Wales & Borders Franchise Consultation

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by LNW-GW Joint, 1 Mar 2017.

  1. tomuk

    tomuk Member

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    Maybe Tram-Trains aren't such a good idea for the valleys.

    NAO: The Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train project: investigation into the modification of the national rail network

    https://www.nao.org.uk/press-release/the-sheffield-to-rotherham-tram-train-project-investigation-into-the-modification-of-the-national-rail-network/

    I can well imagine an NAO/Auditor General For Wales report saying similar things about the South Wales Metro in a few years.
     
  2. Envoy

    Envoy Member

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    Network Rail never seem to get work done on time and have costs worked out correctly. Witness the fact that they have been trying for years to get a short bit of track laid into Portishead near Bristol. Still not done and costings from Network Rail keep escalating. Needless to say, we all now know about the shambles regarding the electrification of the GWML. NR did not even realise that a listed bridge was just west of Didcot and that they would have to ask English Heritage for permission to knock it down. Then they went and bought an expensive works train from the Germans so they could easily pop in the vertical masts. Only then did they realise that the under ballast cables had been laid loose all over the place. Little wonder that the Welsh Government might be considering having nothing to do with Network Rail on the Cardiff Valleys?
     
  3. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Perhaps more pertinent given the Welsh Government's/Transport for Wales's poor levels of knowledge on how the railway actually works is the Gibb Report.

    Several of the underpinning factors in the GTR/Southern Fail mess are a direct result of competitive tendering and an ill informed client. Promising through trains from everywhere at increased frequencies for longer periods of the day ignoring the constraints of the infrastructure and maintenance needs. Promising that you needed fewer drivers to tick the value for money box and then finding your computer model falls over on contact with the real world. Daft went with the bid they wanted to hear about which was not realistic.

    Will someone promise WG low hanging candy that's not possible just to win the bid? We've already seen aspects of "Dumb Client" Syndrome with WG backing Ceredigion CC's plan for a station at Bow St without any additional infrastructure work risking the Cambrians punctuality.
     
  4. gareth950

    gareth950 Member

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    As I posted in the South Wales Metro thread a few months back, it has already been decided that the valley lines cannot be converted to a purely light rail system, as allowance freight running on the valleys needs to be kept.

    Therefore if the Welsh Govt remains determined on having some form of light rail on the valleys just because, tram-trains are the only likely option.

    It hasn't even been publicly confirmed yet whether Network Rail have agreed to transfer the 'core' valley lines to Welsh Govt control to allow the new W&B ODP to manage any future upgrades. And the specification for the franchise is meant to be published and finalised by TfW this month.
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2017
  5. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Heard that the installation of a number of new shelters already delivered have been deferred till after the new franchisee takes over. Locations include Welshpool and Dovey Junction.
     
  6. Chester1

    Chester1 Member

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    Choosing Tram-trains would be mad after the problems in Sheffield. The Valleys Lines don't need to be wired asap instead they need more seats and more paths through Cardiff first The best way to that is probably to convert the Coryton, Bay and Penarth lines to light rail linked by an on street section.
     
  7. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Because one scheme was delayed and went over budget doesn't mean all potential schemes should be axed. On that basis the Metrolink line to the Trafford Centre should be axed due to the problems with introducing the Edinburgh trams.
     
  8. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Agree with the point however Tram Trains and Light Rail are the wrong option for following reason - there's no street running and the existing heavy rail lines brings people from the Valleys where they want to be which is Cathays Park, Queen St and Central all slap bang in the middle of downtown Cardiff. Hacking that about for the sake of it would be stupid.

    However a light rail system in Cardiff itself running on an east to west axis serving all these sprawled housing developments nowhere near the existing heavy rail lines is needed.

    The Coryton branch might be usefully diverted along Eastern Avenue and through the Heath Hospital Complex and at Coryton extended into Whitchurch Hospital as Light Rail/Tram Train.
     
  9. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    There was once an interesting discussion on here about what some different terms meant, as while a hybrid vehicle might be a tram-train, there's also a train-tram and a heavy tram. I seem to recall the latter effectively being an overweight tram meaning it wouldn't be cleared for street running but would be fine to run alongside regular passenger and freight services.
     
