X Country Aberdeen to Penzance direct service

greaterwest

Established Member
Joined
23 Nov 2014
Messages
1,235
There is no northbound Penzance-Aberdeen service and there never has been. It's always been a southbound-only service.
It has run a few times as a special train during engineering works in the Bristol area. I travelled on it once in 2018 and it called at Bath Spa and reversed at Swindon to go via the Golden Valley line. It left Penzance at 0630 and arrived at Aberdeen at around 2100 if I remember correctly.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Mainline421

Member
Joined
7 May 2013
Messages
307
Of course if you intended to fly somewhere from ABZ and go on an inter-rail trip round Europe then inter-rail valid on the northbound trip if you can prove an onward flight. Not sure if they'd agree ABZ to Penzance is a valid route to Newquay airport for an onward flight, but you could write to XC and ask.

And before anyone moans it's not in the spirit of Inter-rail, what about Cornish folks who fancy a Scandanavian rail holiday and find ABZ to Norway a useful hop on their trip, saves a day than going via Eurostar then Netherlands, Germany, Sweden etc and could avoid local covid restrictions too.
It definitely wouldn't be valid for an outbound journey to Penzance. If you went to Norway by rail and then flew to Aberdeen it would be valid, but there wouldn't be any cost savings.
 

Mogz

Member
Joined
20 May 2019
Messages
398
I’ve always thought that this service should be operated by some extremely comfortable stock such as the Chiltern Silver Sets. I’d quite happily do a journey of that length in Standard.
 

Deafdoggie

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2016
Messages
2,016
I’ve always thought that this service should be operated by some extremely comfortable stock such as the Chiltern Silver Sets. I’d quite happily do a journey of that length in Standard.
The number of people doing the entire end to end journey is minimal at best. Most people appreciate having more seats in the unit operating it and therefore more chance of getting a seat for their journey. The silver sets have very few seats compared to a voyager.
 

XAM2175

Established Member
Joined
8 Jun 2016
Messages
1,983
Location
Glasgow
I’ve always thought that this service should be operated by some extremely comfortable stock such as the Chiltern Silver Sets.
You say "extremely comfortable" and then propose using stock fitted with utterly hateful IC70 seats!
 

BrianW

Member
Joined
22 Mar 2017
Messages
760
You say "extremely comfortable" and then propose using stock fitted with utterly hateful IC70 seats!
I understand people to be of 'non'standard' dimensions (anthropometrics?) and that first class passengers are wider and have longer legs than 'standard' people.

I sense economy and age may have roles too.

My personal preference is for window seat by a window, not a pillar, on the right side of a quiet carriage facing direction of travel and on the shadey side both into and out of New Street ;)
 

43096

On Moderation
Joined
23 Nov 2015
Messages
11,802
The number of people doing the entire end to end journey is minimal at best. Most people appreciate having more seats in the unit operating it and therefore more chance of getting a seat for their journey. The silver sets have very few seats compared to a voyager.
Ummm, I rather think the Chiltern Mark 3 sets (assuming that is what was meant by the silver sets) have many more seats compared to a Voyager!
You say "extremely comfortable" and then propose using stock fitted with utterly hateful IC70 seats!
That is of course subjective. I would entirely agree that IC70s are extremely comfortable.
 

thaitransit

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
184
Location
Brisbane Queensland Australia
given this service is a rather long distance daylight service I would hope all the seats face the direction of travel and there is a decent buffet car with hot meals available on board throughout the trip. I would assume its a reservation required service so everyone will have a booked seat.
 

_toommm_

Established Member
Joined
8 Jul 2017
Messages
4,971
Location
Yorkshire
given this service is a rather long distance daylight service I would hope all the seats face the direction of travel and there is a decent buffet car with hot meals available on board throughout the trip. I would assume its a reservation required service so everyone will have a booked seat.

It’s not mandatory reservations, and not all seats face the direction of travel. The service can and does sometimes get diverted so may have to reverse on route.


Then how on earth does the now empty train get back to the otherend? surely it doesn't run back as empty cars overnight?

Also how would anyone get home afterwards if no return trip? road coach?

The service stays at Penzance Depot overnight. As we discussed upthread, it’s initially formed from a service from Dundee to Aberdeen, which itself runs from Craigentinny Depot in Edinburgh.
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
5,361
Location
UK
Then how on earth does the now empty train get back to the otherend? surely it doesn't run back as empty cars overnight?

Also how would anyone get home afterwards if no return trip? road coach?
No, it's simply part of the rotation of the sets. On a Saturday night, the set stays at Long Rock depot after the arrival of 1V60, and similarly there are back workings to Edinburgh (thence to Craigentinny) for all Aberdeen services. It balances out through other 'one way' moves as well as through services being double or single sets as required.

You'd have to take alternative trains to make the journey in the opposite direction.
 

thaitransit

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
184
Location
Brisbane Queensland Australia
It’s not mandatory reservations, and not all seats face the direction of travel. The service can and does sometimes get diverted so may have to reverse on route.




