Late Sunday start Peterborough to Leicester

evergreenadam

Member
Joined
23 Nov 2013
Messages
226
The first train westbound from Peterborough on Sundays is as 1154 and even later for stations further west.

Anyone know why there is no earlier train? Is it to do with the location of the Cross Country depot or signalling box opening hours?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
12,139
Location
Airedale
The first train westbound from Peterborough on Sundays is as 1154 and even later for stations further west.

Anyone know why there is no earlier train? Is it to do with the location of the Cross Country depot or signalling box opening hours?
Both, in that XC depots are Leicester and Cambridge, and the line has several signalboxes, but another factor may be regular overnight closure for engineering works. Someone in the know might confirm or otherwise.
 

TheBigD

Established Member
Joined
19 Nov 2008
Messages
1,160
Signalboxes between Peterborough and Leicester don't open until 12 noon on a Sunday. (Manton to Frisby inclusive sometimes open earlier for MML diversions but Ketton and Uffington do not.)
Signalbox open hours are (were?) publicly available on the Network Rail website.

Traincrew depot for the first 6 westbound departures from Peterborough are all Cambridge crews. Birmingham crews work the other services. Leicester crews do not sign east of Syston.
 

70014IronDuke

Established Member
Joined
13 Jun 2015
Messages
2,966
I know it's a Sunday, but whatever the reasons (or excuses), to have the first train out of a city like Peterborough westwards to Leicester, Nuneaton and Birmingham (the country's second city) at noon is hardly likely to encourage people out of their cars, is it?

And what are car-less people in Stamford, Oakham and Melton supposed to do?

I can't imagine such a scenario like this in most of continental Europe with rail services to such important cities being so poor.
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
15,199
Thanks - the ways of the railway are sometimes mysterious :)

I would presume it is more "something that Regional Railways came up with in about 1993 turns out to be very efficient without really a better way of doing it".
 

TheBigD

Established Member
Joined
19 Nov 2008
Messages
1,160
I would presume it is more "something that Regional Railways came up with in about 1993 turns out to be very efficient without really a better way of doing it".

Even as far back as the early 1980s there were never any Sunday morning trains. In fact the Sunday start up back in loco hauled days was over and hour later. (1220 Birmingham-Norwich loco and stock, cut back to a dmu starting at Leicester around 1986 from memory.)

As posted on other threads the service between Leicester and Peterborough has not changed substantially for 30+ years.
 

Eloise

Member
Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
177
Location
Midlands
Signalboxes between Peterborough and Leicester don't open until 12 noon on a Sunday. (Manton to Frisby inclusive sometimes open earlier for MML diversions but Ketton and Uffington do not.)
Signalbox open hours are (were?) publicly available on the Network Rail website.

Traincrew depot for the first 6 westbound departures from Peterborough are all Cambridge crews. Birmingham crews work the other services. Leicester crews do not sign east of Syston.
Whilst out of date in places signal box opening hours are publicly available here https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Compendium-of-Signal-Box-Opening-Times.pdf
 

High Dyke

Established Member
Joined
1 Jan 2013
Messages
3,282
Location
Yellabelly Country
I know it's a Sunday, but whatever the reasons (or excuses), to have the first train out of a city like Peterborough westwards to Leicester, Nuneaton and Birmingham (the country's second city) at noon is hardly likely to encourage people out of their cars, is it?

And what are car-less people in Stamford, Oakham and Melton supposed to do?

I can't imagine such a scenario like this in most of continental Europe with rail services to such important cities being so poor.
Whilst the boxes between Newark and Nottingham were open, they didn't open until about 15:30 onwards on Sundays all year round. Thus anyone wishing to travel between Nottingham and Newark/Lincoln had to go the long way round via Grantham and the ECML. However, even there those signal boxes didn't open until 12:00 on the Winter timetable. There have been some improvements to provide an earlier service, but more could be done.
 

Blurb

Member
Joined
21 Jun 2021
Messages
13
Location
Stamford
There are also a number of manually operated level crossings on the route that need to be staffed - these are of a format where a Network Rail person sits in a hut waiting for a car/cyclist/walker to show up and then tries to deter them by saying they’ll need to wait ages. Quite a number of staff needed to run this route.
 

74A

Member
Joined
27 Aug 2015
Messages
472
I can't imagine such a scenario like this in most of continental Europe with rail services to such important cities being so poor
I can't imagine any continental city in Western Europe still relying on mechanical signalling.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,714
So, what's the reason for the reduced hours on Sunday between Peterborough and Leicester? Is it so that the various signal boxes can be worked on a single shift?
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
11,875
Also bear in mind the route opening hours vs box opening hours, very different things and often cause TOC/FOC vs NR arguments.
 

