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Old April 22nd, 2011, 09:46 AM   #1
metro4001
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RAIL Transport - in Newcastle and the North East

Hello

The rail network in the North East (including the metro) provides a vital part
in every day life in the Newcastle area. Therefore I have started this thread to discuss regional rail networks (e.g. The Tyne Valley or ECML from Newcastle to Cathill/Alnmouth) in the North East region.

Without a doubt the biggest rail operator in the region is the aptly named "Northern" company. Overall I would say that the standard of service is excellent. The operator manages to keep its trains to timetable and usually provides a pleasent ride.

I frequently commute from Newcastle to Carlisle, so for a journey that takes about an hour and a half, I would expect a reasonably peaceful ride and, of course, plenty of room to put luggage, all of which you get on a 156 train. However, frequently many of us have to squash on a screeching (if you have ever been on a 142 Pacer you will know what I mean,) compact (to put it nicely) 142. The worst problem these trains have is the lack of room for luggage. There is limited space on the few luggage racks provided and virtually no space at the end of carriages. This is hardly surprising when you find out that the 142 is basically a bus put on wheels, the design was based on the original of idea of a man called Thomas Kenneth Cullum, and the Leyland National Bus

Initially the 142 was only used on rural lines, however recently it has been used for busy commuter trains (usually from Newcastle to Carlisle or Middlesbrough to Hexham.) I am aware that Northern are lacking in funding, and with rural rail line services being cut, it will be a hard time for them, but I think that they need to consider investing or re-thinking the trains that they use on particular lines.

What are your opinions, do you find yourself constantly frustrated by the screaming of the 142? Or do you find yourself crammed in with luggage as there semms to never be enough room in the train?

Thanks
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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My soul dies a little inside each time I'm waiting for a train and a pacer arrives!

The lack of investment in regional and commuter railways outside of London and a few other areas (the Airedale line in West Yorkshire for example) is shocking. All we can look forward to is a few hand me downs from other lines who've been lucky enough to upgrade, so call cascading which the coalition serves up as new carriages! I believe we're expecting more pacers to be sent our way soon too!

All the while huge centres of population like Blyth and Ashington go unserved despite the lines being there and the ATOC stating a route should be reopened.

For very little investment the North East could have a great S-Bahn service connecting Teesside, Wearside, Tyneside and South Northumberland, allowing people to travel more easily to work and generating wealth for the region. Sadly while electrification is in vogue in Scotland I don't see any investment in the North East for many many years other than the renewal of the Metro system (which needed it or would've ended up falling to bits and ultimately shutting in the near to medium future).
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 01:49 PM   #3
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Yes they need new rolling stock but failing that they just need to use the pacers and sprinters more appropriately.

Recently myself and my son had to travel to Newcastle from Hexham on a saturday (and matchday) and they put a pacer train on in the middle of the afternoon! It was standing room only with us all squashed in.

I've been on half empty sprinter trains on off peak journeys it just doesn't make sense. Either they have so little wiggle room they can't effectively manage which trains go on which route or the people who make those decisions have no clue. Considering the awful state of management recruitment in this country, exemplified by the Apprentice with their full of crap, enthusiastic but no sense wannabes, I'll go with the latter.

F
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 07:08 PM   #4
metro4001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferret88 View Post
Yes they need new rolling stock but failing that they just need to use the pacers and sprinters more appropriately.

Recently myself and my son had to travel to Newcastle from Hexham on a saturday (and matchday) and they put a pacer train on in the middle of the afternoon! It was standing room only with us all squashed in.

I've been on half empty sprinter trains on off peak journeys it just doesn't make sense. Either they have so little wiggle room they can't effectively manage which trains go on which route or the people who make those decisions have no clue. Considering the awful state of management recruitment in this country, exemplified by the Apprentice with their full of crap, enthusiastic but no sense wannabes, I'll go with the latter.

F
You're right, short services that run practically empty from Newcastle to Metrocentre are frequently Sprinters. Surely something could be done to ensure that 142's were used as little as possible on the busy commuter line from Middlesbrough to Carlisle.

The 142's were supposed to have been phased out a while back, and I believe I am right in thinking they are finally going to be taken out of service in about a decade, to be replaced with the Thames Link stock, which will be about thirty years old by the time we get hold of them, not much use!

