Southport Line shortforming.

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Mogster, 8 Jan 2020.

  1. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    6 journeys so far this week on the peak Southport - Alderley Edge service and 5 short forms.

    2 car 150s, people left at Westhoughton, Bolton, in a morning, Oxford Road , Salford Crescent in the evening, ridiculous... From Southport it seems the 142s have been withdrawn and replaced with nothing. If there really is no other stock available then why are 142s not being run with PRM compliant 150s?
     
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  3. notlob.divad

    notlob.divad Established Member

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    I suspect you can point your finger squarely at the delayed introduction of the Class 769's for this.

    Although truthfully you can back a step further and point your finger at the 'Graylinged' Electrification projects between Wigan NW and Bolton, and Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria.
     
  4. northernchris

    northernchris Member

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    It's the same across most of Northern's network now. In Yorkshire there's cancellations each day due to lack of units on top of services having carriages reduced compared to the pre-December 2019 timetable. It's frustrating there was so much pressure for the pacers to be gone, as tagging one on to a compliant unit would make a huge difference to the capacity on offer. As it stands there just simply isn't the stock available to meet the capacity demands of each line
     
  5. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    2 car 150 again this morning. Less people at Wallgate, Westhoughton seems people are quickly making alternative arrangements. More cars on the road.
     
  6. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    To be fair, the pressure was for pacers to be replaced - implying no reduction in capacity. I suspect the current pacer desert has more to do with the PRM legislation.
     
  7. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    People at Wallgate are making the switch to the Leeds and Blackburn services which (Leeds especially) are often nicer trains (158s), have shorter journey times, and now they start in Wigan are guaranteed to have seats.

    The Alderley and Stalybridge services were regularly short-formed & over crowded before December as well, it's nothing new. I would remind the people of Southport that this is what they said they wanted... :rolleyes:
     
  8. SeanG

    SeanG Member

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    I imagine that many commuters are now wishing the 142s hadn't gone. The grass isn't always greener and I'd love to stand with a big sign on Wallgate Station at 0800 saying "I told you so".

    Of course I'd love it even more if a) electrification hadn't been cancelled; or b) the 769s actually worked.
     
  9. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    No fan of the Pacers, they did a huge amount of damage to the image of public transport in the North. However with the choice of an old train or no train, I’m sure the majority of punters would rather have the old one and be able to at least board...
     
  10. C J Snarzell

    C J Snarzell Member

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    Having lived in Wigan most of my life, there are two key lines serviced by Northern - Wallgate to Southport and across the street you have North Western to Lime Street. Surely wouldn't it be wise to hand these two lines over to Merseyrail as both destinations are in their territory?

    Northern also service the Wigan to Kirby line which again is a strange one as passengers have to hop off a Northern train onto a Merseyrail one if they are heading closer to Liverpool. Wouldn't it be more sensible for Merseyrail to service the whole line?

    Given the adverse publicity Northern are under, wouldn't allowing another TOC to take off them two main routes ease the pressure somehow and allow Northern to concentrate on their other key routes out of Wigan.

    CJ
     
  11. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Not really because in order for Merseyrail to take the services over, they would need to receive from Northern, the stock required to run them. So a smaller total stock would in turn, reduce Northern's flexibility further, thereby putting services on their remaining lines at risk. That might please those on the lines that are handed over, but it would be tough on those relying on the remaining Northern services.
     
  12. Edders23

    Edders23 Member

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    I assume there is more stock due to be deployed so presumably at some point in the next few months the situation will improve

    perhaps you'll have to to console yourself with the fact that there will be a better service around the corner
     
  13. Winthorpe

    Winthorpe Member

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    That choice of 'it's a Pacer or nothing' has been the implicit offer to commuters in the North for decades now.

    I agree that in an ideal world each Pacer would only be withdrawn once the suitable replacement unit enters service, but I can only hope the Pacers withdrawal will at last concentrate minds on adding sufficient capacity with proper alternatives to the Pacers. Otherwise I fear that the 'it's a Pacer or nothing' attitude will just go on and on and on...
     
  14. notlob.divad

    notlob.divad Established Member

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    To add to the above point. Whilst I personally like the idea of an expanded Merseyrail to cover West of the WCML, there are two further major issues with the proposal.
    1. Merseyrail don't currently run Diesel powered vehicles, so as far as I am aware do not have the facilities to refuel and maintain.
    2. I am not sure the Bürgers of Southport would be best pleased at the idea of "This is Wigan Wallgate, your final station stop. All Change here for Manchester". Which is what seems to be being advocated.
     
  15. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    Lo and behold, another 2 car Southport short form approaches the Oxford Road platforms... :s
     
  16. urbophile

    urbophile Member

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    Common sense for Merseyrail to take over the local services run by Northern within greater Merseyside: ie Wigan NW to Lime Street; Runcorn (or South Parkway) to Lime Street. The potential is there to fully integrate them with the network via the Wapping tunnel, with the dual voltage provision already agreed. Electrification at least as far as Warrington Central is a no-brainer. But the diesel lines (and the through route to Manchester) are not going to be easily integrated.
     
  17. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    There is an argument that you should move services away from a failing TOC to a successful TOC, particularly around the edges of their franchise.
    The other thing to remember is that Merseyrail, as a purely electric operation, is a relatively recent invention required to make privatisation "work" (as if!) and blue ocean thinking should consider the implications of the addition of non-electric working.

    In my opinion one of the strengths of Merseyrail is that it is managed locally, rather than many miles away (York, Aberdeen, Nottingham etc.)
     
