Line speeds around Shrewsbury

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squizzler

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I can sympathise as to why industry professionals might be keen to dismiss an increased speed to humiliate the motorists on Watling Street as mere willy waving, however I think there is merit to discussing it.

The choices we make are emotional as much as they are on technical merits (something I think the - very logically minded - planners and engineers might forget; their fellow humans are not terribly rational).

In BR days there used to be a formula that every mph in average speed would deliver 1% more revenue. I don't know how much the proposed 90mph will increase average speed on the route. But for this to be performed for significant stretches in a shop window opening onto a neighbouring highway might have a multiplier effect - the reduced journey times are reflected not merely in numbers in a timetable but visible obliteration of the highway alternative.
 
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tomuk

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I can sympathise as to why industry professionals might be keen to dismiss an increased speed to humiliate the motorists on Watling Street as mere willy waving, however I think there is merit to discussing it.

The choices we make are emotional as much as they are on technical merits (something I think the - very logically minded - planners and engineers might forget; their fellow humans are not terribly rational).

In BR days there used to be a formula that every mph in average speed would deliver 1% more revenue. I don't know how much the proposed 90mph will increase average speed on the route. But for this to be performed for significant stretches in a shop window opening onto a neighbouring highway might have a multiplier effect - the reduced journey times are reflected not merely in numbers in a timetable but visible obliteration of the highway alternative.
NR/Highways England National Highways would have to get the chainsaws out as the shop window as you put has considerably reduced since the road opened 30 years ago.
 

Bald Rick

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I can sympathise as to why industry professionals might be keen to dismiss an increased speed to humiliate the motorists on Watling Street as mere willy waving, however I think there is merit to discussing it.

The choices we make are emotional as much as they are on technical merits (something I think the - very logically minded - planners and engineers might forget; their fellow humans are not terribly rational).

In BR days there used to be a formula that every mph in average speed would deliver 1% more revenue. I don't know how much the proposed 90mph will increase average speed on the route. But for this to be performed for significant stretches in a shop window opening onto a neighbouring highway might have a multiplier effect - the reduced journey times are reflected not merely in numbers in a timetable but visible obliteration of the highway alternative.

The formula isn’t 1mph extra = 1% Revenue, it’s much more nuanced than that and covered in detailed models.

However, if it was, then assuming that 90mph replaces the 70mph on the stretch from Wolves to Shrewsbury, with the existing stopping pattern, it would improve the average speed of the Birmingham - Shrewsbury TfW services from 44mph to 48mph. It would improve the average speed of Birmingham to Aberystwyth by 1mph. Assuming pre Covid revenue on the line, we’d be talking extra income of a couple of hundred thousand pounds pa at most. I doubt that would pay for the extra diesel and brake pad wear.
 

Starmill

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The formula isn’t 1mph extra = 1% Revenue, it’s much more nuanced than that and covered in detailed models.

However, if it was, then assuming that 90mph replaces the 70mph on the stretch from Wolves to Shrewsbury, with the existing stopping pattern, it would improve the average speed of the Birmingham - Shrewsbury TfW services from 44mph to 48mph. It would improve the average speed of Birmingham to Aberystwyth by 1mph. Assuming pre Covid revenue on the line, we’d be talking extra income of a couple of hundred thousand pounds pa at most. I doubt that would pay for the extra diesel and brake pad wear.
It's scary how many routes you think would probably have a positive financial case if we just kept everything the same but forced the trains to run at slightly lower maximum speed. We're probably lucky nobody is looking much too closely.

Curiously, and on a related note, are the small handful of routes where battery conversion will have a positive financial case...
 

Bald Rick

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It's scary how many routes you think would probably have a positive financial case if we just kept everything the same but forced the trains to run at slightly lower maximum speed. We're probably lucky nobody is looking much too closely.

I’m sure someone is looking. There is a decent positive financial case for many lines to run at a maximum speed of 0mph, but fortunately we’re not in that game (yet).
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I appreciate making a case today for new money to be spent on Wolves-Shrewsbury is a tough ask in the present climate.
My rather cynical view is that a 90mph upgrade was planned c2005 together with the resignalling, but was deleted (by the SRA?) because of cost overruns on WCRM.
A bit like the DfT's "electric spine" was canned because of GW electrification overrun.
The railway has a history of over-spending on major projects, with other deserving cases being cancelled as a result.
Abolishing medium-term franchises can also be seen as another way of not committing to local upgrades - at least until GBR gets to grips with its regional plans.
End of rant...
 

Bald Rick

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My rather cynical view is that a 90mph upgrade was planned c2005 together with the resignalling, but was deleted (by the SRA?) because of cost overruns on WCRM.

