The Anonymous Widower

TransPennine Express’s New Liverpool Lime Street And Glasgow Central Service

Transpennine Express are introducing a new service between Liverpool Lime Street and Glasgow Central stations at the December 2019 timetable change.

So I examined the service for the the 21st January, 2020.

  • There are three Northbound trains at 08:12, 12:12 and 16:12.
  • There are three Southbound trains at 07:45, 11:44 and 16:29
  • Journey times vary between three hours and 17 minutes and three hours and 47 minutes.
  • Trains appear to always stop at Wigan North Western, Preston, Penrith North Lakes and Carlisle.
  • Selective services call at other stations including Lancaster and St. Helens Central.

As passengers can always travel the route with a change at Preston, it is a useful start. It should also be born in mind that there are currently, two trains per hour (tph) between Glasgow Central and Preston stations, so the route with a change at Preston can be quicker than waiting for a direct train.

If you look at the Transpennine service between Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central stations, it appears that there are gaps in the hourly service at 08:00, 12:00 and 16:00.

These gaps have now been filled with Liverpool services.

Current and Future Trains Between Liverpool or Manchester and Glssgow or Edinburgh

The current service is run by nine Class 350 trains, which includes the following.

  • One tph between Between Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central, with three services missing.
  • One train every two hours between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh.

The service from the December 2019 change will at some point be run by twelve Class 397 trains.

It will add three trains per day between Liverpool Lime Street and Glasgow Central, which will give an hourly TranPennine service between Glasgow Central and Preston.

I estimate that the new service will require two more trains, which is incorporated in the larger fleet size.

Timings Between Preston And Glasgow

If you look at the limitings between Preston and Glasgow, you find the following.

  • Virgin’s Class 390 trains take between two hours 21 minutes and two hours 34 minutes.
  • The new Liverpool service is timetabled to take two hours 53 minutes.

As the current Class 350 trains are only 110 mph trains, this is the explanation.

But the new Class 397 trains are 125 mph trains and can probably match the times set by Virgin.

So expect to see some timing reductions on TransPennine’s routes on the West Coast Main Line.

Will Services Between Liverpool And Manchester and Glasgow Split And Join At Preston?

TransPennine Express are meeting their franchise obligations, by providing three trains per day between Liverpool ad Glasgow, but could they do better by splitting and joining services at Preston.

  • Going North, a service from Manchester Airport and one from Liverpool would join at Preston, before proceeding to Glasgow as a ten-car train.
  • Coming South, a pair of trains from Glasgow, would split at Preston, with one train going to Liverpool and the other to Manchester Airport.

Obviously, the trains would need to be able to split and join in a minute or so, but it would open up the possibility of an hourly service from both Liverpool and Manchester to Glasgow.

Liverpool And Manchester To Edinburgh

After the December 2019 timetable change, TransPennine’s Liverpool and Newcastle service will be extend to Edinburgh, giving Liverpool a direct service to \Edinburgh and Manchester, a second service to Edinburgh.

Timings by the various routes will be.

  • Liverpool and Edinburgh via Manchester, Leeds and York – Four hours 28 minutes – Hourly
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh via Preston and Carstairs – Three hours 10 minutes – Two hourly
  • Manchester Victoria  and Edinburgh via Leeds and York – Three hours 52 minutes – Hourly

These times compare well with the four hours drive predicted on the Internet.

Conclusion

Connections between Northern England and the Central Belt of Scotland will improve greatly after the December 2019 timetable change.

New trains on these routes will also mean faster services, where they run on the East and |West Coast Main Lines.

More trains will also increase frequency.

 

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On The Caledonian Sleeper To Glasgow

started this post on the Caledonian Sleeper to Glasgow.

It’s one of the new Mark 5 trains and they are a great improvement, although one Scottish hard man, preferred the old Mark 3s.

Out of Euston we were doing 80 mph and the ride in the Lounge Car is good. At least up to the standard of a Greater Anglia Mark 3, which are some of the best!

