New Chester to Leeds service

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by absolutelymilk, 16 Feb 2018.

  1. The Prisoner

    The Prisoner Member

    Messages:
    129
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2012
    Maybe it’s just a Northern thing, but this service is proving to be horribly unreliable with several services a day not getting to/starting from Chester.

    In fact this morning at Chester with cancellations on this line plus no TfW Liverpool service or Crewe shuttle for a time it did make me feel very sorry for regular travellers when I was there just before 10.
     
  2. northernchris

    northernchris Member

    Messages:
    946
    Joined:
    24 Jul 2011
    A lot of the current issues seem to be down to the awful reliability of the 195s
     
  3. Geeves

    Geeves Member

    Messages:
    976
    Joined:
    6 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Rochdale
    Not to mention there are various folks around diagramed on said units that still don't sign them, in addition to flooding, points failures, power failures, broken down freights, all these things at any and every location you can think of in the 164 mile round trip. Soon as that train sets off ten late from Leeds you've had it. Leeds crew only get ten mins to swap trains and go back at Vic. A nice Vic to Chester on 195s would probably be a pretty reliable service. Might well get chopped some point.
     
  4. mrcaa

    mrcaa Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2019
    I wish they would do that. I suppose it might require more units and drivers though. I don’t think many people want to spend 150 minutes to travel 80 miles to Leeds just to avoid having to change at Manchester. Having an extra option to get to Manchester in a reasonable time if there’s trouble around Castlefield would be great but you just can’t rely on this current service.
     
  5. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2011
    Ah, the old "nobody travels from Terminus A to Terminus B, so this service doesn't need to exist" argument.
     
  6. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,570
    Joined:
    3 May 2015
    Nobody is saying the service doesn't need to exist; it is a useful Calder Valley service, and a second train per hour between Chester and Manchester. But the amount of cross-Manchester demand it actually serves (As useful as it may be to a few passengers) may be questionable. How much should the tail wag the dog? (c.f. Liverpool-Norwich)
     
  7. mrcaa

    mrcaa Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2019
    I’m not saying it shouldn’t exist just that it’d be better existing as two services. The Leeds to Victoria leg was already there so having a Chester to Victoria connecting service would give you more options if one of them had to be cancelled. I appreciate this may not be possible if it required extra stock or crew though. It’s definitely no use if it doesn’t run at all though. I see two have already been cancelled so far today.
     
  8. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2011
    So why did you say...
    ... if you weren't referring to passengers travelling from Chester all the way to Leeds?
     
  9. mrcaa

    mrcaa Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2019
    Fair point. I suppose I was saying if that’s the only reason for there being a direct service then it’s not a very compelling one since the usage would be low and it seems to be causing a lot of cancellations. What’s your view on the situation then? Is there anything you think they can do to make the service more reliable?
     
  10. superkev

    superkev Established Member

    Messages:
    1,733
    Joined:
    1 Mar 2015
    Location:
    west yorkshire
    I suspect Northern are promoting through services through Man vic to avoid terminating trains hogging platforms.
    Personal view is having them as stopping services not much good to longer distance travellers.
    Extending the Leeds to Man vic express to Chester or Southport makes more sense than the current stoppers.
    K
     
  11. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    18 Feb 2012
    Location:
    Greater Manchester
    I do not believe Victoria has capacity to terminate the western portion of the service if it were split from the Leeds part. There is nowhere the stock could spend the 50 minute layover. And an additional diagram would be needed, when Northern is already short of stock and traincrew.

    The extended service has increased conflicts at Ordsall Lane Junction. With the TPE services, there are now 3tphpd between Victoria and the Chat Moss line, which have to cross the paths of the 4tphpd between Piccadilly and the Bolton line, over the flat junction. This has worsened the delays through the Castlefield corridor and through Victoria.

    Perhaps it is time for all the stakeholders to accept that this service extension was "a bridge too far" over the current Central Manchester infrastructure, and to allow Northern to bin the Victoria - Chester service altogether in order to improve the reliability of the Calder Valley services?
     