  10. gareth950

    gareth950 Member

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    Whilst it might look easy on a diagrammatic rail map to separate these lines for tram running, in reality it is not. Trams to Penarth is a non-starter. The line to Penarth follows the heavy rail Vale of Glamorgan route to Cogan junction, then it's literally a short spur up a very steep incline to Penarth. There's no room for street running for trams between Cardiff Central - Penarth and there's little benefit in it when well used buses follow the same route any tram would take every 10 minutes.

    The Bay could possibly have trams, but again, the Baycar bus runs long bendy buses direct from the rear of Central station every 6 - 7 minutes. Trams from Queen St might be an option.

    Trams to Coryton - again, this is a heavy rail route to Heath junction currently, so as Gareth Marston has said, any trams to Coryton would have to be taken out of the current Valleys network and somehow put onto Cardiff's streets.
    Whitchurch hospital is completely closed now, and is earmarked for housing development / conversion to apartments.

    All of the railway through Cardiff is on high embankments through the city centre from Cathays through Queen St - Central and onto the West. Which is why currently it works so well in getting people from the Valleys to the north and Vale of Glamorgan / City line from Radyr to the west so quickly and easily into and through the centre of Cardiff.

    Capacity improvements could happen right now if ATW had enough trains to make it happen, as thanks to CASR, Central - Queen St is now signalled for 16tph + 1 or 2 freight services, but ATW can't increase this from the current 12tph as they don't have enough trains.
     
  11. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    They do need to be wired ASAP because that's the best way of getting more (and perhaps more-modern) rolling stock. The recent quality-weighted franchise contests have resulted in promises lots of new EMUs which will probably drive down leasing costs but DMUs are in short supply which means they are more expensive. Also ordering new DMUs would mean electrification being kicked into the very long grass, due to the life-span of the DMUs (which if they are suitable for the ValleyLines are unlikely to be acceptable anywhere else).

    I agree with you on the trams though, Croyton - Cardiff - Bay/Penarth seems a sensible thing to do if it could be made to work, which brings me too...

    • Do trams mind gradients very much? There are some steep ones on the Manchester Metrolink.
    • Between Cogan junction and Grangetown the route has either 4-tracks or room for them, trams to Penarth could use two tracks and the Vale Of Glamorgan Line the other two
    • Most of Penarth road from Grangetown to the car park outside the south entrance of Cardiff Central looks wide enough for 4 cars/vans. How is that more of a problem than parts of the Eccles line on Metrolink which run on a street just two lanes wide?

    But trams run on rails and for some reason pepole seem more likely to abandon their cars for a rail service (even a tram) than for a bus. Plus a bus cannot be much longer than the baycar bendy buses, a tram could potentially be depending on whether they can find space for long platforms (which might depend on whether it is possible to make them low-floor) and various other issues.

    This part is more of a concern, there's a distance of well over 2 miles from the rear entrance of Cardiff Central to Heath Low Level. A street section of several miles, plus the necessary extension from Coryton to a new tram depot, is likely to make putting trams into Cardiff extremely expensive. The Bay and Penarth lines can't be built without the rest, as there's nowhere to put a depot, meaning you have to turn Cardiff tram into one big mega project rather than phasing it, perhaps making the whole idea unaffordable.
     
  12. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    Hurray, the franchise should now have enough stock to run the Halton curve service from December 2018 as promissed :).

    On the other hand, class 158s "to be taken out of service to be modified to comply with Persons of Reduced Mobility requirements"; even more inappropriate class 150s on south-west Wales services* to release a 158 for works:cry:. Why didn't they make the 158s compliant when were refurbished into their current condition (they were like-new when they came out in the new dark teal ATW livery, apart from the aircon still being unreliable)? Or is it really not about PRM at all in the case of the 158s but actually Network Rail demanding retention toilets by 2020 rather than giving the franchise time to aquire some more good-quality rolling stock to free up 158s for toilet work? If they do have to go away, any chance they'll fit a reliable aircon system as a consolation for being short of them for a while?

    Also disapointing to read that the 319s for W&B will retain 2+3 seating, rather than getting an inner-suburban interior suitable for Swansea/Cardiff-Cheltenham services where their bi-mode capability will become useful once the wires are up.

    * the 11:00 Swansea to Fishguard express was a 150 again on Saturday, have ATW lapsed into diagramming the awful things on express services again or is it still just a case of the south Wales 158s often seeming to end up in the wrong place for their booked work?
     