I have never seen any evidence that the Wolves - Shrewsbury upgrade was ‘deleted’ or cancelled by anyone, not that WCRM was the trigger. AIUI it had a rubbish business case and was therefore not proceeded with.

A bit like the DfT's "electric spine" was canned because of GW electrification overrun.

this isn’t correct either. The electric spine was never even started! It was just an idea, rushed out in the HLOS because it looked good. It hadn‘t been looked at in any detail, and was a complete surprise to almost everyine…

 
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city dweller

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Six references to Midlands Connect in the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands:

There was a mention of the route in the UK Connectivity Review.

The Cambrian Main Line running from Aberystwyth through to Shrewsbury and then onward to Birmingham is important for connectivity for communities in Mid Wales accessing England. The Review supports further frequency and capacity improvements to improve connectivity between Mid Wales and the Midlands.
 

BrianW

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There was a mention of the route in the UK Connectivity Review.
Indeed- one mention of Shrewsbury- p53-
The Cambrian Main Line running from Aberystwyth through to Shrewsbury and then onward to Birmingham is important for connectivity for communities in Mid Wales accessing England.
The Review supports further frequency and capacity improvements to improve connectivity between Mid Wales and the Midlands.
 

Deafdoggie

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I really don't think motorists see a train speeding past and think "i'll go by train it's faster" I give you the West Coast Main Line and M1 at Watford Gap. It's nicer to be the faster one, but in reality it doesn't affect people choice.
 

Starmill

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I really don't think motorists see a train speeding past and think "i'll go by train it's faster" I give you the West Coast Main Line and M1 at Watford Gap. It's nicer to be the faster one, but in reality it doesn't affect people choice.
Indeed not. There may be a bit of a "sleek factor" at Watford Gap which improves the appearance of the industry as a whole, but only in the same way deft marketing or pictures of particularly plush comfortable interiors would do. I can't see it being relevant at all between Shrewsbury and Telford Central.
 

the sniper

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I really don't think motorists see a train speeding past and think "i'll go by train it's faster" I give you the West Coast Main Line and M1 at Watford Gap. It's nicer to be the faster one, but in reality it doesn't affect people choice.

On the section of the A5 concerned I doubt the vast majority of Drivers are even aware the railway is adjacent...

This is the view of the railway for much of the year, for anyone unaware: https://www.google.com/maps/@52.702...4!1sfu4fE6WLtREyn-fg6txQNw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
 

Paula hewson

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The onus shouldn't be entirely on Network Rail, it should be more widely supported. Trouble is, the attitude of many on these pages seems to be to find reasons why things can't be done, rather than helping to find ways forward and encourage greater suppor

The onus shouldn't be entirely on Network Rail, it should be more widely supported. Trouble is, the attitude of many on these pages seems to be to find reasons why things can't be done, rather than helping to find ways forward and encourage greater support for rail advancement.
I did the commute to Brum 10 yrs ago. Gave up after 3 mths and drove. Cancellations and slow speeds. But at least I had a choice of 72 places to get a coffee from at New Street whilst waiting for train!!
 

Llanigraham

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On the section of the A5 concerned I doubt the vast majority of Drivers are even aware the railway is adjacent...

This is the view of the railway for much of the year, for anyone unaware: https://www.google.com/maps/@52.702...4!1sfu4fE6WLtREyn-fg6txQNw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Quite. To be honest the only time you really notice the railway from the A5 is at night going towards Shrewsbury, when one of the signals nearer there shines through/over the trees. The rest of the time it is well hidden.

I was chatting to a Telford living friend yesterday who commutes to Shrewsbury and his comment was they could make it as fast as they want, but until they can guarantee a decent bus service between his house and the station, and the same the other end he will be using his car, and that is one thing I think the OP has ignored. Much of the housing areas of Telford are a long way from the station, as are a lot of the industrial areas, and Shrewsbury is very similar.
 

Bevan Price

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Unless things have changed recently (since Covid) - would it be feasible to improve the 15 mph crawl approach into Wolverhampton from the north ?
 

Pigeon

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I really don't think motorists see a train speeding past and think "i'll go by train it's faster"

Maybe or maybe not, but I am sure they do see trains trundling past and think there's no point considering using the train instead when it's obviously slower. Trains in any case suffer from reasons for considering them a poor alternative such as extreme cost, lack of privacy, and stations not being where you want to go; adding to that lot public demonstrations that they're not even quicker over the fast bits of the journey is a distinctly undesirable extra burden.
 

zwk500

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Maybe or maybe not, but I am sure they do see trains trundling past and think there's no point considering using the train instead when it's obviously slower. Trains in any case suffer from reasons for considering them a poor alternative such as extreme cost, lack of privacy, and stations not being where you want to go; adding to that lot public demonstrations that they're not even quicker over the fast bits of the journey is a distinctly undesirable extra burden.
How often do you actually see a train on the railway alongside the motorway? And that's assuming the driver has diverted their attention away from the road (where it should be) or something within their car (where it probably is). Can somebody provide evidence as to whether or not the 'shop window' exists one way or the other?
 

