Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by TrainFanSam, 28 Oct 2011.

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  1. TrainFanSam

    TrainFanSam Member

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    So since Wrexham and Shropshire folded back in January, this sleepy main line has now once again been left without an intercity service provider. So who is next to pick up the pieces after this last tragedy?? Rumours are that Virgin are to begin a service along the line from Chester but its just a rumour. Anybody else have any news regarding the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line? Post it here!!
     
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  3. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    I'm taking that Virgin claim with a tablespoonful of salt. The next timetable change—which now lasts for a year rather than five months—is only six weeks away (so it's all already finalized) and the one after that Virgin could well be gone by as their franchise only runs to December 2012.
     
  4. TrainFanSam

    TrainFanSam Member

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    I would take that tablespoon of salt too, i remember when Virgin "trialled" the line in the late 90's using 47's and a rake of class 3 coaches, they only did around 3 trains a day and none of them turned up on time or were cancelled on a regular basis. They scrapped it after just 18 months!!
    We need a service provider to come in and take a serious look at the line because its in desperate need of a reliable intercity service. Maybe Arriva could take a look at it and use on of their 47's on the line.... Who knows!! lol
     
  5. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    When did ATW have any 47's?
     
  6. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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    LM are claimed to be strengthening most trains to 4 cars from December, 170/6s being strengthened with 153s. Should be good for 'effing'!
     
  7. merlodlliw

    merlodlliw Established Member

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    Nothing in the year long timetable ending Dec 12. for Shrewsbury/London. Final copy goes to bed on Nov 3rd for ATW


    Bob
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I think he means 67s, & the 57s are returning to the hirers.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: 29 Oct 2011
  8. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock Member

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    Every so often we get another thread about Shrewsbury not having an inter city link to London so what is so special about this backwater.

    BR Inter-city tried and got insufficient support, Virgin tried and got insufficient support, WSMR tried and got insufficient support so why should anyone else bother?

    Like many other places Shrewsbury has (reasonably) good connections to fast trains to London which should be sufficient for their needs.
     
  9. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    We could ask why Hereford has direct trains to London yet Shrewsbury does not. Or why Carmarthen has a service, but not Barnstaple. There are discrepancies with London trains across the country.

    The fact is that Shrewsbury is itself an interchange, and the line towards Birmingham serves Wellington and Telford. Given that there is quite a large catchment area in addition to those three towns, and that the line used to have trains to the capital, I don't think it's surprising that the topic keeps getting raised.

    As for insufficient support, with the shortage of rolling stock and the structure of the industry the way it is, it's quite possible that trains from Shrewsbury may make money, but not as much of a return as putting the stock on a different route.
     
  10. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Those that use the line esp in the peak will find the description of "sleepy" as highly amusing- LM and ATW trains are all 4 cars and absolutely rammed.
    BR's reason for withdrawing were nothing to do with passenger numbers it was simply to get rid of diesel ( 3 class 47's) haulage and changing locos at Wolves as a way to save money in the early 90's recession.
    BR's tt was quite clever in that the peak commuter trains from/to Shropshire were the InterCIty trains so Brum commuters got a decent length train as well as others getting a through service to London. You wouldn't see that sort of integration for the benefit of all from today's railway.
     
  11. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Yes, I remember the protests when BR cut the Shrewsbury services. They did admit it was done to cut costs.

    It is certainly not a slepy line. I am sure that ther eis sufficient custom to make a through service viable, but, as I mentioned, it may not be as profitable as putting the stock on other flows.
     
  12. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    The concept of profitability when the industry needs so much more public money than it did under BR is somehow perverse, pretend capitalism paid for by my taxes!
     
  13. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    It is perverse, but then so much of this artificial compromise of an industry is perverse!

    As I see it, the TOC is not required under their franchise to serve the line, so they don't. They could serve it, and probably make a small profit on the service, but this would be more than offset by losing revenue on another route. They would then require more public money to make up for the shortfall in revenue so that they can continue to post good financial results to keep their share price up, which allows them to continue to pay a dividend to shareholders, pay their executives nice high salaries, and maybe even a small premium back to the Treasury.

    Perverse? Yes, very much so!
     
  14. TrainFanSam

    TrainFanSam Member

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    Then why do they keep it open if its an unattractive line to franchises?..... I mean LM and ATW are making a killing from that line and their trains are always full to the brim with passengers.
    Part of me wishes that Virgin and Arriva didnt pressure W&S into closure!!
     
  15. merlodlliw

    merlodlliw Established Member

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    It was a pity W/S were killed off by DB, but you are correct, the gang of two did all they could, prior to DB to spoil W/S. Interesting now W/S have gone, so has the interest by Vt & ATW to run services to London from Salop.
    I am also sure Shropshire is the only County in England without a direct service to London.
    Bob
     
  16. Philip

    Philip Established Member

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    Many 'intercity routes' don't have a direct train to London and there are routes out there more in need of one than this one. It's obvious anyway considering twice it's been tested and failed. Besides, you can catch a train to Wolvo/Brum and get a good connection at either of those stations.
     
  17. JoeM

    JoeM Member

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    Thats correct that Shropshire is the only county without a direct train to London - that phrase often crops up, usually when a service is withdrawn! I live in Shrewsbury, and while I think the town ought to be connected to the capital, I have to agree with what others have said in that there just isn't the patronage to keep the services going - they would still be running otherwise.
    Wales and West used to do a direct train to London as well, don't forget...but it ran via Hereford, Newport, Severn Tunnel and ended up in Waterloo about 7 hours later!
    As for the discussion on costs, a friend was telling me that when the Cambrian Coast Express used to run into Euston, it would be dragged by 2 37's from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury, then a 47 would take the train forward to Wolverhampton and then an 86/87/90 would propel it for the rest of the journey! Great for haulage fans, but was hardly economic!
     