The service stays at Penzance Depot overnight. As we discussed upthread, it’s initially formed from a service from Dundee to Aberdeen, which itself runs from Craigentinny Depot in Edinburgh.

It is very strange to me that long distance regional trains like this are not reservation required as that could result in not everyone having a seat and very unhappy customers. I am used to all long-distance trains requiring 24 hours advanced booking to travel no turn up and go tickets on the day.

any reason why its not a simply daily return service using two sets one for each direction dedicated to the route and spare for maintenance?
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
13,037
Location
Glasgow
It is very strange to me that long distance regional trains like this are not reservation required as that could result in not everyone having a seat and very unhappy customers. I am used to all long-distance trains requiring 24 hours advanced booking to travel no turn up and go tickets on the day.
It may be "long-distance" but it serves at lot of local flows where "turn-up and go" is the usual practice.


any reason why its not a simply daily return service using two sets one for each direction dedicated to the route and spare for maintenance?
Makes more sense to interwork diagrams I imagine than to dedicate sets to the workings.
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
5,361
Location
UK
It is very strange to me that long distance regional trains like this are not reservation required as that could result in not everyone having a seat and very unhappy customers. I am used to all long-distance trains requiring 24 hours advanced booking to travel no turn up and go tickets on the day.

any reason why its not a simply daily return service using two sets one for each direction dedicated to the route and spare for maintenance?
The reality is, very few people (i.e. basically no-one) would actually do it all the way through. Most people would just fly or drive, whilst someone intent on taking the train would probably take the sleeper to/from London or break it into two days' travel. The vast majority of passengers wouldn't be on there for more than a few hours.

The general rule over here is that the only services where reservations are mandatory are Eurostar (which is effectively an airline on rails) and sleeper services.

As for why there isn't a return service, there's no particular rhyme or reason to it. It's just down to what works out best for the cycling of the units, and (historically at least) meeting DfT requirements for the number of direct services between given stations (e.g. Edinburgh and Birmingham, Birmingham and Plymouth etc.). There's no inherent reason why there is even a through service this long, it's just how it's ended up working out.
 

Deafdoggie

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2016
Messages
2,016
It is very strange to me that long distance regional trains like this are not reservation required as that could result in not everyone having a seat and very unhappy customers. I am used to all long-distance trains requiring 24 hours advanced booking to travel no turn up and go tickets on the day.

any reason why its not a simply daily return service using two sets one for each direction dedicated to the route and spare for maintenance?

Not being able to get on the train as it was fully reserved weeks ago will lead to far more unhappy customers.
Noone really sees it as a long distance train. For most passengers it's just a train. Many passengers on it don't leave Cornwall, lots alight at Truro for example. Many will only be on it in Scotland. Very few passengers cross Birmingham on it, it is virtually a complete change of passengers there. In short, it's just a normal train, there's nothing magical about it.
 

thaitransit

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
184
Location
Brisbane Queensland Australia
Interesting as this is a very typical length regional long distance service in Queensland and NSW where being on the train for 12 to 24 hours is standard fare.

If I recall the shortest length regional train in Queensland is 4 and half hours long. The longest is 27 hours long on a direct train. there is a longer one but it requires a change of trains part way through resulting in a 40 hour long through service.

they all operate using dedicated sets for each route with no sharing of stock between routes except for locomotives.
 

mmh

Established Member
Joined
13 Aug 2016
Messages
3,475
Interesting as this is a very typical length regional long distance service in Queensland and NSW where being on the train for 12 to 24 hours is standard fare.

If I recall the shortest length regional train in Queensland is 4 and half hours long. The longest is 27 hours long on a direct train. there is a longer one but it requires a change of trains part way through resulting in a 40 hour long through service.

they all operate using dedicated sets for each route with no sharing of stock between routes except for locomotives.
Australia is very, very different to Britain!
 

Deafdoggie

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2016
Messages
2,016
Interesting as this is a very typical length regional long distance service in Queensland and NSW where being on the train for 12 to 24 hours is standard fare.

If I recall the shortest length regional train in Queensland is 4 and half hours long. The longest is 27 hours long on a direct train. there is a longer one but it requires a change of trains part way through resulting in a 40 hour long through service.

they all operate using dedicated sets for each route with no sharing of stock between routes except for locomotives.
We're a lot more compact in the UK
 

thaitransit

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
184
Location
Brisbane Queensland Australia
Not being able to get on the train as it was fully reserved weeks ago will lead to far more unhappy customers.
Noone really sees it as a long distance train. For most passengers it's just a train. Many passengers on it don't leave Cornwall, lots alight at Truro for example. Many will only be on it in Scotland. Very few passengers cross Birmingham on it, it is virtually a complete change of passengers there. In short, it's just a normal train, there's nothing magical about it.

No one in Queensland would stand up on a regional train even for 30 minutes its just seem as unacceptable. If its booked out you have to try another day or try one of the horrible long distance coach services that cost twice the price and take 36 hours to do the same trip as the train in 25 hours!
 

thaitransit

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
184
Location
Brisbane Queensland Australia
Australia is very, very different to Britain!

