• 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!

WCML Timetable Recast - 2tph Birmingham and Manchester

Status
Not open for further replies.

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
There has been discussion on other threads as to whether the numerical reduction in Avanti services on the WCML could become permanent, and if so should the timetable be recast.
Undoubtedly in these stressed times the easiest solution is simply to tweak what you already have -so that's what is already taking place.
Here's my idea for a recast timetable on the WCML, using existing paths where possible, but moving away from the philosophy of running everything as fast as possible, with as few stops as possible, and at minimum headways.
Caveat: this is only based on Avanti Euston departures, and hasn't been validated against other operators pathways / turnround time / junction conflicts etc. Consider it a first pass ...

Train Euston departures Calling Points
A 00 Birmingham WFJ / RUG / COV / BHI
B 10 Manchester WFJ / MKC / SOT / MAC / SPT
C 15 Liverpool NUN / STF / CRE / RUN
D 20 Glasgow MKC / CRE / WBQ / WNW / PRE and principal stations to Glasgow
E 30 Birmingham/Scot WFJ / MKC / RUG / COV / BHI / BNS / SAD / WVH / CRE and principal stations to Glasgow / Edinburgh alternate hours
F 40 Manchester CRE / WMW / SPT
G 45 Liverpool (Peak) WFJ / MKC / TAM / LTV / STF / CRE / RUN

Key
WFJ = Watford Junction
MKC = Miton Keynes Central
RUG = Rugby
COV = Coventry
BHI = Birmingham International
BNS = Birmingham New Street
SAD = Sandwell & Dudley
WVH = Wolverhampton
NUN = Nuneaton
TAM = Tamworth
LTV = Lichfield Trent Valley
STF = Stafford
SOT = Stoke on Trent
MAC = Macclesfield
SPT = Stockport
CRE = Crewe
WBQ = Warrington Bank Quay
WNW = Wigan North Western
PRE = Preston
tph = Trains per Hour

Notes:
A Existing xx:03 Birmingham path modified to call additionally at WFJ.
B Existing xx:20 Manchester path modified to call additionally at WFJ and MAC
C Existing xx:07 Liverpool path modified to run ~ 8 mins later, and call Nuneaton.
D Former xx:30 Glasgow path modified to call additionally at MKC and Crewe.
E Existing xx:43 Birmingham/Scot path modified to call additionally at WFJ and RUG.
F Existing xx:40 Manchester path unaltered.
G Former xx:33 Peak Hours Liverpool path modified to run later, and with additional stops. (Peak hours only).

By thinning out the Manchester and Birmingham services from 3tph to 2tph, additional stops are needed on the remaining trains to ensure existing links are still covered.
By thinning the service in this way (and cutting back the Euston - North Wales service to run only west of Crewe) it is possible to spread the remaining trains further round the clockface, whilst still leaving room in the hour for the fast lines LM services.
It is also possible to give MKC and (especially) WFJ better connections than they currently enjoy.
The downside is that journey times would be extended - but possibly not as much as they are currently.

One other potential might be to pass one (of the current two) hourly Birmingham - Manchester services from XC to Avanti, thus allowing through Euston - Birmingham - Manchester workings by Pendolinos (as there would be some thrown up spare by this scheme). thus reducing the amount of 221 running under the wires.

OK, I've put my crayons back in their box now.
Does this idea have any merit? What have I got wrong - and how would you do it better (if at all)?
The floor is open ...
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
16,079
That xx15 Liverpool is catching the xx10 all day long, I reckon the xx.40 is running down the xx.30 too, especially when you factor in how rubbish the approach to P1 at Rugby is. Id swap the WFJ calls in the Manchester's and push the peak Liverpool out a bit. Either that or the xx10 goes earlier. That Glasgow might catch the Liverpool too.
 

cslusarc

Member
Joined
27 Jan 2011
Messages
138
I would rather see ICWC serve MKC every 10 minutes than trying to maximize the number of paths with stops at WFJ.
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
I would rather see ICWC serve MKC every 10 minutes than trying to maximize the number of paths with stops at WFJ.
WFJ was denuded of stops in the WCRM timetable. Is there a compelling reason why this should continue to be the case, or does WFJ serve as a useful interchange between long-distance and suburban networks, as well as a railhead for the local area?
Why should MKC have a train every 10 minutes?
 
