The evolution of Cross Country

nickw1

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Partly inspired by the speculative ideas thread, and partly as a follow-up to the SWML thread on here a couple of weeks ago, I thought it might be good to start a thread on how Cross Country appeared to come to be in BR days - based partly on my own memory, but also on the old timetables in timetableworlld.com. If anyone has any memories feel free to share them here.
It focuses more on Reading services as I am more familiar with those.

I first used XC (as I will call it, note this is the service pattern, not the TOC!) in December 1982 on the 12:00 Guildford-Stafford (actually Portsmouth-Manchester). At this stage I knew what a CIG and a VEP were, but little else, but it was probably hauled by a cl.47; it definitely had 'older' Mk-II coaches. I do remember it was an electric loco beyond Birmingham. However I didn't follow the 1982 timetable so can't make too many comments on it.

Looking at the WR timetable from 1973 on timetableworld.com, it appears that at that time, there were just three daily services from Southampton to Birmingham, some extending north from there. Most of the 'XC' Reading-Birmingham corridor was provided by approximately two-hourly services from Paddington to New Street. These were the successors to the old Paddington to Birkenhead Woodside services; could these thus be considered the ultimate ancestor of the modern XC? However they had been diverted to run via Reading and Oxford by 1973 and served New Street, which was probably a more useful route anyway.

Pleasingly, the small number of Southampton services slotted nicely into the gaps so you had an approximately hourly, almost-clockface service out of Reading leaving around xx40; strangely similar to the mid-80s pattern. There were still one or two hours without a service though; such a pattern was still present in 1984/85.

Most services appeared to only go to Birmingham, not further north. Also, north of Birmingham, a standardised pattern for Manchesters and Liverpools appears to have been introduced by then, which again persisted into the mid-80s: xx55, even hours Liverpool, odd hours Manchester. Most originated from Bristol or Cardiff but the odd one from Southampton or Poole.

The hours with no Birmingham departure out of Paddington tended to provide a Worcester departure instead, so you had clockface hourly (xx05) out of Paddington to either Birmingham, or Worcester and beyond.

Next old timetable I have seen is 1981 (ABC on timetableworld.com) and then, while there were now 5 trains a day from Southampton and a couple of Brightons, there were still many Paddingtons, and the Paddingtons were the only ones with a clockface departure time at some times in the day. Standard Paddington departure seemed to be xx50, and again they alternated Birmingham and Worcester. However, the only regular interval services were the 1150, 1350, 1550 out of Paddington, 1222, 1422 and 1622 out of Reading. Before and after this time of day they departed at other times.

Also the Southampton and Brighton services did not combine 'nicely' with the Paddingtons so you had phenomena like a 1622, 1640 and 1704 to Birmingham from Reading (Paddington, Poole and Brighton, respectively). In summary, the 1981 service seemed more haphazard: a combination of Paddingtons, Pooles and Brightons but not arranged to give an even-interval service. As late as this, it appeared that there was not a 'Cross Country product' as such, just a meshing together of separate service groups.

North of Birmingham it was a different matter, the regular xx55 pattern was maintained and you also had an odd-hour xx10 (or so) to Manchester which meant approximately hourly services Birmingham to Manchester. Most Readings only got as far as New St with only a few continuing north, even this late.
By 1983 however this had changed and there was a clockface northerly departure pattern out of Reading during daytime. with most hours covered, just the odd gap. By now, more services started on the south coast, and less at Paddington - it appeared the true 'XC product' had arrived. Also the vast majority now continued north of Birmingham. I think 1982 may have seen some steps towards this too. Of note here was the through Worcester services had stopped by then too, becoming an Oxford-Worcester DMU, which would have shook things up a little.

So in 1983 you had at Reading, from memory (it's possible I have mixed up Liverpool and Manchester on some);

0630 to Liverpool ex Paddington
0730 to Glasgow ex Paddington
0837 to Liverpool ex Poole
0937 to Manchester ex Portsmouth
1037 to Manchester ex Brighton
1137 to Newcastle ex Poole
--- gap ----
1337 to Liverpool(?) ex Paddington, though this would be the 1555 ex New Street which should be a Manchester - see above - so it might have been a Manchester.
1437 to Liverpool, IIRC, ex Poole
1537 to Manchester ex Brighton
1637 to Liverpool, IIRC, ex Poole

I think there was no 17xx, and there were later services but never stayed at Reading late enough to see them.

These were all 47 haulage, I think, with the older Mk-II: the exception being the 0730 and 1137 which had the newer Mk-II and the 1337 was hauled by a 50, IIRC. Not sure of the haulage of the 0630, 0730 and 0837 south of Birmingham as I was never in Reading early enough! North of Birmingham all services I saw appeared to change to electric, most usually 85 or 86, sometimes 87 - except Sundays when you had through 47 working north of Birmingham.

Anyway that's enough for now but will follow up with 1984 and 1986 timetables later.
 
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Ken H

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nice one @nickw1. North-east/Leeds to the south West was long established. It used hand me down coaches and cl 45/46 locos. Long journey times. Some trains from the SW went up to Manchester/Liverpool/Scotland, but they stuck an electric on those after electrification.
Lots of complicated portion working. Trains to Scotland often had Glasgow & Edinburgh portions, with the shunting occurring at Carstairs.
Also in that group was the Manchester/Liverpool - Glasgow/Edinburgh. another complicated portion working with shunting at Preston and Carstairs. Think Liverpool - Edinburgh or Manchester-Glasgow you had to change portions between Preston and Carstairs.

Good old table 51!
 

The exile

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If anything, the main forerunner of XC as we know it would have been what were known ( unofficially) as the NESW services ( North East - South West) - these were the InterCity services that truly cut “across” the London flows. As you say - the main flow via Banbury was to Paddington, while South West - North West flows had traditionally been shared between the current route and the Marches Line.
Beaten to it!

Partly inspired by the speculative ideas thread, and partly as a follow-up to the SWML thread on here a couple of weeks ago, I thought it might be good to start a thread on how Cross Country appeared to come to be in BR days - based partly on my own memory, but also on the old timetables in timetableworlld.com. If anyone has any memories feel free to share them here.
It focuses more on Reading services as I am more familiar with those.

I first used XC (as I will call it, note this is the service pattern, not the TOC!) in December 1982 on the 12:00 Guildford-Stafford (actually Portsmouth-Manchester). At this stage I knew what a CIG and a VEP were, but little else, but it was probably hauled by a cl.47; it definitely had 'older' Mk-II coaches. I do remember it was an electric loco beyond Birmingham. However I didn't follow the 1982 timetable so can't make too many comments on it.

