Which trains should serve Manchester Airport?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jcollins, 12 Apr 2015.

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  1. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    In the threads discussing whether North Wales/Chester should get additional Manchester Airport services there's been a lot of discussion about which destinations should have a direct Manchester Airport link and whether cities which have direct links should in fact have better links to more local Airports.

    Personally I think there's different ways of viewing this:

    1. From a business prospective from the Airport's point of view
    Using the rail links to get business that might otherwise use other airports and prioritising those links over more local ones. If these were to be the priority then I think the Airport should be subsiding services. Although, I think if the Airport were to neglect local links they would breach the requirements which they accepted in building the second runway.

    2. From a business prospective from the Railway's point of view
    Providing direct rail links on the most lucrative rail flows to the Airport. However, which are they? It could be Liverpool-Airport via Warrington would be the most lucrative route even though there currently isn't such a service.

    3. From an environmental prospective.
    The top 10 busiest routes out of Manchester includes Edinburgh and Glasgow. Providing more regular and faster links to Edinburgh and Glasgow may mean less internal flights and more journeys on electric trains. Good for the environment - not so good for the Airport's business plan.
     
  2. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    The number of flights points to heavy demand between Manchester and Edinburgh/Glasgow, but not necessarily Manchester Airport. You would need to see how many of those passengers are making onwards flight connections from the airport. Also, how many of those passengers could be tempted to travel to Waverley/Central to take a four hour train journey as opposed to the one hour flight? Especially as the train will cost more overall compared to a one-stop flight.
     
  3. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Looking at the Edinburgh flight for the next 24 hours I've noticed an additional Eithad Airways and Finnair flight codes appearing alongside the Flybe ones (with Flybe operating the flights.) So there's definitely some transfers but it's not clear how many passengers are making the transfers. It could be just 1 transfer or it could be 50 transfers.
     
  4. Stonesourscotty

    Stonesourscotty Member

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    I'd personally like the Kirkby train to gain a Connection with the Airport train (just a connection i may add) as i think the wait at Wallgate/Northwestern is 55 mins for TPE and 56 for Northern services to the Airport obviously changing at Crescent could negate this but the Kirkby's stop everywhere on the Atherton line except Ince so this adds a fair chunk of time
     
  5. neilmc

    neilmc Member

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    I had a horrendous journey from Manchester to Edinburgh several years ago - due to bad traffic congestion in South Manchester I would have missed my planned through train from Piccadilly (then a diesel unit run by Virgin) so I went to Oxford Road, only to have it confirmed that it didn't stop there. I jumped on the next train to Bolton only to find that the Edinburgh train again trundled through the platform at five miles per hour without stopping. Damage limitation time - with no through train for several hours I caught the next train to Preston and didn't have too long to wait for a Glasgow train, although this was a bit delayed.

    Now I recall the eminently sensible practice of splitting Anglo-Scottish trains at Carstairs, but under the bearded wonder this practice had ceased so still no Edinburgh connection but the train guard was on the ball - rather than travel all the way into Glasgow he advised me to decamp at Motherwell and await a connection on the newly electrified GNER Glasgow-Edinburgh-London route, which I did and despite a complete absence of local publicity there was indeed such a train to get me to Edinburgh (eventually). But I arrived 3-4 hours late, having seen the delights of Carstairs Junction twice within almost two hours, and determined to catch the plane in future which I did.

    With a two-hourly fast electric service to both cities that should no longer happen, although of course to steal the airport traffic you don't really need to start a train from the airport station, merely provide a fast and reliable service from the main population centre, Manchester. I reckon a city-to-city time of three hours and a bit should be very competitive when you take into account the airport-city commutes at both ends and the time wasted with airport security and walks to piers.
     
  6. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    The same discussion could be had about Heathrow. Nobody seems to be discussing the possibility of Cross Country services from the north to Reading being extended to Heathrow when the west-south curve is finally built. Even the HS2 spur to Heathrow has been cancelled.

    The lack of direct services from the north to our biggest airport is a disgrace and I suspect has been influenced by the domestic airline lobby.
     
