• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Transpennine W12 freight

Status
Not open for further replies.

matacaster

On Moderation
Joined
19 Jan 2013
Messages
1,605
How easy would it be to make a new W12 a freight route via Colne, Skipton, Leeds? There would appear to be fewer tunnels etc than the other routes.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,307
How easy would it be to make a new W12 a freight route via Colne, Skipton, Leeds? There would appear to be fewer tunnels etc than the other routes.

Technically, anything is possible within the laws of physics.

Could you make it work in the timetable? Not without taking some services out or building some big infrastructure at Leeds.

Would there be a case? No. Transpennine is too short for any significant container flow.

(and not forgetting that Skipton - Colne doesn’t exist, and Colne - Burnley is single track).
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
Technically, anything is possible within the laws of physics.

Could you make it work in the timetable? Not without taking some services out or building some big infrastructure at Leeds.

Would there be a case? No. Transpennine is too short for any significant container flow.

(and not forgetting that Skipton - Colne doesn’t exist, and Colne - Burnley is single track).
Any East-West Trans Pennine freight route could have some fair usage. Nothing like the Felixstowe/Southampton/Gateway port flows but I think there is potential and I think further to that, it offers an alternative route for intermodal flows from Teesside to the midlands which currently have to go via Doncaster and then circle around Birmingham. Both of which are becoming increasingly congested. Slow moving freights along Birminghams high frequency Commuter lines is far from ideal.

Distance I don't think is too bad. Grangemouth to Mossend works as does Liverpool to East Midlands Gateway. Felixstowe to Birmingham. Just naming a few there. Not sure if Brexit affects locked containers (simply passing through the country from port to port unopened. Minimal potential for any tampering since it's not going by road) but the eastern side has a fair few feeder container ships from the likes of Norway and Poland. Liverpool has a fair few container ships over to Ireland. A train could act as a land link between the two and save containers having to go via Rotterdam which would save shipping companies a lot of money. I think there is potential if it was done, I think the current situation suppresses demand since why would any company put any time or money into containers for cross country transit when there is no trains which do it. It's easier to stick with curtainsiders since containers have upfront cost and will bring zero benefit for companies moving goods trans pennine.

The routing has issues though, I agree with you there. Leeds... Kind of passible by night only or maybe a 1tph freight flow could be worked out as per at Piccadilly. I think if a route was to be done it would have to be via Hebden Bridge, via Huddersfield or a Helifield eastern curve. Skipton to Colne would be expensive surely as it's a good few km of new track.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
16,144
Any East-West Trans Pennine freight route could have some fair usage. Nothing like the Felixstowe/Southampton/Gateway port flows but I think there is potential and I think further to that, it offers an alternative route for intermodal flows from Teesside to the midlands which currently have to go via Doncaster and then circle around Birmingham. Both of which are becoming increasingly congested. Slow moving freights along Birminghams high frequency Commuter lines is far from ideal.

Distance I don't think is too bad. Grangemouth to Mossend works as does Liverpool to East Midlands Gateway. Felixstowe to Birmingham. Just naming a few there. Not sure if Brexit affects locked containers (simply passing through the country from port to port unopened. Minimal potential for any tampering since it's not going by road) but the eastern side has a fair few feeder container ships from the likes of Norway and Poland. Liverpool has a fair few container ships over to Ireland. A train could act as a land link between the two and save containers having to go via Rotterdam which would save shipping companies a lot of money. I think there is potential if it was done, I think the current situation suppresses demand since why would any company put any time or money into containers for cross country transit when there is no trains which do it. It's easier to stick with curtainsiders since containers have upfront cost and will bring zero benefit for companies moving goods trans pennine.

The routing has issues though, I agree with you there. Leeds... Kind of passible by night only or maybe a 1tph freight flow could be worked out as per at Piccadilly. I think if a route was to be done it would have to be via Hebden Bridge, via Huddersfield or a Helifield eastern curve. Skipton to Colne would be expensive surely as it's a good few km of new track.
Not sure it is any better for the Tees to West Mids. You would still have to get them to Crewe and then between Stafford and Bushbury where you are getting ran down by 100mph + trains the same as you are from Derby.
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
Not sure it is any better for the Tees to West Mids. You would still have to get them to Crewe and then between Stafford and Bushbury where you are getting ran down by 100mph + trains the same as you are from Derby.
Crewe has the freight lines which could be used. The main station is busy though, I agree. Stafford to Bushbury may need something or it could be routed via the WCML down to Daventry. It's down to paths. Via Crewe and the WCML though there is a lot more 4 tracking in place and a lot more areas to hold trains so that they slot into paths if needed. The current routing has more of a mix of stopper and fast trains (so pathing is already hard), it goes through Aldwarke Jct which can already be a point of delay. Through Burton and Tamworth which is also busy. You've then got to traverse around Birminghams high frequency commuter lines with not really anywhere for the train to nip in to let faster trains pass nor space for the service to wait between respective paths, it kind of has to run, non stop so obviously funding paths which work such long distances is hard.

