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Should there be more Liverpool to Scotland services?

Ellis101

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I cant believe how awfully inconvenient the Liverpool to Scotland services are for a city with identical population to Manchester.
Is it down to capacity or something else...
What do you think?
 
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BeijingDave

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The Manchester urban area is more populous than Liverpool's though, and includes Salford, which is 106,074 people (2021 Census Data). It is also more economically active (various measures), has a busier airport, has more major stadia (including Old Trafford cricket ground, whereas Liverpool only really has the two football stadia), more concerts, more universities. It is, by almost every measure, the 'capital' of the north west.

You would expect more inbound and outbound rail services. I say this without any bias, as a Liverpool supporter!

That said, Liverpool is poorly served in many ways for a major city. The London services really highlight this. I am sure it also used to have a few Bristol services a day back in 80s?
 
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Andy Pacer

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I cant believe how awfully inconvenient the Liverpool to Scotland services are for a city with identical population to Manchester.
Is it down to capacity or something else...
What do you think?
What makes you describe them as "awfully inconvenient"?
 

Krokodil

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The Manchester urban area is more populous than Liverpool's though, and includes Salford, which is 106,074 people (2021 Census Data).
Wigan is part of the Manchester urban area though, but is on the route of the Liverpool trains.

I am sure it also used to have a few Bristol services a day back in 80s?
In early VXC days it used to have a Portsmouth service.

What makes you describe them as "awfully inconvenient"?
Perhaps the fact that there are only two northbound services per day, and one southbound (the other southbound train starts at Lancaster).
 

BeijingDave

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Wigan is part of the Manchester urban area though, but is on the route of the Liverpool trains.

Bolton is on the route of the Manchester trains. The Manchester trains also effectively serve Oldham and Rochdale and many other populous towns indirectly.
 

dk1

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I suppose Liverpool has to be grateful for small mercies. Until a couple of years ago it had no direct Scottish services at all.
 

Krokodil

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Bolton is on the route of the Manchester trains. The Manchester trains also effectively serve Oldham and Rochdale and many other populous towns indirectly.
None of which is a reason for the Liverpool service to be so poor.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Wigan is part of the Manchester urban area though, but is on the route of the Liverpool trains.
Wigan has an excellent service to Scotland, being on the direct WCML.

Back to BR days pre-electrification north of Crewe, there were only a handful (2-3 tpd) through services from both Manchester and Liverpool to Scotland.
They were portions which joined at Preston and divided at Carstairs for Glasgow/Edinburgh - they were very slow.
In later BR days the portion working stopped and services were concentrated on Manchester, running alternately to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Some trains ran through from Birmingham and further south (on XC/VXC) with TPE eventually taking over Manchester (Airport)-Scotland.
XC left Liverpool in VXC days, and TPE only came in from 2018 with 3tpd to Glasgow.
Covid put a stop to that and it has never got back to that frequency.

Liverpool does now have good connections at Wigan and Preston, following electrification of the routes via St Helens.
Birmingham was another place with only 2-3 tpd to Scotland under early BR, but went hourly after electrification in 1974.
 

JonathanH

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None of which is a reason for the Liverpool service to be so poor.

There are already three trains most hours from Preston to Scotland, one from London, one from Manchester, one from Birmingham.

The fact that three trains an hour has been cut to two in some hours suggests that running four to include a Liverpool service would be overkill for most of the year.
 

mpthomson

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Wigan is part of the Manchester urban area though, but is on the route of the Liverpool trains.


In early VXC days it used to have a Portsmouth service.


Perhaps the fact that there are only two northbound services per day, and one southbound (the other southbound train starts at Lancaster).
Wigan is also on the WCML.

None of which is a reason for the Liverpool service to be so poor.
More likely it's because Liverpool is a terminus station in reality with limited onward connections, whereas Manchester is much more of a hub with onward (or incoming ) passengers from the east of the Pennines, Nottingham etc.
 

