North Wales Questions

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SprinterMan

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Hello, I live in Bangor and was wondering some things about the railways around here.

New Curve At Shotton?
I heard a while ago of a plan to build a curve at Shotton between the Borderlands line and the North Wales Coast line. Has this been built, is it going to be built and in what directions will it join the other lines?

Llandudno-London no more?
Why did Llandudno lose it's through service to London? Its not like Virgin doesn't have the stock to do it. The 0910 EUS-HHD and 1358 return is a double voyager throughout and is never more than 25% full after Chester, it could easily be split at LLJ and give Llandudno its London train back, meaning good PR for Virgin.

Request stops?
Why are some of the request stops on the request stops? I can understand Ty Croes but Conwy for example is quite a large town and deserves a better service. The calling pattern at the request stops is very random. Some only do the request stops on the island, some only do the ones on the mainland, some only do Valley & Llanfairpwll, some do all of them and one train does all of them except Valley & Llanfairpwll. The 0425 HHD-CDF train calls at Valley and Llanfairpwll at some ungodly hour. I refuse to believe that people actually board the train there.
 
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The Informer

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Hello, I live in Bangor and was wondering some things about the railways around here.

New Curve At Shotton?
I heard a while ago of a plan to build a curve at Shotton between the Borderlands line and the North Wales Coast line. Has this been built, is it going to be built and in what directions will it join the other lines?


No and it never will!
 

merlodlliw

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Hello, I live in Bangor and was wondering some things about the railways around here.

New Curve At Shotton?
I heard a while ago of a plan to build a curve at Shotton between the Borderlands line and the North Wales Coast line. Has this been built, is it going to be built and in what directions will it join the other lines?

Llandudno-London no more?
Why did Llandudno lose it's through service to London? Its not like Virgin doesn't have the stock to do it. The 0910 EUS-HHD and 1358 return is a double voyager throughout and is never more than 25% full after Chester, it could easily be split at LLJ and give Llandudno its London train back, meaning good PR for Virgin.

Request stops?
Why are some of the request stops on the request stops? I can understand Ty Croes but Conwy for example is quite a large town and deserves a better service. The calling pattern at the request stops is very random. Some only do the request stops on the island, some only do the ones on the mainland, some only do Valley & Llanfairpwll, some do all of them and one train does all of them except Valley & Llanfairpwll. The 0425 HHD-CDF train calls at Valley and Llanfairpwll at some ungodly hour. I refuse to believe that people actually board the train there.
Shotton, this was only an idea from a member of this site that's all.Nothing in any plan to do it, even the biggest pinch point in Nth Wales between Saltney & Wrexham is being used as a political game with Gowerton. No trains will ever be diverted away from Chester, ATWs biggest hub in the North,

VT Llandudno, it was pulled due to the silly idea of following the Pendo from Junction a mere 15 minutes later.
I agree the ten coach Voyager 0910 Euston to Holyhead allows a coach to yourself from Chester, a strange idea to make it ten coaches when it was
never 25% filled from Chester as a five car.

Anglesey calls, you are probably correct about the 0425 picking up fresh air,politics appeasement to YKW no doubt.

Bob
 
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Welshman

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Hello, I live in Bangor and was wondering some things about the railways around here.

New Curve At Shotton?
I heard a while ago of a plan to build a curve at Shotton between the Borderlands line and the North Wales Coast line. Has this been built, is it going to be built and in what directions will it join the other lines?


Request stops?
Why are some of the request stops on the request stops? I can understand Ty Croes but Conwy for example is quite a large town and deserves a better service. The calling pattern at the request stops is very random. Some only do the request stops on the island, some only do the ones on the mainland, some only do Valley & Llanfairpwll, some do all of them and one train does all of them except Valley & Llanfairpwll. The 0425 HHD-CDF train calls at Valley and Llanfairpwll at some ungodly hour. I refuse to believe that people actually board the train there.

I, too, am not holding my breath for the Shotton curve to be built!