Last edited:

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,261
If services are reduced in the medium term, it means stations will be losing stops, not gaining them. Watford having 3tph (and 4 in the peak) is gross over provision. Similarly MK retaining 3tph, Rugby retaining 2tph, and Nuneaton gaining a call.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,291
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
If services are reduced in the medium term, it means stations will be losing stops, not gaining them. Watford having 3tph (and 4 in the peak) is gross over provision. Similarly MK retaining 3tph, Rugby retaining 2tph, and Nuneaton gaining a call.

I think frequency isn't the point with ICWC services, it's connectivity. So it's not that MKC (or WFJ) needs 3tph, it's the idea of where you'll give it direct connections to.

If you wanted to reduce that, you'd want to implement quality connections elsewhere. But as an absolute bare minimum MKC needs the Manchester that serves Crewe (so to connect to Liverpool, the North West and Scotland if the Chester isn't running south of Crewe) and a Brum per hour.
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
If services are reduced in the medium term, it means stations will be losing stops, not gaining them. Watford having 3tph (and 4 in the peak) is gross over provision. Similarly MK retaining 3tph, Rugby retaining 2tph, and Nuneaton gaining a call.
I take a slightly different view. If services are reduced in the medium term, there is an opportunity to look at what we have been doing and see if we can improve on it. The additional stops I have suggested are aimed at improving connectivity, at the expense of journey times. In the brave new world, should we still be trying to get from A to B as fast as possible with as few intermediate stops as possible, or is there a better way of doing it?
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,291
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
I take a slightly different view. If services are reduced in the medium term, there is an opportunity to look at what we have been doing and see if we can improve on it. The additional stops I have suggested are aimed at improving connectivity, at the expense of journey times. In the brave new world, should we still be trying to get from A to B as fast as possible with as few intermediate stops as possible, or is there a better way of doing it?

Well, if we were starting from scratch I'd suggest going for a full Takt, i.e. planning the useful connections so they connect properly, without long waits and on adjacent platforms so far as possible. And yes, bin the sheer speed angle in favour of wider connectivity.
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
That xx15 Liverpool is catching the xx10 all day long, I reckon the xx.40 is running down the xx.30 too, especially when you factor in how rubbish the approach to P1 at Rugby is. Id swap the WFJ calls in the Manchester's and push the peak Liverpool out a bit. Either that or the xx10 goes earlier. That Glasgow might catch the Liverpool too.
All perfectly valid points. I'll give it a while to see if any more ideas come in, then get the crayons out for version B.

Well, if we were starting from scratch I'd suggest going for a full Takt, i.e. planning the useful connections so they connect properly, without long waits and on adjacent platforms so far as possible. And yes, bin the sheer speed angle in favour of wider connectivity.
I was trying to retain some semblance of the existing paths where possible, to avoid rewriting all of Manchester, Birmingham, Preston to Glasgow etc. I think that's for another day ...
 

