Reply on Wrexham line BHO cuts from ATW Director

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merlodlliw

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This letter appeared in the Wrexham Leader Friday June 1 2012, it is in response to a query in the same paper as to why ATW are cutting 2 services on the Chester to Shrewsbury line on Bank Holidays, these franchise service cuts only apply to the above line via Wrexham, ATW are not cancelling any other franchise services anywhere in its entire network,other than those already BHX in previous timetables.

The cuts will come in to effect from Monday June 4th in the middle of the Jubilee celebrations.

As a result no franchise service will leave Shrewsbury between 0520 & 0724.
Worst of all no franchise train will leave Chester between 1928 & 2121 serving Wrexham/Ruabon/Chirk/Gobowen.The 2121 service is from Holyhead & is usually standing only on arrival at Chester . No alternative such as bus is offered to cater for the passengers, many will be stuck for two hours on Chester Station,which by 2021 could number between 100 & 200 on a busy bank holiday

The 150 used on the cut services,is normally run on the Bidston line after arrival in Wrexham, but on bank holidays are not required, & in my opinion that is the reason for the cuts on the Shrewsbury/Chester line,

No consultation has been made about the cuts to either,Taith,County Councils,Rail User Groups or any stakeholders, The ATW letter on consultation only applied to other service changes, no mention of franchise service cuts was ever made,it was only spotted in the new timetable.
 

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John55

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This letter appeared in the Wrexham Leader Friday June 1 2012, it is in response to a query in the same paper as to why ATW are cutting 2 services on the Chester to Shrewsbury line on Bank Holidays, these franchise service cuts only apply to the above line via Wrexham, ATW are not cancelling any other franchise services anywhere in its entire network,other than those already BHX in previous timetables.

The cuts will come in to effect from Monday June 4th in the middle of the Jubilee celebrations.

As a result no franchise service will leave Shrewsbury between 0520 & 0724.
Worst of all no franchise train will leave Chester between 1928 & 2121 serving Wrexham/Ruabon/Chirk/Gobowen.The 2121 service is from Holyhead & is usually standing only on arrival at Chester . No alternative such as bus is offered to cater for the passengers, many will be stuck for two hours on Chester Station,which by 2021 could number between 100 & 200 on a busy bank holiday

The 150 used on the cut services,is normally run on the Bidston line after arrival in Wrexham, but on bank holidays are not required, & in my opinion that is the reason for the cuts on the Shrewsbury/Chester line,

No consultation has been made about the cuts to either,Taith,County Councils,Rail User Groups or any stakeholders, The ATW letter on consultation only applied to other service changes, no mention of franchise service cuts was ever made,it was only spotted in the new timetable.
NRE shows the 20:22 from Chester runs on Tuesday 5th when people will be returning from a long weekend. The 20:22 doesn't run on the 4th which is a middle day of a bank holiday weekend.

Is it really that big a deal?
 

merlodlliw

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NRE shows the 20:22 from Chester runs on Tuesday 5th when people will be returning from a long weekend. The 20:22 doesn't run on the 4th which is a middle day of a bank holiday weekend.

Is it really that big a deal?
It is for passengers, my concern is no consultation whatsoever in cancelling franchise services,why did ATW not make stakeholders aware before just hiding the cuts in the timetable The VT may run on the 5th, but no service onwards will be provided by ATW. On the 4th nothing runs From Chester to the largest town in North Wales between 1920 & 2120, what is more pathetic, ATW call a 2022 departure late evening.

Even small hamlets have such as Wem have an hourly service every hour supplied by ATW on bank holidays. Two cuts can lead to more unless the reason is questioned.

Bob
 
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emoaconr

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This may well be on the cards from Dec 2012, but what about Wrexham Central,


Bob
I think it would be less of an issue on Sundays/Bank Holidays.

I think a Shrewsbury-Bidston express service in the normal timetable, in addition to the existing all-stops service say on a bi-hourly basis, would be viable (although it would be constrained to 150/153... of course the Heart of Wales 153s which spend half the day parked up in Shrewsbury could be of use here).

When the Wrexham General - Chester line is closed for re-doubling, it may be viable to terminate northbound trains at Shotton via Borderlands, providing platform clearance issues are clear, with a Wrexham-Chester replacement bus for connections that way.
 
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Even small hamlets have such as Wem have an hourly service every hour supplied by ATW on bank holidays. Two cuts can lead to more unless the reason is questioned.
1. Wem is not a small hamlet.
2. It doesn't have an hourly service. Look at northbound services for tomorrow afternoon: it's every two hours from 1237 to 2241, plus one extra service (at 1701).
 

headshot119

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I think it would be less of an issue on Sundays/Bank Holidays.