Looking at the WR timetable from 1973 on timetableworld.com, it appears that at that time, there were just three daily services from Southampton to Birmingham, some extending north from there. Most of the 'XC' Reading-Birmingham corridor was provided by approximately two-hourly services from Paddington to New Street. These were the successors to the old Paddington to Birkenhead Woodside services; could these thus be considered the ultimate ancestor of the modern XC? However they had been diverted to run via Reading and Oxford by 1973 and served New Street, which was probably a more useful route anyway.

Pleasingly, the small number of Southampton services slotted nicely into the gaps so you had an approximately hourly, almost-clockface service out of Reading leaving around xx40; strangely similar to the mid-80s pattern. There were still one or two hours without a service though; such a pattern was still present in 1984/85.

Most services appeared to only go to Birmingham, not further north. Also, north of Birmingham, a standardised pattern for Manchesters and Liverpools appears to have been introduced by then, which again persisted into the mid-80s: xx55, even hours Liverpool, odd hours Manchester. Most originated from Bristol or Cardiff but the odd one from Southampton or Poole.

The hours with no Birmingham departure out of Paddington tended to provide a Worcester departure instead, so you had clockface hourly (xx05) out of Paddington to either Birmingham, or Worcester and beyond.

Next old timetable I have seen is 1981 (ABC on timetableworld.com) and then, while there were now 5 trains a day from Southampton and a couple of Brightons, there were still many Paddingtons, and the Paddingtons were the only ones with a clockface departure time at some times in the day. Standard Paddington departure seemed to be xx50, and again they alternated Birmingham and Worcester. However, the only regular interval services were the 1150, 1350, 1550 out of Paddington, 1222, 1422 and 1622 out of Reading. Before and after this time of day they departed at other times.

Also the Southampton and Brighton services did not combine 'nicely' with the Paddingtons so you had phenomena like a 1622, 1640 and 1704 to Birmingham from Reading (Paddington, Poole and Brighton, respectively). In summary, the 1981 service seemed more haphazard: a combination of Paddingtons, Pooles and Brightons but not arranged to give an even-interval service. As late as this, it appeared that there was not a 'Cross Country product' as such, just a meshing together of separate service groups.

North of Birmingham it was a different matter, the regular xx55 pattern was maintained and you also had an odd-hour xx10 (or so) to Manchester which meant approximately hourly services Birmingham to Manchester. Most Readings only got as far as New St with only a few continuing north, even this late.
By 1983 however this had changed and there was a clockface northerly departure pattern out of Reading during daytime. with most hours covered, just the odd gap. By now, more services started on the south coast, and less at Paddington - it appeared the true 'XC product' had arrived. Also the vast majority now continued north of Birmingham. I think 1982 may have seen some steps towards this too. Of note here was the through Worcester services had stopped by then too, becoming an Oxford-Worcester DMU, which would have shook things up a little.

So in 1983 you had at Reading, from memory (it's possible I have mixed up Liverpool and Manchester on some);

0630 to Liverpool ex Paddington
0730 to Glasgow ex Paddington
0837 to Liverpool ex Poole
0937 to Manchester ex Portsmouth
1037 to Manchester ex Brighton
1137 to Newcastle ex Poole
--- gap ----
1337 to Liverpool(?) ex Paddington, though this would be the 1555 ex New Street which should be a Manchester - see above - so it might have been a Manchester.
1437 to Liverpool, IIRC, ex Poole
1537 to Manchester ex Brighton
1637 to Liverpool, IIRC, ex Poole

I think there was no 17xx, and there were later services but never stayed at Reading late enough to see them.

These were all 47 haulage, I think, with the older Mk-II: the exception being the 0730 and 1137 which had the newer Mk-II and the 1337 was hauled by a 50, IIRC. Not sure of the haulage of the 0630, 0730 and 0837 south of Birmingham as I was never in Reading early enough! North of Birmingham all services I saw appeared to change to electric, most usually 85 or 86, sometimes 87 - except Sundays when you had through 47 working north of Birmingham.

Anyway that's enough for now but will follow up with 1984 and 1986 timetables later.
Some of those Reading gaps may have been accounted for by a Paddington - Birmingham via High Wycombe taking the path north of Aynho ( or was that already down to the one each way commuter service that was eventually cut back to Banbury?)
 

hexagon789

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Partly inspired by the speculative ideas thread, and partly as a follow-up to the SWML thread on here a couple of weeks ago, I thought it might be good to start a thread on how Cross Country appeared to come to be in BR days - based partly on my own memory, but also on the old timetables in timetableworlld.com. If anyone has any memories feel free to share them here.
It focuses more on Reading services as I am more familiar with those.

I first used XC (as I will call it, note this is the service pattern, not the TOC!) in December 1982 on the 12:00 Guildford-Stafford (actually Portsmouth-Manchester). At this stage I knew what a CIG and a VEP were, but little else, but it was probably hauled by a cl.47; it definitely had 'older' Mk-II coaches. I do remember it was an electric loco beyond Birmingham. However I didn't follow the 1982 timetable so can't make too many comments on it.

Looking at the WR timetable from 1973 on timetableworld.com, it appears that at that time, there were just three daily services from Southampton to Birmingham, some extending north from there. Most of the 'XC' Reading-Birmingham corridor was provided by approximately two-hourly services from Paddington to New Street. These were the successors to the old Paddington to Birkenhead Woodside services; could these thus be considered the ultimate ancestor of the modern XC? However they had been diverted to run via Reading and Oxford by 1973 and served New Street, which was probably a more useful route anyway.

Pleasingly, the small number of Southampton services slotted nicely into the gaps so you had an approximately hourly, almost-clockface service out of Reading leaving around xx40; strangely similar to the mid-80s pattern. There were still one or two hours without a service though; such a pattern was still present in 1984/85.

Most services appeared to only go to Birmingham, not further north. Also, north of Birmingham, a standardised pattern for Manchesters and Liverpools appears to have been introduced by then, which again persisted into the mid-80s: xx55, even hours Liverpool, odd hours Manchester. Most originated from Bristol or Cardiff but the odd one from Southampton or Poole.

The hours with no Birmingham departure out of Paddington tended to provide a Worcester departure instead, so you had clockface hourly (xx05) out of Paddington to either Birmingham, or Worcester and beyond.