BeijingDave

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Wigan is also on the WCML.


More likely it's because Liverpool is a terminus station in reality with limited onward connections, whereas Manchester is much more of a hub with onward (or incoming ) passengers from the east of the Pennines, Nottingham etc.

This was my point about the number of large surrounding towns that would use Manchester to connect for onward travel (whereas Liverpool only really has Birkenhead), just better expressed by you really.
 

A S Leib

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It seems a bit odd that Lancaster has two trains per hour to Manchester and none to Liverpool in most hours, but as Liverpool Lime Street's 15th in journeys to / from Barrow (4054, slightly below Manchester Airport and slightly above Blackpool North), and Windermere has twice as many passengers to / from Euston than Lime Street, I don't think switching any existing Cumbria – Manchester services to Liverpool would be particularly desirable.
 

Some guy

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More reason to exclude it from the Greater Manchester population figures in this context.
Wigan has almost nothing to do with Manchester. It has 0 direct services to the airport which is wrong. They’ve always been an independent Lancashire town with their own council. It’s just under greater Manchester for administrative purposes
 

Bletchleyite

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Don't forget that the City of Manchester is under a third of the contiguous built up area, whereas most of the built up area of Liverpool (before you get to the "beads on a string" of towns along Merseyrail lines) is in the City of Liverpool (though some bits are Knowsley and Sefton). You're probably better comparing Greater Manchester (pop 2,867,800 in 2021) with the Liverpool City Region (pop 1,551,800 in 2021). There are confusing factors there (e.g. Wigan being in GM but near the WCML) but in reality there are enough such cases for each that we can probably ignore those, and the WCML basically does run down the middle of the two.

It's of note that Manchester had almost no direct service to Scotland in 1997, there were a couple of 158s a day from Manchester and Liverpool and that was it! It's a market that's built up later.

But aside from that, the LCR (including the Wirral) is basically on a pair of sort-of peninsulas and thus has almost no catchment outside the City Region and a small area of West Lancashire, whereas Manchester is more central and is useful for connecting from a far wider area, so it will clearly result in more demand even were the population of the area not nearly double.
 

Bletchleyite

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Wigan has almost nothing to do with Manchester. It has 0 direct services to the airport which is wrong. They’ve always been an independent Lancashire town with their own council. It’s just under greater Manchester for administrative purposes

However with a population of about 350K it doesn't really have a meaningful impact on the relative catchments of each.

The connectional catchment of Manchester Piccadilly is huge - not just the roughly 2.5m population of GM (give or take the ones who would go to the WCML instead), but also vast swathes of Cheshire and Derbyshire. You're probably looking at a catchment of about five million at least, maybe even more if e.g. people from Sheffield would go to Glasgow via Manchester.

Whereas Liverpool Lime St has a catchment probably well under the roughly 1.5m population of the LCR and West Lancs, because a lot will go to the WCML stations (Wigan, Warrington, Preston) and a lot will go to Chester.

That's why Manchester Piccadilly has three very busy trains per hour to London, and Liverpool has just one (soon to be two, but shorter ones). And that can be extended to other destinations too.

Sirprisingly, yes. Every day's a school day on Rail Forums UK.

It used to have one an hour (from Southport). But it's an easy change at Oxford Road or Victoria (depending which timing suits). TBH it's not a well-off place so I suspect the low-costs at Liverpool Airport are preferred anyway.
 
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BeijingDave

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But aside from that, the LCR (including the Wirral) is basically on a pair of sort-of peninsulas and thus has almost no catchment outside the City Region and a small area of West Lancashire, whereas Manchester is more central and is useful for connecting from a far wider area, so it will clearly result in more demand even were the population of the area not nearly double.
A lot of people on the Wirral will be going to Chester for their connections southbound too (though not northbound).
 

Lytham Local

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I cant believe how awfully inconvenient the Liverpool to Scotland services are for a city with identical population to Manchester.
Is it down to capacity or something else...
What do you think?
Over the years there have been a number of direct service from Liverpool to Glasgow - seems to be one of the first to get the chop when there is a review.

