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Author Topic: Is it time to take the trains back to Southampton Ocean Terminals  (Read 627 times)
grahame
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« on: November 09, 2019, 01:48:43 pm »

From the International Railway Journal
Quote
Brightline receives approval for Port Miami station
Nov 7, 2019
Written by David Burroughs

THE Miami-Dade County Commission has approved plans for Brightline, soon to be Virgin Trains USA, to build a station at PortMiami by the end of 2020. The station will eventually provide a direct connection between the port’s cruise terminals and Brightline’s services to Orlando International Airport.

Southampton sees 1.3 million cruise passengers per year (versus 4.3 milion at Port Miami). 

Trains used to run to the terminals but that ceased many years ago.  The Disused Stations website page tells us

Quote
With the general decline of passenger services to air transport, the terminals were either demolished or redesigned for general cargoes and freight services but the one at 105/6 survives, albeit greatly altered. The centre section was rebuilt in 1959 and has since undergone several refurbishments as the Mayflower Terminal. During these alterations it lost its rail facilities but with a recent (2010) revival of boat train operations, a temporary platform has been provided at the rear of the sheds.

In 2005, the number of passengers using the port totalled 738,000 "higher than it had been in any one year of the previous century." - and with the figure today being almost double that, I find myself wondering if Southampton might follow Port Miami in due course with rail services restored to a new port / terminal station. 

I note middle of the day services terminating at Southampton Central and possible departures - long distance, Cross Country - ideal for cruise clientelle if extended 5 minutes (and a shunt saved!)
09:47 to Newcastle (arrives 09:17 from Birmingham)
11:47 to Newcastle (arrives 11:17 from York)
13:47 to Edinburgh (arrives 13:17 from Newcastle)
15:46 to Newcastle (arrives 15:17 from Newcastle)
Less sure about the hourly London (Victoria) train than terminates at Southampton from the east, as that's a 3rd rail unit with a 10 minute turn around, and is the slow London service - but it does call at Gatwick Airport for the Fly-cruise market.

Now - how much luggage space is there on a voyager?
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rogerw
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 02:07:59 pm »

I like the idea Grahame but I doubt that XC have the capacity for the additional passengers and particularly their luggage.  Also the Mayflower Terminal is only one of four cruise terminals at Southampton.  There is one more in the "new docks", what used to be berth 101 and two in the Ocean Dock where the old Ocean Terminal, used by the Queens, was situated.  One side of the Ocean Dock has a rail connection but the other side does not as far as I can ascertain.  Whilst the Mayflower Terminal could be easily accessed by trains terminating at Central station, none of the others could without provision of new infrastructure.  The longer distances involved would require extended turn rounds as well. Incidentally, I have used, or visited every one of the cruise terminals.
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broadgage
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2019, 02:59:02 pm »

With growing concerns regarding the environmental costs of air and road transport, I am strongly in favour of new or re-instated rail links to seaports.

Rail is greener than road or air.
Cruise ships are not particularly green, but this might not tell the whole story. A 2 week cruise can be a most enjoyable holiday, and the fuel used should IMHO be compared with that used by a hotel AND that used by an airliner.

Fuel used by liner from UK to USA is more than that used by a jumbo jet. But fuel used by the liner probably compares favourably to that used by a hotel for the same duration, AND that used by an aircraft.

I agree that voyagers are not very suitable for ocean liner customers, but that is NOT a reason to oppose rail serving the ocean terminals.
By the time it is achieved, voyagers might well be replaced or supplemented by something more suitable.
IETs but with a "broadgage approved" internal fit out might be suited.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 03:12:43 pm by broadgage » Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
paul7755
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 05:09:10 pm »

Dedicated open access trains into the docks timed for cruise departures and arrivals have been tried within the last decade or so but AFAICT didn’t prove successful.  I suspect it just doesn’t fit in with having widespread origins all over the country.  Not everyone is coming from Waterloo or via London.

