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New Train Services Under The New Franchise

From Martin C

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A few more details on the new services from Hebden Bridge under the new franchise, further to the story on the home page. These are expected to be running between 2017 and 2019.

  • All Bradford to Victoria services and the York to Blackpool service will be branded "Northern Connect" - longer distance services with new rolling stock. It is unclear at the moment whether this means brand new or new to the line, but will be significantly improvements on the current Sprinter/Pacer rolling stock - air conditioning, wifi, more modern fittings, higher speed, better acceleration etc. All railbus type Pacers will be phased out by 2019 (at last!), even on the stopper via Brighouse which will presumably be run by refurbished Sprinters.
  • An extra service per hour to Manchester Victoria, possibly calling at Todmorden only, bringing the fast service to 3tph. Some of the line is currently being upgraded to 85mph/90mph running, which with new rolling stock should knock a few minutes off the journey time. This means an extra Leeds service too.
  • All Manchester services are extended westwards through Victoria. The Northern Connect Services will run through to a) Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport b) Newton-le-Willows and Liverpool and c) Warrington and Chester. The stopper will run through to Wigan and Southport.
  • The documents are extremely ill-defined here, but is possible that there will be a rush hour only faster service to Leeds via Brighouse, which could knock 10-15 minutes off the journey between Hebden and Leeds. I wouldn't raise peoples hopes too high here; it is implied not directly specified.
  • Better evening services - 12 departures from Victoria after 7pm, up from the current 5.

Other changes on the Calder Valley service include

  • An extra service between Halifax and Leeds, a new platform is being built at Halifax to allow this.
  • A new service from Bradford Interchange to Wakefield, Sheffield and Nottingham.
  • Not announced, but there will be extra services between Rochdale and Manchester. An extra platform is currently being built there to support these! To improve capacity, Manchester Victoria will become a through station only, so all trains from the west will have to travel through to either Rochdale or Stalybridge.
  • Also not announced, but there is a similar situation at Leeds, where new capacity can only be provided by extended some current terminators westwards. There is a hint in the press release that a Calder Valley service will be extended to Hull, and possibly the current Blackpool to York service extended to Scarborough.

So new(er?) rolling stock, extra services, more destinations and journey time improvements. Good news for Hebden and Tod, probably little change for Mytholmroyd.

From Paul Clarke

Friday, 11 December 2015

Can Nina, Martin or anyone else tell me if all this means the end of the utter lunacy that the last train out of Leeds to HB on weekdays is the 10.35pm?

From Martin C

Saturday, 12 December 2015

At a very minimum, Arriva had to tender a departure from Leeds after 10.45pm with an extra departure sometime after 10 pm. Not that much use I know, but they do seem to have won the contract by offering more than the minimum. I'm hope Nina's group will be pressing for a post 11pm departure.

A thought on electrification (on which I admit to being agnostic), the services to Manchester Airport and Liverpool will run on electrified lines west of Manchester, as will the Chester service as far as Warrington. This will significantly improve the business case for electrification of the Calder Valley line.

From Nina Smith

Sunday, 13 December 2015

In response to Martin and Paul, the Sustainable transport group will certainly be pushing for a last train from Leeds after 11pm, and we will continue to push for earlier trains on Sundays. it is unclear whether these are in the current agreement - they were not in the tender specification, which Arriva have exceeded in other ways.

Martin - very useful info. You are clearly better informed than me, although I am not sure that the Northern Connect semi-fast services will have brand new trains. The MD of Arriva Rail said on Look North that all the Sprinters they are retaining will be upgraded internally and mechanically, so these services may be formed with them. We will have an ongoing relationship with Arriva and will press for new and refurbished units to meet certain standards regarding not just compliance with disability regulations, but also re tables, legroom and wi-fi.

Martin, we'd love to have you as part of the Sustainable Transport Group; our next meeting is in the Albert pub at 7pm on Tuesday 12 January.I'd also like you to contact me direct - my contact details are on the news page.

From Paul Clarke

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Martin/Nina, many thanks for the update and keep up the good work.

I realise that the lack of late train is in the scheme of things not a huge issue but a 11pmish train would mean I don't always have to run from the theatres to get the 10.35pm or have to drive in.

Given the Leeds theatres have such a great offer these days - and the Arena is great too - a later train would surely encourage people to get to Leeds rather than Manchester.

From Martin C

Monday, 14 December 2015

Most of the changes I've described appear on an interactive map that has been issued although there are so many changes to the Calder Valley line they are scattered over several lines on the map.

Apparently details of rolling stock can not be announced for another two weeks because the losing bidders still have a right to appeal. However, Arriva have now announced that virtually all 12 Northern Connect services will have "brand new" stock and the maps shows that the services in the North East will receive the refurbished Express Sprinters.

I think there are two other issues your group should be taking up with Arriva:

1) (Most importantly) Whether or not there will be a fast service to Leeds via Brighouse, cutting 10 to 15 mins off the journey time. Such a service has been described as having a "transformational" effect on passenger numbers and as such would provide a boost to economy of the Upper Valley towns.

2)Whether any of the new services will be terminating at Bradford and if so whether there will Arriva plan cross platform connections to Leeds.

I'll put together an email to you with more details sometime this week.

From Myra James

Monday, 14 December 2015

Paul, I feel just the same about that 10.35 last train from Leeds. I've had to miss theatrical events because of it (I don't have the option of driving) or go to the expense of catching the later train as far as Halifax and a taxi home to Hebden Bridge. It's hard to believe that this poor service persists in this day and age so I really hope that Arriva will do better in this respect.

See also

HebWeb News: Arriva awarded Calder Valley rail franchise (9 Dec 2015)