Too much money on new trains, not enough on infrastructure?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by DerekC, 7 Jan 2020.

  1. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    I think that we'll have to agree to disagree here.
    what's needed on northern/TFW is a super-pacer.not a 195.

    due to the speed limitations on most lines there is very little requirement for a 40+ tonne per carriage,100mph capable unit with huge engines bombing around rural northumberland with 200 passengers peak load (it's overcrowded!) and 20 passengers off peak.at 2 cars with 150 capacity.
    there IS a market for a 30 tonne per carriage,85-90 mph capable unit with realistic sized engines(300bhp ish and double the mpg) with 3 cars...it should handle 200 at peak with maybe a couple standing instead of being stranded on a platform.
    It won't break the bank running it at low load either,especially if they can do eco mode and re-map /isolate the excess engine during times it's not necessary

    I don't think it's unrealistic at all for double fuel efficiency of the 195's let alone the sprinters,given 30 years of advancement in engine technology.I do think that the capacity and top speed needs improving though, as a lot of lines now have to factor in pathing for a mainline stretch of 100/125mph trains, which is a sizeable increase on the typical 90mph express of the 1980's.

    sounds like I have contradicted myself in this post ,I know, but a large chunk of rural routes also include a small mainline stretch,so a bit of versatility needs to be built in, just not as much overkill as the 195's do,but more than a present pacer or 150/156 has!
    (if they could make the 158/159 3 cars about 3m shorter per car,and 7.5t per car lighter,coupled up with a hybrid engine they would be ideal)..basically a turbocharged 150/2!
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2020
  2. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Other than the Overground increases, those went hand in hand with serious expenditure on infrastructure, the Thameslink programme, Crossrail etc, which backs up my original comment about a north/south split on this issue, where bottlenecks such as the cramped and 8 car platforms at Kings Cross Thameslink and Farringdon were eliminated in London
     
  3. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    AFAIK, all 86 class 319s came with pantographs fitted and apart from the 7 sets that had their pantographs temporarily removed for about 10 years when they were running south of the river on 3rd rail duties only, they have always had pantographs in order to run on Thameslink diagrams.
     
  4. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    I'd say in the southeast the infrastructure spend was almost entirely about capacity.extending from 8 car to 12 car as routine.The linespeeds in general are pretty decent.

    In the north,it's either about shortforming,or substandard linespeed in the first place.
    lets take thameslink as an example.
    the journey time for a stopper between bedford and st pancras hasn't really changed much since the 1980's.the big jump actually came in 1980 with the electrifcation and the transfer from 127's(70mph) to 317's (90mph).capacity of trains didn't improve much until the 700's came,but frequency did...once 317's were introduced it became possible to run a 15 minute interval service.It got better still in 1990 when the 319's came and thameslink happened.That cut a big chunk out of cross london travel time.

    for intercity's between the two points there was also a commensurate change from 90mph to 125mph(the original upgrade was 110mph). going from 45's/47's to hst's.

    the north is still stuck,especially on metropolitan routes,with rails and stock only capable of 75mph.it needs that 1980's jump!
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2020
  5. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Something like this? https://www.tdi.uk.com/EN/revolution-vlr-consortium/
     
  6. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    I've seen the VLR link a while ago, thanks for posting anyway,

    It's sort of in that ballpark, but the VLR they have in question is for something like aylesbury-risborough/abbey line/bourne end-marlow/ marson vale/island line.
    I was thinking something quite a bit faster and much longer range.
    This sort of thing on steroids.

    I could see VLR working quite happily on something like the cornish looe valley line.Would be way cheaper to run than a 150
     
  7. davidknibb

    davidknibb New Member

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    Living in the West Midlands, and suffering from the current poor service on the Coventry-Birmingham corridor, the most common reason for the numerous cancellations is 'crew shortages'. So no real point in extra new trains if there is no one to drive them and be guards
     
  8. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Agreed - there are plenty of 90/100mph DMUs suitable for middle distance routes (will be 158/170/175/185s spare shortly) - but we are ordering even more, despite the fact that the routes they are going on won't have lots of high speed running, and the fact that this means a cascade that puts end-doored stock like 156/158s (and poorly accelerating 158s at that) on slow stoppers where wide doors would be better.