It won't be easy but I would argue easier to find paths and make it work.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
16,144
Crewe has the freight lines which could be used. The main station is busy though, I agree. Stafford to Bushbury may need something or it could be routed via the WCML down to Daventry. It's down to paths. Via Crewe and the WCML though there is a lot more 4 tracking in place and a lot more areas to hold trains so that they slot into paths if needed. The current routing has more of a mix of stopper and fast trains (so pathing is already hard), it goes through Aldwarke Jct which can already be a point of delay. Through Burton and Tamworth which is also busy. You've then got to traverse around Birminghams high frequency commuter lines with not really anywhere for the train to nip in to let faster trains pass nor space for the service to wait between respective paths, it kind of has to run, non stop so obviously funding paths which work such long distances is hard.

It won't be easy but I would argue easier to find paths and make it work.
Only difficult bit around the West Mids is really Water Orton. Chesterfield to Castle Donnington you can recess, as you can at Burton, Elford, Kingsbury to Whitacre. Sutton Park, Bescot, Stechford to Aston. It isn't as bad as you think.
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
Only difficult bit around the West Mids is really Water Orton. Chesterfield to Castle Donnington you can recess, as you can at Burton, Elford, Kingsbury to Whitacre. Sutton Park, Bescot, Stechford to Aston. It isn't as bad as you think.
Not larger dynamic passing loops though so not quite as good. Stetchford and Aston to hold trains would also mean quite slow going through so not great for mainline trains behind. You'd ideally want to go through without stopping.

If HS2 changes things, it won't be as bad but based on Dec 2019 timetable, it would surely be more difficult to plan a new freight service using the current North ECML - Daventry routing rather than the WCML.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
16,144
Not larger dynamic passing loops though so not quite as good. Stetchford and Aston to hold trains would also mean quite slow going through so not great for mainline trains behind. You'd ideally want to go through without stopping.

If HS2 changes things, it won't be as bad but based on Dec 2019 timetable, it would surely be more difficult to plan a new freight service using the current North ECML - Daventry routing rather than the WCML.
That is how everything works now though, how many dynamic loops actually exist anywhere apart from long 4 line sections? Stechford Aston has set hourly paths as part of the Dec 2008 timetable. If we solved Kingsbury then it would be a lot easier on that axis.
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
That is how everything works now though, how many dynamic loops actually exist anywhere apart from long 4 line sections? Stechford Aston has set hourly paths as part of the Dec 2008 timetable. If we solved Kingsbury then it would be a lot easier on that axis.
Well, it doesn't of course but it's fairly long 4 line sections and if they wanted, it's easier to expand the northern WCML.

Both routes have issues. At minimum the WCML could always act as an alternative route if pathing works better for the customers needs which of course vary.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,307
Any East-West Trans Pennine freight route could have some fair usage.

What would you say is ‘fair usage’?

Grangemouth to Mossend works as does Liverpool to East Midlands Gateway

Both of those are one train a day.

Liverpool has a fair few container ships over to Ireland. A train could act as a land link between the two and save containers having to go via Rotterdam which would save shipping companies a lot of money.

It would cost them a lot of money. 2 ships, 2 transhipments, 2 sets of customs checks (thank you Brexit). And it would be slower (because of the transhipments, and having to wait for a train). There’s a reason the shipping lines have significantly increased their direct sailings from Ireland to the EU.

The routing has issues though, I agree with you there. Leeds... Kind of passible by night only or maybe a 1tph freight flow could be worked out as per at Piccadilly.

Unlikely to be pathable given the level of service into the west end of Leeds.

Skipton to Colne would be expensive surely as it's a good few km of new track.

£300m-£400m
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
What would you say is ‘fair usage’?
Few trains per day
Both of those are one train a day.
Point being that shorter flows exist and work. This

It would cost them a lot of money. 2 ships, 2 transhipments, 2 sets of customs checks (thank you Brexit). And it would be slower (because of the transhipments, and having to wait for a train). There’s a reason the shipping lines have significantly increased their direct sailings from Ireland to the EU.
I did say it depended on brexit and how that affected things. I think the 'slower' would depend on how frequent the ferries are at each end and whether they go through Rotterdam (which is the point where most of the Ireland feeders seem to start). Customs could be an issue though. I wasn't sure as it was a locked container on a train going port to port. Secure zone to secure zone via train (which while not secure as such, it has basically no potential for people to tamper with it).

Unlikely to be pathable given the level of service into the west end of Leeds.
Anything could be possible. Leeds already has the quarry train except that flow risks more congestion than this one proposed since that one crosses over from Hunslet, over the TPE lines. Least this would be E-W not passing over so many lines on the western side.

£300m-£400m
That's not too bad in the grand scheme of things is it?. Many more expensive projects out there.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,307
That's not too bad in the grand scheme of things is it?. Many more expensive projects out there.
It is very expensive, for a ....

Few trains per day
.

I think the 'slower' would depend on how frequent the ferries are at each end

And how many trains per day. If you get a box off a ship, and it has to wait 12 hours for transit across the Pennines, the same box would already be in Rotterdam on a direct ship having departed the same Irish port at the same time.
 
