Settle & Carlisle Line - Past, Present & Future

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by JMPRailwatcher, 23 Apr 2019.

  1. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    I think many on his thread miss the point.
    A great deal of money was spent on infrastructure when the line was initially saved from closure and again after the recent landslide, something which we are very grateful for. Unfortunately it has stopped short of upgrading it to make suitable for long distance running.

    When you listen to those in the know, there always seems to be reasons why it’s not suitable, i.e line speed restrictions, single track over Ribblehead, signalling, not enough loops, infrastructure preventing container traffic, etc etc. Now these may be valid points, but these are the reasons the line is underused. It is an absurdity to suggest going via York to Glasgow is better, or via the Bentham line, or all the other alternative suggestions being made. Yes in the current state of the S&C we are having to consider some of these, but it’s not because they logical routes. Look on a map! The S&C is the logical route unfortunately it just needs more investment, but with that considering anything else is ridiculous, it’s the most direct route and has plenty of capacity and would relieve an already heavily used ECML & WCML both of which are set to get even more busy.

    Take the Carlisle-Chirk log train, why does it go down the S&C, a much longer less direct route? The reason is it’s quicker than down the much more direct route from Carlisle to Preston section because of capacity problems.
     
  2. Gathursty

    Gathursty Established Member

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    Has any NR official ever had the bright idea of proposing to put a turnback facility at Settle instead of all the way at Blea Moor?
     
  3. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    Just how congested is the WCML North of Preston and North of Carnforth ?
    Although built as an express passenger line the line actually was little used for express passenger trains and even less in later years. It's main function was unfitted or partially fitted goods trains and there are non of them these days and even the fairly recent coal trains have ceased.
    Seems to me it is currently pretty much fit for its current purpose. If there is a strategic rail case for more freight in the daytime over Shap than can currently be handed then enhance that route or reduce the number of short passenger trains to accommodate them - but I guess such work is not yet necessary.
     
  4. Alstadt_White

    Alstadt_White New Member

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    Dear All,

    I have read some of the observations in regard to the diversions with interest. I would like to add the following Points:

    (1) The distance between Preston Station and Carlisle Station is 90 miles. Considering that motor coaches are only allowed a maximum speed of 62 mph on the motorway, that there is a need at Preston and Carlisle to access the motorway (this alone will take ca. 20-30 minutes), then an average start to stop speed of 50 mph is optimistic and does not take into account the frequent traffic jams that occur on this section of the M6. National Express offer a direct non-stop service between Preston and Carlisle in 2 hrs and 15 min. This departs at 05.25 am. where the likelihood of traffic jams are small. The use of Voyagers on the Settle-Carlisle Line would offer no delay to passengers. As shown by recent charters, a journey time of 2hrs 15min between Preston and Carlisle via the S&C is possible.
    (2) On previous occasions, the transfer from train to bus at Preston and Carlisle has been disastrous with waiting times of up to 180 minutes. Pictures are available on BTP Preston Twitter account. This should be compared with the quoted time of reversing a train at Preston to travel via the Settle-Carlisle line.
    (3) Voyagers are available at Carlisle. In the past, with the closure of the WCML between Glasgow and Carlisle, Virgin Trains were able to operate Voyagers between Glasgow and Carlisle via the alternative route of Dumfries.
    (4) Pendolino’s can still be “dragged” along the Settle-Carlisle line. A Pendolino would transport the same number of passengers as 18 buses and drivers. If anything, the contract that Virgin Trains has with the bus company is “resource hungry”. Not only are they employing a non-specific or approved franchise contractor, but they are not using their own resource, therefore worsening railway finances.
    (5) A operation of running Voyagers via the Settle-Carlisle is fully possible. It would take no more than 5 sets to provide an hourly service between Preston and Carlisle. With Cross platform (no use of stairs) Exchange. With the recently introduction of IB signalling, more paths are available on the Settle-Carlisle Line than before.
    (6) It is said that he cost of hiring diesel locomotives and drivers is significant. A business case calculation would not support the use of buses against the use of Virgin’s own resource to provide an alternative service between Preston and Carlisle when the WCML is closed.
    (7) ECML continue to divert via Carlisle when the Newcastle to Edinburgh line is closed. They do not run buses. As mentioned previously passengers prefer to travel by Train.
    (8) Buses do not provide the following:
    1st class facilities
    Table so enabling business people to work.
    Wifi
    Food and drink service. Indeed, a number of the bus drivers refuse passengers to even bring their own food and drink on board.
    Facilities for Prams and other heavy luggage.

    The operators of the Steam special, Diesel special, and also Northern (when they ran the Tornado) all use drivers who have route knowledge. If Northern managed to do it for Tornado, then surely Virgin could! Additionally the Training is tax deductible. One possible way to reduce the cost, is to run one Virgin train in each direction per week using a Voyager via the Settle route. This allows drivers to keep route knowledge and would not add any cost to Virgin, as the train will be running in any case. It just takes 90minutes longer. This is what a number of TOC’s do in the South East to keep their drivers with route knowledge. Indeed, if Virgin had any sense, they could even market this service as BR did with their diversions.
     
