Stourbridge Shuttle Suspended 08/05/2022

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Carlisle

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The cost of that would be similar, as would be converting it to a tramway

As craigybagel has so rightly said, it works well as it is, why change it? As far as I can see the most compelling fact based argument for changing the method of operation is “because it annoys a few forum members to see two members of staff on it”

I’m afraid I haven’t heard a convincing argument so far that the expenditure and inconvenience of changing the method of operation would be worthwhile or would result in a better service being delivered to society
That may or may not be correct.
All I & I think some others are saying is these & other similar decisions should primarily be the in the hands of the industry’s best experts & professionals & not simply devolved entirely to the trade union activists with a particular agenda.
 
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satisnek

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The Stourbridge town "car" is actually a vital link (albeit only 3/4 mile long) to the junction. A bus can take 10 minutes to negotiate the very congested roads at peak hours, the "car" takes 3 minutes, even at its sluggish 20mph top speed (rarely experienced that except when the dmu went through the buffers in the 1970s)! Not sure why jointed track was replaced, surely much easier to fix a defect on an isolated rail than on a cwr length? Yes it's bouncy but it's only a 3 minute ride!!
Wow! - were you on the train which went through the buffers?

The old track probably dated back to GWR days (and I'm not referring to the TOC which has appropriated the name!) and had seen decades of being beaten up by three generations of heavy-rail DMUs. The new CWR will last just shy of forever if it's only going to be used by ice cream vans.

I've just done a few quick as-the-crow-flies measurements on Google Earth and Stourbridge Junction station is actually no further from the town centre than the respective stations at Rugby, Loughborough and Wellingborough, so it's difficult to see how the Town station and service was ever justified in the first place, let alone post-Beeching. Of course, in some places it's a much longer walk, such as nearby Bromsgrove.
 
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That may or may not be correct.
All I’m saying is these decisions should primarily be the in the hands of the industry’s best experts & professionals rather than left to trade union activists with a particular agenda.
It is indeed the industry’s best experts and professionals who have deemed this method of working is the safest and most efficient.

I don’t think anyone’s so much as mentioned trade unions on this thread
 

Dave W

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Stourbridge is bigger than Bromsgrove and the Junction is up a whacking great hill, as proven by the fact several units have had issues coming down it... Interesting that Beeching didn’t kill it, though. I wonder if the original justification was helped by the line continuing down to Stourbridge Basin.

On the subject of the crew doing an end each - my understanding when I was using it regularly was that didn’t happen - rather they’d do the driving at both ends, and alternate periodically. The non-driver checked tickets and operated the doors.

It‘s an anachronism, but it’d be sad to lose it (then again, as I said in the light rail thread, the cheapest thing to do would be to tarmac the lot and run it as a busway to avoid congestion - the local traffic has been mentioned, it’s cataclysmic around school kick out time)
 

Carlisle

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It is indeed the industry’s best experts and professionals who have deemed this method of working is the safest and most efficient.
I’d be very surprised if that’s true, it’s far more likely to have been a pragmatic decision by London Midland at the time to avoid triggering a more widespread DOO related dispute.
 

DorkingMain

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I’d be very surprised if that’s true, it’s far more likely to have been a pragmatic decision by London Midland at the time to avoid triggering a more widespread DOO related dispute.
Isn't it already mentioned several times in this thread that DOO is only permitted on continuously track circuited lines (which the branch is not)?

Therefore the "pragmatic" decision is to not resignal the entire line just to avoid paying for a second member of staff
 
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Isn't it already mentioned several times in this thread that DOO is only permitted on continuously track circuited lines (which the branch is not)?

Therefore the "pragmatic" decision is to not resignal the entire line just to avoid paying for a second member of staff
Quite correct. London Midland’s input into the scheme would have been negligible at best.
 

philthetube

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It's qualified people doing a job, providing a service transporting the public. I'm not sure what exactly they need to "admit to".

And this is the typical answer from someone not employed by the railway, who thinks he's best to tear up the safety rules just because it makes life easier.

As long as it's a part of the national network, then all the rules need to apply. If they want tramway rules, then they need to turn it into a tramway. It may seem like overkill in this particular case, but you can't have compromises where safety is concerned.

In any case, it's not like there's any issues with manning it with two crews. It means revenue duties are carried out onboard (far more frequently than seems to be the case on other services in that area) and given the staff are cross trained to act both as guards and drivers, I've never known of them struggling for staff.

It works well - so why change it?

Are you sure you don't mean Heathrow Express crews? They used to multi-task when the 332s were operating under the original franchise.
no, I could be wrong here but I am sure I heard this when gatwick express was relativly young, certainly before Heathrow express appeared.
It is indeed the industry’s best experts and professionals who have deemed this method of working is the safest and most efficient.

I don’t think anyone’s so much as mentioned trade unions on this thread
I doubt it, probably people who are set in their ways and don't like changing things
Isn't it already mentioned several times in this thread that DOO is only permitted on continuously track circuited lines (which the branch is not)?

