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1064615 Views 4957 Replies 254 Participants Last post by  Freel07
So the much needed electrification of routes out of Manchester will after all take place, despite the Spending Review, though there is some anger that the time for the work has been extended so that it won't be finished until 2016 at the earliest.

More details here:

There's also a generic SSC Rail Electrification thread here:

But with both Crossrail and Thameslink now fully committed to, what do forummers think about the balance of where rail investment money is going?

Should the North West be counting its blessings to get any money at all?

Or is infrastructure investment still too heavily skewed to the South East?

And what's happening with that proposed "Northern Hub" at Piccadilly?
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Better than nothing, IMO.

Most travel by heavy rail is skewed towards London & South East, so obviously spend the money where it has most benefit.

We will see the benefits starting 2013, when Manchester - Scotland services convert to newbuild EMU traction and run fast Wigan - Manchester.

Portion working could be introduced, making better use of existing capacity.

Build the fourth platform at MIA, but build it with enough length to allow stock to work in multiple.

Instead of having 3tph (of the 5tph) shuttling between Manchester and Leeds, run them as 1tph, split at Leeds/York to diverge to other destinations.

Scarborough and Hull could see direct services to Manchester Airport restored.

Longer trains = more seats = less dwell time = better performance/punctuality.

Metrolink tram-train to Marple will also relieve Ashburys East Junction.
Don't forget the loss of Holcombe Brook - Bury (3500v overhead DC, then 1200v third-rail DC), and loss of Woodhead line from Hadfield to Sheffield Victoria/Wath-upon-Dearne, plus various bits around Gorton, Reddish, Ashton, too!
Hence why Metrolink to Marple is the solution, rather than just 'wiring up'.

There is no point buying heavy, well specced 100mph rolling stock for suburban routes with stations 2 minutes apart, if you don't have the frequency, ticketing and accessibility/city-centre penetration.

Otherwise, like South London heavy suburban rail, as in Manchester, it will be carrying virtually 'fresh air' off-peak.

Outside the peaks 323s (Glossop/Hadfield route) are a massive waste of over capacity that could be put to better use elsewhere.
Spot on, Slip.

Recent example is the East London Line (especially the section between Croydon and New Cross).

I'm all for the 'sparks effect', but look at the previous wiring up of the Hazel Grove route in the early 1980s (paid for by the GMC), with the intention of going to Buxton.

Massive capacity, 3 trains per hour, integrated buses when it opened. 20+ years later, they get 2 small diesel trains per hour, and one electric train per day (1922 ex-Picc). Great use of investment, eh?

Why? Bad railway management and DfT meddling.
Better than nothing. It does depend who does the refurbishment though. If Northern Rail do it themselves (as they have done with the Class 150s - diesel equivalent of the Class 319s), it'll be nothing more than a lick of paint, internal stickers, and some seat moquette replaced.

Given that procurement of Thameslink Programme rolling stock is behind schedule (and always has been!), I wouldn't be surprised if they were pressed into service without refurbishment.
Depends on which you mean. FCC and Southern operate Class 319s, which are like 4-car electric Class 150s, built for Thameslink in the mid/late 1980s. Most have had one or two refurbishments already, the FCC ones quite recently (since 2006, at Hornsey). They are not-DDA compliant, so would need costly refurbishment prior to 2020 (or later, if the law is relaxed).

They also both operate Class 377 Electrostars, which are like 4-car electric Class 170s, introduced recently as part of the start of the Thameslink Programme, but will be replaced by more new-build stock later.

Another big issue is that they are designed for Driver Only Operation, whereas we operate with the Conductor/Guard controlling door operation. So modifications (wiring, etc.) will have to happen, or the unions will kick up a fuss.
Are these the things that do the Brighton to London Bridge run?

If so, I use them occassionally and there is nothing that wrong with them. No reason why they couldn't go straight into service up here. They are vastly better than what we have today.
December 2013 is the planned date for our (FTPE) introduction of electric Manchester - Scottish services. This will release diesel Class 185s back for their original purpose of strengthening North (Liverpool/Mcr Airport - Manchester - Leeds - York) Route service.

What isn't known, yet, is whether we are getting cast-offs from London Midland in the shape of 350/1s, or newbuild Desiros.