Wilts Wanderer

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2016
Messages
1,708
Also bear in mind the route opening hours vs box opening hours, very different things and often cause TOC/FOC vs NR arguments.

It starts getting really exciting when one operator is paying for an extension to opening hours, and a second operator starts taking advantage of it for free :lol:
 

High Dyke

Established Member
Joined
1 Jan 2013
Messages
3,282
Location
Yellabelly Country
There are also a number of manually operated level crossings on the route that need to be staffed - these are of a format where a Network Rail person sits in a hut waiting for a car/cyclist/walker to show up and then tries to deter them by saying they’ll need to wait ages. Quite a number of staff needed to run this route.
:D
 

Wilts Wanderer

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2016
Messages
1,708
Could you briefly expand upon that?

To my understanding

Route opening hours = contractually when an operator is permitted to run trains.

Signal box opening hours = once the planned timetable is known, the hours that NR actually plan to staff the signal boxes to run the service. In some case signal boxes can also be switched out during periods of light traffic (some are permanently switched out.)
 

TheBigD

Established Member
Joined
19 Nov 2008
Messages
1,160
To my understanding

Route opening hours = contractually when an operator is permitted to run trains.

Signal box opening hours = once the planned timetable is known, the hours that NR actually plan to staff the signal boxes to run the service. In some case signal boxes can also be switched out during periods of light traffic (some are permanently switched out.)

With regard to the Leicester-Peterborough route, unless it has changed, Melton Mowbray box is switched out on a Sunday. Makes the block section Frisby to Whissendine, about 15 minutes for a train that stops at Melton.

So, what's the reason for the reduced hours on Sunday between Peterborough and Leicester? Is it so that the various signal boxes can be worked on a single shift?
Yeah, single shift on a Sunday, 1200-2200.
Reopens approx 0530 Monday, then 24 hour through to Saturday 2200.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
11,875
Could you briefly expand upon that?

To my understanding

Route opening hours = contractually when an operator is permitted to run trains.

Signal box opening hours = once the planned timetable is known, the hours that NR actually plan to staff the signal boxes to run the service. In some case signal boxes can also be switched out during periods of light traffic (some are permanently switched out.)
Nail on head. Lots of places where this has caused problems in the past, Alrewas was always one along with the manned crossings.
 

londonteacher

Member
Joined
10 Aug 2018
Messages
497
Yeah, single shift on a Sunday, 1200-2200.
Reopens approx 0530 Monday, then 24 hour through to Saturday 2200.
Surely the simple solution here would be to open the signal box 24 hours? Or, close the signal box and relocate signalling to a central control area?
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
3,196
Location
UK
Surely the simple solution here would be to open the signal box 24 hours? Or, close the signal box and relocate signalling to a central control area?
Indeed. But at the moment, the situation suits a lot of parties.

Network Rail gets a nice long possession every week to do engineering works. And they save on the cost of overtime (or additional signallers) to cover Sunday morning.

CrossCountry need fewer Sunday turns on the route, meaning less overtime cost for the DfT.

Of course it's very inconvenient for passengers, but since when have they mattered? :lol:
 

Wilts Wanderer

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2016
Messages
1,708
Nail on head. Lots of places where this has caused problems in the past, Alrewas was always one along with the manned crossings.

Is it also fair to say that where a route has established shorter box opening hours than the full route opening hours, this doesn’t mean that operators can just propose new services that require extra/longer signaller shifts without agreeing a funding solution? It’s more about changes to the status quo than anything else - NR isn’t automatically funded to open all boxes for the full route opening hours.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
12,139
Location
Airedale
Indeed. But at the moment, the situation suits a lot of parties.

Network Rail gets a nice long possession every week to do engineering works. And they save on the cost of overtime (or additional signallers) to cover Sunday morning.

CrossCountry need fewer Sunday turns on the route, meaning less overtime cost for the DfT.

Of course it's very inconvenient for passengers, but since when have they mattered? :lol:
And - shock, horror - the signallers get to have an extra Sunday off in exchange for a long shift (OK, I know shift patterns have changed, but in the historic 3-shift pattern you needed a gap to allow the shifts to rotate - or a relief signaller for every box - so it was simple for management and staff).

That said, a 1000-2200 signaller shift, plus getting Leicester crews to learn the road, would allow an earlier start - at considerable expense which might be justified.
 

