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North West to London competition

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by frodshamfella, 16 Nov 2011.

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  1. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    Hi...wondered if anyone could up date me....I got quite excited back when a new service was proposed from Blackpool to London by Grand Central (i think) calling at Hartford, which I would use. This seems to have gone quite London Midland also to start a Liverpool to London serice again, not heard much more. With Wrexham and Shropshire gone, an alternative to Virgin on the West Coast route would be welcome, will it happen ?? !

    p.s I often thought it was a shame Wrexham and Shropshire were not allowed to continue northward to Chester, im sure that would have given them an extra boost :D Although it wasnt too local for me to get to London I did use it several times, and it was a fantastic service....sadly missed
     
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  3. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    The company was Alliance Rail, who were planning to introduce this under the name 'Great Western Railway'. Their initial application was rejected BUT with advice to resubmit after a few changes

    Their website is here, and Hertford doesn't appear on the plans.
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2011
  4. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    You're wrong. Grand Central submitted a proposal for a Blackpool-London and Alliance Rail also submitted a proposal. Grand Central proposed calling at Hartford (not Hertford) and Alliance Rail proposed calling at Winsford.

    Both applications were initially rejected. Alliance have put in a revised proposal which hasn't been accepted or rejected.

    The LM plan submitted was for:

    Liverpool-Birmingham 1 tph - not calling at Hartford or Winsford
    Liverpool-Euston via Stone 1tph - calling at Hartford and Winsford. Limited service at Acton Bridge.
    Preston-Birmingham 1tph - including calls at Warrington BQ, Hartford, Crewe

    This was rejected on the basis it would require a complete WCML recast. However, Network Rail took the LM plans and came up with the following proposal for when the next WCML recast happens:

    Liverpool-Birmingham 1 tph - not calling at Hartford or Winsford
    Liverpool-Euston not via Stone 1tph - calling at Hartford and Winsford. Limited service at Acton Bridge.
    Preston-Birmingham 1tph - including calls at Warrington BQ, Hartford, Crewe
    Manchester-Stoke-Stone-Birmingham 1tph - Extension of Northern's Manchester-Stoke service but operated by LM.
    Manchester-Bournemouth XC service - diverted via Crewe.
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2011
  5. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Great North Western Railway shirley?

    GWR would be a bit confusing up in those parts...
     
  6. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Things I have learnt today:

    * There were two bids for the Blackpool-London route
    * There is somewhere called Hartford in the UK!
     
  7. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    All this depends on the timetable recast (Norton Bridge upgrade, NW electrification etc) and also on the new DfT franchise spec for WC and Northern (and others).

    DfT could in theory specify all these services as part of a franchise, although I think they will limit the WC one just to the Pendolino and Voyager fleet deployment, leaving anything needing new stock for Open Access.
    WC will get hourly to Glasgow and extra Lancs services from the extended Pendo fleet.
    Blackpool might well come into the WC franchise after electrification.
    We will know the WC spec by January.

    Any Open Access WCML operator will need 125mph tilting stock, and that does not grow on trees. As DB seems to have a finger in all the pies I would expect its strategy (and bank balance) will determine what happens.

    The LM proposals around Birmingham-Preston/Liverpool are easier because they can use Desiros on these.
     
  8. Captain Speaking

    Captain Speaking Established Member

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    It's a pity the Midland HST services Manchester to London via the Hope Valley were discontinued some years ago. They were slower than Virgin West Coast but could sometimes be cheaper.
     
  9. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    No they don't, the original bid was based on 67s and the paths were fine. If LM get the 110mph 350s and their attempt at the slice of the pie, then those paths probably won't exist.
     
  10. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    I stand corrected.
    But surely there are fewer 110mph paths available than 125mph?
    ie a 67-operated Blackpool-Euston would destroy maybe 2xPendo/Voyager paths?
    Anyway surely there's no 110mph stock available now either (Desiros excepted).

    The LM paths also use the slow lines for stops in the Trent Valley. An OA operator would not want to do that.

    I appreciate you have the inside information...
    I'm just trying to guess the NR/ORR response.

    And also trying to comprehend the science behind the WCML upgrade.
     
  11. stockport1

    stockport1 Member

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    Regarding the alliance proposal:

    cant understand the winsford stop. it can JUST hold a 4 car 350.
    and the current 50 car carpark is regularly crammed.

    In there brocure winsford parkway was refered too. adding 2+2 to get 5:

    I was under the impression that a new station would be part of the proposal
    to handle the longer london HS trains and for parking (parkway).

    I envision if this were to happen the station would be relocated a mile or two north on land next to winsford signal box. poss 4 platform? to fit in with future crewe-weaver junction 4 tracking.


    I may be way off the mark but winsford goes get busy and deserves a better service for the size of town.
     
  12. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    Was there not only these proposals from an OAO, but also a London to West Yorkshire service, via Manchester Victoria and Rochdale quite some time ago? Or am I confusing this with another similar proposal?
     
  13. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    I contacted Alliance re: use of Winsford, saying the platform only just holds a 350 while the car parking is busy and land near the station is subject to subsidence from salt mining in the area, so may not be suitable for additional parking.

    I also mentioned to reach Winsford from the motorway you have to go through the town of Middlewich, so planning permission may be difficult to obtain to turn it in to a 'parkway.'

    The response was they are aware of those issues and if they can't resolve them they'll have a Hartford call instead. That suggests to me is they only proposed Winsford to not duplicate Grand Central's proposal.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    http://www.alliancerail.co.uk/gnwr/
     
  14. mappman1000

    mappman1000 Member

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    I don't see the point in this, they'll get awful paths and changing for a Virgin will probably be quicker in some instances.
     
