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VT Crewe to London services

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D1009

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I believed that permissive working was only allowed at NR (maybe that was Railtrack)-controlled stations. Glad to hear that it's not like that now.
There was certainly a period, probably at the start of Network Rail, when any additional planned use of permissive working by passenger trains was frowned on, following a number of collisions. There were examples when it was agreed to, but only after argument at high level. Nowadays, following the changes which have been made to driver training, I believe it's a bit easier.
 
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The Planner

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Crewe Pfm 5 could easily be extended south to give a longer platform and feed into the up lines towards/past the Carriage shed. It would have the added benefit of removing the conflicts and congestion created when one of the late-running up sleeper services has to block pfm 6 (which seems to take ages, maybe because of conflicts with down trains,) and it would also allow clearance of pfm 5 when the up through is set for a non-stop train. This is another consequence of the cheapskate refurb at Crewe 20(?) yrs ago just to give APTs a straight non-stop path through the station..

But now you are adding yet more cost into the equation, you need to extend the platform, move the S&C and tweak the signal. It still doesn't sort Euston in that all these 14 car trains are now restricted to 3 platforms and how you would deal with them on the approach. The costs are now really stacking up against the benefits (the sleeper at two trains a day is peanuts in the grand scheme of things) and again for 11 years max if you could magically do it for tomorrow.

Why is a 14- or 16-coach train a problem S of Rugby? It's only using one of the existing paths, and is a lot shorter and faster than a freight. I think you have confirmed my guess that one of the Manchesters is the first to be sacrificed and I have no problem with that, it seems sensible for it to be the one with something with a similar path on a congested line.
If 14 cars really is a problem then would 6-car portions work? They would be better than 5-car Voyagers.
Re-organising the 390 fleet is what engineers exist to do... if line capacity approaching London is our limiting factor and this might help out then why not give it serious consideration?

14 or 16 coaches is no problem, it will still run at 125mph, it is the fact that the splitting and joining means it isn't in the same path south of Rugby, plus the Euston problem as above and it can no longer stop at Stafford. Now are you messing with the timetable for one service group like I said before which may be to the detriment of capacity or journey time for other services.
 

AndrewE

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But now you are adding yet more cost into the equation, you need to extend the platform, move the S&C and tweak the signal. Yes please, it doesn't really sound like a very big job.

It still doesn't sort Euston in that all these 14 car trains We are talking about 1 per hour! are now restricted to 3 platforms and how you would deal with them on the approach.?? You are clutching at straws now...if sleeper trains fit in the signal sections why wouldn't these? The costs are now really stacking up against the benefits (the sleeper at two trains a day is peanuts in the grand scheme of things) Actually when things have already gone wrong I bet the operators would love not to have to put the up sleeper in pfm 6 at Crewe, was it you that pointed out the problems if these trains had to use pfm 5? and again for 11 years max ...so not a bad bit of investment then...just remind me what Waterloo International and the flyover cost and how long they were in use?if you could magically do it for tomorrow. It's amazing what can be achieved when people put as much energy into doing something as they had previously put into opposing an idea they hadn't though of.


14 or 16 coaches is no problem, it will still run at 125mph, it is the fact that the splitting and joining means it isn't in the same path south of Rugby, 2 paths 5 mins apart...so why couldn't it run S of Rugby in the second one?plus the Euston problem as above 1 (existing) train per hour a problem?and it can no longer stop at Stafford So what? most Crewe -Euston trains don't stop at Stafford. Now are you messing with the timetable for one service group like I said before which may be to the detriment of capacity or journey time for other services.
"may be to the detriment of capacity or journey time for other services" - only may now, that's a relief!
I thought it looked as though this might be do-able with NO capacity detriment (save ocupying Crewe pfm 5 for 5 mins while the 2 successive trains couple,) the same track occupancy S of Crewe and a relatively minor constraint at Euston.

I thought that the objections would be
A) power / driving cars are so expensive (and Pendos so old) that it would be cheaper to procure new trains now and
b) 2 sets can't run at line speed with both pantographs up!
 
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The Planner

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But sorting Platform 5 is not a small job, when you factor in design and construction, the elephant in the room is HS2, no one will do this for less than 10 years when Crewe is going to get ripped up. As for the 1 train an hour, are you seriously suggesting that you have a micro fleet of 390s of whatever length just for the Liverpool service? Virgin wouldn't entertain that. Waterloo was a bad investment, simple as.