Therefore the "pragmatic" decision is to not resignal the entire line just to avoid paying for a second member of staff
This post demonstrates my point. You keep stating that DOO in only permitted on continuously track circuited lines but not why, when only one train is able to access the line at any one time, you do not say why or how it is any more dangerous than other methods It is worth bearing in mind that this line has dedicated crew so there would be no need for expensive retraining.

I am not saying that single crewing is the best option for this line, what I am saying is that the railway has to look at things like this, and not treat everything as being set is stone and unchangeable. The money tree is going to dry up and the more easy savings that can be made the better, things like this need to be looked at, as the alternatives may be much more painful.
 

peteb

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Wow! - were you on the train which went through the buffers?

The old track probably dated back to GWR days (and I'm not referring to the TOC which has appropriated the name!) and had seen decades of being beaten up by three generations of heavy-rail DMUs. The new CWR will last just shy of forever if it's only going to be used by ice cream vans.

I've just done a few quick as-the-crow-flies measurements on Google Earth and Stourbridge Junction station is actually no further from the town centre than the respective stations at Rugby, Loughborough and Wellingborough, so it's difficult to see how the Town station and service was ever justified in the first place, let alone post-Beeching. Of course, in some places it's a much longer walk, such as nearby Bromsgrove.
Not on the train thankfully but waiting for it to take me back home The train dangling over the road made national headlines, and as a result the track was shortened then the station repositioned.
 

Railsigns

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Isn't it already mentioned several times in this thread that DOO is only permitted on continuously track circuited lines (which the branch is not)?
The Balloch and Ardrossan Harbour branches aren't continuously track circuited but are worked by DOO.
 

RPI

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Both St Ives and Ormskirk are operated with a token system not dissimilar to the Stourbridge system, as are Newquay, Looe, Marlow, Barnstaple, Kirkby, Whitby and several others




St Ives has a staff, handed to the driver of the first train onto the branch in the morning and stays with the driver up and down all day unless the train leaves the branch, one train working.

Looe is token between Liskeard and Coombe Junction and train staff between Coombe and Looe.

Barnstaple is track circuited between Cowley Bridge and Crediton, then token between Crediton and Eggesford and Eggesford to Barnstaple.
 

Bletchleyite

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Ormskirk has some sort of track circuit or axle counter arrangement past Rufford and between Preston and Midge Hall, between Midge Hall and Rufford it's traditional tokens. Midge Hall and Rufford boxes control the level crossings, otherwise I'd say I was surprised it wasn't just one train staff for the whole thing, because trains have not passed at Rufford for a very long time, the current hourly service passes on the WCML.
 

Killingworth

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Having seen this little unit standing at Stourbridge Jenction only last week I waa intrigued to read more about it. First impression was similar to that of others speaking of dodgems. Over half a million annual users on a service running every 10 minutes for 18 hours a day. That's an impressive operation.
 

Bletchleyite

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Having seen this little unit standing at Stourbridge Jenction only last week I waa intrigued to read more about it. First impression was similar to that of others speaking of dodgems. Over half a million annual users on a service running every 10 minutes for 18 hours a day. That's an impressive operation.

From a user's perspective it's rather a lot like what you'd imagine you would get if you made a mini Pacer out of a double ended Optare Solo body. Or in some ways like a more modern version of one of those old Ferkeltaxi* railbuses that used to be common in Germany.

* Literally "pig taxi", though I'm not entirely sure why.
 

MCSHF007

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The Stourbridge town "car" is actually a vital link (albeit only 3/4 mile long) to the junction. A bus can take 10 minutes to negotiate the very congested roads at peak hours, the "car" takes 3 minutes, even at its sluggish 20mph top speed (rarely experienced that except when the dmu went through the buffers in the 1970s)! Not sure why jointed track was replaced, surely much easier to fix a defect on an isolated rail than on a cwr length? Yes it's bouncy but it's only a 3 minute ride!!

Not my photo.
 

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D6130

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A class 122 'bubble car' IIRC....possibly no. M55012? Note the leading bogie sitting in street below and the rippling in the bodywork behind the cab caused by the impact on hitting the wall.
 

Dave W

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Note also the dramatic outcome didn't happen in the latter two crashes as by then the line had been cut back to fit the bus station in.

The civil engineering to accommodate the railway existed throughout the original bus station's life. The vertical wall over which the bubble car is hanging was still there even after the railway had been cut back - this itself had been retained after the bridge over Foster Street was removed when the line to the wharf was binned.

The original bus station was sort of shoehorned into all of this (including a very steep ramp). All was swept away when the bus station was rebuilt about a decade ago.
 
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The Balloch and Ardrossan Harbour branches aren't continuously track circuited but are worked by DOO.
OTW without train staff, which counts for these purposes as continuously track circuited. Southminster, Braintree and possibly Paisley Canal are other examples of this

St Ives has a staff, handed to the driver of the first train onto the branch in the morning and stays with the driver up and down all day unless the train leaves the branch, one train working.