  5. Alstadt_White

    Alstadt_White New Member

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    Dear All,

    I have read some interesting observations in regard to the Franchise Agreement.

    According to the Information available on the web, the current Franchise Agreement reads:

    “6.2 The Franchisee shall use all reasonable endeavours to provide or secure the provision of alternative transport arrangements to enable passengers affected by any disruption referred to in paragraph 6.1 to complete their intended journeys in accordance with this paragraph 6.2. In particular, the Franchisee shall use all reasonable endeavours to:
    (a) ensure that such alternative transport arrangements are of reasonable quality, of a reasonably similar frequency to the Passenger Services included in the Timetable which such arrangements replace and reasonably fit for the purpose of the journey to be undertaken;
    (b) transport passengers to, or as near as reasonably practicable to, the end of their intended journey on such Passenger Services, having particular regard to the needs for any disabled persons and, where appropriate, making additional arrangements for such disabled persons to complete their intended journey;
    (c) provide adequate and prominent publicity of such alternative transport arrangements in advance, subject, in the case of unplanned disruption, to the Franchise having sufficient notice of such disruption to enable it to provide such publicity;
    (d) provide sufficient alternative transport capacity for the reasonably foreseeable demand for the disrupted Passenger Services; and
    (e) ensure, it any planed disruption overruns, that there is a reasonable contingency arrangement for such alternative transport arrangements to continue for the duration of such overrun.”

    In the light of the above obligations and the more general obligations of the Franchise Holder to meet its service obligations to passengers, I understand that the Franchise Holder (in the West Coast route, Virgin Trains) is failing to comply with its obligations if it fails both to make advance arrangements to use alternative rail routes for diversions and fails actually to use them when the need arises.

    A similar obligation applies to TPE in their Franchise.
     
  6. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    Please tell me where it says alternative rail routes should be used ?
    I can't see wording which says the above.
    Would there be an obligation to use, for example, the coast route from Carnforth to Carlisle rather than buses up the M6 ?
     
  7. Alstadt_White

    Alstadt_White New Member

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    §B. Virgin does not alternative transport (buses) for the complete journey, i.e Glasgow to London.
     
  8. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    I don't understand your comment.
    I'll leave there.
     
  9. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Good point. Not sure if a stop at Appleby, costing 2-3 mins would make much difference, but ok.

    And the world-famous County of RUTLAND, surely? :)
    The line traverses a most overlooked part of the country for me, including the closed bit north of Melton.
     
  10. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    IT's true that I personally had forgotten about the current service. (Apologies, I'm rather stuck in BR + 5 Regions in my old age.) But how close to capacity is York - Newcastle right now? (Given, eg the need to put in stops like Chester-le-Street on some Leeds services.) Of course, you could run longer Voyagers with the same service patterns, I suppose.

    If there was such an hourly service (not that I'm advocating that as remotely possible) and it was timed similarly to the current XC service, I don't know how you could be so sure of the last statement.
     
  11. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    I'm not sure when they arrived, but by 1960 Holbeck boasted two Brits on its books - 70053/4, Moray Firth and Dornoch Firth (numbers from memory) and I'm pretty sure they were used on the S&C. This was, of course, a little prior to the mass transfer of Brits from both the WR and ER to the LM.
     
  12. BigCj34

    BigCj34 Member

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    If the journey time is to be cut comfortably under 4 hours, then rolling stock needs to be able to hit 125mph on the WCML, 110mph as a minimum if non-tilting stock is the only option. So Voyagers would be the best option for speed as they tilt, otherwise HST's or 180's. 158's only go up to 90mph, 185's up to 100mph.
     
  13. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

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    I imagine getting any additional trains between York and Northallerton would be difficult, given the stopping at Thirsk and Northallerton by TPEx, and the Grand Central services. I don't think many new paths of a decent quality (IE: which aren't crawling along behind a much slower service for half the journey) would be available. Then one would have to link that through to Newcastle to Edinburgh. With that, you'd always run into the back of something at some point and have some fairly mad additional pathing allowances.
     
  14. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    They arrived in November 58. A third,70044, arrived in December
     
  15. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    I dont see the need to run through. A decent connecting service into a Carlisle - Scotland service would do IMHO. If they ran the trains from leeds into Plat 1 or 2 then simple cross platform connection. Shunt the train to plat 5 or 6 for the southbound connection.
    just get the speed up a bit from 60. 70 would be a nice start.
     
  16. deltic08

    deltic08 On Moderation

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    Going from the S&C line into platform 1 or 2 would need to cross the whole station southern throat and would possibly conflict with other traffic. Shunting back into 5 or 6 would be a repeat and possibly conflict again. Be satisfied with cross platform connections with southbound trains. The footbridge at Carlisle is easily negotiated.

    I agree with raising speed limit to 70mph to start with or even 80mph downhill.
     
  17. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    (Been out today.)
    In the context of Preston-Carlisle diversions there is a single ladder reversing to/from the East Lancs Line, a single line section onto the Clitheroe line at Daisyfield, Ribblehead and a single line approach to Carlisle. I make that four.
     