  18. merlodlliw

    merlodlliw Established Member

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    I recall the Wales & West adventure to Waterloo from Manchester, a truly ridiculous idea,in my opinion, the 158 Failed at frequent intervals & was stared in the TV programme about CEOs out for the day meeting staff,I think it was the WAGN CEO who pointed it out in a bay, failed & in the way again he muttered, if I recall, as for the Cambrian, a costly method of propulsion, but little interest of cost applies today, with the 0910 voyager Euston to Holyhead, ten motors running under ten coaches, with hardly any pax using the service after Chester, when the service was a five car, it carried very few. Little market research seems to have been applied

    Bob
     
  19. Badger

    Badger Member

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    Are there any diesel trains in London Midlands new 3tph Birmingham to London services?

    Given that Birmingham to Shrewsbury is LM anyway it would then make sense to run trains from Shrewsbury to London that way.

    Or to be rather silly how about reopening the entire Severn Valley Railway, and having Chiltern run trains from Shrewsbury to London via Ironbridge, Bewdley, Bridgnorth, Kidderminster -> London Marylebone... :p


    While yes Shrewsbury does have decent London connections, given that LM run Shrewsbury-Birmingham and Birmingham-London it would make sense to join the two. This would also give Wolverhampton and Oldbury a second link to London ;). More importantly than Shrewsbury though, the larger Telford would also have a London train!
     
  20. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Makes no sense at all as the diesels couldnt never maintain a path on the WCML compared with a 350.
     
  21. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Hard enough pathing 350 at 100 mph on WCML - hence the 110mph proposals.

    All good comments above , especially on the economics - the quickest way Salop to London has to be via Crewe on a fast ATW , which does it in 20 mins connecting into a 30 min WCML Virgin - avoiding the loop via the West Midlands.

    Glad to see the old W&W Waterloo service lives on in memory - agreed as a rather daft fix for the promised (section 20 of the Channel Tunnel consultation) - direct services from the provinces to Waterloo for EPS. The joke was a 7 hour trip via Hereford and Salisbury which surely no-one must have made in anger - though there were complaints about the loss of a Wem -Waterloo link when it came off. The routing gave a cash strapped Wales and West some ORCATS revenue though , - hence their desire to keep it going.
     
  22. JoeM

    JoeM Member

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    I must admit to laughing out loud at the complaints from Wem - as you say, surely no one relied on that meandering method of reaching the capital
     
  23. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    Nope. All 350s. (It's basically a rejig of existing BHM–NMP and NMP–EUS services.)
     
  24. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    There were also some through trains to Penzance and Portsmouth which at least gave 3 trains per day direct from Bristol to the Marches. Today you have to change at Newport and try a board an often already rammed train from Cardiff.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    All good comments above , especially on the economics - the quickest way Salop to London has to be via Crewe on a fast ATW , which does it in 20 mins connecting into a 30 min WCML Virgin - avoiding the loop via the West Midlands.


    Does nothing for Telford and also Trent Valley tickets are more expensive.
     
  25. JoeM

    JoeM Member

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    I recall those, and also how long it took the automated announcements to list all the stations the trains stopped at, especially the Penzance service In a way its a shame they didn't make more of those links, though they were too long to be run with 2 coach 158's, I always thought. I sometimes wonder if a direct train to Bristol would be a good idea, but again, as with getting to London, its not particularly difficult getting there with minimal changes.
     
  26. merlodlliw

    merlodlliw Established Member

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    Given that Birmingham to Shrewsbury is LM anyway it would then make sense to run trains from Shrewsbury to London that way.[QUOTE=Badger

    LM Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat, but never on a Sunday.


    Bob
     
  27. TrainFanSam

    TrainFanSam Member

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  28. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    The Wem "complainer" turned out to be a retired railway manager (who had free travel) - so it wasnt taken seriously at the time ! (or afterwards)

    (as I recall)

    The Carmarthen - Waterloo in civilised hourse (not the train crew killer overnight from London which was frequently empty on departure from London) - did actually have some genuine traffic from west of Cardiff)

    I was always impressed how the paths for the overnight Paris Nord - Swansea sleeper were retained for some time in the Working Timetables.
     
  29. EltonRoad

    EltonRoad Established Member

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    I lived in Shrewsbury until the mid 1990s and the discussion about London trains was little different back then. The Cambrian Coast Express ran until about 1991 and was indeed hauled by a 37 between Aber and Shrewsbury (never saw it double headed though), with about 6 standard class coaches. A 47 hauled it to Wolves, then the 47 came off, first class, buffet and DVT were added to the front and an 86 to the rear. It was almost a different train by that point! Going west the 47, first class and buffet came off at Shrewsbury (then ran empty to Wolves) and the 37 was added to the rear.

    InterCity ran 6 trains a day till May 1992, and were well spaced out throughout the day. The evening returns weren't great though with departures from Euston at 1640 and 1940 as I recall. There needed to have been one at 1740 or 1840 for it to be useful for days out etc.

    I suspect that the only way the issue is going to be resolved satisfactorily is for the line from Shrewsbury to Wolves to be electrified and for line speeds to be increased. Then Pendos can be extended and the journey time will be a more realistic 2 h 15 m or thereabouts. When I lived in Shrewsbury the journey time was at least 3 hours and it was generally perceived to be too long. You could get from London to Newcastle in that time. The line needs electrifying, possibly through to Chester, then it can have a decent London service once and for all.
     
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