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Journey by Journey => Bristol (WECA) Commuters => Topic started by: TonyK on January 13, 2020, 01:20:10 pm



Title: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: TonyK on January 13, 2020, 01:20:10 pm

Here in Bristol it seems very clear that running high(ish) speed trains along existing lines seriously limits the scope for local services. Since the December 2019 timetable change, we have fewer cross-city trains in Bristol and no direct daytime trains from Lawrence Hill or Stapleton Road to Bristol Parkway because 'premium business traffic' (in the form of London-bound IETs) has been prioritised over all else.

Campaigns to open new stations at Wootton Bassett, Coalpit Heath, St Anne's Park, Saltford and Corsham, or to provide a meaningful service at Pilning, or to reopen the Thornbury branch to passengers, are all to a greater or lesser extent held back by pathing issues. If it wasn't for all these trains, we could have a train service.

The Bristol situation seems to have come about primarily because of the increased traffic to London via Parkway, both from Temple Meads and South Wales. The former local trains to parkway now turn back at Filton Abbey Wood, which is fine for MoD commuters who live south of the office, much less so for a lot of other people. There is a body of opinion that sees this as temporary, with a proper service resumed in May, but I am sceptical. It seems that this came as a surprise to GWR and the local transport chiefs after VAR intervened on the new timetable. There were hopes of new stations, as Red Squirrel says, as well as more trains from Yate, and possibly an improvement in the Gloucester service. This seems to have rather thrown a hand grenade into MetroWest Rail phase 2, to follow the time bomb ticking under Phase 1. At least Henbury should be okay, or as okay as it is ever likely to be.

It is clearly not acceptable to the greater Bristol area. It is lovely to have nice new rapid trains heading to where the money is, but it does precious little to solve the area's chronic transport problems, just like WECA.


Title: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 13, 2020, 02:05:48 pm
Indeed.

If I may continue this off-topic meander for a moment, I found myself staring at the Norton Bridge scheme (https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/passengers-benefiting-from-gbp-250m-railway-upgrade-between-stafford-and-crewe) and wondering whether something like that could be applied to Stoke Gifford - Westerleigh Jct. A nice grade-separated junction at Stoke Gifford could work wonders, and another at Westerleigh would open the door to a world of possibilities. Run an extra pair of tracks between them, and we'd be back to the kind of capacity we had before they turned the Midland route into a cycle track park.

How much would that cost? Probably £500-600 million. Not much more than the proposed Jct 18a on the M4...


Title: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 13, 2020, 03:49:32 pm
It was said earlier, in another thread, that the problem with capacity is that you can only get to Parkway from platforms 1 and 2. If that is the major bottleneck then doesn't something need to be done with that junction rather than at Stoke Gifford? Or maybe as well as... ? Or is that not the main problem?


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 13, 2020, 04:59:47 pm
I would think that any major changes to Stoke Gifford Jct would bring about a redesign of the western throat (it that's the right word!) at Bristol Parkway...


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: grahame on January 13, 2020, 05:10:49 pm
Perhaps it needs something like this:

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/ncl_throat.jpg)

Creative Commons 2.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) - Ben Brooksbank (https://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/44502)


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: onthecushions on January 13, 2020, 05:47:26 pm

It should have occurred to those in authority that the closure of the Midland route into Bristol would require more capacity in compensation between Yate/Westerleigh and Stoke Gifford. Also buying HST's (and then Voyagers) for XC and then subjecting them to the gentle speed limit around the Yate curves seems contradictory.

The distance in question is only about four miles although there are bridges and a viaduct.

It's not just northern railways that have been short-changed.

OTC



 


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: JontyMort on January 13, 2020, 06:06:22 pm

It should have occurred to those in authority that the closure of the Midland route into Bristol would require more capacity in compensation between Yate/Westerleigh and Stoke Gifford. Also buying HST's (and then Voyagers) for XC and then subjecting them to the gentle speed limit around the Yate curves seems contradictory.

The distance in question is only about four miles although there are bridges and a viaduct.
 

Yes, Westerleigh to Parkway is seriously heavily-engineered - cutting east of BPW, then substantial embankment and viaduct, including the one over the M4. That’s even before we start on grade-separation at Westerleigh.


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 13, 2020, 06:21:44 pm

It should have occurred to those in authority that the closure of the Midland route into Bristol would require more capacity in compensation between Yate/Westerleigh and Stoke Gifford.
It's a shame but I'm not sure it's fair to say "it should have occurred" to them. Surely it was closed, fifty-plus years ago, because it was deemed surplus to the declining requirements of the time and predicted for the future?

(It would also have deprived us of "Bristol's biggest park" and possibly also of the city's first directly-elected mayor, but that's another topic!)

