Rolling stock whose capacity has been superseded by increased demand over time.

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by hexagon789, 15 Jun 2019.

  1. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Joined:
    10 Nov 2015
    Location:
    Hope Valley
    Is there any relevant truth in this claim? To what era does it refer? Was it in relation to types of operation such as locomotive changes or parcels traffic that are no longer relevant? I thought that passenger numbers at Preston had risen dramatically over the past 20 years on the back of service increases. More recently many trains have been increased in length, e.g. 11 car Pendolinos against 9 car and 4 car EMUs against 2 car DMUs. Further changes to rolling stock are still under way and the platform lengths (apart from the little-used south end bays) seem to have plenty of ‘stretch’, e.g. for 8 car EMU formations.
     
  2. chris_in_salop

    chris_in_salop Member

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    29 Sep 2010
    I was one one today, rattling away between Shrewsbury and Gobowen. Glad I wasn't staying on it all the way to Holyhead.

    But I also remember experiencing the 150s as a revelation on the West Midlands suburban routes in the mid 80s. Finally something to replace those underpowered 1st gen DMUs, struggling to get up Old Hill bank, complete with draughts, windows running with condensation and passenger saloons filled with exhaust fumes.
     
  3. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

    Messages:
    3,166
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2015
    Preston station was remodelled in the 1970s, quite a different era when railways were regarded as a dying method of transport.

    By the way, what is a "relevant" truth? At the time I was a management grade civil engineer with BR. Although I did not work on that project I had friends who did who told me what instructions they had from on high.
     
  4. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Joined:
    10 Nov 2015
    Location:
    Hope Valley
    Thanks, furnessvale. So it related to making Preston fit for the Weaver Junction to Glasgow electrification.
    Although I worked on the London Midland Region at the time I never recall hearing that Preston had become a bottleneck. Historical levels of traffic to Blackpool, Southport, etc. had obviously haemorrhaged away in the previous decade.
     
  5. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,412
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Though I'm not sure those 150s were just the thing for replacing some of the twice as long LHCS on some fairly lengthy runs at that.
     
  6. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,295
    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Sheffield
    re the earlier points about the eight coach 390s (which were about half Standard and half First Class), whilst they seem pretty inadequate in hindsight, it's worth remembering that these were 125mph trains replacing 110mph trains on increased frequencies (e.g. Birmingham was half hourly, Manchester was hourly under BR, Glasgow was bi-hourly), sot he overall number of carriages did increase.

    The difference is that it was possible to increase the length at a later date, unlike the 185s or Voyagers (which were never extended)

    Good point re the shorter carriages and "brakes" on older stock (something that is often missed when people compare MK1 rakes with modern trains).

    ScotRail 170s were a step forward at the time - doubling the frequency of Edinburgh - Falkirk High - Glasgow - replacing 150s in Fife - but at least ScotRail have been able to increase supply to keep up with the demand.

    It's an interesting example of a line that has gone from a poor frequency (every forty five minutes from London to Leicester) with patchy stops at intermediate stations to a line bursting at the seams now. For all that people suggest we kept the GC open (as a parallel line from London to Leicester), there was hardly sufficient demand to keep one line from London to Leicester open in the 1980s yet alone spread that demand over two lines.

    But National Express turned around a quiet line - whilst people give a lot of credit to Chiltern for the transformation of the Marylebone line, I don't think that NatEx get sufficient credit for what they did on the MML.

    Before National Express took on the ECML franchise, their stock was pretty high, they "rescued" C2C/ WAGN/ Valley Lines/ Wales & West, they invested in ScotRail/ Midland Mainline, they did a reasonable job of the messy Central Trains franchise. But, like a football manager who will always be remembered for taking on that one job too big for him, their reputation now will always be defined by the NXEC days. The Graham Taylor of the railways.

    Interesting example - I hadn't thought of that

    Ha!

    It's a tricky one, I accept - at the moment there's argument about whether the increases in passenger numbers have plateaued - there's a fairly shaky commuter demand with fewer season tickets, the Friday commuter market seems pretty badly hit, the industrial action on some franchises hasn't helped... but at the same time some people still take the If You Build It They Will Come approach to new fleets of trains - sometimes whilst suggesting that we don't need HS2 because we'll all be working from home and doing everything digitally in a few years time.