  18. Shaw S Hunter

    Shaw S Hunter Established Member

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    With respect the suggestion that the Wigan-Southport/Kirkby lines could be transferred to Merseyrail is somewhat of a "trainspotter" or crayonista approach. Merseyrail is the responsibility of Merseytravel but the busiest stations on the two lines are most definitely not in Merseyside so there's little to no reason for Merseytravel to have any interest. And the predominant passenger flows are to/from Wigan/Manchester. The real issue is the long-term failure to make sufficient plans to replace the Pacers to meet the PRM deadline. Arguably the seeds for this particular mess were sown way back when Lord Adonis was Transport Secretary and pursued NW electrification and associated cascade of EMUs from Thameslink rather than order new DMUs. The argument then put forward that train leasing companies wouldn't finance any more DMUs has subsequently been shown to be nonsense.
     
  19. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    In a massive coincidence the maintenance depot at Birkenhead North for Merseyrail is due to take on some diesel maintenance soon with the Wrexham transport for wales services going there.
     
  20. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    With respect, I think that the existing Merseyrail electric system should remain an an (almost) self-contained network. If you used the Wapping Tunnel to try and funnel trains from Wigan, Newton Le Willows, etc. into Liverpool Central, that would create a situation every bit as bad as the Castlefield / Oxford Road /Piccadilly section in Manchester. Delays miles away from Liverpool could cause huge conflicts with paths through Liverpool Central & Moorfields, etc.

    Also, as happens on the Merseyrail Chester line, they would almost certainly want to give priority to all-stations stopping trains, making it difficult for pathing longer distance fast & semi-fast services; the Blackpool & Cheshire Lines "fasts" might even cease, making many journey times longer.

    Moreover, diverting services to Central would lose the very important connectivity with long distance services at Lime Street, and I very much doubt that Central could cater safely for lots more passengers.
     
  21. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    Indeed. As someone who lives south of Manchester I have little sympathy. Prior to May 2018 the Crewe to Piccadilly portion of this shuttle service was highly reliable.

    Now it's been abandoned for this joke of a service - operated by diesels on a route which is mostly electrified. If there was one service that sums up the fragmentation and farce of the railways in the north and the shambles of the May 2018 timetable then this is it.

    I'm fairly sure Northern hate this service that has been enforced upon them given the drop in bread and butter commuters south of Manchester as a result of the inferior rolling stock and increased delays as a result of having to travel through the Manchester bottleneck.
     
  22. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Supposedly it was intended to electrify the whole way from Kirkby to Wigan in the 1970s - however I cannot find a source for this information other than Wikipedia, so take it with a pinch of salt.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, it was certainly part of the plan. I have an original 1970s newspaper article about it somewhere.
     
  24. C J Snarzell

    C J Snarzell Member

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    From local knowledge, the Wigan to Kirkby line is a quiter route in comparison to other lines. The small stations at places such as Orrell or Pemberton only see one train pass through there every hour (if your lucky!) so I cannot see much investment being made on that line in the future.

    On the subject of Merseyrail - I'm sure they did actually run services from Wigan North Western to Lime Street at one time. Someone please advise me if I haven't dreamt that one up??? Most of the stations along that route (with the exception of Bryn) fall under the County of Merseyside and thus are covered by Merseytravel with the yellow 'M' s everywhere, but the line is only serviced by Northern.

    I recently used a TPE service and they have their network map displayed in the carriages that stated they were launching their own route along this same stretch of line in December 2018 - but to date it has never happened as far as I know. Anyone any further info about this?

    CJ
     
  25. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    There is plenty of demand for more services on this line, but the demand is largely Manchester-facing (commuters, college students), not Liverpool-facing. Splitting the line at Wigan would be problematic for those passengers.
     
  26. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    This is where it gets confusing!
    Merseytravel brand the local rail services as Merseyrail which incorporates the Northern, Wirral and City lines. All station signage for stations in Merseyside shows this branding.

    However Merseyrail Electrics (the franchise holder) operate only the Northern and Wirral lines (DC electric) but ALSO brand them as merseyrail! The city line covers the routes in Merseyside that arent DC electric and are mostly operated by Northern.

    The result being that the Merseyrail Twitter account gets a lot of complaints over trains it doesnt even operate!
     
  27. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    I seem to remember the platform departure indicators having Skelmersdale as an (optimistic) destination option when the Liverpool Link/Loop first opened.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That may be the current demand for the line based on its service pattern, but might that change if a 2 or 4tph service to Liverpool operated? A cross platform connection at Wigan would not be "problematic", and it would be a significant enhancement for anyone travelling to Wigan itself.

    It's quite possible that those headed for Liverpool drive to Kirkby and park up, or indeed drive all the way.
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They had loads of interesting things, Ormskirk via both Ford and Orrell Park another I believe. Would love to see a list.
     
  30. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    The TPE service between Liverpool Lime St., Wigan & Glasgow service nominally started with the December 2019 timetable change, operated by Class 185s. And some trains have actually run, but many have been cancelled. The original publicity implied that these trains would include calls at St. Helens Central. The reality (on weekdays) is that St. Helens Central has one train to Scotland, but no return service. For a town of over 100,000 population, that is a very poor offering.
     
  31. Shaw S Hunter

    Shaw S Hunter Established Member

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    You do seem to have an obsession with these ideas but based on what exactly? Having worked trains on this line I have no doubt that there is considerable repressed demand but nearly all east facing. More significantly the number of passengers travelling across Upholland is tiny. The long term future is surely the Skelmersdale scheme with any connections between Greater Manchester and Merseyside taking place there.
     

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