    In the case of TPE, it's worth remembering that 150s used to be the staple diet for trans-pennine services under BR for a period, so it wasn't always long trains

    In the case of XC, the service under BR was generally an hourly one on each branch of the "X" with six/seven coaches - people look back and "remember" some of the exceptional length services as the norm (e.g. there are many pictures of long services for Newquay) and forget the fact BR also ran two coach 158s on some "cross country" services

    Agreed - but we are obsessed with "flagship" trains for "flagship" routes, rather than something simple to directly fill a gap - shame

    Apologies - I am an idiot - I meant to refer to the problems sticking engines into 319s (to make them 769s) but appear to have got it the wrong way round!

    The point I meant to make was that the experiences we've had with 230s/ 319s/ 442s/ HSTs etc it's understandable that we've sometimes given up on the "make do and mend" approach and have bitten the bullet to order new stock

    I understand that some people are unhappy that we are ordering new trains as this means that some of their favourite old trains are getting scrapped but, if you look at the problems we've had trying to upgrade the existing stock that we've tried to, I can wholly understand why a TOC would rather buy "off the peg" instead of trying to fashion something together from the rejects bin

    Given the curvature of the lines we've inherited from our Victorian ancestors, I'm not sure that there's a lot of scope to upgrade a lot of "metropolitan" routes above 75mph - and the congested routes/ high frequency of conflicting services/ large number of flat junctions etc mean that there's not much chance to utilise higher speeds
     
  9. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I wasn't offended at all.
    It's a shame that, adapting available stock that isn't life expired hasn't (so far) brought useful medium-term capacity, especially in the form of a more flexible, sustainable form that bi-modes offer. To make things worse, some of the new trains procured have committed the railway to 30+ years operation down an environmental cul-de-sac of diesel-only operation.
     
  10. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I agree - I was all for the conversion of 319s into 769s (and the introduction of 230s) - I try to be honest about the predictions I got wrong - and around five years ago my approach was along the lines of:

    • We have lots of "Provincial" lines where more capacity is needed (compared to the single Sprinters currently used) but the high subsidies mean there's a weak case for brand new trains
    • We have hundreds of "Network South East" EMUs that don't have a long term home (because of Crossrail, because of Thameslink, because of standardised fleets in the old Southern Region)
    • We have committed to huge amounts of electrification (MML to Sheffield, GWR to Oxford/Swansea, Transpennine, Central Belt, Electric Spine, East-West, Valley Lines etc) with talk of more to come (e.g. Hull Trains funding electrification as part of their negotiations for extended access rights)
    • So by CP6 we'll be able to start wiring up the "secondary" lines (i.e. once you've wired some routes, the case for filling in the "gaps" looks a lot better - if you've wired the MML to Sheffield then it wouldn't take much to link it to the ECML at Doncaster/ Moorthorpe or the WCML in the West Midlands… if you've wired the GWML to Oxford then the case for wiring from Oxford to Coventry looks a lot better...)
    • That means there's a poor case for investing in pure DMUs (given the way that electrification will free up large numbers of midlife ones)
    • But there's still a medium term capacity problem whilst we wait for the wires
    • If we could stick an engine under the 317/319/321/455s (etc) then we'd have something broadly equivalent to a four coach 150 that could run at 100mph on the wires through central Manchester/ Leeds and manage to cope with the lower speed sections closer to the termini (e.g. Buxton)

    So all we needed to do was adapt the mid-life EMUs by sticking an engine in them and we'd have a capacity boost whilst we waited for the wires.

    We all know what happened - electrification was delayed/ scaled back/ cancelled - we are still waiting for some routes to be done and have given up hope on others - TOCs have ordered pur DMUs as they can see which way the wind is blowing. Porterbrook haven't managed to get 769s in service - 230s haven't made the splash I'd have expected - even just sticking power doors in a Mk3 seems to be a massive stumbling block.

    Therefore, if I were putting in a bid for the next franchise to come up, and I had the choice of betting on someone turning a sow's ear into a silk purse (by converting/upgrading mid-life stock) or just going straight to Hitatchi/CAF for brand new trains then I'd choose the latter. I'm all for "reduce/ re-use/ recycle", I'd be happy enough if we could keep older trains fit for modern service, but it's just not been working. I can't therefore criticise any TOC who decide that (having seen the problems with the Scottish HSTs or the Northern 769s or the Midland 230s) they'd be better off with one big fleet of new units.