As for the questions about the capacity, it cannot fit in the same path as the one in front exactly. The trains arent occupying Platform 5 for 5 minutes though. Train 1 arrives, train 2 cannot arrive until 3 minutes later, there is no way that you are going to couple the Pendos together in 2 minutes including the dwell and get out in the time of the original path. You are going to be 2 or 3 minutes later, whereupon you are not in the same path south of Rugby.

Stafford, so they get a stop in a different train then? Which one and how does that affect the timetable? As for me saying "may", that is twisting my words, I said that because I haven't gone away and looked at what it would do for the timetable. I doubt the signallers at Wembley will consider the minor constraint at Euston of only being able to platform a specific type of train the same way you do! It is all moot anyway as there is more chance of getting 6 numbers on Saturday.
 

6Gman

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But sorting Platform 5 is not a small job, when you factor in design and construction, the elephant in the room is HS2, no one will do this for less than 10 years when Crewe is going to get ripped up. As for the 1 train an hour, are you seriously suggesting that you have a micro fleet of 390s of whatever length just for the Liverpool service? Virgin wouldn't entertain that. Waterloo was a bad investment, simple as.

As for the questions about the capacity, it cannot fit in the same path as the one in front exactly. The trains arent occupying Platform 5 for 5 minutes though. Train 1 arrives, train 2 cannot arrive until 3 minutes later, there is no way that you are going to couple the Pendos together in 2 minutes including the dwell and get out in the time of the original path. You are going to be 2 or 3 minutes later, whereupon you are not in the same path south of Rugby.

Stafford, so they get a stop in a different train then? Which one and how does that affect the timetable? As for me saying "may", that is twisting my words, I said that because I haven't gone away and looked at what it would do for the timetable. I doubt the signallers at Wembley will consider the minor constraint at Euston of only being able to platform a specific type of train the same way you do! It is all moot anyway as there is more chance of getting 6 numbers on Saturday.

and given that the 390 fleet isn't neatly split into a Manchester Fleet/ a West Midlands Fleet/ a Liverpool Fleet/ a Scotland Fleet how do you keep this microfleet just on half the Liverpools and one third of the Manchesters?

Strikes me as a solution in search of a problem!
 

AndrewE

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The problem originally posed was:
Liverpool needs more than 1 train an hour
Manchester to Londodn has excess capacity
The WCML is already at capacity S of Crewe.

Solution was proposed in response to posts 7 to 10. How would you address these issues?
 
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6Gman

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The problem originally posed was:
Liverpool needs more than 1 train an hour
Manchester to Londodn has excess capacity
The WCML is already at capacity S of Crewe.

Solution was proposed in response to posts 7 to 10. How would you address these issues?

I'm not sure I accept the opening propositions to be honest!

Two VT trains ph from Liverpool would be good, but not sure it's yet critical. And by the time it is critical HS2 may be on the horizon. In the meantime perhaps we could 'sweat' one or two peak trains (stock permitting - Pretendilino? :) ).

Don't accept that Manchester - London has excess capacity. "Turn up and go" is commercially important and worth retaining. It means some off-peak trains will be light but so what?

To throw what our American cousins term a "curve ball" perhaps LM could run a Liverpool - Euston (that doesn't go via Stoke or stop at every hamlet in the TV)? Could create interesting market segmentation.

There is no easy answer - little spare capacity, little spare stock. But 7car 390s splitting/joining at Crewe doesn't seem a sensible option.

[Footnote. T&Cs apply. 6gman spent 20 years in trainplanning, including WCML, but recognises that things have changed since his days.]
 

AndrewE

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My fault, I only did 7 in train planning on the WCML before working with other departments
 

fowler9

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It is awkward to be honest. Manchester does not need 3 an hour and Liverpool needs more than one an hour. Two an hour each wouldn't add up though.
 

Philip C

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It is awkward to be honest. Manchester does not need 3 an hour and Liverpool needs more than one an hour. Two an hour each wouldn't add up though.

