WCML capacity issues - a possible solution?

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TheWalrus

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With current capacity constraints on the WCML, could this be partially due to a mix of 100/110mph and 125mph tilting stock? If so what if the LM fast services went over to 125mph tilting stock would this give more capacity for fast services?
 
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TheWalrus

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Obviously the long-term solution is HS2, but that's for another thread. My idea would be for the Watford stopper to remain as is, calling at all stations, with all other services running non-stop to at least Watford. Then fast services to the North can use the fast lines and anything stopping at local stations between Watford-MKC-Rugby can use the slows.
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Marginally but it wouldnt solve a lot.

Isn't this what they are planning with the GWML out of Paddington, as I thought turbos were to be banned from the fast lines?
 

Hadders

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I'm not an expert but if everything other than trains stopping at WFJ, MKC and RUG goes via the slows does this mean there'll be no fast services to places like Leighton Buzzard? What about Northampton trains. Are you proposing that everything on the slows stops at all stations to maximise capacity - so everything stopping at Cheddington and Tring then?

What are you going to do with freight?
 

Bletchleyite

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With current capacity constraints on the WCML, could this be partially due to a mix of 100/110mph and 125mph tilting stock? If so what if the LM fast services went over to 125mph tilting stock would this give more capacity for fast services?

I believe currently 2 110mph 350/1 services take up 3 Pendolino paths. So converting them to 125mph tilting stock could perhaps technically release 2 Pendolino paths per hour (as if I recall there are two such train pairs per hour). But that said, Pendolinos would lose time on station stops because of the door layout, so a 125mph 1/3 2/3 door layout tilting train would be needed - the cost of developing a small run of such a thing would probably be prohibitive.

Neil
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Obviously the long-term solution is HS2, but that's for another thread. My idea would be for the Watford stopper to remain as is, calling at all stations, with all other services running non-stop to at least Watford. Then fast services to the North can use the fast lines and anything stopping at local stations between Watford-MKC-Rugby can use the slows.

That would result in serious (GWML style?) overcrowding as there would not be enough capacity, unless something like a metro-style all-stops service with 5 minute headways was used.

The south WCML timetable is a superb piece of design in eking out just about any bit of capacity there is. It isn't so resilient, though, for that reason.

Really, to relieve the south WCML HS2 is needed.

Neil
 

mr_jrt

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...there was of course the proposal a while back to extend the freight loops to effectively six-track north of Watford for a fair distance...
 

rdeez

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It's surely down to cost / benefit as well. Upgrading all passenger trains on the WCML to tilting stock would have a cost in the high hundreds of millions to low billions, I'd imagine (just a guess!). Cheaper than HS2, definitely, but in the long term providing a fraction of the additional capacity.

With a limited pot of cash it then makes more sense to invest in the larger capacity provision first, and then if further capacity was needed, invest in additional tilting stock on the WCML as existing stock reached end of life.

And yeah, as others have said...freights!

Edit: Also, switching to ERTMS to beef up capacity slightly would probably come somewhere between those two options.
 
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TheWalrus

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"I believe currently 2 110mph 350/1 services take up 3 Pendolino paths. So converting them to 125mph tilting stock could perhaps technically release 2 Pendolino paths per hour (as if I recall there are two such train pairs per hour)."

This is what I'm getting at. I was thinking would it be worth another Scotland service per hour?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
No that's not what I'm saying. Ideally I would probably run trains fast to Watford then cross to the slow lines to Call at Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Cheddington etc.

That of course depends on the track layout. I can't remember on the WCML are the fast and slow ip/down next to each other? Or is it like the GWML? Need to refresh my memory on this one. If they are next to each other it's simpler, if not there would potentially need to be flyovers.
 

Bletchleyite

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That of course depends on the track layout. I can't remember on the WCML are the fast and slow ip/down next to each other? Or is it like the GWML? Need to refresh my memory on this one. If they are next to each other it's simpler, if not there would potentially need to be flyovers.

No, it's down fast, up fast, down slow, up slow. But running on the fasts then crossing over is used for the trains that are first stop Leighton Buzzard.

Neil
 

The Planner

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You are describing a lot of what already happens. The LM services swap from fasts to slows at Ledburn and they have often been suggested for flyovers. The layout is F F S S on the southern WCML.
 

mr_jrt

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Whereabouts is it like that?

All of it south of Hanslope Junction near Northampton? ...except of course south of Watford where you have the DC lines as well.

I've often wondered if it would ever be justified to alter those arrangements to gain more capacity by switching to Down Fast, Down Slow, Up Slow, Up Fast.

Main works I suspect would be grade separation of Hanslope (Northampton Loop) & Bletchley (EWR) junctions, and of course the
Euston throat. Most of the stations already have the required platforms.
 

swt_passenger

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All of it south of Hanslope Junction near Northampton? ...except of course south of Watford where you have the DC lines as well.

I've often wondered if it would ever be justified to alter those arrangements to gain more capacity by switching to Down Fast, Down Slow, Up Slow, Up Fast.