Llanigraham

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How often do you actually see a train on the railway alongside the motorway? And that's assuming the driver has diverted their attention away from the road (where it should be) or something within their car (where it probably is). Can somebody provide evidence as to whether or not the 'shop window' exists one way or the other?

I drive that route fairly regularly taking patients to Telford Hospital and there are very few places along the parallel A5 where you can see the trains. The "best" is probably at a small ex-maintenance entry point. As shown in an earlier post most of the route is now well hidden behind scrub and trees. (see post #103)
You can actually "drive" the route on Google Streetview to see what I mean, using that link.
 

Shrop

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Quite. To be honest the only time you really notice the railway from the A5 is at night going towards Shrewsbury, when one of the signals nearer there shines through/over the trees. The rest of the time it is well hidden.
Perhaps hiding the shame of the slow railway is a good way of disguising the embarrassment of the slow trains
I was chatting to a Telford living friend yesterday who commutes to Shrewsbury and his comment was they could make it as fast as they want, but until they can guarantee a decent bus service between his house and the station, and the same the other end he will be using his car, and that is one thing I think the OP has ignored. Much of the housing areas of Telford are a long way from the station, as are a lot of the industrial areas, and Shrewsbury is very similar.
Hmm, if we follow the negativity of many of the posts in this thread, it might be a good idea to stop serving Telford altogether since much of the housing is a long way from the station. Just think of the maintenance saving too!

On the section of the A5 concerned I doubt the vast majority of Drivers are even aware the railway is adjacent...

This is the view of the railway for much of the year, for anyone unaware: https://www.google.com/maps/@52.702...4!1sfu4fE6WLtREyn-fg6txQNw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
When the A5 was opened there were hardly any trees and there might have been some point in showing off the 90mph trains that used to run along there. However, despite most trains back then only having 70mph capability while a handful of loco hauled services actually ran at 90mph, many people seem hell bent on justifying running all of the present 90mph capable trains at 70mph instead. Great logic, but hey ho, yes, probably best to have these trundling trains hidden, especially since most people apparently live too far away from stations to find trains any use anyway
 
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zwk500

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Hmm, if we follow the negativity of many of the posts in this thread, it might be a good idea to stop serving Telford altogether since much of the housing is a long way from the station. Just think of the maintenance saving too!
Dropping Telford stops would save more time than raising the line speed to 90mph ;)
Great logic, but hey ho, yes, probably best to have these trundling trains hidden, especially since most people apparently live too far away from stations to find trains any use anyway
This is indeed a very big problem for the railway. There's lots of potential passengers (revenue) being missed out on because of towns developing away from stations. Revenue that would justify programmes such as speed enhancements, better service frequencies or longer trains.
 

Shrop

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Dropping Telford stops would save more time than raising the line speed to 90mph ;)
Ha ha, and if you go by some of the comments, dropping Shrewsbury would save even more! After all, we wouldn't want "entitled" Shrewsbury to benefit at Telford's expense, and anyway, Shrewsbury station doesn't even have a car park except for one some distance away that's accessed via a dark and dingy route and then up a steep bank!
This is indeed a very big problem for the railway. There's lots of potential passengers (revenue) being missed out on because of towns developing away from stations. Revenue that would justify programmes such as speed enhancements, better service frequencies or longer trains.
More seriously, yes there would be a lot of merit in more transport integration, providing bus feeder services etc. However, once again if we follow the way railways have developed, that wouldn't work either. Before we know it, buses which we might think would wait for trains so that they could transport passengers nearer to their homes, could find themselves privatised and with their own schedules to keep, so they could and up departing just as the passengers were approaching. Maybe even standing there with locked doors for a minute with passengers banging on them before departing without them too! Oh it's hard not to be cynical :lol:
 

zwk500

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Ha ha, and if you go by some of the comments, dropping Shrewsbury would save even more! After all, we wouldn't want "entitled" Shrewsbury to benefit at Telford's expense, and anyway, Shrewsbury station doesn't even have a car park except for one some distance away that's accessed via a dark and dingy route and then up a steep bank!
To be fair, I've made no comment about 'entitlement' of either settlement. The bigger point on this is that you gain more by getting rid of slow pinch points than you do raising the fast bits a little bit faster. Law of diminishing returns and all that.
More seriously, yes there would be a lot of merit in more transport integration, providing bus feeder services etc. However, once again if we follow the way railways have developed, that wouldn't work either. Before we know it, buses which we might think would wait for trains so that they could transport passengers nearer to their homes, could find themselves privatised and with their own schedules to keep, so they could and up departing just as the passengers were approaching. Maybe even standing there with locked doors for a minute with passengers banging on them before departing without them too! Oh it's hard not to be cynical :lol:
First/last mile is about more than just buses. Foot, Cycle and even e-scooter are all popular options where the opportunities are provided. There's a number of lines where cutting 5 minutes off the journey to the station would be a much quicker win than cutting 5 minutes between stations. Fundamentally, the rail journey is only ever the 2nd leg of 3 at best, and having a mindset of the whole journey is something the rail industry doesn't do very well at the moment.
 

