NR Report: How to accommodate forecast growth on the CLC corridor?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Greybeard33, 18 Jan 2020.

  1. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    See https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-co...odate-forecast-growth-on-the-CLC-corridor.pdf. "How to accommodate forecast growth on the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) corridor? Railway investment choices". (The CLC line links Manchester and Liverpool via Warrington Central.)

    AFAIK this Network Rail report has not been discussed on the forum before, although it is dated October 2019. It presents the results of in-house NR capacity and BCR modelling, but also refers (approvingly) to an AECOM report on the line that was commissioned by Merseytravel, Warrington Borough Council and TfGM (I do not think the AECOM report is in the public domain).

    The capacity modelling in the report covers the portion of the line between Edge Hill East Junction and Trafford Park West Junction; it does not address capacity issues in the Castlefield corridor or the Lime Street approaches, which are the subject of separate NR studies. The main issues identified are peak overcrowding on the eastern part of the line, between Warrington and Manchester; and poor service reliability. The crowding already exceeds DfT standards and is forecast to get progressively worse unless something is done.

    The report evaluates a range of infrastructure and rolling stock interventions, focussing on combinations of platform lengthening and SDO to enable 6-car trains to be used, plus shorter block sections and a new turnback at Warrington Central to enable 4tph between Warrington and Manchester. However, the Value for Money category is assessed as no better than Medium, because the benefits of the investment would be concentrated mainly in the high peak hours. Electrification is not mentioned.

    An alternative proposal, lifted from the AECOM report, is to split the stoppers into separate but overlapping west and east services, Lime Street to Birchwood and Warrington West to Oxford Road. This would require a crossover, loop and turnback at Warrington West, and a crossover at Birchwood. The two semi-fasts would be retained as through services, but reliability would improve because they would be less tightly constrained between the stoppers. Higher performance rolling stock would be introduced to improve journey times. AECOM assessed the BCR of this package as better than 2.0, but using more optimistic assumptions than NR. Nevertheless, the NR report recommends that this proposal should be taken forward for more detailed analysis.

    For the longer term, the report recommends feasibility studies of a Merseyrail extension to Warrington and Metrolink-style services at the eastern end of the line, to further improve frequency and capacity, while NPR would potentially abstract the Manchester - Warrington - Liverpool passengers.

    The Executive Summary concludes:
    In my opinion, the NR study may have underestimated the benefits of releasing repressed demand, through the provision of higher capacity, more reliable services. Particularly if frequency is improved at the smaller stations in GM, which currently have only 1tph or 1tp2h.

    Note: this Infrastructure thread is intended only for discussion of the proposals in the linked NR report. If you wish to put forward your personal ideas for changes to the CLC line infrastructure and/or services, please start a new thread in the Speculative Ideas section of the forum.
     
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  3. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    Why on gods earth is electrification not included? I thought if growth is that much and we are supposed to electrify to get to net carbon neutral the most intensively used lines and that better electric acceleration should help capacity - why oh why?
     
  4. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Electrification would do wonders for the stoppers on the CLC. Shame the benefits haven’t been recognised.
     
  5. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Established Member

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    Also what is the need to split the services? Isn't it more rational to run all services through Liverpool to Manchester? (Serious question, I am truly asking.) Not planning for electrification is deeply short sighted as is failing to cater for considerably longer trains; we are going to need to move away from fossil fuel burn for transport and that has to mean more, longer and better train services. Rail planning needs to urgently factor CO2 into its BCR calculations. Either that or abandon BCR which I still suspect is devised largely to stifle improvements, along with the (off topic) iterative planning and consulting processes.
     
  6. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    The problem is that the stopping services are awkwardly wedged between the half-hourly semi-fasts, leaving Liverpool immediately behind a semi-fast and despite skipping various stations (some have only an hourly service, some have even less than that) having the next one right behind by the time it gets to Manchester. Splitting it around Warrington should mean that it’s possibly to run a decent half-hourly all-stations service from Liverpool to Warrington and again from Warrington to Manchester. It already happens to some extent in certainly the morning peak.
     
  7. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    I feel you are correct in what you say as both Liverpool to Warrington and Manchester to Warrington are two distinct rail traffic flows.
     
  8. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Would it be possible to either 4 track some of the route or build some stations on loops to let fast trains past slow trains. (Even if this means a new park and ride station). I know to do this you will still need pretty good timekeeping but it sometimes works at places like Dewsbury.

    never like splitting services as a solution.
     
  9. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It looks as though the end game seems to be some sort of half baked tramification scheme, which would no doubt see the end of through services on the route.

    Also, presumably the splitting of stopping services at the intermediate stage doesn't increase capacity for the future.

    Perhaps the report is overly influenced by external bodies.
     
  10. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Electrification makes no sense in the medium term if the long term goal is to hive off the local services to Metrolink.
     
  11. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    This flawed agenda would leave only one through main line between Liverpool and Manchester.

    No wonder the AECOM report is being kept secret.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm not sure I can think of a single secondary line in the country that would benefit more from some knitting than the CLC. You could take ten minutes off an all-stops run easily.

    It's interesting to see that a return to elements of the reliable (ish) pre-1998 timetable is being considered again, namely splitting the stoppers - but I can't quite see why overlapping them makes sense. They used to terminate at Warrington Central and that worked fine.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There is Glazebrook loop - is it often used these days?

    Yes, I would agree some platform loops would make sense, though it's been a while since I went that way so I'm not sure at which locations they would be viable.
     
