ScotRail HST Introduction - Updates & Discussion

Railperf

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2017
Messages
1,783
I've only used the line a few times but have got the impression that the reason that the journey times are so slow is the low line speeds because of the curvature and because of the number of speed restrictions over bridges and culverts rather than the passing moves.
That is true. And those would need addressing too. It all comes down to cost. Clearly the immediate aim must be to make the best use of HST performance without having to spend huge amounts on the infrastructure. From an alignment point of view 85 to 90mph is possible for close to 10 miles on the climb northbound to Drumochter summit. The current northbound limit is only 60mph or 70mph for sprinters. Ironically the Sprinters can just about manage to reach 60mph on the climb - short HST's would easily do 85mph. The limit changes to 85mph on the downhill sections - mainly because that is the only place the sprinters could achieve it!
I entirely agree, but this thread is about Scotrail HSTs in the here and now and not the Highland Main Line of the imagination. The reality is that we have high powered trains constrained by limitations to the infrastructure, and the only improvements to hand are those that have been made to signalling at Pitlochry and Aviemore. The very least required to maintain resilience is the restoration of three loops, but we don't even have that, never mind dualling.
Where would you add more loops and how long would they be? Operationally they seem to slow things up because one train has to arrive and wait for a lengthy period of time in order for the second to pass through fast. But if either is delayed that creates more delay. Examining the timetable quite a few services cross at Moy/Tomatin..and it looks as though much of that south of culloden was singled - so the perfect stretch to redual. But as so many services cross at station loops such as Aviemore Dunkeld and Pitlochry, punctuality is essential.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

RLBH

Member
Joined
17 May 2018
Messages
949
Where would you add more loops and how long would they be? Operationally they seem to slow things up because one train has to arrive and wait for a lengthy period of time in order for the second to pass through fast. But if either is delayed that creates more delay. Examining the timetable quite a few services cross at Moy/Tomatin..and it looks as though much of that south of culloden was singled - so the perfect stretch to redual. But as so many services cross at station loops such as Aviemore Dunkeld and Pitlochry, punctuality is essential.
The usual suggestions are based on the Highland Rail: Room For Growth study - reinstatement of double track to Daviot, loops at Ballinluig and either Newtonmore or Etteridge. Not so much to speed up services as to protect them against late running - with the long single track sections, delays can multiply very quickly.
 

Railperf

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2017
Messages
1,783
What is the latest guesstimate as to when Scotrail will have enough HSTs to go 100% HST on the Highland Main Line?
 

Railperf

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2017
Messages
1,783
The usual suggestions are based on the Highland Rail: Room For Growth study - reinstatement of double track to Daviot, loops at Ballinluig and either Newtonmore or Etteridge. Not so much to speed up services as to protect them against late running - with the long single track sections, delays can multiply very quickly.
That is an interesting report. The 2+4 HSTs offer equal to Voyager performance. Let'a see how much of that can be used in practice.
 

Steven_G

Member
Joined
5 Mar 2018
Messages
74
If it’s 1 delivery a month then it’s 22 by end of year and so, with any remaining classics, it’s full service on all inter7city by December
 

hexagon789

Established Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
8,365
Location
Glasgow
If it’s 1 delivery a month then it’s 22 by end of year and so, with any remaining classics, it’s full service on all inter7city by December
Potentially, ScotRail had said (amending from May), that all 27 would be available by December. There is a chance that could happen, but with the way things have gone even 22 would be something!
 

paul1609

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2006
Messages
3,852
Location
Wittersham Kent
That is true. And those would need addressing too. It all comes down to cost. Clearly the immediate aim must be to make the best use of HST performance without having to spend huge amounts on the infrastructure. From an alignment point of view 85 to 90mph is possible for close to 10 miles on the climb northbound to Drumochter summit. The current northbound limit is only 60mph or 70mph for sprinters. Ironically the Sprinters can just about manage to reach 60mph on the climb - short HST's would easily do 85mph. The limit changes to 85mph on the downhill sections - mainly because that is the only place the sprinters could achieve it!

Where would you add more loops and how long would they be? Operationally they seem to slow things up because one train has to arrive and wait for a lengthy period of time in order for the second to pass through fast. But if either is delayed that creates more delay. Examining the timetable quite a few services cross at Moy/Tomatin..and it looks as though much of that south of culloden was singled - so the perfect stretch to redual. But as so many services cross at station loops such as Aviemore Dunkeld and Pitlochry, punctuality is essential.
Realistically an increase from 70 mph to 85 mph would save less than a minute over the 10 miles probably less if the train stops at Blair Athol. You'd be hard pushed to justify the cost of the extra wear and tear let alone the capital cost of the infrastructure renewal.
 

47271

Established Member
Joined
28 Apr 2015
Messages
2,794
The usual suggestions are based on the Highland Rail: Room For Growth study - reinstatement of double track to Daviot, loops at Ballinluig and either Newtonmore or Etteridge. Not so much to speed up services as to protect them against late running - with the long single track sections, delays can multiply very quickly.
Totally agree on the locations, although I would add Killiecrankie to the list, delays often mount up between Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. Going by the gap between Dalwhinnie and Kingussie, Etteridge makes more sense than Newtonmore.

