Northern Victoria-Stalybridge Sunday Service

M60lad

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Is there a reason why at the moment Northern's Manchester Victoria-Stalybridge service is a replacement bus every Sunday? I can't see it being down to engineering works as TPE are still running their services from Victoria via Stalybridge.

Is it down to Northern not having enough staff on Sundays to run the services?
 
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jonnyfan

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Is there a reason why at the moment Northern's Manchester Victoria-Stalybridge service is a replacement bus every Sunday? I can't see it being down to engineering works as TPE are still running their services from Victoria via Stalybridge.

Is it down to Northern not having enough staff on Sundays to run the services?
It has been down to lack of staff resources on Sundays.
The Wigan to Bolton section is also the same on a Sunday with a bus running every Sunday. However, that is returning to a full train service on a Sunday from December 2021, so it would seem likely it will run through to Stalybridge from that time also.
 

Watershed

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However, that is returning to a full train service on a Sunday from December 2021, so it would seem likely it will run through to Stalybridge from that time also.
It will unfortunately remain bustituted. The Westhoughton service is a Victoria-North Western shuttle.
 

Peter749

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Network Rail are continuing with the work to electrify the section from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge.
Northern could advertise a local service and then have to bustitute when NR has a block - I think it was easier to have the bus service as it is the same all the time.
K.I.S.S.
 

507020

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When a service remains run by buses instead of trains for a long period of time like this, how many passengers who would find a heavy rail service superior to alternatives if one was running, choose to travel on other buses or given that most of the passengers on the Victoria - Stalybridge service will be travelling to Ashton-under-Lyne, the Metrolink instead of using the rail replacement bus provided?
 

Watershed

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Network Rail are continuing with the work to electrify the section from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge.
Northern could advertise a local service and then have to bustitute when NR has a block - I think it was easier to have the bus service as it is the same all the time.
K.I.S.S.
There are indeed a number of planned closures of the route via Ashton, but from the December timetable onwards these will largely be consolidated into period-specific blockades (e.g. every Sunday from 9 January to 13 February).

If Northern wanted to run the service as rail replacement during these weeks, but as a train during the remainder of the timetable, it would be really quite easy to do so. But they have chosen to prioritise their resources elsewhere, rightly or otherwise.
 

Peter749

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There are indeed a number of planned closures of the route via Ashton, but from the December timetable onwards these will largely be consolidated into period-specific blockades (e.g. every Sunday from 9 January to 13 February).

If Northern wanted to run the service as rail replacement during these weeks, but as a train during the remainder of the timetable, it would be really quite easy to do so. But they have chosen to prioritise their resources elsewhere, rightly or otherwise.
That assumes that there won't be any other Sunday blockages of the line.
Just because it is not in the current plan won't stop Network Rail asking for other blocks

And TPE are diverting this weekend because of further work on the line
TPE 02 + 03 Oct.jpg
 
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MikeWM

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And TPE are diverting this weekend because of further work on the line

Sunday's TPE timetable is just - odd. There appears to be a single TPE train today at 0848 from Liverpool to Newcastle (via Piccadilly), and a single 2004 Newcastle to Liverpool (via Piccadilly), but then for the rest of the day Liverpool to Manchester is a bus - except for a 1417 Piccadilly to Lime Street (via Chat Moss) and a 1556 and a 1747 Victoria to Lime Street (also via Chat Moss), and three equally random Lime Street to Manchester services (two to Victoria, one to Oxford Road).

Both Chat Moss and CLC routes appear to be open (Northern are running services on both all day), so why are TPE running (mostly, but not entirely) buses?
 

M60lad

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Another question is that why during this weekends engineering works were services altered with Newcastles terminating at Piccadilly and Lime Street services running to/from Manchester Airport instead? Seemed odd seeing 2X185s on most Lime Street services yesterday.
 

RHolmes

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Sunday's TPE timetable is just - odd. There appears to be a single TPE train today at 0848 from Liverpool to Newcastle (via Piccadilly), and a single 2004 Newcastle to Liverpool (via Piccadilly), but then for the rest of the day Liverpool to Manchester is a bus - except for a 1417 Piccadilly to Lime Street (via Chat Moss) and a 1556 and a 1747 Victoria to Lime Street (also via Chat Moss), and three equally random Lime Street to Manchester services (two to Victoria, one to Oxford Road).

Both Chat Moss and CLC routes appear to be open (Northern are running services on both all day), so why are TPE running (mostly, but not entirely) buses?

The full journeys via Manchester are stock moves to move 802s to/from Edge Hill for services on Monday

The TPE services to Victoria are additional ‘special’ trains to move to people to/from the Tory conference taking place today
 

Foxcover

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I hadn’t realised those journeys in RTT were Conference Liverpool-Manchester Victoria shuttles. Were they advertised/available to the public, given the whole service Liverpool-Mcr Victoria was suspended today?