Next old timetable I have seen is 1981 (ABC on timetableworld.com) and then, while there were now 5 trains a day from Southampton and a couple of Brightons, there were still many Paddingtons, and the Paddingtons were the only ones with a clockface departure time at some times in the day. Standard Paddington departure seemed to be xx50, and again they alternated Birmingham and Worcester. However, the only regular interval services were the 1150, 1350, 1550 out of Paddington, 1222, 1422 and 1622 out of Reading. Before and after this time of day they departed at other times.

Also the Southampton and Brighton services did not combine 'nicely' with the Paddingtons so you had phenomena like a 1622, 1640 and 1704 to Birmingham from Reading (Paddington, Poole and Brighton, respectively). In summary, the 1981 service seemed more haphazard: a combination of Paddingtons, Pooles and Brightons but not arranged to give an even-interval service. As late as this, it appeared that there was not a 'Cross Country product' as such, just a meshing together of separate service groups.

North of Birmingham it was a different matter, the regular xx55 pattern was maintained and you also had an odd-hour xx10 (or so) to Manchester which meant approximately hourly services Birmingham to Manchester. Most Readings only got as far as New St with only a few continuing north, even this late.
By 1983 however this had changed and there was a clockface northerly departure pattern out of Reading during daytime. with most hours covered, just the odd gap. By now, more services started on the south coast, and less at Paddington - it appeared the true 'XC product' had arrived. Also the vast majority now continued north of Birmingham. I think 1982 may have seen some steps towards this too. Of note here was the through Worcester services had stopped by then too, becoming an Oxford-Worcester DMU, which would have shook things up a little.

So in 1983 you had at Reading, from memory (it's possible I have mixed up Liverpool and Manchester on some);

0630 to Liverpool ex Paddington
0730 to Glasgow ex Paddington
0837 to Liverpool ex Poole
0937 to Manchester ex Portsmouth
1037 to Manchester ex Brighton
1137 to Newcastle ex Poole
--- gap ----
1337 to Liverpool(?) ex Paddington, though this would be the 1555 ex New Street which should be a Manchester - see above - so it might have been a Manchester.
1437 to Liverpool, IIRC, ex Poole
1537 to Manchester ex Brighton
1637 to Liverpool, IIRC, ex Poole

I think there was no 17xx, and there were later services but never stayed at Reading late enough to see them.

These were all 47 haulage, I think, with the older Mk-II: the exception being the 0730 and 1137 which had the newer Mk-II and the 1337 was hauled by a 50, IIRC. Not sure of the haulage of the 0630, 0730 and 0837 south of Birmingham as I was never in Reading early enough! North of Birmingham all services I saw appeared to change to electric, most usually 85 or 86, sometimes 87 - except Sundays when you had through 47 working north of Birmingham.

Anyway that's enough for now but will follow up with 1984 and 1986 timetables later.
There have been 'Cross-Country' services really since fairly early times in some respects, more modern services we would be familiar with certainly existed as through coaches or services under the Big 4. There was the well-known Bournemouth-York joint service, and even one point a Thurso-Penzance through coach!

The more modern network of Manchester/Birmingham-Southampton/Bournemouth certainly existed by the early 1970s but as only a handful of services as you say.

With the electrification of the WCML to Glasgow you had a through Glasgow-Bristol day service introduced.

There was an Edinburgh-Paignton in 1978.

In 1979 the Manchester-Brighton service commenced.

By 1981 what was then the North-East/South-West service had HSTs allocated and the service offering was greatly expanded and accelerated probably giving us the network of services most familiar today but at lower frequency, but certainly some form of a cross-country network has existed for years.

If you want any timetables looking up to see what the cross-country services were like I have a full collection of BR timetables from 1974-1986 plus a number of other years before and after that.
 

nickw1

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nice one @nickw1. North-east/Leeds to the south West was long established. It used hand me down coaches and cl 45/46 locos. Long journey times. Some trains from the SW went up to Manchester/Liverpool/Scotland, but they stuck an electric on those after electrification.
Lots of complicated portion working. Trains to Scotland often had Glasgow & Edinburgh portions, with the shunting occurring at Carstairs.
Also in that group was the Manchester/Liverpool - Glasgow/Edinburgh. another complicated portion working with shunting at Preston and Carstairs. Think Liverpool - Edinburgh or Manchester-Glasgow you had to change portions between Preston and Carstairs.

Good old table 51!

True, ISTR the 0730 and 1137 of 1983 (see above) were actually something like Glasgow/Edinburgh and Newcastle/Leeds. Portion working for loco-hauled must have been difficult! Works ok for splitting, but joining must have been difficult.

Yes, indeed, Table 51... I remember it well.
 

Ianno87

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True, ISTR the 0730 and 1137 of 1983 (see above) were actually something like Glasgow/Edinburgh and Newcastle/Leeds. Portion working for loco-hauled must have been difficult! Works ok for splitting, but joining must have been difficult.

Yes, indeed, Table 51... I remember it well.

Glasgow/Edinburgh was relatively straightforward using the layout at Carstairs. Basically the some operation the sleeper uses today.
 

nickw1

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There have been 'Cross-Country' services really since fairly early times in some respects, more modern services we would be familiar with certainly existed as through coaches or services under the Big 4. There was the well-known Bournemouth-York joint service, and even one point a Thurso-Penzance through coach!

The more modern network of Manchester/Birmingham-Southampton/Bournemouth certainly existed by the early 1970s but as only a handful of services as you say.

With the electrification of the WCML to Glasgow you had a through Glasgow-Bristol day service introduced.

There was an Edinburgh-Paignton in 1978.

In 1979 the Manchester-Brighton service commenced.

By 1981 what was then the North-East/South-West service had HSTs allocated and the service offering was greatly expanded and accelerated probably giving us the network of services most familiar today but at lower frequency, but certainly some form of a cross-country network has existed for years.

If you want any timetables looking up to see what the cross-country services were like I have a full collection of BR timetables from 1974-1986 plus a number of other years before and after that.
@hexagon789 many thanks! If you could confirm the 1983 pattern I posted above (or otherwise!) that would be great, also the 1982 pattern, and 1984 and 1986 patterns when I post them as there are one or two gaps. Would also be interested in the Reading route patterns for a year between 1973 and 1981, say 1978/79.
 

Ken H

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Glasgow/Edinburgh was relatively straightforward using the layout at Carstairs. Basically the some operation the sleeper uses today.
Preston must have been a nightmare. 2 diesel hauled sections to combine, and leave with an electric.
and at the end of the day all the portions needed to end up where they started. or were these multi day diagrams?
 

swt_passenger

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In 1972 I remember travelling Newcastle to Plymouth and return a few times, and IIRC most journeys involved a change, to pick up a following train, but this could basically be done at any major station between Sheffield and Bristol. Once a day maybe I think you could do the whole through route with no changes. Newcastle to Plymouth took about 9 or 10 hours when a change was involved.

