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2 hours ago, taxman said:

Really, where does it say that in their franchise agreement?

"No growth" franchises have been around for years.

It is not a term that appears in the franchise documents. Critical financial parts of the Contract for the Franchise are not open to be seen by the Public.

 

It is a term extensively used by observers to describe a franchise in which the:

a) the Government plans for an expected zero growth or reduction in demand( even when growth is increasing).

b) or  more cynically, the Government wants to discourage demand.

 

This is effectively achieved by the Government financially penalizing the TOC if it expands its network, improves capacity or frequency.

The Government already controls the ability of the TOC to acquire or modernise the trains it uses.

 

The underlying reason why the Government does this is financial.

Either:

Many Northern routes have the fares set by the PTEs.

The PTEs can also demand services to their stations.

This is good for the user but not for profitability of the TOCs and the Government which gets less money from the TOCs.

OR 

Rural lines  are not profitable so the TOCs won't run them without special financial compensation.

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Thanks Annie

 

What is worse than this is that the government then completely bury their heads in the sand when overcrowding becomes a problem pushing all the blame on the operator and refusing to change the agreement.

 

train companies can play this card as well most notably Virgin who held the government to ransom over the lengthening of the Pendelinos a few years back

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The previous Northern franchise was a no growth one, the current one is part way into a programme of Arriva introducing more services, new routes and a combination of new and refurbished trains.

 

There have been issues in the past with the likes of Transpennine Express, Virgin Cross Country and Midland Mainline introducing brand new trains that really needed more capacity, with the latter two however that was partly down to tremendous growth in passenger numbers on the back of significant timetable improvements. 

 

The story with TPE was First wanted 4 car trains building but the DfT ruled that they should only be 3 car.

 

New trains are now being built for all Transpennine Express routes except Sheffield where some of the redundant 3 car diesels will be cascaded to, at some point we'll have them running theiugh Sheffield paired up as 6 car trains.

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On 29/08/2019 at 11:16, amnicoll said:

Annie is right that it is the government that bear the blame for the overcrowding and not the train company.

 

yes the 158 may be old but I am not sure on this route how much faster other diesels will be and I would rather a nice refurbished 4 car 158 with a seat than a 3 car 185 and no seat.

The 2 car class 158 diesel unit has a top speed of 90mph, is air conditioned, has a gangway connection between trains when coupled together and EMT gave them a decent refurbishment,  with 4 car formations they've proved a perfectly decent choice of rolling stock for the route. 

 

They are getting old now however and perhaps not as reliable as they once were as a result as well as being a little outdated in some respects. 

 

The DfT proposal is to chop Liverpool-Norwich in half with a different operator running the Liverpool end.

 

It is assumed Transpennine Express will take Nottingham to Liverpool over and run it to a similar specification to Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport.

 

In terms of stock, the choice is more cascaded class 185 3 car diesel units (likely running coupled in pairs) or to build more of the loco hauled trains currently being introduced on their Liverpool to Scarborough via Leeds route. 

 

Both options are 100mph trains with air conditioning,  both first class and standard class accommodation,  on board information systems, phone charging sockets, toilets and wifi. 

 

A negative point with the class 185 is no gangway connection between units when running coupled up, so remain two seperate 3 car units rather than a 6 car walk through train.

 

The Liverpool route has conflicting needs to balance - it's a long distance,  limited stop Intercity service but also carries a lot of commuters and short hoppers so whilst comfortable, reservable seats and on board refreshments are wanted for longer distance travellers, high capacity and easy boarding is also important. 

Edited by Andy C

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On 29/08/2019 at 10:40, Annie Bynnol said:

The Government are more than happy to suppress demand on the route between Sheffield and Manchester through overcrowding. 

Annie -- as always, grateful for your analysis. But don't understand this line. What is the motivation?

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2 hours ago, Dozer said:

Annie -- as always, grateful for your analysis. But don't understand this line. What is the motivation?

The Government sees no gain for itself for long term projects. They are just too expensive with no short term revenue prospect, and with just too great a risk of bad publicity.

 

In normal countries, the railway line between Sheffield and Manchester would be seen as not being fit for the purpose.

It is a painfully slow railway that cannot meet the current demand let alone predicted demand if it was a modern railway.

 

A plan to improve the railway line between the to cities has never amounted to more than a few long delayed, modified and unrelated projects.

To create a modern line there would have to be a huge investment in solving the problems of:

Sheffield Station platforms redesign.

Sheffield to Dore capacity.

Single track at Dore and Hazel Grove.

All three Dore Junctions

Totley, Cowburn and Disley tunnels refurbishment and occupation time. 

Chinley Station platforms.

Hope and Chinley stone traffic.

Stockport to Manchester capacity.

Remodelling Piccadilly throat and platform 15 and 16.

(Removing the Sheffield to Airport trains is a favoured solution by some).

Re-signalling the whole line.

 

There is no will to do this because of the:

The continuing disruption.

The established priority of Manchester and the Manchester to Leeds line.

 

In isolation these projects cost a fortune without very much benefit being seen. Together they would transform the route, but another future Government would get the merit.

The Government sees no gain for itself for long term projects. They are just too expensive and just too great a risk of bad publicity.

 

Until one of ancient tunnels: at (1888) Cowburn  at 3.4 km, (1902) Disley at 3.5 km or 1893 Totley at  5.697 km become inoperable , Sheffield is well and truly stuffed.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Annie Bynnol

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22 minutes ago, Annie Bynnol said:

The Government sees no gain for itself for long term projects. They are just too expensive with no short term revenue prospect, and with just too great a risk of bad publicity.