These are some pictures of my train.

I don’t think I could fault the train.

But the service was rather sub-standard and I got a partial refund.

 

 

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Row Erupts Over Decision To Scrap Glasgow Rail Link For Transport Pods

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Construction Review.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A row has broken out over a decision to cancel a direct rail link between Glasgow Airport and the town of Paisely, just east of Glasgow, in favour of exploring a self-driving transportation pod system.

The direct rail link was announced as part of a £1.1bn investment in the Glasgow City Region deal agreed in 2014 and was expected to be operational by 2025.

I am not sure, which system I prefer, but then I’m a rather different type of airport traveller.

  • I generally travel alone.
  • I rarely have anything more than a man-bag and a small hold-all.
  • I want convenience and can easily walk up to a kilometre with my hold-all.
  • I only fly Ryanair as an airline of last resort.

But what annoys me most, is if to get to the Airport, I have to scratch around buying a ticket for the link from the station to the Airport.

At all London Airports, except Luton, you buy a ticket to the airport station or use a contactless card.

Luton is introducing an automated shuttle between the airport and Luton Airport Parkway station and if it is not free, I’ll never use the airport.

A Tram-Train Rail Link

Edinburgh and Manchester Airports have tram links between the Airport and the City Centre, so I can’t see any problems with a tram-train link, that instead of dropping you on the street in the City Centre, as a tram would do, drops you in a railway station.

The way Manchester is thinking about tram-trains, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at Manchester Airport.

Based on what I have seen in Sheffield, I don’t believe there would be any serious problems developing a tram-train link to Glasgow Airport..

However, these could be issues.

  • Is there enough spare capacity on the Inverclyde Line?
  • The tram-train link would go to Paisley Gilmore Street and Glasgow Central stations, but what if your local train service to Glasgow goes to Glasgow Queen Street station.

Would many people still use their cars to get to the Airport?

A Pod System

I wrote about the proposed pod system for Glasgow Airport in An Innovative Scheme For A Rail Link To Glasgow Airport.

It has its plus points, but I worry that getting the right number of pods to provide a good service might be tricky.

Would many people still use their cars to get to the Airport?

IThe Connection In Glasgow

Glasgow’s problem is that both these links connect into the centre of Glasgow at Glasgow Central station.

So if your connection to Glasgow comes into Glasgow Queen Street station, you will have to hump your bags across the City Centre.

A plan has existed for years to create Crossrail Glasgow, which would make matters easier.

But nothing has so far been decided.

Conclusion

There is no point in building any form of link to Glasgow Airport, unless Crossrail Glasgow is built.

Otherwise, passengers with an indirect route to Glasgow Central station will still drive or avoid the airport entirely.

 

 

 

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking Between Glasgow Queen Street And Central Stations

I arranged my trip through Glasgow so that I arrived in Glasgow Queen Street station around lunchtime, so that I could have lunch at a restaurant on my way to Glasgow Central station.

I took the side entrance to Queen Street station and walked to West Nile Street, where I had lunch in Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

From the restaurant, I continued down West Nile Street, before turning right for Glasgow Central station.

This Google Map shows the two stations and the area in between.

There’s probably a cafe or restaurant to suit everybody on the walking route.

Walking the way I did was slightly down hill and parts were in pedestrianised streets.

I know Glasgow’s two main stations fairly well, but there should be a signposted walking route.

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

From Glasgow To Carlisle In A Class 350 Train

TransPennine Express are replacing their Class 350 trains with new Class 397 trains.

So coming down from Glasgow to Carlisle, I took one of the Class 350 trains to see why they are being replaced.

The train that I rode, had been spruced up with the new livery.

The new Class 397 train has the following advantages over the Class 350 train.

  • It will be a 125 mph train rather than a 110 mph train.
  • It will have power sockets, wi-fi and possibly 4G connectivity
  • It will be five-cars instead of four-cars.

Will there be any other passenger features like a buffet?

