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Author Topic: Birmingham rail passengers' views sought on Chiltern Railways upgrade  (Read 5814 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: April 07, 2010, 08:35:05 pm »

From the Birmingham Post:

Quote
Train passengers are being urged to comment on draft timetables put forward for the ^250m upgraded Chiltern Railways route from Birmingham to London.

At the centrepiece of the proposed timetable is a direct, fast train service to London from Birmingham Moor Street taking just 100 minutes. Trains will stop at fewer stations en-route, with the fastest trains running non-stop between Banbury and London.

Chiltern Railways is spending ^250m on creating the Chiltern Mainline, with new tracks, upgraded junctions and new platforms at recently refurbished Moor Street station. Typical journey times will be reduced by 20 per cent.

The faster services in the new timetable are made possible by both the upgraded track, and fast trains calling at fewer stations. In the West Midlands, a dedicated local service will be introduced between Leamington Spa and Birmingham Moor Street to ensure connections are maintained.

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Chiltern Railways, said: ^Chiltern Mainline will succeed only if our timetable meets the needs of both existing passengers and our many potential new customers. Anyone that travels to London, or along the M40 corridor, is a potential Chiltern Mainline passenger and I would urge them to visit our dedicated Mainline website and tell us whether the draft timetable works for them.^

For full details of the proposed timetable please visit the website at www.chilternrailways.co.uk/mainline. The closing date for responses is Friday, May 7.
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William Huskisson MP (Member of Parliament) was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2010, 01:40:17 am »

An excellent part of the website, and a great way of showing just how well presented an on-line consultation can be - I think the Phase 1 timetables are pretty much on the mark, but I have my on-line pen sharpened for any similar Phase 2 consultation!

I'm not surprised to see the date slip to next May for the changes as it was always asking a hell of a lot to get all the infrastructure work ready in time for December as originally hoped!
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Chafford1
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 07:12:11 pm »

An excellent part of the website, and a great way of showing just how well presented an on-line consultation can be - I think the Phase 1 timetables are pretty much on the mark, but I have my on-line pen sharpened for any similar Phase 2 consultation!

I'm not surprised to see the date slip to next May for the changes as it was always asking a hell of a lot to get all the infrastructure work ready in time for December as originally hoped!


The commitment to a peak hour 92 mins London - Birmingham service seems to have eased to 98 minutes in the latest documents. However still impressive.

The draft timetables for phase 2 (i.e. the Oxford extension) are on the Network Rail website at:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=\Track%20Access\2%20Completed%20Consultations\2009\2009.10.27%20Chiltern%20Railways%2073rd%20Supplemental%20Agreement%20-%20consultation%20closed%2023%20November%202009&pageid=4591&root=


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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2010, 07:20:31 pm »

An excellent part of the website, and a great way of showing just how well presented an on-line consultation can be - I think the Phase 1 timetables are pretty much on the mark, but I have my on-line pen sharpened for any similar Phase 2 consultation!

Why? Phase 2 is basically the same as phase 1, except the extensions to Oxford.
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willc
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2010, 09:47:33 pm »

Why?

Well let's try the following, just from the summary of proposed timetable changes from next May (ie phase 1) for starters, buried under much talk of improvements - see http://mainline.chilternrailways.co.uk/files/pdfs/4317-Overview%20of%20timetable%20changes%20.pdf

For Banbury, Bicester and Haddenham & Thame: "Some journeys will no longer be possible without a change of train, especially to and from stations in the West Midlands and south of Gerrards Cross"

"Fewer direct trains from Warwick to Birmingham and London Marylebone" - described by Chiltern themselves as follows: "We know that this is a significant change in services from Warwick to Birmingham"

"A dedicated local service will be provided for Hatton and Lapworth, which will no longer be served by regular London-Birmingham trains"
 
That's why - many direct journeys that are possible now will not be in future. Phase 2 will only entrench this state of affairs. Calls at High Wycombe by Birmingham route services will be drastically scaled back.

If you look at the proposed Bicester-Oxford calling pattern in the 2013 timetable at the Network Rail site, there are some gems in there, such as the 07.51 departure from Bicester to Oxford running straight through Islip. The equivalent service now is the key morning commuter service into Oxford. With the increase in services lately encouraging traffic, I am told this service is full to the doors most mornings. Chiltern are proposing nothing from Islip into Oxford from 06.35 until 09.57 - at a station where custom is up about 40 per cent in two years. Where do Chiltern think they are all going? Not to Marylebone, that's for sure.

Needless to say Obrag have been talking to Chiltern about this sorry state of affairs and asking the ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) and Government to increase the minimum required number of stops written into the franchise agreement.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2010, 01:22:51 am »

An excellent part of the website, and a great way of showing just how well presented an on-line consultation can be - I think the Phase 1 timetables are pretty much on the mark, but I have my on-line pen sharpened for any similar Phase 2 consultation!

Why? Phase 2 is basically the same as phase 1, except the extensions to Oxford.

Phase 2 (as proposed) made significant changes to Phase 1 between Bicester and Marylebone.  See my two posts here: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=5563.0

I'm sure OBRAG will be successful in campaigning for appropriate changes to the Islip service - in fact I suspect that the Phase 2 timetable on the website didn't really give such an issue much thought, and I think, on balance, most of the other Phase 1 sacrifices are worth it for the benefits.  For example, unless there is some kind of Centro ticketing discrepancy affecting the figures, neither Lapworth or Hatton, despite showing good levels of growth in the last station usage figures, managed to muster up the passenger numbers of lowly Kings Sutton on the same route.

