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Author Topic: Intense use of single line  (Read 10512 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2016, 03:47:44 am »

Is there a case to double track this area?

Single tracking is all well and good on seldom used lines, but the success of TransWilts and the use of the track this weekend suggests that double tracking should be considered, or at least in part.

Double tracking is no longer the silly idea it once was, but even it wouldn't in itself sort out the issue of freight trains leaving Westbury and having to keep ahead of passenger trains behind them catching up - no lay-bys to Swindon.  Technically the main line through Chippenham is bi-directional, but the chance of the second line being available for an overtaking move is low, and signallers have to be careful as one of them discovered with the sleeper last week ... with two trains waiting for the single line at Chippenham - one on each line - and one coming up the single line.  Double track may come back in the next 20 years, but would/will require a second platform at Melksham, I suspect a rebuild of the bridge over the Avon, and realignment of much of the existing track; not cheap, though I don't know of any significant (building) construction on the old trackbed.

Much, much more modest than doubling - see upthread - are an intermediate signal to allow trains to follow at (say) 10 minute headway, and relaying of the junctions with higher speed limits and (at Thingley) the crossover close by where the 'branch' leaves the mainline. But these little fixes only give some extra capacity.   Going further, a loop at the junctions (becoming double junctions so that a train can wait clear of the main line and one can pass it going the other way) would help with robustness.  Lay that out such that it can be used as a bypass / holding line too, and your getting somewhere useful.   A long bi-directional loop alongside the unused platform face at Chippenham would also provide for this bypassing, and would allow a train to be turned whilst expresses and freight passed both ways. Would have been useful, I suspect, on Saturday when a TransWilts train was turned at Chippenham amongst the heavy traffic - but I suspect the main use would be for bypassing, with trains in the future - coming up from Southampton (previous stop Melksham) and Bristol (previous stop Corsham) carrying on to Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon as a minimum.

A loop somewhere near Melksham could also be useful. At the station means doubling the station or having it only as a bi-directional freight loop. Platforms on both lines means cost and (unless bidirectional) removes the overtaking possibility.  Platform on the loop and on the same side off the end of the loop (Penryn solution) also a possibility.

I'm not best informed to evaluate the options - or what might be needed.  Nor to evaluate whether a significant increase in capacity between Westbury and Chippenham would result in a new but wider (wide enough?) bottleneck from Royal Wootton Bassett into Swindon, or to the east of Swindon if the majority of traffic carried on to the Didcot area.  Much depends on what all this extra traffic (on a regular basis) would be ... performance envelope, need to run to time and possibility of running late, etc.     You could have the Southampton service, and the Taunton to Nuneaton train, each running hourly.  Passenger traffic also on the Bristol Metro - phase 5 adds half hourly trains looping Bath - B-o-A - (restored chord) Melksham - (restored chord or Chippenham reverse) Corsham - Bath. Then you have the London to Weymouth IEP which runs every hour, following the old road from Paddington to Swindon where it detaches from the Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa service and carries on via Westbury, Castle Cary, Yeovil Pen Mill and Dorchester. The TransWilts also handing major freight traffic from Southampton to the north.  Much of this sounds fanciful - with it all, I suspect you need to double and lay-bys ... but who knows in the next 50 years?



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grahame
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2016, 06:14:08 am »

Unfortunately I believe your thinking to be correct, had it been yesterday then most likely would have been done ASAP.

How long would this normally take to fix? Closing the junction for say an hour may be tolerable, if its likely to take 2-3 + hours however then closing the line for that long, with the level of service it has today (with extras to Paddington etc) for the sake of (I'm sorry to say) just 11 Transwilts services means it would be very low priority indeed, and more worthwhile fixing at the end of service, especially as all passengers on that route (excluding Melksham) have an alternative option (via Bath)

I wonder if it is fixed this morning??

Quote
07:04 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 09:05
This train will be delayed between Trowbridge and Chippenham and is expected to be 9 minutes late.
This train will be diverted between Trowbridge and Chippenham.
This train will no longer call at Melksham.
This is due to a fault with the signalling system.
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grahame
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2016, 06:49:31 am »

Not clever ...

Quote
Cancellations to services between Westbury and Chippenham
Due to a fault with the signalling system between Trowbridge and Chippenham the line is blocked. Disruption is expected until 17:00 31/10.
Train services between Westbury and Chippenham may be cancelled or diverted.
Further Information
Passengers for Melksham are requested to change at Trowbridge / Chippenham for bus replacement operated by South Gloucester Coaches.
Passengers for all other stations are requested to circulate via Bath Spa and wait for the next available service.
Due to the line of route, traffic congestion and connection times, the replacement bus will run later than the advertised train times.
For more detailed information please contact a member of station staff or make use of the Customer Help Point systems available.
Last Updated:31/10/2016 06:43

... having said which, it's 06:48 and I'm seated on the 06:38 from Melksham to Southampton coming in to Bradford Junction ... admittedly just stopped at the signal off the single line.
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grahame
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2016, 07:18:11 am »

And 6 more cancellations ... looks like I caught the ONLY train to call at Melksham from start of business yesterday until later this afternoon.    "Technicians on site from 4 a.m." I understand ... which beggars the question "why did they wait until 4 a.m. to start fixing it?"     