Last edited:

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
It is very expensive, for a ....
Yes for the few freight trains but it would probably end up with passenger trains as well as it's a bigger aim of any line reopening.

And how many trains per day. If you get a box off a ship, and it has to wait 12 hours for transit across the Pennines, the same box would already be in Rotterdam on a direct ship having departed the same Irish port at the same time.
That would depend on the loads. As for Rotterdam, it depends fully on the shipping schedules. If it serves the UK first, you would be looking at +1 day to Rotterdam. Then you have time in Rotterdam. It's then 2 days from Rotterdam to Ireland direct. That's 3 days based on the shipping schedules working out with the container spending no time in Rotterdam.

Compare that to a train across the Pennines, say 1 day (using your 12h wait plus transit time). It then depends on if you are picky with how you get the container over to Ireland. P&O & Seatruck combined have currently 7 ferries per day over to Dublin from Liverpool so using that logic, no container should be in Liverpool longer than 12 hours (using loading and unloading time). From Liverpool it's 8-9 hours to Dublin. From Teesside then to Ireland, you could be looking at 2 days. If you specifically want the container going over though on a container ferry, there could be a wait (As per at Rotterdam) for the connection. Plus then a 1/2 a day for the transit.


As best, via Rotterdam is 3 days, via UK intermodal could be done in 2 days. If the shipping schedules don't work out though via Rotterdam may be quicker but it all depends on the scheduled. If a container train was available (and customs issues could be overcome), the feeders to Ireland may reduce since it's more costly for the shipping companies having all these feeders, they would much prefer to have the UK landbridge as they had pre Covid. This would increase the journey time via Rotterdam and if more intermodal trains come about, that could increase the frequency of trains which would then give a much larger time difference between the two routings.
 

zwk500

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Jan 2020
Messages
13,593
Location
Bristol
Yes for the few freight trains but it would probably end up with passenger trains as well as it's a bigger aim of any line reopening.
Passenger demand on that section would be minimal - there's a reason these godforsaken branches closed in the first place. Yes the world's moved on but there hasn't been that much of a fundamental shift in travel patterns to make a passenger demand sustain anything more than a token service.
That would depend on the loads. As for Rotterdam, it depends fully on the shipping schedules. If it serves the UK first, you would be looking at +1 day to Rotterdam. Then you have time in Rotterdam. It's then 2 days from Rotterdam to Ireland direct. That's 3 days based on the shipping schedules working out with the container spending no time in Rotterdam.

Compare that to a train across the Pennines, say 1 day (using your 12h wait plus transit time). It then depends on if you are picky with how you get the container over to Ireland. P&O & Seatruck combined have currently 7 ferries per day over to Dublin from Liverpool so using that logic, no container should be in Liverpool longer than 12 hours (using loading and unloading time). From Liverpool it's 8-9 hours to Dublin. From Teesside then to Ireland, you could be looking at 2 days. If you specifically want the container going over though on a container ferry, there could be a wait (As per at Rotterdam) for the connection. Plus then a 1/2 a day for the transit.

As best, via Rotterdam is 3 days, via UK intermodal could be done in 2 days. If the shipping schedules don't work out though via Rotterdam may be quicker but it all depends on the scheduled. If a container train was available (and customs issues could be overcome), the feeders to Ireland may reduce since it's more costly for the shipping companies having all these feeders, they would much prefer to have the UK landbridge as they had pre Covid. This would increase the journey time via Rotterdam and if more intermodal trains come about, that could increase the frequency of trains which would then give a much larger time difference between the two routings.
Forgive my confusion, but if you've got a box at Rotterdam bound for Dublin why would you load it on a ship to Teesport rather than London Gateway/Felixstowe (or even send it on a train from Calais)? Hamburg or further east I can see why they'd go to Tees, but surely they'll still find it quicker to drive along the coast to Rotterdam/Dunkerque/Calais?

Are there actually any potential flows that a transpennine route would genuinely enable? I'm guessing there a reason there's no east-west motorway between the M62 and M8.
 

Ploughman

Established Member
Joined
15 Jan 2010
Messages
2,899
Location
Near where the 3 ridings meet
Passenger demand on that section would be minimal - there's a reason these godforsaken branches closed in the first place. Yes the world's moved on but there hasn't been that much of a fundamental shift in travel patterns to make a passenger demand sustain anything more than a token service.

Forgive my confusion, but if you've got a box at Rotterdam bound for Dublin why would you load it on a ship to Teesport rather than London Gateway/Felixstowe (or even send it on a train from Calais)? Hamburg or further east I can see why they'd go to Tees, but surely they'll still find it quicker to drive along the coast to Rotterdam/Dunkerque/Calais?