I think a Shrewsbury-Bidston express service in the normal timetable, in addition to the existing all-stops service say on a bi-hourly basis, would be viable (although it would be constrained to 150/153... of course the Heart of Wales 153s which spend half the day parked up in Shrewsbury could be of use here).

When the Wrexham General - Chester line is closed for re-doubling, it may be viable to terminate northbound trains at Shotton via Borderlands, providing platform clearance issues are clear, with a Wrexham-Chester replacement bus for connections that way.
Terminating north bound trains at Shotton is a great theory. However where do you turn trains back towards Wrexham? The nearest place to do so is Birkenhead sidings, though whether that's permissible I don't know.

Plus the only things you can run up the Borderlands line are 150s and 153s.
 

The Informer

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Terminating north bound trains at Shotton is a great theory. However where do you turn trains back towards Wrexham? The nearest place to do so is Birkenhead sidings, though whether that's permissible I don't know.

Plus the only things you can run up the Borderlands line are 150s and 153s.

Dee marsh has a crossover and its only 3/4 mile further up and why do people assume the wrexham to saltney will be closed for re-double? The majority of the work can be done whilst not disturbing regular services.
 

anthony263

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I wonder what blocks would be in the way of LM extending their Shrewsbury - Birmingham New Street service to Wrexham?
Well do London Midland even have the rolling stock to extend their service to Wrexham and would passengers use it considering the journey times compared to the ATW services.

If the Wolverhamton - Shrewsbury line is wired I wouldnt mind it continuing to Chester via Wrexham perhaps with London Midland extending one of their London Euston - Birmingham services through to Wrexham.
 

PHILIPE

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Well do London Midland even have the rolling stock to extend their service to Wrexham and would passengers use it considering the journey times compared to the ATW services.

If the Wolverhamton - Shrewsbury line is wired I wouldnt mind it continuing to Chester via Wrexham perhaps with London Midland extending one of their London Euston - Birmingham services through to Wrexham.
London Midland do not have Track Access rights beyond Shrewsbury so they just cannot do it without lengthy negotiations with DFT and ORR would have the final word on access.
 

emoaconr

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Terminating north bound trains at Shotton is a great theory. However where do you turn trains back towards Wrexham? The nearest place to do so is Birkenhead sidings, though whether that's permissible I don't know.

Plus the only things you can run up the Borderlands line are 150s and 153s.
That is true, as I did mention in my original post.

I remember reading NR's response to ATW's application to run 158s up the Borderlands/Conwy Valley lines, and the major issue was a number of platform clearances, dwell times and a number of other minor issues. I can't remember off the top of my head which platforms were involved.


158s are also banned from the Heart of Wales line, but have been dragged through empty before by 175/150/153s and locked out of use. I'm not an expert on clearances and all that, but there's a very wide variety of freight that goes up the Borderlands Line. Providing Shotton station has adequate clearance, would it be possible to run the 158 non-stop between General and Shotton? Or is there a more serious issue at hand here?

The Wrexham-Shotton half of the Borderlands line is being relayed throughout this year (the southbound relaying begins next week apparently), but as far as I can tell ATW have ruled out rectifiying clearance issues on cost ground. I don't think I remember finding the detailed report of which areas of the line are unacceptable for 158s.
 
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Michael.Y

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I seem to recall somewhere that the issue with 158s on the HoWL was that the doors couldn't be opened at some stations because of various platform heights etc.
 

PHILIPE

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I seem to recall somewhere that the issue with 158s on the HoWL was that the doors couldn't be opened at some stations because of various platform heights etc.
Platform clearance. Llandovery is the problem , I believe. They can work Empty only with air bags deflated. There is no call for 158s on routes like Wrexham to Bidston and the Conwy Valley. It would be a waste.
 

Michael.Y

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Platform clearance. Llandovery is the problem , I believe. They can work Empty only with air bags deflated. There is no call for 158s on routes like Wrexham to Bidston and the Conwy Valley. It would be a waste.
Correct. In fact sometimes a 153 is a waste on the HoWL.
 

The Informer

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That is true, as I did mention in my original post.

I remember reading NR's response to ATW's application to run 158s up the Borderlands/Conwy Valley lines, and the major issue was a number of platform clearances, dwell times and a number of other minor issues. I can't remember off the top of my head which platforms were involved.


158s are also banned from the Heart of Wales line, but have been dragged through empty before by 175/150/153s and locked out of use. I'm not an expert on clearances and all that, but there's a very wide variety of freight that goes up the Borderlands Line. Providing Shotton station has adequate clearance, would it be possible to run the 158 non-stop between General and Shotton? Or is there a more serious issue at hand here?

The Wrexham-Shotton half of the Borderlands line is being relayed throughout this year (the southbound relaying begins next week apparently), but as far as I can tell ATW have ruled out rectifiying clearance issues on cost ground. I don't think I remember finding the detailed report of which areas of the line are unacceptable for 158s.

