that isn't competing with each other for limited paths through Castlefield
The lack of capacity for services into the main platforms at Piccadilly is very strange. Six movements across all the lines each hour have been removed, but that hasn't created any room for any other services. Maybe there are constraints elsewhere, but it seems that either a) Network Rail don't understand the capabilities of their own infrastructure or b) if they do, their opinion isn't taken into account when planning and signing off spending of hundreds of millions, sometimes billions of pounds.
I do wonder if TPE tried to go back to Piccadilly, would they be allowed the paths, or would the Liverpool paths at least be refused even though the promised additional services have never happened? I assume they'd never be allowed 2tph to Liverpool via Piccadilly - so Victoria is the only place the fast North TPE services can be under one roof.
...only when all trains do the same thing, the entire timetable is optimised around the junction and trains aren't doing silly things like reversing across the junction, locking out the entire thing in at least one direction or the other (like would be the case here)
At least it's not just a witch hunt against Northern and they're acknowledging TPE are perfmorming worse.
Simply stripping Northern of the franchise doesn't immediately solve line infrastructure issues, create new ready drivers, solve the technical problems with the new trains, solve the timetable shambles, solve Northern trains delayed due to congestion outside Manchester or Leeds or due to TPE train issues. Nor will it see new platforms installed at Piccadilly.
The passenger is not likely to see any immediate benefit. There's too many fundamental issues.
I wonder how discussions with the rail unions and a new "operator of last resort" would resolve the current Sunday rail service provision problems?
There seems to be an obvious solution to relieve pressure on Castlefield and Victoria and that is to bite the bullet and cut the North TPE-Man Airport direct link and instead terminate the Redcar and Newcastle services at Manchester Piccadilly, re-routed via Guide Bridge. Or at least do this with one of them and if it isn't enough then cut the North TPE-Airport/Ordsall chord link completely.
There are numerous other services between Manchester and the Airport for TPE passengers to use with an easy change and if it gives the Castlefield corridor and Victoria a fairly reliable service again, it's worth doing. The whole argument about it being essential to retain direct Leeds/North East-Airport links is starting to wear a bit thin with all the problems it's causing.
With that in mind, perhaps use platforms 3 and 4 at Victoria for the two TPE Liverpool services and also re-route the Chat Moss stopping train back to Victoria platform 3 if capacity allows easily enough. Platforms 5 and 6 could then be used exclusively by Northern services from Bolton and Atherton and again if capacity allows with one or two services continuing eastwards. All terminating services from the east to use platforms 1 and 2.
As I mentioned on one of the many other Northern Rail threads, the driver retention issue could be solved by inserting a "golden handcuffs" clause into their new drivers' contracts.
A change of ownership may not give any immediate benefit but given that Northern have proved incapable of coming up with any long term solutions to all their issues I would wholeheartedly be in favour of them losing the franchise.
Sounds good but I can't see them leaving the Chord empty.
What would help would be simpler Northern services - e.g. if there have to be cross-Manchester services then we could at least try to run them with a simpler map.
For example, if there are a few Rochdale services and a few Wigan services then tidy them up so that there's a half hourly West Yorkshire - Victoria - Bolton - Wigan service and a half hourly Rochdale - Victoria - Atherton - Wigan - Southport service (easier to recover when there's disruption, giving a long service one side of Manchester and a shorter service on the other side of Manchester)... you could run two Blackpool - Piccadilly - Crewe serves per hour (one via the Airport, one via Stockport), again, easier to recover when there's disruption... you could cut the EMR service at Piccadilly shed and run a half hourly Buxton - Piccadilly - CLC - Liverpool service (replacing the existing Airport - CLC service - chop the TPE service in the Piccadilly shed too, so that there's a more reliable half hourly Sheffield service from the same platforms)... keeping the timetable and route maps simpler... trying to link unnelectrified lines to other unnelectrified lines... giving the railway a fighting chance of recovering in the event of problems (e.g. if the service pattern is half hourly then you can just drop one service and restart the timetable (when everything is half an hour late, nothing is half an hour late).