So, with new rolling stock seemingly a distant dream, I reitterate Northern need to re-think their rolling stock timetables.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 01:16 AM   #5
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The ThamesLink stock is electric and will be going to the newly-electrified routes around Liverpool / Manchester. Presumably this will free up a few more Sprinters for us to play with up here. They will certainly be getting on a bit but I'd still take one over a 142.

The assumed demise of the Pacers seems to be end of 2019, when they would have to have major works in order to comply with disabled access regs - and this would be too much good money to throw after bad. However I've never seen anything official on this, it appears just to be a widespread belief.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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Regarding electrification in the North East: Yes, the current situation is pathetic, and it has to happen sometime. But the Metro's unique 1500 V power supply is going to present problems to any electrification on the Sunderland line (even if electric mainline trains only go as far as Sunderland station, thanks to platform-sharing), and anywhere else the Metro might expand to using track sharing.

Seems to me that whenever the Metrocars are replaced, it should be done all at once while the system is closed for long enough to upgrade it to 25 kV. This would be quite an effort, but presumably there are also costs to having Metro locked in to 1500 V for another 40-50 years, and there might be some savings involved in the procurement costs for electrical equipment by using standard voltage.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 09:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerlinGeordie View Post
Seems to me that whenever the Metrocars are replaced, it should be done all at once while the system is closed for long enough to upgrade it to 25 kV. This would be quite an effort, but presumably there are also costs to having Metro locked in to 1500 V for another 40-50 years, and there might be some savings involved in the procurement costs for electrical equipment by using standard voltage.
A good idea, but I think it would take a lot to convince Nexus that it was worth the amount of money that it would cost to do this, and the amount of revenue they may loose whilst the system is closed.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #8
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Fitting the Metrocars for dual-standard operation might be the easiest way - then you can switchover sections of track as and when it suits. For example if Carlisle - Newcastle were to be electrified (which it should!) it would become rather desirable to then have Newcastle - Sunderland at 25kV.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #9
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.
This is copied over from the Historic Newcastle thread, as I thought it might be of interest to rail enthusiasts, who perhaps do not visit the Historic thread . . .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian; 5th May 2011
Historic Local First Day Covers.
Part Seventeen


This one, from 1994, records the naming of a locomotive on the East Coast Main Line - "Newcastle United".

The painting on the First Day Cover, shows the LNER Locomotive that was to be named Newcastle United, in its original livery approaching the Central Station. This was one of a batch of 25 locomotives of the B17 class, that were named after major football clubs.

"Newcastle United" entered service in May 1936, and was eventually scrapped by British Rail in 1959.

The below Commemorative Cover was issued on 18th January 1994 . . .





NB - A complete list of all the 'Local Commemorative First Day Covers' in this series, is now listed on the INDEX Thread under the letter "F" (First Day Covers) with direct links to the post containing each individual cover.
.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #10
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Heritage 'Deltic' back on the mainlines in the North East.

Those of you who recall the East Coast passenger trains of the 60's and 70's will probably be familiar with the 'Deltic' diesel locomotives which hauled all the Edinburgh-Newcastle-London passenger trains. They were exceptionally powerful and innovative machines.

Well, most are now long gone, though a few remain in private storeage and enthusiast group's workshops, though one of those enthusiasts' locos, called 'Royal Scots Greys' has been restored and re-certified for use on the mainlines. It gets occassional work pulling Railtours (those trains of vintage coaches full of trainspotters and lovers of diesel fumes!).
But now, due to the acute shortage of working rolling stock in the UK, this one remaining Deltic, maintained by enthusiasts' support, has been brough out of 'heritage' use and hired for a few weeks for commercial duties to haul freight around the North East!

I understand that its in service most days between Blyth, Lymington and Tyne Dock. The lack of carriages has been well publicised, but to think that the continuing scrapping of ageing lcomotives has led to the need to hire in an 'enthusiasts' heritage' locomotive is quite remarkable.

What next? Network Rail asking to borrow some preserved steam locomotive?
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Old May 6th, 2011, 12:34 AM   #11
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"Evening Star" is only a year older - and unlike the Deltic was at least designed for freight work. Worth getting back into steam?
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Old May 12th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #12
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Historic Local First Day Covers.
Part Nineteen


Another 'Newcastle Area Railways' Commemorative Cover.

This Cover was issued on 19th July 1989, to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Newcastle and North Shields Railway . . .






