Wolverhampton to Walsall - route changed May 2016

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wulfruna

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A "direct" Wolverhampton and Walsall service, via Crane Street, Portobello, Darlaston and Pleck Junctions, 6m 55c, in 12mins, was introduced in 1998.

Poor patronage due to many reasons, all of which could have been solved, saw the service "unoffically" withdrawn in Dec 2008, reduced from hourly SuX service to one weekday service dep Walsall at 1926.

This then reduced further in May 2013 to a SO departure from Wolverhampton at 0638, this being the min requirement to prevent a withdrawal notice to be applied.

As from 21st May 2016, the "direct" service will now been rerouted via Stour Valley, via Soho, Perry Barr junctions, then along Grand Junction, via Bescot to Pleck Junction and Walsall. A distance of 19m 31c - journey time 30mins, 3 times further.

Is this a legitimate change?

When a rail service is introduced to the network - what aspects of the service are protected?

The stations served?

The stations are still served and by a direct service - if only one, where journey time has increased from 12 to 30 mins. So this still the "direct" service, between Wolverhampton and Walsall?

But what of the route?

When this service started in 1998, the route via Darlaston and Pleck Junctions would have been designated a passenger route. And has been so for 18 years until 14th May 2016. For as from the new timetable May 2016 - no passenger services will use this route.

So technically one could argue passenger services have now been withdrawn along this route. So should this not require some form of legal withdrawal process?

I am concerned about this change as Walsall MBC have recently made the bold brave move to scrap Midland Metro expansion to Walsall in favour of a policy upgrading the rail network.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/...-black-country-metro-tram-link-declared-dead/

PUBLISHED: October 23, 2015 7:28 am

Walsall and Black Country Metro tram link declared dead

A long-awaited Metro route linking Walsall with the Black Country has lost the support of the borough's council after bosses said it was 'pretty clear' the scheme was dead.

'5 Ws' line would take the trams from Wolverhampton, through Wednesfield, Willenhall, Walsall before reconnecting to the Birmingham line at Wednesbury.

But, while Centro funding has been made available for other transport schemes in the region over that period, the idea has never got off the ground.

Walsall Council has decided to drop support the scheme, deciding instead to back plans for new railway stations in Willenhall and Darlaston.

But with the remaining service now re-routed - and this route no longer carrying a passenger service, could this pose a problem re-introducing a passenger service?
 
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Bald Rick

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As all us good Wulfrunians know, the reason there was no demand for the service is simply because no one in Wolverhampton wants to go to Walsall. ;)

And even if you did, you'd obviously pop into the Western for a swifty before the trip to provide some Dutch courage, and then realise the pub is really quite cosy, and the Bathams is slipping down nicely, and oh look, it's closing time, must go home.
 

Techniquest

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Interesting, this provides an opportunity to do the until now non-passenger curve at Soho...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Worth pointing out RTT does not show this happening tomorrow, but does on 28th May. I've not looked beyond there.
 

Kite159

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Interesting, this provides an opportunity to do the until now non-passenger curve at Soho...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Worth pointing out RTT does not show this happening tomorrow, but does on 28th May. I've not looked beyond there.

That was my thinking as well, just need to find a cheap place to stay in Wolverhampton (or along that line) in time for that service ;)
 

SS4

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Interesting, this provides an opportunity to do the until now non-passenger curve at Soho...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Worth pointing out RTT does not show this happening tomorrow, but does on 28th May. I've not looked beyond there.

I wouldn't mind doing that on a daytripper but that 0638 departure :(
 

Flying Snail

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When this service started in 1998, the route via Darlaston and Pleck Junctions would have been designated a passenger route. And has been so for 18 years until 14th May 2016. For as from the new timetable May 2016 - no passenger services will use this route.

Most of the route, the WVH-Darlaston Jn section will still have at least one booked passenger service, the first Euston VT at 05.00.
 

Flying Snail

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And isn't there a XC and an ATW which goes that way to retain route knowledge?

I expect so, the VT is the only one I know of in the current diagrams but all the crews would need to keep up knowledge of the diversionary routes around BHM. The first Euston out of Wolverhampton has been booked that way for many years.