I suspect the present pattern of alternating request stops between Anglesey/mainland is to give a roughly similar journey-time between Chester and Holyhead.

Don't forget the RAF station at Valley - perhaps some of the custom comes from there.
 

MidnightFlyer

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With regard to Llandudno and VT, don't foget you'd need a driver and guard for it too. Is Llandudno busy enough to justify its own service? I doubt there's much demand south of Crewe.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Llandudno-London no more?
Why did Llandudno lose it's through service to London? Its not like Virgin doesn't have the stock to do it. The 0910 EUS-HHD and 1358 return is a double voyager throughout and is never more than 25% full after Chester, it could easily be split at LLJ and give Llandudno its London train back, meaning good PR for Virgin.
To put it simply, it isn't a franchise commitment.
In the VHF timetable DfT/VT decided to use the Voyagers intensively between Euston and Chester with ATW connections westwards, instead of through trains.
Since then there has been a bit of juggling of 390/221 diagrams which means there is another 221 available (hence the doubling up of 0910 ex Euston).
Some units also laze around at Chester for a hour rather than work straight back to Euston.

We will have to see what turns up in the new franchise.
If they diverted one of the Bangor terminators there would no doubt be complaints from there, and I guess overall Bangor is a bigger year-round market than Llandudno.
The new franchise core spec includes current services (except Wrexham, which is optional), but the bidders may have better ideas.
A whole other can of worms is that if Llandudno got a through service, the Shropshire brigade would immediately want to know why they had been overlooked - again!
 

aformeruser

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Llandudno-London no more?
Why did Llandudno lose it's through service to London? Its not like Virgin doesn't have the stock to do it. The 0910 EUS-HHD and 1358 return is a double voyager throughout and is never more than 25% full after Chester, it could easily be split at LLJ and give Llandudno its London train back, meaning good PR for Virgin.
Didn't Virgin double up those services because one Voyager on the Chester-Holyhead sections was insufficient capacity in the Summer?

If what you say about it never being more than 25% full is true then maybe Virgin should release a Voyager to XC for extra capacity.
 

merlodlliw

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Didn't Virgin double up those services because one Voyager on the Chester-Holyhead sections was insufficient capacity in the Summer?

If what you say about it never being more than 25% full is true then maybe Virgin should release a Voyager to XC for extra capacity.

I very much doubt the summer five car service to Holyhead was ever full,running the ten car from Chester to Holyhead between October & May is a waste of resources,
anyone getting this service will have hundreds of seats to choose from once it leaves Chester.
 

aformeruser

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I very much doubt the summer five car service to Holyhead was ever full,running the ten car from Chester to Holyhead between October & May is a waste of resources,
Sounds like another case of Virgin services being something like 5% over capacity, so the amount of capacity gets doubled, while 40% over capacity on non-Virgin services gets ignored.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Didn't Virgin double up those services because one Voyager on the Chester-Holyhead sections was insufficient capacity in the Summer?

If what you say about it never being more than 25% full is true then maybe Virgin should release a Voyager to XC for extra capacity.
This train starts life as the 0448 from Holyhead (doubled up with Lancaster portion at Crewe).
It then stays (now) doubled up as the 0910 Euston-Holyhead and 1358 back.
It then forms the 1810 Euston-Holyhead (the one with the Wrexham portion).

If it was spare at Euston 0900-1800 it would not be able to go anywhere more useful - in fact by staying doubled up it saves a daily split/join task. There is no question of it being "surplus" to VT's needs, because of the peak loadings on the WCML at Crewe/Rugby/Nuneaton.

