Reston services from (roughly) December 2021?

driverd

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2021
Messages
138
Location
UK
Various reasons including pathing, to enhance reliability (the ECML north of Newcastle is quite poor in terms of performance), as well as because these are effectively glorified ECS services, so the sets need come on and off Heaton depot.

Just out of interest, what makes a line of route "poor in terms of performance"?

Surely the infrastructure isn't inherently problematic? Is it not more down to poor paths allocated to other services causing knock on when delays are incurred?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
3,227
Location
UK
Just out of interest, what makes a line of route "poor in terms of performance"?

Surely the infrastructure isn't inherently problematic? Is it not more down to poor paths allocated to other services causing knock on when delays are incurred?
The infrastructure isn't amazingly reliable (albeit still a lot better than the WCML over its two summits!). But the biggest issue is the mixture of freight and passenger services over what is effectively a 125 mile two track railway, with a handful of passing loops.

No matter what, you're going to get delays when things are timed as tightly as they have to be, to make it all fit.

And it's better to have that delay self contained (being absorbed by a turnaround at Newcastle) than to spread onto other parts of the network.
 

driverd

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2021
Messages
138
Location
UK
The infrastructure isn't amazingly reliable (albeit still a lot better than the WCML over its two summits!). But the biggest issue is the mixture of freight and passenger services over what is effectively a 125 mile two track railway, with a handful of passing loops.

No matter what, you're going to get delays when things are timed as tightly as they have to be, to make it all fit.

And it's better to have that delay self contained (being absorbed by a turnaround at Newcastle) than to spread onto other parts of the network.
Or, arguably, now being all one joined up railway network, we recognise the performance risk across business sectors and introduce more recovery time at strategic locations to enable the train plan to be delivered.

...should I come back to reality now?
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
3,227
Location
UK
Or, arguably, now being all one joined up railway network, we recognise the performance risk across business sectors and introduce more recovery time at strategic locations to enable the train plan to be delivered.

...should I come back to reality now?
Going to be a difficult sell to politicians, that one. "Err, yes, Mr Sunak. We are looking for funding to completely rewrite the national timetable to make journey times longer." :lol:

In an ideal world, yes you would probably have a bit more recovery time in schedules. 3 odd minutes' engineering allowance is always a bit 'ambitious' for such a long run. But, see above...!
 
Joined
18 Aug 2019
Messages
721
Location
London
The problem with recovery time is that your are extending journey times. And often the recovery time isn't required, and passengers end up having a longer journey for no reason whatsoever.

Its about finding the balance, which is difficult to find.

Another similar example to the ECML North, is the Southern BML between Balcombe Tunnel Junction and Brighton, which is often the worst performing section of the BML, after East Croydon. Its issue is again its a 2 track railway, has a mixture of stopping patterns, 10tph off peak, some nasty 4 and a half minute headways, and some very busy junctions at Keymer Junction and Preston Park, plus a small amount of freight to Newhaven and Ardingly and some trains having tight turnarounds at Brighton and Littlehampton leads to the poor performance.
 

driverd

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2021
Messages
138
Location
UK
Going to be a difficult sell to politicians, that one. "Err, yes, Mr Sunak. We are looking for funding to completely rewrite the national timetable to make journey times longer." :lol:

I mean, no one said the national timetable. I know we're both being slightly facetious here, but it's not hard really. The type of idea I'm getting at would be all northbound services terminating at Edinburgh (and where practical, those terminating beyond Edinburgh also) have circa 3 to 5 mins added at Newcastle to try and ensure a right time departure into the congested area. Southbounds leave Edinburgh 3-5 earlier with strategic recovery (additional minute or two at Berwick/Morpeth/Newcastle) inserted en-route to ensure southbound RT from Newcastle. It wouldn't mitigate major out of course situations, but would certainly be enough to stem the day to day type delays that can end up snowballing.

It's already been achieved with the superb (pre-covid)TPE north transpennine timetable. 15 minute clock face off both Leeds and Man Vic. Yes, this was introduced as part of a wider timetable shake up, but it's not to say something couldn't be achieved by tweaking, what is in reality, a relatively self contained corridor.

