MEN article-"Northern Rail is crumbling from the inside out and things are only going to get worse"

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Djgr, 18 Dec 2019.

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  1. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    Liverpool-Crewe Northern service is expendable. It's new, not worked and not really needed.
     
  2. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    A rather bemusing comment given Network Rail have declared the corridor through Manchester officially 'congested' - the only corridor in the UK to be called as such. A lot of the delays in Liverpool, Blackpool, Preston, Leeds, Nottingham et al are arise because of delays through Manchester. Generally these delays exacerbate as the journey continues due to them being out of position. Not so much a 'need' but a solution that is clearly required.
     
  3. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    Maybe they should be forced to do something about it then? After all, the Castlefield Corridor has been on the DfT in tray for pushing 5 years now. Instead of moaning at the franchisees why don't Burnham and Rotheram try and sort out a solution to this creaking infrastructure. You never know it might help them get reelected
     
  4. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Sure it's the only place? What about around East Croydon? Clapham junction? Euston? Paddington?
     
  5. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    If a management contract is agreed between the DfT and Arriva in January to revise the timetable to establish greater resilience then hopefully this experiment will be given the chop. The only reason the 'through' service exists is because Newton-Le-Willows needs direct link to Manchester Airport which seems a heavy price to pay for the disproportionate impact that service has on other 'fast' TPE and Northern 'semi-fast' services. Don't see why Newton-Le-Willows can be just served by the pre-May 2018 service to Victoria as I thought one of the supposed benefits of the Ordsall Chord was that it provided a direct connection for routes only served by Victoria to Manchester Airport.
     
  6. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    They're congested but not officially considered so by Network Rail. The difference is those junctions/stations have ongoing, active improvement schemes with money set aside and are being pursued. The concern from Network Rail, Arriva and First regarding the Castlefield corridor is that the government reneged on a pledge to put money aside to upgrade the corridor as part of the 2016 franchise agreements. Yet the DfT still persist with running much of the new timetable which could only work reliably alongside corridor upgrades through Manchester. Such is the frustration - Arriva consider the Northern franchise agreement to be 'legally void'.
     
  7. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    And that's not all by a long way. The North-West electrification did happen, eventually, but has caused immense knock-on damage.

    The Hope Valley scheme was supposed to have been complete by December 2018 but we'll be lucky if it's operational by December 2023. That's necessary for improved reliability of current trains, let alone a third fast service down the Hope Valley. (The original intention to make it 4 has long gone!)
     
  8. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    So is the GWML electrification to Bristol and Oxford, Cardiff has just been completed.
    These are arguably more important than Manchester to Sheffield
     
  9. Whisky Papa

    Whisky Papa Member

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    My bold above. Newton-le-Willows was also served pre-May 2018 by Northern's hourly Liverpool Lime Street to Airport semi-fast service, I thought?
     
  10. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    re the above two points - nobody is saying that there's *no* market to the Airport - it's just that some of us are trying to explain that the passenger numbers don't justify all of the services currently thrown at it (at a time when plenty of other lines have insufficient stock.

    Thirty million passengers is a big number but there are under five million train passengers per annum - divide those by the number of trains serving the airport and you have thirtysomethibng passengers on each train - now, maybe we should all believe Manchester Airport Group's PR and assume their forecast of fifty million passengers, but even if the trains see a corresponding increase in passengers (i.e. not spreading the passengers amongst additional services like the proposed Bradford one), that forty percent increase still means there'd be spare seats if all nine trains per hour were single 153s - which means there are currently quite a lot of seats on a 5x26m 802.

    Whichever way you want to use the numbers, there are going to be a lot of empty seats on Airport trains - maybe ninety percent of seats on an 802 are going to be spare - maybe if you buy into the spin, it'll only be eighty five percent of seats that are empty, but that feels a waste of resources when people are struggling to find a seat on other services (and can't even physically board some services).

    Again, to avoid doubt, I'm not saying that's no demand, I'm not saying that there are no passengers, just that the passenger numbers don't justify the current service level (and therefore, it we are looking to thin out some services to deal with all of the congestion).

    That would be a step in the right direction (but would keep up the number of services on the Airport branch)

    It's amazing that southerners manage to get to Airport, given the way that Stansted and Heathrow don't have long distance services from every village in a fifty mile radius (Gatwick and Luton are obviously on main lines but even so Luton Airport won't be getting any services from Leicester/ Derby/ Nottingham)

    Good point - I'm really unconvinced that 15/16 are the priority that a lot of people think they are.

    Maybe we should be looking to double the service from West Yorkshire to Burnley/ Blackburn and the WCML at Preston (if the SELRAP suggestions of amazingly untapped demand from the Burnley area to Leeds etc

    I agree with the suggestion - but you do highlight one of the big problems with the Northern franchise - the messy combination of hourly services that clog up Greater Manchester are mainly due to the franchise specification (as demanded by the various "stakeholders") rather than decisions directly made by Northern - get rid of Arriva if you want but you'll struggle to find someone else capable of getting a decent tune out of a franchise hamstrung by all of these requirements/ demands. But Northern can't make the changes unilaterally.