The 0910 used to be the main daytime HST/Pendolino boat train and has always been a "big" train. It loads well on the return trip, as the last through train from the coast.
 

aformeruser

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The 0910 used to be the main daytime HST/Pendolino boat train and has always been a "big" train. It loads well on the return trip, as the last through train from the coast.
Apart from between December 08 and May 11 when it was a doubled up Voyager between London and Chester only and Chester and London only on the return working. The introduction of a Pendolino on to a Birmingham-Scotland diagram in 2011 saw an extra Voyager being made available to Chester/North Wales services to allow the 09:10 and return working to run as doubled up throughout. The only benefit of this extra unit is in North Wales, so if the capacity isn't needed in North Wales as merlodlliw has suggested then why not move it elsewhere?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Apart from between December 08 and May 11 when it was a doubled up Voyager between London and Chester only and Chester and London only on the return working. The introduction of a Pendolino on to a Birmingham-Scotland diagram in 2011 saw an extra Voyager being made available to Chester/North Wales services to allow the 09:10 and return working to run as doubled up throughout. The only benefit of this extra unit is in North Wales, so if the capacity isn't needed in North Wales as merlodlliw has suggested then why not move it elsewhere?
I must get to Chester and do a passenger count.
I doubt it is as empty as Bob suggests (on both legs).
In any case VT/DfT would not want to start a new service before the franchise expires.
I think VT can only flex existing services without DfT permission.
Part of this is also linked to the introduction plan for the new 390s.
 

aformeruser

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In any case VT/DfT would not want to start a new service before the franchise expires. I think VT can only flex existing services without DfT permission.
And what's wrong with strengthening another service or subleasing a unit to XC until the end of the franchise?
 

merlodlliw

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I must get to Chester and do a passenger count.
I doubt it is as empty as Bob suggests (on both legs).
In any case VT/DfT would not want to start a new service before the franchise expires.
I think VT can only flex existing services without DfT permission.
Part of this is also linked to the introduction plan for the new 390s.
I am commenting on the Chester/Holyhead leg where I get off at Rhyl, though
I would consider the return from Holyhead would only require a five car like the other voyagers, just not the traffic in Winter.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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And what's wrong with strengthening another service or subleasing a unit to XC until the end of the franchise?
Well what would you do with a Voyager unit for 8 hours off-peak, starting/finishing at Euston?

It would work going to (say) Blackpool or Shrewsbury but nobody really wants a single off-peak service only for it to be withdrawn in the new franchise.
None of the Pendolino routes would work, except possibly Preston.
Send it to Scotland and you've lost the return peak-time working.

Sublease to XC and you'll have the Nuneaton/Rugby commuters up in arms (more than they are already).
 

aformeruser

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Well what would you do with a Voyager unit for 8 hours off-peak, starting/finishing at Euston?

Sublease to XC and you'll have the Nuneaton/Rugby commuters up in arms (more than they are already).
The Voyager, released by putting the Pendolino on Birmingham-Scotland diagram, ONLY provides extra capacity on the Chester-Holyhead section, doing it has created less efficient use of units. There was no benefit to Nuneaton and Rugby, except IF the 11 car Pendolino diagram on Glasgow-London involves calls at Rugby, which wouldn't be affected by releasing a Voyager.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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It's more complicated than that.
The detached unit off the 0910 at Chester previously went back to Euston at 1135.
Now, another unit comes empty from Central Rivers to Chester to form this service.
There are also more Voyager ECS workings in North Wales than I was aware of, and some 221s between Birmingham and Euston that weren't there before.
We need the overall VT Voyager utilisation (including Birmingham-Scotland) to know if there is any spare capacity.
Anyway, it's all up in the air for the new franchise.
 

jones_bangor

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I must get to Chester and do a passenger count.
I doubt it is as empty as Bob suggests (on both legs).
His definition / perception of empty isn't like yours or mine - if you'd believe his comments no one ever goes on the the WAG Express.


Well what would you do with a Voyager unit for 8 hours off-peak, starting/finishing at Euston?
Good question!!! I suppose it could be left in a siding at Chester....but the you'd need a driver to move it........Virgin probably decided it was easier to run up to Holyhead and back.
 
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aformeruser

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Good question!!! I suppose it could be left in a siding at Chester....but the you'd need a driver to move it........Virgin probably decided it was easier to run up to Holyhead and back.
Has someone put alcohol in the water supply in Wales preventing people from thinking logically? The answer is in big black and white letters.

