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Author Topic: FoSBR: Every 15 Minutes  (Read 637 times)
Red Squirrel
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« on: February 23, 2021, 10:59:23 am »

FoSBR» (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways - site) has launched a new campaign to increase the frequency of local train services in the Bristol area to four trains per hour:

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FoSBR sees MetroWest as the core of an integrated transport network for Bristol, Bath and the West of England. But to achieve this, we need a turn-up-and-go service. This means a train every 15 minutes.

During FoSBR’s January 2021 AGM, members voted for this resolution:

“Although MetroWest is bringing much-needed and long-awaited train frequency improvements, FoSBR seeks a 15-minute frequency train service to all Bristol stations for a true metro-style service”.

[...]

The wording “all Bristol stations” has been left deliberately loose.  Some stations will benefit from a 15-minute service before others achieve the 30-minute service. In the longer term we believe there will be sufficient demand to justify a 15-minute service to most stations across the West of England Combined Authority (WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about)) area.

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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 11:16:55 am »

Every 15 minutes would be wonderful, but the question is if there are enough trains and enough staff to run the service.
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2021, 04:05:43 pm »

Every 15 minutes would be wonderful, but the question is if there are enough trains and enough staff to run the service.

I'd suggest that the Severn Beach will need stretches of track redoubling, which means station rebuilds, plus Temple Meads to Parson Street probably needs 4-tracking as well, but I think it would make a massive difference to the city and rail use.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2021, 04:22:40 pm »

Yes, there is no doubt that the Severn Beach line would at the very least need more loops. The WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) Rail Plan acknowledges this.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2021, 11:01:48 pm »

Yes, there is no doubt that the Severn Beach line would at the very least need more loops. The WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) Rail Plan acknowledges this.

The question there perhaps is what would be cheaper/more cost effective? Redoubling some of the line or additional passing loops with the associated S&T (Signalling and Telegraph) complications and costs?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2021, 11:04:10 pm »

I believe the WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) Plan is to double the line between Narroways Junction and Montpellier station. I'm not aware of any other improvements planned so far, but there might be.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2021, 11:42:00 pm »

The WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) plan, as Bmblbzzz says, only covers Montpelier to Narroways . From memory, I think that would allow a 20-minute frequency to Avonmouth. For a reliable 4tph service, it would seem likely that more, probably much more redoubling would be required.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2021, 11:13:17 am »

The WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) plan, as Bmblbzzz says, only covers Montpelier to Narroways . From memory, I think that would allow a 20-minute frequency to Avonmouth. For a reliable 4tph service, it would seem likely that more, probably much more redoubling would be required.


I was asking myself how frequent a service can be run on a single track railway as a general thought for "The Beach". And in GB (Great Britain), the most frequent multi-'train' service I came up with was a 20 minute headway on the Seaton Tramway. The Stourbridge Town branch runs at a 10 minute headway - and indeed from Network Rail

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Britain’s shortest branch line gets superfast upgrade

Journeys on Stourbridge’s unique 'people mover' will soon be much smoother for passengers after a week-long upgrade of its railway line.

Network Rail engineers will replace track along just under a mile of track on the Stourbridge Town branch line in just seven days between Saturday 6 and Saturday 13 March.

From planning to completion, the whole project will take eight weeks – normally it would take 18 months.

The superfast approach has been possible as Network Rail has worked closely with train operator West Midlands Railway to complete major upgrades while passenger numbers are low during the latest lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19.

On "The Beach", 30 minutes looks like it works well save for the need to have a train idle at Temple Meads almost all of the time if it's not linked on to another service.   

As I read it (sitting back in my armchair!) a 20 minute service would need loops 10 minutes either side of Clifton Down - so that's around Shirehampton / Portway Parkway, and Montpelier - or perhaps double from there to Narroways. Another loop somewhere out beyond Avonmouth, where the loop would only be used in times of disruption or if some trains turned back there.

A 15 minute service, being an exact multiple of a 30 minute service should in theory work with extra loops around Montpelier (or double to Narroways from there) and between Sea Mills and Shirehampton.  Out beyond Avonmouth, either another loop would be needed or alternate trains (making in every half hour) to Severn Beach;  that latter would work with the extra trains threaded in to go up from 2 to 4 an hour turning at Avonmouth while the others carried on - you have a neat "dance" rather than trains arriving at Avonmouth having a conflict of interest in terms of whether or not they go on.