I could see them on RTT (68 + 5 shuttle back and forward between Lime St and Victoria all afternoon) but not on Trainline, where the only public offering from Victoria-Lime St is a (double) 185 at 1556 and another in the early evening.

If they weren’t, it seems a bit rough that on yet another Sunday of disrupted travel in the area, the Tory faithful get a more frequent, faster and newer service than the public, using presumably the only remaining paths over Chat Moss during most of Sunday!
 
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Starmill

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Withdrawing the train services from the route for strikes, Sunday shortages and the pandemic causing general shortage has been going on for some years on and off. It's coincidence that there's going to be significant engineering work.

Just because it is not in the current plan won't stop Network Rail asking for other blocks
They can ask for whatever access they like, but they have to pay for the replacement through Schedule 4. If Northern institute the replacement themselves they have to pay for it.
 

Watershed

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Sunday's TPE timetable is just - odd. There appears to be a single TPE train today at 0848 from Liverpool to Newcastle (via Piccadilly), and a single 2004 Newcastle to Liverpool (via Piccadilly), but then for the rest of the day Liverpool to Manchester is a bus - except for a 1417 Piccadilly to Lime Street (via Chat Moss) and a 1556 and a 1747 Victoria to Lime Street (also via Chat Moss), and three equally random Lime Street to Manchester services (two to Victoria, one to Oxford Road).

Both Chat Moss and CLC routes appear to be open (Northern are running services on both all day), so why are TPE running (mostly, but not entirely) buses?
It's an utter mess, I entirely agree.

Unfortunately this is the result of Rail North dictating that there are to be no additional traincrew turns, to minimise expenditure on overtime. Any additional turns must be individually authorised by them.

On Saturdays, the cancellation of the Manchester-Huddersfield stopper saves sufficient resources to allow for a split service to be run on a "cost neutral" basis, with trains diverted into Piccadilly main shed, plus an hourly Airport-Liverpool service.

On Sundays the stopper doesn't run, so there is no saving in traincrew. Therefore you can't run a split service within the normal number of turns.

The early and late Newcastle services purely serve to get a set on and off Edge Hill to form the first and last services. But it is a poor move in terms of punctuality, given you're crossing the Piccadilly throat. So you don't want to be doing that every hour throughout the day.

The "random" additional services are targeted to cater for the expected crowds with the City v Liverpool game. Note the arrival into Liverpool at 15:00 and departure at 20:00. Rail North had to sign off on that...

Everything else falls into place from that - no point having units sitting around at Liverpool for 5 hours when you can do 2 round trips in between. It's the same amount of overtime either way.

Running into Victoria allows for better paths for the 'between' trains, whilst the Piccadilly starter and Airport finisher (not sure where you got Oxford Rd from?) are down the available paths across the Piccadilly throat.

Another question is that why during this weekends engineering works were services altered with Newcastles terminating at Piccadilly and Lime Street services running to/from Manchester Airport instead? Seemed odd seeing 2X185s on most Lime Street services yesterday.
What alternative is there?

The full journeys via Manchester are stock moves to move 802s to/from Edge Hill for services on Monday

The TPE services to Victoria are additional ‘special’ trains to move to people to/from the Tory conference taking place today
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. There is no need to get sets on and off Edge Hill for its own sake. It is purely done because you'd need to get an extra set off Heaton, and cancel the first eastbound and last westbound, otherwise.

The additional trains have nothing to do with the Tory Party conference.

I hadn’t realised those journeys in RTT were Conference Liverpool-Manchester Victoria shuttles. Were they advertised/available to the public, given the whole service Liverpool-Mcr Victoria was suspended today?

I could see them on RTT (68 + 5 shuttle back and forward between Lime St and Victoria all afternoon) but not on Trainline, where the only public offering from Victoria-Lime St is a (double) 185 at 1556 and another in the early evening.

If they weren’t, it seems a bit rough that on yet another Sunday of disrupted travel in the area, the Tory faithful get a more frequent, faster and newer service than the public, using presumably the only remaining paths over Chat Moss during most of Sunday!
They were normal, advertised services but it was all a very last minute effort. If the authorisation had been given sufficiently ahead of time they would probably have seen better use.

The 68 between Manchester and Liverpool is a driver training run, so that was never going to be advertised. The other services are showing just fine on RTT and on Trainline etc. AFAICT.
 

