Northern Connect - original plans vs. what actually happened

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by Old Yard Dog, 10 Aug 2018.

  1. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    Bradford's promised direct link to Sheffield (and beyond to Nottingham) seems to have been quietly dropped from the Northern Connect network.

    https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/travel/northern-connect

    When did this happen? It seems strange that plans for through services between two of Yorkshire's largest cities should be abandoned.
     
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  3. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

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    When I look at the route diagram, that link still seems to be there.
     
  4. The_Engineer

    The_Engineer Member

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    You're right! Two services originate at Bradford, the Manchester Airport and Nottingham services, it's not easy to see that the line colour changes at Bradford (pale green to pale blue) unless you zoom in......
     
  5. tommy2215

    tommy2215 Member

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    The map is from July 2016, I think what he is alluding too is that from the list of connect services below the map, Bradford no longer shows where it says Nottingham-Sheffield-Wakefield Westgate-Leeds
     
  6. The_Engineer

    The_Engineer Member

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    Knowing Northern, that list could well be a mistake!!
     
  7. marcouk2

    marcouk2 Member

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    The oldest archived copy on the way back machine is from October 2016 and that list doesn't include Bradford for the Lincoln services so it's not a recent change if its a change at all, might just be an omission that's always been there.
     
  8. tommy2215

    tommy2215 Member

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    Eh? No Lincoln service was ever going to extend to Bradford.
     
  9. marcouk2

    marcouk2 Member

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    Whoops I meant Nottingham, got distracted looking at all the other service combinations.
     
  10. Skymonster

    Skymonster Member

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    Bradford - NOttingham still seems to be a Northern franchise commitment according to the DFT website. I can't see Northern being allowed to get out of it that easily.
     
  11. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    It's still there from what I can see. The turquoise line at the bottom of Bradford which links to Sheffield.
     
  12. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    It's on the map but not on the list of routes below it
     
  13. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

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    Interesting to look back at what was planned at the beginning of the Arriva franchise. Their website said that "Northern Connect will be a new network of 12 long distance routes. To be introduced in 2019, it will provide faster connections across Northern England to Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, including brand new services from Bradford to Manchester Airport and Lincoln to Leeds."

    So what's happened?

    1. Manchester Airport to Barrow (new build dmu) - in operation
    2. Manchester Airport to Blackpool/Windermere (new build emu) - in operation but Windermere is new build DMU
    3. Manchester Airport to Liverpool via Warrington Central (new build dmu) - in operation
    4. Chester to Leeds via Warrington BQ, MCV, Calder Valley and Bradford (new build dmu) - in operation
    5. Liverpool to Leeds via MCV, Calder Valley and Bradford (new build dmu) - not happened
    6. Manchester Airport to Leeds via Calder Valley and Bradford (new build dmu) - not happened, runs from Victoria only
    7. Leeds to Lincoln via Barnsley and Sheffield (new build dmu) - in operation
    8. Sheffield to Scarborough via Doncaster and Hull (new build dmu) - in operation but using class 170 units
    9. Middlesbrough to Newcastle (refurb. 158) - not happened, this was to have been a service via Durham and Stockton, not the coast line
    10. Newcastle to Carlisle (refurbished 158) - in operation (actually from Morpeth)
    11. York to Blackpool via Leeds and Calder Valley (new build dmu) - in operation
    12. Bradford to Nottingham via Leeds, Wakefield Westgate and Sheffield (new build dmu) - in operation, but not from Bradford, and via Barnsley

    Route 3 is a part replacement for TPE, which will no longer use the CLC route
    Route 4 ditto between Warrington and Leeds - BUT route 4 is an all-stations "stopper" between Leeds and Todmorden!

    Eight of the 12 services are therefore operating as planned, two of them not with the intended type of unit (one because of cancelled electrification). One other is running in a modified form while three have not been implemented, two because of capacity problems through Manchester.
     
  14. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    One of many reasons Arriva believed the franchise agreement agreed in 2015 was essentially invalid and keen to give the franchise back to the government.
     
  15. Wharfe106

    Wharfe106 Member

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    So not a bad record for a franchise which has been so lambasted. and the third route not implemented, Bradford-Nottingham, that's because there are no paths for that thru Sheffield etc., just because it's in the franchise doesn't mean that Network Rail is bound to provide for it.

    With the franchise ending at the end of this month of course all bets are off, and nothing is likely to advance until stability returns and a new subsidy/investment profile is agreed, but with Boris's 'pledge' to boost the North, who knows what will happen for the sake of political gain?
     
  16. YorksDMU

    YorksDMU Member

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    I see, on that map, it was originally Sheffield to Hull only, with no extension to Scarborough. I recall much local opposition to that plan, and it being, eventually, altered to how it is today. People do not like having to change trains.
     
  17. Peter Bonner

    Peter Bonner Member

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    Yes there was a local campaign in Bev to stop the nonsense of losing through train to Doncaster and Sheffield. And it won its case!
    Northern envisaged Hull to Sheffield shuttle with new stock under Northern Connect brand.

