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Is there a worst mainline than Norwich - Liverpool St


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Given that this thread is now 4 years old, it is still almost impossible to travel at weekends on this line without a rail replacement service. This situation has existed for years - surely, all the infrastructure must have been renewed several times over by now! Oh, and can anyone explain why Greater Anglia has the audacity to charge full fares on such services? A rail replacement service usually adds at least an hour to the journey.

 

Any railwaymen out there who can advise when this absurd situation will end?

 

David C

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Given that this thread is now 4 years old, it is still almost impossible to travel at weekends on this line without a rail replacement service. This situation has existed for years - surely, all the infrastructure must have been renewed several times over by now! Oh, and can anyone explain why Greater Anglia has the audacity to charge full fares on such services? A rail replacement service usually adds at least an hour to the journey.

 

Any railwaymen out there who can advise when this absurd situation will end?

 

David C

 

Not just the mainline David, they have started overhead wire renewals AGAIN on the Southend branchline, I thought all that was sorted last year, obviously not.

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I have used the route twice in recent weeks -once outwards only to Manningtree and then returning from Norwich on Wednesday this week.  The refurbished Mk 3s are a distinct improvement on their previous condition and appear to be receiving cleaning attention although the oddity of including what appear to be Class 387 seats in part of a refurbished FO struck me as extremely bizarre.  The on-train catering seems to be based on a wing and a prayer as far as staffing is concerned but the tea was very impressive. 

 

There are clearly a lot of component renewals taking place on the OHLE east of Colchester with Series 1 parts appearing in various places although no masts appear to have been renewed beyond the Crossrail area.  Generally the track felt to be in good condition although there were one or two spots with poor riding which was probably down to ageing perway.

 

Anyone suffering bustitution is recommended to visit the buffet at Manningtree if it happens to be the place of interchange between modes - my son recommends the beer and I can - from recent experience - confirm the Aspall's cider isn't too bad for draught

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Interesting thread, if you don’t have to suffer it, because it really covers two separate things:

 

- the quality of management, or more accurately leadership, needed to run a railway properly, which has clearly been lacking; and,

 

- how on earth does one provide transport in a very large area that is morphing from very low to less-low-but-still-pretty-low population density?

 

My gut feel is that the second one is an insoluble conundrum unless a way is found to raise money from the people moving into the area and route it into transport (and schools and healthcare, which are also creaking under the strain of change). Some kind of pretty steep ‘incomer tax’ perhaps? Levied by means of really serious section 106 obligations on new building, maybe?

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- how on earth does one provide transport in a very large area that is morphing from very low to less-low-but-still-pretty-low population density?

 

My gut feel is that the second one is an insoluble conundrum unless a way is found to raise money from the people moving into the area and route it into transport (and schools and healthcare, which are also creaking under the strain of change). Some kind of pretty steep ‘incomer tax’ perhaps? Levied by means of really serious section 106 obligations on new building, maybe?

The route serves several major areas of dense population (no Norfolk jokes, please) and once SW of Colchester, the population density increases considerably. I would suggest it is probably similar to the WCML from Coventry southwards.

 

The provision of suitable insfrastructure seems pretty low on local council priorities in Suffolk, the only thing they have done in terms of rail travel as far as I can see, is to completely c*ck up the redesign of Ipswich station forecourt.

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On of the problems is its basically a two track route and once crossrail opens this will make it worse as there will be little if any spare capacity on the electric lines from Shenfield to Stratford.

I don't there is another route into London which handles so much traffic on only two tracks.

The only way to sort it properly is a new line from Shenfield to Colchester next to the A12 but can't see that happening

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Jol,

 

Colchester inwards is, I agree, densely populated, but Norfolk genuinely isn’t.

 

Norwich has a population that is significantly smaller than Milton Keynes, is smaller than Northampton, and the county has a population density overall that is about half that of Northamptonshire, and a third that of Buckinghamshire.

 

Transport in low-density areas is always an issue, and doubly so as population rises.

 

Kevin

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On of the problems is its basically a two track route and once crossrail opens this will make it worse as there will be little if any spare capacity on the electric lines from Shenfield to Stratford.

I don't there is another route into London which handles so much traffic on only two tracks.