  15. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Businesses are there to make money.

    Alliance are proposing using brand new 140mph capable tilting stock. Grand Central were proposing loco hauled stock i.e. 110mph capable on the WCML initially.
     
  16. mappman1000

    mappman1000 Member

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    That will run at 125mph :roll:
     
  17. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Its a waste of capacity.

    If there are spare WCML paths then we should be looking at a second Liverpool service an hour (or speeding up the Glasgow services south of Preston with a regular Blackpool/Preston - London service covering places like Warrington).
     
  18. Holly

    Holly Member

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    The point is additional services and competition, not speed.

    And there is an unmet need for a quad-track parkway station somewhere between Warrington and Winsford.
     
  19. Gareth

    Gareth Member

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    As much as I think Liverpool's frequency to London is not good enough, I was never convinced with London Midland's proposals. Whilst, if I recall correctly, it proposed direct links with some small towns that Liverpool currently doesn't have, it would have been a very slow route to London and would've reduced Liverpool's Birmingham connection to hourly, which, considering Birmingham is a good intechange location and how Lime Street-New Street is essentially Liverpool's Cross Country replacement, a network where most spokes get a half hourly frequency to New Street, it'd probably not have been worth it.
     
  20. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    The Liverpool-Birmingham services are both very slow. I think the revised service for 1tph was intended to be a faster service than either of the current calling patterns, with the Liverpool-London and Preston-Birmingham services picking up the passengers at the omitted stops.
     
  21. Morgsie

    Morgsie Member

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    If they divert the Manchester-Bournemouth service, I can't get a direct train from Stoke to Bournemouth to see my estranged family.
     
  22. Pumbaa

    Pumbaa Established Member

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    Even then it's only 9 minutes quicker (assuming LPY, RUN, CRE, STA, WVH) than the current faster service (xx04 off Liverpool) off-peak.
     
  23. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    Id be interested if Acton Bridge gets some sort of london service, all be it limited....this being my local station.
     
  24. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    I would doubt it, maybe one service each way a day, but not much more. I'm sure though that if the station got a better service than at present it would be better-used though.
     
  25. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    It would have to be 6 trains per day in each direction to maintain the minimum service level. Incidentally, the minimum service level for Acton Bridge is for trains to Liverpool and Crewe, so if they did one or two stops on a Preston to Birmingham service at Acton Bridge then they wouldn't count towards the 6.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Thinking about it maybe that's one reason why Network Rail proposed doing it in conjunction with diverting the Manchester to Bournemouth service via Crewe. Liverpool will retain the same level of service to Crewe and if the Liverpool-Birmingham service has a good connection with one of the Bristol XC services at Birmingham, then the suggested XC issue isn't so much of an issue.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Going back to the open access London proposals. I can see the advantage of giving Huddersfield a long distance service that doesn't have a final destination in the North West or North East/Yorkshire. However, the London proposal is probably just because that's where the most revenue can be made.
     
  26. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    I use Acton Bridge as often as i can to support it, although sometimes the timings dont work for me, however one of the main problems with the station is limited parking available. I have drove there before to catch a train, and can't park...the smallish car park is full, and there really is no roadside parking nearby.
     
  27. Holly

    Holly Member

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    Assuming parking can be solved, one service a day would probably be relatively popular - as long as the fast train to London left by 7am. Letting people do a full day trip (i.e. return leaving London in the early evening). It helps a little that Acton Bridge has 3 platforms thereby allowing a stopped up train to be overtaken.

    But what Cheshire really needs is a totally new quad-tracked parkway station on the WCML with good road access, lots of parking and a few shops. Perhaps at Daresbury, Weaverham or Davenham. Since the Weaver viaducts and Hartford station would each be very difficult to quad.
     
  28. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Alternatively, they could make improvements to the Middlewich branch, including enhanced line speed, removal of any single track sections and electrification and then you have a fast and a slow route between Crewe and Warrington Bank Quay.

    LM could send their Birmingham-Preston service via the slower Middlewich route and call at Middlewich and Greenbank instead of Hartford.
     
  29. PR1Berske

    PR1Berske Established Member

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    Blackpool - Preston - somewhere Cheshire-y - Birmingham would be enough IF it didn't mean a loss of WCML services. But as has been said, with changes to the northern franchise, who knows what happening to TransPennine's Anglo-Scottish service if the Scottish Government gets it way, AND the expected changes to the West Coast service anyway....It'll be a long time before we get any kind of service like this. We need it - not in the ill fated Rochdale - Euston model I mean - but we do need competition and choice which the current model just doesn't provide.
     
  30. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    If such a station were built, would the services using it have any detrimental effect upon the other services that currently use the WCML or would the service pattern have to be re-cast. Do I take it that you have in mind a station built on the lines of Leyland station? I note your reservations about the Weaver viaducts, which is quite an infrastructural problem in its own right, notwithstanding the fact that it is a Grade II listed structure.

    There has also been talk of a station in-between Preston and Lancaster on this forum in the past, with quite diverse views of members expressed.
     
  31. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    Whilst i don't quite fully understand what you mean ;))), I would suggest LM services to serve it, but I don't think it could warrant London services, or the Scotland-Birmingham Virgin services calling. Don't forget that stopping true IC services there would also have knock further north in Scotland, or down between Wolves-New St and Roade-Euston. Do you then start trains earlier at origins to cover the 5 / 6 mins lost? How does that affect paths elsewhere?
     
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