Sleeper Post E-W Link

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by route:oxford, 20 Apr 2015.

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  1. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    There are times when I've considered taking the sleeper from Stirling to London for onward travel to Oxford.

    The trouble is, by the time I buy a good priced Advanced Purchased ticket to London, then pay for a peak price ticket to from Paddington to Oxford as well as cross-London transfer the time lag and cost usually means it is better not to bother and just fly down in the morning.

    It is probably very similar for many people whose final destination is not central London.

    Once the E-W link opens, would there be value in stopping to set down only up at pick-up only down at either Milton Keynes/Bletchley?

    Providing that regular timetabled trains operate a service that would connect to the sleeper, I suspect it could open up a wider market.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think the Sleeper would do better to call at MKC than at WFJ, to be honest. Though I would as I live there!

    I believe the issue is presently that the platform is too short, and as it's never called there it doesn't have grandfather rights. However I'd imagine that if the new stock has SDO, which I seem to recall it will have, this could be reconsidered, by which time MK will be bigger still.
     
  3. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Considerring it doesn't stop anywhere that would allow access to/from much bigger markets in the NW and West Midlands, I think a connection to Oxford would be unlikely. Even though a stop at Bletchley would be at a somewhat less horrendous time than one further north. The lack of intermediate stops also makes it easier to run the sleeper via the ECML when WCML is closed for some reason.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Except there are intermediate stops, albeit in the Highlander rather than the Lowlander, and WFJ only northbound for some inexplicable reason (platform length again maybe?)
     
  5. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    The time would certainly be helpful for a planned stop at MK/Bletchley for the Highland Sleeper

    Up 07:00
    Down 22:00

    Would be really quite civilised and would allow an arrival into Oxford/Reading around 07:30/08:00 with a convenient departure in the evening.
     
  6. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Oddly i same able to support this proposal ;)
     
  7. GatwickDepress

    GatwickDepress Established Member

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    Me too. Funny that, isn't it? :lol:
     
  8. Trainfan344

    Trainfan344 Established Member

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    I still think it should be diverted via Stoke-on-Trent myself.
     
  9. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    No - there is clearly a pressing business case for this service. ;)
     
  10. tractakid

    tractakid Member

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    I'd also like to offer my unbiased support for a sleeper call at MK. :)
     
  11. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    I find myself supporting this too. Stopping short shy of London by a few miles (in the grand scheme ;) ) has the potential to open up to a market of people who want to travel long distance to the north and Scotland, but who don't want the hassle of having to change in London - and let's face it, most people don't really want to travel south in order to travel north!

    Combined with East-West Rail this has a pretty hefty potential to open up sleeper travel to new markets, especially as Serco will inevitably be chasing leisure passengers.
     
  12. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    I would expect that they wouldn't want to stop the southbound sleeper at WFJ during the morning peak due to commuters trying to use it and/or line congestion. Stopping at MKC or Bletchley would have the same problem.

    Perhaps they should run the sleeper via E-W to Oxford and then into Paddington? <D
     
  13. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    Serco seem open to new ideas, if an interview in the april 1-14 issue of Rail with Peter Strachan, the md of the sleeper operation, is anything to go by. He says that "the West Midlands is an interesting proposition" - BR ran a Scottish sleeper from Euston via Birmingham at some point in the late 1980s - which I think had Inverness and Stranraer portions, as well as the Plymouth/Bristol to Scotland service.

    Strachan says that key issue in the West Midlands is getting departure and arrival at sensible times, which would clearly be less of an issue at Milton Keynes. Maybe just email them and ask if they are interested in serving MK?
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    MKC not necessarily, because Platform 5 exists precisely for that kind of purpose - it is a loop to allow overtaking. Commuters maybe, but they seem to be able to cope with u/s on some Virgin trains.
     
  15. Fishplate84

    Fishplate84 Member

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    Better copy in transport Scotland to that email. If they aren't bought in, there's no way it'll happen. My guess is they couldn't give a fig for intermediate English stops. London is such a large market id be amazed if the whole train can't be booked solid each night with a bit of decent marketing. There isn't that many beds to book each night and you can't sell them twice, like you can a daytime train seat.
     
  16. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    This. Transport for Scotland call the shots with this and are pretty stubborn. Dont ever expect it to go to a station that isnt on the Euston Rd. Not sure it would fit in 5 at MK either.
     
  17. JamesRowden

    JamesRowden Established Member

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    What about forgetting about the beds and just getting Crosscountry to run a night service from Southampton to Glasgow and Edinburgh with stops at Reading and Bletchley. It could be routed depending on the engineering works of the particular night since there are at least two independent routes between each stop. I would have found this very useful when I had meeting in Glasgow at 9:30AM. I had to get out of bed at 3:00AM in order to get to Heathrow that day. Awake for nearly 24hrs that day too.

    But of course, maybe one can simply travel to Euston and get the sleeper (as I realised after that day) :)
     
    Last edited: 21 Apr 2015
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It wouldn't fit in any platform at MKC, none are longer than 12x20m/11x23m (that I can recall). However, SDO could be used on the new sliding door stock.
     
  19. Altnabreac

    Altnabreac Established Member

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    Indeed the ITT was quite specific about using Euston so TS will not permit any variation to Paddington or Waterloo.

    However all 4 English Intermediate stops - Carlisle, Preston, Crewe, Watford Junction were at the discretion of the operator and they were free to propose variations to these, or omit some (but they didn't).

    Now the Franchise is up and running I suspect it would need TS approval to vary it but I don't think it would be impossible to get it, especially if you were replacing the Watford stop.
     
  20. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    The logical thing would be to arrange discounted connecting tickets to Euston similar to the CIVs for Eurostar, make them purchasable only upon proof of a Sleeper booking and require the same proof to be shown at checks in order to validate it.
     
  21. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    That still assumes that people are OK with connecting in London and feel it's worth it - in the OPs situation it isn't worth it, and I'll bet there are a lot of similar situations and lot of people who just don't want to change in London.

    Especially once East-West is in place, a stop at MK would make a lot of sense for almost every town and city on the route as the time taken to get to MK wouldn't be that different to London, and the hassle would be much reduced.
     
  22. Monarch010

    Monarch010 Member

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    Bring back slip carriages! :roll:
     
  23. D6975

    D6975 Established Member

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    It was the Fort Bill/Stranraer/Inverness(small one) sleeper that used to go via New St once upon a time. I remember being p***d off when they changed it so that I had to go all the way up to Preston before I could get on it.
     
  24. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    As has been pointed out by Altnabreac, Serco stuck with the existing intermediate stops south of the border, when they could have ditched them. So maybe there is money to be made at those places and London amazingly doesn't fill all the berths...

    The calls at Crewe by the Highlands/Aberdeen service are very handy for parts of the North west and Midlands, so long as you don't mind a late start northbound and an early wake-up the other way. There are trains heading in pretty much every direction out of Crewe between 05.40 and 6am.

    If Mr Strachan "doesn't give a fig" about intermediate stops in England, why did he even bother mentioning the West Midlands in that interview? And I'm sure Transport Scotland will listen to new ideas - so long as there is a proper business case.
     
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