I don’t think the service was specially named at all - but that could just be down to poor memory…
 

Cheshire Scot

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Preston must have been a nightmare. 2 diesel hauled sections to combine, and leave with an electric.
Preston, on the one occasion is saw trains combining was indeed a nightmare although as far as I recall post electrification some trains were full train from/to Manchester or Liverpool.
Back to the witnessed nightmare. The first train ran into platform 3 and the second followed in i.e. loco sitting behind the rear coach of the first train. The first train then drew forward, loco off second train released, then the first / front portion backed down to couple, brake test and away - this was in diesel days, so no mercifully no need for traction change.
This operation consumed around twenty minutes, quite a shock to someone used to the five minutes or so required at Carstairs to despatch both portions and a similar time from the arrival of the second portion to departure of the combined formation southbound, with similar operations practised at Georgemas to/from Wick/Thurso.
Yes, some remarshalling was required to get sets back the right way but time spent on depot is not time spent in station increasing journey time!
Back to Preston, given that back then traffic levels were much less than today surely they could have allocated two platforms to expedite the operation. Or maybe sods law prevented this, with lots of trains in the station at the same time then all platforms empty for ages!
 

UrieS15

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As the focus of your interest began with Reading I'm surprised no one has mentioned what we at Dorking knew as 'the Birkenheader' which would tear through mid-morning from ..was it Folkstone?.. to Birkenhead and had done since before WW1. I cannot recall ever seeing the return working was it late in the day, after school had ended?
 

hexagon789

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@hexagon789 many thanks! If you could confirm the 1983 pattern I posted above (or otherwise!) that would be great, also the 1982 pattern, and 1984 and 1986 patterns when I post them as there are one or two gaps. Would also be interested in the Reading route patterns for a year between 1973 and 1981, say 1978/79.
Be a couple of hours until I can get to my timetables but I'll be able to look it up tonight.

As the focus of your interest began with Reading I'm surprised no one has mentioned what we at Dorking knew as 'the Birkenheader' which would tear through mid-morning from ..was it Folkstone?.. to Birkenhead and had done since before WW1. I cannot recall ever seeing the return working was it late in the day, after school had ended?
In 1929 there was a Brighton/Dover/Margate (3 separate portions) to Birkenhead later from Bournemouth. Post-war a similar service ran from Hastings/Brighton (portion each). It was truncated to terminate in Wolverhampton in 1959. It then ran as a seasonal Hastings/Margate-Wolverhampton service which was withdrawn as a regular through service in 1964.

And I had no idea such a thing existed until now and I read your post then did a quick Google but goodness what an interesting sounding service - a quick glance at a 1930s carriage working shows three Maunsell stock inter-regionals from the Southern, the Birkenhead train as mentioned but also the Bournemouth-York-Newcastle I mentioned earlier but also a Brighton-Cardiff.

Who said "Cross-Country" was a BR innovation, eh? ;)
 

Senex

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Preston, on the one occasion is saw trains combining was indeed a nightmare although as far as I recall post electrification some trains were full train from/to Manchester or Liverpool.
Back to the witnessed nightmare. The first train ran into platform 3 and the second followed in i.e. loco sitting behind the rear coach of the first train. The first train then drew forward, loco off second train released, then the first / front portion backed down to couple, brake test and away - this was in diesel days, so no mercifully no need for traction change.
This operation consumed around twenty minutes, quite a shock to someone used to the five minutes or so required at Carstairs to despatch both portions and a similar time from the arrival of the second portion to departure of the combined formation southbound, with similar operations practised at Georgemas to/from Wick/Thurso.
Yes, some remarshalling was required to get sets back the right way but time spent on depot is not time spent in station increasing journey time!
Back to Preston, given that back then traffic levels were much less than today surely they could have allocated two platforms to expedite the operation. Or maybe sods law prevented this, with lots of trains in the station at the same time then all platforms empty for ages!
Part of the problem with Preston was that the layout was designed in the expectation that at least Manchester- Euxton if not also a link from Wigan was to be electrified and that there wouldn't be much portion working, so the sort of provision for loco changing that there had been was not provided in the new set-up and it was necessary for quite long shunting runs clear of the platform to be made when making a change of traction.
 

30907

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If we go back beyond the InterCity era, there was a whole raft of cross-country "train pairs," generally taking the best part of the day to reach their destination, but no route comparable to the ex MR to Bristol, today's Transpennine route, or the North and West aka Marches which had several trains each.

The Birkenhead-Margate/Hastings has already been mentioned (11.40/2.33 at Redhill BTW).
Bournemouth was served from Newcastle (York in winter) via the ex GCR and Banbury, from Birkenhead via the ex GWR, and the Pines Express from Manchester/Liverpool/Sheffield via the Somerset and Dorset.
The South-West's named trains were the Devonian (Bradford-Kingswear) and Cornishman (Wolverhampton LL-Stratford-Penzance/Kingswear).

Typically, by the late 50s these were formed of Mk1 stock apart from the restaurant cars.
 
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Cross-country services generally provided good spotting fodder at Temple Meads during the late 1970’s/early1980’s. All sorts of Peaks and 47s would come down from the north, to be swapped for a 50 or Western Region 47, occasionally something different would be deployed, particularly on Summer Saturdays, when freight stuff would be pressed into service.

<sigh>If only digital cameras were available in those days. Sadly, 35mm could be an expensive hobby... </sigh>
 

Ken H

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If we go back beyond the InterCity era, there was a whole raft of cross-country "train pairs," generally taking the best part of the day to reach their destination, but no route comparable to the ex MR to Bristol, today's Transpennine route, or the North and West aka Marches which had several trains each.

The Birkenhead-Margate/Hastings has already been mentioned (11.40/2.33 at Redhill BTW).
Bournemouth was served from Newcastle (York in winter) via the ex GCR and Banbury, from Birkenhead via the ex GWR, and the Pines Express from Manchester/Liverpool/Sheffield via the Somerset and Dorset.
The South-West's named trains were the Devonian (Bradford-Kingswear) and Cornishman (Wolverhampton LL-Stratford-Penzance/Kingswear).

Typically, by the late 50s these were formed of Mk1 stock apart from the restaurant cars.
we caught the devonian in the 60's. short train from bradford joined some coaches at Leeds. bit more, incl catering vehicles, shaunted onto the back at sheffield. They loved portion working in those days.
 

