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Author Topic: Marple - Manchester tram-train case study  (Read 12520 times)
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rsh
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« on: February 02, 2012, 08:10:39 PM »

An interesting report here (PDF) from the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee about the aspiration to convert our rail services to "tram-train" operation, which I thought deserved its own topic.

To summarise briefly: TfGM are providing detailed appraisals for tram-train operation on the Marple to Manchester via Bredbury route to Network Rail for their upcoming "Alternative Solutions" Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) report. It notes that the route is the most advanced in pre-planning and would be the least difficult (cheapest) to implement. Even if this doesn't put it any closer to reality, we should at least get to see a genuine case study for the potential future of our line, making it seem a little less pie in the sky.

TfGM’s input to the RUS

Network Rail proposes to include a brief case-study of tram-train on the Manchester  – Marple  via  Bredbury  rail  line in  the  report  of  the  RUS, based  on  TfGM’s  analysis.    The  case-study  will  include  a  general description  of  the  proposed  service  change;  a  map  of  the  existing  and programmed  Metrolink  network  and  GM  rail  network;  a  very  general description of the basic infrastructure required; and a high-level table of the  results  from  the  modelling  and  appraisal.     The report  is  due  to  be published for consultation at the end of February 2012.

It is important that the report of the RUS is clear that the Manchester – Marple  line  is  only  one  of  a  number  of  potential  tram-train  schemes  in Greater  Manchester. Officers  will  ensure  all  potential  schemes  are  fully appraised as part of a future analysis.

Any future decisions on the relative priorities of potential tram-train routes should  be based  upon the  development  of  a  tram-train  strategy  for Greater Manchester, which it is proposed is developed over the next 12 months.

...

The Manchester  - Marple  route  is  likely  to  be  among  the  less  difficult tram-train routes  to implement, and has been the  subject  of more initial appraisal  work  than  other  potential  tram-train  lines in  Greater Manchester.

The  policy  climate  within  DfT  and  Network  Rail  is  increasingly  positive towards  tram-train  in  general,  especially  in  view  of  the  need  to  explore options to reduce rail subsidy.


A trial tram-train service linking Rotherham railway station to Sheffield's Supertram is to be decided upon within the next month. TfGM originally submitted Marple - Manchester for this trial, but the Department for Transport chose the Rotherham option, probably because it wouldn't require disrupting any existing services. Frustratingly, it seems the Marple-Manchester plans now rest on the outcome of this trial, despite Metrolink and Supertram being rather different systems.

"Tram-train", by the way, is exactly what it sounds: a rail vehicle/service that can run onto the city streets, like Metrolink, but can also run on the same lines as heavy rail. This is required for the Marple line due to the Sheffield stopping services and freight. It might be electric all the way (would hope so), or it might switch to diesel when it hits the heavy rail lines. It would certainly be a far more frequent, better service into Manchester, comparable to Metrolink and probably in fact branded as such — included in the maps and using the same ticketing. There would also be scope for a future extension into Stockport town centre. It's worth noting that while the privatised rail routes around Greater Manchester run with a subsidy, Metrolink is owned by TfGM with profits going directly back into the network.

The insistence that Marple - Manchester really is "only one of a number" of potential schemes in GM is worrying. This needs to be given full support. We've been waiting over 25 years for this kind of step-change to our rail services, let's not get knocked back down the pile again!

The Network Rail report should be available here for consultation at the end of the month.
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Dave
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 11:23:00 AM »

Thanks for this, rsh - it's extremely interesting, and potentially very good news for us local rail passengers, who have been putting up with a second rate service (and third rate rolling stock) for far too long!

If as a result of this we get increased frequency of service, and new rolling stock, it has the potential to transform the speed and quality of our journeys in to Manchester.  It is also likely to attract a lot more passengers, thus helping to relieve our chronic road congestion.

Rsh, you write: 
There would also be scope for a future extension into Stockport town centre.

Do you mean extension, or would that be a spur off the line at Bredbury?
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rsh
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 02:44:03 PM »

Rsh, you write:  
There would also be scope for a future extension into Stockport town centre.

Do you mean extension, or would that be a spur off the line at Bredbury?

According to various speculative proposals it would be a spur off the line somewhere near Bredbury, yes. Although I don't expect it will be included in this particular report.

The original plan for the East Didsbury line now under construction was for it to continue east and terminate at Stockport bus station (there's a map in this old PDF). From there, Stockport Council have been reserving a route towards Portwood with the idea of it joining the line at Bredbury (clearly seen on the plans for the new Sainsbury's!).

However, with the East Didsbury - Stockport proposal now apparently dropped (very expensive due to a number of Mersey bridges being required), perhaps it's more likely trams could reach Stockport first from the East instead, if the Bredbury line is converted. It would surely do more to relieve traffic and boost the town centre itself, standing up better in a cost/benefit analysis.