Llanigraham

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Perhaps Shrops should be complaining to the Trunk Road Agency about the trees blocking his view of the railway line as I don't think all the vegetation is on railway property.
 

Shrop

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Perhaps Shrops should be complaining to the Trunk Road Agency about the trees blocking his view of the railway line as I don't think all the vegetation is on railway property.
You're probably right that it's Highway land, but when I'm driving on that section I'm not worried about seeing slow trains. If the trains had been faster then yes, for sure I'd like to see them. If there's one thing I really enjoy it's driving the M1 near Watford Gap services seeing the Pendolinos, and even more so the M20 in Kent with the Eurostar. The ultimate of course is the A1 between Lille and Paris which runs close to the Thalys and Eurostars for many miles. I've spoken to a great many drivers who tell me they see these fast trains and are strongly incentivised to use them rather than drive.
 

Llanigraham

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You're probably right that it's Highway land, but when I'm driving on that section I'm not worried about seeing slow trains. If the trains had been faster then yes, for sure I'd like to see them. If there's one thing I really enjoy it's driving the M1 near Watford Gap services seeing the Pendolinos, and even more so the M20 in Kent with the Eurostar. The ultimate of course is the A1 between Lille and Paris which runs close to the Thalys and Eurostars for many miles. I've spoken to a great many drivers who tell me they see these fast trains and are strongly incentivised to use them rather than drive.

Sorry but if you aren't worried about seeing them as you drive along the A5, why did you mention it in the first place?
Frankly, the few people I have spoken to who do drive that piece of road couldn't actually care less what the trains are doing.
 

Deafdoggie

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I've spoken to a great many drivers who tell me they see these fast trains and are strongly incentivised to use them rather than drive.
But yet they still drive. It's not the speed of the train next to the road that matters, but the end to end journey time, and the times of the trains. And even more importantly the cost. If it went Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury in half the time it does now, but cost £500 one way, it wouldn't matter, no-one would be on it!
 

Shrop

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But yet they still drive. It's not the speed of the train next to the road that matters, but the end to end journey time, and the times of the trains. And even more importantly the cost. If it went Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury in half the time it does now, but cost £500 one way, it wouldn't matter, no-one would be on it!
Some drive, sometimes, but some now use the train. Fwiw, although I guess you know this already, a good few people sometimes drive and sometimes take the car, depending on all sorts of circumstances. As for your £500, that's an odd thing to say. Using my earlier example, I can book Lille to Paris next week, a journey which is the distance the same as Shrewsbury to well beyond Milton Keynes, taking just 62 minutes. You can't even get to Birmingham International in that time, and it's less than half the distance. Okay, it's easy to say this isn't comparable, but since you mention the cost, my Lille to Paris ticket would be a little less than £500, at just £26.

To be fair, I've made no comment about 'entitlement' of either settlement. The bigger point on this is that you gain more by getting rid of slow pinch points than you do raising the fast bits a little bit faster. Law of diminishing returns and all that.

First/last mile is about more than just buses. Foot, Cycle and even e-scooter are all popular options where the opportunities are provided. There's a number of lines where cutting 5 minutes off the journey to the station would be a much quicker win than cutting 5 minutes between stations. Fundamentally, the rail journey is only ever the 2nd leg of 3 at best, and having a mindset of the whole journey is something the rail industry doesn't do very well at the moment.
Absolutely right about whole journey times. That's not a good reason to not use train capabilities to the full, although it is a reason to focus on the rest of the journey. A good start would be to have better station facilities in the ticket office and buffet, so that people could turn up just a few minutes before their train leaves, knowing they don't need to leave 10 minutes available to queue for a ticket plus another 10 if they want a newspaper or a coffee. Yes of course you can also consider getting to and from the station, but that goes well beyond the remit of the rail authorities. It's something that some Local Authorities work with, but they're limited at best. Government encouragement with national advertising would be good, as many motorists have no idea about train services, they hear the odd horror story and then never try them, which is sad because most rail services really are better than a lot of drivers give them credit for.
 
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