  7. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    There is however some suggestion that East West Rail services could be extended from Reading to Heathrow. This would provide a direct service from a reasonable range of places, and changing at Bletchley or Bedford would probably be a better route to Heathrow for some people than the slow journey from Euston or St Pancras.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    The train journey would probably have to reduce close to 3hr to take the majority of the business market from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Having said that the service as far as Carlisle is more frequent as well as shorter, and probably pretty competitive against road.
     
  8. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Not splitting at Carstairs was a BR decision (expensive, time-consuming and a dismal place to wait).
    The pattern of cross-border services is now such that the hourly London-Glasgow is followed by a Birmingham-Edinburgh and a Manchester-Glasgow, with the last two reversing in the next hour.
    So in every hour there are 2 Glasgow services north of Preston , and 1 Edinburgh.

    RUS studies say that this pattern gives too many services to Glasgow and too few to Edinburgh.
    However, they haven't worked out a pattern suitable to VT and TPE to rebalance the services.
    Meanwhile, Edinburgh remains underserved.

    Splitting used to include Manchester/Liverpool portions at Preston (ie trains ran Manchester-Glasgow and Edinburgh-Liverpool or v.v, combined north of Preston).
    We might see that pattern return if Liverpool ever gets through services to Scotland, but I think they will split at Carlisle rather than Carstairs.
     
  9. oldman

    oldman Member

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    Looking at Edinburgh Airport's website there are only 4 flights on weekdays to Manchester, 1 or 2 at weekends, operated with turboprops. Glasgow has fewer. From what I hear, families from Central Scotland going on holiday tend to drive.

    I would say the present services from the airport are fairly optimum, serving the major cities of Northern England and the local area, and by extending services which are running into Manchester anyway, reasonably economical to run.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Relative to Glasgow perhaps, but hardly absolutely - an hourly link is pretty good. Given that NW England to Glasgow includes the London service, it's not surprising it gets the better service.

    Years ago, the normal arrangement was Glasgow to Man and Liv, and Edinburgh to Man or Liv. Glasgow was considered the main destination in those days and Liv and Man had near parity.
     
  10. thealexweb

    thealexweb Member

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    I would probably support the hourly Southport to Manchester Airport via Bolton service being changed to its Sunday route of running on to Chester every day of the week.

    That being said, it would leave Bolton will potentially only 1tph to the Airport, as not all of Bolton's Scottish services are guaranteed to stop and are not always both set down and pick up. If there was a firm commitment to ensure 2tph from Bolton to the Airport there would probably be little opposition to this change.
     
  11. Tony2215

    Tony2215 Member

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    West Midlands/Stafford/Stoke-on-Trent would benefit having a direct service. The proposed London Midland service to Preston could run to Preston via Man Airport & Piccadilly and along the newly electrified route through Bolton.
     
  12. martynbristow

    martynbristow Member

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    In response to the original point.
    You need to balance all 3, and not 1 should take a priority, and they should be considered together.

    I think the current service patterns are ok with what you mention above but Airports and train stations are very different. I always have problems using the airport and never solely use the train. Flights start before the trains do, my last business trip had a 6am flight which meant a 3:30am checkin, so the train wouldn't optimal (yes I know there is an overnight Liverpool-Airport), BUT the risk of delays and cancellations may put people off, plus this is often a 142 (which will put the rest off). On a previous trip my flight was delayed and I missed all sensible hour connections and ended up hoping trains up to Durham, which was far from enjoyable.
    The problem is with the planes diagrams, they do a little European tour daily and so an early departure means your return flight will get you in during the day/evening, and a late flight will get you back at some awful time in the morning.
    You need to address this to boast airport flows.

    Connections for all journeys should be considered, but pathing can be a problem.

    If your talking about rivalling inter UK traffic thats partly been addressed already with new routes.
     
  13. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Most business flights from any airport have a check-in that's awkwardly early for public transport - even if the airport train is running the connecting buses and trains to access it probably aren't. The same problem exists for returning flights in the evening. For example the earliest I can arrive at Birmingham Airport by train is about 0730, which misses the morning flights to most business destinations, and trains back become infrequent and slow after about 1930. With relatively little road congestion at those times and an understandable desire to minimise travel time, I would imagine most business users starting out from home drive to the airport or use some form of taxi or private hire service.