  12. mrcaa

    mrcaa Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2019
    That'll be it then. I suppose we're back to the idea of knocking the arena down and building some west-facing terminal platforms but in the meantime I think you're right that they should just stick to Leeds-Manchester for now. When it's late it can delay the TfW trains as well so it's just making things worse for everyone.
     
  13. Eccles1983

    Eccles1983 On Moderation

    Messages:
    609
    Joined:
    4 Sep 2016
    Why not just knock the Leeds bit on the head and extend it to Rochdale?

    Use the bays at either end, and hey presto problem halved.

    Or run the empty unit up to Brewery Junction and have it sit there.

    Leeds has enough choice and services from Manchester. Chester doesn't.
     
  14. VT 390

    VT 390 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,109
    Joined:
    7 Dec 2018
    What about the places between Rochdale and Leeds who use this service to get to Manchester?
     
  15. mrcaa

    mrcaa Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2019
    Before May were all of these services Leeds to Manchester Victoria so then half of them were extended to Chester? I suppose cutting half of them off from the stations to Leeds wouldn’t be too popular in that case.
     
  16. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    18 Feb 2012
    Location:
    Greater Manchester
    The western bay at Rochdale is occupied by the Clitheroe to Rochdale and Blackburn to Rochdale services. From the December timetable change, the loop at Brewery Junction will be used for layover of the restored Kirkby to Victoria service.
     
    Last edited: 13 Nov 2019
  17. Eccles1983

    Eccles1983 On Moderation

    Messages:
    609
    Joined:
    4 Sep 2016

    No one said it was going to be easy.

    But if space is such a premium at Vic then shunting could be done at the eastern bay at Rochdale, or the Turnback siding at Rochdale.

    You could also stack them in Brewery pass loop if times correctly.

    Space is available, it just takes a bit of planning.
     
  18. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2011
    My view is that it's a very useful service. I've used it a few times (once from Bradford all the way to Chester, as it was the easiest journey option at the time) and each time there have been quite a few passengers who used it across Manchester Victoria. And that number will only increase as people make the most of the new journey opportunities.

    The service also provides good connections to/from TPE services for those travelling to/from Chester.

    Thankfully, that's not my job!
     
  19. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

    Messages:
    1,195
    Joined:
    4 Aug 2010
    The service was billed partly as a replacement for the TPE service between Leeds and Warrington Central. It therefore seems odd that it runs "all stations" between Leeds and Todmorden, and is due to have a Low Moor stop added, yet it runs non-stop (mostly) between Warrington and Chester. The other Leeds - Man Vic via Bradford service is the faster of the two.
     
  20. swissrailpassion

    swissrailpassion Member

    Messages:
    134
    Joined:
    7 Feb 2008
    Does anyone remember the Hull to Chester service operated by brand new 150s?
     
  21. The Prisoner

    The Prisoner Member

    Messages:
    129
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2012
    I did make the point when the service was first announced that this service is borderline pointless on it’s current timetable. I go from Chester to Leeds on business quite often and this service is the best part of an hour slower than driving. Why miss out the likes of Runcorn East (62,000 population and no services beyond Manchester) yet stop at Hebden Bridge (4500 population and regular services to both Manchester and Leeds) to make the service so slow?

    The services from Chester to anywhere other than London and Liverpool are shockingly poor - be it lack of frequency, choice, reliability or speed.
     
  22. markymark2000

    markymark2000 Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    11 May 2015
    Location:
    Chester
    Could the Leeds trains terminate at Victoria and then run Stalybridge to Chester via Victoria trains? This then keeps any issues a bit more self contained? Of course there would be some rescheduling needed but then Chester - Stalybridge could be just Victoria crew and Leeds to Victoria can be Leeds crew. A lot less issues with short running because of crew or lateness or any other issues for that matter.
     
  23. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    18 Feb 2012
    Location:
    Greater Manchester
    A major timetable recast would be needed to mate the Chester services with the Stalybridge shuttle at Victoria, because the timings do not match. The Stalybridge services have to fit into 15 minute windows between two of the 4tphpd TPE fasts, with a stop at Ashton. The Chester services have to squeeze into gaps between the other 5tphpd on the Chat Moss line (TfW Chester, 2xTPE Liverpools, Northern stopper and Northern Cumbria), and also thread their way across Ordsall Lane Junction through all the conflicting services. I am no timetable planner, but I imagine it would be very challenging to find suitable paths.
     