NB - A complete list of all the 'Local Commemorative First Day Covers' in this series, is now listed on the INDEX Thread under the letter "F" (First Day Covers) with direct links to the post containing each individual cover - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...61&postcount=7

.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:59 AM   #13
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Historic Local First Day Covers.
Part Twenty


I think this is my last 'Newcastle Area Railways' Commemorative Cover, but I can't be sure!!

This Cover was issued on 9th March 1985, to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway . . .

The railway was built by the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway Company, the requisite Act of Parliament gaining Royal Assent on 22 May 1829. The line was built in sections from 1834 onwards. The first section (Hexham -Blaydon) opened in March 1835, the date chosen as the start date for this 150 year anniversary.





Actually, services on the line were quickly suspended after the March opening, until May, after a local landowner objected to the use of locomotives (seemingly specifically prohibited by the Act of Parliament). The entire route between Carlisle London Road railway station and Redheugh in Gateshead was formally opened to passengers on 18 June 1838.

A temporary Tyne bridge was built at Scotswood to allow trains to reach a terminus in Newcastle - this opened on 21 October 1839. N&CR trains first used Newcastle Central Station on 1 January 1851.

The N&CR was absorbed into the North Eastern Railway on 17 July 1862. From 1864, trains ran to Carlisle Citadel station, and the old London Road station was closed. In 1870, the temporary bridge at Scotswood was removed, and a new iron Scotswood Bridge was built to replace it.

On 4 October 1982, British Rail closed the Scotswood Bridge, which had become uneconomic to maintain. Tyne Valley trains from Newcastle were diverted to use the present route, crossing the King Edward VII Bridge south-west of Newcastle Central Station, and running via Dunston to Blaydon, on a line which was upgraded to carry passenger traffic.

Former stations on the line include Scotswood, Elswick, Greenhead and Gilsland.



NB - A complete list of all the 'Local Commemorative First Day Covers' in this series, is now listed on the INDEX Thread under the letter "F" (First Day Covers) with direct links to the post containing each individual cover - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...61&postcount=7

.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:12 PM   #14
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I've previously posted that East Coast will be stopping their operation of the Restaurant Car (which traditionally has been avalable to Standard Class passengers) and which provided 'Silver Service' dining.
Well the last day is tomorrow (Fri 20th May) and it seems as if there might be quite a little celebration on the 19:00 to Newcastle tomorrow. Quite a few places are already taken. Even one of the catering staff had asked to come back off holiday in order to work the event!
Lets hope it goes out in style!
(Anyone here interested in joining in?)

But all that jollity hardly makes up for the bitter dissapointment expressed by East Coast's Customer Services team (based in Baron House opposite Central Station) who're loosing their jobs in July when East Coast takes their operation to Mumbai. So if ever we have reason to speak with them, lets wish them all good luck for their futures.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 10:40 AM   #15
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Railway campaigners welcome extra trains to North East
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, May 21st 2011


RAILWAY campaigners have enthusiastically welcomed new timetables that bring 22 more trains to the North East each week.

Both East Coast and Cross Country trains are reorganising what they offer to increase capacity, while TransPennine Express are changing departure times to cut journeys and help link up with London-bound services.

Among the most anticipated alterations, which come into force tomorrow, three trains will now run every weekday at 6.35am, 7.07am and 7.53pm to connect Berwick, Morpeth and Alnmouth with Newcastle’s new non-stop Flying Scotsman service to London.

Dennis Fancett, chairman of the South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG), said the new timetables showed local residents could really influence the big train companies. He said: “We’re very pleased because the first draft of the timetable was disastrous for all the Northumberland stations.
“So we suggested they take one of the Newcastle trains up to Berwick, turn it round and come back through the county, and that’s what they’re doing.

As well as the Flying Scotsman Newcastle will also see three more weekday and 11 weekend services to and from London through East Coast Trains. While passengers at Darlington will be able to hop on board an extra 10 weekday, 10 Saturday and eight Sunday trains.

East Coast managing director Karen Boswell said: “The launch of an exciting new timetable on 22 May represents the biggest change to the East Coast route in a generation. It will deliver more services, more seats and a much improved pattern of services for millions of passengers.”


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1MyQMINIl
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Old May 21st, 2011, 12:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
Railway campaigners welcome extra trains to North East
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, May 21st 2011


Among the most anticipated alterations, which come into force tomorrow, three trains will now run every weekday at 6.35am, 7.07am and 7.53pm to connect Berwick, Morpeth and Alnmouth with Newcastle’s new non-stop Flying Scotsman service to London.