  18. deltic08

    deltic08 On Moderation

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    The single line section at Carlisle has been there nearly 50 years and has not been a problem and neither has Ribblehead. I can't picture where or what you mean about a reversing ladder unless you mean where diversions in a southbound direction join the WCML at Farrington.
     
  19. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    While I do not disagree with your other comments, and I support the use of diversions over the S&C your comment regarding freight is incorrect. (I have assumed you were referring to Freight on the S&C and not the WCML but is was a little unclear so sorry if I got this wrong)

    Certainly between Settle jn and Blea Moor during the day (8am to 6pm when most diversions would occur) the S&C Line has more scheduled freight than the WCML, up to eleven on its busiest day.
    As the line goes north this does reduce somewhat.

    I still don’t think this will cause capacity problems if diversions were used but I hope still a point worth making.
     
  20. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    For a train at Platforms 3-7 to join the ELL means using a single ladder crossover south of the station. As, realistically, the capacity of the Clitheroe/S and C route, and the availability of VT rolling stock, both limit diversions to 1tph, I don't think the pointwork makes much difference.
     
  21. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    One train per hour is better than none.
     
  22. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    That must have been after my time when the Firths were used on Glasgow to Liverpool//Manchester trains.
     
  23. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    Do they actually run ?
    Are the trains that run from the quarries to Blea Moor to reverse count as two trains ?
    My observation is that at Horton there is hardly any freight traffic and if there was a capacity constraint would it be too difficult to provide facilities for freight trains to run directly Southwards ?
     
  24. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Apologies for my ignorance - but where is this single line section south of Carlisle? It was always double as I remember it from Pettril Bridge. Singled in the late 1970s or early 80s?
     
  25. yoyothehobo

    yoyothehobo Member

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    I believe there is a single lead in junction from the Newcastle and Settle lines immediately where the line diverges south of the station. it looks double track, but the line to the northern side is just a long siding (i have seen a 390 in there i believe). It is little more than 20 yards long the single track section. It is parallel to the two lines that run straight under the WCML as well, so out of 4 parallel lines, you have only one that is currently useable by the S and C and Newcastle lines to access the station.
     
  26. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    deffo trains from helwith br
     
  27. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    By way of illustration of how hard it is to timetable trains over the S&C (and thus how little capacity there is for diversions or ‘expresses’ during the week, at least) consider the poor (Channel Tunnel-) Wembley-Irvine china clay train. (It typically runs once per week.)
    Getting away from a stop at Warrington Bank Quay it gets to Farington Junction (just south of Preston) at 10:12. This is only a tantalising 93 miles-ish from Carlisle.
    Amazingly it gets a clear right hander onto the spur up to Lostock Junction in the face of fast WCML traffic. At Lostock Junction it has to wait whilst a Colne-bound local, hotly pursued by the Preston Docks-Lindsey empty bitumen tanks, precede.
    Trickling along to Blackburn there are a few minutes pathing whilst a train from Clitheroe clears Daisyfield Junction followed by a speed restricted trundle to Hellifield, arriving at 12:00. As the path clashes with a more regular slot for an empty stone train into Arkow Quarry the clay goes into the loop to be overtaken.
    No rush to get out onto the long blocks with the Arcow going to take around 15 minutes to shunt inside there anyway. So away at 12:41.
    With 1,800 tonnes on there is no rapid run up to Ais Gill! Flying down the other side getting into Carlisle is a major challenge. Holding back at Petteril Bridge Junction to allow a Newcastle-Carlisle DMU to precede it is then necessary to wait for both the return working and a Carlisle-Leeds train to pass over the supposedly insignificant bit of single line that never causes any problems. But before making it into Carlisle Station is is also necessary to allow a Euston-Birmingham-Edinburgh, a Glasgow-Euston fast and a Manchester Airport-Glasgow to pass before arriving at 15:16, having taken over five hours for a 111-mile run from Farington Junction.
     
  28. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    The single lead formed part of the commissioning of Stage 9 of Carlisle Power Box on 3 June 1973 according to O S Nock’s ‘Electric Euston to Glasgow’.
    (There was still a double track link onto the Carlisle Avoiding Line in those days, of course.)
     
  29. deltic08

    deltic08 On Moderation

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    The former Up line to the S&C immediately south of Carlisle station was severed to become a long headshunt down the slope, leaving reversible working on the former Down line. This is the single line referred to and was commissioned with the new Carlisle powerbox in 1972/3.
    I didn't know the clay slurry tanks went over the S&C. I am sure the last time I saw it, it was being electric hauled somewhere near Penrith. I see what you mean.
     
  30. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    Yes they do all run however like any freight train anywhere nothing is guaranteed but the majority of the time they do.
    No I was not counting the reversal at Blea Moor twice, I did however state 11 scheduled freight trains was its busiest day which is a Wednesday, the other days there are 6 or 7 scheduled freight between 8am and 6pm which is similar to the WCML on those days.

    I understand that sometimes on the line, like you at Horton, freight can some days feel thin on the ground and most days other than Wednesday it definitely feels that way. I was however responding to the comment “there is virtually no freight on the line ” which clearly there is.
     

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