Taunton

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Back in the 1960s at Taunton, there were really just a couple of day trains per day to Birmingham and beyond, both named. In late morning there was The Devonian ("The Devvy"), from Paignton, all the way through Birmingham New Street to Bradford, and in the afternoon The Cornishman, Penzance to Sheffield. The latter had in previous years, under the same name, run from Cheltenham through Stratford, Birmingham Snow Hill, and Wolverhampton Low Level, which thus until the 1962 changes was a wholly WR affair, and was the last train through which was wholly in the chocolate-and-cream livery. That was it. From Bristol, where many therefore changed, there was a good express service to New Street and beyond, every one or two hours, to traditional Midland destinations like York. The old traditions died hard. Incidentally, many of the Midland line expresses starting from Bristol did so from the old Brunel platforms to one side of the main curved station.

Dieselised in the early 1960s, north of Bristol wholly with Peak Class 45s. For a long time all through trains changed locos at Bristol for WR hydraulics, as the Peaks were not fitted with GWR-pattern AWS and thus not allowed further west. Big trains, 11 or 12 coaches. The current Metro-like arrangement at Taunton of every 30 minutes to Birmingham, and hourly on to Edinburgh, with four coach trains, seems a world different.
 

SouthDevonian

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When Virgin took over the XC franchise they produced this document which has lots of info on the background of the routes.
 

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  • CrossCountry notes - download from Virgin.pdf
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Bevan Price

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Part of the problem with Preston was that the layout was designed in the expectation that at least Manchester- Euxton if not also a link from Wigan was to be electrified and that there wouldn't be much portion working, so the sort of provision for loco changing that there had been was not provided in the new set-up and it was necessary for quite long shunting runs clear of the platform to be made when making a change of traction.
For many years, Preston used a Class 08 to shunt / combine northbound portions. Typically (but there may have been exceptions) for the first northbound services.:
(i) Manchester portion arrived in Platform 3. Diesel loco uncoupled, ran forward clear of platform, electric loco backed onto train.
(ii) Liverpool portion arrived in Platform 2. Class 08 coupled onto back. Meanwhile train loco uncoupled and ran out of platform.
(iii) Class 08 took Liverpool portion southward out of Platform 2 then shunted it onto back of Manchester portion in Platform 3.
(iv) Class 08 was uncoupled, and combined train departed northbound with electric loco.

Southbound was easier.
(v) Combined train arrived from Scotland, usually at Platform 4.
(vi) Electric loco uncoupled and ran out of platform.
(vii) Diesel loco coupled onto Manchester portion; train split and Manchester portion departed.
(viii) Second diesel loco coupled onto Liverpool portion, and after brake test, it also departed.
At least one of these locos had sometimes been parked in a south end bay before attaching to its portion.

Note that Liverpool portions continued to be diesel hauled even after Wigan to Preston had been electrified.
 

Ken H

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For many years, Preston used a Class 08 to shunt / combine northbound portions. Typically (but there may have been exceptions) for the first northbound services.:
(i) Manchester portion arrived in Platform 3. Diesel loco uncoupled, ran forward clear of platform, electric loco backed onto train.
(ii) Liverpool portion arrived in Platform 2. Class 08 coupled onto back. Meanwhile train loco uncoupled and ran out of platform.
(iii) Class 08 took Liverpool portion southward out of Platform 2 then shunted it onto back of Manchester portion in Platform 3.
(iv) Class 08 was uncoupled, and combined train departed northbound with electric loco.

Southbound was easier.
(v) Combined train arrived from Scotland, usually at Platform 4.
(vi) Electric loco uncoupled and ran out of platform.
(vii) Diesel loco coupled onto Manchester portion; train split and Manchester portion departed.
(viii) Second diesel loco coupled onto Liverpool portion, and after brake test, it also departed.
At least one of these locos had sometimes been parked in a south end bay before attaching to its portion.

Note that Liverpool portions continued to be diesel hauled even after Wigan to Preston had been electrified.
surely that means the portion that was from manchester ended up going back to liverpool? or was the shunting at carstairs designed to make that right? which bit was the buffet car in?
head exploding.....
 

hexagon789

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@hexagon789 many thanks! If you could confirm the 1983 pattern I posted above (or otherwise!) that would be great, also the 1982 pattern, and 1984 and 1986 patterns when I post them as there are one or two gaps. Would also be interested in the Reading route patterns for a year between 1973 and 1981, say 1978/79.
Got my timetables to hand now, if it's alright I'll just do 1983 presently and the others later when you post them.

Reading 1983:

Southbound
0912 - 0600 Derby to Poole
1012 - 0738 Wolverhampton to Brighton
1117 - 0720 Liverpool to Poole
1213 - 0820 ex-Liverpool
1301 - summer only 0820 Leeds-Weymouth
1318 - 0920 Liverpool to Poole
1419 - 1023 Manchester to Brighton
1607 - 0950 Newcastle (and summer only 1106 from Leeds) to Poole
1725 - 1320 Manchester to Portsmouth
1832 - 1639 ex-Birmingham
1932 - 1520 Liverpool to Poole
2030 - 1320 Glasgow/1306 Edinburgh to Paddington
2250 - terminates, 1840 ex-Manchester

Northbound
0630 - to Manchester
0730 - to 0645 Paddington to Glasgow and Edinburgh
0830 - 0625 Poole to Liverpool
0937 - 0805 Portsmouth to Manchester
1037 - 0847 Brighton to Manchester
1137 - 0940 Poole to Birmingham
1237 - summer only 0958 Weymouth to Leeds
1327 - to Liverpool
1432 - FO 1246 Portsmouth to Leeds
1437 - 1240 Poole to Manchester
1537 - 1348 Brighton to Manchester
1637 - 1440 Poole to Liverpool
1900 - 1705 Poole to Birmingham
2018 - to Wolverhampton

surely that means the portion that was from manchester ended up going back to liverpool? or was the shunting at carstairs designed to make that right? which bit was the buffet car in?
head exploding.....
In later years (I'm thinking 1986-ish) t varied, in that of the 5 splits at Carstairs four had the buffet in the Glasgow portion, one in the Edinburgh from memory.
 

Bevan Price

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surely that means the portion that was from manchester ended up going back to liverpool? or was the shunting at carstairs designed to make that right? which bit was the buffet car in?
head exploding.....
Typically at Carstairs, the portion from Edinburgh would run through one platform, and shunt it onto the back of the portion from Glasgow.
For the first northbound services, there would be 7 coaches (including buffet) from Manchester and 4 coaches from Liverpool.