    Much as I enjoy reading the "My Plan For Getting Class 60s To Haul Passenger Trains" or "My Suggestion To Convert 325s Into Passenger Units" (etc), the evidence points to it being too complicated/ slow/ expensive to try to upgrade older stock.

    So, in answer to the OP's enquiry about "spending too much money on new trains" - I don't think we are. Government dithering meant nobody took a decision over accessible trains until the last minute (ideally, we should have been planning to replace Pacers at least ten years ago but that was always in the tray marked "too difficult") - hence the current problems.

    However, the people spending all the money on new trains (the TOCs funding the ROSCOs) aren't the ones who'd have been spending money on infrastructure - so IMHO it's not as if the "new trains" budget is coming at the expensive of the "better infrastructure" budget".

    The reason why Network Rail haven't fixed signalling problems/ extended the platforms they promised/ delivered the electrification they agreed to (etc) isn't because TOCs have ordered too many new trains - but I think that a lot of the focus on this thread has been criticising "profligate" franchises and not enough attention paid to why Network Rail isn't delivering.
     
  11. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    How could it have been "too difficult" to replace Pacers? They are just another DMU and you could say that it would have been easier during the rolling stock famine than now, when the effects of introducing a tidal wave of new stock is overwhelming almost all the railway - apart from the financiers.
    "Too difficult" really hides the unwillingness to spend on public transport provision anywhere beyond the travel-to-work area around London (in England anyway.)
     
  12. Jozhua

    Jozhua Member

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    I think the whole network has had too many years of famine, conservatism isn't what the railways need right now.

    HSTs are still in use and in their 5th decade of operation, with no immediate end in sight. Fortunately, they are pleasent and universally loved, but still, many are in desperate need of a full overhaul at the very least.

    Pacers needed replacing desperately.

    153's weren't really suitable anymore.

    There is no plan as of yet to replace 15X's which in their 3rd decade of operation. I reckon there's a good 5 - 10 years left in them depending on the class, but it shows rolling stock really hasn't been over-ordered.

    Plus, UK railways carry more people than at any point in their history, recovering from historic lows just a couple of decades previously. Significant growth in both rolling stock and infrastructure is needed.

    Yeah, class 91+MK4 & MK3's could have gone maybe a few more years longer, there's plenty of rolling stock that age or older that will be continuing though.
     
  13. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    "Too difficult" meaning that it'd have been an expensive decision to replace over a hundred trains, trains that are used on heavily subsidised services, so a decision that would have required a lot of funding/ under-writing by the Government.

    Also "too difficult" in terms of there being few simple replacements on the market at the time (172s and... erm?), but this was at the time when the Government wanted to give the impression that electrification would be expanded (or that lightweight TramTrains could be a solution to a number of lines) - so ordering pure DMUs would have been admitting that things weren't working too well in that respect (whereas ordering pure DMUs commits the railway to using them in the long term).

    Instead, we had Governments happy to kick the can down the road, defer the difficult decisions, not wanting to properly fund long term changes, trying to bodge things... which doesn't bode well for those demanding "nationalisation" but seems to be the biggest problem that the railway currently has.
     
  14. Metal_gee_man

    Metal_gee_man Member

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    We all know certain areas of the railway infrastructure need to be upgraded, fly under, fly overs, more lines to allow for stoppers and fasts to be separated, new digital signalling, smaller signal blocks everywhere not just in London, additional crossover points to allow bi-directional running and many other platform and bottleneck situations.
    And whilst if the government was to chuck the HS2 levels of cash to fix all of these problems, we still wouldn't see or feel the effects for the 10s of years to come, which by that time we'd be hunting for the next upgrade or solution to a problem. Ultimately the manpower, skills and machinary to carry out many of these jobs isn't available.
    Network rail don't have the specialists and the equipment to carry out these tasks in a timely manner would be tied up at another site or doesn't have to skilled operator to use it, Just look to see how long it's taking to put a new platform in at Stevenage and how long buses are replacing trains to Watton at Stone.
    And to carry out much of this work how comfortable are the commuting public are to be on rail replacement buses or have complete closures of stations and lines for huge periods of time? It causes major havoc, the press use it as a stick to beat the industry, the industry scales back their plans and does a half arsed job or doesn't do the signalling for example on a particular branch line or wherever and we are back to square one
     
  15. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    However if you committed to a rolling programme of railway expansion you could start with a few small (or not so small) teams and draw on them to expand your activity when they had got their act together. If they were directly employed and secure (with promotion prospects too) you might achieve a lot more than perpetually wasting effort and money putting work out to tender and getting a succession of novices who looked cheap but didn't understand the job.
     