In an ideal world, yes you would probably have a bit more recovery time in schedules. 3 odd minutes' engineering allowance is always a bit 'ambitious' for such a long run. But, see above...!

But again, there are plenty of examples where it can be achieved. Just to write it off as "long distance journeys interact with so many other trains it's just too complex to be possible", is disingenuous and you know that as well as I do.
 

Wilts Wanderer

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2016
Messages
1,711
I mean, no one said the national timetable. I know we're both being slightly facetious here, but it's not hard really. The type of idea I'm getting at would be all northbound services terminating at Edinburgh (and where practical, those terminating beyond Edinburgh also) have circa 3 to 5 mins added at Newcastle to try and ensure a right time departure into the congested area. Southbounds leave Edinburgh 3-5 earlier with strategic recovery (additional minute or two at Berwick/Morpeth/Newcastle) inserted en-route to ensure southbound RT from Newcastle. It wouldn't mitigate major out of course situations, but would certainly be enough to stem the day to day type delays that can end up snowballing.

It's already been achieved with the superb (pre-covid)TPE north transpennine timetable. 15 minute clock face off both Leeds and Man Vic. Yes, this was introduced as part of a wider timetable shake up, but it's not to say something couldn't be achieved by tweaking, what is in reality, a relatively self contained corridor.



But again, there are plenty of examples where it can be achieved. Just to write it off as "long distance journeys interact with so many other trains it's just too complex to be possible", is disingenuous and you know that as well as I do.

So, just to continue with the reality check, what will the extra 3-5 mins platform time at Newcastle do to general performance there? That margin might be the difference between absorbing delay on another route or not. What happens to the local train that previously departed on headway behind it? Or the freight waiting in the loop for a path at Alnmouth.

Fixing a problem in that manner can very easily create several others.
 

driverd

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2021
Messages
138
Location
UK
So, just to continue with the reality check, what will the extra 3-5 mins platform time at Newcastle do to general performance there? That margin might be the difference between absorbing delay on another route or not. What happens to the local train that previously departed on headway behind it? Or the freight waiting in the loop for a path at Alnmouth.

Fixing a problem in that manner can very easily create several others.

The extra time allows the train that is now 2 down due to a wheel chair user, disruptive passengers or Saturday loadings, to hit the the high risk area RT.

You add the same timings in across the board, giving everything some extra time to enable being in the right place through a problematic corridor. Its not a super complex idea.
 

Wilts Wanderer

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2016
Messages
1,711
It’s never complex when described in generalisations. Timetabling becomes complex when it’s worked through in detail. Simply adding time into existing schedules is NEVER as simple as you’re making out, particularly long distance / intercity schedules.
 
Joined
18 Aug 2019
Messages
721
Location
London
It’s never complex when described in generalisations. Timetabling becomes complex when it’s worked through in detail. Simply adding time into existing schedules is NEVER as simple as you’re making out, particularly long distance / intercity schedules.
100% agreed. Adding recovery time into schedules isn't just something that can be easily done. It can also get complex with stuff like freight and network services trains who might not want that unessecary recovery time in their schedules as its just pointess from their point of view.
 

driverd

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2021
Messages
138
Location
UK
Indeed, but this is why we have employed professionals (such as myself - atleast for a not insignificant period of my career) to plan trains.

It's as simple or complex as people want to make it. Never fails to amuse me how people love to try and make things sound way more complex than they infact are.

As ever, it's a question of the will being there to make a change and to challenge the ruling paradigm and, in my experience, that's what's often lacking. We got to this point in the conversation because someone said its a congested bit of railway and running through trains to Edinburgh from Liverpool is too bigger performance risk to actually do it. To, therefore, do nothing about it may be enough to satisfy some but to lots of customers that's not good enough.

All I'm saying is if there is the will, it will be possible. I think we all accept the nature of the UK network means compromise across the board, all I'm trying to highlight (and yes, perhaps a little tongue in cheek) is that under GBR, it should (if the benefits of nationalisation, as sold to the public, are to be realised) be a little easier to reach that compromise.
 