Looe is token between Liskeard and Coombe Junction and train staff between Coombe and Looe.

Barnstaple is track circuited between Cowley Bridge and Crediton, then token between Crediton and Eggesford and Eggesford to Barnstaple.
Whatever species of shape the bit of metal/wood may be the principle remains the same. St Ives is probably the closest example as apart from the signaller operating the machine remotely from Saltley rather than handing the staff over themselves the method of work is more or less identical
 

satisnek

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Not on the train thankfully but waiting for it to take me back home The train dangling over the road made national headlines, and as a result the track was shortened then the station repositioned.
Must have been well scary for those on the train. This was before my time - just a kid in Surrey back then - but I think I may have seen a picture of it. I can remember the two slightly more recent incidents where trains attempted to enter the bus station, though.

I would say that my main gripe with the branch is how the Town station is tucked away behind the bus station. It's a legacy of the "it's going to close eventually anyway" mentality of BR, which saw a number branch lines cut back in a similar fashion. You can see where the platform ramp of the original station used to be adjacent to the present-day bufferstops.

As I think I've said before, I have found the service much more useful with a 10 minute frequency. I always seem to just miss the Town Car when I catch the train to Stourbridge (I think that this is because it's timed to connect with services from the Birmingham direction) and am quite happy to wait 9 minutes but not 14 as in the old days, when I usually opted to hoof it.
Stourbridge is bigger than Bromsgrove and the Junction is up a whacking great hill, as proven by the fact several units have had issues coming down it... Interesting that Beeching didn’t kill it, though. I wonder if the original justification was helped by the line continuing down to Stourbridge Basin.
Yes of course, Stourbridge is a valley town whereas it's usually hilltop towns which have a lengthy walk to the station because the railway either runs along a nearby valley or underneath in a tunnel. So the topography as well as the presence of a goods branch would most likely be the reason for Stourbridge having this unusual feature.
 

Bletchleyite

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I would say that my main gripe with the branch is how the Town station is tucked away behind the bus station. It's a legacy of the "it's going to close eventually anyway" mentality of BR, which saw a number branch lines cut back in a similar fashion. You can see where the platform ramp of the original station used to be adjacent to the present-day bufferstops.

Or put differently it's an excellent piece of integrated transport! I'd more gripe about the grim, dank subway that links the bus station to the town centre, like Chester it belongs in about 1975.
 

cin88

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Ormskirk has some sort of track circuit or axle counter arrangement past Rufford and between Preston and Midge Hall, between Midge Hall and Rufford it's traditional tokens. Midge Hall and Rufford boxes control the level crossings, otherwise I'd say I was surprised it wasn't just one train staff for the whole thing, because trains have not passed at Rufford for a very long time, the current hourly service passes on the WCML.

Its sequential track circuit operation (one train working no staff) between Rufford and Ormskirk, token between Rufford and Midge Hall. The passing loop is actually used quite regularly, there's a path for the Railhead Treatment Train that requires use of the loop, that path tends to get used for the ultrasonic train, weed sprayer etc throughout the year. The loop is also in use during the Grand National meeting as a couple of extra trains are put on using a 3 car 158, which has to be looped around the normal passenger service.
 

peteb

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Or put differently it's an excellent piece of integrated transport! I'd more gripe about the grim, dank subway that links the bus station to the town centre, like Chester it belongs in about 1975.
Grim subways are a feature of Kidderminster too. It seems Worcestershire County Council are more concerned about keeping traffic moving on the ring road than pedestrian safety (one subway damaged by a burnt out vehicle has lacked lights since the New Year) and they wonder why the town centre is dying.....pelican crossings are the answer. At least Stourbridge has a train station in the centre of the town ........
 

satisnek

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Or put differently it's an excellent piece of integrated transport! I'd more gripe about the grim, dank subway that links the bus station to the town centre, like Chester it belongs in about 1975.
Well, in a sense. The Town station is adjacent to the bus station but hardly integrated. It's nothing like what they've done at Cradley Heath where you walk through the rail station building straight into the bus station.
Grim subways are a feature of Kidderminster too. It seems Worcestershire County Council are more concerned about keeping traffic moving on the ring road than pedestrian safety (one subway damaged by a burnt out vehicle has lacked lights since the New Year) and they wonder why the town centre is dying.....pelican crossings are the answer. At least Stourbridge has a train station in the centre of the town ........
Noooo.... the answer is investing in subways with daylight LED lighting and CCTV, and maybe even widening them. Why should pedestrians have to WAIT in the freezing cold/blazing sun/pouring rain [delete as appropriate] while a computer decides when it can deign to hold up traffic to allow them to cross? In practice people tend to jaywalk, which isn't exactly conducive to 'pedestrian safety'. I agree about the Coventry Street subway in Kidder though, it has been in that burned out unlit state for months on end - damned incompetence I say!
 
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