  24. cle

    cle Established Member

    Messages:
    1,880
    Joined:
    17 Nov 2010
    If about Chester to Leeds, could it run via Victoria and then Staly/Huddersfield, with the Calder service doing something less regional after Victoria?
     
  25. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

    Messages:
    13,521
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    The original plan, in the Northern/TPE ITTs, was for Calder Valley services to run through to Liverpool and Manchester Airport as well as Chester.
    Looks like Chester is all we'll get for a while.
    Once you aim beyond Stalybridge, you are into TPE territory and the 6tph limit via Standedge.

    Admitting defeat on the through Chester service would be bad news though.
    The whole point was to improve capacity at Victoria by not terminating trains there.
    Crew changes don't help, of course, any more than they do at places like Oxford Road.
    Why is it so difficult for crew diagrams to match the trains better?
     
  26. Whisky Papa

    Whisky Papa Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    8 Aug 2019
    The Leeds to Victoria service is run by crews from both ends anyway, but apart from the pathing issues raised in post #442, linking to Stalybridge would simply not add that many more direct journey opportunities.. The link from Leeds to Chester may not be much use from end to end (obviously quicker via TPE to Piccadilly and TfW on to Chester), but it certainly offers much better access from Bradford, Halifax and the apparently insignificant towns of the Calder Valley (post #440) to Warrington and Chester and the potential connections offered at both. Passenger numbers may not be huge, granted, but I can recall several potential customers declining to use the train from Bradford Interchange to destinations in North Wales due to having to either travel via Leeds or cross Manchester city centre. It is true that crossing from Victoria to Piccadilly may now be accomplished by TPE services, if they are on time, but it is still a further change of train required. It is a pity Northern are struggling so much to operate the service reliably, as I feel it proves a useful link (although not as useful as the service to Manchester Airport would have been).

    I would fully agree that a stop at Runcorn East would be justified, but to suggest it should not stop at Hebden Bridge (post #440) is frankly bizarre. Hebden Bridge does indeed have services to Manchester and Leeds, of which this is already one: it is not something additional laid over the top of existing services. As for the population, that of the the ward is over 12000, a fair proportion of whom are quite affluent and travel by train frequently and widely. It is also a tourist destination of some note, not least for the independent shops and bars. Trust me, I worked at the station for some years.
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2019
  27. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    18 Aug 2016
    Worth remembering that this service is also the Warrington-West Yorkshire service. That was a significant passenger flow when TPE operated the Liverpool - Scarborough trains via Warrington Central. That traffic was more or less abandoned when TPE was diverted onto Chat Moss. The Chester-Leeds service is in part an attempt to re-make the connection. That's one reason which we're overlooking for why it crosses Manchester
     
  28. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    18 Feb 2012
    Location:
    Greater Manchester
    Network Rail's Castlefield Corridor Congestion report has pointed out that Victoria through capacity is constrained by inflexible track layouts at Irwell Street Junction and Deal Street Junction, which prevent parallel moves to/from the Ordsall Chord and the Chat Moss lines. Because of this, the Chester service potentially conflicts with the TPE Airport services through these junctions. This pinch point can contribute to escalation of knock-on delays across Manchester.

    A fourth track is needed between the two junctions to enable concurrent parallel moves Chord <> Stalybridge lines and Chat Moss lines <> Calder Valley lines.
     
  29. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

    Messages:
    1,195
    Joined:
    4 Aug 2010
    Yes, which is why I mentioned the number of stops between Leeds and Todmorden (#438). I expect pathing constraints would make it difficult for the Chester train to serve Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden only, with the Manchester train on the opposite half-hour serving the others.
     
  30. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

    Messages:
    10,203
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Looking at the immediate populations can be misleading. Hebden Bridge attracts more passengers than Runcorn and more than 4 times as many as Runcorn East.
     

Share This Page