    Airlines tend to use their planes during the middle part of the day for more leisure-orientated flights, often serving "holiday" destinations, including the same cities as the business flights but at lower fares. Rail has had some success in attracting passengers travelling between home and these flights at Manchester and elsewhere, encouraged by expensive airport parking and the risk of delays on the roads. However this market sector includes many family groups unfamiliar with rail, with small children in tow and large amounts of luggage. That and concern about missing the flight means that through services are a key factor in getting people to use rail. I suspect that for Heathrow these people are largely on National Express if they use public transport at all.

    The final market sector is incoming visitors travelling for either business or leisure. These people tend to arrive and depart at times when the public transport network is fully running, though sometimes crowded. They are most likely to need a simple service to the city centre, but the business element at least is not price sensitive. I imagine most of the clientele for Heathrow Express are in this sector, but Manchester and its airport are not big enough for a similar dedicated train service.
     
  14. martynbristow

    martynbristow Member

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    I find I can get TO or FROM but not both. Of course it depends on the location and destination, i actually go to touristy places with work :P (Business only honest).
    I tend to beg for a lift the other way.
    The transpenine nightly services are good but not really structured enough.
    One of my last trips I was 4 hours late nearly. It worries me that could happen again getting to your destination, I don't want to sleep in an airport :P

    The incoming travellers is a good point, but thats improved over recent years if your going to Piccadilly. Perhaps if there are just enough connections to Piccadilly onward trains won't be a problem.
     
  15. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    I always thought the Central Trains link from the East Midlands was useful. The SRA didn't and axed it. Not sure if it only carried fresh air, but the Stansteds was reintroduced so just because it wasn't then doesn't mean it shouldn't be now.
     
  16. hibtastic

    hibtastic Member

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    Flybe's EDI to MAN service currently carries an Etihad (EY) codeshare to allow pax to connect with EY services at MAN. In June this year, EY will start a direct service from Abu Dhabi to Edinburgh using an A330 so its likely that connecting passengers may reduce.

    I was at Waverley on Friday and there was an absolutely packed 8-coach 350 at the platform about to depart for Manchester Airport. These services are certainly popular from my experience of travelling up and down the WCML from Edinburgh. I would agree that the WCML is currently underserved from Edinburgh
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  17. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    All three are incorrect considerations. No 1 should definitely not come into it. The impact of running Manchester Airport trains can ripple out in consequences for many miles beyond the airport itself, and I doubt the airport could afford to adequately compensate an entire city for the loss of railway services that have instead been diverted into the airport. The toss up as to whether to run trans-pennine express trains to terminate at either Liverpool or Manchester Airport is one obvious example.

    The efficiency of the whole railway network needs to be considered, not just the interests of one facility.

    IMO, unless it's a logical end point, no national trains should be calling at Manchester airport, but instead greater efficiency achieved by having this served predominantly by local trains from the city centre. This provides for destinations beyond Manchester to have higher frequencies of services passing through Manchester city centre (where they can connect for the local trains to the airport). This hub and spoke mechanism (where the airport is just another spoke) is a much more equitable and useful way of getting people where they need to go, when they need to go.

    In the example given, two trains an hour from wales through Manchester to somewhere like Leeds provides much more connectivity to Wales (as they get through trains to places where more people are likely to be going) along with airport connectivity via one change. This is versus a service level of just one train an hour, only at certain times of the day, to Manchester airport which is obviously of only limited usefulness in itself (other than being able to say "we've got a direct train to Manchester airport" and the airport picking up a handful of extra passengers a year).
    Albeit that this train continuing south may be logical in this case, how many were going all the way to Manchester Airport? Not many, I would wager.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  18. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Leeds can't have an infinite number of trains to the West.

    Long terms on North TPE it's proposed 2tph Leeds-Liverpool, 2tph Leeds-Victoria-Airport and 2tph Leeds-Piccadilly.

    Providing direct services from Victoria to the Airport is a useful addition.

    Extending the Piccadilly services arriving from Guide Bridge direction westwards can cause pathing issues - which is why Scarborough to Liverpool via Piccadilly won't be continuing post-December 2017.

    So that then leaves the slower Manchester-Leeds via Bradford services.

    Network Rail did at one stage moot a Llandudno-Leeds via Bradford semi-fast service and a Chester-Warrington-Airport stopper but Welsh politicians objected for two reasons:
    1. They wanted North Wales to have an Airport service.
    2. They did want Northern or TPE running services to Llandudno and didn't want the Wales & Borders franchise extending over to Yorkshire.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  19. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    I agree. And there's four trains you've identified right there that could carry straight on through Manchester and provide urban connectivity, instead of pulling into Manchester and reversing out again (or just terminating).