  16. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    And that's part of the problem with infrastructure in this country. When things are all left to parliament they kick the can down the road as they only operate in 5 year cycles and if it takes a long time to do then they're only bothered about the next election.
     
  17. Metal_gee_man

    Metal_gee_man Member

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    Again bringing up the debate surrounding Railtrack/BR/Network Rail, does having contractors make the network safer? we know its more cost efficient, but does it lose thousands of hours of knowledge on how to do a job when every contract or tender finishes?
    Do the contractors I.e Balfour Beatty etc spend anything like they should on having enough equipment or do they move it from site to site to get the best out of their investment?
    Does having a permanently employed railworker sat on his hands some days/evenings/weekends because they are based in the South East but there is no work being allowed on the network in the South East because of some event or agreement make sense when his/her expertise could be used on a huge project in Huddersfield for example?
    Does having permanent teams waste money and resources that could be spent on the infrastructure rather than wages?
    I would love a company to take control, have professional, well paid, well trained, highly skilled and a highly motivated workforce that was allowed the time required time to carry out the works that were required.
    But sadly we run a reactive, not a pro-active railway and until that changes the Victoria infrastructure will continue to be patched up, bodged and in most cases won't be fit for purpose. But hey a guy can dream
     
  18. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Indeed, often those opposed to HS2 suggest spending a fraction of the money on the existing network, the problem is that Network Rail has spent ~£30 billion on enhancements in the 10 years from 2009 to 2019 (that excludes HS2 and nearly all of the spending on Crossrail). This compares with £88 billion (which includes rolling stock which the NR spending doesn't), so that's what, a third. That's quite a significant fraction of the HS2 budget and what have we seen?

    I'm not sure that you'd get many saying that there's been a whole load of improvements to the rail network over that timeframe. Probably with quite a few stating that they don't think that it's improved at all.
     
  19. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    Hmm.

    Just over the routes I drive I've seen additional platforms at Cambridge and Peterborough, the remodelling of Cardiff, Nottingham, Derby, Oxford, Bristol Parkway and Reading stations, the GWML electrification and entire new stations built at Bromsgrove and Worcs Parkway. There have also been myriad re-signalling schemes, linespeed enhancements and loading gauge improvements. And there's more in the pipeline.

    Yeah, hardly any improvements at all.
     
  20. ohgoditsjames

    ohgoditsjames Member

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    Sheffield station desperately significant alterations to the northern throat which is our equivalent of Castlefield (yet no one talks about this) but will cost a substantial fee due to the nature of the bedrock and the number of bridges that would need total replacement/widening. The station also needs a proper remodel as well.
     
  21. Metal_gee_man

    Metal_gee_man Member

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    I think it boils down to the perceived benefits and punctualities that these upgrades have created.
    Resignalling is great but did it create any obvious advantages to the travelling public probably not, the blatantly obvious trouble spots across the network have been left to fester whilst some other vanity projects for the South have gone ahead. Why couldn't Cambridge manage with the number platforms it had, or why did resignalling the Great Western Mainline around Bristol need doing when the new trains were known to be fast enough to make up the advantages the signalling created.
    I just don't see that a decent job has been done in a countrywide sense (coming from a South Eastern user)
     
  22. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    This is only half true. The stopper also can't be 6-car until it runs through Huddersfield again as per the disastrous Summer 2018 timetable. Until this can be made to work reliably, it doesn't matter what happens at Leeds.
     
  23. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Established Member

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    Although as the stopper seems to be staying as it is for the foreseeable, and is back as being a proper stopper rather than a ‘semi-slow’ as it was originally, it shouldn’t really still be with TPE anyway. If it went back to Northern they could increase it to 4 cars (which although not 6, is more than 3)
     
  24. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    I suppose it all depends on what you believe to be a “decent job” to be.

    Maybe the improvements are not particularly obvious to Johnny Q Public with his nose in the Sub Standard, but that’s not the same thing as saying that improvements are not being made. A humble resignalling scheme may not seem much, but these generally provide greater reliability and resilience than the systems they replace. Even the “vanity projects” you mention (by which I guess you mean Crossrail and Thameslink) will bring improvements by increasing capacity into London, providing cross-London connections and so on.