    A through Bridlington to Leeds service was planned but in reality replaced by a Brid to York service in Dec 2019. Not sure if the Leeds service was ever associated with the Northern Connect brand though. Great to have new seevice to York but Leeds wd be more popular.
     
  18. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    I think the Brid- Leeds service plan is what became Hull- Halifax

    From Calder Valley point of view we are still missing an Airport and a Liverpool service. My thought is that will have to wait until after Transpennine Route Upgrade or NPR creates more paths
     
  19. Peter Bonner

    Peter Bonner Member

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    Yes you are right that the Brid to Leeds plan became Hull to Halifax. A good service in itself but early and late connections onto the Brid line are poor. West Yorks direct wd be far better than York.
     
  20. YorksDMU

    YorksDMU Member

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    For myself, Brid to York is a good service, I no longer have to change trains at Hull. I also agree that a through service to Leeds would be most welcome too. But, as stated, pathing would be quite a problem with things as they stand.
     
  21. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    No bad thing that some of these services aren't happening - they seemed to sum up a lot of the problems with the Northern franchise - the requirement for all of these hourly direct services (which leave a complicated mess of a service pattern, lots of running DMUs under the wires, lots of combining bottlenecks).

    The worst example being the plan to run Nottingham - Bradford as part of the same diagrams as Bradford - Manchester Airport - so from Nottingham to Manchester Airport and back - must be best part of ten hours round trip (tagging in the bottlenecks at Sheffield, the need to reverse at Leeds, the Ordeal Chord/ Castlefield and the same in reverse on the return to Nottingham... I'm sure it looked nice on the conceptual drawing board but a nightmare operationally, just for the sake of being seen to create new links.

    And don't start me on the nonsense of using DMUs on Nottingham - Leeds with fewer seats than the 158s that have run that route for years - the north really needs fewer complicated long distance services, fewer short trains, fewer trains passing through bottlenecks... if that means we lose the "flagship" Northern Connect services and focus more on unremarkable shorter services then I'm okay with that - a price worth paying.

    My memory was that the Hull service was meant to run through to Chesterfield too, but I can't find evidence of that now (was this descaled, or has my memory failed?)
     
  22. ag51ruk

    ag51ruk Member

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    Northern Connect wasn't just about the trains- 36 stations were supposed to be upgraded as well (longer staffing hours and catering, from memory).

    The page mentioned in the first post still exists on the Northern website, promising Northern Connect to be complete from December 2019, with "differentiated marketing and customer service"...
     
  23. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    I think its a fair bet that 'Connect' will be dropped under the OLR. Many of the routes, or at least parts of have already been provided and if I'm being honest Bradford losing Liverpool/Sheffield/Nottingham connections isn't that much of a blow. The airport service maybe a bit more, but given all the problems in Manchester is probably best left on the shelf. Better connectivity via Huddersfield might be desirable, at various times during the day there are no advertised connections from Bradford Interchange to Huddersfield, and then directly onto the Manchester Airport services. Usually planners will show changing at Manchester Victoria, or at Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly. An advertised change at Huddersfield straight onto an airport service where it is considerably quieter than Victoria or Piccadilly, would at least soften the blow a little.
     
  24. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    I'm wondering whether the word 'from' is a replacement for 'by'! But yes the actual train service was only a part of the Northern Connect promise and, to my knowledge, precious little else has appeared and nobody has told us what is happening.
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2020
  25. Peter Bonner

    Peter Bonner Member

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    Excellent suggestion to really promote Northern Bradford to Huddersfield services to connec with Man Airport services. They are TPE though. Connectivity between franchises is an issue and needs to be improved-or just have one operator in the north. In other words a joined up railway.
     
  26. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    You've listed these as two separate services, but (as the map shows) it was planned to be one through service: Middlesbrough to Carlisle via Durham & Newcastle. Northern have simply combined the Morpeth to Metrocentre service with a Newcastle to Carlisle service and removed the Newcastle-Metrocentre shuttle.
     
  27. Staffordian

    Staffordian Member

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    But it was an additional, faster, Newcastle-Carlisle service, doubling the frequency between the cities. Perhaps one of the most significant service improvements Northern have made.
     
  28. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    Indeed, although I did see it mooted on this site that this wasn't a long-term increase and that the current 3tph as far as Hexham would revert back to 2tph in the long term.

    As an aside, you now have a situation where the 2Nxx trains generally provide the fast Newcastle-Carlisle service. With the 1Nxx services also stopping at the minor stations, such as Haydon Bridge.

    (I assume this happens because the 2Nxx services run along the ECML.)
     
  29. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Leeds-Bridlington and Hull-Chesterfield spring to mind. Oh, and 195s running here.
     
  30. northernchris

    northernchris Member

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    On the other hand, it's good to see Northern focussing on areas outside of Manchester and Leeds. East and North Yorkshire have long been neglected
     
  31. Peter Bonner

    Peter Bonner Member

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    True but I just want Hull to Scarboro line to be reliable. Wehave been lucky in recent times but over the last week since renationalisation of Northern thete have been too many cancellstions. At least 6 today.
     

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