You use the diagrams Virgin used pre-May 2011, that would mean the unit that came off the London-Holyhead service at Chester would work the next Chester-London service, without sending another Voyager ECS to Chester to work it. The Voyager that currently does that working is then surplus to requirements as eliminating the need for that working to be doubled up all the way and all the extra ECS moves frees up a unit for all day, not just for 8 hours. If it was just for 8 hours then Virgin would have had daily cancellations until May 2011 when they released a Voyager off Birmingham-Scotland workings by introducing the extra Pendolino.
 

jones_bangor

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New Plaid leader (result tomorrow?) is definitely not going to be from North Wales Coast so don't expect it too be looked upon in same way if Plaid ever get into power sharing again.
Today: With three weeks of campaigning left, the three Welsh assembly members vying for the role have set out their views on water, Welsh independence and nuclear power.

Why do you have the view that the WAG Express was purely a creation of Plaid...it was delivered by the One Wales agreement (Plaid & Labour)....and subsequently confirmed and shortly to be enhanced by Labour.

If Ms Wood does win, there'll be zero chance of the Tories ever getting power in Wales, even with all their closet supporters.
 
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tbtc

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Is it really easier to send the "spare" five coach Voyager on a five hundred mile round trip from London to Holyhead during the daytime than to find someone at Euston capable of uncoupling it and driving it ECS to Wembley?
 

TheBigD

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You use the diagrams Virgin used pre-May 2011, that would mean the unit that came off the London-Holyhead service at Chester would work the next Chester-London service, without sending another Voyager ECS to Chester to work it. The Voyager that currently does that working is then surplus to requirements as eliminating the need for that working to be doubled up all the way and all the extra ECS moves frees up a unit for all day, not just for 8 hours. If it was just for 8 hours then Virgin would have had daily cancellations until May 2011 when they released a Voyager off Birmingham-Scotland workings by introducing the extra Pendolino.
The changes that Virgin made also mean that the 1910 ex Euston is now a double voyager as far as Chester. It also has an open stop at Milton Keynes now. The voyager certainly isn't surplus to requirements!
 

SprinterMan

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Another North Wales related question:
On a Saturday, the last CDF-HHD train is terminated at LLJ and a bus runs the rest of the route. Its not engineering work related, its actually timetabled to be a bus. Why is this? It adds about an hour to the journey for BNG/HHD passengers and LLJ is a weird place to terminate a train at that time of night.
 

merlodlliw

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His definition / perception of empty isn't like yours or mine - if you'd believe his comments no one ever goes on the the WAG Express.

I actually used the train from Chester to Rhyl, travelled on Tuesday, my best estimate is a maximum of 40 Pax and that is generous.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Another North Wales related question:
On a Saturday, the last CDF-HHD train is terminated at LLJ and a bus runs the rest of the route. Its not engineering work related, its actually timetabled to be a bus. Why is this? It adds about an hour to the journey for BNG/HHD passengers and LLJ is a weird place to terminate a train at that time of night.
Probably due to no Politicians using it:) I agree it is weird. Lack of complaints show how few use it past the Junction.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Today: With three weeks of campaigning left, the three Welsh assembly members vying for the role have set out their views on water, Welsh independence and nuclear power.

Why do you have the view that the WAG Express was purely a creation of Plaid...it was delivered by the One Wales agreement (Plaid & Labour)....and subsequently confirmed and shortly to be enhanced by Labour.

If Ms Wood does win, there'll be zero chance of the Tories ever getting power in Wales, even with all their closet supporters.
The WAG Express was the brainchild of IWJ as was WAGAIR he was the Plaid Minister who proposed both & nodded in by Labour as a sweetner in a quid pro que.
 
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Welshman

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Another North Wales related question:
On a Saturday, the last CDF-HHD train is terminated at LLJ and a bus runs the rest of the route. Its not engineering work related, its actually timetabled to be a bus. Why is this? It adds about an hour to the journey for BNG/HHD passengers and LLJ is a weird place to terminate a train at that time of night.
You're right - it is a timetabled planned bustitution, and I thought it was to allow more time for regular routine maintenance work between Llandudno Junction and Holyhead, [in the same way the last London KX -Leeds is given extra padding between Doncaster and Leeds and can be diverted one or two different routes, but the alternative routing is not an option here!]. Perhaps the tubular bridge at Conwy or the Britannia Bridge at Menai need more time for examinations.