 

In normal countries, the railway line between Sheffield and Manchester would be seen as not being fit for the purpose.

It is a painfully slow railway that cannot meet the current demand let alone predicted demand if it was a modern railway.

 

A plan to improve the railway line between the to cities has never amounted to more than a few long delayed, modified and unrelated projects.

To create a modern line there would have to be a huge investment in solving the problems of:

Sheffield Station platforms redesign.

Sheffield to Dore capacity.

Single track at Dore and Hazel Grove.

All three Dore Junctions

Totley, Cowburn and Disley tunnels refurbishment and occupation time. 

Chinley Station platforms.

Hope and Chinley stone traffic.

Stockport to Manchester capacity.

Remodelling Piccadilly throat and platform 15 and 16.

(Removing the Sheffield to Airport trains is a favoured solution by some).

Re-signalling the whole line.

 

There is no will to do this because of the:

The continuing disruption.

The established priority of Manchester and the Manchester to Leeds line.

 

In isolation these projects cost a fortune without very much benefit being seen. Together they would transform the route, but another future Government would get the merit.

The Government sees no gain for itself for long term projects. They are just too expensive and just too great a risk of bad publicity.

 

Until one of ancient tunnels: at (1888) Cowburn  at 3.4 km, (1902) Disley at 3.5 km or 1893 Totley at  5.697 km become inoperable , Sheffield is well and truly stuffed.

 

 

 

 

 

Absolutely spot on..... with Manchester to Leeds being the preferred Northern Powerhouse "Trans-Pennine" route then Sheffield will remain a branch line City even more so now with HS2 being in question.
Sheffield to Dore needs to be quadrupled, possibility of rebuilding stations at Heeley or Millhouses to appease local transport problems... the extra platform at Dore.... an extra siding/passing section between Grindleford and Chinley in both directions and why do TPE trains have to go via Stockport ?
Surely, an upgrade to the old trans-pennine via Marple et al would ease pressure on the WCML and the lines coming in directly South to Manchester as opposed to the Marple route and low numbered platforms at Piccadilly ?

 

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2 hours ago, darylslinn said:

Absolutely spot on..... with Manchester to Leeds being the preferred Northern Powerhouse "Trans-Pennine" route then Sheffield will remain a branch line City even more so now with HS2 being in question.
Sheffield to Dore needs to be quadrupled, possibility of rebuilding stations at Heeley or Millhouses to appease local transport problems... the extra platform at Dore.... an extra siding/passing section between Grindleford and Chinley in both directions and why do TPE trains have to go via Stockport ?
Surely, an upgrade to the old trans-pennine via Marple et al would ease pressure on the WCML and the lines coming in directly South to Manchester as opposed to the Marple route and low numbered platforms at Piccadilly ?

 

There is currently work being done between Sheffield and Dore. Two trains are able to leave Sheffield at the same time going south. Northbound XC trains can overtake stoppers into platform  1 and 2.

Quadrupling is not necessary if the third line to Dore is bi-directional.

Dore doubling and the Hope valley passing loop is now on the list for actually doing- by 2023.

Heely and Millhouses will never reopen as mainline stations. Even if there was a demand it would slow other traffic.

I was walking along the Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple Railway last Tuesday, most of it is intact and is a very popular bridleway, including a station at Middlewood(on the Buxton Hazel Grove line- no road access!) 

TfGM wants  the Marple Rose Hill for its tram extension but there would be potential for this and the route via Marple to Victoria and Lancashire. The third fast Manchester service?

 

The Hazel Grove Chord opened in 1986 enabled  a significantly faster journey between Sheffield and Manchester via Stockport

(There are significant fare savings to be had by using tickets spilt at Stockport- including everywhere  between London,  Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol, all of Wales, all of Ireland (SailRail), Lancashire, Cumbria and Glasgow)

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19 hours ago, Andy C said:

The 2 car class 158 diesel unit has a top speed of 90mph, is air conditioned, has a gangway connection between trains when coupled together and EMT gave them a decent refurbishment,  with 4 car formations they've proved a perfectly decent choice of rolling stock for the route. 

 

They are getting old now however and perhaps not as reliable as they once were as a result as well as being a little outdated in some respects. 

 

The DfT proposal is to chop Liverpool-Norwich in half with a different operator running the Liverpool end.

 

It is assumed Transpennine Express will take Nottingham to Liverpool over and run it to a similar specification to Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport.

 

In terms of stock, the choice is more cascaded class 185 3 car diesel units (likely running coupled in pairs) or to build more of the loco hauled trains currently being introduced on their Liverpool to Scarborough via Leeds route. 

 

Both options are 100mph trains with air conditioning,  both first class and standard class accommodation,  on board information systems, phone charging sockets, toilets and wifi. 

 

A negative point with the class 185 is no gangway connection between units when running coupled up, so remain two seperate 3 car units rather than a 6 car walk through train.

 

The Liverpool route has conflicting needs to balance - it's a long distance,  limited stop Intercity service but also carries a lot of commuters and short hoppers so whilst comfortable, reservable seats and on board refreshments are wanted for longer distance travellers, high capacity and easy boarding is also important. 

Appreciate the top speed is higher but given that there is very little of the route where this can be used my point was more about the difference to journey time this top speed would make.

 

I do not have comparative data on the reliability of 158/185s but from memory the 158s if properly maintained have proved very reliable

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15 hours ago, Annie Bynnol said:

The Government sees no gain for itself for long term projects. They are just too expensive with no short term revenue prospect, and with just too great a risk of bad publicity.

I rode this line for almost 10 years and never understood why it was such a miserable experience. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

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