  14. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Chat Moss and NPR?

    The reason they are proposing ending the through service for stoppers is the congestion into Manchester and to a lesser extent Lime Street making it an unreliable service, splitting would mean the Liverpool suburban portion wasn't effected by Manchester congestion and vice versa and the extra infrastructure would insulate the overlap. More passing loops were considered but the signalling blocks were too long to make it worthwhile and would have required complete resignalling at massive cost (They give the example that any train that uses the existing rarely used loop is essentially stuck stationary for 10 minutes)

    I think the NR report underestimates benefits, it calculates the cost and then specifically says they only calculated the benefits for morning peak. They didn't consider what benefits capacity or frequency improvement would have on off-peak services.
     
  15. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    True, I'd momentarily forgotten about NPR (if it happens).

    However, whilst I can see the benefits of splitting the stoppers, it seems that if the line is eventually being hived off to Metrolink/Merseyrail, it will be the end of through services full stop.

    It seems rather too convenient there is somehow no business case for real improvements to service and capacity, such as train lengthening and electrification. I consider the non-consideration of improvements to off-peak services to be a deliberate attempt to surpress the business case.
     
  16. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    That is ambitious, some of the stops are too close to get much more than ½ minute.
     
  17. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    I don’t think anything’s booked in there, but it’s used relatively frequently to recess a stopper for a late-running express that should be in front. I’m not sure where the ten minute figure comes from - if the express is right behind it at Irlam, it’ll be past in maybe three minutes and clear of the IB at Birchwood in another three (by which time the stopper can already be trundling down to the starter and/or calling at Glazebrook). Still not ideal for regular use, but handy for minimising delay during disruption.
     
  18. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    That time does sound more reasonable. I have known the same done at Bo’ness in Scotland. The looped train isn’t looped for long.
     
  19. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    I assume it gives more commuter trains into Warrington from its suburbs?
     
  20. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    I would agree electrification would do wonders for the CLC but can it be done without a new power supply and instead the line be powered by existing feeder stations from the Manchester end, the WCML at Warrington and from the Liverpool end since these are the expensive bits?

    But why should they be split? Just because it worked fine doesn't mean its appropriate now for the passenger demand. I'm sure there are many passengers who travel across Warrington so through services are probably justified.

    10 minutes might be ambitious but with the right trains including DMUs some savings are possible. But we shouldn't just be relying on train builders to generate the journey time savings.
     
  21. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    I am pretty surprised how little commuter traffic there is into Liverpool. Makes it a bit harder to justify extending Merseyrail into Warrington unless someone else is paying for the electrics
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, I would suggest the whole line should go over to Class 195 operation, that would make a significant difference just as the coming of the 172s did in Brum. (I still maintain Northern ordered new kit for the wrong reasons - new local DMUs as LM ordered would have been much more use).
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    More (and higher-value) jobs in Manchester, perchance? And driving into it isn't that painful, either? Merseyrail Electrics is quite popular, but the service being substantially inferior on the "City Lines" side must mean the car is very attractive.
     
  24. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    It’s green for crowding even in the longterm predictions even whilst the Manchester end is going very ugly!
     
  25. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    I dont think there is spare power in the WCML to feed it, that short section of the Bolton-Preston line that feeds off it was reportedly stretching the limits. The OHLE renewals also seem to have been focusing on improving efficiency (through 50kv) rather than raw capacity.
     
  26. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Remember that it is 4tph while Manchester end is 3tph though, so at least 25% more existing capacity from the extra stopper.
     
  27. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Indeed. FWIW even Merseyrail Electrics is pretty quiet these days. The FLIRTs aren't going to run as double formations most of the time - if they doubled the FLIRT order they could double the capacity with very little else needed at all.
     
  28. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Don't disagree, there is probably a good 5 minutes there but 10 is pushing it.
     
  29. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Which is also a bit of an elephant in the room when it comes to HS2 on the classic network.
     
  30. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Birchwood has open fields to the south, so a loop or bay would be simple to construct.
    Extending (AC electric) Merseyrail from Hunts Cross to Birchwood would remove quite a few conflicts.
    Serving Edge Hill to Liverpool South Parkway stations (which also clogs up the main line) could go to the Crewe service again as it once did.
    Warrington Central is a particularly awkward place to develop because of the viaduct and new southern bypass, but there's plenty of turnround space to the east.
    Otherwise the intermediate stations are in built-up areas with limited open space (Warrington West being a recent example).
    HS2 will cross the CLC to the west of Glazebrook, and its "Liverpool" connections will be further south around Rostherne.

    I haven't counted them but my perception is that the CLC is a fairly elevated route with not many low overbridges, so wiring should not be outrageously expensive.
    The diversion into Lime St at Allerton with its slow crossovers cripples capacity on both original routes.
    My experience of the route suggests quite low usage at most intermediate stations, but with overcrowding at the limited-stop stations of Parkway and Warrington Central.
    Warrington Central has slightly more passenger usage than Bank Quay.
     
  31. S&CLER

    S&CLER Member

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    How much room is there for a modest 4-tracking between Allerton and Hunts Cross? The layout here seems almost perversely designed to create conflict where there need not be any. I realise that Hunts Cross box would need to be removed, but when is resignalling planned here? Unfortunately, it seems that house building near the base of the old Halewood triangle has ruled out any 4-tracking between Hunts Cross and Halewood.
     

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