Are there actually any potential flows that a transpennine route would genuinely enable? I'm guessing there a reason there's no east-west motorway between the M62 and M8.
The A66 is gradually being Duelled from Scotch Corner A1 to Penrith M6
 

zwk500

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Jan 2020
Messages
13,593
Location
Bristol
The A66 is gradually being Duelled from Scotch Corner A1 to Penrith M6
so Tees-Mossend/Coatbridge/Grangemouth. I suspect upgrading the route via Hexham from W7 to W12 will be cheaper than building a brand new section of line and upgrading Skipton-Leeds.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
16,144
That is still a little while off by the looks of it, still a lot of TBC
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
Passenger demand on that section would be minimal - there's a reason these godforsaken branches closed in the first place. Yes the world's moved on but there hasn't been that much of a fundamental shift in travel patterns to make a passenger demand sustain anything more than a token service.
Well, maybe so yes but that real demand means nothing on the railways. If the line was reopened, I think some passenger service would likely be on the line.


Forgive my confusion, but if you've got a box at Rotterdam bound for Dublin why would you load it on a ship to Teesport rather than London Gateway/Felixstowe (or even send it on a train from Calais)? Hamburg or further east I can see why they'd go to Tees, but surely they'll still find it quicker to drive along the coast to Rotterdam/Dunkerque/Calais?
Tees, Hull and Immingham have a good few container ships from Norway and eastern Europe. Some of these don't serve London or Felixstowe. Even those which do serve London/Felixstowe, depending on the shipping schedule, this may add 1 day onto the journey.

If you've got a box already in Rotterdam, it would make sense for it to go straight to Ireland on the feeder but for anything from much further out, it would have to go into Rotterdam, change between ships/services and then continue it's journey.

One such example is Containerships has an almost daily service from Helsinki and Klaipeda. This goes straight to Teesport and then 1 day later gets to Rotterdam. With the exception of about 1 per week, Teesport is the only port in the UK served by this service. Going to Rotterdam would take an extra day.
I don't know why containerships take the routing they do, you'd have to ask them.


Are there actually any potential flows that a transpennine route would genuinely enable? I'm guessing there a reason there's no east-west motorway between the M62 and M8.
Containers which arrive into Liverpool (A number of services from Spain for example) and heading to the north east/humber
Containers which arrive into Humber/Tees ports (A number of services from eastern europe)
Then you have Ireland containers which could come over of which some will be destined for the north east.
Domestic use

As for the East-West. most trucks do use the M62 and any trans pennine route would be linking to Manchester and/or Liverpool. Just because there is nothing inbetween, doesn't mean that there isn't enough traffic. You would have to build through the Yorkshire Moors and it's much easier to upgrade the M62 than it is to build a brand new motorway.
 

zwk500

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Jan 2020
Messages
13,593
Location
Bristol
Well, maybe so yes but that real demand means nothing on the railways. If the line was reopened, I think some passenger service would likely be on the line.
You've got to pay for the line somehow, and a token passenger service with a few freights per day isn't going to do that, even with the wider economic benefits.
I don't know why containerships take the routing they do, you'd have to ask them.
As I said, routes from Hamburg and east of it make sense to go to Tees because the North European Coast rises in latitude so that Felixstowe is at roughly the same latitude as Rotterdam and Hamburg is roughly as far north as Tees. However my question was relating to what I thought was a discussion of a Rotterdam-Dublin container being routed via Tees and Liverpool, which seemed strange to my (very inexpert) eye.
Containers which arrive into Liverpool (A number of services from Spain for example) and heading to the north east/humber
Containers which arrive into Humber/Tees ports (A number of services from eastern europe)
Then you have Ireland containers which could come over of which some will be destined for the north east.
Domestic use
If containers are being delivered within about a 200-mile radius they'll go by truck. By the time you've got enough containers for a train, the truck could be halfway gone, and you'll still need the truck at the end. If they're being transferred onto another ship, maybe it works out. But I remain to be convinced there's enough traffic to justify the interventions required.
As for the East-West. most trucks do use the M62 and any trans pennine route would be linking to Manchester and/or Liverpool. Just because there is nothing inbetween, doesn't mean that there isn't enough traffic. You would have to build through the Yorkshire Moors and it's much easier to upgrade the M62 than it is to build a brand new motorway.
If you're linking Manchester/Liverpool, what's wrong with upgrading Crewe-Stoke-Uttoxeter-Derby/Toton-Barrow Hill-Church Fenton? The lines are there, the technical challenges of the problem tunnels (Alsager and Derby-Chesterfield) will not be as costly as a brand new route. I think a fair amount of the line north of Burton is cleared anyway. Yes it's a dog-leg round the bottom of the hills, but probably it's comparable distance to Blackburn-Skipton-Leeds-Tees.
 

Greybeard33

Established Member
Joined
18 Feb 2012
Messages
4,314
Location
Greater Manchester
If you're linking Manchester/Liverpool, what's wrong with upgrading Crewe-Stoke-Uttoxeter-Derby/Toton-Barrow Hill-Church Fenton? The lines are there, the technical challenges of the problem tunnels (Alsager and Derby-Chesterfield) will not be as costly as a brand new route. I think a fair amount of the line north of Burton is cleared anyway. Yes it's a dog-leg round the bottom of the hills, but probably it's comparable distance to Blackburn-Skipton-Leeds-Tees.
Or if it is only a 1tpd flow you can go at night via Manchester, Diggle and Huddersfield. That is W8a cleared and so can take 2.6m high boxes on metre high wagons or 2.9m high on low-liner wagons.

