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Author Topic: Intermediate services v stopping expresses  (Read 1858 times)
grahame
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« on: April 05, 2019, 07:45:55 am »

Very interesting report in the Evening Express from Stonehaven, Portlethen and Laurencekirk (where??), where local MP (Member of Parliament) Andrew Bowie has written to residents or is in the process of doing so over "concerns they are being 'cut off' from the main Aberdeen to Glasgow train line."

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Constituents in the areas have complained no services on the route currently stop at their respective station, with many forced to travel to Aberdeen or drive to Montrose to catch Aberdeen to Glasgow trains.

Many of the residents in Laurencekirk who responded to Mr Bowie said they have abandoned public transport altogether and now take their cars if they want to make the trip to Dundee or further afield.

Stonehaven station has been open from Victorian times. Porthlethen closed in 1956 and reopened in 1985. Laurencekirk closed in 1969 and reopened in 2009.  Service in recent years has been provided by some stops on express trains headed from Aberdeen via Dundee to Edinburgh (some beyond) and Glasgow.   They appear (ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) numbers) to have good usage - three successful stations - though the extra stops on the expresses must have been a difficult balance for those trains based on slowing intercity schedules and providing enough trains for theses stations.

In the new timetable, the expresses no longer stop (for the most part) between Aberdeen and Montrose, and a new hourly sercice is provided from Aberdeen to Montrose, calling at the three stations. Scotrail comment suggests calls are up from 24 to 40 at one of the stations (perhaps the best improvement example for marketing effect?) and checking real time trains it would appear that the 'stopper' gets to Montrose between 5 and 10 minutes ahead of the express.

I've read before that between 40% and 46% of passengers are lost if you replace a direct train with a journey with a change. But what I don't know how this is effected by a considerable rise in service frequency, nor how many of the people from the three stations are actually travelling south of Montrose rather than commuting in to Aberdeen.  To add to the figures I don't know ... I don't know how many long passengers from Aberdeen have been put off the train by the slowness of the drag early in the journey as it makes all those calls.

Why have I written this up?  Because it strikes me as a classic 'trade off' example for considering intermediate calls on long distance services, and how they should be managed as the occasional-call little station grows so that it requires hourly or better, yet has built a customer base who love the long distance trains (either for long distance travel or because they're nicer to travel in than a turbo or equivalent).
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Lee
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 08:16:31 am »

As you brought it up - If Melksham had a choice between an hourly service between Swindon and Southampton/Southampton Airport, or less calls on a more InterCity/Cross Country style service that went to destinations further afield, which would you prefer (no saying "Of course ideally i'd want both", we know that, but in this scenario, imagine you have to make a choice  Grin )
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 08:24:41 am »

As you brought it up - If Melksham had a choice between an hourly service between Swindon and Southampton/Southampton Airport, or less calls on a more InterCity/Cross Country style service that went to destinations further afield, which would you prefer (no saying "Of course ideally i'd want both", we know that, but in this scenario, imagine you have to make a choice  Grin )

Hourly Swindon to Southampton service every time, please, Lee. 

My answer might differ if Melksham's current established service was (say) 6 trains each way on a London to Weymouth service, and that service was attracting significant long distance passenger numbers who were travelling beyond Swindon or beyond Westbury.

The very reason for me writing up this article was to help inform comparisons and thoughts  Grin . But must get on with writing my talk for tomorrow - see http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=20786 - all welcome.
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stuving
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 09:04:41 am »

Very interesting report in the Evening Express from Stonehaven, Portlethen and Laurencekirk (where??), where local MP (Member of Parliament) Andrew Bowie has written to residents or is in the process of doing so over "concerns they are being 'cut off' from the main Aberdeen to Glasgow train line."

You should know better - Laurencekirk is where my father's cousin lives.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 10:14:54 am »

Another factor to add to equation is how easy is the change? Looking at RTT» (Real Time Trains - website) for Montrose it appears that the stopper has a 2 minute turnround and alternates which platform it turns round in. Thus giving alternate same platform interchange for North and Southbound expresses.

However at most UK (United Kingdom) stations same or cross platform interchanges are not possible so you have to use the bridge or subway.

For instance Grahame's: "Hourly Swindon to Southampton service every time, please, Lee."

It could be possible to arrange same platform interchanges with London trains at Chippenham. The Melksham service proceeding the London train to Swindon and following the Bristol train from Swindon.

If Westbury had it's 4th platform restored there would be  endless possibilities for same or cross platform interchanges. 

Salisbury and Southampton Central don't lend themselves to easy interchanges without careful timetabling.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 10:48:51 am »

Another factor to add to equation is how easy is the change? Looking at RTT» (Real Time Trains - website) for Montrose it appears that the stopper has a 2 minute turnround and alternates which platform it turns round in. Thus giving alternate same platform interchange for North and Southbound expresses.

Hmmm ... not quite. Typical hour:

Arrival at platform 1, local, from Aberdeen at 10:04
Leaves 10:06 for siding
10:14 call at platform 1 of Aberdeen to Glasgow express

local train driver takes personal need break

10:42 call at platform 2 of Glasgow to Aberdeen express
local train arrives from siding to platform 2 at 10:49
Departure from platform 2, local train to Aberdeen at 10:50

There are other trains (Edinburgh, Cross Country, LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about)) at Montrose too, but the usual connection looks like Glasgow, and that train will get people to Arbroath, Dundee, Perth and Stirling too.

Looks like similarities to Cheltenham Spa, where local trains arriving via Gloucester drop off passengers who transfer on to the Birmingham Express behind and shunt ... then come out of the siding again just after the express from Birmingham has called to same-platform pick up passenger who have just arrived.