    I’m not so sure that the public perception of an infrastructure scheme matters so much as long as it does what’s billed. And in most cases it does. But as the OP’s concern was that the money is going into rolling stock at the expense of the infrastructure, my own perspective is that this is not true. Yes we’re going through a period of rolling stock renewal, but we go through these cycles periodically anyway. Just looking around my routes I would argue that we are also going through an unprecedented programme of infrastructure improvements. Of course there are areas on the network that are still crying out for enhancements, but such is the nature of the beast. The money and resources are not limitless, and so these projects cannot be done concurrently.
     
  25. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I'm not sure what formation lengths the two halves of platform 4 at Huddersfield can each hold without impacting the other half. The Leeds end (4a) looks as if it could take 4 23m vehicles, possibly 5. I'm pretty sure I've seen a 4-car 156 in 4b. Platform 6 takes 3x23m and platform 5 is a problem as it is currently restricted to 1x153 or a 2-car 14x.

    As long as the current layout and service pattern exists, the Castleford service can only operate with stock which is non-compliant with the "Alphabet Soup" legislation (144012 notwithstanding) which only has a dispensation to run for a few more months. I suspect we'll just see further dispensation extensions unless/until a decision is made on the route upgrade.

    The plans for Huddersfield under the proposed upgrade are quite extensive (and will be expensive) but I fear they won't provide enough capacity for local stopping services. If Yorkshire was in Germany, Huddersfield to Leeds all-stops would be an S-bahn route with at least 2 trains per hour, but even after the upgrade any increase will be pitted against the aspired "Intercity-metro" that TPE has become.
     
  26. Sleeperwaking

    Sleeperwaking Member

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    I think there was a lot of work in CP5 and on-going into CP6 to replace or life-extend legacy signalling assets from the 70s that was becoming life expired. In some cases, it may have made sense to make improvements at the same time and future proof the equipment rather than just renew like for like. The benefit as pointed out by @O L Leigh is that the impending ramp up of failures from old equipment doesn't take place, but that's not something visible to the travelling public. I have no idea if that applied to the GWML, but I believe it factored into the West Yorkshire signalling upgrades.

    With respect to rolling stock, my previous company had tons and tons of work on-going with rolling stock life extension projects, with corrosion issues featuring again and again. Our franchise system did not encourage the long term planning required to gradually phase out stock as it became life expired via a rolling (heh) programme of new train orders. New trains are a long term investment - it takes years to design / manufacture them and get them running reliably, there's a lot of risk before any reward. Start awarding relatively short franchises to the lowest cost bidder and let the bidders come up with their own individual rolling stock plans and you have a lot of fleets being life extended so that the work backlog is deferred into the next franchise. A lot of the legacy British Rail fleets have been kept going decades longer than they were originally designed for. As much as the 769 project is interesting, modifying 30 year old trains for operation in some of the wettest areas of the country does not strike me as a long term rolling stock solution but a sticking plaster.

    Therefore, I would say that there has not been too much money spent on new trains; however, it should have been spent gradually over the last 20 years rather than all in the last 5.
     
  27. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    A lot of the GWML resignalling was necessary due to the other infrastructure improvements (Reading remodelling, Filton 4-tracking, etc), so I don’t know whether the remainder was simply a “like for like” renewal. Either way, the newer equipment should prove to be easier (and therefore cheaper) to maintain as well as more robust. This applies as much to any change of train detection methods from track circuits to axle counters which are generally more reliable and fail less often.
     
  28. Jozhua

    Jozhua Member

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    This is really one of those things where we come back to the need for pro-active management from government!

    Essentially, be it electrification, new trains, new platforms, modifications to existing rolling stock, etc, having experienced staff who can do things in a reasonable time frame and move from job to job, finding new ways of doing certain things just a bit better is the most efficient way of doing things.

    Outside of rail, projects like Hinckley Point C have spiralled cost-wise, because the experience isn't there anymore. I'm sure the plant will be perfectly safe, etc when completed, but it will sure take a long time to complete and cost billions.

    Having large amounts of standardised things, created and operated by teams who have built up experience over a good period of time will always be the most efficient way.

    This is why Metrolink can lob an extension up and finish early, and why the airline industry can fly you from Manchester to Paris cheaper than you can get the train to London. The boring ways, like having a team dedicated to Metrolink, slowly gaining experience, or buying essentially the exact same aircraft model for over a decade, are the most efficient and functional.