See section 18 of this Network Rail study, Routeing of rail freight forecasts, which is lukewarm about the benefits of Skipton - Colne reopening:
 

zwk500

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Jan 2020
Messages
13,593
Location
Bristol
Or if it is only a 1tpd flow you can go at night via Manchester, Diggle and Huddersfield. That is W8a cleared and so can take 2.6m high boxes on metre high wagons or 2.9m high on low-liner wagons.

See section 18 of this Network Rail study, Routeing of rail freight forecasts, which is lukewarm about the benefits of Skipton - Colne reopening:
The OP was specifically asking about a W12 route that would involve less civil engineering than upgrading Diggle. But otherwise, yes, you could run through Manchester at a quieter time.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,307
One such example is Containerships has an almost daily service from Helsinki and Klaipeda. This goes straight to Teesport and then 1 day later gets to Rotterdam. With the exception of about 1 per week, Teesport is the only port in the UK served by this service. Going to Rotterdam would take an extra day

Containers which arrive into Liverpool (A number of services from Spain for example) and heading to the north east/humber

Ok, but how many of the boxes off loaded at each port are a) going across the Pennines and b) going to roughly the same area which would make rail an attractive alternative (price / time) for such a short run?

I’d be surprised if it was anywhere near enough to justify even a daily service. And building the amount of infrastructure you are envisaging would need something approaching 20 freight trains a day, plus a well loaded half hourly passenger service (at least) on the new bits.
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
You've got to pay for the line somehow, and a token passenger service with a few freights per day isn't going to do that, even with the wider economic benefits.
Well, it won't pay for it really. My comment in reply to Rick was solely related to his comment on the price. It wasn't taking into account wider benefits or anything like that. Just using that compared to other projects going on, the price is reasonable. No more conclusions are/were meant to be drawn.

If containers are being delivered within about a 200-mile radius they'll go by truck. By the time you've got enough containers for a train, the truck could be halfway gone, and you'll still need the truck at the end. If they're being transferred onto another ship, maybe it works out. But I remain to be convinced there's enough traffic to justify the interventions required.

If you're linking Manchester/Liverpool, what's wrong with upgrading Crewe-Stoke-Uttoxeter-Derby/Toton-Barrow Hill-Church Fenton? The lines are there, the technical challenges of the problem tunnels (Alsager and Derby-Chesterfield) will not be as costly as a brand new route. I think a fair amount of the line north of Burton is cleared anyway. Yes it's a dog-leg round the bottom of the hills, but probably it's comparable distance to Blackburn-Skipton-Leeds-Tees.
Within 200 miles.... Not sure how true that is with many intermodal flows being shorter than that.
I think the logic there is flawed as well since how will we ever get any modal shift when people are so focussed on keeping shorter distances on the road. Railways can move 50 or more boxes per train from 1 place to another. That's a huge amount of miles off the road. Containers are meant as intermodal and so make use of their practicalities here. Container growth is massive right now, let's accommodate for it and try to grow the market, not let it pass us by like we always seem to and then look back in hindsight.


As for Crewe-Derby via Stoke, the main issue is finding paths. Using that line, you would be using the single line from Alsager to Crewe and you would be crossing basically over the whole of Crewe southern throat. I think a trans Pennine route should be via Hebden Bridge (and then Blackburn or Manchester), via Huddersfield or using a Helifield Eastern curve. Each has issues and costs but I think they would be better and the costs should work out better compared to rebuilding Skipton-Colne.


Ok, but how many of the boxes off loaded at each port are a) going across the Pennines and b) going to roughly the same area which would make rail an attractive alternative (price / time) for such a short run?
How will anyone ever know that. There will be some boxes which go straight there, others won't go as far and goods will then switch in a warehouse to continue the journey. It's impossible to judge exactly how many boxes are making a journey. More so when you consider the probably huge surprised demand (why invest in containers when the infrastructure isn't there all the way, it's cheaper and easier to just use normal trailers until container trains provide the speed and bulk capacity to go through to other places).

I’d be surprised if it was anywhere near enough to justify even a daily service. And building the amount of infrastructure you are envisaging would need something approaching 20 freight trains a day, plus a well loaded half hourly passenger service (at least) on the new bits.
Intermodal doesn't become successful overnight, it takes companies realising the benefits when the infrastructure is in place. Felixstowes routes didn't pop up overnight. It takes years of building up services as more people see the benefits. The benefit which is in place at Teesport and Liverpool is that there are containers at each end (in decent numbers too) and so people have realised the potential for intermodal. Combine that with the fact shippers are moving more out of some of the congested ports means that more ships are going to Liverpool and Teesside so the container growth will likely continue.