The 30 minute service coming in December  Grin carries on to Westbury. A step up to a 15 minute service would eliminate the operational need to make that linkage for efficiency, though for through passengers it should be a real asset and traffic builder.  However, a 15 minute single line service would be very prone to knock-on disruption unless there was a "never mind, drop back 15 minutes" philosophy rather than trying to catch up if the train from Westbury presented late.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2021, 01:01:48 pm »

A train every 15 minutes gives a "turn up and go" service for passengers, tube-style. No need to think about timetables. But looking beyond that, what would make the service easier to use? Beyond Clifton Down, there's only one station every couple of miles; nothing like a tube service! New stations are expensive of course, but if we imagine a magic money wand, might it at some point be better used on more frequent stations rather than more frequent trains?
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2021, 06:33:19 pm »

A train every 15 minutes gives a "turn up and go" service for passengers, tube-style. No need to think about timetables. But looking beyond that, what would make the service easier to use? Beyond Clifton Down, there's only one station every couple of miles; nothing like a tube service! New stations are expensive of course, but if we imagine a magic money wand, might it at some point be better used on more frequent stations rather than more frequent trains?
TBH (to be honest) I think even before the current situation a service of 4tph would have needed 2-carriage trains only. I think 2tph Avonmouth - Temple Meads is enough whereas only one train running beyond Avonmouth is merely a good start: I think WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) is missing an opportunity, especially if the new station at Henbury goes ahead (and the one at North Filton).

Dave
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2021, 07:03:56 pm »

A train every 15 minutes gives a "turn up and go" service for passengers, tube-style. No need to think about timetables. But looking beyond that, what would make the service easier to use? Beyond Clifton Down, there's only one station every couple of miles; nothing like a tube service! New stations are expensive of course, but if we imagine a magic money wand, might it at some point be better used on more frequent stations rather than more frequent trains?
TBH (to be honest) I think even before the current situation a service of 4tph would have needed 2-carriage trains only. I think 2tph Avonmouth - Temple Meads is enough whereas only one train running beyond Avonmouth is merely a good start: I think WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) is missing an opportunity, especially if the new station at Henbury goes ahead (and the one at North Filton).

Dave

According to the recent WECA mass transit briefing, we need to reduce the number of car journeys in Bristol by a bewildering 80% by 2030 to achieve carbon reduction targets. Some of those journeys will be made on foot, or by bus, or bicycle, or scooter; some may no longer be made at all. But doesn't planning for a much more usable train service with higher capacity seem like a step in the right direction? With a greater choice of destinations and connections becoming available over the next few years, Bristol's most under-used asset - its local rail network - could become the core of its sustainable transport system.
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2021, 09:01:49 pm »

According to the recent WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) mass transit briefing, we need to reduce the number of car journeys in Bristol by a bewildering 80% by 2030 to achieve carbon reduction targets. Some of those journeys will be made on foot, or by bus, or bicycle, or scooter; some may no longer be made at all. But doesn't planning for a much more usable train service with higher capacity seem like a step in the right direction? With a greater choice of destinations and connections becoming available over the next few years, Bristol's most under-used asset - its local rail network - could become the core of its sustainable transport system.
Yes but when people start switching to purely electric vehicles - which, I think, will be when the ranges on them get bigger for one thing: the last one I looked at had a range of only 50 miles on electric which is rather less than I would need - then the target will be achieved faster. I gather that First have said they will no longer buy diesel buses after, I think, 2022 and that will help things too.

As for the Severn Beach route I also wonder whether the rail infrastructure is there to support 4tph. Redoubling of Montpelier to Narroways Hill is one thing. Sea Mills would also need redoubling. I think you are looking at something like this:

2tph Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth
1tph Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach, via. Avonmouth
1tph Bristol Temple Meads to Bristol Parkway, via. Avonmouth & Henbury (the missed opportunity I referred to earlier)

4tph might work fine at peak times but perhaps not off-peak. 3tph at the most perhaps.

Also where did that 80% figure come from? If it was BCC» (Bristol City Council - about) then I would be sorely tempted not to give that stat the time of day as I don't trust half the stuff they come up with.

Dave
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2021, 09:12:55 pm »

The 80% figure came, as I said, from WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about). I agree it sounds high; I'd previously heard that we only needed a 60% reduction.

Electric cars will help with NOx and CO2 emissions, but they still emit tyre and brake particulates and it still isn't possible for mass motoring and liveable cities to coexist.

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rogerw
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2021, 10:03:56 pm »

Electric cars are not the total solution. A significant number of dwellings in the Greater Bristol area do not have off street parking. So where can the occupiers easily charge an electric car?
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2021, 11:38:10 pm »

Electric cars are not the total solution. A significant number of dwellings in the Greater Bristol area do not have off street parking. So where can the occupiers easily charge an electric car?
Good point. I am looking to change my car and am considering a hybrid which may be a plug-in type but which I could drive on 100% electric when in town if I had enough charge available. I could possibly charge it from the mains at work if the boss allows (which he probably would). However I don't have a garage and would have to run an extension lead the whole length of my garden path which, in wet weather, would probably not be a very good idea when the length of cable from the mains to my car would be about 75ft! The manufacturer does provide charging points but my Dad, who looks after the garden, would be none too keen on it being dug up. So that makes the idea of a hybrid rather a difficult one.

Dave
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