Currently, there's 2 direct services a day from Liverpool to Glasgow. At any other time there's an hourly service from Liverpool to Preston, where you can connect with the xx:41 WC service to Glasgow or the 2 hourly TP service. There's also the additional half hourly service to Wigan where you can change for other WC services. Doesn't seem that bad a service to me.

As others have mentioned, Manchester is a hub compared to Liverpool as a terminus and as you now have to go to Manchester or Birmingham to get a XC service, those who do the number crunching probably see Manchester to be the bigger market rather than Liverpool and set up the services accordingly.

I still prefer Liverpool for a night out though!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Surprisingly, yes. Every day's a school day on Rail Forums UK.
It did have an hourly TPE service (from Scotland) for several years until the Bolton route was wired and trains diverted that way.
That Wigan service also helped Liverpool by providing easy connections (often same or cross platform).
It retained a Northern service to/from Cumbria for a while but lost out on the Castlefield solution.
The odd couple of Manchester Airport-Cumbria services now routed via Chat Moss/Wigan NW don't even stop.
 

Djgr

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I don't think that anyone would argue that Liverpool should have identical service frequencies to Manchester but the difference is generally starkly inequitable (e.g., Scotland, London, Cardiff).
 

TheSmiths82

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I am slightly biased living in Manchester but I as well as as the central Greater Manchester area having a much bigger population, it is also much more central. E.g people are more likely to go into Manchester and change trains. In terms of the urban area population (this is in away what defines the city, rather than just administrative borders) the population of Greater Manchester is 2.5 million and Liverpool is 0.86 million.


The fact that Manchester is more central and has a much bigger real population you can see why we get a lot more trains. The airport is probably a massive pull too being by far the most widely used outside of the London airports so many people that use the TPE Scottish services may not be going to Manchester at all, but to the airport.
 

Acfb

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It's a fairly straightforward change at Wigan North Western. I was surprised to find out that they'd brought back/introduced direct TPE services from Glasgow to Liverpool actually (i thought COVID had killed those) and of course there is the direct evening service from Edinburgh via York.

I presume there's maybe a bit more demand from Glasgow to Liverpool than Edinburgh? I also remember there being a token one a day service from Edinburgh to Liverpool around 25 years or so ago.
 

Bletchleyite

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I don't think that anyone would argue that Liverpool should have identical service frequencies to Manchester but the difference is generally starkly inequitable (e.g., Scotland, London, Cardiff).

I wouldn't agree at all. Liverpool probably has about 1/5 of the catchment of Manchester Piccadilly (yet say 1/3 of the London service), and I think that's being kind.

You can't have direct trains from everywhere to everywhere.
 

hexagon789

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I wouldn't agree at all. Liverpool probably has about 1/5 of the catchment of Manchester Piccadilly (yet say 1/3 of the London service), and I think that's being kind.

You can't have direct trains from everywhere to everywhere.
If they went back to the 3tpd each way I think that would be quite adequate with decent connections for Edinburgh at Preston or Carlisle perhaps?
 

yorksrob

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What they need to do is divide trains at Preston for Liverpool/Manchester.
 

MadMac

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What they need to do is divide trains at Preston for Liverpool/Manchester.
Time was (post-steam) that a Glasgow/Edinburgh to Manchester/Liverpool combined at Carstairs and split at Preston. Some of the Liverpool portions even went to Exchange via Ormskirk.
 

yorksrob

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Time was (post-steam) that a Glasgow/Edinburgh to Manchester/Liverpool combined at Carstairs and split at Preston. Some of the Liverpool portions even went to Exchange via Ormskirk.

It would certainly save paths on the WCML.
 

AL1

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Pre-Covid TPE services back in from June timetable :- first and last trains to/from Oxenholme, and 3tpd Lime Street to Glasgow Central and return. A welcome and good start .
 

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