The only way to sort it properly is a new line from Shenfield to Colchester next to the A12 but can't see that happening

Also the area is poorly served with Motorways, in fact it doesn't have any barring the M11 which is periferal at best. The two major roads, the A12 and A14 are heavily congested for much of the day.

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From a road and rail perspective the whole of east Anglia is basically a farce especially when you consider how busy Felixstowe is and how much traffic it generates for both.

Going out of Norfolk takes forever and added to the problem is that most folk who have retired to the area have imposed a 35-40mph speed restriction on themselves!

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...

Colchester inwards is, I agree, densely populated, but Norfolk genuinely isn’t.

 

Norwich has a population that is significantly smaller than Milton Keynes, is smaller than Northampton, and the county has a population density overall that is about half that of Northamptonshire, and a third that of Buckinghamshire.

...

But Norfolk is huge, and the western half of the county has one of the lowest population densities in southern England; the eastern half, with Norwich and Yarmouth, is rather more densely populated (or, rather, less sparsely populated).

 

King’s Lynn is the main town in the West; it has just 45,000 people and no significant towns or cities for a big distance in all directions. But it’s the railhead for 180,000, and the station last year was just shy of 1 million passengers. Population density isn’t necessarily the whole story.

 

The east of England region is one of just three regions (along with London and the south-east) which are net contributors to national taxation. Yet it has one of the lowest levels of investment in national infrastructure. Norfolk doesn’t have a single mile of motorway. There’s an old joke: what’s the closest motorway to Norwich? The answer is the Amsterdam Ring Road.

 

In fact that’s not true - but the fact that it’s plausible tells you how poorly the region is served by infrastructure.

 

Paul

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Interesting thread, if you don’t have to suffer it, because it really covers two separate things:

 

- the quality of management, or more accurately leadership, needed to run a railway properly, which has clearly been lacking; and,

 

- how on earth does one provide transport in a very large area that is morphing from very low to less-low-but-still-pretty-low population density?

 

My gut feel is that the second one is an insoluble conundrum unless a way is found to raise money from the people moving into the area and route it into transport (and schools and healthcare, which are also creaking under the strain of change). Some kind of pretty steep ‘incomer tax’ perhaps? Levied by means of really serious section 106 obligations on new building, maybe?

 

Although interestingly both the trains we travelled on in the past week or so well well loaded.  The 12.00 off Norwich which we caught on Wednesday was pretty well loaded by the time we left Ipswich (yes, I realise it's in Suffolk) but hadn't exactly been underdone prior to arriving there and the 1st Class was as near full as made little difference by the time we left Ipswich.   Having gone down to Manningtree the previous week on the 10.30 Liverpool St it looked to be almostfully reserved in the 1st and the Standard Class was well loaded particularly after picking up at Stratford but as we got off at Manningtree I'm not sure where everybody travelled to beyond there.

 

But it has to be noted that it is the holiday season and the no doubt makes a considerable difference, for example the 11.17 off Great Yarmouth was probably about 80% loaded even before it started its journey behind 37407 and within a couple of stops it was full and standing.

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Paul

 

I have no wish to either excuse poor service over what rail infrastructure does exist, nor provoke the ire of the good people of Norfolk, but I think that population density does have a huge bearing, accepting that it is not even across the whole county, because:

 

- any investment for social reasons is usually made on the basis of 'the greatest good for the greatest number';

 

- any investment for profit will tend to look for big markets.

 

Investment for broader economic development, job creation etc, is a bit different, being a policy decision about which parts of the country the government wishes to promote growth in, and current thinking on that one seems to be that 'The North' is the priority in that respect, so trade routes across Norfolk to/from ports come into the picture, which ought to throw some side-benefits (and dis-benefits) locally.

 

What I suppose I'm saying is that no government is ever likely to pass a very big slice of the cake to Norfolk, because a few things, which I will put crudely at risk of causing offence, seem to be true:

 

- not a huge proportion of the national population live there;

 

- the area suffers from 'edge affect', because there are no destinations beyond it;

 

- those that do live there are fairly thinly spread, which means that public transport investment will always show poor returns;

 

- despite the rather poor transport infrastructure, a steady stream of people are moving into the area ........ it doesn't seem to need investment to make it attractive or to promote economic activity;

 

- railways are a very poor mode of public transport in areas of low population density, because they have poor 'reach' ...... it might be better to invest in road and bus-service improvements.