The last southbound train from Scotland usually had 7 coaches for Liverpool, 4 for Manchester, but the first southbound train had 7 for Manchester and 4 for Liverpool.
There were also a few (mostly in summer) trains that ran independently from either Liverpool or Manchester. These just required a "simple" diesel / electric swap at Preston.
 

6Gman

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Typically at Carstairs, the portion from Edinburgh would run through one platform, and shunt it onto the back of the portion from Glasgow.
For the first northbound services, there would be 7 coaches (including buffet) from Manchester and 4 coaches from Liverpool.

The last southbound train from Scotland usually had 7 coaches for Liverpool, 4 for Manchester, but the first southbound train had 7 for Manchester and 4 for Liverpool.
There were also a few (mostly in summer) trains that ran independently from either Liverpool or Manchester. These just required a "simple" diesel / electric swap at Preston.
The Mk IIc coaches used in the mid-70s had windows in the gangway end doors. It was great fun standing there and watching the Glasgow portion getting closer and closer as a Class 26 (or similar) propelled us onto it.

At some speed!
 

nickw1

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Got my timetables to hand now, if it's alright I'll just do 1983 presently and the others later when you post them.
OK thanks.
Reading 1983:

Southbound
Southbound I had partly forgotten, though I remember the times of those which called at Stafford (which I also frequented at the time)
0912 - 0600 Derby to Poole
1012 - 0738 Wolverhampton to Brighton
Vaguely remember an early Brighton which hadn't originated at Manchester.
1117 - 0720 Liverpool to Poole
Remember this as something like the 0824 from Stafford.
1213 - 0820 ex-Liverpool
Don't remember this one, presumably a Paddington service? Think it must have run non-stop through Stafford as I don't remember there being an 092x Stafford departure for Reading. May be wrong though.
1301 - summer only 0820 Leeds-Weymouth
1318 - 0920 Liverpool to Poole
Are you sure this wasn't a Manchester via Crewe? I recall a 1020 from Stafford to Poole and am almost certain it was from Manchester. I think this was 50-hauled to Reading. (EDIT: on second thoughts, actually it may have been the equivalent service from the following year that was 50-hauled)
1419 - 1023 Manchester to Brighton
Remember this as the 1124 from Stafford.
1607 - 0950 Newcastle (and summer only 1106 from Leeds) to Poole
Knew there was a southbound Newcastle during the day but cannot remember exactly when it ran.
1725 - 1320 Manchester to Portsmouth
Remember this one, and like the up 0937, used it on one occasion. 1421 from Stafford
1832 - 1639 ex-Birmingham
Another Paddington I guess?
1932 - 1520 Liverpool to Poole
Remember this as something like 1627 from Stafford. This, and the morning northbound Liverpool, seemed to be very long-standing services which persisted well into the Virgin era (with some timing adjustments), and remained 47+coaches past the millennium.
2030 - 1320 Glasgow/1306 Edinburgh to Paddington
Knew there was a southbound Glasgow but didn't know when it ran.
2250 - terminates, 1840 ex-Manchester

Northbound
Thanks for confirming these, looks like I mis-remembered one or two.
0630 - to Manchester
0730 - to 0645 Paddington to Glasgow and Edinburgh
0830 - 0625 Poole to Liverpool
0937 - 0805 Portsmouth to Manchester
1037 - 0847 Brighton to Manchester
1137 - 0940 Poole to Birmingham
1237 - summer only 0958 Weymouth to Leeds
1327 - to Liverpool
Was it definitely 1327, or 1337? I'm fairly sure they all departed at the standard xx37 time during the day.
1432 - FO 1246 Portsmouth to Leeds
1437 - 1240 Poole to Manchester
1537 - 1348 Brighton to Manchester
1637 - 1440 Poole to Liverpool
1900 - 1705 Poole to Birmingham
2018 - to Wolverhampton
What is surprising is the lack of many services after 1637. I'd have expected something like a 1600-1700 out of Southampton, 1700-1800 out of Reading, to cater for people going away for the weekend. The last two services were a little too late for this market. Looks like the philosophy at this time was to keep XC out of the way during the Paddington rush hour? There was, I think, a remaining via High Wycombe service during the evening rush hour: perhaps they would have been better off replacing this with an extension of a Paddington-Oxford express towards Birmingham.
In later years (I'm thinking 1986-ish) t varied, in that of the 5 splits at Carstairs four had the buffet in the Glasgow portion, one in the Edinburgh from memory.
What's also notable is that journey time Reading-Birmingham and v.v. seemed to be around 2 hours, longer than post-Princess. With a quieter railway and less congestion, that's slightly surprising. Maybe there was longer dwell time at intermediate stations in this era?

When Virgin took over the XC franchise they produced this document which has lots of info on the background of the routes.

Some interesting things there: notably how the Newcastle-Poole originated on the Great Central. Looks like 1972 was 'd-day' for the modern pre-Princess network, though the Reading route took some time to develop beyond essentially a Paddington-Birmingham operation with occasional south coast services, as I posted above.
 
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The exile

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surely that means the portion that was from manchester ended up going back to liverpool? or was the shunting at carstairs designed to make that right? which bit was the buffet car in?
head exploding.....
In the 1974 timetable the restaurant/ buffet service was advertised fromManchester - twice to Glasgow, once to Edinburgh. I suppose that just was the way the portions worked - or did it end up ( by design) in the middle of the full rake so it could “ swap” portions?
 

Ken H

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In the 1974 timetable the restaurant/ buffet service was advertised fromManchester - twice to Glasgow, once to Edinburgh. I suppose that just was the way the portions worked - or did it end up ( by design) in the middle of the full rake so it could “ swap” portions?
There was an article in Modern Railways in the 80's explaining how it worked. I will have to get it out of the attic sometime. Not seen it since I moved 3 yrs ago.
 

nickw1

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Interesting replies, thanks!

As promised here's a followup with the 1984 service pattern.

The 'hourly, most hours' pattern out of Reading remained, but we lost the clockface xx37 departure time with all service departing around xx40 but varying depending on the hour. Also the services swapped around quite a bit, Reading departure times shown:

0630 to Liverpool unchanged

0730 ex-Paddington formerly to Glasgow now diverted to Hull, an unusual destination for XC. Newer Mk-II stock. The return from Hull went to Brighton. This and the 1045 (below) appeared to be run using the same stock on a two-day cycle.

0830-ish was this year diverted to Manchester, I believe. Still ex-Poole. However it reverted to Liverpool at some point, and was still running in approximately the same time slot under Virgin in the late 1990s.

