Put the trains on, the people will come??

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Howardh, 24 Apr 2015.

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  1. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Been using the rail replacement bus Manchester/Bolton like this
    Manchester - Salford Crescent (terminus Southport)
    x Salford Crescent - Bolton RRB.
    Now that bus has left at 10.55pm and has been virtually empty, whilst even midweek the train doing the same route has much more footfall getting off at Bolton.

    But the point is - because the train's normally there people use it; had there been no rail service many would not travel at all.

    So it's made me think, are there any really successful lines or additional trains where companies might otherwise have thought "there's no demand so we won't put a service on"??
     
  2. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Now that there is additional late services I have noticed an uptake. Previously the last one out was a ghost train.

    I couldn't tell you why the services were added other than it is required under the service agreement.

    On the flip side I remember a few years back we run trains throughout new years evening. Most were empty but passengers had asked for all night services.

    I'm not sure on how services are determined and will leave that to other more informed forumites. Most of the additional services I have run is because we were told to run them.
     
  3. kjhskj75

    kjhskj75 Member

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    It may well be cheaper/more convenient for people to just use a regular bus rather than a RRB.
     
  4. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    BIB the problem with NYE all-night trains is what do you do when you get off, if there's no connecting bus or taxi's are too expensive? NYE tends to be taken in the cities so someone wanting to travel back to a smaller town may have difficulty with the next portion. That's just an one-off evening though.

    But have there been any trains put on routes which wouldn't have been thought of as being popular - but are?

    Question; is it possible to do Manchester - Carlisle via Settle/Ribblehead without changing*? If it is and there aren't any direct trains I bet that would be popular in summer and weekends?
    * I seem to recall there's a curve being added to make this possible, but I could be well wrong! Anyone??
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    One thing you do find is that the provision of an evening service, *even if nobody uses it*, may well encourage daytime use. For instance, due to the risk of having to work late, I'd be unlikely to go to work on a bus with a last service at 1730, even if that was the one I usually took. I might use a 1930 once a month, but it has to be there to make public transport even an option.

    Yes, I could take a taxi in that case, but that isn't how people think. What that is, though, is a good case for German style Anruf-Sammel-Taxi services, where a taxi operates a bus route, ideally at the bus fare, only when it is required to do so.
     
  6. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Or they avoid partaking anything but essential journeys, travelling at different times or avoiding travel all together.
     
  7. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    It's not meant to be a thread about bus replacements ;)! I want to know if there are any occasions when a train/route has been added and been successful above expectations!
     
  8. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    The route doesn't involve a reversal, but there are no booked direct services.

    There was a second Dalesrail at one time, however - IIRC this started from Manchester, but this was in the days before Clitheroe was hourly on Sundays.
    And I seem to recall WC Sunday diversions routed Manchester - Blackburn - Hellifield one year.
     
  9. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    The best example might be the Copy Pit line, which had almost no passenger trains in the mid-80s (only summer Saturday to Blackpool I think). Following the amalgamation of two building societies with offices either end of the route BR was persuaded to put on a couple of daily trains, and now it has a well-filled 158 each hour.

    The same, but not quite so extreme, could be said of most of the "Regional Express" routes around that time and of most of the Cross Country routes 15 years later. They went from a handful of through trains per day up to an hourly service, and the choice of travel times opened up new markets to the extent that some services suffered (and still do) from severe overcrowding.

    These routes have in common the linking of some big cities, not London but with enough travel between them for there to be a worthwhile market. I'm afraid the same can't always be said of some of the reopening proposals here and elsewhere, which either don't link any major centres or duplicate a link that already exists.
     
  10. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    Nowadays any increase in services have to be researched to see if they are financially viable and can be funded.
     
  11. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Although I have to point out that some of the proposed reopenings on here are for routes that are fairly similar to many open routes that are thriving today.
     
  12. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Depends who you ask. Examples.

    East Coast - no demand for a train out of Edinburgh after 2100
    DaFT - no demand for trains between Spalding and Sleaford in the evening.

    Most TOCs with Sunday service. Cleethorpes - Newark is busy most Sunday's and not with day trippers but people who want to travel long distances. Many who drive in the winter as the train is summer only!

    I am sure they will both be proved wrong.

    If you want exceptional growth look at LOROL

    I know someone that uses the new early morning TPE service from Manchester Airport - Glasgow. Full and standing after Lockerbie. I hope TPE are glad the bucked the east coast / daft trend.
     
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2015
  13. 3141

    3141 Member

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    I think people take time to get used to the idea that a new service exists. They went on saying there weren't any direct trains from London to Hull long after Hull Trains had started running. A friend who lives in Halifax told me emphatically there were no trains from London to Halifax two years after Great Central had started.

    So your "additional late services" won't get used much at first, and it takes time for more people to discover there is a now later train than they thought there was, and they can start planning trips they might not otherwise have taken.

    But New Year's Eve is obviously not a regular service. People will say they'd use it, but make plans on the assumption there is no service, because they haven't become aware of it. The operator may think they've arranged good publicity, but plenty of people don't notice that. On January 2 a friend tells them they went to the nearest big city for NYE and got a late train home. "I wish I'd known," they say. By next December they've forgotten about that, and don't go for a night out because there aren't any late trains, are there?
     
  14. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Am I right in thinking that pretty much every reopening in the last 25 years or so has exceeded predicted usage? In some cases as much as to make the projections look quite silly...
    I'd have to agree with the title of this thread, outside of ridiculous things like a LOROL-level frequency on the Far North Line. The (particularly Sunday) increases requested in the Northern ITT suggest that in a limited way, this approach is finally being adopted.
     