    As Manchester airport already has a high number of services connecting it, you could have four Liverpool - Leeds services and two Wales - Leeds services, each of which could be used to connect with the services to Manchester airport. That would provide for infinitely superior connectivity to those places, including for getting people to from the airport.

    Given the significant investment being put into expanding the capacity and throughput of Manchester's railways, including new lines and platforms, I would hope that this is going to be put to better use than just pumping their own airport station full of trains.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  20. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Think you're missing the point here.

    Victoria station currently has 0tph to the Airport. Once the Ordsall Chord is built it can have trains to the Airport.

    Yorkshire to the Airport via Victoria won't require any reversals, unless the service is via the Calder Vale line and in which case the reversals would be before the train reaches Manchester.
     
  21. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    That might not technically require reversals, but it is a rather strange use of the Ordsall curve when instead the train from the east could just keep going west.

    The point here is these trains which could serve entire cities are being sent instead to manchester airport.

    It's all adding up to low frequencies between major cities, and sub-optimal interchange options. The two key reasons why I say that direct national trains to Manchester airport should come right at the bottom of any transport priorities.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  22. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Victoria doesn't have any westbound terminus platforms, so if you're going to provide regular direct services from the Airport to Victoria really they need to continue in the direction of one of Stalybridge, Rochdale or Todmorden to prevent terminating trains occupying platforms which are needed for through trains.
     
  23. martynbristow

    martynbristow Member

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    Why would anyone go from Victoria to Airport.
    You could just hope the Metrolink anyway.
     
  24. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Maybe because large items of luggage are banned from Metrolink and people travelling to the Airport for holidays may have large items of luggage?

    Maybe because Victoria-Airport will take around 35 minutes using a direct heavy service, while Victoria-Airport via Metrolink currently takes around 45 minutes and involves a change?
     
  25. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    On the contrary, it's one of the prime reasons for building the Ordsall curve in the first place.
     
  26. martynbristow

    martynbristow Member

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    If your for some reason at Victoria, you can catch the Metrolink through to Piccadilly and then get any other service through to the Airport as normal.
    If your coming from further afield, change!

    IF YOUR travelling with large items of luggage is a big IF, its more cost effective to have a carry on bag only, hold bags are limited in weight too. Plus the vast majority using solely public transport will have changed to some extent, provided its not an excessive change its not a problem.

    I think its important your specify who you are considering and why they are travelling. I've never had any problems travelling with luggage even when I've been away for weeks.
     
  27. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Meanwhile, someone who lives in a neighbouring city may have a return journey of either wait up to an hour for a "direct" service (which often is nothing other than a direct service to Piccadilly, with an airport run tacked on the end), or a journey into Manchester city centre to have a similar wait there.

    I'm not saying don't run airport services via the Ordsall curve, but I'm definitely saying that national services shouldn't be going out of their way to get there. National services have to serve the nation and its cities (note, plural) as frequently as possible.
     
  28. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    While some people try and take one suitcase the maximum size permitted for cabin baggage, not everyone does. As well as having too much for cabin only luggage some people don't waste time buying expensive miniatures of things like deodorant to be able to take them on board, or buying items like that at the Airport and then throwing them away before the return trip.

    From my experience of EU flights usually at least 75% of passengers head to baggage reclaim after passport control. OK some passengers travelling together may have one checked in item between them, but in those instances the checked in item will likely be large.
     
  29. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    However the quantity of passengers heading to/from any city that currently "competes" for services with Manchester Airport station will vastly outnumber those actually heading to Manchester Airport (in total, let alone in the circumstances you describe).

    If someone has got enough luggage to see them through a cruise, they're probably better off carrying straight on through to Liverpool to do so! (Alternatively, they can do what they probably already do and get a cab).
     
  30. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    There's a big difference between travelling with a suitcase which isn't small enough to class as cabin luggage and taking enough for 2 weeks on a cruise ship.

    Metrolink to the Airport will suit the Airport employees, people going to the Airport on holiday should use trains, coaches and private vehicles.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
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