And while Llandudno Junction may not be the best place to be turned-out of a train at 2330, there is a very convenient bus waiting area just outside the station, and turn-back facilities for the train. Also, dare I suggest, the local Arriva bus depot is only just round the corner!
 

merlodlliw

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And while Llandudno Junction may not be the best place to be turned-out of a train at 2330, there is a very convenient bus waiting area just outside the station, and turn-back facilities for the train. Also, dare I suggest, the local Arriva bus depot is only just round the corner![/QUOTE]

Indeed Arriva bus & ATW are both owned by DB. However I can think of worse places after midnight than The Junction,but not many, a couple of previous stops come to mind.
 

Shimbleshanks

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Speaking as an ex-North Walian, I suspect that very few people live close to Llandudno station and for many of the main residential areas of the town, Llandudno Junction or Conway stations are just as convenient and have a better service than Llandudno ever would. And I can't see there being much of a 'bucket & spade' traffic from London to Llandudno. The only time I can see a demand is when a major political or other conference is being staged there and I don't think that happens very often compared with Brighton or Blackpool.

As for the Shotton curve, it would give a marginally shorter journey time for a through service from North Wales to Merseyside compared with going to Chester and reversing but would mean losing the Chester call, which is also quite a major traffic generator to and from N. Wales.

But assuming that diesels would be banned from the tunnels under the Mersey, any service that did end up 'going round the bend' at Shotton would only get as far as Bidston or possibly Birkenhead. The only solution would be for diesel locos to drag electric units along the coast, in which - highly unlikely - event the reversal at Chester would actually be an advantage as the change of traction could be done there.

If a through service from the coast to central Liverpool is an aspiration (it's called the capital of North Wales for good reason!) perhaps full reinstatement of the curve at Runcorn would be a better bet as this would allow a through service into Lime Street with diesel traction all the way.
 

jaffa

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Being a student in Bangor who uses the train quite frequently to travel to Milton Keynes and back, I can tell you that the trains are always very busy at times such as start of term, reading week, end of term, and Sundays and Fridays for students going home and coming back after the weekends. I have travelled on the 0910 ex Euston as a double voyager and single voyager, when it changed to a double voyager all the way I was told that the rear 5 coaches would split at Chester and stay at Chester (which wasn't the case), so not many people sat in the rear 5 coaches. I hope this advice has changed now as I haven't been on it for a while because Virgin don't seem to be selling cheap advances for this train anymore - not sure why when it is a 10 car voyager!

Anyway, it has always been not packed, but certainly not empty, and having travelled on single voyagers and changing at Chester for Bangor, the Virgin service has always been nearly full - say 80%+, and then many people change onto the ATW service at Chester - which is normally 2 cars and there are many standing passengers and the train is rammed - this is not me exaggerating - I have been in this position many times!

Chester is a very busy station and there always seem to be loads of people waiting for the trains to Holyhead and Euston - The Virgin Chester to Euston service is definitely well used by many different types of people - businesspeople, retired people, day trips to london, students, lecturers etc - Chester seems to be quite upmarket and I think the Virgin service to London appeals.

The only quiet service I have been on was the midweek 1224 from Bangor where I had the coach to myself up till Chester. The 1425 service from Bangor to Euston is well used at Bangor, and many people get on at Chester and also Crewe. You have to remember that these voyagers serve one of the two Virgin services an hour to Euston at Crewe, and this is the only one that stops at MK - which should be receiving more services in my opinion! The Virgin walkup fares however, are ridiculous say from Chester to MK and Crewe to MK, if I can't get advances on VT I try to take the LM service from Crewe to LM as it's so much cheaper, but I'm digressing....!
 
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