  15. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    However that was inevitable given the number of people living in London. If you look at the North London Line as soon as the class 378's have been strengthened they have filled straight away.

    I think the Matlock branch is a good example of what the OP was looking for. There has been a huge increase in the number of people using the line since the timetable changed to an hourly clock face service.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I think you've made a very valid point here. The point is with something like NYE the TOC's have to actively promote the additional trains through the local media. Simply advertising it the local stations is not good enough if people only use the train once in a blue moon.
     
  16. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    I remember back in 1992/93 when Network SouthEast introduced the London Marylebone - Birmingham Snow Hill services. There was no great big fanfare, no blaze of publicity. It seemed to appear out of nowhere in the West Midlands PTE timetable for the Solihull/Leamington Spa route, with a frequency of one train every 2 hours.

    Over the years in association with the Evergreen projects, this was gradually increased to a train every 60 minutes, then to the present 2 trains per hour there is today.

    Plus, the Great Western Railway/Great Central Railway route is also a handy alternative to the London & Birmingham Railway in events of severe disruption or engineering works.

    In peace

    Adam
     
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2015
  17. Cherry_Picker

    Cherry_Picker Established Member

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    I'd imagine there are loads. The the small stations on the Trent Valley line (Rugeley Trent Valley, Atherstone) are a good example of this happening recently, when Central Trains ran that service it ran extremely infrequently and never made it any further north than Stafford or further south than Rugby. It's an hourly service now, serves Stafford, Stoke and Crewe to the north and offers a fast direct link to London. Passenger numbers at those stations are massively up and there has been talk of further strengthening the service.

    Chiltern services into Marylebone is probably an even better example. The past fifteen years or so have been all about putting on a more frequent service, making it faster and having nicer trains and again, passenger numbers have gone through the roof. I think Marylebone was struggling to get 5 million journeys a year pre Evergreen 2 a decade ago and it's up to 15 million journeys a year now.

    The line to Oxford opens soon and it will be connected to Milton Keynes and the West Coast main line not long after. I can only see passenger numbers continuing to increase at most, if not all stations bar Bicester North which will almost certainly see it's figure fall as it gets cannibalised by Bicester Town/Village. It will be interesting to see what happens with High Wycombe/Aylesbury/Milton Keynes when Buckinghamshire finally gets a service which connects it's big centres of population. Oxford to High Wycombe flows will be interesting to see too. I'd imagine they will also do very well.
     
  18. Philip Elliott

    Philip Elliott Member

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    No, not even close sadly. Most re-openings - particularly those in the '90s have had much less usage than predicted. It is only some of the more recent ones that have done exceedingly well.
     
  19. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    I'm guessing that you are referring to stations rather than routes?
     
  20. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Depends how and when you count it. Most (but by no means all) new lines / services / stations have exceeded their first year target.* However after five years the picture is not so rosy, and of course there has been a much higher level of background growth in rail travel which muddys the waters a little.

    * often the exceptional first year figures are put down to a high number of punters travelling with Quail Maps and highlighter pens.
     
  21. Philip Elliott

    Philip Elliott Member

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    Both. The Robin Hood line (1993-98) is one re-opening that fell way short of predicted numbers.
     
  22. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Fair enough. Given the high levels of unemployment in the former Notts coalfields I'm surprised that more people are not using the train to travel to Nottingham where there is employment. Or say travel to Sports Direct at Shirebrook. Does the line still not have a Sunday service?
     
  23. Yew

    Yew Established Member

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    One train per hour from Nottingham to Mansfield Woodhouse on sundays.
     
  24. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    Two-hourly between Nottingham and Mansfield Woodhouse. It was extended up to Worksop for about 12 months or so a few years ago but that stopped as part of local government cuts - I believe Notts CC had to throw quite a lot of money at it to make it happen.

    Edit - had a gander and apparently it was 4tpd from Dec 08-Dec 11, a lot longer than I remember it being!
     
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2015
  25. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    OK thanks for that. Is it that a fairly recent development?
     
  26. Chrisgr31

    Chrisgr31 Established Member

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    The Uckfield line potentially qualifies.

    Passenger numbers were extremely low before Southern took on the franchise in 2001, with most trains terminating at Oxted, and a very early last service out of London in the evenings.

    Southern came along introduced the new trains in 2003/4, made most trains direct service to London Bridge and the numbers came flocking. They have now introduced later and earlier trains and of course are having to introduce more rolling stock.

    It does of course help that the fares are cheaper than the neighbouring lines (albeit with a slower less frequent service) but it is a case where putting on a good service does bring passengers. Would be interesting to graph it to see how long it took people to learn about the new improved service.

    In fact that is still an issue as I believe there are still a substantial number of people in the Uckfield Line catchment area who believe the service is poor. Of course it doesn't help that those currently travelling complain lots about the current service but those of us who used it pre-Southern know what a really poor service was like!
     
  27. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Season ticket holders from Crowboro / Uckfield must have the cheapest season tickets for towns that far from London. Anyone care to confirm?
     
  28. TBY-Paul

    TBY-Paul Member

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    I would think Middlesbrough to Manchester would be classed as a route that is doing well considering the service didn't exist before it was introduced. Passenger numbers at Middlesbrough, Thornaby and the new Station at Yarm all seam fairly good in comparison what they were. And the passenger numbers at Hartlepool and Eaglescliffe have improved significantly since Grand Central services were introduced.
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Will be interesting to see what happens at Bicester, which as it seems primarily to be a park and ride reduces substantially in its convenience because the service will be split between the two stations. So people might well choose a completely different railhead.
     
  30. Holly

    Holly Member

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    Extending Euston - Chester to Hooton would definitely bring new business. Especially if car parking at Hooton were increased (and there's lots of space for that).
     
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