YorksLad12

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Unfortunately this is the result of Rail North dictating that there are to be no additional traincrew turns, to minimise expenditure on overtime. Any additional turns must be individually authorised by them.
Are you sure? Rail North Ltd. no longer exists, being folded into Transport for the North. The Rail North Partnership is/was a body (well, a committee really) set up jointly by RNL/TfN and DfT to co-manage the Northern and TPE franchises. But we no longer have franchises as such since Covid hit. I don't doubt that someone might be dictating something, I just doubt that it's "Rail North".
 

Watershed

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Are you sure? Rail North Ltd. no longer exists, being folded into Transport for the North. The Rail North Partnership is/was a body (well, a committee really) set up jointly by RNL/TfN and DfT to co-manage the Northern and TPE franchises. But we no longer have franchises as such since Covid hit. I don't doubt that someone might be dictating something, I just doubt that it's "Rail North".
I'm referring to RNP. Rail North is still their colloquial name.
 

Starmill

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The Rail North Partnership is just a convenient form of contractor account management for the civil service essentially now. Almost everything is subject to specific approval for "exceptional" spend now, although probably we shouldn't be too shocked about that one.
 

WestRiding

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Network Rail are continuing with the work to electrify the section from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge.
Northern could advertise a local service and then have to bustitute when NR has a block - I think it was easier to have the bus service as it is the same all the time.
K.I.S.S.
What's the logic of electrifying to Stalybridge, is it an upgrade to the Manchester suburban services?
 

Starmill

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What's the logic of electrifying to Stalybridge, is it an upgrade to the Manchester suburban services?
Not really. It's part of an incremental upgrade between Manchester and York, although electrification is far from the only work in scope. The main benefits of the earlier work stages last year and this year (primarily here and Church Fenton (exclusive) to York also) won't be felt for perhaps a decade. There's of course every possibility of through electric local services however, and electro-diesel trains would also be able to use the AC power.
 

MikeWM

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It's an utter mess, I entirely agree.

<explanation>...

Thanks for the detail, that explains it nicely (though I wouldn't go as far as to say it *makes sense* :)

Does therefore seem another example of saying 'engineering work' when that isn't necessarily the whole story once you dig in - I never like that much.
 

Watershed

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Thanks for the detail, that explains it nicely (though I wouldn't go as far as to say it *makes sense* :)

Does therefore seem another example of saying 'engineering work' when that isn't necessarily the whole story once you dig in - I never like that much.
Very little of it makes sense, but it's sadly the way the railway is being micromanaged at the moment!

Engineering works are a convenient cover story for all sorts of other things. For example, why Redcar services are diverted to Darlington every other hour.
 

SuperNova

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What's the logic of electrifying to Stalybridge, is it an upgrade to the Manchester suburban services?
Transpennine Route Upgrade

The Rail North Partnership is just a convenient form of contractor account management for the civil service essentially now. Almost everything is subject to specific approval for "exceptional" spend now, although probably we shouldn't be too shocked about that one.
People wanted nationalisation - it's happened all but in name. With that comes cuts and no reasonable form of expenditure. Everything TOCs are doing now is so micro-managed apparently monthly and quarterly reports have to be done on any form of spend. Bonkers when they should be focusing on providing a service.
 

Starmill

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People wanted nationalisation - it's happened all but in name. With that comes cuts and no reasonable form of expenditure. Everything TOCs are doing now is so micro-managed apparently monthly and quarterly reports have to be done on any form of spend. Bonkers when they should be focusing on providing a service.
Unfortunately this is the reality of a government funded service without a long term funding settlement.
 

scrapy

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I'd be interested to know the cost of bustitutions versus the cost of running a train on the route.
 

Starmill

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I'd be interested to know the cost of bustitutions versus the cost of running a train on the route.
Temporary bus replacement might cost more than permanent bus schedules because of the need to hire additional drivers on short term work. If you've the capital, electric buses may be lower in whole life cost, and of course more insulated against the rising oil price. But overall much lower operating costs.
 

Watershed

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I'd be interested to know the cost of bustitutions versus the cost of running a train on the route.
It'll be a lot cheaper; could nearly be an order of magnitude difference. A lot of passengers are put off by buses and will simply travel another day (i.e. Monday-Saturday), by another route (e.g. Metrolink or on TPE from Stalybridge) or most likely in their car. So you don't need nearly as much capacity - a small single-decker can cover most services just fine.
 

Peter749

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As a service is provided Stalybridge to/from Manchester Picc by TPE the only need for a bus is Stalybridge to/from Ashton and the passengers from there could use the Tram
 

tpjm

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I'd be interested to know the cost of bustitutions versus the cost of running a train on the route.
It’s highly variable and depends significantly on the amount of vehicles and hours required, and the supply chain’s ability to deliver said requirements.
 

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