Old Alphaline Routes

Status
Not open for further replies.

tankmc

Member
Joined
12 Oct 2012
Messages
137
Does anyone know what routes used to run under the Alphaline brand? I see Wikipedia has mentioned the TOCs that used the brand but I wondered where the routes actually went.

Thanks in advance.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Mag_seven

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
1 Sep 2014
Messages
8,166
Location
here to eternity
Does anyone know what routes used to run under the Alphaline brand? I see Wikipedia has mentioned the TOCs that used the brand but I wondered where the routes actually went.

Thanks in advance.

As far as I can recall they were operated by Regional Railways "South Wales and West" and the brand was used for Cardiff - Bristol-Portsmouth services. The brand may have been used on other service groupings though.
 

LowLevel

Established Member
Joined
26 Oct 2013
Messages
5,410
If I remember rightly (some changed and came in and out of Alphaline under Regional Railways and the successor train operators who used it, Central Trains (until 2001), Wales and West, Wales and Borders, Arriva Trains Wales (finished fairly early on), Wessex Trains (finished at the end of the franchise on transfer to FGW).

There were varied start and end points so the boundaries are easier.

Penzance - Exeter - Taunton - Bristol - Cardiff - Shrewsbury - Manchester/Liverpool/London Waterloo via Salisbury.

Cardiff - Portsmouth/Brighton

West Wales/Cardiff to Birmingham New St (Wales and West, service was split with Central Trains and moved to become a regular hourly Nottingham to Cardiff operated solely by Central)

Aberystwyth - Birmingham New St (Regional Railways Central, Wales and Borders)

Nottingham to Cardiff Central

Cambridge/Norwich/Stansted Airport/Great Yarmouth - Birmingham New Street/Nottingham - Liverpool Lime Street.
 

Devonian

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2019
Messages
91
Location
Totnes
Wales and West and then Wessex Trains/Wales and Borders ran Alphaline services on their long-distance routes such as Penzance - Bristol - Cardiff/Swansea/Pembroke Dock, Penzance - Portsmouth, Penzance - Cardiff - Shrewsbury - Manchester and shorter sections of those routes. I think Penzance to Manchester must have been the longest, at about eight hours.
 

BayPaul

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2019
Messages
781
Wales & West / Wessex used to brand anything that was booked to be operated by a 158 as Alphaline in my recollection. Certainly they had two-colour maps showing Alphaline vs regular services, which at one point showed practically everywhere as having alpahaline services - at one point even showing the Waterloo-Exeter service as a 'Phase 2' Alphaline Wessex route - I assume at the beginning of the franchise there was a thought that this service would transfer from SWT. The 158s had Alphaline branded liveries, and they had a squiggly A at the top of the timetable column too.
 

BayPaul

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2019
Messages
781
I thought it a good piece of marketing, and 158s aren't that bad!
I remember them looking very futuristic and posh (though strangely short) in their Alphaline livery running through Worthing, compared to all the Connex slammers. It gave the impression of a long distance intercity type operation that we never otherwise got to see in Sussex
 

Devonian

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2019
Messages
91
Location
Totnes
I thought it a good piece of marketing, and 158s aren't that bad!
I agree. The 158s offered a more modern and more comfortable journey than all the pacers and earlier sprinters and better (if not quieter) even than some of the 'intercity' stock at the time, so it was definitely a good bit of marketing to highlight the fact that there was a high quality alternative to the 'big' companies running on many routes, as long as you accepted that they weren't going to be the fastest.
 

tankmc

Member
Joined
12 Oct 2012
Messages
137
Thanks! I have been looking for a map showing there routes with no luck so this is helpful. Interesting the brand never made it to the north or scotland. I thought some of the long distance scotrail routes are alphaline-esque.
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
14,676
Thanks! I have been looking for a map showing there routes with no luck so this is helpful. Interesting the brand never made it to the north or scotland. I thought some of the long distance scotrail routes are alphaline-esque.

The problem is that Alphaline as a brand was, as I recall, introduced after the split of Regional Railways into the pre-privatisation shadow TOCs, so there is unlikely to be one map produced with them all shown.
 

Grecian 1998

Member
Joined
27 Oct 2019
Messages
219
Location
Bristol
IIRC, the Penzance - Manchester services actually went on to Bolton. Not sure why.

I assume the brand was used for services into London Waterloo (for Eurostar connections) from Milford Haven and Manchester Piccadilly. The latter took approx. 7 hours and went via Abergavenny, Bristol and Salisbury. I think it took the Newport avoiding curve at Maindee Junction to avoid an even longer journey.

I don't think any maps distinguished between regular e.g. hourly services such as Cardiff-Portsmouth and once a day services such as Penzance - Portsmouth Harbour via Westbury.

I also have a vague idea that at one point there were both XC and Alphaline services from Portsmouth to Blackpool. The former ran via Winchester, Birmingham and Preston, the latter via Bristol, Hereford and Bolton. I could be wrong on that point though.
Wales & West / Wessex used to brand anything that was booked to be operated by a 158 as Alphaline in my recollection. Certainly they had two-colour maps showing Alphaline vs regular services, which at one point showed practically everywhere as having alpahaline services - at one point even showing the Waterloo-Exeter service as a 'Phase 2' Alphaline Wessex route - I assume at the beginning of the franchise there was a thought that this service would transfer from SWT. The 158s had Alphaline branded liveries, and they had a squiggly A at the top of the timetable column too.

There was a plan in about 2003 to give Wessex Trains the Exeter - Waterloo route, so they had a flagship service. This was dropped by about 2006, when it was decided having a single operator out of Waterloo would be much easier. The Alphaline services into Waterloo were consequently axed when the franchise began in 2007 IIRC, with Bristol - Waterloo transferring to SWT as a remnant of the previous service.
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
14,676
IIRC, the Penzance - Manchester services actually went on to Bolton. Not sure why.