What exactly are you expecting on this forum? A fully drawn up business case with 50 corporate sponsors? Each of the problems which you have thrown up, there have been solutions. Why are you just so set against trans pennine intermodal. Freight doesn't just run north to south you know. Embrace the huge possibilities, don't sit in denial and let the huge potential of intermodal pass by. That is what the UK has done for years. Let opportunities pass by and then look back in hindsight. Lets stop doing that and start jumping onto these newer trends and make a blooming big success out of them.
 

zwk500

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Jan 2020
Messages
13,593
Location
Bristol
Well, it won't pay for it really. My comment in reply to Rick was solely related to his comment on the price. It wasn't taking into account wider benefits or anything like that. Just using that compared to other projects going on, the price is reasonable. No more conclusions are/were meant to be drawn.
I took the point of your OP to be about a more cost-effective route than other, more obvious alternatives. If you were only interested in the engineering feasibility then fair enough. Although I'll point out that compared to other projects, a new line will always be far, far more expensive than any upgrade.
Within 200 miles.... Not sure how true that is with many intermodal flows being shorter than that.
I think the logic there is flawed as well since how will we ever get any modal shift when people are so focussed on keeping shorter distances on the road. Railways can move 50 or more boxes per train from 1 place to another. That's a huge amount of miles off the road. Containers are meant as intermodal and so make use of their practicalities here. Container growth is massive right now, let's accommodate for it and try to grow the market, not let it pass us by like we always seem to and then look back in hindsight.
Maybe the range is closer to 100-150 miles, it depends on tachograph hours. The only intermodal flows shorter than 200 miles are very high-volume such as Southampton to Daventry or Felixstowe to Lawley Street. This would not be in that order. The only way we are going to get serious modal shift is by making the alternatives much more expensive. Tripping containers from Liverpool to Tees dock for onward ship movement makes some sense, but tripping containers from Liverpool to Middlesbrough for onward road transport make less sense when a truck will do the journey from the docks in a similar time with less cost.
As for Crewe-Derby via Stoke, the main issue is finding paths. Using that line, you would be using the single line from Alsager to Crewe and you would be crossing basically over the whole of Crewe southern throat. I think a trans Pennine route should be via Hebden Bridge (and then Blackburn or Manchester), via Huddersfield or using a Helifield Eastern curve. Each has issues and costs but I think they would be better and the costs should work out better compared to rebuilding Skipton-Colne.
You'd redouble the single line - you'd need to rebuild the bridge for W12 anyway. Agreed crossing Crewe station isn't ideal. Maybe a link to the independents is viable (I doubt it though). Via Hebden Bridge means Miles Platting Bank or Blackburn, neither of which are freight friendly. Huddersfield is viable, but busy. A Hellifield eastern curve still runs into the Skipton-Leeds issues.
How will anyone ever know that. There will be some boxes which go straight there, others won't go as far and goods will then switch in a warehouse to continue the journey. It's impossible to judge exactly how many boxes are making a journey. More so when you consider the probably huge surprised demand (why invest in containers when the infrastructure isn't there all the way, it's cheaper and easier to just use normal trailers until container trains provide the speed and bulk capacity to go through to other places).
They'd know because of where the boxes currently go. The shipping companies will know the ultimate origin and ultimate destination of every box they carry. And I think you meant 'suppressed' demand, not 'surprised'.
Intermodal doesn't become successful overnight, it takes companies realising the benefits when the infrastructure is in place. Felixstowes routes didn't pop up overnight. It takes years of building up services as more people see the benefits. The benefit which is in place at Teesport and Liverpool is that there are containers at each end (in decent numbers too) and so people have realised the potential for intermodal. Combine that with the fact shippers are moving more out of some of the congested ports means that more ships are going to Liverpool and Teesside so the container growth will likely continue.

What exactly are you expecting on this forum? A fully drawn up business case with 50 corporate sponsors? Each of the problems which you have thrown up, there have been solutions. Why are you just so set against trans pennine intermodal. Freight doesn't just run north to south you know. Embrace the huge possibilities, don't sit in denial and let the huge potential of intermodal pass by. That is what the UK has done for years. Let opportunities pass by and then look back in hindsight. Lets stop doing that and start jumping onto these newer trends and make a blooming big success out of them.
He's not asking for a fully costed proposal, but a bit of basic economic sense. Rail freight isn't a 'build it and they will come' scenario. FOCs haven't got the cash going spare to pay for infrastructure, nor have terminals as all their money will be going into their own operations. Any investment will need to be paid for through public funds and have some combination of fares, track access, and economic uplift = higher tax receipts to repay the money bororowed.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,307
How will anyone ever know that.

Some people do know, particularly those in the rail industry with friends that run logistics / rail freight companies. ;)

Why are you just so set against trans pennine intermodal.

I’m not against the principle.

However I am all for spending taxpayers cash wisely, which means assessing the costs and benefits properly, examining options to deliver a desired output, and targeting investment where it will deliver the best return. I’m afraid building a Transpennine intermodal route via this route is a long way short of being not the best option for getting high cube containers across th Pennines.
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
Maybe the range is closer to 100-150 miles, it depends on tachograph hours. The only intermodal flows shorter than 200 miles are very high-volume such as Southampton to Daventry or Felixstowe to Lawley Street. This would not be in that order. The only way we are going to get serious modal shift is by making the alternatives much more expensive. Tripping containers from Liverpool to Tees dock for onward ship movement makes some sense, but tripping containers from Liverpool to Middlesbrough for onward road transport make less sense when a truck will do the journey from the docks in a similar time with less cost.
"when a truck will do the journey from the docks in a similar time with less cost" well that depends on the amount of goods you are sending. IF you are sending 3 trucks per day, the cost might be higher by truck. It's all down to quantities. As for the high volume flows, these didn't become high volume overnight. It all builds up slowly to become a high volume flow.