Not a happy bunny this morning.  I'm all right folks, but most passengers aren't going to be ... and I can't believe it should take 36 hours to fix a failure!
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eightf48544
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2016, 10:21:10 am »

Improving capacity through Melksham and possibly reinstating Bradford North Loop would be a fraction of the cost of HS2.

The rest of the money for HS2 could the spent on similar schemes throughout the country to relieve bottlenecks and imoved capacity.

It would benefit far more people than HS2.

Ideally we would have a rolling programme of electrification and capacity improvements using the GWML team Newbury to Westbusry and Bath and Thingley to Trowbridge with the Bradford North Loop then Swindon Severn Tunnel Junction, South from Bristol (Westbury?) to West Country Country.

The Midland Team could do Bristol Derby (all routes: Main Line, Via Worcester, Kidderminster Camp Hill Line, Nuneaton Leicester)

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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2016, 11:09:07 am »

Back to normal now apparently.
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grahame
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2016, 12:20:47 pm »

Back to normal now apparently.

And again ...

Quote
Cancellations to services between Westbury and Chippenham
Due to a fault with the signalling system between Trowbridge and Chippenham the line is closed. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.
Train services between Westbury and Chippenham will be cancelled.
Customer Advice
Replacement road transport services are conveying passengers between Trowbridge and Chippenham via Melksham in both directions until further notice.
Further Information
An update will follow within the next 2 hours.
Passengers for Melksham are requested to change at Trowbridge / Chippenham for bus replacement operated by South Gloucester Coaches.
Passengers for all other stations are requested to circulate via Bath Spa and wait for the next available service.
Due to the line of route, traffic congestion and connection times, the replacement bus will run later than the advertised train times.
For more detailed information please contact a member of station staff or make use of the Customer Help Point systems available.
Last Updated:31/10/2016 11:50

With trains shown as cancelled up to and including the peak commuter train home ...
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grahame
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2016, 07:08:51 pm »

And again ...

Quote
18:32 Westbury to Swindon due 19:23
This train has been delayed at Trowbridge, will be further delayed at Swindon and is expected to be 7 minutes late.
This train will be diverted between Trowbridge and Chippenham.
This train will no longer call at Melksham.
This is due to a fault with the signalling system.
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grahame
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2016, 07:25:07 pm »

And

Quote
19:32 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 21:33
This train will be delayed between Trowbridge and Chippenham and is expected to be 7 minutes late.
This train will be diverted between Trowbridge and Chippenham.
This train will no longer call at Melksham.
This is due to a fault with the signalling system.
Additional Information
Customers at Melksham will be provided with road transport to Chippenham. Please see station signage for the pick up location of the replacement transport.
Last Updated:02/11/2016 19:16
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2016, 08:20:48 pm »

......you'll be getting that LTV feeling Graham.....except you seem to get prompt (ish) road replacement! Good Luck!
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grahame
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« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2016, 07:03:15 am »

Unusually, due to the severity of the disruption described above, the TransWilts CRP asked GWR for feedback on what went wrong ... and we have received a good and substantive response which is available on the CRP board at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=17620.0 (that's the board that adds TransWilts minutiae into your feed - please let me know if you want to be added there. In summary - a problem that turned out to be harder to reliably fix than it had appeared at first, requiring possession of a section of line that (on Sunday) was the only way through from London to the Bristol area, and on Monday was pretty darned busy too.

Many thanks to BobM for following this up .. to Network Rail for the fix, and to GWR for informing us well after the event. During the event, alas, it's really hard to track and forecast fixes and there were a couple of curved balls in this case which meant that feedback on prognosis turned out to be optimistic, and fix time extended.  I'm reassured that failed components have been replaced and the problem should not recur.
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2016, 09:34:35 am »

Quote
06:24 Swansea to London Paddington due 10:43 

This train has been delayed at Trowbridge and is now 10 minutes late.
This is due to congestion

Quote
07:27 London Paddington to Swansea due 11:51 

This train has been delayed at Trowbridge and is now 9 minutes late.
This is due to congestion

Last Updated:05/11/2016 09:17

Blooming Transwilts unit getting in the way  Roll Eyes
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grahame
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« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2016, 10:45:00 am »

Quote
06:24 Swansea to London Paddington due 10:43 

This train has been delayed at Trowbridge and is now 10 minutes late.
This is due to congestion

Quote
07:27 London Paddington to Swansea due 11:51 

This train has been delayed at Trowbridge and is now 9 minutes late.
This is due to congestion

Last Updated:05/11/2016 09:17

Blooming Transwilts unit getting in the way  Roll Eyes

Both should be right time by destination, and my understanding is that in railway terms, that's all that matters  Grin

Seriously - three trains every hour on the single track's as close to the wire as the main line out of Paddington on a Friday evening; an intermediate signal would help - or "they" could simply call all the HSTs at Westbury, Trowbridge and Melksham in lieu of the 153, and I'm sure we would not object.  Heck - with notice, we would promote day trip opportunities.
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« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2016, 11:06:07 am »

With the journey time to/from South Wales already greatly increased I feel that three additional calls would be too much of an ask. A call at Westbury would also entail a second reverse. The diverted South Wales services are already reversing at Swindon.
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