. . .

“So we suggested they take one of the Newcastle trains up to Berwick, turn it round and come back through the county, and that’s what they’re doing.
I am not quite clear what this means. Where are the 6.35am, 7.07am and 7.53pm departures from?

And surely it can't be the same train running up and down to Berwick with those timings?
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Old May 21st, 2011, 01:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Percy Trimmer View Post
I am not quite clear what this means. Where are the 6.35am, 7.07am and 7.53pm departures from?

And surely it can't be the same train running up and down to Berwick with those timings?
Its not at all clear, is it?
Their communications team are so 'good' at picking out the highlights and merging them together to form a sentence, that they don't always have a continuity of meaning throughout their sentences!

In that quote, they are boasting
a) about the new, fastest end-to-end journey time between Edinburgh and London, which is 4hours. That's called 'The Flying Scotsman', there is only one a day.
b) new early morning call at Morpeth at 6:35. (*)
c) more stops per day at Morpeth and Alnwick.
d) the new timetable makes more connections between operators at some stations
e) there are now more end-to-end services run by East Coast (possible now that the 6 services a day to Glasgow will now terminate and return at Edinburgh).

Of the 3 times listed, They're all southbound stops at Morpeth:
6:35 is the East Coast : Berwick 6:00 - London 10:06,
7:07 is the East Coast : Edinb 5:45 - London 10:45,
7:53 is the Northern Rail Chathill 7:07 - Newcastle 8:19 (which connects with EC's Edin 6:55 - London 11:46).

Odd that they didn't include the 8:13 stop at Morpeth too; though that is operated by Cross Country (Edin 7:00 - Reading 13:08)

With a writing style like that, you wouldn't want to mistake their press releases as a timetable, would you?

[* Edit: There are two East Coast early morning services which will now start further north than previously, and will arrive at Newcastle around 7:00. One starts at Berwick and calls at Alnmouth & Morpeth arr.Newcastle 06:52, and the other starts at Edinburgh as 'The Flying Scotsman', arr Newcastle 07:02 and which then overtakes the stopper. I mixed up reading the timetables and wrongly refered to the stopping service as 'The Flying Scotsman'!]
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Old May 21st, 2011, 02:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXNewcastle View Post
Its not at all clear, is it?
Their communications team are so 'good' at picking out the highlights and merging them together to form a sentence, that they don't always have a continuity of meaning throughout their sentences!

In that quote, they are boasting
a) about the new, fastest end-to-end journey time between Edinburgh and London, which is 4hours. That's called 'The Flying Scotsman', there is only one a day.
b) 'The Flying Scotsman' stops at Morpeth at 6:35.
c) more stops per day at Morpeth and Alnwick.
d) the new timetable makes more connections between operators at some stations
e) there are now more end-to-end services run by East Coast (possible now that the 6 services a day to Glasgow will now terminate and return at Edinburgh).

Of the 3 times listed, They're all southbound stops at Morpeth:
6:35 is the East Coast 'Flying Scotsman' (Edinb 5:40 - London 9:40),
7:07 is the East Coast Edinb 5:45 - London 10:45,
7:53 is the Northern Rail Chathill 7:07 - Newcastle 8:19 (which connects with EC's Edin 6:55 - London 11:46).

Odd that they didn't include the 8:13 stop at Morpeth too; though that is operated by Cross Country (Edin 7:00 - Reading 13:08)

With a writing style like that, you wouldn't want to mistake their press releases as a timetable, would you?
Thank you for the clarification. It is a pity, though, there won't really be any stops at Alnwick!
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Old May 21st, 2011, 02:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Percy Trimmer View Post
. . . any stops at Alnwick!
Oh, but there will be! (Well, from Alnmouth until someone rebuilds the line to Alnwick!)

southbound departures from Alnmouth in the weekday morning peaks:
6:19 East Coast
6:52 East Coast
7:08 Cross Country
7:19 Northern
7:59 Cross Country
8:58 East Coast

and northbound arrivals at Alnmouth in the weekday evening peaks:
16:00 Cross Country
17:00 Cross Country
18:01 Cross Country
18:18 Northern
19:09 East Coast
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Old May 21st, 2011, 05:22 PM   #20
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So which is the train

"we suggested they take . . . up to Berwick, turn . . .round and come back through the county, and that’s what they’re doing"?
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