I don't believe that ever happened.

I also have a vague idea that at one point there were both XC and Alphaline services from Portsmouth to Blackpool. The former ran via Winchester, Birmingham and Preston, the latter via Bristol, Hereford and Bolton. I could be wrong on that point though.

Again, I don't think Alphaline made it north of Liverpool/Manchester. The daily Central Trains service that ran to Preston via Warrington 2004-2008 *might* have appeared on a "Citylink" map, maybe?
 

Devonian

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2019
Messages
91
Location
Totnes
The problem is that Alphaline as a brand was, as I recall, introduced after the split of Regional Railways into the pre-privatisation shadow TOCs, so there is unlikely to be one map produced with them all shown.

Good point: the map shown at rather low resolution on http://www.miac.org.uk/rrcentral.html shows the 158 routes allocated from 1993, many of which became branded as Alphaline services - but the magic term is conspicuous by its absence.
 

Doctor Fegg

Member
Joined
9 Nov 2010
Messages
1,136
Central Trains never seemed keen on the Alphaline brand. It survived as a symbol above their services in the GBTT for a while, and I think might have appeared on carriage window labels, but they never made much of it. It was SW&W and its successors who kept it around.

Here's a map on eBay right now of the SW&W Alphaline network:

 

Anvil1984

Established Member
Joined
28 Aug 2010
Messages
1,323
I don't believe that ever happened.



Again, I don't think Alphaline made it north of Liverpool/Manchester. The daily Central Trains service that ran to Preston via Warrington 2004-2008 *might* have appeared on a "Citylink" map, maybe?

There’s a small chance there was some crossover in the Regional Railways Alphaline days so a unit might have came in and terminated at Piccadilly and RRNW used / borrowed the unit for one of their services to Bolton.

North of Manchester remember that Virgin CrossCountry ran 158s in Regional Railways EXPRESS livery in the early days on Portsmouth to Blackpool. I doubt they’d have any Alphaline branding or maps inside though

Prior to 2000 I believe there wasn’t actually an Alphaline livery, units just had the EXPRESS livery so this might muddy waters for some
 

Nammer

Member
Joined
1 May 2016
Messages
91
I also have a vague idea that at one point there were both XC and Alphaline services from Portsmouth to Blackpool. The former ran via Winchester, Birmingham and Preston, the latter via Bristol, Hereford and Bolton. I could be wrong on that point though.

Apart from the regular, hourly ‘Alphaline’ services between Portsmouth and Cardiff, there were services that split, at Newport (0600 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff/Liverpool Lime St) and at Westbury (1423 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff/Penzance)

The 1435 Portsmouth Harbour to Blackpool XC ran as a HST (via Guildford, not Winchester)

There were 2 daily 158 operated XC services, the 1035 Portsmouth Harbour to Liverpool Lime St and the 1735 Portsmouth Harbour to Preston, both again operated via Guildford. The 158 units on these services were in Regional Railways livery, with ‘Express’ branding
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,337
Location
London
I'm sure I remember a period of several years (1980s or 1990s) when there were Alphaline branded trains between Bristol and Waterloo - they were of course slower, but also much cheaper, than going via Paddington. As I remember it, the through Waterloo-Bristol route was quite a novelty then (even if it had existed in earlier generations). I'm pretty sure it stopped after not many years.
 

delt1c

Established Member
Joined
4 Apr 2008
Messages
1,821
I'm sure I remember a period of several years (1980s or 1990s) when there were Alphaline branded trains between Bristol and Waterloo - they were of course slower, but also much cheaper, than going via Paddington. As I remember it, the through Waterloo-Bristol route was quite a novelty then (even if it had existed in earlier generations). I'm pretty sure it stopped after not many years.
I used the Waterloo to Cardiff service in the early 2000’s , cant remember the exact departure tome but was very early in the morning and got to cardiff around 08.00. Was an experience to travel on
 

Devonian

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2019
Messages
91
Location
Totnes
I used the Waterloo to Cardiff service in the early 2000’s , cant remember the exact departure tome but was very early in the morning and got to cardiff around 08.00. Was an experience to travel on
0505 ex Waterloo, arriving Cardiff 0815 in 2003. Not marked as Alphaline, unlike the 1217, 1517 and 1917 ex Waterloo.
 

Bevan Price

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2010
Messages
5,767
Apart from the regular, hourly ‘Alphaline’ services between Portsmouth and Cardiff, there were services that split, at Newport (0600 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff/Liverpool Lime St) and at Westbury (1423 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff/Penzance)

The 1435 Portsmouth Harbour to Blackpool XC ran as a HST (via Guildford, not Winchester)

There were 2 daily 158 operated XC services, the 1035 Portsmouth Harbour to Liverpool Lime St and the 1735 Portsmouth Harbour to Preston, both again operated via Guildford. The 158 units on these services were in Regional Railways livery, with ‘Express’ branding
And the Portsmouth - Liverpool unit then did a Liverpool to Edinburgh service, returning the next day as Edinburgh to Liverpool, then doing Liverpool to Portsmouth.
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
6,803
Location
Herts
0505 ex Waterloo, arriving Cardiff 0815 in 2003. Not marked as Alphaline, unlike the 1217, 1517 and 1917 ex Waterloo.

0600 off Carmarthen - 0745 Cardiff towards Waterloo. Quite a busy train from Cardiff - but more so with Bristol bound commuters not eager European travellers. (from observation)

That 0505 off Waterloo was often ECS from the starting point , but it did get busier along the way. A tough turn for train crew I would have thought , but those who worked it said it was OK. o
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top