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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2019, 01:33:55 pm »

Just to add another consideration into the mix: a separate stopping service might allow for further stations to be opened along the route, which would not be feasible if their only possible service would add more time to an express.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2019, 09:56:27 am »

Just to add another consideration into the mix: a separate stopping service might allow for further stations to be opened along the route, which would not be feasible if their only possible service would add more time to an express.

Ah - so many parallels.  The switch in ethos from expresses, some of which reluctantly call at intermediate stations between Reading and Taunton to a two-tone service of expresses and semi-fasts not only gives extra opportunities to put in decent services and linkages between intermediate stations on the Berks and Hants, but also allow new stations which would be served such as:
- Devizes Parkway
- Langport / Somerton
- Bent (see {{here}})
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Lee
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 03:53:11 pm »

Over here in France in my part of Brittany, stations on the main lines tend to fall into the following categories on Mondays-Fridays:

1 - Large or strategic towns or cities where all virtually all trains call, express and local.

2 - Smaller towns where most local services call giving a good spread in each direction throughout the day, but few if any expresses do.

3 - Suburbs, towns or villages within the catchment area of a large town or city, where bursts of train services call during the peaks to facilitate commuting or school/student traffic to and from that large town or city, but little else calling outside of this.

4 - Villages beyond the catchment areas mentioned in 3. , where one train in each direction calls per day to facilitate commuting or school/student traffic to and from the nearest large town or city.

On Saturdays and Sundays there is a very clear cut off point - Stations in categories 3 and 4 get pretty close to nowt.

However, on the branch lines in my part of the world - Guingamp-Carhaix and Guingamp-Paimpol - we have 5-6 trains per weekday and 3-4 trains on Saturdays and Sundays in each direction, calling at all stations from the bigger towns down to the smallest hamlets, spread pretty well throughout the day.

What gets me is that we also have a decent ticket offer called "Petits Prix Ronds", which is a return ticket for the price of a single, perfect for a day out. That's not a problem on the branch lines, as the services work well for a day out from Callac to any of the stations, 7 days a week. However, there are a quite a few towns and villages on the main lines that are equally well worth a visit, but the timings available during the week, and often not available at all at weekends, simply dont work for day out purposes.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 07:47:06 pm »

I wonder how closely we could parallel our station types in the UK (United Kingdom), Lee ...

A. All trains
B. Many trains
C. Regular trains
D. Occasional trains
*. Not on a main line

C. Acton Main Line
C. Aldermaston
D. Appleford
D. Ascott-under-Wychwood
?. Ash
C. Ashchurch for Tewkesbury
D. Avoncliff
*. Avonmouth

A. Banbury
?. Barnham
*. Barnstaple
B. Basingstoke
A. Bath Spa
C. Bedminster
C. Bedwyn
*. Bere Alston
*. Bere Ferrers
D. Betchworth
?. Blackwater
A. Bodmin Parkway
*. Bourne End
A. Bradford-on-Avon
B. Bramley
B. Bridgend
C. Bridgwater
?. Brighton
A. Bristol Parkway
A. Bristol Temple Meads
C. Bruton
C. Bugle
C. Burnham

On GWR (Great Western Railway), I don't we have the splurge peak service you talk about for your category 3 ... we used to, if you look back to [ http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=20754.msg262653#msg262653  - Aldermaston, for example] but I think they are all now all day. Perhaps the last (in theory) to move on was Melksham, though really category "4" as a single train each way close(ash) to each peak.
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 09:16:37 pm »

B. Bridgend

This is extremely pedantic. The odd Fishguard boat train doesn't really detract from this being an A (if it did, then Reading's a definite B for sake of the Capitals United).
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2019, 09:28:22 pm »

B. Bridgend

This is extremely pedantic. The odd Fishguard boat train doesn't really detract from this being an A (if it did, then Reading's a definite B for sake of the Capitals United).

No - not pedantic - an error as I rushed to categorise ... agreed it's an "A".
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eightonedee
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2019, 10:00:15 pm »

... and I think Ash justifies a "C" rating, too, as it is used by almost all "stopping" North Downs line services.

I am not sure that the "splurge" type (Lee's category 3) works in much of the network area, or indeed much of England, as our larger towns are much less widely dispersed than in France, so more scope for journeys in both (or all) directions from most stations, rather than simply all going to the nearest large provincial centre. 
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2019, 10:47:02 pm »

Lee 3 - peak splurge, nothing, peak splurge doesn't work financially in the UK (United Kingdom) these days - with staff employed for complete shifts and trains leased for all day, you may as well run services all day even if the passenger numbers aren't high and generate at least some income.  And leisure marketing to get people on those trains is significant to the balance sheet.   That's why I'm ... delighted ... with how the 10:02 up and 15:18 down Melksham to Swindon have done so well (should have, we marketed 'em hard) giving up in effect a second round trip with the same train with darned good loading.

I do recall "splurge" services from Kent (and East Sussex) into Cannon Street / Charing Cross ... with 12 coach trains stacked at Grove Park, on the bridge at Blackfriars, and at Cannon Street all day. But still not a drop to zero trains during the day, I don't think, at any of the stations they served.  Nearest that I know that you'll find in the British Isles these days is Dublin Docklands station ...
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Lee
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2019, 12:12:33 am »

I wouldnt want you to have the impression that Brittany has excessive numbers of units that provide "peak splurge" services and then sit around doing nothing for much of the day - that's not how it works.

Instead, the units that call at all 4 categories of stations in the peak are the same units that ensure a good overall spread of services in each direction for Category 1 and Category 2 stations in the off-peak - they just run faster by either not calling or rarely calling at Category 3 and 4 stations during the off-peak.
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