You'd redouble the single line - you'd need to rebuild the bridge for W12 anyway. Agreed crossing Crewe station isn't ideal. Maybe a link to the independents is viable (I doubt it though). Via Hebden Bridge means Miles Platting Bank or Blackburn, neither of which are freight friendly. Huddersfield is viable, but busy. A Hellifield eastern curve still runs into the Skipton-Leeds issues.
That is what I was saying, each one has issues. It's about which one is cheaper to sort and has the most amount of available paths for any usage. Huddersfield is busy and if passengers return in droves and numbers rise in the long run, this corridor won't have any space for freight as it will be full of passenger trains.
Via Hebden does mean Miles Platting or Blackburn. What is the issue in Blackburn with freight?
Hellifield Eastern curve does mean Skipton to Leeds but I think that could be overcome. Leeds already has the Skipton quarry train so a path exists somewhere and that passes over almost all lines on the western throat. This train wouldn't do that, it would likely go through P6 or P8 and go straight over so doesn't affect the vast array of services really on the western throat.

They'd know because of where the boxes currently go. The shipping companies will know the ultimate origin and ultimate destination of every box they carry. And I think you meant 'suppressed' demand, not 'surprised'.
I did mean suppressed demand. Sorry.
What about boxes which go only slightly in land and then get unloaded with contents moved into normal trailers so then the containers can be returned to the port quickly which saves money.

He's not asking for a fully costed proposal, but a bit of basic economic sense. Rail freight isn't a 'build it and they will come' scenario. FOCs haven't got the cash going spare to pay for infrastructure, nor have terminals as all their money will be going into their own operations. Any investment will need to be paid for through public funds and have some combination of fares, track access, and economic uplift = higher tax receipts to repay the money bororowed.
It actually is a bit of build it and they will come. It does need a little bit more push than just build it but I think there are a number of areas which have proven that intermodal does grow once the building blocks are in place. No one wants to make the upfront cost but once some of the major costs are sorted, the expansion is much easier. Tesco is proving that with their domestic flows.
Why would any company invest in containers when the train isn't available for it. They might as well just keep the goods in normal curtainsiders or whatever as it's unnecessary cost. If a train is available though, people see the benefits of moving goods by train and work out the cost/benefits to them.


I'm willing to accept that maybe W12 may be a bit over the top for the line but W10 would be ok for containers. I don't think there would be enough refers to justify W12 if the cost difference between W10 and W12 was substantial. It's just the current W8 isn't really suitable for the larger containers.
 

HSTEd

Veteran Member
Joined
14 Jul 2011
Messages
16,879
Well I'm all for any and all gauge improvements - the larger the loading gauge we can get, the better.

But right now I'm not seeing much use to such a project - although gauge clearance is always good, and it will be better to do it now than after the electrification - if that ever happens.
 

zwk500

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Jan 2020
Messages
13,593
Location
Bristol
"when a truck will do the journey from the docks in a similar time with less cost" well that depends on the amount of goods you are sending. IF you are sending 3 trucks per day, the cost might be higher by truck. It's all down to quantities. As for the high volume flows, these didn't become high volume overnight. It all builds up slowly to become a high volume flow.
There IS a tickover number, but it's quite a lot higher than 3.
That is what I was saying, each one has issues. It's about which one is cheaper to sort and has the most amount of available paths for any usage. Huddersfield is busy and if passengers return in droves and numbers rise in the long run, this corridor won't have any space for freight as it will be full of passenger trains.
Although, ironically, due to electrification for passengers it's the most likely transpennine route to be cleared for W12.
Via Hebden does mean Miles Platting or Blackburn. What is the issue in Blackburn with freight?
It's very busy relative to it's capacity and is rather fiddly to clear for W12 due to the tunnel
Hellifield Eastern curve does mean Skipton to Leeds but I think that could be overcome. Leeds already has the Skipton quarry train so a path exists somewhere and that passes over almost all lines on the western throat. This train wouldn't do that, it would likely go through P6 or P8 and go straight over so doesn't affect the vast array of services really on the western throat.
It's not the path, it's the clearance for the containers. And you wouldn't send the container train through Leeds station, it'd never get a path past Neville Hill. You'd send it over the lot at Whitehall Jn and run via Castleford.
What about boxes which go only slightly in land and then get unloaded with contents moved into normal trailers so then the containers can be returned to the port quickly which saves money.
If they're doing that they're not going to move to the train, unless the deliveries are close enough to the train terminal that they can use smaller vehicles like transits. But that won't be an economic load for the train.
It actually is a bit of build it and they will come. It does need a little bit more push than just build it but I think there are a number of areas which have proven that intermodal does grow once the building blocks are in place. No one wants to make the upfront cost but once some of the major costs are sorted, the expansion is much easier. Tesco is proving that with their domestic flows.
Why would any company invest in containers when the train isn't available for it. They might as well just keep the goods in normal curtainsiders or whatever as it's unnecessary cost. If a train is available though, people see the benefits of moving goods by train and work out the cost/benefits to them.
If we had a lot more money available, I'd agree that clearing the lines for potential traffic is a reasonable strategy. But we don't. In order to spend the little we do have most effectively we need to be confident there will be a return on that investment. Companies would invest in containers if they were sending so many trucks to an area that it made sense to send them on the train. If they're not going to run a train there then there's no point in spending money improving the route.
I'm willing to accept that maybe W12 may be a bit over the top for the line but W10 would be ok for containers. I don't think there would be enough refers to justify W12 if the cost difference between W10 and W12 was substantial. It's just the current W8 isn't really suitable for the larger containers.
The difference between rebuilding for W12 and rebuilding for W10 is effectively negligble. The cost is in the design and labour for each bridge, not in building the abutments a few inches wider. I agree W8 isn't suitable for the current container traffic.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,307
Why would any company invest in containers when the train isn't available for it.