The contention that the traffic between London and Manchester/Liverpool is basically of the same volume surfaces on a regular basis. For this to be true each Manchester service would need to have twice as many unoccupied as occupied seats AND every seat would need to be occupied on the Liverpool trains (or something very similar). If this were the case surely Virgin and others would have made the case for service changes long ago?

I point out that, quite apart from Manchester having significantly the larger hinterland, the Potteries naturally require to be served by its services. Much of the Wirral is served by the hourly Chester services whilst access to Southport is often best achieved using the Scottish trains via Wigan (thus it could be argued that Merseyside already has, in a sense, more than one hourly service). To set against that, if Wigan is regarded as part of Greater Manchester, then the Scottish trains also serve it and, of course, access to Bolton is similarly practicable by that route.

Were there an opportunity to run an additional regular service out of Euston I can see the case for it providing augmentation to Liverpool rather than Manchester (though Preston/Blackpool seems even more favoured) but switching an existing Manchester train to Liverpool would simply not be following the traffic and is thus very unlikely to come to pass.
 

AndrewE

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Were there an opportunity to run an additional regular service out of Euston I can see the case for it providing augmentation to Liverpool rather than Manchester (though Preston/Blackpool seems even more favoured) but switching an existing Manchester train to Liverpool would simply not be following the traffic and is thus very unlikely to come to pass.

...which is why I wondered whether it might be worth joining shortened sets at Crewe once an hour (but let's not go all round the circle again!)
A
 

fowler9

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I don't know. Manchester has a slightly larger hinterland but 3 an hour vs 1 seems like overkill. Not sure about the answer because Manchester obviously needs more.
 

Stats

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There is a suggestion in the West Midlands franchise consultation that the London Midland Euston to Crewe service could be diverted away from Stoke and operated by a different operator. Were this to be the ICWC franchise then it would be obvious to extend this to Liverpool or Manchester as appropriate.
 

childwallblues

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OK, I'm not a trainspotter, so I don't watch them, I just use them. I go off the trains I go on, and the tickets I('m not able to) buy.

I've certainly used a Manchester train to head north before changing to get into a Liverpool one before. I think I'd need my head reading if I did it the other way around. That the Liverpool train is always 11 carriages should say something about usage not dropping off.

Liverpool does have a fair proportion of 9 car trains. If you don't believe me check the diagrams.
 

Chester1

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The problem originally posed was:
Liverpool needs more than 1 train an hour
Manchester to Londodn has excess capacity
The WCML is already at capacity S of Crewe.

Solution was proposed in response to posts 7 to 10. How would you address these issues?

A much simpler solution than the one proposed is to extend London-Chester services to Liverpool once the Halton Curve has been upgraded. 2 x 5 car Voyagers could used on all services with every other one splitting to go up the North Wales Coast (and once a day to Wrexham). That would provide signficant extra capacity as most Chester services are 5 cars. The two biggest issues are that it would be half an hour slower and a lack of rolling stock. If WCML time table allowed, the Milton Keynes stop could be switched from Chester to the current Liverpool services to reduce the difference between the two services by a few minutes and advanced ticket allocations could be scewed towards services via Chester. East Midlands trains would probably need to be forced to give up some Voyagers (maybe getting HSTs cascaded when ECML gets IEPs), it wouldnt be worth a new train order.
 

6Gman

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A much simpler solution than the one proposed is to extend London-Chester services to Liverpool once the Halton Curve has been upgraded. 2 x 5 car Voyagers could used on all services with every other one splitting to go up the North Wales Coast (and once a day to Wrexham). That would provide signficant extra capacity as most Chester services are 5 cars. The two biggest issues are that it would be half an hour slower and a lack of rolling stock. If WCML time table allowed, the Milton Keynes stop could be switched from Chester to the current Liverpool services to reduce the difference between the two services by a few minutes and advanced ticket allocations could be scewed towards services via Chester. East Midlands trains would probably need to be forced to give up some Voyagers (maybe getting HSTs cascaded when ECML gets IEPs), it wouldnt be worth a new train order.

1. EMT don't have Voyagers; they have Meridians which - I believe - are incompatible with Voyagers. And don't tilt.
2. Since L/pool - Crewe is c.35 minutes via Hartford and c.70 via Chester the two London services would catch each other up at Crewe!
3. Simply extending the Chester VT service to L/pool would mean two extra units; but extending some to N Wales would mean a further ???
4. Running 10cars hourly from Chester would be overkill. I use them a lot between Crewe & Chester - the only time I've had to stand was the day the 3 Queens came to L/pool on Bank Hoilday Monday!
 