When the first southbound out of Wolverhampton used to be the loco-hauled Holyhead-New Street it would go via Darlaston and Aston so it could return via Soho without the loco changing ends. The Euston following it could appear in New Street from either direction depending on which route it took.
 
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Techniquest

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I wouldn't mind doing that on a daytripper but that 0638 departure :(

That's nothing, I've done PSUL moves at 0426 and 0552 in the past! A full day cranking after such early moves can be challenging, but 0638 is a piece of cake!
 

wulfruna

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As all us good Wulfrunians know, the reason there was no demand for the service is simply because no one in Wolverhampton wants to go to Walsall. ;)

Yes there could be some truth in that Bald Rick. :lol:


When the first southbound out of Wolverhampton used to be the loco-hauled Holyhead-New Street it would go via Darlaston and Aston so it could return via Soho without the loco changing ends.
I used to love catching that train to work each morning. Oh happy days.


Worth pointing out RTT does not show this happening tomorrow, but does on 28th May. I've not looked beyond there.

Now this is interesting Techniquest.

When I checked the new LM public timetable and saw the journey time for this service had increased from 12 to 30 mins, I looked it up on RTT last week to find out why. The SO 0638 dep on 21 May from WVH to WSL, was booked to run via Soho and Perry Barr junctions. Matching the same start and end times as shown on the public timetable.

But, checking the RTT this morning - the service had been altered at 04:38, marked as a VAR, and ran the conventional route - between Darlaston and Pleck junctions. Arriving at Walsall at 0652. Two mins late? But according to the passenger timetable it was 16 mins early!

As you say Techniquest, the same service on 28th May is also booked to go via Soho/Perry Bar.

So will it, or won't it - another last min change?

The 0638 SO dep from Wolverhampton to Walsall is a "Parliamentary" service. It is run to prevent a closure notice being applied. Which begs the question - what is a withdrawn service?

a) No service calls at X Y and Z stations?
b) The route between X Y Z stations is no longer possible?
c) A + B

Because if this train does not take the route it did today – as I see it the service is withdrawn.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Walsall has an excellent through service to Wolverhampton - every half hour via Aston and Birmingham (journey time 64m).
Three of them even continue to Liverpool. Who could ask for more?...
Maybe things will change when electric trains run through to Rugeley.
The previous direct service had more of a purpose when it ran through to Telford.
I know of people who valued a direct Telford-Walsall connection.
 

SS4

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Walsall has an excellent through service to Wolverhampton - every half hour via Aston and Birmingham (journey time 64m).
Three of them even continue to Liverpool. Who could ask for more?...

The journey time is the issue with rail - the bus takes 35-40 minutes and this includes any necessary walking from rail station to bus stop.
 

adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
I can remember the Wolverhampton - Walsall via Birmingham NS being operated by Class 310s in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

With the reopening of the line from Walsall - Hednesford in 1989, I think a few years after, the WVH - WSL local service was split to run BHM - WSL so as to provide a near 15 minute frequency. The all stations went via Grand Junction Railway, while the limited stop calling Tame Bridge Parkway and Bescot were routed via Soho Junction, with one train every 60 minutes continuing to Hednesford.

The WVH - BHM section was combined with the BHM - Coventry local all stations service, which by then I believe was operated by Class 323s.

I believe that the BHM - COV section was split maybe at the December 2008 timetable change (which saw VTWC increase the frequency London Euston - BHM from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes, thus causing a mess with the local all stations services, as they run every 30 minutes), with the BHM - WSL via Grand junction Railway being combined with the local all stations service to WVH.
 

kieron

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It would be interesting to know how the DfT understand the term "direct" (as in "direct service ... between Wolverhampton and Walsall") as used in the Direct Award SLA. There's no maximum time for this service, so they could send it anywhere if that doesn't restrict the route they can use.

I don't know if being a "parliamentary" service implies a duty on any private company to run trains on the nationalised rails.
 

wulfruna

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Walsall has an excellent through service to Wolverhampton - every half hour via Aston and Birmingham (journey time 64m).
Three of them even continue to Liverpool. Who could ask for more?...