    Last edited: 17 Jul 2017
  13. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    The Fishguard Boats is a pet grouse of yours if not worked by a 158. It is diagrammed for a 158 but even the slightest thing which occur and involves shifting units about can upset it. 158 priority is the Cambrian because nothing else can work over the route.
     
  14. Parallel

    Parallel Established Member

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    Yeah, for the 158 works, I believe they need retention tanks for the toilets and also new alarm sounders for when the exterior doors are released. I doubt anything will get done about the air con as that's not part of the DDA requirements.

    It's good this is set to be happening, and it should release multiple units at a time.
     
  15. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    Shortage of 175s at the moment, not sure why, but the effects cascade down.
     
  16. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    1006 through Newtown ran with only Aber portion this morning. 158's steping up on 175 diagrams.

    This gives you an idea of what happens when just an extra unit or two are not available

    https://www.journeycheck.com/arrivatrainswales/


     
  17. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Which is still a short list compared to Northern's list

     
  18. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Given there's just 5 of them it seems to make sense to have a reciprocal maintenance agreement with Arriva Northern, so my guess is they'll do most of the Manchester Airport- N Wales diagrams so chance for pan up between Airport and ??? You probably wont see 158's off the Holyhead-Birmingham-Cambrian circuit and they'll be more 175's floating around West Wales.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jul 2017
  19. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Well Northern is a bigger franchise.....
     
  20. Parallel

    Parallel Established Member

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    And GWR (all these are West services but many are on the short Falmouth line)

    10:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 13:45
    11:04 Taunton to Cardiff Central due 13:23
    11:53 Exmouth to Barnstaple due 13:37
    12:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 15:45
    12:48 Paignton to Cardiff Central due 16:18
    12:51 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 13:14
    12:53 Exmouth to Barnstaple due 14:37
    13:01 Oxford to London Paddington due 14:01
    13:20 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 13:48
    13:43 Barnstaple to Exmouth due 15:21
    13:51 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 14:14
    13:59 Cardiff Central to Taunton due 16:00
    14:20 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 14:48
    14:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 17:54
    14:43 Barnstaple to Exmouth due 16:18
    14:51 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 15:14
    15:20 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 15:48
    15:24 Exmouth to Paignton due 16:54
    15:51 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 16:14
    16:07 Taunton to Cardiff Central due 18:17
    16:15 Bristol Temple Meads to Bristol Parkway due 16:34
    16:20 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 16:48
    16:23 Exmouth to Barnstaple due 18:12
    16:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 19:54
    16:44 Bristol Parkway to Warminster due 18:04
    16:51 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 17:15
    16:57 Paignton to Exmouth due 18:29
    17:27 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 17:55
    17:59 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 18:23
    18:14 Barnstaple to Exmouth due 20:07
    18:18 Warminster to Westbury due 18:28
    18:31 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 18:59
    18:32 Exmouth to Barnstaple due 20:09
    18:38 Westbury to Bristol Temple Meads due 19:29
    19:00 Cardiff Central to Taunton due 21:02
    19:02 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 19:26
    19:29 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 19:55
    20:04 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 20:28
    20:15 Exmouth to Exeter St Davids due 20:50
    20:24 Barnstaple to Exeter Central due 21:40
    20:31 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 20:57
    21:05 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 21:29
    21:32 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 21:59
    21:55 Exeter Central to Exeter St Davids due 22:00
    21:56 Bristol Temple Meads to Exeter St Davids due 23:37
    22:44 Truro to Falmouth Docks due 23:08
    23:11 Falmouth Docks to Truro due 23:38
    --
    It just shows what a dire situation many of the TOCs are in however.
     
  21. IanXC

    IanXC Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  22. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Regarding the rather low frequency service pattern on Sundays on the Valley Lines network, could short shuttle workings be introduced for both the Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare arms?

    What I have in mind is as the frequency along the common section between Cardiff (and points back) and Abercynon is every 60 minutes, with a train continuing beyond to each of Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil every 2 hours alternating. A short working from Aberdare to Abercynon in the opposite hour to connect with a through Merthyr Tydfil, and vice versa. This would give both arms a 60 minute frequency to Abercynon, with only one change if continuing south.