Johnny Lewis

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2011
Messages
289
Location
York
I never understand why certain trains are regarded as performance risks, yet others which run far longer routes are not.
So... it's ok to run trains every hour from Plymouth to Edinburgh - journey time around 7-8 hours, but not Liverpool to Edinburgh - journey time 4 hours.

It's ok to run (pre-Covid) an hourly service from London Euston to either Edinburgh or Glasgow via Birmingham - journey time around 5.5 hours, but apparently not from London Euston to Liverpool via Birmingham - journey time around 3.5 hours.

It's ok to run an hourly service from Manchester to Carmarthen and in many cases onto Milford Haven - journey time around 4 to 5 hours, but not from Liverpool to Norwich - journey time around 5.5 hours.

Why do people throw their hands up in horror at the prospect of cutting some through trains because of all the apparent end-to-end demand, whereas other through services can be cut because they're a performance risk?

If the national timetable hadn't been swamped with too many "silly little trains" over the last 20 years, there'd be plenty of scope to run direct services between a lot more places, with fewer, but longer trains. You only have to see how much better train performance and punctuality levels have been during the last 12-18 months while there have been fewer trains on the network. Admittedly there have been fewer passengers too, but it's a known fact that all trains would run on time if it weren't for the passengers(!)

I fail to see why the newly introduced Newcastle to Edinburgh TPE services can't be extensions of Liverpool to Edinburgh services: or better still: run the hourly service that has never really had the chance to get properly established.

I fail to see why it doesn't make good sense to link up an hourly semi-fast London Euston to Birmingham LNWR service with a semi-fast Birmingham to Liverpool LNWR service, with a sensible and robust dwell time at Birmingham New Street. This re-establishes hourly connectivity between Rugby, Coventry and Birmingham International with Stafford, Crewe and Liverpool, which currently hasn't existed since Covid began.

The Norwich to Liverpool service is long-established and actually DOES carry a fair amount of cross-Nottingham traffic. This service needs to be recognised as an EMR InterCity route, not just a "local" route, with appropriate rolling stock, not 30 year old Class 158s.

Put an end to XC diesel services running north of Newcastle (or maybe just keep one or two), which would surely free up some Voyagers to allow more services to run with double sets, even if XC do return to their pre-Covid timetable.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts. I appreciate they're speculative, but they arise from my failure to understand just why some trains are considered to be such a performance risk, when other, far more poorly performing services, MUST be maintained, apparently at all cost.
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
3,227
Location
UK
I never understand why certain trains are regarded as performance risks, yet others which run far longer routes are not.
So... it's ok to run trains every hour from Plymouth to Edinburgh - journey time around 7-8 hours, but not Liverpool to Edinburgh - journey time 4 hours.

It's ok to run (pre-Covid) an hourly service from London Euston to either Edinburgh or Glasgow via Birmingham - journey time around 5.5 hours, but apparently not from London Euston to Liverpool via Birmingham - journey time around 3.5 hours.

It's ok to run an hourly service from Manchester to Carmarthen and in many cases onto Milford Haven - journey time around 4 to 5 hours, but not from Liverpool to Norwich - journey time around 5.5 hours.

Why do people throw their hands up in horror at the prospect of cutting some through trains because of all the apparent end-to-end demand, whereas other through services can be cut because they're a performance risk?
They are all performance risks. But they are accepted because they are existing services, and because there is good reason to continue running them as through trains.

The performance risk reduces if you have longer dwell times en-route, which many of the services you mention do have. That is part of the reason why they remain acceptable.

If the national timetable hadn't been swamped with too many "silly little trains" over the last 20 years, there'd be plenty of scope to run direct services between a lot more places, with fewer, but longer trains. You only have to see how much better train performance and punctuality levels have been during the last 12-18 months while there have been fewer trains on the network. Admittedly there have been fewer passengers too, but it's a known fact that all trains would run on time if it weren't for the passengers(!)
That approach is fine and good until it results in reasonably large markets - like Bristol or Oxford to Birmingham for example - being reduced to frequencies of 1tph or less. Which will result in a generalised journey time that's much less competitive with driving.