Whistler40145

Established Member
Joined
30 Apr 2010
Messages
5,929
Location
Lancashire
Are there possibilities for Northampton to be served by Avanti West Coast, some lesser used services could be diverted, leaving Faster paths via Weedon for the busier services
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
Are there possibilities for Northampton to be served by Avanti West Coast, some lesser used services could be diverted, leaving Faster paths via Weedon for the busier services
That's a difficult one. The time penalty for running via Northampton is deeply unattractive in terms of the comparatively small amount of revenue that would be gained compared to the extended journey times. If - say - you wanted one of the two Birmingham trains to run that way, they would need to set off about 10 minutes apart from Euston in order to be 30 minutes apart by Rugby. If you chose to do it on a service where there is only 1 train per hour, passenges to that destination would feel aggrieved by the excessively long journey time. (Can you imagine how Liverpool would feel if you sent their train via Northampton, and ran both Manchesters via Weedon?). The only hope for Northampton would be some additional services over and above those I've specified - similar to the former 09:38 EUston - Manchester which served Northampton and various Trent Valley stations on the way.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,291
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
That's a difficult one. The time penalty for running via Northampton is deeply unattractive in terms of the comparatively small amount of revenue that would be gained compared to the extended journey times. If - say - you wanted one of the two Birmingham trains to run that way, they would need to set off about 10 minutes apart from Euston in order to be 30 minutes apart by Rugby. If you chose to do it on a service where there is only 1 train per hour, passenges to that destination would feel aggrieved by the excessively long journey time. (Can you imagine how Liverpool would feel if you sent their train via Northampton, and ran both Manchesters via Weedon?). The only hope for Northampton would be some additional services over and above those I've specified - similar to the former 09:38 EUston - Manchester which served Northampton and various Trent Valley stations on the way.

That's one where a Takt would help - you'd plan it so a LNR northbound connection was in platform 5 when one of the Avantis arrived at MKC for a quick cross-platform passenger changeover, and similarly a southbound there at Rugby when the relevant WCML service stopped there (though that couldn't be cross-platform).

You're right that that's a bigger game, but the lower the frequency, the more there is to be gained from it.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
19,770
Location
Mold, Clwyd
It'll soon be time to invent a combined HS2/WCML timetable and dump the current setup.
It's what Avanti was contracted to do (if they ever get that far).
And thanks for dumping Chester/North Wales/Shrewsbury/Blackpool from the WCML network.
We'll soon be back to the pre-WCRM BR service at this rate, with limited connectivity and extended journey times.
What are you going to do with the spare Pendolinos which are on-lease until 2026?
Not to mention 23 new 80x from 2022.
 
Last edited:

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,261
I take a slightly different view. If services are reduced in the medium term, there is an opportunity to look at what we have been doing and see if we can improve on it. The additional stops I have suggested are aimed at improving connectivity, at the expense of journey times. In the brave new world, should we still be trying to get from A to B as fast as possible with as few intermediate stops as possible, or is there a better way of doing it?

Taking a view is fine, but the facts are always useful. The value of each minute of journey time in the WCML is substantial. every extra stop on the man line costs 5 minutes. Sticking extra calls in various services would bring in few additional passengers, but will lose substantially more.

So to answer the exam question, yes we should be trying to get from A to B as fast as possible, when A and B are significant centres of population and economic activity. With a reduction in frequency, speed becomes even more important.
 

JonathanH

Veteran Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
18,969
What are you going to do with the spare Pendolinos?
I would imagine that you assess the fleet, retain the best ones and scrap the others / use them for spares.

The OP points out that there is scope to remove Voyager operation to Manchester as well by diverting the Euston - Birmingham - Scotland train to Manchester and cutting all Cross Country trains from Birmingham to Manchester. Indeed, arguably you could remove the entire Bournemouth to Manchester operation - just needs Chiltern to run hourly from Birmingham to Oxford and reduce Birmingham to Marylebone to hourly.

More stops in the residual Avanti service at Milton Keynes would allow LNR to operate only on the slow lines.

We'll soon be back to the pre-WCRM BR service at this rate, with limited connectivity and extended journey times.
If that is what matches demand, why not?
 
Last edited:

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
15,215
It'll soon be time to invent a combined HS2/WCML timetable and dump the current setup.
It's what Avanti was contracted to do (if they ever get that far).
And thanks for dumping Chester/North Wales/Shrewsbury/Blackpool from the WCML network.
We'll soon be back to the pre-WCRM BR service at this rate, with limited connectivity and extended journey times.
What are you going to do with the spare Pendolinos?

I too am confused about what these repeated "recast the West Coast" threads are trying to achieve. The best outcome is a recast that takes two years to inplement (the going rate for a wholesale timetable rewrite) that ends up locking in a reduced level of capacity right at the time Covid ought to be becoming part of the history books and demand will be returning in all probability.

