Wales and West Franchise

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Masboroughlad

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When franchises were first let, was it Wales and West that ran trains out of Manchester to the South West via Shropshire and Newport and also to Waterloo?

Can anybody provide a list of these unusual services please?

When and why were they stopped?

Could any TOC run these nowadays or would they need to be open access?
 
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Greenback

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I believe it was, unless my memory is seriously letting me down. At reading station, the company was colloquially known as Rusty Rails. I don't know why, but the services down the Marches to Bristol were always a talking point!
 

ChiefPlanner

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Best try and get some old TT for the era - W+W had some odd workings like Manchester to Portsmouth , even an odd working from Liverpool to Pomo (I think) . as well as a tranche of services from Carmarthen to Waterloo and Birmingham via Worcester , and for a short period Plymouth to Portsmouth via Westbury ....

Some of them were linking services through Cardiff - and some of them were genuine attempts to provide a new market - they had , for example a row with Cross Country over the Manchester to South Coast services (XC alleging a breach of moderation of competiton rules as they stood a the times) - but they were all "tidied up" in the Wales and Borders (ATW) franchise....
 

Darren R

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A quick check of the archive has produced the all-line timetables for 1998 and 1999, the first two of the Wales & West years. I shall have a peruse and report back. :D

(Alas I'll have to dig out my magnifying glass first though... ;))
 

Harbornite

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A quick check of the archive has produced the all-line timetables for 1998 and 1999, the first two of the Wales & West years. I shall have a peruse and report back. :D

(Alas I'll have to dig out my magnifying glass first though... ;))

Thanks!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
When franchises were first let, was it Wales and West that ran trains out of Manchester to the South West via Shropshire and Newport and also to Waterloo?

Can anybody provide a list of these unusual services please?

When and why were they stopped?

Could any TOC run these nowadays or would they need to be open access?


The Waterloo services existed because of Eurostar so that demand has gone. I'd imagine that it would be difficulty to reinstate Waterloo services due to capacity.
 

richw

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Plymouth to Portsmouth via Westbury ....

..

There was a daily Penzance to Portsmouth for years that was via westbury, from memory around 6-7 hours each way on a 158.

It ran under the alpha line brand.

It left Pompey as two trains and split at westbury one half to Cardiff the other to Penzance

See attachment, not mine but came up on google images, no source visible unfortunately to quote, but this forum is the host url,
 

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richw

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And another found again, google images, again host url is this forum so guessing there is another thread somewhere!
 

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30907

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Thanks!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---



The Waterloo services existed because of Eurostar so that demand has gone. I'd imagine that it would be difficulty to reinstate Waterloo services due to capacity.

They morphed into the SWT Waterloo-Bristol service.
 

sprinterguy

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I believe it was, unless my memory is seriously letting me down. At reading station, the company was colloquially known as Rusty Rails. I don't know why, but the services down the Marches to Bristol were always a talking point!
A hangover from Regional Railways (RR), perhaps? As I was believe it was that sector that inaugurated the Waterloo service as a connection into the Eurostar in the closing days of BR.
 

Masboroughlad

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This is all very interesting. Thank you.

I forget, were Wessex first or second round privatisation?

It's a shame that the free thinking of operators was squashed in favour of being told exactly what to do by the DfT. A prime example of service vs profits and the customer not benefitting from competition laws.
 

pompeyfan

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The Portsmouth - Penzance service later split from the Cardiff train, it left Fratton at around 1515 if I remember correctly, so was only 17 minutes in front of the next Cardiff train.

It's interesting to see that both Fratton and Cosham was skipped on the above mentioned service.

I recall ATW running briefly into Waterloo, did this go via Andover or Southampton?
 

ChiefPlanner

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A lot of what W+W (and Central Trains) did was as the result of Inter City cutting back to a more profitable core in the late 1980's - (Including Cross Country in this) - so Central picked up Liverpool - Birmingham for example and the demise of a few Inter Cites like the 0740 Cardiff - Newcastle and the 14xx Swansea Manchester (both routed via Gloucester) - gave RR the chance to step into some gaps to good effect , often making optimal use of tight tresources and capitalising on new class 158's. W+W did an excellent job in improving the Marches and the Pomply line - but hit a brick wall in terms of not being able to do more with a tight fleet.