    If I were remodelling a station in anticipation of being electrified (say, Oxford/ Leicester/ Bristol Temple Meads) would I be "future proofing" it so that it could cope with 50% more trains than now (given that such a remodelling might lock the infrastructure in place for the next forty/fifty years)? Same number of trains as now? Or partly fund the remodelling by removing some underused platforms?

    Will people look back at these threads in a decade and wonder why on earth we were replacing 3x23m 185s with 5x26m 802s when it was obvious in hindsight that passenger numbers would go down rather than up? Or castigate us for only having five coaches in the 802s?

    So, for those reasons, it's hard to criticise BR/ TOCs for the decisions they took decades ago. It is, however, regrettable when things are built with no "Plan B" (e.g. stock that can't easily be lengthened - or in the case of trains like 319s, shortened!).
     
  7. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,412
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Very true, but not at first. The full timetable I believe didn't come into effect until 2009. Plus, the new trains helped to draw more passengers and it's a classic case of an improved service created more demand but being unable to cope with that increased demand. Virgin sorted that to an extent with the 11-car 390s.

    A similar parallel could be drawn I think with Midland Mainline and it's 2-car 170s. New services, which created increased demand which were first dealt with by ordering centre cars to increase 10 of the 17 units to 3-car and then within a few years by ordering the 4-car Meridians (afaik the 9-car were not intended as 170 replacements).
     
  8. Sprinter107

    Sprinter107 Member

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    26 Mar 2019
    The first 10 Midland Mainline class 170/1 had new centre cars to make them up to 3 car sets. The remaining 170111 - 170117 remained as 2 cars, as they still do today.
     
  9. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,080
    Joined:
    24 Dec 2009
    Location:
    Sheffield
    On the other hand, it is very easy, and justified, to criticise the TOC who introduced trains on services operating from one end of the country which had overhead luggage racks which could not accommodate the type of luggage likely to be carried by people using such services, whilst also failing to provide anywhere near enough alternative luggage space. Even if passenger numbers had not increased the luggage storage provision would have been inadequate.

    Arriva have improved things by getting rid of the pointless 'shop' but the basic design fault remains.
     
  10. matacaster

    matacaster Member

    Messages:
    559
    Joined:
    19 Jan 2013
    One suspects that the 185's limited capacity is putting off some people using TPE services.
    By the time the new loco hauled 5-coach trains are actually introduced, I fear they will already be near capacity at peak times and will need one or two additional coaches in a year or two. I hope they have an option in the contract!!
     
  11. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,412
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Can longer Mk5 sets fit though? Certainly six-car may well prove to be necessary but can the infrastructure take it, that always seems to be an issue.
     
  12. matacaster

    matacaster Member

    Messages:
    559
    Joined:
    19 Jan 2013
    I don't know, but I am sure someone will help us out! Huddersfield is interesting in that platform 1 was shortened to create platform 2 - not sure how long a train it can take now. Platform 4 looks pretty long though is not used as a through generally. Will NPR lengthen platforms?
    I find that on the railways, generally it's a penny pinching one extra coach length on some stations, or doing just enough to get a new class through. The incremental approach comes back to bite them and costs a lot more in the end and more disruption.
     
  13. Randomer

    Randomer Member

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    31 Jul 2017
    The basic design fault of the Voyagers is being ordered too short (why were 4 cars 220 even considered rather than a homogeneous 5 car 221 fleet?) and having been designed with 3 classes all with accessible toilets making them horrendously space inefficient.

    To compound that by making the overhead luggage bins even smaller than necessary for tilt makes it an even worse choice for cross-country services.

    Although how much of my thoughts or the thread in particular is hindsight? I will admit that the decisions made for the class 185 purchase are absolutely puzzling. I can't understand the historical reason for purchasing trains with less capacity at a time of increasing usage when the current ones were already full and standing at peak times.
     
  14. xotGD

    xotGD Established Member

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2017
    On routes all over the country loco-hauled services that provided plenty of capacity were replaced with Sprinters of various classes that reduced capacity.
     
  15. RLBH

    RLBH Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    17 May 2018
    The dogma at the time was that usage was decreasing. The operators wanted more capacity, and were granted a franchise that gave them significant freedom to attract more passengers (newer franchises have reduced this) but the regulators refused to let them have the trains they thought they could fill.

    I can't help wondering if a Conservative government during the early years of rail privatisation might have been more willing to allow operators to take those risks.
     
  16. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

    Messages:
    4,205
    Joined:
    10 Jun 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    I'd add the proviso that 2-coach trains can be preferable when portion working (with end-gangways) as TfW are aiming for.
    Liverpool-Llandudno/Shrewsbury with a pair of 3-coach trains throughout the day would be overkill between Chester and Liverpool. Similarly Cambrian Coast services.