Something a bit bizarre happened with the 0805 Portsmouth-Manchester (0937 Reading). Still running with a 47+early MkII, it was diverted after Reading down to Poole, so became a Portsmouth-Poole via Reading service. Later in the day, formed the 1337 (below). Presumably it went via Reading, rather than along the south coast, to maintain a Portsmouth-Birmingham/Scotland morning link with just one connection at Reading required (see below). On summer Saturdays it still ran to Manchester, but was 47-hauled throughout without the normal switch to electric at Birmingham.

Replacing said service north of Reading was the 'Wessex Scot' Poole-Glasgow/Edinburgh service, a long-running service lasting, in some form, well into Virgin days. 47 + newer Mk-II (Scottish Region, I think), it departed Reading 0941 and was effectively the replacement for the previous year's 0730, running at a rather more user-friendly time and providing a link from the South Coast. I would imagine the Wessex Scot used the same stock as the previous 0730 Scotland service ex-Paddington. In my Reading trips in summer 1984, I'd typically catch the Portsmouth-Poole at Guildford and arrive at Reading just in time to see it. 47-hauled, as were all the services below that I can remember - but electric north of Birmingham.

Next hour was still a Brighton-Manchester, but now leaving 1045 rather than 1037. Formed with newer Mk-II, appeared to interwork with the Hull service on a two-day cycle:

Day 1 - Paddington-Hull; Hull-Brighton
Day 2 - Brighton-Manchester; Manchester-Paddington (return trip was something like 1832 ex-Stafford)

I recall using this service to visit Stafford in November 1984.

Following hour the Poole-Newcastle maintained its previous slot, still left at 1137 I think. This was also newer Mk-II; so three services in a row thus formed.

Like 1983, there was no 12xx.

Next hour was the 1337 to Manchester, now originating at Poole, with the same stock as the 0805 Portsmouth-Poole above. Older Mk-II, as were the remaining services.
A different diagram applied on summer Saturdays, when the 0805 Portsmouth continued to work to Manchester. On summer Saturdays this service used rare Mk-I stock - more normally used for the summer extras rather than the 6-days-a-week all-year services.

Then there was the 1440 Brighton-Manchester, so the afternoon service was advanced by one hour. This appeared to have rare 87 haulage (86 or 85 more normal for XCs) north of Birmingham - at least on the one day I saw it at Stafford (18/8/84) - not sure if it was booked.

Next was a completely new service, the 1545 to York, ex-Portsmouth (1509 at Guildford, can't remember Portsmouth departure time, perhaps 1415?) Formed of ER stock. This was the one through service from Portsmouth this year, but for the first time, Portsmouth had two southbounds (see below)

This was then followed by the 1637 or so ex-Poole, continuing to run to Liverpool I believe. Once again, after that I don't recall seeing any others, there was still no 17xx I believe.

Again I am more vague southbound, but what I do remember is that for some reason the southbound services ran at a different time each hour, approximately on the opposite side of the hour. For instance the southbound York departed Guildford at 1226, inferring a Reading departure of around 1150, which as can be seen from @hexagon789's post above, was a little over 30 mins later. The other hours did the same. Furthermore the xx20-xx30 departure time out of Stafford was replaced by a departure time approximately on the hour, which would fit. I am not sure why this fairly radical change was made though - would be interesting to hear ideas.

So ex-Stafford (which I visited a couple of times) you had:
0753? Poole (0824? previous year)
(approx 1000 Poole, ran straight through without stopping, 1020 previous year)
1059 to Brighton (1124 previous year)
1502 to Portsmouth, ex Liverpool: a new service, so two southbound services to Portsmouth this year. Formed the 0805 Portsmouth-Poole next day
(the afternoon Liverpool-Poole also ran through Stafford without stopping, can't recall time)

Not sure why more services skipped Stafford in 1984 compared to 1983.

Also remembered at Stafford this year were HSTs to the south west: I recall an 1141 either to or from Manchester (can't remember which direction) and similarly a 1316 to or from Liverpool.

There was also a through 1722 from Stafford to Swansea, another unusual destination, ex-Manchester or Liverpool (can't remember which) and loco and coaches rather than HST.

Finally there was a 1240 at Stafford (Manchester-Birmingham, I think, could have been v.v.) which was variously, on the two days I saw it (18/8/84 and 20/8/84) a 310 and 86-hauled set respectively. I'd guess it ran as a 310 on the first occasion as it was a summer Saturday and all the loco-hauled sets were out on longer-distance services.

Anyway that's it for 1984,@hexagon789 again feel free to add to this or correct, will follow up with 1986 at some point. Would be interested to know the reason for the 'deregularisation' of the Birmingham-Manchester/Liverpool services this year though, which seemed much more random compared to 1983, and indeed 1981 or 1973.
 
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Ken H

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Interesting replies, thanks!

As promised here's a followup with the 1984 service pattern.

The 'hourly, most hours' pattern out of Reading remained, but we lost the clockface xx37 departure time with all service departing around xx40 but varying depending on the hour. Also the services swapped around quite a bit, Reading departure times shown:

0630 to Liverpool unchanged

0730 ex-Paddington formerly to Glasgow now diverted to Hull, an unusual destination for XC. Newer Mk-II stock. The return from Hull went to Brighton. This and the 1045 (below) appeared to be run using the same stock on a two-day cycle.

0830-ish was this year diverted to Manchester, I believe. Still ex-Poole. However it reverted to Liverpool at some point, and was still running in approximately the same time slot under Virgin in the late 1990s.

Something a bit bizarre happened with the 0805 Portsmouth-Manchester (0937 Reading). Still running with a 47+early MkII, it was diverted after Reading down to Poole, so became a Portsmouth-Poole via Reading service. Later in the day, formed the 1337 (below). Presumably it went via Reading, rather than along the south coast, to maintain a Portsmouth-Birmingham/Scotland morning link with just one connection at Reading required (see below). On summer Saturdays it still ran to Manchester, but was 47-hauled throughout without the normal switch to electric at Birmingham.

Replacing said service north of Reading was the 'Wessex Scot' Poole-Glasgow/Edinburgh service, a long-running service lasting, in some form, well into Virgin days. 47 + newer Mk-II (Scottish Region, I think), it departed Reading 0941 and was effectively the replacement for the previous year's 0730, running at a rather more user-friendly time and providing a link from the South Coast. I would imagine the Wessex Scot used the same stock as the previous 0730 Scotland service ex-Paddington. In my Reading trips in summer 1984, I'd typically catch the Portsmouth-Poole at Guildford and arrive at Reading just in time to see it. 47-hauled, as were all the services below that I can remember - but electric north of Birmingham.

