Post Electrification Chase Line Service Provision

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Batman

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When the Chase Line electrification announcement was made, the was talk in the local press about services from Birmingham to Liverpool using the line. Is this just a rumor or is it confirmed as fact?

And will it just be LM services from Brum to Liverpool using the line, or will potential Preston or Manchester services move to the Chase?

And does this mean that the decision to electrify the Chase line (a low electrification priority to me, even though it's my local line) was made in view of it becoming a relief line for the congested section between Wolverhampton and New Street?

And it does lead to questions being asked about service provision north of Stafford. A Brum to Stafford service via the Case would take around 20 minutes longer via Walsall than via Wolves, so this will lead to services being spaced just 10 minutes apart north of Stafford in the current slots are maintained at New Street. I personally believe an hourly Brum-Manchester semi fast service should be routed via the Chase instead of a Liverpool service.

And there are also unresolved issues about peak extras, exactly what rolling stock should be used, should platforms be extended to 4 or 6 car length, evening and Sunday provision and the future of the Hednesford crossover.
 
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Nym

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As far as the rest goes I don't have the foggiest, but I wouldn't expect units in service to be going beyond Rugley often, it's a single ladder junction to access the chase line from the WCML and you'd have to cross both fasts, finding a gap to do that with the other 5 or 6tph per direction zooming up and down the TV might be problematic, then again, I might be wrong and there is a space in the timetable, or we could see services running wrong way on the slows down from Stafford...?
 

MidnightFlyer

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I believe that the current Chase line service to Stafford was cut back in December 2008 to Rugeley TV because of lack of paths...
 

Batman

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As far as the rest goes I don't have the foggiest, but I wouldn't expect units in service to be going beyond Rugley often, it's a single ladder junction to access the chase line from the WCML and you'd have to cross both fasts, finding a gap to do that with the other 5 or 6tph per direction zooming up and down the TV might be problematic, then again, I might be wrong and there is a space in the timetable, or we could see services running wrong way on the slows down from Stafford...?

There was an hourly Walsall - Stafford service before the 2008 timetable changes and it was originally planned for that service to continue when 170's replaced 150's as the staple traction on the Chase. But despite protests from Staffordshire CC and Cannock Chase DC, they decided to use these units for a 2pth Rugeley-Birmingham service instead which lasted till December 2010 before being withdrawn due to funding cuts from Staffordshire CC.

There may still be space in the timetable if 100mph 350's are used.

I believe a Machester service would be better than a Liverpool one because it would be a brand new service so there will be no increases in journey times to worry about and it would be an hourly service running at a regular frequency, rather than a half hourly Liverpool/Preston service running at irregular intervals with one going via Walsall and one via Wolves.

This is an area where my West Midlands knowledge and your North West knowledge start to overlap.

I'll get on excel over the weekend and start on a draft timetable to see how things might work out.
 

tbtc

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A Brum to Stafford service via the Case would take around 20 minutes longer via Walsall than via Wolves

I'm surprised that it takes that much longer via Walsall, but I guess the line speed isn't so fast?

Walsall is a decent sized place with a poor service to places further north (or, to be blunt, a poor service to anywhere big apart from Birmingham).
 

Batman

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I'm surprised that it takes that much longer via Walsall, but I guess the line speed isn't so fast?

Walsall is a decent sized place with a poor service to places further north (or, to be blunt, a poor service to anywhere big apart from Birmingham).

The line speed is currently 45mph and is being increased to 65mph as part of re-signaling. It could go as high as 75 mph with electrification and journey times could be cut further if the tract is realigned just the north of Bloxwich level crossing, removing the need for train to slow to 20mph to navigate around the now disused freight yard.

I've just done some rough timetable calculation and there is no way Chase lie trains even with electric timings could connect with Liverpool trains at Stafford or Manchester trains at Stoke without either a massive West Coast timetable re-cast or a massive re-cast of slot allocations at New Street. And that's regardless of the paths issue between Rugeley and Stafford.