Paul
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Celestial
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 06:09:20 pm »

I would also imagine that many passengers will for peace of mind want to arrive the evening before, particularly those coming from anywhere more than an hour or so's rail journey away.  After all, if you miss your cruise because of a fatality, broken down freight train, etc, it's pretty disastrous if the next stop on the cruise is New York, where you were due to get off.

Also, it means a more relaxed journey to Southampton, rather than having to get up early, feeling under time pressure and crossing fingers that everything runs to time.  And one night's accommodation will be relatively minor in the context of the overall cost of the holiday.

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broadgage
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 09:05:50 pm »

I would also imagine that many passengers will for peace of mind want to arrive the evening before, particularly those coming from anywhere more than an hour or so's rail journey away.  After all, if you miss your cruise because of a fatality, broken down freight train, etc, it's pretty disastrous if the next stop on the cruise is New York, where you were due to get off.

Also, it means a more relaxed journey to Southampton, rather than having to get up early, feeling under time pressure and crossing fingers that everything runs to time.  And one night's accommodation will be relatively minor in the context of the overall cost of the holiday.



Yes, but. If a significant percentage of ocean liner passengers are arriving by train, then the ship could wait for the train.
Alternatively, perhaps passengers could be allowed to board the ship up to 24 hours before it sails, to allow a margin for railway problems.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 09:18:08 pm »

Or up to 24 hours after it sails, if they have access to a fast private motor yacht.
Hmm, hang on, I think something's wrong with that idea...  Shocked
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rogerw
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 09:30:01 pm »

Cruise ships generally have only a 12 hour turn round in port (arr c0400, dep c1600)
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Celestial
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 09:39:13 pm »

I would also imagine that many passengers will for peace of mind want to arrive the evening before, particularly those coming from anywhere more than an hour or so's rail journey away.  After all, if you miss your cruise because of a fatality, broken down freight train, etc, it's pretty disastrous if the next stop on the cruise is New York, where you were due to get off.

Also, it means a more relaxed journey to Southampton, rather than having to get up early, feeling under time pressure and crossing fingers that everything runs to time.  And one night's accommodation will be relatively minor in the context of the overall cost of the holiday.



Yes, but. If a significant percentage of ocean liner passengers are arriving by train, then the ship could wait for the train.


I can't imagine that would happen.  Your responsibility to be on time. A ship of several thousand passengers isn't going to wait if 20 are held up.
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broadgage
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2019, 11:38:11 pm »

I agree that a ship for thousands wont wait for 20 who are late.
In the case of a thousand passengers of whom several hundred are coming by train, then it might be more reasonable for the ship to wait.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2019, 08:23:15 am »

Fascinating feedback - thank you gents. Lisa and I have cruised from Southampton, and met and talked with many of the customers who use the products of P&O, and also Celebrity, from there. The dining arrangements we've chosen have meant we've eaten with three more couples - and different ones - every night and conversation has naturally flowed to where people live.  Near the beginning and end of the cruise, often talking about the journey to and from the ship and I have not been averse if the conversation has strayed, or been encouraged, in that direction during the middle of the cruise too.

You are dead right on some of the issues. It's not all about London - in fact that tends to be a minority of passengers in line with that spread of the GB population or perhaps even biased away from London.  Which is why a terminating Cross Country train that runs right up the spine of England is not only the operational obvious train to use, but also the best one for customers.