Ah, this is a misunderstanding of the intermodal market.

Almost all containers are owned by container companies and the big shipping lines (Maersk, Evergreen, MSC Etc) and rented to customers. The high gauge containers are for deep sea international traffic. There is not much domestic traffic by any mode in the U.K. that uses these.

If you want a Transpennine ‘land bridge’ to get stuff off the ship on one side, and delivered either to a port the other side for onward shipping, or to an end destination locally, then W10 is enough. (W12 is essentially W10 with an extra 50mm width either side, and there are very few conventional routes in the country formally cleared for it.) But as mentioned upthread, there isn’t much of a market for it.

The Tesco (and similar) traffic is not containers. It is swapbodies that perform a different function, specifically they don’t go anywhere near a ship, and it is domestic. These are W9 gauge (formally SB1c). Such domestic flows do need a longer distance run than containers, and / or financial incentives and/or poor road competition. There is very little prospect of that working across the Pennines.
 

markymark2000

On Moderation
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
3,608
Location
Western Part of the UK
There IS a tickover number, but it's quite a lot higher than 3.
It was purely an example

Although, ironically, due to electrification for passengers it's the most likely transpennine route to be cleared for W12.
That's fair.

It's very busy relative to it's capacity and is rather fiddly to clear for W12 due to the tunnel
Ok, valid. I didn't know the specifics on that line hence asking.

It's not the path, it's the clearance for the containers. And you wouldn't send the container train through Leeds station, it'd never get a path past Neville Hill. You'd send it over the lot at Whitehall Jn and run via Castleford.
Ahh, I get you. Fair enough

If they're doing that they're not going to move to the train, unless the deliveries are close enough to the train terminal that they can use smaller vehicles like transits. But that won't be an economic load for the train.
It may work out more beneficial for them to split or switch the loads further away. More so with the comment from Rick about the renting of containers, it would be cheaper to unload the container quicker. If journey times are decreased though, it may mean they continue to

If we had a lot more money available, I'd agree that clearing the lines for potential traffic is a reasonable strategy. But we don't. In order to spend the little we do have most effectively we need to be confident there will be a return on that investment. Companies would invest in containers if they were sending so many trucks to an area that it made sense to send them on the train. If they're not going to run a train there then there's no point in spending money improving the route.
It's chicken and egg I think. Why would companies invest containers/swapbodies when there is no way to make use of them. Why would the Govt invest when there is no train. That's the difficult point here. It's a very hard one to make it work since a train is unviable right now and so there is unlikely to see any service come about until any changes are made.

The difference between rebuilding for W12 and rebuilding for W10 is effectively negligble. The cost is in the design and labour for each bridge, not in building the abutments a few inches wider. I agree W8 isn't suitable for the current container traffic.
Fair enough. Wasn't 100% again hence posting.

Ah, this is a misunderstanding of the intermodal market.

Almost all containers are owned by container companies and the big shipping lines (Maersk, Evergreen, MSC Etc) and rented to customers. The high gauge containers are for deep sea international traffic. There is not much domestic traffic by any mode in the U.K. that uses these.
Intermodal I would argue is containers and swapbodys.

If you want a Transpennine ‘land bridge’ to get stuff off the ship on one side, and delivered either to a port the other side for onward shipping, or to an end destination locally, then W10 is enough. (W12 is essentially W10 with an extra 50mm width either side, and there are very few conventional routes in the country formally cleared for it.) But as mentioned upthread, there isn’t much of a market for it.
What is the most popular market then for containers since it seems strange for there to be a focus on W10/12 gauge clearance if there isn't much market for it. A lot of cost for no benefit.

The Tesco (and similar) traffic is not containers. It is swapbodies that perform a different function, specifically they don’t go anywhere near a ship, and it is domestic. These are W9 gauge (formally SB1c). Such domestic flows do need a longer distance run than containers, and / or financial incentives and/or poor road competition. There is very little prospect of that working across the Pennines.
What financial incentives does Tesco have? Swap body or containers, they can share a train.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top