The Planner

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Doesnt work with the current timetable, the Liverpool is through MK at xx.35 so add a stop and it wont be away until xx.38 and accelerating. The Chester is xx.40 arriving, so take the stop out and you are xx.39 passing, you need to be xx.41 passing which is when it currently departs.
 

Chester1

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1. EMT don't have Voyagers; they have Meridians which - I believe - are incompatible with Voyagers. And don't tilt.
2. Since L/pool - Crewe is c.35 minutes via Hartford and c.70 via Chester the two London services would catch each other up at Crewe!
3. Simply extending the Chester VT service to L/pool would mean two extra units; but extending some to N Wales would mean a further ???
4. Running 10cars hourly from Chester would be overkill. I use them a lot between Crewe & Chester - the only time I've had to stand was the day the 3 Queens came to L/pool on Bank Hoilday Monday!

I stand corrected, EMT has Meridians, its Cross Country that has Voyagers, 34 Voyagers and 23 Super Voyagers. The latter are the same as Virgin's except that their tilting gear is in storage. Transfering 4 or 5 would be enough and there will be plenty of spare HSTs in 2018. I agree the timings make it problematic but its allot simpler the 14 car suggestion or trying to fit in a brand new service to Liverpool. 10 cars would be neccessary if all services began in Liverpool, especially when 5 cars start in Holyhead, a large proportion of seats would be gone before Chester.

Edit: Actually it would need 9-10 units being transfered. On point 2 - 10 car services currently have the back 5 detached at Chester, which form the next service back to London (apart from for a daily service to Wrexham), so 5 cars could go to Liverpool every other hour and all 10 the alternating hour.

Doesnt work with the current timetable, the Liverpool is through MK at xx.35 so add a stop and it wont be away until xx.38 and accelerating. The Chester is xx.40 arriving, so take the stop out and you are xx.39 passing, you need to be xx.41 passing which is when it currently departs.

Fair enough!
 
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ScouserGirl

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From Crewe there is two services to London with VT a few minutes apart. One from Manchester and one from Liverpool. I'm interested to know which one tends to be busier on a Saturday?

For example the 07:20 is a Liverpool to Euston service and the 07:29 is a Manchester to Euston service. Which one is most likely to be busier?

The Liverpool service will more likely be busier as we only get one train an hour from lime street, I travel a lot from Liverpool to Euston and they are busy trains
 

childwallblues

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A much simpler solution than the one proposed is to extend London-Chester services to Liverpool once the Halton Curve has been upgraded. 2 x 5 car Voyagers could used on all services with every other one splitting to go up the North Wales Coast (and once a day to Wrexham). That would provide signficant extra capacity as most Chester services are 5 cars. The two biggest issues are that it would be half an hour slower and a lack of rolling stock. If WCML time table allowed, the Milton Keynes stop could be switched from Chester to the current Liverpool services to reduce the difference between the two services by a few minutes and advanced ticket allocations could be scewed towards services via Chester. East Midlands trains would probably need to be forced to give up some Voyagers (maybe getting HSTs cascaded when ECML gets IEPs), it wouldnt be worth a new train order.

Your idea of switching the Milton Keynes stop from the Chester to the Liverpool service would I think produce over crowding on the latter especially if is a 9 car and could affect running times north of Crewe with LM 350s.
 

najaB

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I stand corrected, EMT has Meridians, its Cross Country that has Voyagers, 34 Voyagers and 23 Super Voyagers. The latter are the same as Virgin's except that their tilting gear is in storage. Transfering 4 or 5 would be enough and there will be plenty of spare HSTs in 2018.
I thought XC wanted fewer rather than more HSTs?
 

dk1

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I stand corrected, EMT has Meridians, its Cross Country that has Voyagers, 34 Voyagers and 23 Super Voyagers.

If you wanted to be really pedantic you could say EMT has Meridians inc 4 Pioneers ;)
 
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Chester1

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Your idea of switching the Milton Keynes stop from the Chester to the Liverpool service would I think produce over crowding on the latter especially if is a 9 car and could affect running times north of Crewe with LM 350s.