 

Oh dear ....... I probably have provoked ire now; I'd better shut up.

 

Kevin

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Although interestingly both the trains we travelled on in the past week or so well well loaded.  The 12.00 off Norwich which we caught on Wednesday was pretty well loaded by the time we left Ipswich (yes, I realise it's in Suffolk) but hadn't exactly been underdone prior to arriving there and the 1st Class was as near full as made little difference by the time we left Ipswich.   Having gone down to Manningtree the previous week on the 10.30 Liverpool St it looked to be almostfully reserved in the 1st and the Standard Class was well loaded particularly after picking up at Stratford but as we got off at Manningtree I'm not sure where everybody travelled to beyond there.

 

But it has to be noted that it is the holiday season and the no doubt makes a considerable difference, for example the 11.17 off Great Yarmouth was probably about 80% loaded even before it started its journey behind 37407 and within a couple of stops it was full and standing.

I was on the 12.00 Tues and Thursday its a fairly well loaded train but you always get a seat.

Fills up quite a bit at Colchester.

We have job where we go pass on it

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If you think Norwich to London is bad you should try travelling east or west either by road or rail both are horrendous!

 

Nik

It is no longer possible to travel east-west by rail within Norfolk; all those lines were closed (even though Beeching did not recommend closure if the main routes. Enthusiastic BR managers did that).

 

You can travel by train from Norwich to King’s Lynn by leaving Norfolk, with a change at Ely. Both lines have an hourly service. But the timetable “planners” have contrived to create a 50 minute wait for the change. It would have been tricky to make it much less convenient.

 

The electrified West Norfolk line to London has just had every single train in the timetable slowed - about a 15% increase in end-to-end journey times.

 

The same line was promised that there would be a half-hourly train service by last year (a contractual commitment, too) - but now that’s been put off indefinitely and we remain hourly.

 

The same line was also promised most trains (currently 4-carriage Electrostars) would be doubled to 8 by the end of this year. That’s also now been put off indefinitely.

 

One of the Top 10 most overcrowded trains on the network is on this railway, the Fen line.

 

So while I think the Norwich line is pretty poor, I think the Fenline (a former InterCity route in BR’s day) is actually worse.

 

Paul

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At the risk of making a frivolous statement, I found it mildly amusing that Norwich (and Ely?) offers regular trains to both London Liverpool Street and Liverpool Lime Street. I wonder how many travellers have made the obvious mistake...

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One of the problems with Norfolk is that its never had the rail network it needed.

There was never a real direct Norwich to Lynn route as it went via Wymondham

There really should have been a line which followed the path of today's A47 from Yarmouth to Peterborough

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At the risk of making a frivolous statement, I found it mildly amusing that Norwich (and Ely?) offers regular trains to both London Liverpool Street and Liverpool Lime Street. I wonder how many travellers have made the obvious mistake...

 

 

And from Ely/Cambridge (& of course other minor stations) in one direction to Kings CROSS, the other direction to Kings LYNN - I wonder how many make the mistake....?

 

Stewart

 

That's nothing. At Derby you had two trains departing within minutes of each other, one bound for Newcastle, and one for Newark Castle...

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On of the problems is its basically a two track route and once crossrail opens this will make it worse as there will be little if any spare capacity on the electric lines from Shenfield to Stratford.

I don't there is another route into London which handles so much traffic on only two tracks.

The only way to sort it properly is a new line from Shenfield to Colchester next to the A12 but can't see that happening

You won't need extra capacity out to Shenfield; the current TfL Rail service is basically shadow running for when the central Crossrail section opens in December.  The only change will be the 345s disappear into a hole near Pudding Mill lane rather than occupy a couple of platforms at Liverpool Street.

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At the risk of making a frivolous statement, I found it mildly amusing that Norwich (and Ely?) offers regular trains to both London Liverpool Street and Liverpool Lime Street. I wonder how many travellers have made the obvious mistake...

Once while waiting at Norwich, lady with teenage daughter asks if this train is going to London Liverpool Lime Street??!

After she'd repeated it three times despite me trying to explain it was for Liverpool Lime Street, I asked where she actually wanted to go? Widnes was her response!

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