You are right, not many years before HS2 integration will be on the agenda anyway.
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
Taking a view is fine, but the facts are always useful. The value of each minute of journey time in the WCML is substantial. every extra stop on the man line costs 5 minutes. Sticking extra calls in various services would bring in few additional passengers, but will lose substantially more.

So to answer the exam question, yes we should be trying to get from A to B as fast as possible, when A and B are significant centres of population and economic activity. With a reduction in frequency, speed becomes even more important.
Facts are indeed useful, but they are not immutable. Orthodox theory is indeed that there is high value on enery minute of journey time saved - which is how we got to the WCRM timetable in the first place. In a market where there are increasing numbers of people making journeys, the orthodox theories hold true. That's not necessarily the case where passenger numbers are falling - perhaps in the medium to long term.
So yes I know what the original exam question was, and how best to answer it. My question is whether orthodox theory still holds true in the present circumstances, and if not how best to deal with the new updated reality.
 

Senex

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2014
Messages
2,755
Location
York
Taking a view is fine, but the facts are always useful. The value of each minute of journey time in the WCML is substantial. every extra stop on the man line costs 5 minutes. Sticking extra calls in various services would bring in few additional passengers, but will lose substantially more.

So to answer the exam question, yes we should be trying to get from A to B as fast as possible, when A and B are significant centres of population and economic activity. With a reduction in frequency, speed becomes even more important.
Is there still the rule of thumb (or a version of it) that we read about in the 60s when the EML scheme was fully commissioned, that each 1 minute acceleration brought 1% (was that it?) more traffic?
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
7,808
Location
Herts
Lots of enthusiasm for recasting the WCML post the various post "upgrade" enhancements of the past. As well as the odd worrying comment about scrapping 390 "spare" vehicles.

Anyone would think that the previous timetables were almost crayonista concepts , regardless of both commitments , politics and the not inconsiderable impacts on a other operators including freight. Costs of operations etc have something to do with it. (* there were other commitments and issues too - like the maintenance of rolling stock fleets)

This wonderful vision of "Takht" will do us right and proud is one thing ,but what about two key questions (a) what does it cost (b) what does it earn. In real terms.?

In a pure geographical world (I mean the subject) - the ideals of Chrystaller give a theoretical view of settlement on the Great Plains , with a hierarchy of economic settlements from major city to homestead. All perfectly positioned at optimum distances. The world is not quite like that.

Now , in another world , far away - A detailed study of a takht plan was done (including what it could earn) , compared to a standard pattern timetable with variations. Guess which one ran the best results ? .

Good thinking and some out of the box concepts are really valuable , but let us consider actual flows , potential flows and earning potential first.
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
7,808
Location
Herts
That all depends on what the object of running the railways is.

I await responses - but something like"taking one year and another largely breaking even , and providing the best quality of for service to the customers." Well that is how it was in 1979 when I started"
 
Last edited:

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
That all depends on what the object of running the railways is.
I await responses - but something like"taking one year and another largely breaking even , and providing the best quality of for service to the customers." Well that is how it was in 1979 when I started"
When seeking to fund infrastructure projects or other significant investments, the monetary value of time saved is key. With a steady-state infrastructure and a changing (diminishing) market, the same rules and imperatives may not still apply. Clearly it is always going to be important to operate in a prudent financial manner, but there may be trade-offs to be had between best journey times / maximum train loading / service frequency / stopping patterns / financial balance. Perhaps it is time to write a new set of financial rules and planning priorities.

I don't take any firm view on this so don't be surprised if I change my mind. If you think I'm barking up the wrong tree, persuade me (nicely).
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
7,808
Location
Herts
When seeking to fund infrastructure projects or other significant investments, the monetary value of time saved is key. With a steady-state infrastructure and a changing (diminishing) market, the same rules and imperatives may not still apply. Clearly it is always going to be important to operate in a prudent financial manner, but there may be trade-offs to be had between best journey times / maximum train loading / service frequency / stopping patterns / financial balance. Perhaps it is time to write a new set of financial rules and planning priorities.

I don't take any firm view on this so don't be surprised if I change my mind. If you think I'm barking up the wrong tree, persuade me (nicely).