 

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Announces Electrification Of The Schotts Line

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail awards Carillion £49m Shotts electrification contract.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail has agreed a contract with Carillion Powerlines Ltd to deliver the electrification of the Shotts Line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction.
The £49m contract will see the delivery of 74km of electrified railway as part of the Scottish government’s wider £169m investment in the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Electrification of The Schotts Line will provide a fourth electrified line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

From hundreds of miles to the South, it looks a good choice.

  • The route is effectively in three sections, with only the central section between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction, needing to be wired.
  • The bridges that need to be raised are already being worked on.
  • The route goes to Glasgow Central rather than Glasgow Queen Street.
  • The Class 385 trains needed are already being built in Newtown Aycliffe.

It certainly seems that the planning of electrification in the Scottish Lowlands is being better managed that that on the Great Western Railway.

 

 

January 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Glasgow Airport Rail Link Will Be A Tram-Train

This article on the BBC is entitled Plans for direct tram-train link between Glasgow Airport and city.

This is the three opening paragraphs.

Plans to create a “tram-train” link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre have been unveiled.

The £144m Glasgow Airport Access Project could see journey times cut to 16.5 minutes and would bypass the need to use the busy M8.

It would involve a specially-designed hybrid tram-train using the existing railway network and on-street tracks.

That sounds like a sensible plan.

What Is A Hybrid Tram-Train?

As I said in Were The New Merseyrail Trains Designed In A South London Pub?, I believe that Stadler have designed a rail vehicle, that can.

  • Be equipped to run on any of the electrified rail lines in the UK.
  • Run as a train on heavy rail lines such as that between Glasgow Central and Paisley St. James stations, where it would use 25 kVAC overhead electrification.
  • Run as a tram on a dedicated tram track to the Airport, built without electrification, using onboard energy storage charged on the journey on the electrified line between Glasgow and Paisley.
  • Provide step-free access by making sure that the trains fit the platforms, which would all be built to the same height.

I believe that the trains could be a version of those that Stadler are building for Merseyrail. After all, the Swiss company are already building special trains for the Glasgow Subway.

How Many Trains?

As it takes about sixteen minutes between Glasgow Central and Paisley St. James stations., one train would probably provide an hourly service.

But obviously, things do go wrong, so at least two trains would be needed, with one as a spare or in maintenance.

Two trains could provide two trains per hour (tph), with four trains needed to  provide 4 tph.

Trains, Infrastructure And Costs

Merseyrail is paying £9million for each similar four-car train, which includes extras like maintenance.

The only differences would be.

  • Glasgow’s trains would be 25 kVAC trains, whereas Merseyrail’s are 750 VDC third-rail trains.
  • Interior fit and colour scheme.

Note that Stadler have said that the Merseyrail trains can have 25 KVAC equipment and batteries fitted.

I would buy five trains to provide a four tph service, with one as a spare or in maintenance.

This would leave around £100million for the only new infrastructure, which will be a rail spur to the airport from the West of Paisley St. James station station on the Inverclyde Line.

This spur could be built along the following lines.

  • Single- or double-track.
  • On-street or dedicated fenced off track.
  • No electrification.
  • Traditional signalling or in-cab.
  • Simple stations like the tram stops in Birmingham, Croydon, Edinburgh or Nottingham.
  • Step-free level access.

I think a single-track bi-directional track would work, but space should probably be left for double track, if it proves very popular.

It might be better to think of the rail spur as a long well-landscaped siding, which just happens to end within a few metres from an airport terminal.

I think that this link could be built inside the allocated budget of £144million.

Other Airport Links

Note that if this works for Glasgow, what about Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands and Leeds/Bradford and Liverpool Airports?

Leeds/Bradford Airport

This article on the BBC is entitled Leeds Bradford Airport railway station one of three planned.

This is said.

The proposed new station about one mile (1.6km) from the airport would also act as a park and ride for commuters to Leeds and Harrogate.