    The train would work Cardiff - Aberdare (connect with Abercynon - Merthyr Tydfil short working) - Abercynon (connect with Merthyr Tydfil - Cardiff and beyond train, and from the Cardiff - Merthyr Tydfil train) - Aberdare - Cardiff and beyond (with the short working from Merthyr Tydfil connecting into this train at Abercynon). The opposite pattern would obviously be Cardiff (and points previous) - Merthyr Tydfil (connect with Abercynon - Aberdare short working) - Abercynon (connect with train from Aberdare to Cardiff and points beyond, and from the Cardiff - Aberdare train) - Merthyr Tydfil - Cardiff and beyond (with the short working from Aberdare connecting into this train at Abercynon). I don't know if the signalling at Abercynon would be able to support short workings to connect into and out of the opposite arm.

    Or perhaps it would be easier and better to simply double the frequency to every 30 minutes between Cardiff and Abercynon, with both Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil having a frequency of every 60 minutes direct to Cardiff with no change of train required at Abercynon?
     
  23. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    I'm pretty sure you'll see a regularized Sunday service on the full Valley Lines without any shuttle nonsense.
     
  24. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    One of the early basics on new service and line developments by the likes of John Davies (who really saved the Valley networks in the 1980;s and onwards) was that every valley line would have a direct service to Cardiff at least. Sound and simple move.
     
  25. Jez

    Jez Member

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    I have noticed quite a few changes recently whether temporary due to lack of 175s or permanent ive no idea. But the first Cardiff to Pembroke Dock service has been a 153 everytime ive seen it the last few months when its booked 150 as are all 3 of the main Pembroke Dock diagrams. And the Carmarthen-Swanline-Cardiff which passes Neath around 7am seems to be almost always a 150 now when booked 175. Im guessing a 150 must be in Carmarthen overnight in lieu of a 175 and the 21.xx from Cardiff to Milford Haven seems to be the one that is often a 150 when ive seen it.

    Other examples include the Fishguard Boat train (daytime). I assume the arrival from Pembroke Dock into Swansea stays there until the 11.00 fishguard departure, before it went to Newport and back but there isn't time now with the much earlier departure time back to fishguard so it goes from Swansea. Its seems to be a 158 or 150 almost 50/50. Infact most days at least one of the South Wales 158 diagrams seems to be 150. Whatever runs the 16.04 off Cardiff to Fishguard seems to be what does the early Pembroke Dock and then Fishguard Boat train the next day.
     
  26. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    This is nothing to do with the new franchise as per the thread title but 0542 Cardiff to Pembroke Dock went back to 153 some months ago and the Carmarthen to Cardiff stopper is now booked for a 150. A pair of 150s come down on the 2103 Cardiff to Milford Haven also.
     
  27. Jez

    Jez Member

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    A few questions re this;

    Does the 153 spend all day on Pembroke Dock diagrams and when does it return to Cardiff. Im guessing the 153 diagrams must be something like this now - 3x How/Swanline, 1 Pembroke, 1 Ebbw Vale, 1 City Line, 1 Cardiff Bay and 1 booked into Canton.

    Where does the other 150 on the 21xx Cardiff to Milford go? And what forms the service to Holyhead at 09xx from Cardiff that the 175 that did the swanline stopper used to do?
     
    Last edited: 18 Jul 2017
  28. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    153 0n Pembroke Dock all day and returns to Cardiff the next night after day on Heart of Wales and Salop to Crewe local, The 150s go into Pembroke Dock workings and the 175 now goes to Cheltenham and Maesteg before the 0921 to Holyhead. Maximising spare time to squeeze Cardiff Valley strengthening.
     
  29. Jez

    Jez Member

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    Thanks for the info. Im surprised the HOW/Crewe local is a 153 again, surprised there are enough 153s to cover everything they booked for. Do they still get used on City Line and Ebbw Vale?
     
  30. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    As I mentioned in another thread, there have been issues with keeping Chester drivers competent on 153s - when the Crewe-Shewsbury local went over to 150 operation, it meant that Chester drivers only had weekend work on 153s. Given the size of the link in question, it was something of an issue.

    That said, I'm not sure that particular change has been made official yet - it's still often a 150 and still shows as a 150 on traincrew dockets.
     

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