Keep thinking such thoughts - sounds pretty fair to me (retired , of course)
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
15,215
When seeking to fund infrastructure projects or other significant investments, the monetary value of time saved is key. With a steady-state infrastructure and a changing (diminishing) market, the same rules and imperatives may not still apply. Clearly it is always going to be important to operate in a prudent financial manner, but there may be trade-offs to be had between best journey times / maximum train loading / service frequency / stopping patterns / financial balance. Perhaps it is time to write a new set of financial rules and planning priorities.

I don't take any firm view on this so don't be surprised if I change my mind. If you think I'm barking up the wrong tree, persuade me (nicely).

It is reasonable that such may values of time may indeed change (but not necesarily diminish) post-Covid.

E.g. the £££ value of the traditional London peak time busineess traveller may reduce, but the value associated with flexible office workers or leisure travellers may stay the same or increase.
 

tbtc

Veteran Member
Joined
16 Dec 2008
Messages
17,882
Location
Reston City Centre
I too am confused about what these repeated "recast the West Coast" threads are trying to achieve

I've wondered that too.

I think the plan (on the various threads we've had) is:

* - Manchester gets too much, so we need to remove a third of their trains, yet always leave Liverpool with it's existing service (half hourly in the peak direction)

* - Wouldn't it be nice if, whilst cutting the main markets of London - Birmingham/ Manchester, we managed to massively boost the number of Long Distance High Speed services stopping at small places like Nuneaton

* - And maybe, as well as adding intermediate stops on existing services, slowed some trains down even more to take the time penalty of serving Northampton

* - Whilst cutting the busiest routes, there's never any suggestion of cutting the operationally awkward fringes (i.e. diesel services to Holyhead/ Wrexham/ Shrewsbury) for some reason. If we are slashing the flagship services between the biggest cities due to the slump caused by Covid (that we assume will continue for a few years) then you'd think there'd be corresponding cuts on the Holyhead route, since the Irish market won't be coming back in big numbers. But, no, despite the "green" credentials that some people like to shout about, we are meant to have dozens of electric carriages sat in sidings due to cutting the main services yet keep all of the direct Wrexham/ Sbrewsbury etc services?

* - Similarly, cuts don't seem to get suggested for Blackpool very often on such threads (?)

I'm not saying I agree with the above points, just trying to show my understanding of the various threads we've had - seems to be a chunk of contrary opinions that would see big cuts from London to Birmingham and Manchester yet no cuts to the Voyager services - if you wanted to take this as an opportunity to rip up the timetable and start again then I'd at least consider moving to an all electric operation and abandoning the "Nice To Have" Wrexham/ Shrewsbury services (maybe you'd have to keep the Holyhead services - Because Politics - but Wrexham/ Shrewsbury would be first to go IMHO)
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
29,261
Is there still the rule of thumb (or a version of it) that we read about in the 60s when the EML scheme was fully commissioned, that each 1 minute acceleration brought 1% (was that it?) more traffic?
Much more complicated than that.
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,927
Location
Crewe
In response to tbtc above, if you look at my original post you will see I agree with you about the use of Voyagers. *Personally I would make Avanti an all-electric franchise / contract, and hand the 20 221s en bloc to the Welsh Government. Then they could decide what their priorities are in respect of linking:
1) North Wales to South Wales;
2) North Wales to Manchester and Liverpool
3) South Wales to Manchester and Liverpool
4) Chester / Wrexham / Shrewsbury to London.
By giving the responsibility (and associated costs) to the Welsh Government, that might flush out what their priorities really are. The fact that the hourly Voyager Euston - Crewe is already suspended might indicate which way the wind is blowing as regards that service group.
(*This of course assumes that I am a benevolent deity with the power to re-write contracts at will, which might be a bit of a leap of the imagination!)
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,291
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
It's suspended because it's presently illegal for people resident in England to travel to Wales (and vice versa during the lockdown). This renders a service between England and Wales of rather less value than otherwise. If you think the rest of the railway is a fresh air express at the minute (and it is), that would take the proverbial.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top