    I agree that something needs to be done - at the moment every corridor will get affected by a minor delay on the Airport branch - all of these hourly services will fall over and stock will be out of place, staff due their breaks, no resilience, it's very hard to bounce back when something goes wrong.

    Look at what works, copy it, don't be afraid to inconvenience a small number of people in Middlesbrough who want direct trains to the Airport for their annual holiday if it means you can provide a more reliable service to the significantly larger number of people in northern England who rely on the train for their daily commute.
     
  11. ohgoditsjames

    ohgoditsjames Member

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    Don’t think he meant Hope Valley electrification, he was referring to the scheme associated with creating an extra passing loop. It’s a relatively minor development that absolutely needs to happen.

    The Hope Valley is woefully inadequate for providing connections between 2 of the countries largest cities. Sheffield and Manchester are the worst connected neighbouring cities by both rail and road.

    As for electrification, the MML should absolutely be a priority, it was originally meant to be done before the GWML!
     
  12. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    They're trying but they are Labour politicians, so don't exactly have the ear of the ministers like Andy Street for example.
     
  13. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    There's just one problem with your figures, they relate to all airport services, and assume that loads are spread equally. However the TPE services serve large population centres, which will mean they are far more likely to be used than a stopping service running through smaller areas. These are not needed as much as the TPEs, so these should be reviewed first. And again, the TPE airport services are now part of the franchise's core, they are not going to give them up. So like it or lump it, Northern are going to have to work around them so paths like Liverpool to Crewe need to go, especially as demand rises for transit to the airport as it expands by up to 40% (you can't ignore that forever I'm afraid).

    Not if the airport stoppers through Castlefield were removed. Stick to TPE and fast Northern services that operate from major population centres around the North.

    One problem with that, Heathrow has been wanting connectivity from outwith central London for a very long time. Why, because it is a royal pain in the behind fighting through London's network to get to the airport. Just because there isn't that better connectivity doesn't mean it isn't needed

    But combined with better signalling would naturally increase capacity.
     
  14. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    But ihat's the point. Its typical of many other schemes around the country. Together every scheme that's delayed adds up to avoidable delays to trains that knock-on around the network. The example I used was one that has a minor bearing on all the services running into Manchester, but the Hope Valley line has the worst performing stations in the country for punctuality. If anyone has cause to grouse about Northern just look at the performance at Grindleford. It's trains are later than any on the line.

    It has 2 platform that must have been capable of taking at least 6 coaches but most of that length is out of service. It's supposedly to be lengthened to take 4 by December. They've been working on it for about 3 months and it won't be finished this month. Same goes for the platforms at Hathersage. Hope is also supposed to be lengthened but it's not clear if it's considered to have been done or not.
     

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  15. aye2beeviasea

    aye2beeviasea Member

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    This may be a stupid question, but could you route airport services to/from Yorkshire through Denton, reversing at Wilmslow, and skip Piccadilly and central Manchester entirely?
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    But that is the whole issue - the major destination is Piccadilly, not the Airport. There is no point whatsoever in doing that as it removes the main destination and would be an even worse case of the tail wagging the dog.
     
  17. ohgoditsjames

    ohgoditsjames Member

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    Don’t think that’s true, Manchester Airport is the main airport for Sheffield.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That it might be but more people want to go to central Manchester or other places reached from it than do the Airport.
     
  19. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    That may be so but 30m people will most likely pass through Manchester airport for the first time next year. That’s a massive number of people and it’s increasing by 3-4% per year.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    But it is nowhere near the demand to Manchester city centre and will not be, so needs to be secondary in accordance with that.
     
  21. 158756

    158756 Member

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  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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  23. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    The two track section of the Brighton Main Line between Wivlesfield and Barcombe Tunnel Junction deals with 15 tph in the peaks with various destinations along the south coast 60 miles apart and feeding a further critical section in Central London (the Thameslink Core) which then serves 3 different radiating lines plus its own London Terminal (Victoria). Services include different stopping patterns, portion working with train lengths in excess of whats operated in Manchester. All on standard 4 aspect BR era signalling.
    There needs to be careful studies as to why a short section of double track through Manchester is failing so badly before further investment is authorised.
     
  24. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    By that logic every train should terminate in Manchester. And Leeds. And Birmingham. And Newcastle.. and so on...

    Good luck finding the platform capacity by the way.
     
  25. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    Exactly- Labour had 13 years when money was also abundant in the years 1997-2010. There is plenty of blame to go around.
     
  26. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    Therein is the crux of the problem. Willingness to invest in a new road but railways miss out! imho
     
  27. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    I'd estimate at least 5 times as many are going to Manchester City centre, or changing for other destinations at Piccadilly, than are going to the airport from Sheffield. That's one reason why TPE's 6 coach trains are going to be split at Piccadilly.
     
  28. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    Having used the A555 for a variety of journeys across South Manchester I'm very glad it's there. Only the airport would have been practical by rail. (Pity it floods!)

    The crux of the problem is we've all got used to going to too many destinations, too far away, too often, too easily and too fast. How that is resolved only time will tell but maybe our descendants will be staying nearer home and walking more! Dream on.
     
  29. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-co...-Corridor-congested-infrastructure-report.pdf
     
  30. lincolnshire

    lincolnshire Member

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