Taking a look at the 10 largest urban areas in GB (many "big place" lists at https://www.citymetric.com/skylines/where-are-largest-cities-britain-1404 ), no fewer than five would be directly and practically served by the Cross Country services, with four more accessed with just a single change. For only one it would not be sensible to use the Cross Country service – and that's Southampton itself as you're already there!
1 - 1. London – 13,709,000 (Basingstoke or Reading)
0 - 2. Birmingham-Wolverhampton – 3,683,000
1 - 3. Manchester – 2,556,000 (Birmingham)
0 - 4. Leeds-Bradford – 2,302,000
1 - 5. Liverpool-Birkenhead – 2,241,000 (Birmingham)
0 - 6. Newcastle-Sunderland – 1,599,000
0 - 7. Sheffield – 1,569,000
x - 8. Southampton-Portsmouth – 1,547,000
0 - 9. Nottingham-Derby – 1,543,000
1 - 10. Glasgow – 1,395,000 (Birmingham)

Taking the next 10 big urban places, 7 are served logically with a single change off the XC train, one with two changes, and Brighton and Plymouth are realistically different TOCS from Southampton.
1 - Bristol (Reading)
1 - Leicester (Birmingham)
1 - Cardiff (Reading)
1 - Stoke-on-Trent (Birmingham)
2 - Bolton (Birmingham and Manchester?)
* - Brighton
* - Plymouth
1 - Hull (Leeds)
1 - Coventry (Leamington Spa)
1 - Teeeide (Darlington)

Would people use the train on the day? I believe, yes, they would. The 11:11 Westbury to Southampton is an interesting train - connection from Plymouth at Westbury, into Southampton at lunchtime, it typically conveys dozens of passengers for cruises when there's a ship leaving - and that's most days.  Passenger do refer to sleep i their own beds on the night before the cruise, get up early to travel to Southampton.  And this traffic is already there in spite of the need for a taxi from Central Station to the boat, and in spite of the facility being more a consequence of what trains are running than a plan, and certainly not marketed or guaranteed to catch the boat.  Other indicators or significant boat traffic at Southampton Central include signage about porterage ... and when there at the end of a cruise, lots of familiar faces with luggage on the platforms.  I do worry about the Plymouth traffic after 15th December, with and extra change needed on a Plymouth to Southampton (or Portsmouth) journey; it's a further case of improvement to London journeys at the expense of regional ones.

So - people do (and would) travel out to the ship in the morning / at lunchtime before she sails. I have no doubt of the general metric there. There is, indeed, already a network of coach services from south Wales, and from the North of England and Scotland that bring people to the ship.  From the far flung spots, they set off at silly O'Clock to arrive in Southampton at around lunchtime, then head back with the people who have just completed their cruises. And indeed the presence of this network both solidifies the view that directer and marketed trains would work, but also sews a seed of worry that the trains would be abstractive of the market that's already developed.  I would suggest that most would prefer a train rather than a coach, especially as the train hits city centres with onward connections, where in many places the coaches call on the periphery - our local one here (for example) is at the motorway service area wit a friend's lift or a taxi being necessary, and the logistics of getting on at one junction and off at the next to contend with.

You DO have an issue with "which terminal" at Southampton - probably the elephant in the room. I'm loathe to suggest a minibus for those not headed to / from the Mayflower and yet ... with one or two meeting staff from the cruise company as the train arrives taking luggage from people (just as they take it as you get out of taxis) it might not be such an issue. Open mind on that one.

Open access?   No - sharing a train. I never received the promised slide set from the TWSW talk at Taunton a couple of years back by Cross Country showing along-route loading, but I suspect that the trains selected above are not the busiest of the day, and a wedge of passengers from (or to) Southampton in the middle of the day would not be adding peak loading onto peak loading.

And finally - will the boat wait?  If the connection is supported by the cruise line then, yes, it could. There is a precedent that the connection from the coach is guaranteed, as at intermediate points are returns from official trips.  Our departure for the USA on 1st September was delayed a couple of hours, as (during that trip) was our departure from Newport, Rhode Island. In both cases, relating to just a handful of people.  No big deal really - it's a very different matter waiting in port an extra hour on a late-leaving ship where activities and holiday are underway anyway than to standing crammed on the 16:30 at New Street to Cardiff while crew is awaited.  And cruise ships tend to have schedules set which are significantly below what the ship can manage - more important (and better) to arrive in the next port at breakfast time than in the early hours. So delays can and are made up routinely.