I have acknowledged it was a bad idea!

I thought XC wanted fewer rather than more HSTs?

Thats why I said the DfT would need to force them to be transferred. The alternative would be new build tilting EMUs to free up the Voyagers used on London-Birmingham-Scotland services. Frankly new build tilting trains are a waste of money. There will be an excess of tilting stock after 2026. There is no point in building more with a new safety rules compliant design. If new stock is needed its easier to build more IEPs and cascade Voyagers to the WCML franchise.
 

ScouserGirl

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The problems is Liverpool only has one train to London an hour where as Manchester has 3! Yes Liverpool has a lot of 9 coach trains in aswell, but services can get very busy, I know virgin will do nothing about adding more trains from Liverpool to London, but I've been at Crewe several times and there are quite a few trains that do go to Euston, Liv, manc, Glasgow/Edinburgh via the Wesmidlands and also the Chester/Holyhead service
 

AndrewE

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I have acknowledged it was a bad idea!



The alternative would be new build tilting EMUs to free up the Voyagers used on London-Birmingham-Scotland services. .

How many are? My experience is that only a few of the services are worked by voyagers. No good looking on RTT to do an analysis at the moment though!
 

Chester1

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How many are? My experience is that only a few of the services are worked by voyagers. No good looking on RTT to do an analysis at the moment though!

Virgin have 20 Voyagers. 8 to 9 are required to run London-Holyhead/Chester if vast majority of services are 5 coaches. Once you consider the need for a spare or two to allow for repairs and break downs etc Virgin's Voyager fleet is essentially split evenly.
 

mikestone1952

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Virgin diagram 18 Voyagers FSX and 19 on Fridays out of 20 - I reckoned that basically seven work Anglo.s and the rest are on Holyhead/Salop/Blackpool.
;
If Virgin can manage with 1 or 2 tilting maintenance sets why EMT need 4 or 5 non-tilting escapes me.
 

AndrewE

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Thanks MikeStone.
I didn't think a very high proportion could be on the Anglo-Scottish services nowadays (before Lamington anyway.) Maybe XC factor in a longer/slower/more awkward recovery of failures to their depot?
I would say to Chester1 that 2026 is still a long way off and most people seem to agree that things need doing now.
The quick way to boost WCML capacity without needing more paths would be to make better use of those we have. I'm sure when the public see overcrowded 2, 3 and 4 car trains on the core parts of trunk routes they must wonder why the claim of inadequate capacity keeps being made, when lengthening those trains would clearly increase it. As the Southern spotted long ago, portion working helps here, although by mentioning it I risk bringing heaps of abuse down on my head again from those who are convinced it's just too difficult for UK rail to be able to cope with it nowadays.
I'd like to see the Euston-Manchester via Crewe service split to send off a Liverpool portion, which would deal with the imbalance talked about by several contributors, also maybe LM could split a northbound service at somewhere like Nuneaton or Stafford to give an extra Liverpool semi-fast service while retaining the stopper to Crewe via Stoke.
With a bit of initiative I bet some XC services could be worked by top-and-tailed coaches, releasing voyagers for working in multiple out of Euston (even though I hate diesel under the wires.) I don't give a stuff about which company happens to own a particular bit of a fleet, or who they have leased it to or for how long, they should just be told to cooperate sensibly, or be forced to, (or more likely, be bribed so outrageously that they would be fools to refuse.)
 

mikestone1952

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Who mentioned XC?
;
It appears to me that both EMT and SWT (certainly with their diesels) underdiagram compared with other TOCs, and that is why Salisbury always do so well in the golden spanners.
 

43096

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Who mentioned XC?

;

It appears to me that both EMT and SWT (certainly with their diesels) underdiagram compared with other TOCs, and that is why Salisbury always do so well in the golden spanners.

Really? The SWT fleet size is based around the Monday-Friday peak requirement. I believe SWT diagrams 27 of 30 159s and 8 of 10 158s (including one on hire to GWR) during the week. Not much spare capacity there.

Salisbury does well in the Golden Spanners for a number of reasons, including that the fleet largely goes back to base each night. But that does not solely explain why the SWT 158/159s are way better than any other DMU, it's also about attention to detail (getting to the root cause), staff skills and expertise and good management.
 
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