BR did rolling stock cascades very well, particularly on schemes in London & South East. It is just a shame that DfT doesn't order enought stock to enable them to happen! IIRC, it is over 800+ days since DfT placed a *confirmed* order for new rolling stock. That is as bad as at the start of privatisation!
One disbenefit is that should the Chat Moss route be blocked, there isn't an alternative for diversionary purposes until the Chorley/Bolton route is wired.

So in the event of disruption, electric services might be turned at Preston or Wigan. It'd be like dumping London pax at Watford Junction or Milton Keynes!
Correct WZ, it will also have a positive effect on punctuality on Atherton and Bolton routes, as there will be less conflicting moves around Salford Crescent.

On the subject of Liverpool - Manchester, earlier this evening, I travelled on 1L20, the 2137 from Liverpool to Nottingham, which managed from Lime Street to Oxford Road, calling at South Parkway, Widnes and Warrington Central, in 43 minutes. Given a clear path, on the longer CLC route, if a 22 year-old, shagged out diesel that had just done a previous Norwich - Liverpool trip manages that, I have high hopes for the electric service.
No, Eccles routes faster with less stops whereas Bolton route theres many suburban stations and all the stopper services to get stuck behind.
Merseytravel wants to see more 'intercity' services added for Liverpool, after being chopped off the XC network circa 2004. It also lost the Central Citylink to Leicester, Peterborough and Stansted Airport under franchise remapping.

Rumours of reinstating Liverpool - Newcastle (vice Scarborough) and Scottish services have been around since 2007.

Buckshaw Parkway will be served by FTPE (Blackpool - Airport) and Northern (Preston - Hazel Grove) services.

Barrow/Windermere services might continue to run via Bolton, as these are diesel worked. However, if Windermere gets included in an infill electrification scheme, it may change at a later date. Chester to Crewe got included in the wiring works at a late stage.

It all depends on the whim of DfT, how long the franchises get extended, and whether they remap them.
AFAIK Volde the funding isn't there (yet) for Eccles. It would have been done under TIF. It is 1 of the 11 remaining to be done over the next 4 years, all of which require funding.

However, Tranche 2 of Network Rail's National Stations Improvement Programme has provisionally allocated £150k for passenger enhancements which are 'likely to focus on improving ticketing facilities'. Funding has yet to be confirmed and is subject to a third party contribution (Salford CC, Tesco, perhaps?) to unlock the NSIP funds.
Excellent. I might start using Eccles then as it's actually closer to where I live. The only reason I use Swinton is because it's better equipped and the trains are more frequent. Thanks for the info! I take it Eccles station will get refurbished with new PID's and all?
I was under the impression that both Northern services (MCV-BPN and PRE-HAZ), as well as the FTPE (MIA-BPN) services would call there, giving a 3tph frequency. Allowances in Sectional Running Times have been in place for some time (since 2008).

However, no applications have gone in as yet to the ORR.
As far as I know (and I'm sure ill be corrected) it will be two trains per hour in either direction with a couple of additional trains in the peaks. If you require travel else ware I guess it will mean changing at Preston or Bolton.
Bolton has had Intercity services, since, well, Intercity days. At the moment we have inter-urban Class 185 DMUs, trying to cater for both long-distance intercity flows, as well as urban commuter. It just doesn't work.

BR/ICXC served it with Class 47 locos and Mk. 2 coaching stock, also Class 158s. Don't remember any HSTs at Bolton, but I will happily be corrected. Into Virgin days came Voyagerisation through Operation Princess.

I think the routing via Wigan, which Virgin did anyway on certain diagrams, has been a long time coming. It unties the conflicting passenger flows, and increases the potential of portion working from Scotland to other destinations, such as Liverpool or Blackpool, both of which have suffered much worse loss of Intercity services than Bolton has.
Nothing has been decided on service patterns, yet.


North Route Airport (2tph) services will route via Stalybridge - Ashton - Victoria - Ordsall Curve - Oxford Rd - Piccadilly

North Route Liverpool (1tph) services will route via Stalybridge - Ashton - Victoria - Chat Moss

North Route Leeds/Hull services (1tph) will still route via Guide Bridge, accompanied by the skip-stoppers (2tph).