It's also worth nothing that those delightful Pacer trains won't be compliant with new Disability Discrimination Act guidelines from 2019, and would be too expensive/not worth upgrading to meet the requirements. Unless we're just given the next worst rolling stock again, tram-trains would be the ideal replacement.
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Dave
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 02:52:44 PM »

It's also worth nothing that those delightful Pacer trains won't be compliant with new Disability Discrimination Act guidelines from 2019, and would be too expensive/not worth upgrading to meet the requirements.

You mean we've got to put up with them for another seven years?    Shocked
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rsh
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 07:16:49 PM »

Perhaps not quite that long, but there's certainly life left in them yet (or so the DfT seem to think!).

From page 90 of the local transport plan:

Quote
A further issue post-2014 is the need to renew the life-expired Class 14X ‘Pacer’ vehicles. We will work with DfT to secure the next generation of rolling stock.

http://www.tfgm.com/ltp3/documents/Greater_Manchester_Local_Transport_Plan_Core_Strategy.pdf

This case study could begin a push for tram-trains as part of that new rolling stock.
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Duke Fame
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 11:51:27 PM »

It's also worth nothing that those delightful Pacer trains won't be compliant with new Disability Discrimination Act guidelines from 2019, and would be too expensive/not worth upgrading to meet the requirements.

You mean we've got to put up with them for another seven years?    Shocked

What's wrong with them? They don't seem to break down and they get from a
To b in a timely fashion. They are warm in winter and you can open window in summer, no problem.
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Dave
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 11:57:05 AM »

Thay are uncomfortable, overcrowded, noisy and polluting.  If we had decent trains with greater frequency and capacity, as many other areas of the country already do, many more people would be inclined to use them, and we may at last see some relief of the chronic traffic congestion which we have to put up with round here  Roll Eyes
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Duke Fame
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 08:33:48 PM »

Thay are uncomfortable, overcrowded, noisy and polluting.  If we had decent trains with greater frequency and capacity, as many other areas of the country already do, many more people would be inclined to use them, and we may at last see some relief of the chronic traffic congestion which we have to put up with round here  Roll Eyes

Eh? Uncomfortable? They are seats with cushioning, what more do to expect? Noisy? I can hold a conversation on the train so what else do you want? Polluting? If they have 30+ passengers they are more efficient than a car. Scrapping and building trains is not without it's cost, most vehicles take 7 yrs of use to create the pollution it took to build it, it must be similar for a train. More would use the train if there were more trains per hour and they ran until late. Capacity at picadilly negates more services, not the age of the trains.

The solution is to use trams but not out here in the sticks. Remove the local trains from the centre and have a train / tram interchange further should have been the solution when daft cocky leese was trying to get his con charge through
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Barbara
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 09:42:01 PM »

Well I only know that we caught a Class 150 (thanks for info husband!) from Piccadilly at 2.45 today, and it was packed to the doors! Really uncomfortable, and lots of people had to stand.  This was the Sheffield train, and a lot of people got off at each station - but there were still quite a few on after Marple.  And the Pacer we caught on the way in was tatty, not to put too fine a point on it. 

I shall be interested to see how the new timings work out when in place - can't see them being all that popular for a lot of us.  However - time will tell!!
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Barbara
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 08:59:27 AM »

ps to my previous post - the Rosehill train which left just before the Marple one had very few people on it!
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marpleleaf
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 10:16:54 AM »

The Rose Hill rattlers leave Rose Hill with a small number of hardy commuters, but by the time they reach Piccadilly they're pretty much full.
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Dave
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 10:44:50 AM »

Duke writes 'Scrapping and building trains is not without it's cost, most vehicles take 7 yrs of use to create the pollution it took to build it, it must be similar for a train', but maybe he's not aware that the class 142s are now nearly 30 years old!
I guess it's all relative: some people may think our local trains are OK, but if you use local services in other parts os Greater Manchester or in other conurbations you quickly realise how much we are the 'poor relations' :-(
Meanwhile, something tells me that maybe Duke doesn't actually use the local trains very much... ;-)
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Duke Fame
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 02:32:34 PM »

Duke writes 'Scrapping and building trains is not without it's cost, most vehicles take 7 yrs of use to create the pollution it took to build it, it must be similar for a train', but maybe he's not aware that the class 142s are now nearly 30 years old!
I guess it's all relative: some people may think our local trains are OK, but if you use local services in other parts os Greater Manchester or in other conurbations you quickly realise how much we are the 'poor relations' :-(
Meanwhile, something tells me that maybe Duke doesn't actually use the local trains very much... ;-)

As you well know Dave, I tend to get on my bike but I do take the train into Manky when I have to go. Whilst it is fairly well used I rarely struggle to get a seat and then it's fine. The few times I've got on a tram, I've had to stand pretty much every time so what gives?


If the train is 30 years old, is that so bad? Are the engines significantly mpre polluting?
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rsh
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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2012, 07:52:23 PM »

Right on cue, the first version of this report is now available. Details of the Marple tram-train proposal start from page 69 (page 72 of the PDF): http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/imagelibrary/downloadMedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=5468

In summary, Transport for Greater Manchester are suggesting an electrified service from Marple connecting onto the Metrolink network just before Piccadilly and then (I'm surprised at this) running on to Eccles as an extension of that existing line (which goes via Salford Quays). Tram-trains would be brand new rolling stock running every 12 minutes via the Bredbury route, which would be entirely given over to this service. A new bay platform would be built at Marple for terminating services, I presume in the undergrowth behind Platform 1, where one used to exist.