However, Phase 2 and it's cull of High Wycombe stops and resulting awful connections from Beaconsfield/Gerrards Cross etc. into services there would be going too far in my opinion.
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Chafford1
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2010, 11:18:17 am »

Your earlier post is interesting, so forgive me for reproducing it here:

As one of the doubters as to the validity of the Evergreen 3 scheme, let me address it.

Firstly, thanks for posting the links to an absolutely fascinating document! All of the rumours and contradicting statements have been answered, and the document(s) provide a very clear indication of Chiltern's ambitions.

Some of their intentions are, quite frankly, staggering! Some of the headlines include the 100 minute journey times that we'd been told about. Other improvements are impressive to say the least; London to Warwick Parkway in 75 minutes (down from 88 minutes); London to Banbury at 52 minutes (down from 63 minutes); London to Wycombe at 22 minutes (down from 29 minutes); 750 car park spaces at the new Water Eaton station; 350 at the revamped Bicester Town station; remodelled junction speeds with massive increases including Aynho Junction in the down direction raising from the current 40mph limit up to 85mph (that will be some track cant!); a rebuilt up platform at Bicester North with linespeed increased from 25mph to 100; and a stated hoped introduction date of December 2010 (for phase 1)- only just over a year away!

Now that little lot is ambitious to say the least. Perhaps too ambitious?

Whilst the scope of the track work goes quite some way beyond what I was expecting, I am still concerned that Chiltern are biting off more than they can chew with some of these proposed schedules. Even non-stop, 52 minutes from London to Banbury (a distance by rail of some 70 miles) is very challenging for a 100mph train with non-exceptional acceleration. I note that Chiltern are expecting a 1.2% worsenment of their PPM(resolve) figures as a result of the Stage 2 timetable - I wonder if that's what the press will pick up on!

Also, there are still a significant number of occasions when I have witnessed a Class 165 working vice a 168 on London to Birmingham services this year (I estimate about 5% of workings). That doesn't sound like much, but a Class 165 on those point-to-point timings will woefully struggle to keep up, whereas now it only loses a couple of minutes.

Added to that, fourteen months to install all of the realigned track, extra junctions and revised signalling is an incredibly tight time-scale in railway terms - even if major work started tomorrow.

I also have concerns about what the new timetable will mean for some existing passenger flows. It's win, win, win for many flows and the vast majority of commuters into and out of London. However, some routes suffer badly. As of now, anybody wanting to travel off-peak from High Wycombe to Banbury has 6 direct trains to choose from (and a couple of indirect ones) between 11am and 3pm. With the proposed timetable, there'll be only two trains - a service every two hours on the Stratford route.

High Wycombe to Birmingham fares even worse with no direct trains at all during those times - indeed with a change at Banbury there will still only be a service every two hours! So that's a huge decrease in the number of trains and options for a town of around 100,000. I suppose you could go from Wycombe to Oxford and change there, but if the AXC» (Arriva Cross Country - about) timings are the same from Oxford as they are now, you'll be looking at a 25 minute connection time!

Other routes suffer as well; if you want to go from Beaconsfield to Denham, Ruislip or Wembley off-peak you currently have a direct train every 30 minutes (one stopping at West Ruislip and one at South). With Evergreen 3 then all of the direct trains are gone with only an hourly service if you change at Gerrards Cross.

It's a similar type of story to the WCML (West Coast Main Line) Very High Frequency timetable, with lots of significant flows on the non-London routes suffering badly in comparison with before. Whether Chiltern will be forced to improve things remains to be seen.

So, overall, Chiltern should be congratulated for having the ambition and financial backing to propose such a scheme - and their 'track' record on being able to deliver them on time and on budget has so far been unquestioned -  but many of my reservations remain! Thoughts?

The problem as far as I can see it is that Chiltern has scrimped on track upgrades south of High Wycombe - they could have reinstated passing loops at High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Denham, but instead have restricted new loops to South Ruislip (down) and Princes Risborough (up). I suspect this will restrict their ability to add stops for local and Oxford services whilst maintaining 100 min timings for Birmingham services.

Evergreen 4 anyone?
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Btline
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2010, 06:15:10 pm »

There's little point in adding loops at single stations - any slow train would have to dwell in the loops for about 10 minutes to give time for a fast to catch up, pass through and then get far enough ahead. (including some slack for the obvious performance problems doing this would incur!)

So Chiltern's idea of long passing loops to allow fasts to overtake the GC» (Great Central Railway - link to heritage line) stoppers is the best use of the track.

At the end of the day, the vast majority of passengers want to get to London in the fastest time. This isn't going to change, and Chiltern know it. The new timetable does this very well, will benefit most of their passengers and attract many more than the few that will be turned away because they can't go from Ruslip to Beaconsfield direct several times an hour.

Less stops at Warwick, Lapworth and Hatton will be a huge win for the much greater numbers at Warwick Parkway, Dorridge, Solihull and Birmingham!! Grin

In fact - a major problem I can see in the timetable is that many London - Kidderminster trains do call at Lapworth and Hatton. This needs addressing. (by swapping which trains go out to Kiddy)
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Chafford1
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2010, 06:44:43 pm »

What price a fast early morning service from Moor Street calling at Warwick Parkway and Marylebone only (echoes of the 60s Birmingham Pullman).
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2010, 08:31:18 pm »



The new rebuilt up platform at Bicester North is now rapidly taking shape.  Here's a few shots I took yesterday.









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