Overall this will give a 6tph frequency, mix of fast/semi-fast/skip-stop.

All this is dependant on Network Rail's whim, who release the paths that the TOCs have to bid for at auction. It isn't decided by the TOCs, who are closest to the actual passenger/customer, and know best how to meet demand.

Personally, I'd like to see TPE services to stop at Ashton, as I imagine serious untapped demand. Building the M60 created a lot of car commuting from the Tameside area, some radial, orbital and trans-pennine. In a similar fashion to the Airport line, Metrolink will serve the inner suburban (Clayton - Droylsden, Droylsden - Ashton) market, whereas the train will provide the 'end-to-end' outer-suburban (Ashton - Manchester) pattern.

Another potential opportunity is to serve the growing Chester - Leeds demand with a direct service. Currently there are peak time extras between Chester and Manchester, which is proposed to be increased to an all-day service, but the ATW franchise doesn't have anymore stock (currently) which to service it. Extending the Hull - Manchester service to Chester, also retains Warrington - Leeds, as TPE services are being removed from the CLC route (mentioned above).
xx.42 from Piccadilly. Calls Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby, Brough and Hull. 2-car Class 170 traction. Often arrive in at Huddersfield early if the Victoria - Huddersfield stopper keeps its time, meaning (current) potential to call at Stalybridge.
Sorry for being dim, but which ones are these/where do they start?
Class 317s were built for BedPan electrification. Although their introduction was delayed due to a spat between ASLEF and BR over DOO.

Due to the 'sparks effect' (passenger growth) and reopening of Snow Hill Tunnel (Thameslink), NSE then procured the Class 319s, cascading the 317s onto Great Northern suburban routes.
I seem to recall they were built for the BedPan line weren't they? 317s that is.
The idea of the Chester - Picc - Hull would take the path of the present Liverpool - Scarborough, but at a more appropriate time to cross the throat, causing less bother.

ATW would like to extend (all) their Llandudno - Piccadilly services through to Manchester Airport (a nice slice of revenue!), rather than the current three a day. If the extra Chester - Manchester goes ahead, it will need somewhere to layover, and neither the Goods Loop, nor Airport could accomodate it, without further (Northern Hub) works.

TPEs franchise allows access rights for running to Chester (as well as Southport!), something the SRA included, as Class 175s originally ran as part of the franchise, their depot being at Chester.

Nothing has been finalised yet, but I believe the CLC route will be left with Liverpool - Norwich and Liverpool - Manchester Airport fasts, along with the skip-stoppers. Personally, I'd prefer a complete recast.
Thanks Link. Presumably if those Manc-Hull services were extended to Chester they'd also be diverted via Victoria to avoid crossing the tracks at Picc? Could we see the slow trains from Huddersfield diverted to Piccadilly while the faster ones all go over to Victoria, or is there a reason that this wouldn't be possible?

Do you know what the CLC route will be left with once this electrification is complete?
Really? I find them totally disinterested in local heavy rail, even when I worked for them. Only time they did get involved was for the photo opportunity and ribbon cut when Stalybridge got refurbished.

  • Funding to improve appearance of stations using 'Britain in Bloom' monies
  • Road/footpath signage improvements
  • Request for alterations for a busy junction outside Ashton-under-Lyne station without pedestrian phase
  • Schools partnership to resolve ticketless travel
  • Improved litter collection around station entrances
all got a total lack of silence.

Never mind the constant dithering about whether they wanted Guide Bridge or Stalybridge as the station for stopping TPE services.

TMBC have only vehicular motor traffic and Metrolink as their priorities.
Excellent. Like it.

I would first gauge Tameside Council's thoughts on trains out of Ashton. Not that they of course decide these matters, but they are an authority that takes a great deal of interest in these matters.
Scarborough (aka the 'Holiday Camp') traincrew are rumoured to be delighted at the potential reinstatement of Blackpool - Leeds - York - they get nosebleeds whenever venturing past York or Leeds, never mind *Yorkshire*.

Personally, I'd see the current Middlesborough service becoming a York - Middlesborough - Sunderland - Newcastle to improve timings along the Durham Coast route, which stakeholders aspire to. Most of the flow ebbs off at Leeds, bar the peaks, when there is slight demand to/from Manchester.
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