    Northern's 195s, however, have no end-gangways nor portion-worked diagrams (to my knowledge).
     
  17. Class 466

    Class 466 Member

    Messages:
    629
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2010
    Southeastern 395s. Over The past few years there are consistent crowding issues on these. Now at the stage where you can pretty much expect to stand on most of the 6 cars from Ashford throughout the day. No enough units were ordered at the time because of hesitations about how successful the service would be.
     
  18. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

    Messages:
    2,544
    Joined:
    11 Feb 2013
    Back in 2012 they were able to take several units out of normal service and use them for the Olympic shuttle! Try doing that now :D
     
  19. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,412
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    It does indeed, it would be nice if they actually thought for once about it properly abd planned accordingly.

    And the four-car 222s that replaced them had less Standard Class seating as built than the 3-car 170s they replaced iirc!
     
  20. alex397

    alex397 Member

    Messages:
    271
    Joined:
    6 Oct 2017
    It will be interesting to see what the long term solution will be for the 395s. With Ashford continuing to grow with thousands of homes being built, as well as 4000 due to be built in Canterbury (which, incidentally, won't affect local transport infrastructure, according to the city council!!!), and huge numbers of developments elsewhere in Kent, the popularity of HS1 will only increase, as i'm sure a large proportion of the people moving into these houses will be working in London (or travelling to London for leisure at the weekends).
    If no new trains will be built, I wonder if we will see less 395s travelling over non-High Speed sections, and instead running 12-car shuttles between London and Ashford. Or maybe terminating short at Faversham, Canterbury West, Dover etc. The logistics of that might be easier said than done though, for example it might mean more platform capacity needed at Ashford.
     
  21. Clansman

    Clansman Established Member

    Messages:
    1,840
    Joined:
    4 Jan 2016
    Look no further than the rolling stock revolution in Glasgow in the late 70s and 80s - Sprinterisation especially! - and on that note, a big shout out to my pals from East Kilbride ;)
     
  22. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

    Messages:
    2,544
    Joined:
    11 Feb 2013
    The North Kent services in particular are poor uses of the 395's speed, as they use relatively little of HS1 (unlike the ones which leave after Ashford) and past Ebbsfleet they trundle along at 75mph along the same track as Networkers!
     
  23. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,807
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    take the manchester - harwich through train. 1 a day. that morphed into the Brum - stanstead and Liverpool - norwich services. fa more seats and more choice of when to travel.
     
  24. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

    Messages:
    2,353
    Joined:
    13 Jun 2015
    Sorry, but this is not a fair comparison. Indeed, it is untrue. Yes, there was only one Harwich - Manchester - Liverpool "North Continental" - morphing later into "The European" to Glasgow.

    But there had been regular Brum - Norwich and Brum - Cambridge services since at least the early 60s, initially with 1st gen DMUs and later with some loco-hauled. (There must have been steam services too, prior to that, just I wasn't around to see them. These were more exotic and varied, eg a Birmingham NS to Gt YArmouth (I think) via Rugby, Mkt Harboro and Harringworth low level, whatever it was called.)

    Of course, the service was nothing like the 1 TPH we have today (plus the 1 TP2H Peterboro - Ipswich), but it consisted of far more than the North Continental.
     
  25. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,327
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    As has been said on other threads, the first action should be re-instatement of express services via Tonbridge to relieve some of the pressure.
     
  26. Ted172

    Ted172 Member

    Messages:
    57
    Joined:
    30 Jun 2018
    Location:
    Worcestershire
    West Midlands Railway's Turbostars are now too short for services from Birmingham to Hereford and also to Shrewsbury.
     
  27. VT 390

    VT 390 Member

    Messages:
    850
    Joined:
    7 Dec 2018
    Now that there are 2 WMR Shrewsbury services every hour most of the time they do not seem to bad now but on the Hereford the Turbostars are provide nowhere near enough capacity on most services.
     
  28. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,412
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Are WMRs 170s all or mostly 2-car?
     
  29. VT 390

    VT 390 Member

    Messages:
    850
    Joined:
    7 Dec 2018
    They are 2 and 3 carriages, I think there are 17 2 car units and 6 3 car units but I am not 100% sure.
     
  30. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,412
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    2-car trains are probably insufficient for a lot of those workings.
     

Share This Page