TheBigD

Established Member
Joined
19 Nov 2008
Messages
1,160
And - shock, horror - the signallers get to have an extra Sunday off in exchange for a long shift (OK, I know shift patterns have changed, but in the historic 3-shift pattern you needed a gap to allow the shifts to rotate - or a relief signaller for every box - so it was simple for management and staff).

That said, a 1000-2200 signaller shift, plus getting Leicester crews to learn the road, would allow an earlier start - at considerable expense which might be justified.

Getting Leicester crew trained over the route won't really change things. Both the Leicester-Birmingham and Peterborough-Ely routes are already open 24/7 365 days a year, with the crews at both ends already signing the route. It would just mean they replace the Birmingham crews who already sign the route.

For earlier Sunday services to operate it needs the signalboxes open earlier and for someone to pay for it.

Speaking to a friend who has travelled regularly along the route since the late 1970s, he informs me that one summer period there was an improved Sunday service starting around 0930 for one timetable period only. He seems to think around 1990 but not too sure. I don't remeber there being one but I'm probably wrong.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
11,875
Is it also fair to say that where a route has established shorter box opening hours than the full route opening hours, this doesn’t mean that operators can just propose new services that require extra/longer signaller shifts without agreeing a funding solution? It’s more about changes to the status quo than anything else - NR isn’t automatically funded to open all boxes for the full route opening hours.
It causes lots of problems as a while back operators claimed it was Network Change. It is similar to the sectional appendix, there is a view that if its in there then NR are funded to keep it all operable and if someone wants to run a train over it then they can. We all know that isn't the case.
 

Eloise

Member
Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
177
Location
Midlands
If the Route is open but the boxes are closed and an operator chooses to bid services then the boxes must be opened. Must as in negotiations start to take place. Sometimes you reach an agreement but I know of one recently where the box hours were extended as the Route was open and operator wouldn’t budge really, probably more correctly couldn’t budge easily.

My understanding now is to extend the Route Opening Hours can just be done i.e. go from 06:00 - 22:00 being open to 24 hours. If you want to reduce them i.e. going from 05:00 - 22:00 to 06:00 - 22:00 then this is Network Change and goes out for consultation.

If the Route is open from 08:00 - 22:00 and the operator wants to run a service at 07:00 I have known this to be funded by the operator and the Route and boxes opened earlier. Where this gets messy is when Operator A funds said opening and then Operator B wants to run a service at say 07:45. Operator A will query why they should fund opening for B.

All good fun.
 

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
3,154
Location
London
If the Route is open but the boxes are closed and an operator chooses to bid services then the boxes must be opened. Must as in negotiations start to take place. Sometimes you reach an agreement but I know of one recently where the box hours were extended as the Route was open and operator wouldn’t budge really, probably more correctly couldn’t budge easily.

My understanding now is to extend the Route Opening Hours can just be done i.e. go from 06:00 - 22:00 being open to 24 hours. If you want to reduce them i.e. going from 05:00 - 22:00 to 06:00 - 22:00 then this is Network Change and goes out for consultation.

If the Route is open from 08:00 - 22:00 and the operator wants to run a service at 07:00 I have known this to be funded by the operator and the Route and boxes opened earlier. Where this gets messy is when Operator A funds said opening and then Operator B wants to run a service at say 07:45. Operator A will query why they should fund opening for B.

All good fun.

I would hope this is the sort of thing that GBR can put an end to or, at least, make more efficient. I suppose then it would be internal departments arguing but might be better!
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,382
Location
London
I know it's a Sunday, but whatever the reasons (or excuses), to have the first train out of a city like Peterborough westwards to Leicester, Nuneaton and Birmingham (the country's second city) at noon is hardly likely to encourage people out of their cars, is it?

And what are car-less people in Stamford, Oakham and Melton supposed to do?

I can't imagine such a scenario like this in most of continental Europe with rail services to such important cities being so poor.

I think that many "cross-country" journeys in France (even if linking major settlements) are few and far between. My experience is not recent, but I remember very sparse services once you got away from very major routes, with no trains for hours on end; and not just on Sundays.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,714
If the Route is open from 08:00 - 22:00 and the operator wants to run a service at 07:00 I have known this to be funded by the operator and the Route and boxes opened earlier. Where this gets messy is when Operator A funds said opening and then Operator B wants to run a service at say 07:45. Operator A will query why they should fund opening for B.
How many operators are there between Peterborough and Leicester?

Operator A will be CrossCountry presumably.

Who else is there?
 

Top