Next hour was still a Brighton-Manchester, but now leaving 1045 rather than 1037. Formed with newer Mk-II, appeared to interwork with the Hull service on a two-day cycle:

Day 1 - Paddington-Hull; Hull-Brighton
Day 2 - Brighton-Manchester; Manchester-Paddington (return trip was something like 1832 ex-Stafford)

I recall using this service to visit Stafford in November 1984.

Following hour the Poole-Newcastle maintained its previous slot, still left at 1137 I think. This was also newer Mk-II; so three services in a row thus formed.

Like 1983, there was no 12xx.

Next hour was the 1337 to Manchester, now originating at Poole, with the same stock as the 0805 Portsmouth-Poole above. Older Mk-II, as were the remaining services.
A different diagram applied on summer Saturdays, when the 0805 Portsmouth continued to work to Manchester. On summer Saturdays this service used rare Mk-I stock - more normally used for the summer extras rather than the 6-days-a-week all-year services.

Then there was the 1440 Brighton-Manchester, so the afternoon service was advanced by one hour. This appeared to have rare 87 haulage (86 or 85 more normal for XCs) north of Birmingham - at least on the one day I saw it at Stafford (18/8/84) - not sure if it was booked.

Next was a completely new service, the 1545 to York, ex-Portsmouth (1509 at Guildford, can't remember Portsmouth departure time, perhaps 1415?) Formed of ER stock. This was the one through service from Portsmouth this year, but for the first time, Portsmouth had two southbounds (see below)

This was then followed by the 1637 or so ex-Poole, continuing to run to Liverpool I believe. Once again, after that I don't recall seeing any others, there was still no 17xx I believe.

Again I am more vague southbound, but what I do remember is that for some reason the southbound services ran at a different time each hour, approximately on the opposite side of the hour. For instance the southbound York departed Guildford at 1226, inferring a Reading departure of around 1150, which as can be seen from @hexagon789's post above, was a little over 30 mins later. The other hours did the same. Furthermore the xx20-xx30 departure time out of Stafford was replaced by a departure time approximately on the hour, which would fit. I am not sure why this fairly radical change was made though - would be interesting to hear ideas.

So ex-Stafford (which I visited a couple of times) you had:
0753? Poole (0824? previous year)
(approx 1000 Poole, ran straight through without stopping, 1020 previous year)
1059 to Brighton (1124 previous year)
1502 to Portsmouth, ex Liverpool: a new service, so two southbound services to Portsmouth this year. Formed the 0805 Portsmouth-Poole next day
(the afternoon Liverpool-Poole also ran through Stafford without stopping, can't recall time)

Not sure why more services skipped Stafford in 1984 compared to 1983.

Also remembered at Stafford this year were HSTs to the south west: I recall an 1141 either to or from Manchester (can't remember which direction) and similarly a 1316 to or from Liverpool.

There was also a through 1722 from Stafford to Swansea, another unusual destination, ex-Manchester or Liverpool (can't remember which) and loco and coaches rather than HST.

Finally there was a 1240 at Stafford (Manchester-Birmingham, I think, could have been v.v.) which was variously, on the two days I saw it (18/8/84 and 20/8/84) a 310 and 86-hauled set respectively. I'd guess it ran as a 310 on the first occasion as it was a summer Saturday and all the loco-hauled sets were out on longer-distance services.

Anyway that's it for 1984,@hexagon789 again feel free to add to this or correct, will follow up with 1986 at some point. Would be interested to know the reason for the 'deregularisation' of the Birmingham-Manchester/Liverpool services this year though, which seemed much more random compared to 1983, and indeed 1981 or 1973.
if you go for a clockface pattern, if you have different trains with different performance characteristics, then you have to decide where the clockface pattern is fixed, then flex the departure times at other stations. So XC will proabably fix clockface times at New St. So an HST departure from reading will be later than a Cl47 + Mk 2 train. Does that sort of fit what you have said above?
 

nickw1

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if you go for a clockface pattern, if you have different trains with different performance characteristics, then you have to decide where the clockface pattern is fixed, then flex the departure times at other stations. So XC will proabably fix clockface times at New St. So an HST departure from reading will be later than a Cl47 + Mk 2 train. Does that sort of fit what you have said above?

Perhaps, but would need to see the complete Table 51 to be sure whether there was any form of clockface from New Street to Liverpool/Manchester and v.v.

However, north of New Street almost all non-HST XCs were electric-hauled (usually 86), which presumably on a <125mph railway would have similar performance to the HSTs. Also it seemed to be a bit more 'random' than that; it wasn't just the HSTs which broke the near-clockface pattern, there were others too.

(There were no HSTs on XC from Reading this year, only from the southwest: HSTs on Reading XC services didn't come in until the 1990s).
 

hexagon789

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Was it definitely 1327, or 1337? I'm fairly sure they all departed at the standard xx37 time during the day.
Sorry, can confirm that's a typo - should read 1337 as per pattern.


Don't remember this one, presumably a Paddington service? Think it must have run non-stop through Stafford as I don't remember there being an 092x Stafford departure for Reading. May be wrong though.
Just seems to terminate at Reading.


Are you sure this wasn't a Manchester via Crewe? I recall a 1020 from Stafford to Poole and am almost certain it was from Manchester. I think this was 50-hauled to Reading. (EDIT: on second thoughts, actually it may have been the equivalent service from the following year that was 50-hauled)
Apologies, I have misread it. There's two services which are continued in non-adjacent columns and I've mixed them. The 1318 Reading call was the 0920 Manchester to Poole. The 0920 off Liverpool went to Penzance.

if you go for a clockface pattern, if you have different trains with different performance characteristics, then you have to decide where the clockface pattern is fixed, then flex the departure times at other stations. So XC will proabably fix clockface times at New St. So an HST departure from reading will be later than a Cl47 + Mk 2 train. Does that sort of fit what you have said above?
Which is actually exactly what the Scottish Region did for the 1982 Basic Interval Timetable on the Edinburgh-Aberdeen route. The introduction of HST differentials allowed significantly accelerated HST schedules on this corridor from May 1982 and the timetable was 'flexed' so that there were different departure minutes off Aberdeen depending if the service was an HST or not. The departure/arrival times at Edinburgh were fixed instead.


Perhaps, but would need to see the complete Table 51 to be sure whether there was any form of clockface from New Street to Liverpool/Manchester and v.v.
Roughly hourly at XX.55 off Birmingham and mostly alternating between either Manchester or Liverpool, though there are a few instances where two in a row serve one destination.

The NE/SW HSTs to the North East are roughly hourly as well at XX.50 off Birmingham.
 

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