Regional services into Waterloo - such as the 0600 Carmarthen - Waterloo (via Salisbury and Andover) were brought in from the Section 40 consultation of the Channel Tunnel Act - and actually helped create new markets in a modest way. SOmeone needs to write all this up properly.
 

PHILIPE

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The Portsmouth - Penzance service later split from the Cardiff train, it left Fratton at around 1515 if I remember correctly, so was only 17 minutes in front of the next Cardiff train.

It's interesting to see that both Fratton and Cosham was skipped on the above mentioned service.

I recall ATW running briefly into Waterloo, did this go via Andover or Southampton?

They split/combined at Westbury
 

pompeyfan

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Originally they did, but when the timetable changed towards the end of the Wessex days they ran as seperate services. I remember as I travelled on it.
 

30907

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This is all very interesting. Thank you.

It's a shame that the free thinking of operators was squashed in favour of being told exactly what to do by the DfT. A prime example of service vs profits and the customer not benefitting from competition laws.

I think in the case of the Marches line it was the formation of ATW that killed the through workings - but in general the suspicion is that TOCs were adept at ORCATS.raids (please Google as necessary) to gain revenue at little or no effort from the InterCity sector as was.
 

ChiefPlanner

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I think in the case of the Marches line it was the formation of ATW that killed the through workings - but in general the suspicion is that TOCs were adept at ORCATS.raids (please Google as necessary) to gain revenue at little or no effort from the InterCity sector as was.

Penzance - Pomo was most definately an ORCATS raider - though there were some comments about long standing flows of Royal Naval personnel who found it useful..

I forgot the Manchester - Waterloo service - giving such helpful flows as Wem to Brussels with one change of train ....!
 

transmanche

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I forgot the Manchester - Waterloo service - giving such helpful flows as Wem to Brussels with one change of train ....!
And in its wake has left oddities which still exist, such as fares from Shrewsbury to London via Warminster and Salisbury!
 

richw

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Penzance - Pomo was most definately an ORCATS raider - though there were some comments about long standing flows of Royal Naval personnel who found it useful..

I forgot the Manchester - Waterloo service - giving such helpful flows as Wem to Brussels with one change of train ....!

Liverpool Pompey sounds very much one as well!
 

PHILIPE

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Liverpool Pompey sounds very much one as well!

Yes.
The 0600 Portsmouth Hbr to Cardiff used to split at Newport with a portion going to Liverpool. Returned from Liverpool at 1300 and combined with 1630 Cardiff to Portsmouth Hbr. Should have combined in platform 1 but Railtrack (at the time) in their wisdom removed a crossover as being redundant on the grounds there were no trains booked to use it, thus preventing trains accessing Plf 1 from the Cardiff direction. The train from Liverpool had to sit at Platform 1 Hereford to "await time" and a Manchester to Cardiff passed it there. There is now access again.
 

Darren R

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Wales & West started operating the franchise in October 1996. This was mid-timetable, so I'm assuming that they merely continued with the timetable they inherited from Regional Railways. The September 1996 to May 1997 timetable shows a (more-or-less) hourly clockface service between Manchester Piccadilly and Cardiff Central between roughly 7.30am and 7.30pm, with the last train as far as Shrewsbury a couple of hours later. A handful of these hourly trains were extended further south/west:

1233 SuX Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven, arr 1850
1933 SX Piccadilly to Bridgend, arr 2322
0645 SX Carmarthern to Piccadilly, arr 1202
0650 SO Bridgend to Piccadilly, arr 1038
0900 SO Carmarthern to Piccadilly, arr 1402
1225 SuO Carmarthen to Piccadilly, arr 1915
1530 SuO Milford Haven to Piccadilly, arr 2151

I'm assuming that W&W had rather more input into the next timetable, from 1st June 1997 to 27th September 1997. The basic hourly frequency between Manchester Piccadilly and Cardiff Central remained, but the number of 'exotic' through-trains suddenly burgeoned, and were mostly extras rather than extensions:

0712 SX Maesteg to Piccadilly, arr 1112
0645 SX Carmarthen to Piccadilly, arr 1202
0600 SX Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central/Liverpool Lime Street
0641 SX Penzance to Piccadilly, arr 1436
0840 SX Milford Haven to Piccadilly, arr 1502
0650 SO Bridgend to Piccadilly, arr 1038
0745 SO Pembroke Dock to Piccadilly, arr 1402
0620 SO Penzance to Piccadilly, arr 1436
1110 SuO Pembroke Dock to Piccadilly, arr 1848
1333 SuO Penzance to Piccadilly, arr 2110
1525 SuO Milford Haven to Piccadilly, arr 2208
1059 SX Piccadilly to Penzance, arr 1906
1233 SuX Piccadilly to Milford Haven, arr 1850
1300 SX Liverpool Lime Street (& Cardiff Ctl) to Portsmouth Harbour
1933 SX Piccadilly to Bridgend, arr 2332
0933 SuO Piccadilly to Penzance, arr 1721
1354 SuO Piccadilly to Paignton, arr 2028

The Winter timetable, from September 1997 to May 1998, was different again, with the following exotic extras to entice the brave and/or foolhardy:

0712 SX Maesteg to Piccadilly, arr 1112
0645 SX Carmarthen to Piccadilly, arr 1202
0600 SX Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central/Liverpool Lime Street
0615 SO Penzance to Piccadilly, arr 1438
0641 SX Penzance to Piccadilly, arr 1438
0840 SX Milford Haven to Piccadilly, arr 1502
1517 SX London Waterloo to Piccadilly, arr 2140
0650 SO Bridgend to Piccadilly, arr 1038
0900 SO Carmarthen to Piccadilly, arr 1402
1418 SO London Waterloo to Piccadilly, arr 2039
1225 SuO Carmarthen to Holyhead/Piccadilly, arr 1845
1325 SuO Penzance to Piccadilly, arr 2110
1530 SuO Milford Haven to Piccadilly, arr 2150
0759 SX Piccadilly to London Waterloo, arr 1413
1059 SX Piccadilly to Penzance, arr 1906
1233 SuX Piccadilly to Milford Haven, arr 1850
1300 SX Liverpool Lime Street to Portsmouth Harbour, arr 1949
1933 SX Piccadilly to Bridgend, arr 2332
0659 SO Piccadilly to London Waterloo, arr 1312
0933 SO Piccadilly to Penzance, arr 1722
1354 SuO Piccadilly to Paignton, arr 2011

The timetable remained largely the same, with a few minor re-timings, until the start of the Summer 1999 timetable - which is where a gap in my archive starts!

I am assuming that W&W must have offered cheap tickets and had plenty of special offers in order to persuade people to spend up to eight and a half hours on a Class 158! (I didn't actually look to see how long the Piccadilly to Penzance Virgin Cross Country services took - maybe tomorrow!)

Wales & West seemed to have a penchant for running exotic services; a glance at Table 56 in the Summer 1998 timetable shows the odd through train between Birmingham New Street and Fishguard Harbour, a Birmingham New Street to Barry Island (and return service to Birmingham International), and a Birmingham New Street to Swindon via Gloucester, among others.


Phew! :lol:
 

43074

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''The Regional Railways Story'' [Gordon Pettitt & Nicholas Comfort, OPC, 2015] gives a bit more background to Regional's habit of combining various services together, which was basically to keep the stock moving and thus earning money, well worth a read if you're prepared to purchase a copy.

When and why were they stopped?

Many of the South Wales & Marches - South West services (e.g. the Manchester to Penzance) existed until December 2005, when ATW introduced their "Standard Pattern Timetable"; this introduced the 2-hourly Cardiff - Holyhead (and variations thereof, e.g. Holyhead - Maestag) and extended the Manchester services to Camarthen/Milford Haven & Pembroke as they do today. The Waterloo services transferred to SWT in December 2004, the Portsmouth to Liverpool services were still shown in the Summer 2003 TT, but I don't think they lasted much longer.

A combination of this, and franchise changes - e.g. SW&W had the flexibility to join services either side of Cardiff, which to an extent ATW still do, but the routes to the South West & South Coast are firmly GWR's territory nowadays, mean that ''exotic'' through services don't come in as many variations and are harder to come by these days.

Some of them were linking services through Cardiff - and some of them were genuine attempts to provide a new market - they had , for example a row with Cross Country over the Manchester to South Coast services (XC alleging a breach of moderation of competiton rules as they stood a the times) - but they were all "tidied up" in the Wales and Borders (ATW) franchise....

Indeed, this is the document which granted SW&W the permission to run the early tranche of services - e.g. Liverpool to Portsmouth, Manchester to Penzance after XC's appeal if anyone's interested - I stumbled on them after a quick google: http://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/4282/south-wales-west-app-det-1997-03-07.pdf
 
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