Settle Carlisle Line - Ribblehead Frequency

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by Randomer, 11 Aug 2018.

  1. Randomer

    Randomer Member

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    Had a nice walking trip from Horton in Ribblesdale to Ribblehead the other week using the Northern service. When planning the walk looking at the timetable (kind of a necessity to not be stuck in Ribblehead for a couple of hours, even if the pub is very nice) a question occurred to me about frequencies on the line.

    During weekdays the line has a roughly two and a half hour frequency during the day time running from Carlisle to Leeds but with a 4 hour gap between 2 services at Ribblehead:
    0947
    1219

    Gap IE23 Passes at 1518 http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/Y21401/2018/08/21/advanced
    1613
    1744

    However, in that gap a Northern service runs through as an express: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/Y21401/2018/08/21/advanced

    Does anybody know the reasoning behind running some of the services as stoppers and expresses?

    The timings are within 20 minutes of each other (2hrs 49 stopper - 2hrs 34 for express) and the path doesn't seem to have any clashes with freight services that I can find on RTT. The express services do seem to lengthen the gaps at the intermediate stations significantly without a huge time saving.
     
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    The "express" (and the 0919 down which is now only fast from Appleby) is a longstanding working, the remains of the shortlived through Glasgow train, though in a different path.
    The timings of the stoppers have altered from approximately 1015-1315-1545-1745 as part of the new timetable, and as with all changes there are pros and cons. I suppose you could swap the fast with the following slow (so 1350 and 1504 off Carlisle) but I suspect there's a bit of demand from Carlisle to the intermediate stations around 1430-1500.
    Whether Ribblehead or any other intermediate station has enough middle of the day trade to call for an extra stop I don't know.
     
  4. Randomer

    Randomer Member

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    Thanks, was wondering if there was a historical reason I wasn't seeing.

    I do wonder whether there is still any real rationale for having the express services instead of running them all as stopping services. Although frankly the it is a really minor issue in timetabling compared to the mess that other parts of the north are in timetable wise.

    A part of me wonders whether demand from intermediate stations is being suppressed by the larger gaps in service during the middle of the day. It does make day tripping from West Yorkshire difficult, effectively getting the first Off Peak train leaves a pretty significant gap in service so the car looks more attractive.
     
  5. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Yes, the express divides opinion somewhat. It helps to keep up the routes 'mainline' status, particularly for through travellers for Scotland. At the same time, however, it stinks up the timetable for leisure uses at the intermediate stations.

    Another issue is that its timed too fast to strengthen with a 153, so is often a crowded 158.

    From my point of view, it would be less in the way if it originated from the North, instead of the South.
     
  6. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Yeah , was surprised with the express in the middle of the day . Used the 1649 Leeds to Carlisle on thursday , very busy leaving Leeds but quiet after Skipton . A through Glasgow service would be ideal .
     
  7. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    As yorksrob says it does divide opinion, and been debated previously in the Friends Of The Settle & Carlisle magazine.

    Those that are in favour of its retention, argue that the journey, due to restricted line speeds, is a long one and removing some of the lesser used stations helps reduce the journey time. I must admit until a few years back my wife had to travel regularly between Appleby and Leeds and she always tried to time it so she could use the ‘express’. Now we have moved further up the line our local station does not have the ‘express’ stopping so sometimes it is frustrating when there is a big gap between services.

    Of course what is desperately needed is the line speeds to be increased something the Friends are actively working towards.
     
  8. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It would be good if it could be superimposed on a regular timetable of stopping services, although how practical this would be I don't know, given the lack of passing points on the route.
     
  9. voyagerdude220

    voyagerdude220 Established Member

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    Out of curiosity, where abouts on the line are there speeds greater than 75 mph permitted? I'm guessing between Hellifield and Leeds. I'd be surprised if anything between Hellifield and Carlisle is greater than 60 mph.
     
  10. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    The line isn't a mainline, so there shouldn't be an express.
    It would be better to run a regular clock face RE service instead, making the train more attractive.
     
  11. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I suspect it's somewhere at the Leeds end, although I don't know for sure.
     
  12. HORNIMANS

    HORNIMANS Member

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    The Settle to Carlisle railway was built by the Midland Railway to Main Line standard, so yes it is a main line.
     