It certainly seems so. As your train network has a far larger network than in Queensland and you don't have break of gauge issues between states. eg Queensland is 1067mm and NSW is 1435mm thus through running is impossible and the railway systems are independent as if they were separate nations.
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
5,361
Location
UK
No one in Queensland would stand up on a regional train even for 30 minutes its just seem as unacceptable. If its booked out you have to try another day or try one of the horrible long distance coach services that cost twice the price and take 36 hours to do the same trip as the train in 25 hours!
Here it's the other way around - taking the coach is usually far cheaper than the train, and normally only significantly slower when the train journey is on one of the 'high speed' mainlines.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
27,665
It is very strange to me that long distance regional trains like this are not reservation required as that could result in not everyone having a seat and very unhappy customers. I am used to all long-distance trains requiring 24 hours advanced booking to travel no turn up and go tickets on the day.

any reason why its not a simply daily return service using two sets one for each direction dedicated to the route and spare for maintenance?
Adding to earlier replies it’s also to do with the typical expected usage for the trains being maybe a maximum of 20 hours of a day, say about 0530 off a depot, that would mean a return to usually a different location by around 0130 the next morning. Compare that approx 20 hours normal use with the Aberdeen to Penzance time of around 14 hours. So your spare time for the two unit proposal is about 6 hours each. If that was done over the whole XC network it means the train fleet would be getting towards possibly 30-40% too large. Ideally that 6 hours should also be productive time, but only if there are sufficient or suitable passenger flows to justify it. So as others have said it runs empty from Edinburgh to Dundee then in service Dundee to Aberdeen. That latter service might possibly be useful to fill a gap or add capacity in the local Scotrail service pattern at that time of day. I suppose if Aberdeen and Penzance were only a few hours further apart, say 17 hours, a two train service might be feasible, but they’d still need swapping out for major maintenance.

Unfortunately if there aren’t suitable overnight depots at both the extreme ends of the route, something has to flex. If there was a suitable overnight maintenance depot at Aberdeen it would be more likely to have a northbound train ending it’s day there, having started out with a short trip into Penzance.
 

47827

Member
Joined
3 Mar 2020
Messages
591
Location
Middleport
Adding to earlier replies it’s also to do with the typical expected usage for the trains being maybe a maximum of 20 hours of a day, say about 0530 off a depot, that would mean a return to usually a different location by around 0130 the next morning. Compare that approx 20 hours normal use with the Aberdeen to Penzance time of around 14 hours. So your spare time for the two unit proposal is about 6 hours each. If that was done over the whole XC network it means the train fleet would be getting towards possibly 30-40% too large. Ideally that 6 hours should also be productive time, but only if there are sufficient or suitable passenger flows to justify it. So as others have said it runs empty from Edinburgh to Dundee then in service Dundee to Aberdeen. That latter service might possibly be useful to fill a gap or add capacity in the local Scotrail service pattern at that time of day. I suppose if Aberdeen and Penzance were only a few hours further apart, say 17 hours, a two train service might be feasible, but they’d still need swapping out for major maintenance.

Unfortunately if there aren’t suitable overnight depots at both the extreme ends of the route, something has to flex. If there was a suitable overnight maintenance depot at Aberdeen it would be more likely to have a northbound train ending it’s day there, having started out with a short trip into Penzance.

Penzance and Aberdeen featuring in any form in the XC timetables, regardless of anything else, were historical links that it used to be a requirement for bidders to serve. The desire to keep those places in the timetable these days will be as much about keeping the shares of ticket sales for the likes of Exeter/Plymouth to Penzance stations and Edinburgh/Dundee to Aberdeen stations. It will be seen as politically positive having all the through journey opportunities kept too but that's seldom relevant these days. Otherwise the WCML links would have never been cut and made wholly Avanti WC (as it is these days).

20 years ago southbound, I think it was a Dundee to Penzance and Aberdeen to Plymouth (the latter via the WCML + latterly Manchester as well). The northbound Aberdeen also started Plymouth and the one off Penzance ran only to Edinburgh at 07xx. In later years there was an extra XC to Penzance (loco hauled) off Glasgow via Manchester, returning only as far as Manchester.

So the one way Aberdeen to Penzance service is a voyager invention post privatisation.
 

JonathanH

Veteran Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
11,406
I doubt it, AFAIK XC HSTs haven't gone north of Edinburgh since the introduction of the Voyagers. Nor west of Plymouth.
The Dundee starter was one of the HSTs in the period when four HSTs were deployed daily.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
13,264
Location
Airedale
any reason why its not a simply daily return service using two sets one for each direction dedicated to the route and spare for maintenance?
That means 66% availability, which by European (not just UK) standards is extravagant, even for night trains - it was last normal here in the 60s, slightly later on the mainland.
 

43096

On Moderation
Joined
23 Nov 2015
Messages
11,802
So the one way Aberdeen to Penzance service is a voyager invention post privatisation.
Except that in 2003 there was an HST operated 0855 Aberdeen to Penzance via the West Coast.
 

Top