Wolverhampton and Walsall are two towns whose centres are 6.5 miles apart.

Journey times from centre to centre.

  • 20-30 mins* by car
  • 37-45 mins* by bus (529)
  • 64 mins by rail (via New Street - was 55mins in 2008)
* depending how bad traffic is at M6/J10

So which mode would you choose to travel between Wolverhampton and Walsall?

Would these services entice you to use public transport?

But DIRECT with stops at Willenhall and Darlaston (when built) the journey would be only 15mins - and quicker than the car - and avoids traffic jams around M6/J10!

But sadly the journey time is only part of the problem. The other major problem and a reason so overlooked to why so few used this service - is the excessive rail ticket prices. Why? Because everything is seen from a Birmingham perspective. Just like the current local service.

The current rail service is not for Wolverhampton and Walsall, it is two separate lines from these two towns, that serve Birmingham - that have been bolted together to prevent trains waiting at New Street for the return, and occupying platform space.

The local service should be a circular service. Wolverhampton -> Stour Valley -> New Street -> Grand Junction -> Walsall -> Darlaston -> Willenhall -> Wolverhampton. In both directions, every 30 mins. With good connections at Walsall for Rugeley. Add to that other possibilities to Stourbridge, and Lichfield.

AND Centro has got to change it's rail ticket options.

Issue a (n)TRAIN ZONE 4-5 TICKET as well as issue (n)TRAIN line-by-line (n)BUS bolt ons, these to enable bus users to add rail lines to their transport portfolio, at a price that is right.

Why force rail passengers to pay for a rail ticket that covers 103 route miles of railway line, when all you want is one to cover 6.6miles? Again, all down to Birmingham centric ticketing and attitudes - that is discouraging people from using public transport in the West Midlands County.
 
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Rich McLean

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XC also sign it as a diversionary route, and is used regularly when the Stour Valley route is blocked
 

wulfruna

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I guess this is the train found this 2J02 0638 Saturday morning.
http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/P64183/2016/05/28/advanced

And I would not be surprised if by Thursday the route booked for 2J02 on 28 May will also be changed. As it was for 21 May.
http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/P64183/2016/05/21/advanced

On 21 May, 2J02 departed 2 min late, but arrived in Walsall 16 mins early. How many passenger trains arrive that early at their destinations? A London Midland record...?

So why didn't this service travel via Soho/Perry Barr? Because it would mean there would have been no passenger service for over a week between Wolverhampton and Walsall via Darlaston and Pleck junctions - for the first time since 1998?

This is the reason why 2J02 runs in the first place - to ensure this route has a passenger service. Without it - there are none. (ATW, VT & XC don't run a service via Walsall ;) ) And if none - should there not be a closure notice applied for this route? Hence the change of route on 21 May? I don't know... but perhaps you do?
 
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Tetchytyke

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There doesn't have to be a passenger service from Wolverhampton to Walsall, but there does have to be a regular passenger service along all lines that it travels over. DafT got into this trouble a few years ago when they binned the XC services to Brighton, they forgot about two short stretches of line in south London and ended up having to run a replacement coach service once a week. I can't help but wonder if London Midland have dropped a similar clanger this time.
 

4141

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As all us good Wulfrunians know, the reason there was no demand for the service is simply because no one in Wolverhampton wants to go to Walsall. ;)

And even if you did, you'd obviously pop into the Western for a swifty before the trip to provide some Dutch courage, and then realise the pub is really quite cosy, and the Bathams is slipping down nicely, and oh look, it's closing time, must go home.
I have to say, this post honestly did make me laugh out loud!
 

Heartland

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Whilst, the Wolverhampton to Walsall was introduced in 1998, can somebody remind me of the 1980's stock movements, where there was one from Birmingham EMU in the early morning after 5 and another that I believe went to Wolverhampton and Pleck. Both ended up at Buffers beside the temporary booking office at platform level and one worked back to Birmingham as the first train and the other formed the train via Stechford- remember that link?
 
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