The extra loops are about resilience and capacity rather than out and out acceleration of timings. They're also relatively inexpensive, all three locations would be reinstatements on existing railway land. The same applies to redoubling to Daviot, although I don't know readily Culloden Viaduct could be done.

I think it's the least that can be asked in terms of infrastructure improvements. I'm fed up of sitting pointlessly at Dunkeld or Dalwhinnie while a late runner sorts itself out for 20 minutes or so. And it's going to get a lot worse when the full HST timetable comes in, they're trying to cram in far too many trains I fear.
 

herb21

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2018
Messages
78
Totally agree on the locations, although I would add Killiecrankie to the list, delays often mount up between Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. Going by the gap between Dalwhinnie and Kingussie, Etteridge makes more sense than Newtonmore.
I think the report suggested that Etteridge was the better location but only if Newtonmore station was closed.
 

gingertom

Member
Joined
19 Jun 2017
Messages
865
Location
Kilsyth
Totally agree on the locations, although I would add Killiecrankie to the list, delays often mount up between Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. Going by the gap between Dalwhinnie and Kingussie, Etteridge makes more sense than Newtonmore.

The extra loops are about resilience and capacity rather than out and out acceleration of timings. They're also relatively inexpensive, all three locations would be reinstatements on existing railway land. The same applies to redoubling to Daviot, although I don't know readily Culloden Viaduct could be done.

I think it's the least that can be asked in terms of infrastructure improvements. I'm fed up of sitting pointlessly at Dunkeld or Dalwhinnie while a late runner sorts itself out for 20 minutes or so. And it's going to get a lot worse when the full HST timetable comes in, they're trying to cram in far too many trains I fear.
There's several tunnels in Scotland needing the "Farnworth" treatment. Killiecrankie. Burntisland. Moncrieff? Dunkeld?
As for running more trains than the infrastructure can handle, just look at the Castlefield corridor. Order of magnitude worse, granted, but same principle.
 

Paul Kerr

Member
Joined
6 Nov 2017
Messages
137
Totally agree on the locations, although I would add Killiecrankie to the list, delays often mount up between Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. Going by the gap between Dalwhinnie and Kingussie, Etteridge makes more sense than Newtonmore.

The extra loops are about resilience and capacity rather than out and out acceleration of timings. They're also relatively inexpensive, all three locations would be reinstatements on existing railway land. The same applies to redoubling to Daviot, although I don't know readily Culloden Viaduct could be done.

I think it's the least that can be asked in terms of infrastructure improvements. I'm fed up of sitting pointlessly at Dunkeld or Dalwhinnie while a late runner sorts itself out for 20 minutes or so. And it's going to get a lot worse when the full HST timetable comes in, they're trying to cram in far too many trains I fear.
Culloden Viaduct should be pretty straightforward as it was built to double track width; the northbound track was removed when the line to Daviot was singled.

Some kind of dynamic loop ought to be feasible on the areas with flatter land at a (relatively) low cost (e.g. Newtonmore-Kingussie-Kincraig in the Spey valley, Dalguise-Ballinluig in the Tummel-Tay valley) but I'm not sure if installing loops in those locations would help the overall reliability or not.
 

DirtyJohn

Member
Joined
24 Mar 2019
Messages
15
Any news on refurb set no 11? It's been a month now since the last one delivered. Sadly this program doesn't appear to be getting any quicker.
Set 19 and most of 20 are all stripped, and moving along the stations.
The next few sets are all close, with 16 being scheduled to leave for May time.
 

43096

Established Member
Joined
23 Nov 2015
Messages
6,859
By Easter that could well be the case, the GWR and another contract at Wabtec will finish. Those spare men will all move over to the ASR side, hopefully speeding things up.
Depending on what happens on the GWR Direct Award there could be some more vehicles to convert.
 

DannyMich2018

Member
Joined
19 Dec 2018
Messages
190
Let's hope we still get the 17 5-coach ones and not a permanent 4 coach fleet cause a 4 coach HST although having more first class has only around 36 or so more standard class seats than a 3-car Class 170.
 

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,083
Let's hope we still get the 17 5-coach ones and not a permanent 4 coach fleet cause a 4 coach HST although having more first class has only around 36 or so more standard class seats than a 3-car Class 170.
While all sets will be delivered as 4-coaches, there's no danger they will cancel the project at that point. There have been too many luggage overspills (despite the increase in space) and full and standing services to keep running solely 4-car sets to the original spec.
 

hexagon789

Established Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
8,365
Location
Glasgow
Let's hope we still get the 17 5-coach ones and not a permanent 4 coach fleet cause a 4 coach HST although having more first class has only around 36 or so more standard class seats than a 3-car Class 170.
I may be mis-recalling but I have an udea someone said a few months ago that ScotRail were in talks with Angel Trains about making all the sets 2+5.
 

marks87

Established Member
Joined
23 Jun 2010
Messages
1,528
Location
Dundee
“Classic” HST on the 0822 Dundee to Edinburgh (0456 ex-Inverness).