So it looks as if the Chase line locals will always be an isolated service terminating at Rugeley. Yes work can be done to reduce journey time (electrification could take 6 minutes of a Brum to Rugeley journey), an extra service can be added in the morning peak and stations can (and need to be) redeveloped with platform extensions, but unfortunately it looks like there will be no through services to the North West.
 

tbtc

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The line speed is currently 45mph and is being increased to 65mph as part of re-signaling. It could go as high as 75 mph with electrification and journey times could be cut further if the tract is realigned just the north of Bloxwich level crossing, removing the need for train to slow to 20mph to navigate around the now disused freight yard

Cheers for confirming - I appreciate that the 100mph top speed of the 170s wasn't really required on the Chase line - I hadn't appreciated just how slow it was though.

Glad to hear its getting speeded up (even if there's little scope of Walsall getting a proper service to/from the north).
 

The Planner

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The line speed is currently 45mph and is being increased to 65mph as part of re-signaling. It could go as high as 75 mph with electrification and journey times could be cut further if the tract is realigned just the north of Bloxwich level crossing, removing the need for train to slow to 20mph to navigate around the now disused freight yard.

Seperate scheme to the re-signalling and might still not happen. It is a planned increase to 75mph not 65mph. The 25mph at Bloxwich is because of the crossing and would require it to be closed to raise it.
 

Batman

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Seperate scheme to the re-signalling and might still not happen. It is a planned increase to 75mph not 65mph. The 25mph at Bloxwich is because of the crossing and would require it to be closed to raise it.

Thanks for clarifying that. I thought the line speed increase and re-signaling were the same project, apparently not.

I always though the drop in line speed at Bloxwich was because there is a very abrupt change in the track alignment where the mainline skirts around the edge of the old reversal sidings that were used by freight trains serving the old Bloxwich Lock steel works which closed in 2008. The track was lifted in 2011 but as you're heading north, the mainline still makes a now unnecessary shift to the right and back again just before reaching Bloxwich station.

Is there anything special about Bloxiwch level crossing meaning there is such a low line speed?

And even if all the factors listed above were sorted out, a rise in the line speed wouldn't produce that much of a benefit because trains would still be slowing down on approach to or accelerating out of Bloxwich station. It would only benefit freight and the handful of peak extras that don't stop there.
 

cle

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Isn't the Manchester - Stoke slow EMU planned to extend to Birmingham?

This would make sense on this route surely - pathing and routing from Colwich up slow to the Chase line excluded! In fact the WCML element makes it a mess, but it would cover off Stone.
 

Batman

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Isn't the Manchester - Stoke slow EMU planned to extend to Birmingham?

This would make sense on this route surely - pathing and routing from Colwich up slow to the Chase line excluded! In fact the WCML element makes it a mess, but it would cover off Stone.

You've answered your own question. It doesn't look like there is anyway for the Manchester-Stoke service to interlink with the Chase Line without a major timetable re-cast. It looks like Chase line services will still be terminating at Rugeley even after electrification.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Minor issue of the 2 track section from /via Whitehouse Tunnel. .....

(probably not a goer for the present with the WCML frequency of fast services and freight)
 

Nym

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Or you could avoid Stafford and go direct to Stoke on Trent, sitting at Rugley to then head in directly behind the VT Fast Service that the stopper is routed behind anyway.
 

Nym

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IIRC the idea of extending the Manchester - Stoke services to Birmingham was to partly replace the LM Trent Valley service from Stoke to Stafford

Ahh, scrap that idea then...

Unless one has the Stoke on Trent stopper running to Birmingham via Rugley as discribed (and avoiding Stafford) and then to replace the Stoke to Stafford service that is lost, extend the Crewe via Airport terminator further down to Stafford to terminate.

Although terminating the Crewe via Airport service at Stoke on Trent in the bay and running the Stopper down on to Stafford would also work within the timetable as far as I can tell...

But to be honest, in the context of the chase line, there's currently little point extending any services regularly from Rugley to Stafford or Stoke, indeed I believe the next service level improvement we'll see on this route will be brought about by HS2b.
 

WL113

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All this discussion about passenger services, most of which are just carriages of fresh air and those carrying passengers are mostly doing so free of charge, is neglecting to mention the primary customer of the Rugeley to Walsall Line. The customer which kept the line open. Rugeley Power Station.

Rugeley A and B Power Stations together with Lea Hall Colliery sustained the Chase Line, even through the BR era of closing lines....
 
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