Main works I suspect would be grade separation of Hanslope (Northampton Loop) & Bletchley (EWR) junctions, and of course the
Euston throat. Most of the stations already have the required platforms.

You need to consider terminating slow line trains as well though, so there's also Milton Keynes, Tring, and Watford Junction. Put the down slow on the far side and they all potentially need some sort of additional grade separation as well.

Unless of course you went for DF DS US UF with central turn back platforms. Nothing is ever as straightforward as it first appears...
 

The Planner

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I've often wondered if it would ever be justified to alter those arrangements to gain more capacity by switching to Down Fast, Down Slow, Up Slow, Up Fast.

Main works I suspect would be grade separation of Hanslope (Northampton Loop) & Bletchley (EWR) junctions, and of course the
Euston throat. Most of the stations already have the required platforms.

You answered your own question, you would spend silly amounts of money for not a lot.
 

AM9

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Hanslope Jn to Camden.

Ooops. I misread that. In my mind's eye I thought that I saw D D U U as in DS DF UF US.
As far as I know the only significant bits of four track like that are the ECML south, the SWML to Worting and the Trent Valley stretch of the WCML. I wonder if, given the choice (and capital), how much more of existing 4-track routes would now be operated as a single set of fast+slow lines rather than two separate pairs of lines.

Opportunities would exist on the GEML, the MML the GWML.
 
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MarkyT

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The capacity on the fasts is as much about stopping patterns as it is about top speed. Looking arbitrarily on realtime trains: A Euston - Watford Junction sprint is the same as if not a minute faster for a 110MPH 350 than it is for a Pendolino (probably due to better acceleration?) A stop to stop time from Watford to Milton Keynes on the 350 is 25 minutes, only 5 minutes longer than a Pendo passing Watford to a stop at Milton Keynes. There is no Pendo that stops at both Watford and MK but if there was i the future the timing difference could be 2 minutes or less.

With the very fast non stop expresses moved to HS2 and a standardised stopping pattern south of Rugby on the WCML fasts, Pendolinos and 350s could feasibly be mixed up easily on standard timings, increasing capacity and reducing complexity in scheduling as well as removing real time dependencies of slower trains getting out of the way of faster ones, and having to use flat junctions to weave out of the way whilst crossing contra-directional traffic.
 

mr_jrt

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You answered your own question, you would spend silly amounts of money for not a lot.

I dunno about not a lot.

Post-HS2 service patterns will change dramatically. The more places you can switch between fast and slow lines the more flexibility (and thus capacity) you will have. Sure you could grade separate Ledburn Junction, but then you're locked-in to only being able to cross there. You could build more grade separation elsewhere, but it all adds up, and makes timetabling inflexible. Switch to FSSF and putting in crossing points is as easy as adding some points and amending the signalling (which will probably be in-cab by the sort of timescales we're talking about) - no grade separation required.

You could have services switching from fast to slow for a station call, then back to the fasts, picking up a later fast path whilst another fast service overtakes it. All sorts of interesting options become possible without requiring platform loops at stations.

...and don't forget - the Euston throat is being remodelled regardless...and besides, what platform arrangements does the station currently have? ...why, the slow line services largely terminating in the central platforms. ;)
 

The Planner

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The throat isnt getting remodelled until phase 2 (if that happens), you lose two lines with x being the most important but nothing else is being done. I also think you are over doing the amount of changes once HS2 opens, they wont be that dramatic.
 

Ironside

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You are describing a lot of what already happens. The LM services swap from fasts to slows at Ledburn and they have often been suggested for flyovers. The layout is F F S S on the southern WCML.

Would such flyovers still be useful once hs2 is built?
 

mr_jrt

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Kings Langley barely qualifies as a loop!

Fair point.

I only mentioned it as I recall it being mooted (possibly in the local rag) several years back. I vaguely recall it being simply described as 6 tracks north of Watford, though I vaguely recall finding the source as a throwaway line in an old RUS, maybe. Can't recall clearly.
 

Bletchleyite

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Fair point.

I only mentioned it as I recall it being mooted (possibly in the local rag) several years back. I vaguely recall it being simply described as 6 tracks north of Watford, though I vaguely recall finding the source as a throwaway line in an old RUS, maybe. Can't recall clearly.

The only place I've seen slow-line overtakes is Tring, where something can go into platform 2 and wait there while something else passes it on 1 or 3 (or vice versa, I forget). That's normally used for Tring turnbacks but I think there are a couple of northbound trains a day that go past Tring that are diagrammed for this.

Neil
 

Yew

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I believe currently 2 110mph 350/1 services take up 3 Pendolino paths. So converting them to 125mph tilting stock could perhaps technically release 2 Pendolino paths per hour (as if I recall there are two such train pairs per hour). But that said, Pendolinos would lose time on station stops because of the door layout, so a 125mph 1/3 2/3 door layout tilting train would be needed - the cost of developing a small run of such a thing would probably be prohibitive.

Neil

There is, however, a readily available 140mph non-tilting EMU with 1/3 - 2/3 door layout. The Javelin. I'm not sure if the southernly parts of the WCML need that much tilting, so they might be able to keep to pendo timings if you include their greater acceleration
 
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