  13. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    There's 90 in from Shipley certainly, and Skipton IIRC, though obviously not continuous.The trains are anyway timed 75 max according to RTT, including the class 1.
     
  14. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    That's interesting. So the fast could be strengthened with a 153.
     
  15. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Don't see why not, but until May the 0849 was the busy train and the 0949 less so. Not sure what the current workings are meant to be, must get out more....
     
  16. 43055

    43055 Member

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    The express service is a 153+158 combo. Or at least it was when I went on it last week (Saturday). The rest of the services were just 158's.
     
  17. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I've never seen it myself,but good if it is. The departure at 10:49 must also be a candidate for strengthening, judging by some trips I've had on it.
     
  18. chrisncal54

    chrisncal54 Member

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    It's an established mainline, whatever you claim. One of three; not a branch line! For those of us who actually live on the S&C, and use it daily, it's really quite funny to read these outsiders' responses!
     
  19. 43055

    43055 Member

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    I can't say as it was my first time on the line where I did settle to Carlisle and return with lunch at Carlisle (1201 arrival, 1404 departure). Even with the 153 it was busy and was lucky to get a table of 4 after Dent (1 person was standing as well) On the way back was less busy but still plenty of people.
     
  20. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    But it has a slow linespeed and a sparse service, so not exactly a mainline when you compare it to the MML, GWML etc
     
  21. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I hope you enjoyed your first time on the route !
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I agree, to me the ideal given the demand would be a two hourly clockface all stations service, possibly with the odd peak extra if the main peak flows couldn't be handled in a pure clockface timetable.
     
  23. chrisncal54

    chrisncal54 Member

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    Agreed; but your point is irrelevant as the S&C isn't competing!
     
  24. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    It has slow line speeds but that is due to previously years of neglect, and despite millions being spent securing the lines future they have been reluctant to spend that bit more to increase the speed which I believe is 60mph maximum on the S&C itself, although The Friends Of The Settle And Carlisle Line are in talks with the powers that be to rectify this in what is hoped will not be the too distant future.

    The question of it being sparsely populated is irrelevant if it was upgraded with the line speeds and the short sections single tracked doubled, as proper expresses could then be run. The WCML between Lancaster and Carlisle is only slightly shorter than the S&C and only serves Oxenholme and Penrith, but no one would dream of closing that section down because it is sparsely populated.
     
  25. 43055

    43055 Member

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    I was every good thank you. Also got the chance to go in settle signal box on the way back as well.
     
  26. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Glad to hear it !
     
  27. class26

    class26 Member

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    Modern Railways stated that after the track was relaid a while ago it was fit for a minimum of 75 mph and possibly with sprinters higher. Why the speed hasn`t been raised I do not know, perhaps others do?
    Where i live the Boston - Skegness line was relaid to take HST`s a few years back and the track apparently is suitable for 75 mph but the limit remains at the previous 60 mph because signals need re spacing. I have no idea as to the cost of this.
     
  28. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Perhaps the one fast train each way a day doesn't justify the cost of a significant line speed increase. I would have thought you'd need a top-link all day InterCity type service for that.
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Which the line doesn't really justify, as most journeys are just as well done using the ECML or WCML as a connection from the existing service given the level of demand.
     
  30. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Isn't that just the old chicken and egg conundrum? Carlisle and Leeds (and York) are major Northern cities, not that far apart (not much longer than Liverpool to York), so really deserve a decent train service which would facilitate more commuters and travellers. At the moment, the train journey takes longer than by car, so it effectively prevents/discourages people to travel between the cities. A more frequent/faster service would start to build up passenger traffic. The current trains are basically aimed at the tourist/enthusiast market stopping at all stations, which added to low speed, (and uncomfortable trains) makes it unattractive for "inter city" travellers.
     
  31. 55z

    55z Member

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    The Leeds to Carlisle line is a MAIN LINE and is still considered as a main line what ever some people's opinion is. It did have a 80/90 mph speed limit between Skipton & Carlisle before BR reduced it to 60 mph as a cost cutting measure (reducing maintenance) so 60 mph applies Skipton to Carlisle. Skipton to Leeds has some 90 mph limit. The Friends of S & C would like it to be 75 mph.
     

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