MML Line Speed Improvement Campaign

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by LTJ87, 20 Aug 2015.

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  1. LTJ87

    LTJ87 Member

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  3. Philip Phlopp

    Philip Phlopp Established Member

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    The line speed enhancements are going ahead outside of electrification anyway.
     
  4. CdBrux

    CdBrux Member

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    If you want a campaign to succeed then asking for something that is already agreed to happen despite the electrification pause is a good way to do it! No doubt the Nottingham Post, the MP's et al can then claim it was them wot did it!
     
  5. kjhskj75

    kjhskj75 Member

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    "If approved, train times to London would be slashed by up to 13 minutes"

    Currently it takes 1 hr 40 mins from St.Pancras to Nottingham, but only 1 hr 25 mins to Derby over a slightly longer distance. So it seems to me that quicker journeys don't need much infrastructure improvements.
     
  6. MichaelAMW

    MichaelAMW Member

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    Two significant contributions to that difference are that the fastest Derby trains have one stop where the Nottingham fast stops three times, and that the faster Meridian trains are on the Derby services. According to RTT the HSTs are still timed for 110mph vs. 125mph for Meridians. There is an up "fast" Meridian from Nottingham and that has a pretty similar journey time to the Derby side.
     
  7. 43074

    43074 Established Member

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    Indeed: with a 222 1 hr 25 from Nottingham should be possible running non-stop from London to Leicester and then non-stop to Nottingham, but the HSTs running the fast services at the moment have plenty of spare capacity even calling at East Mids Parkway & Market Harborough, so I doubt it would be economical to run calling at Leicester only. No doubt that's the ambition though.

    Replacing the HSTs would also be necessary I would imagine.
     
  8. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    The Local Chamber of Commerce had a campaign for Nottingham in 90 , a few years ago. I suspect that it will be achievable in the next few years. Whether every express will do it in 90 , I doubt though. I am a cynic when it comes to improving journey times . It's all about headlines which is fine but a consistent service on good trains is just as important on the Nottingham London route.
     
  9. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Absolutely agree - and the big challenge has to be, given the MML's make up, all the Kettleborogh stops, etc - how can you decrease journey times and make the service 'more reliable' ?

    Indeed, how robust is the present timetable? It only has to go a little out of kilter, and the expresses are surely catching up the semi-fasts and getting delayed. I was on an up express last year from Leicester which was checked outside St Pancras - I assume because the earlier semi-fast had not cleared section into the platforms.

    It made me wonder why they don't stop more expresses, at least in the evenings, at Luton, even as set down only. I suspect it would result in very little difference in practical journey times.
     
  10. richa2002

    richa2002 Established Member

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    They used to. Including morning northbound stops but ever since the timetable switched the HSTs from the Sheffields to the Nottinghams, very few, if any, expresses stop at Luton. Derby, Chesterfield & Sheffield all require a change.
     
  11. LTJ87

    LTJ87 Member

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    I know it was said when the MML electrification project was "paused" that other improvements would still go ahead but is there a firm financial commitment and timescale for works like straightening the track at Market Harborough?
     
  12. Steveoh

    Steveoh Member

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    The 07:55 Nottingham to St Pancras is timed at 90 mins In the working time table.
     
  13. Philip Phlopp

    Philip Phlopp Established Member

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    The timescales are still to be worked out for some works - the Market Harborough realignment didn't make it into the final CP5 settlement, but funding was agreed earlier this year, so it'll be plodding along through the GRIP stages now, though it was scoped out to allow the funding package to be put together initially.

    Funding is coming from a mixture of Network Rail and other sources, which will make it difficult to reallocate, but it could still change if additional issues are identified and costs increase beyond that which is expected and budgeted for.
     
  14. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Er, is this meant to be a reply to my post?

    I can fully believe Notts - St Pancras can be done in 90 mins with the right stock, as others have indicated.

    That was not my point. My point, amplifying another poster's concerns, was can any regular timetable improvements be done without compromising robustness, given the MML's specific needs to serve the many intermediate stops.

    there really is little point in spending money to shave timings if, in reality, minutes are lost approaching St Pancras (or Leicester, depending on direction) because the previous semi-fast is running 4 minute late.

    If track improvements lead to significant savings on the non-stops, the only way to achieve these savings in practice may be to loop the semi-fasts on on the goods lines, as is done in one case each morning, I believe - though this is just one train.

    But I do not use MML regularly - maybe it can cope fine for 95% of the time - just today seems to be one of the 5%, with a failure somewhere north or Bedford on the down fast.
     
  15. 43074

    43074 Established Member

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    Your concern seems to be over fast services catching up slow services? Couldn't that apply anywhere in the country where a slow service arrives three minutes before a fast? The MML timetable is very reliable when it works, as it does 99% of the time. The headway between semi-fast and fast services is reasonably good at the Leicester-end, nearer to St Pancras the constraint is Thameslink which prevents any adjustments to semi-fast services.

    To EMT's credit they are very journey time orientated as reflected in the December 2008 timetable improvements when the current pattern was introduced, and more recently in December 2013. I don't think they would decelerate a fast service to stop at Luton if overall journey time between Sheffield or Nottingham would suffer (even by three minutes or so).

    The biggest constraint to the robustness of the MML timetable is probably Thameslink, as it carries delays from South of the Thames to the otherwise reasonably reliable MML and effectively determines the EMT mainline timetable.
     