Quote
It's not just northern railways that have been short-changed.

OTC



 
Unfortunately true.


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: grahame on January 13, 2020, 07:23:29 pm
It should have occurred to those in authority that the closure of the Midland route into Bristol would require more capacity in compensation between Yate/Westerleigh and Stoke Gifford.
It's a shame but I'm not sure it's fair to say "it should have occurred" to them. Surely it was closed, fifty-plus years ago, because it was deemed surplus to the declining requirements of the time and predicted for the future?

I agree ... an expectation of 50 years foresight in the opposite direction to the downwards trend at the time seems unreasonable.  We should be planning for 2070 today, in the full knowledge that telephone boxes might be wanted again.

But I think it would be reasonable to have expected the people who planned to increase Filton Bank from 2 to 4 tracks to have planned for the local trains going up there to have been able to get into the main interchange station at the top (Bristol Parkway) and not terminate a mile and a half short (at Filton Abbey Wood).


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: stuving on January 13, 2020, 08:03:14 pm
But I think it would be reasonable to have expected the people who planned to increase Filton Bank from 2 to 4 tracks to have planned for the local trains going up there to have been able to get into the main interchange station at the top (Bristol Parkway) and not terminate a mile and a half short (at Filton Abbey Wood).

So do I. Within the bit of NR called "Capacity Planning", where they make their "zero defect timetable" (sic), they play video games to see what works best. The first of those is called the "Infrastructure Editor" (why not "Crayonister"?), so I'm sure new layouts can be subjected to the same sort of what-iffery. In fact, I'm pretty sure they do so - and have done for some years. So no excuses.


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 13, 2020, 09:00:09 pm
<digression>
It should have occurred to those in authority that the closure of the Midland route into Bristol would require more capacity in compensation between Yate/Westerleigh and Stoke Gifford.
It's a shame but I'm not sure it's fair to say "it should have occurred" to them. Surely it was closed, fifty-plus years ago, because it was deemed surplus to the declining requirements of the time and predicted for the future?

I agree ... an expectation of 50 years foresight in the opposite direction to the downwards trend at the time seems unreasonable.  We should be planning for 2070 today, in the full knowledge that telephone boxes might be wanted again.
Interesting one. Appointing myself Minister for Global Communications, it's difficult to see a return to phone boxes, but I do think it would be a mistake to reduce our capacity for physical post delivery, both letters and parcels, or to rely too much on private couriers rather than post offices.

<back on topic>
Quote
But I think it would be reasonable to have expected the people who planned to increase Filton Bank from 2 to 4 tracks to have planned for the local trains going up there to have been able to get into the main interchange station at the top (Bristol Parkway) and not terminate a mile and a half short (at Filton Abbey Wood).
Agree 100%. Very shortsighted and it doesn't require a 50-year forecast.


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: onthecushions on January 13, 2020, 09:39:49 pm

I imagine that the key to stopping trains reaching Parkway is now the LEP and one hopes NR and GWR are preparing a case for it to fund the infrastructure. Does anyone here have influence?

I realise that Jan 1970, when the Mangotsfield route was slated to close completely was at the height of the Beeching closures (partly by Labour's Barbara Castle) but there was much more freight then, some unfitted, including the output from the South Wales coalfield. I expect that the the pathing diagram for the combined line was not a pretty sight.

K6 telephone boxes sell very well!

OTC


Title: Re: Junction capacity - Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh
Post by: TonyK on January 13, 2020, 11:36:33 pm

I imagine that the key to stopping trains reaching Parkway is now the LEP and one hopes NR and GWR are preparing a case for it to fund the infrastructure. Does anyone here have influence?

I realise that Jan 1970, when the Mangotsfield route was slated to close completely was at the height of the Beeching closures (partly by Labour's Barbara Castle) but there was much more freight then, some unfitted, including the output from the South Wales coalfield. I expect that the the pathing diagram for the combined line was not a pretty sight.

K6 telephone boxes sell very well!

OTC

The LEP ceded oversight of public transport to WECA upon the creation of the latter in February 2017. My joy at the transfer was short lived. It might not be entirely down to WECA, but things seem to be going backwards  now, which isn't good. I'm pretty sure that the infrastructure since four-tracking would allow any train from Temple Meads to access any platform at Parkway and vice versa, so the problem seems to be one of fitting trains through the junctions in the required numbers, which seems odd to the layman. WECA is currently busy adding new bus lanes for MetroBust and planning a new rapid transit system between Bristol and Bath to compete with the current one, so don't expect miracles from that quarter. WECA does tarmac, not rail.

Freight isn't what it was when coal was hauled by the thousands of tons from South Wales, and when you think of it, a lot of traffic in the days of steam was to supply coal to the railway itself.



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