This years work is complete. They start again after new year. Once complete don't expect linespeed increases anytime soon either!!
 

emoaconr

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Platform clearance. Llandovery is the problem , I believe. They can work Empty only with air bags deflated. There is no call for 158s on routes like Wrexham to Bidston and the Conwy Valley. It would be a waste.
They would be useful in situations such as a closure between Wrexham & Chester, but only really for that.

If there were express services using that line, then it would also be useful, but unfortunately there are none.
 

merlodlliw

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1. Wem is not a small hamlet.
2. It doesn't have an hourly service. Look at northbound services for tomorrow afternoon: it's every two hours from 1237 to 2241, plus one extra service (at 1701).
Ok I used Wem as a comparator,Population 5K Wem on Bank Holidays has two trains within 30 minutes of each other to Salop, 0954 & 1018(interesting)
I may have been over zealous in an all day hourly service, but it certainly does have an an hourly service most of the day,down grading Wrexham whose town alone is 43K(2001) is a strange calculator.I would not be so bothered if the cuts had not been stealthed in secrecy, try cutting a service to an another town of 43K.
ATW were responsible for giving up the paths to VT trains and both had a responsibility of putting on a bus at least, if W/S were still in town,ATW would view the situation in a different light,now W/S is gone, neither VT or ATW care about the service or pax, which many said would happen & how right they were
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You can walk between the 2 Wrexham stations quite easily but not to Shrewsbury
Fully agree,
 
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Gareth

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You can walk between the 2 Wrexham stations quite easily but not to Shrewsbury
This may be a controversial suggestion but if the Borderlands Line was to carry on to Shrewsbury and thus cutting out Wrexham Central, perhaps a conversion of the Central-General (P4) to a light rail shuttle with a higher frequency than the current hourly Borderlands link could be beneficial, perhaps with some scope to extend it beyond Central.
 
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Gareth

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I dunno. An every ten minute light rail shuttle would be arguable more useful than the current hourly arrangement (bar if you're going to a Borderlands destination obviously) and certainly better than closing the station entirely. Expansion of the light rail into the eastern part of town would be better still, though from maps, Central looks somewhat hemmed in by a large shopping complex.
 

merlodlliw

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That will never happen!!!
No I agree Wrexham Central will never close after the last attempt.

My response to Mr Bagshaws letter of last Friday appeared in todays Wrexham Leader(6th June ), anyone wishing to see it,,please PM me with an e mail address,
ATW should see the printed version first out of courtesy

Bob
 
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Michael.Y

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I dunno. An every ten minute light rail shuttle would be arguable more useful than the current hourly arrangement (bar if you're going to a Borderlands destination obviously) and certainly better than closing the station entirely. Expansion of the light rail into the eastern part of town would be better still, though from maps, Central looks somewhat hemmed in by a large shopping complex.
Maybe another 121 Bubblecar could be forced out of retirement! Or a tram...
 

PHILIPE

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This may be a controversial suggestion but if the Borderlands Line was to carry on to Shrewsbury and thus cutting out Wrexham Central, perhaps a conversion of the Central-General (P4) to a light rail shuttle with a higher frequency than the current hourly Borderlands link could be beneficial, perhaps with some scope to extend it beyond Central.
Hardly likely to be extended beyond Wrexham Central without passing through the check-outs at shops !!! The line used to go to Ellesmere in days gone by.
Going back to the OP, the Wrexham to Bidston is only 2 hourly on Bank Holidays with 1 unit insted of 2 which comes from and returns to Chester.
Therefore the unit going from Shrewsbury to Wrexham in the morning and return at night is not required. Thus the reason for the cancellation. The implications of course and the "legal" side of it have already been discussed.
 

mickpop

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I'm not convinced there would be much demand for a Bidston - Shrewsbury service. I live on the English bit of the Borderlands line and my impression is that users from Neston/Heswall/Upton tend to travel to travel in the Birkenhead/ Liverpool direction for work and shopping plus a small volume of school kids. My wife and I would have used the line for work travel had it been a half-hourly service. There are also some passengers to Shotton for work on Deeside. Few tend to go to Wrexham for those purposes and I guess fewer would want to go further. On the Shotton to Wrexham section traffic seems heavier but again I think Wrexham is the intended destination. There is some Welsh shopping and work traffic for Merseyside destinations. Why go to Shrewsbury when you can go to Liverpool ?[pause for anti-scouse abuse!]. Would those living on the Wrexham - Shrews bury line generate much traffic onwards from Wrexham? I can't see there being much call for passengers going to Shrewsbury for onward destinations as demonstrated by the W&S failure'

Of course all this might change if both the Wrexham - Chester and Borderlands lines had a more frequent service [ and the latter had stations that reflected the present day concentrations of population]
 
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