    Last edited: 20 Aug 2015
  16. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    But that is only if something goes wrong, otherwise we are timetabling to fail if you start being over cautious over "oh what happens if that one is 3 minutes late, we better put a bigger gap in" That then puts the whole case for improvements in doubt as you don't utilise them or they become unaffordable as you are gold plating.
     
  17. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

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    The St Pancras to Sheffield Line Speed Improvement Project has been running for the past 2 years to my personal knowledge. It has not been "paused" like the MML Electrification. A lot of work has been completed, level crossings closed, track alignments altered, signalling alterations undertaken. One of the problems is the relatively poor braking curve of an HST compared to a 222 so differential speeds have had to be imposed. Many millions of pounds have already been spent for a few minutes gain.
     
  18. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I doubt that there would be any opportunity to push Thameslink trains out of the way of an MML service. Goods loops aren't available much anyway and considering that the Thameslink trains will be able to reach linespeed in most locations quicker than the 222s can there's little point delaying a Thameslinlk train that is probably carrying more than even a nine-car 222 in the peak just for a few minutes on a 150 mile journey. There's no point assuming that the slows could be used as they are also full of Thameslink services.
     
  19. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Indeed - particularly when Thameslink fast services get weaved off / onto the fast lines at Carlton Rd / Finchley Rd / Radlett / Harpenden and Bedford South. ...a challenge , shall we say.

    I was reminded of the slightly perverse "plan" watching a HST call at Luton Airport Parkway one morning on the up - which dawdled at LAP - picking up about 40 people , but getting a nice ORCATS slice) - which effectively held the up fast for more than 4 mins , whilst a couple of Thameslink 8 and 12 cars went up the slow , carrying a lot more people. Standingpassengers from HPN and tube style crowding from St Albans.
     
  20. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    A 12 car TL train in the peak will be carrying more than twice as many people as on a 9 car 222. And will happily catch it up northbound from Carlton Road Junction.
     
  21. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    OK, thank you. I am a bit surprised by 99% of the time - but maybe I'm living in the Cl 45 era (when I knew the line well, and the problems of late running by the semi-fasts on the following express services). My one recent run made me suspicious of the new timetable, but you obviously see much more of it than me, so I take your word for it.

    However we are talking about two slightly different things here, which have become a bit muddled. (rather my fault, I accept)

    1) the robustness of the current timetable - you have answered this - it passes muster

    2) how to path trains, and the robustness of resulting new timetable, if savings are made which allow yet faster timings.

    In the latter case, I wonder if the robustness will suffer.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Oh, I fully accept your point. But i was not thinking of the slow lines south of Bedford - I had assumed these were pretty darned full. i was thinking of possible looping at Kettering, and slow to Kettering Sth Jcn.
     
  22. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Really? Surely they are in the same appendix braking curve?
     
  23. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    And to think that HSTs were getting differential speed improvements when they were introduced. Brakes have come a long way in 40 years.
     
  24. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I was thinking of what you said here:

    "there really is little point in spending money to shave timings if, in reality, minutes are lost approaching St Pancras (or Leicester, depending on direction) because the previous semi-fast is running 4 minute late."

    Those circumstances surely are dominated by the TL fasts hopping on and off the fasts, where any 222s or even more sluggish HSTs will struggle to keep time if there are any checks at the crossovers. This situation won't be affected by the MML speed enhancements until the MML trains are electric. So meantime, the priorities will favour TL trains especially when the 700s arrive, as a 12-car set carrying up to three times the passengers of a 9-car 222 will accelerate much faster.
     
  25. Blamethrower

    Blamethrower Member

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    Judging by my last 3 journeys into London, increasing line speed will just break the track. The fasts from St Albans to StP are in a terrible state, if you sit over the bogie you hear and feel large thumps (rail misaligned) and are shaken violently, frequently.

    My personal feeling is that all the fast track should be renewed south of St Albans, journey times to Nottingham would be helped by retiring the HSTs. That's the real problem on this line, slow accelerating old trains without power doors
     
  26. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Hmmm. Does not sound good. Anyone else corroborate?

    I've heard it all now. HSTs are "slow accelerating old trains".

    Oh the innocence of youth? However did we survive the ordeal of a Black 5 with 9 on leaving Wellingborough on the up? (I was too young to experience the pure torture of the compounds.) :)
     
  27. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    HOBC cant be going south of St Albans then.
     
  28. louis97

    louis97 Established Member

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    The differential speeds you refer to are for BOTH 222s and HSTs - they are both permitted to run at the same speeds.
     
  29. Blamethrower

    Blamethrower Member

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    I don't understand, are you making a joke or being patronising?
     
  30. asylumxl

    asylumxl Established Member

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    I would say the track is OK south of St Albans. I find it is past the Elstree Tunnel it gets pretty poor, particularly between the south portal and Mill Hill Broadway.

    The 377/5s suspension regularly bottoms out. 387s and 319s are slightly better but still a rough ride.
     
  31. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I had exactly that experience on a 387 last Thursday. Not only bottoming but hard side shifts particularly pst Mill Hill. There weren't even any points around those spots. I wonder how the 700s will handle the track shortfalls with their short wheelbase bogies. We've got used to ageing 319s rattling along the fasts at near maximum speed but the Electrostars should fare better, - especially the 387s which are all less than a year old!
     
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