    Yes! Proactivity is super important. I think building on my point above, what should have happened is the government pre-empt these problems and employ smaller teams over longer periods of time to go across the whole network and carry out upgrades, be it signalling, electrification, track-work, etc.

    This stop-start, cancel, un-cancel, "victorian rail revolution" one week and election another does nothing to help anyone.

    This isn't victorian times anymore, we don't just have tons of cheap labour and land lying around. Also, the things we do build arguably have to be to a much higher standard.

    As someone who frequently experiences both, I would say Sheffield isn't quite as bad as Castlefield. Although, Castlefield is a complete cluster**** so doesn't take much to beat it!

    Sheffield is definitely a noticeably slower area for trains to pass through than other cities, so some remodelling perhaps in a similar vain to the work done at Derby would be perfect.
     
  29. mike57

    mike57 Member

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    To be honest the problems in my area are not mainly infrastructure related. The recent meltdown in TPE services is due to TPE failure to ensure they have sufficient staff to cover training sickness, holidays etc. so the problems are totally self inflicted. Manchester Scarborough services have been slowed down by about 10 mins end to end with the new timetable, this isnt because speeds have been lowered, its because they are trying to run too many trains through the Leeds Manchester corridor. The new trains are welcome, but I reckon the latest round of poor performance has hit passenger numbers again, I was on the 17.30 out of Manchester Vic on Wednesday (5 coaches) and it was no more than 50% full, and this is at the back end of peak time.

    The problem with infrastructure improvements is they take too long to deliver, and they are piecemeal. The money spent on the Ordsall chord actually made Castlefield worse. I suspect the proposed 4 tracking between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will just move the problems. Maybe some smaller scale works spread out would do more good, e,g, restore 4 tracks through stations where possible within the existing railway boundaries to provide passing opportunities at several different locations, platform lengthening to allow fewer longer trains.

    Taking the route I am familiar with, York - Leeds - Manchester unless you upgrade the whole route improvements in one place just move the pinch point. New trains are welcome, but unless they run to timetable most of the time it doesnt matter if its a clapped out pacer or an 802.

    So to answer the OP question IMO spending on new trains is welcome, but infrastructure spend hasnt been well managed or targeted in a lot of cases, imagine the Ordsall Chord money had been spent on some targeted York Manchester improvements, 4 track through Crossgates Dewsbury and Slaithwaite would seem to be easy targets for example, then we would have a more robust system than we have at the moment instead of a worse system than we had 2 years ago.
     
  30. SuperNova

    SuperNova Member

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    A fair few things to pick up here...

    1) The current TPE predicament isn't solely due to TPE, although some heads should roll. Some well documented issues such as CAF being inept, along with some undocumented things that are of a sensitive nature have led to a perfect storm of sorts.
    2) While Manchester to Scarborough may take longer now, it's also worth mentioning that they've picked up two new stops which will increase journey times. Stalybridge once again has its direct link to Liverpool and 2 fasts to Leeds every hour and Garforth has better links too.
    3) Pre May 2018, TPE ran 5 fasts an hour through the main corridor and regularly was in and around 90%+ PPM. To say it is because they're running too many trains is quite a lazy argument to make given the pre-May 18 timetable.
    4) Simply 4 tracking specific areas just won't work. Take Huddersfield to Marsden, if this was to happen line speeds would need to reduce making services even slower. Given the need to provide a fast and frequent service - the only true fix is TRU and even then for me it doesn't go far enough.

    One big thing for me is far too many stakeholders spoiling the broth. Take West Yorkshire Combined Authority - Their grand plan has tram trains running every 15 minutes or so on the quickest transpennine route. You've got local stakeholders in Greater Manchester wanting the stopping service between Huddersfield and Manchester every 30 mins even though during the day barely anyone gets on. TfN has grand plans but are they really realistic?

    While the railway is here to get people from A to B, there needs to be sensible and realistic railway people at the forefront of any modernisation plan. It truly baffles me that Liverpool - Manchester - Huddersfield - Leeds - York isn't 4 tracked throughout in this day and age, especially given the drive to get HGV's off roads and rail freight being a massive benefit to the railway and the environment. For the last 35 years, nobody has done anything significant is built up conurbations outside London and all it needs is a proper visionary with appropriate support to truly change the railway for the better.
     

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