Long post; not a campaign, but more an explanation of how the Port Miami news triggered a wonder about Southampton, and a test of my own sanity for wondering.  Feedback (above in this thread) hugely appreciated - excuse me not quoting individually as it's the total picture - all the jigsaw pieces that need looking at as they interlock with each other.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2019, 09:19:46 am »

There have been comments on the forum before about the XC ability, or not, to modify train lengths when cruise ships are in. In general there is not enough luggage space on the existing Voyagers. In summer there is often not enough space for passengers. How would a reconfiguration change the Bournemouth traffic on XC, which appears significant in summer?

I can't find it again, but I saw earlier this year the sigificant pollution/climate change contribution of cruise ships to Southampton and similar ports.

The connection to Eastern Docks is regularly used for car transport trains. Usually when I am in a position to see there is one, if not two, vehicle transporter ships Eastern Docks.
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JontyMort
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 09:20:52 am »


Taking a look at the 10 largest urban areas in GB (many "big place" lists at https://www.citymetric.com/skylines/where-are-largest-cities-britain-1404 ), no fewer than five would be directly and practically served by the Cross Country services, with four more accessed with just a single change. For only one it would not be sensible to use the Cross Country service – and that's Southampton itself as you're already there!

1 - 1. London – 13,709,000 (Basingstoke or Reading)
1 - 3. Manchester – 2,556,000 (Birmingham)


Taking the next 10 big urban places...
1 - Stoke-on-Trent (Birmingham)
1 - Coventry (Leamington Spa)


To be fair to Cross-Country, most of their xx27 departures from Manchester go to Bournemouth (running via Coventry), which brings Manchester, Stoke, and Cov into the "direct" category.

I'm not sure about London, though. If it's a toss-up between changing at Reading/Basingstoke or getting a taxi at Southampton, the latter wins hands down - on the basis of minimising risk.

Coincidentally, I'm contemplating this issue - for three of us from Worcester - for a Cunard departure next September. For me alone, it would be simple - GWR/XC, changing at Reading**. For the two of us plus my mother-in-law... then you're introducing convenience issues (taxi to... Worcestershire Parkway - has lifts - then the change has to be at Oxford - same platform - then another taxi at Southampton Central). So it's looking like a door-to-door limo.

**This illustrates the risk point. Obviously in an ideal world you change to XC at Oxford. But Reading-Basingstoke-Soton can be done by GWR/SWT if XC is playing up, so I always go through to Reading.
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broadgage
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 01:30:27 pm »

There have been comments on the forum before about the XC ability, or not, to modify train lengths when cruise ships are in. In general there is not enough luggage space on the existing Voyagers. In summer there is often not enough space for passengers. How would a reconfiguration change the Bournemouth traffic on XC, which appears significant in summer?

I can't find it again, but I saw earlier this year the sigificant pollution/climate change contribution of cruise ships to Southampton and similar ports.

The connection to Eastern Docks is regularly used for car transport trains. Usually when I am in a position to see there is one, if not two, vehicle transporter ships Eastern Docks.

XC services at present are not very suitable for connecting to a liner.
It should be possible to obtain something better however, rather than to write off the idea because the PRESENT rolling stock is unsuitable.
IETs are the obvious choice, hopefully of the same MECHANICAL specification as the present fleet but with an improved internal fit out.
The Voyagers thereby displaced could be most useful for strengthening other services.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 01:32:22 pm »

I like the idea Grahame but I doubt that XC have the capacity for the additional passengers and particularly their luggage.

The next XC franchise will surely feature additional stock, whether that's cast-off 22Xs from elsewhere (222s from East Midlands, 221s from West Coast) or a modish AT300 order. Given that the franchise is due for renewal in October 2020, XC should be less sardine-like in the timeframe associated with any new station.
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