This would be my idea for all TPE through Manchester and Northern through Victoria and Castlefield:
TPE North: (per hour)
1 x Edinburgh/Newcastle - Liverpool via Victoria
1 x Scarborough/York - Liverpool via Victoria
1 x Redcar - Manchester Piccadilly via Guide Bridge
1 x Newcastle - Piccadilly via Guide Bridge
1 x Hull - Piccadilly via Guide Bridge (semi-fast)
1 x Leeds/Huddersfield - Piccadilly via Guide Bridge (stopping train)
1 x Cleethorpes - Airport (fast)
1 x Edinburgh/Glasgow - Airport via Bolton (fast)
1 x Preston - Victoria (stopper)
1 x Southport - Airport via Bolton (semi-fast)
1 x Southport - Blackburn via Bolton and Rochdale
2 x Clitheroe/Blackburn - Victoria via Bolton
1 x Kirkby - Victoria via Atherton
1 x Wigan - Stalybridge via Atherton
1 x Wigan - Victoria via Atherton
2 x Victoria - Leeds via Rochdale and Bradford
1 x Victoria - Leeds via Brighouse
1 x Victoria - Rochdale
1 x Liverpool - Victoria via Chat Moss (stopper)
1 x Piccadilly - Crewe via Airport (Airport line stopper)
2 x Piccadilly - Airport non-stop (shuttles)
1 x Liverpool - Airport via Warrington (fast)
1 x North Wales - Airport (semi-fast)
1 x Blackpool - Airport (semi-fast)
1 x Blackpool - Hazel Grove
1 x Barrow/Windermere - Airport (fast)
Any potential problems that stand out here? Can Victoria platforms 5 and 6 cope with five terminating trains from the west and two through services?
Problems could be solved in the long run but the first quarter of 2020 will be more of the same
I am sure you meant to say "the first quarter of 2020" above, as we already know what happened in "the first quarter of 2019".
No West Yorkshire to Manchester Airport direct services?
No Buxton/Chester via CLC/Chester via WBQs?
Can I ask how the platform 15 and 16 proposals fit into the area regeneration plan area that has been proposed?
The biggest problem is the West Yorkshire to Airport service because it crosses the busy paths, so as I said above this needs removing really.
Forgot about Buxton and Chester. The Buxton and Chester via CLC don't go through Ordsall or Victoria so can remain unchanged. The Chester via Warrington...I guess this could run as per. Platforms 3 and 4 at Victoria should be able to cope with two through TPEs, the Chester-Leeds and the the terminating Chat Moss stopper.
Is anyone seriously expecting any official statements soon that will make note of any immediate service alterations to alleviate the current hiatus in which the central Manchester rail core currently are so afflicted and affected?
Having travelled through Manchester today, once again it wasn't delays within the core but an accumulation of delays further afield that mounted up and affected running through the centre. I was booked on the 10:00 TPE from Leeds (ex 08:34 Scarborough) which left on time, but was proceeded by the 7 late 09:45 to the airport, which itself was tripping up over the 09:48 stopper to Huddersfield which was in front to Mirfield. So delays started to mount around Dewsbury, made worse when we tripped up over the Huddersfield-Castleford at Thornhill, meaning by the time we reached Huddersfield we were already 6 late.
Once at Victoria, I was waiting for the 11:07 to Chester which had left Leeds on time but approaching Rochdale tripped up over a couple of late runners in front of it, compounding the problems at Victoria and resulted in some late platform changes. In the end my Chester that had been running pretty much on time eventually left 15 late through no fault of its own.
This is a pattern I see time and again on my travels through Manchester, and the real reason why things get ever worse there. Dropping through airport services will not be a magic bullet, the entire network around the north is in dire need of upgrading. With very little four tracking on very busy parts of the network, once the sequence of fasts & stoppers gets interrupted the whole match falls over. Tinkering with the timetables only gives DfT an excuse to delay, it is time for them to cough up and get all the proposed upgrades budgeted and into planning without further delay.
Interesting interview with David Brown of Northern on BBC R4 "You and Yours" today — https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000ckvb - first item, interview starts 4' 40" in. He obviously speaks to give the best impression for his own company, but a major point in his line of argument seems hard to fault. He argues that he holds a contract with DfT to deliver a specified service, but that the basis of this contract is that certain conditions should have been fulfilled when it entered into force, including various network enhancements. The fact that these conditions have not been fulfilled means that the contract cannot be delivered, but he cannot change the terms unilaterally by thinning out the timetable or lengthening trains and so has to try (and fail) to deliver the undeliverable. And if there were a simple takeover by the operator of last resort, nothing would change unless specification for the service were changed as well as the operator.