Very lightly loaded in first class - I’ve managed to bag a “4” to myself with some still to spare. It’s first stop Haymarket so I’m confident I won’t get any company :lol:

First Class is largely staying the same in the refurbs, yes? I can’t say I’m keen on the seats. Probably fine for my journey but not sure I’d fancy one for Inverness to the Central Belt. A bit hard and plastic-y for my liking.
 

Journeyman

Established Member
Joined
16 Apr 2014
Messages
2,622
“Classic” HST on the 0822 Dundee to Edinburgh (0456 ex-Inverness).

Very lightly loaded in first class - I’ve managed to bag a “4” to myself with some still to spare. It’s first stop Haymarket so I’m confident I won’t get any company :lol:

First Class is largely staying the same in the refurbs, yes? I can’t say I’m keen on the seats. Probably fine for my journey but not sure I’d fancy one for Inverness to the Central Belt. A bit hard and plastic-y for my liking.
They're nice and spacious, but I agree, they're not as good as the LNER design, one of which I'm currently sitting in (in a Mark 4, of course).

I suspect ScotRail have rather significantly over-provided the number of first class seats, at least for the time being. It might be the plan to offer more cheap first class advances to fill them, but that won't be possible until HSTs can be guaranteed to show up where they're meant to.
 

RLBH

Member
Joined
17 May 2018
Messages
949
I think the report suggested that Etteridge was the better location but only if Newtonmore station was closed.
That's the one - Newtonmore is one of the least-used stations on the line, and its' catchment is well covered by Kingussie anyway, so closing it would accelerate services slightly without much detriment. If closing it isn't acceptable, then a loop where trains will be stopping anyway makes sense, but Etteridge more nearly divides the single track section in half.
There's several tunnels in Scotland needing the "Farnworth" treatment. Killiecrankie. Burntisland. Moncrieff? Dunkeld?
Just thinking of the HML - Dunkeld would need bored out, but Killiecrankie is a shallow tunnel that might actually be cheaper to excavate into a cutting.
Culloden Viaduct should be pretty straightforward as it was built to double track width; the northbound track was removed when the line to Daviot was singled.
AIUI, it should be okay, but would need a detailed survey to confirm that the structure is still fit to handle the second line.
I suspect ScotRail have rather significantly over-provided the number of first class seats, at least for the time being. It might be the plan to offer more cheap first class advances to fill them, but that won't be possible until HSTs can be guaranteed to show up where they're meant to.
I think they'll have to, realistically - it's probably justified for the tourist market once HSTs are working all services, but that won't fill all the seats all the time. If decent First Class provision had been a feature of the line for a while, it would probably be well used, but passengers have got used to 158s and 170s where it's not really worthwhile. A good range of Advances to drum up demand seems like it'll be necessary.
 

marks87

Established Member
Joined
23 Jun 2010
Messages
1,528
Location
Dundee
They're nice and spacious, but I agree, they're not as good as the LNER design, one of which I'm currently sitting in (in a Mark 4, of course).
I’m changing onto LNER in Edinburgh (two advances on the 0822 and 1000 were significantly cheaper than on the 0908 direct to London!). It’s timetabled an Azuma so let’s see what their seats are like. Full report to come in the LNER first class thread...

I suspect ScotRail have rather significantly over-provided the number of first class seats, at least for the time being. It might be the plan to offer more cheap first class advances to fill them, but that won't be possible until HSTs can be guaranteed to show up where they're meant to.
It’s a full carriage rather than the “half” carriage shared with a buffet on the refurbs. But even still there’s only about 10 of us, so we’d still have comfortably fitted in a refurb (and had catering...).
 

Journeyman

Established Member
Joined
16 Apr 2014
Messages
2,622
I think they'll have to, realistically - it's probably justified for the tourist market once HSTs are working all services, but that won't fill all the seats all the time. If decent First Class provision had been a feature of the line for a while, it would probably be well used, but passengers have got used to 158s and 170s where it's not really worthwhile. A good range of Advances to drum up demand seems like it'll be necessary.
Yeah - I did quite a lot of business travel between the Central Belt and Inverness between 2015 and 2017, using both ScotRail and VTEC/LNER.

On VTEC/LNER a First Class advance single could be bought for £25, and would get you one of the comfiest seats on the network and some decent food and drink. On ScotRail, it would cost about £60. While the first class saloon on a 170 is quite comfortable, especially if you manage to nab the single seat, that was rather poor value, and I only did it because the journey was over three hours, which qualified for first class travel under my employer's expenses policy. I'd have been loathe to fork out for that out of my own pocket.

The current £10/£15 upgrades on the ScotRail HSTs make first class very tempting now, though. I've been extremely critical of the project, but next time I need to go to Inverness, I hope that's the way I can do it.
 

Top