They suggest passenger numbers on the line would rise by as much as 60%, and that the current subsidy on the route would no longer be needed with revenue helping to pay off the cost of the new rolling stock and infrastructure.

Stopping services to Sheffield would still call at Marple and Romiley but would then be diverted via Hyde Central and Guide Bridge. Again surprisingly, this specific example doesn't give any suggestion of converting Rose Hill, which I'd have thought would be the more obvious test bed, stating that its service to Piccadilly would remain, with all trains via Hyde. There's also no mention (unless I missed it) of what happens for New Mills, which currently has two trains per hour.

So although this case study finally gives a good bit of detail to the seemingly eternal proposal of converting the line, it might not ring entirely true to how it'll eventually happen... if it ever does. I don't know if TfGM, Network Rail, the council or our councillors want us to "get behind" a proposal like this, but I'm sure if just the first highlighted sentence below were suggested to any user of the service, it'd be met with an immediate: Yes please!

Quote
Concept

Connection of an existing tram system to the existing heavy rail network, for example the tram train pilot between Rotherham and Sheffield to provide connectivity with city centres and their suburbs to create new journey opportunities, tap new markets, opportunities for new stations. This option is illustrated with reference to modeling conducted by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) of the proposed conversion of the Marple line in Manchester to tram train. The Manchester – Marple route is one of a number of potential tram train schemes in Greater Manchester and the relevant local planning authorities will need to consider the route along with other tram train possibilities in an appropriate strategic context.

The TfGM modelled proposal is a tram train extension of the Metrolink Eccles to Manchester Piccadilly services to run through to Marple, at a 12 minute headway, with:

• all tram train services calling at all stations

• the existing rail services modified as follows:

• all Manchester Piccadilly– Marple / New Mills via Bredbury services are withdrawn
• existing local services from Manchester Piccadilly – Marple Rose Hill via Guide Bridge service are retained
• existing local services from Manchester Piccadilly to Chinley and the Hope Valley (one train per hour) serving Ashburys and Maple are diverted to call at Guide Bridge and Hyde Central, continuing to Romiley, Marple, Strines, New Mills etc.

Infrastructure

Specific Marple line infrastructure and rolling stock includes:

• tram train rolling stock
• connection to the Metrolink line
• electrification of Ashburys to Marple rail line for through running and track sharing by Metrolink services
• new bay platform at Marple for terminating Metrolink services

Impact

The Marple line tram train proposals are expected to deliver the following changes:

• improved journey times and network connectivity, with the creation of direct journey opportunities from stations on the Marple line to the city centre and beyond, linking into the existing Metrolink network
• extension of programmed Metrolink services running through the city centre to Manchester Piccadilly through to Marple, offering services every 12 minutes thereby delivering a net increase in trains on the route, especially at inner suburban stations. Tram train services would replace some existing heavy rail services, whilst other existing services would be modified
• a more balanced pattern of demand by time of day through attracting a less work dominated range of trip purposes, in large part due to providing a much more attractive service from the inner urban area, which has a much higher trip rate to Manchester city centre for non-work purposes than the outer part of the route
• Adoption of Metrolink fares and ticketing on tram train services.

Loads more general details in the PDF at the link above.

Hope this is interesting to someone! Wink
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marplerambler
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2012, 04:53:09 PM »

A little more lateral thinking is required here. Does Marple need a tram service to Manchester via Bredbury or Guide Bridge?  The answer to this is no. The railway infrastructure is already there, electrification may be beneficial in the long term but the only obvious change for the passenger would be a change in rolling stock, yellow trams designed with few seats primarily to carry as many standing passengers as possible are the alternative to existing blue trains with more seats but little leg space and a large number of standing passengers. The peak period service recently has been improved by the addition of extra carriages. Marple’s main transport problem is not Manchester trains, it is the link to Stockport: a rush hour bus (and car) journey from Marple or Rose Hill to Stockport takes longer than the train journey to Manchester and this is the problem which needs to be addressed: this is a problem which could be solved by a tram. If money is going to be spent, invest in a Marple-Stockport tram. Possible options include a tram from Rose Hill/Marple along the existing line to the Reddish Vale viaduct then a tram link onto the old Stalybridge to Stockport railway line. Another option could be tram down the road from Marple centre to Rose Hill with a tram track on the Middlewood Way via High Lane and a loop onto the Buxton – Stockport line at Middlewood. Trams by their very nature can use road and rail. Why not use the railway track as far as the M60 and construct a tram link onto Lingard Lane/Brinnington Rd, use Brinnington Road from the M60 bridge as far as the Jack and Jill and then use the old railway track to the old Stockport Tiviot Dale station? Future extension of the Hazel Grove bypass to Bredbury at a future date will incorporate a junction with the A626 making the road journey to Stockport even worse. A tram scheme to Stockport would be much more valuable to Marple.
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