I fail to see why the newly introduced Newcastle to Edinburgh TPE services can't be extensions of Liverpool to Edinburgh services: or better still: run the hourly service that has never really had the chance to get properly established.
The paths of these new Newcastle-Edinburgh services are almost completely different from the pre-Covid Liverpool-Edinburgh service. As a result of the ECML recast, the latter service will only be able to run as far north as Newcastle, and only every second hour at that. In any case, it didn't have enough 'slack' to call at 5-7 intermediate stations as with this new service.

I fail to see why it doesn't make good sense to link up an hourly semi-fast London Euston to Birmingham LNWR service with a semi-fast Birmingham to Liverpool LNWR service, with a sensible and robust dwell time at Birmingham New Street. This re-establishes hourly connectivity between Rugby, Coventry and Birmingham International with Stafford, Crewe and Liverpool, which currently hasn't existed since Covid began.
It absolutely makes sense in terms of the direct connectivity it offers, but there is essentially no chance of it happening again. To give the required sort of en-route dwell (at least 15-20ish minutes I'd have said), the journey time simply won't be competitive. You'd be faster changing trains.

The Norwich to Liverpool service is long-established and actually DOES carry a fair amount of cross-Nottingham traffic. This service needs to be recognised as an EMR InterCity route, not just a "local" route, with appropriate rolling stock, not 30 year old Class 158s.
Agreed, but that is a separate issue.

Put an end to XC diesel services running north of Newcastle (or maybe just keep one or two), which would surely free up some Voyagers to allow more services to run with double sets, even if XC do return to their pre-Covid timetable.
That's certainly one option; I'd have thought that terminating all XC services at Plymouth would be another idea worth considering to save units. But ultimately these all result in losses of the very kinds of through trains we're discussing here!

Anyway, these are just my thoughts. I appreciate they're speculative, but they arise from my failure to understand just why some trains are considered to be such a performance risk, when other, far more poorly performing services, MUST be maintained, apparently at all cost.
A lot of it comes down to politics. People are always more afraid of losing what they have, than they value the potential of something new.
 

Killingworth

Established Member
Joined
30 May 2018
Messages
3,189
Location
Sheffield

The Norwich to Liverpool service is long-established and actually DOES carry a fair amount of cross-Nottingham traffic. This service needs to be recognised as an EMR InterCity route, not just a "local" route, with appropriate rolling stock, not 30 year old Class 158s.
A classic way to kill any service, not just rail, is to reduce it to the point where it's no longer attractive. When it works this route is fine, but too often the trains run very late, are cancelled, terminated short, diverted, short formed or pulled from the timetable. With more modern rolling stock they could be a little faster too. Against the odds its amazing to see the trains so well used. Correct the issues listed and start to market the service and it could do a great deal better. But that's straying off into the subject of half a dozen other threads.

The point is that it's not the length of the journey but the number and severity of conflict points that make long, strung together routes hard to operate. Liverpool - Norwich crosses quite a lot.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
55,849
Location
Yorkshire
Just a gentle reminder this thread is to discuss Reston services from (roughly) December 2021

We understand that people will wish to discuss topics which may be related, such as service provision at other stations or comparisons with other services, but the best way to discuss these is to create a separate thread please (you are very welcome to link to any such thread from here).
 

adrock1976

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2013
Messages
3,740
Location
What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
Glad to see Widdrington being given a chance, though it doesn't have much in the way of parking should people from surrounding villages start wanting to use the service, so could be interesting how that pans out. Anyone know why they chose Widdrington over Pegswood? Presumably as widdrington has the higher current passenger numbers. Pegswood felt the slightly bigger place when I was there but it is very close to morpeth so presumably it was decided Widdrington has better opportunity for the wider northumberland area. Definitely good news for an area that has been underserved for too long

Also at Widdrington, there is the bus link to HMP Northumberland, which is easier to get to from there rather than Acklington (which involves a 15 minute or so hike along the country lane over the railway to the first set of crossroads).
 

Top