Extra trains for Yorkshire

Class 321 Metro train“Greater Manchester commuters will benefit from the Department for Transport’s announcement today to provide 20 extra rail carriages for Northern Rail, say the region’s transport leaders,” trumpets TfGM’s “Carriages boost for Rochdale and Calder Valley route” press release last week. Twenty extra carriages for services into Manchester Victoria, you say? Not really. We explain why.

You see, these twenty carriages – which “form part of the 650 additional carriages the Government will introduce onto the UK’s rail network by 2014” – are in fact five four-car electric train sets which were introduced to the Stansted Airport express in 1990 and arrive in northern England from Scotrail, where they currently operate in the Edinburgh area. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted the lack of overhead electrification on transpennine routes – so these trains will only get as far west as Bradford and Skipton. How then can these carriages benefit Greater Manchester?

Each four-car train has 293 seats – running six additional services per day on Yorkshire’s electrified suburban network would account for 1,758 seats of the 2,200 additional seats each weekday. That only leaves around an additional 450 seats per day for the three morning peak trains that will have extra carriages – so perhaps one morning peak-hour return journey into Victoria will get an extra two-car diesel unit? Don’t get us wrong: for the Littleborough and Rochdale commuters who will have a better chance of getting a seat in the morning, this is great news. It’s just not as spectacular as it first appears.

Thanks to Paul for the inspiration to write this piece!

[Image credit: “321902” by Alex Drennan on Flickr]


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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15 Responses to Extra trains for Yorkshire

  1. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    This is a well-written article, as usual, by James, giving a headline, then lots of clarification of matters. The media department of TfGM put this on their web site as “blazing headlines” with no substance of what it really meant. To mention Rochdale in their headline was attention-grabbing to very little effect.

    I wrote to Stephen Clark, the Rail Programme Director of TfGM a few days ago with regard to their “good news” and mentioned the lack of electrification of the rail network from Bradford to Manchester. I still await an answer as they are most probably suffering from acute embarressment in being found out in their deception.
    Wouldn’t it be exiting if the diesel units we eventually receive would be more Class 142 Pacers. We could turn Newton Heath into a heritage site for all Pacers!!!!
    MOTTO : The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  2. Watcherzero says:

    I qoute from the original press release:
    “Although the benefit will be felt most in West Yorkshire, this is also good news for Greater Manchester, as it will mean that some peak-time trains on the busy Calder Valley route can be lengthened to ease overcrowding for commuters. Who ever said all 20 would be in Manchester? Currently theres two 158’s covering the electric lines in WY, those will be redirected to strengthening Manchester-Leeds services in peak.

    This is similar to when GMPTE paid to keep the 5 Oldham Loop Pacers in service being used to strengthen morning and evening peak trains in the region.

    • James McCollom says:

      Not everyone reads press releases as thoroughly as you and me, Watcherzero. If you just saw the headline on the TfGM home page you might well think there were 20 new carriages coming to Rochdale and the Calder Valley route.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      With regard to the 2 Class 158’s covering the electric lines in West Yorkshire, is it definate that these will be cascaded onto the Calder Valley route? I have a feeling that these will go elsewhere in the Yorkshire area and stock not quite as good as the Class 158’s will then cascade onto the Calder Valley route.

  3. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Slightly off the subject but still on rail matters, can either you, James, or the other railway expert, Watcherzero, clarify exactly what is the current position with trains not crossing the approaches to the throat of Manchester Piccadilly and also the forward position of the non-reversal of First TPE airport trains there in the plans for the Ordsall Chord. I have received numerous telephone calls with a wide spread of information.

    Also, on the matter of the Ordsall Chord, if First TPE keep the airport as the starting point, what route do either of you think that it will take.

    I am sorry that Watcherzero did not appreciate my “supposedly humerous” reference to all class 142 Pacers finding their true home on a heritage site at Newton Heath.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      Just another rail-based update to rail news in general. High Speed Two (HS2) Limited state that in line with Government policy, there will be no HS2 road shows until 5th May 2011 in the period leading up to the UK local elections.

      The first HS2 road show will start on Monday, 9th May 2011 at Chalfont St. Giles.

      • Watcherzero says:

        Yes the rules prevent any government announcements or potentially political government public events which could influence the outcome of an election after its date has been officially set (usually 6 weeks before).

  4. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    In the second paragraph, I completely to say that I was referring to the route of the First TPE train from Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes.

    Apologies all round……I became a grandad for the first time near midnight last night and the phone keeps ringing with progress reports, so I have not had much sleep.

  5. D9000 says:

    If I recall rightly, the plan for the Sheffield – Airport trains was to omit Stockport, running instead via Marple (as they used to) and going via the Ashburys – Baguley Fold line to Victoria, and thus reaching the Airport via the Ordsall Chord and Oxford Road.

    However, what transpires really depends on what is delivered in terms of infrastructure: the full Northern Hub plan needs more than just the Ordsall Chord, but also new west-facing bays at Victoria, and extra through platforms at Piccadilly, among many other things. If some or all of these are not built (and only the Chord is so far definitely happening) then the plan will get seriously downgraded, and one can see the Sheffield – Airport trains being cut short at Piccadilly.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      I have a feeling that once the Ordsall Chord is built, both the First TPE services to Hull and Cleethorpes will start at Manchester Piccadilly and both the First TPE services to Newcastle and Middlesbrough will start at Manchester Airport as at present and run the route via the Ordsall Chord. There is something in the documents about the number of cross-Pennine trains per hour using the Ordsall Chord.

    • David Garnett says:

      If these trains omit Stockport what will be used by the Hazel Grove Chord. I have a memory of the reason for the Hazel Grove chord was so Liverpool to Sheffield trains woundn’t have to cross the throat of Piccadilly.

      Perhaps the Sheffield trains could pass through Stockport and take the scenic route through Denton and on to the triangular junction west of Ashton then procede to Victoria and go via the Ordsall Chord to Piccadilly and then to the Airport 🙂

      • Paul Sidorczuk says:

        David, there is no reason for the train to omit Stockport, as you say. You have given the route to the airport from Stockport that fits in with the use of the Ordsall Chord, but of course, the final hard and fast proposals for the final approved service routes are still in the early stages of examination.

        Incidentally, on the route from Stockport at present, there has been quite severe problems with the pointwork at Heaton Norris junction and plain track has been laid as a temporary measure. The latest news I have heard is that the reinstatement works will take place over the Easter period.

  6. D9000 says:

    The Hazel Grove Chord will still be used by East Midlands trains from Sheffield to Liverpool, whatever else might befall.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      With regard to Stockport station, I remember that there was a ruling that every train leaving Manchester Piccadilly going southbound had to stop there. Was this ever revoked, and if so, when?
      With regard to David Garnett’s idea for the route from Stockport to Manchester Piccadilly, I remember that sometimes in the 1970’s period, there was an afternoon train from Manchester Victoria to Stockport, leaving from platform 14. It went via the junctions at Miles Platting, then followed the Stalybridge line as far as Ashton Moss North Junction, then continued through Ashton Moss South Junction, Crowthorn Junction,Denton Junction and Heaton Norris Junction to reach Stockport.

  7. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    I have just been on the “Railforums UK” blogsite and there is quite a vigourous discussion in progress concerning Pacer units and the implications of withdrawal. It appears that there have been three bad cases of mechanical failure, carden shafts, etc in the last six months.

    You all know my views on anything Class 142 related ( did they feature in “Paradise Lost”?), but seriously, let’s have a discussion here on our favourite website about any implications, for, let’s face it, they are a major fact of railway life in the region.

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