I wonder if the trains at Leeds/Bradford Airport will go the last mile? It would need the Leeds-Harrogate Line to be electrified, but it would give the Airport the high-class rail link it needs.

Liverpool Airport

I believe that Merseyrail’s new trains, have the capability to serve Liverpool Airport in the same manner, in which the Glasgow Airport Rail Link could be built and operated.

There are more details here in Thoughts On Merseyrail’s New Trains.

Conclusion

Stadler will sell a lot of these trains to provide links into places like airports and town-centres.

 

 

December 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

A Second Trip To Wemyss Bay

These pictures show my second trip to Wemyss bay station with its ferry terminal.

The buildings were designed by the architect; James Miller.

You might ask why this was my second visit to Wemyss Bay. In the 1960s, I caqme up to see Spurs play Glasgow Celtic at Hampden Park in what was a pre-season Glasgow Cup.

I’d arrived early in the morning, after hitching a lift from Gretna in a van that had been delivering newspapers.

So for some reason, I took the brand-new Blue Train to Wemyss Bay station and slept for an hour or so on the beach.

 

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Central Station

Glasgow Central Station is one of the buildings by the architect; James Miller.

The station appears to be larger than Queen Street station, with more space and seats.

It could do with a few more tickets machines though.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

Mystery Tours Of Glasgow

On Saturday, I was staying at Stirling near to the station and wanted to get to Glasgow to have a look at the closure of Queen Street station, for upgrading Queen Street Tunnel, platform lengthening and electrification work.

This article on Network Rail’s web site, which is entitled Glasgow Queen Street Tunnel upgrade, says this.

The work is starting just before the Easter bank holiday weekend, and lasting much longer, with a 20-week closure of the high-level Glasgow Queen Street Tunnel from Sunday 20 March to Monday 8 August so that the concrete slab track inside the tunnel can be renewed safely.

It’s the largest piece of engineering on the Edinburgh to Glasgow line since the railway was built. Renewing more than 1,800 metres of slab will mean 10,000 tonnes of existing concrete slab will be removed, as well as 4,000 metres of new rails laid, and more than 150 staff will be working on the project every day during the 140-day period.

A lot of other work will also be done at the same time.

So Network Rail and Scotrail have called up the spirit of Baldrick, and devised a cunning plan. This map shows the rail lines in the Glasgow area.

Glasgow Rail Lines

Glasgow Rail Lines

My route in from Stirling to the low-level platform at Queen Street was something like.

  • Larbert
  • Croy
  • Lenzie
  • Bishopbriggs
  • Springburn
  • Duke Street
  • Belgrove
  • High Street

Coming back from Glasgow Central, the route was something like.

  • Mount Vernon
  • Bargewddie
  • Kirkwood
  • Coatbridge Central
  • Cumbernauld

Although the train didn’t stop until Stirling.

These are some pictures taken on the Jouney into Glasgow

And these were taken on the way out.

It certainly seems there are more wayus of moving trains through Glasgow, than most other cities.

You almost wonder looking at these pictures and the routes that I took, that Network Rail and Scotrail have an alternative philosophy.

  • Most platforms seem to have been lengthened to at least eight cars, which mean they’ll handle two Class 385 trains coupled together.
  • Most of the lines through Glasgow seem to either be electrified or seem to be having wires installed.
  • It should be noted that the route I took back to Stirling, would also enable a service to be run from Carlisle to Perth via Motherwell, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld and Stirling.
  • Once, the TransPennine routes are electrified, Manchester to Edinburgh can go up the East Coast.
  • Are Network Rail going to apply some of the innovative interchange philosophy I wrote about in Better East-West Train Services Across Suffolk?

If electric trains can get everywhere and they are twice the capacity of the current diesel trains, then mathematics and scheduling rules, says you can get more trains through the system.

So could they be looking to increase the capacity of the two Glasgow stations and open up circular routes between them?

I don’t know the answer, but I do believe that when the EGIP program is complete, it will be interesting to see if more passengers are able to use the trains. What is being done is very different to previous proposals.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment