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melmerby

Worcestershire Parkway Station - Now Open

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Does anything run through Shrub Hill from the north towards Bristol that wouldn't be able to call at Foregate St or Parkway? 

 

I've only been to Worcester once, and Shrub Hill was a pretty desolate wasteland that day.

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 Many, many years late. 

 

Still bedevilled by

  1. single track working and the need to take a good book and a cushion if heading east for London.
  2. no long distance XC workings, so journey times to North or South extended by the need to change at some point.

And doubtless if the car car park is already busy, if and when they address point 2 I’ll find myself unable to park there.

 

As a long suffering intermittent commuter to London, the Chiltern route still wins, even if at Kidderminster:

  1. it’s still autumn. (New station to open ‘in autumn’. It’s still autumn.... once again, years late)
  2. the car park isn’t anywhere near big enough. And putting a new car park at Blakedown isn’t going to solve it.

Worcestershire. Land of joined up transport thinking and rapid development. Not.

 

Warwick parkway has platform shelters.......

 

Rant over, off my soap-box. 

 

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Zomboid said:

Does anything run through Shrub Hill from the north towards Bristol that wouldn't be able to call at Foregate St or Parkway? 

 

I've only been to Worcester once, and Shrub Hill was a pretty desolate wasteland that day.

 

A Foregate Street stop would require reversal at Henwick as Rainbow Hill Junction has been taken out  - same issue at Gloucester has resulted in very few North - South trains calling,  

 

Bristol trains running through Shrub Hill take the Norton to Abbotswood curve which avoids Parkway.

 

So no easy answer am afraid! 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Phil Bullock said:

 

A Foregate Street stop would require reversal at Henwick as Rainbow Hill Junction has been taken out  - same issue at Gloucester has resulted in very few North - South trains calling,  

 

Bristol trains running through Shrub Hill take the Norton to Abbotswood curve which avoids Parkway.

 

So no easy answer am afraid! 

 

 

I don't think Rainbow Hill makes a lot difference. Foregate St. is on the line to Malvern/Hereford so any trains going N-S through Worcester would still need to reverse to "get back on track"

However the track layout has IMHO been over simplified.

Why couldn't the crossovers have been between the triangular junction & Foregate Street?

The current bi-directional double single layout is far from ideal for operational flexibility.

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3 hours ago, melmerby said:

I don't think Rainbow Hill makes a lot difference. Foregate St. is on the line to Malvern/Hereford so any trains going N-S through Worcester would still need to reverse to "get back on track"

However the track layout has IMHO been over simplified.

Why couldn't the crossovers have been between the triangular junction & Foregate Street?

The current bi-directional double single layout is far from ideal for operational flexibility.

I think there is a problem with geometry trying to fit crossovers between Rainbow Hill (site of) and Foregate St.  You could probably get one crossover in but certainly not two due to curvature on that section and the crossovers at Henwick were put in the most logical/useful (and economical) place to put them in the 1973 rationalisation.  Crossovers were somewhere to get trains to/from the correct route through Foregate St plus a reversing siding was needed plus there was a level crossing to control and the only place that fitted the bill for all of that was Henwick.

 

Don't forget that when these alterations were carried out it was a very different railway with a strong emphasis on saving money in the face of static, if not actually declining. traffic levels.   Thus when I had my first go at Worcester in 1985 the immediately obvious thing to do was get rid of Norton Jcn and have parallel single lines from there to Wyld's Lane/Shrub Hill (which as far as the OWW was concerned would be balanced by redoubling further east including extending the crossing loop at evesham for about two miles towards Worcester.  My first stage proposed scheme was actually authorised because the financial side made sense with a good payback and some S&T preliminary work was carried out but then the rest of the job was cancelled due to lack of money.  In retrospect measured against subsequent traffic growth it was probably no bad thing that it hadn't been implemented but if it had been implemented its impact on punctuality etc on the traffic levels of the time in which it was devised would have been minimal.  I went through nearly 9 months worth of records using Train Register Books so I knew exactly which trains in the whole of that period would have suffered delay or increased delay as a result of the scheme and the time lost/delays were non-existent to negligible.

 

But the next time I came back to have a further go at Worcester about 15/16 years later I was working in the opposite direction and proposing to put stuff in rather than taking things out - in that instance in order to improve resilience in times of perturbation thereby improving punctuality.  The problem is always that you hsave to look at anything infrastructure wise with the long term in view and you use the best commercial information available to guide you.  But very often that information might not be correct - after all it is usually only some sort of estimate albeit using the best data available.  For example passenger growth after privatisation came as a surprise to much of the industry (and Govt) and an embarrassment on a network which had been trimmed back over several decades.

 

Actually it is a lot more complex than just talking about it ;)

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Have to agree with both Keith's sentiments and Mike's responses. Foregate Street was never anything other than a simple two platform through station and given its elevated city centre location it is impossible to do anything else with it - hence Mike's comments re Henwick as the turn back location with all its added complications.

 

The railway was no doubt in a very different place in 1973 and if rationalisation had not taken place then even further swingeing cuts may have been deemed neccessary.

 

And you now have to wonder whether following the judgment on the Heathrow runway yesterday failing to meet environmental commitments the pendulum will swing even further in favour of rail if the same litmus test has to be applied to new roads and housing developments? The question has to be - could the rail industry actually deliver what is required if this happens?

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

I think there is a problem with geometry trying to fit crossovers between Rainbow Hill (site of) and Foregate St.  You could probably get one crossover in but certainly not two due to curvature on that section and the crossovers at Henwick were put in the most logical/useful (and economical) place to put them in the 1973 rationalisation.  Crossovers were somewhere to get trains to/from the correct route through Foregate St plus a reversing siding was needed plus there was a level crossing to control and the only place that fitted the bill for all of that was Henwick.

 

 

Hi Mike

You only really need one crossover to allow N-S trains to visit Foregate St.

The platforms are bi-directional anyway so some way of changing tracks on the return is all that would be required.

That would save the trouble of having to move foward and crossing West of ther river bridge at Henwick, then coming back through the other platform.

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2 hours ago, Phil Bullock said:

.

 

And you now have to wonder whether following the judgment on the Heathrow runway yesterday failing to meet environmental commitments the pendulum will swing even further in favour of rail if the same litmus test has to be applied to new roads and housing developments? The question has to be - could the rail industry actually deliver what is required if this happens?

 

 

 

 

The major difficulties experienced by recent electrification projects would suggest 'probably not', not  without some major banging-together of heads to sort all the different messes out.

As you say, the environmental angle is an ideal opportunity to push for investment in the railways - but the inability of major projects to be completed on scale/time/budget will only fuel the 'traditional' media/govt. bias against them as expensive examples of not being able to do anything right.

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3 hours ago, Phil Bullock said:

 

 

And you now have to wonder whether following the judgment on the Heathrow runway yesterday failing to meet environmental commitments the pendulum will swing even further in favour of rail if the same litmus test has to be applied to new roads and housing developments? The question has to be - could the rail industry actually deliver what is required if this happens?

 

 

 

There are now likely challenges for the road building programme as well.

 

However Covid-19 could scupper all the forecasts in the immediate future as many finiancial insiders are now fearing a world recession, with all the contractions in consumption, travel etc.

Edited by melmerby
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2 hours ago, melmerby said:

Hi Mike

You only really need one crossover to allow N-S trains to visit Foregate St.

The platforms are bi-directional anyway so some way of changing tracks on the return is all that would be required.

That would save the trouble of having to move foward and crossing West of ther river bridge at Henwick, then coming back through the other platform.

Very true - assuming you could then time the trains to fit both there and elsewhere.

 

However there is one major problem if you reproduce the present timetable and try to offer passengers a similar choice.  At present most, if not all, Great Malvern - West Midlands route trains serve both Shrub Hill (where they reverse) and Foregate St.  And of course morning workings start from Shrub Hill where sets are stabled and terminate there at night.  As far stabling overnight is concerned there is nowhere else at Worcester where there is a suitable site, so something would still be required operationally at Shrub Hill unless a lot more empty mileage is acceptable.  But we can at this point ignore the stabling issue although it won't go away so something operational remains at Shrub Hill, presumably including a train crew base as well.

 

This leaves open the question of what happens to the passengers if Shrub Hill closes?  Obviously there must be some sort of reason to extend journey time on the West Midlands route by as much as 7 minutes purely in order to take the train via a reversal at Shrub Hill.  So Is that for commercial reasons (how many passengers join/detrain there?) or is it 'making the best' of an operational convenience in order to relieve traincrews, or even to reduce infrastructure maintenance cost?  The first question regarding passenger use should be a simple one to answer, the second question could prove a difficult one to answer while the third would be the simplest of the lot to answer.

 

However if passenger use at Shrub Hill at least partially justifies the trains calling there the question then becomes 'why don't those passengers use Foregate St?'  And, as a supplementary 'would those passengers use Parkway instead of Shrub Hill or would they cease to travel by rail?'  If they were likely to switch to Parkway then closing Shrub Hill as a passenger station would mean reversing the train at Parkway instead, adding at least14 minutes to the journey time between Foregate St etc and the West Midlands.  So the next question then becomes would the market between Foregate St and Great Malvern etc tolerate that extra journey time?   BTW we still haven't answered the traincrew question but there could be various ways of resolving that.

 

And this, in the end, brings us back to the whole problem of how to close Shrub Hill as a passenger station.  if there is a simple answer to the reason for trains between Great Malvern and the West Midlands calling there we have a straightforward path to its closure.  But if the reasons are too complex to easily resolve it will need a consultant familiar with the area and its problems to look at the operational railway part of what would be involved in a much wider study into transport in the area.   I'm suffering from déja vu ;) (Although last time round my remit was only to look at the infrastructure implications - which led to my recommendation that a suitable dead end reversing platform would be required at Parkway as well as the main through platform and double track from Norton Jcn.)

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3 hours ago, Phil Bullock said:

the pendulum will swing even further in favour of rail if the same litmus test has to be applied to new roads and housing developments?

 

In this case, is Henwick Road really needed as a through road route?

 

When Hylton Road is flooded (as now) there is an acceptable alternative via Comer Road and Oldbury Road.

 

Otherwise the level crossing could be closed, with the southern part of Henwick Road split into two dead-ends. There would then be plenty of room for the crossover(s) to be moved closer towards the city.

 

And there is plenty of room on the embankment for turn-back siding(s) and even a cross-city shuttle platform, in the space where the power station coal sidings used to be:

 

worc_power_station_sdgs.png.a4c3a0bd6792d66089fb1cd874365de7.png 

 

But it needs joined-up thinking by rail and road planners.

 

Martin.

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5 minutes ago, martin_wynne said:

 

In this case, is Henwick Road really needed as a through road route?

 

When Hylton Road is flooded (as now) there is an acceptable alternative via Comer Road and Oldbury Road.

 

Otherwise the level crossing could be closed, with the southern part of Henwick Road split into two dead-ends. There would then be plenty of room for the crossover(s) to be moved closer towards the city.

 

And there is plenty of room on the embankment for turn-back siding(s) and even a cross-city shuttle platform, in the space where the power station coal sidings used to be:

 

worc_power_station_sdgs.png.a4c3a0bd6792d66089fb1cd874365de7.png 

 

But it needs joined-up thinking by rail and road planners.

 

Martin.

 

Wow - very joined up thinking Martin, the Junctions of Comer Avenue and Oldbury Road dont exactly lend themselves to significant traffic flows at either end. And the frequency of closure of Hylton Road is only likely to increase....

 

Would need a major policy shift for something so radical to gain local support....

 

And probably best to improve local signalling and/or loo facilities to avoid any further delays....

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-21410006

 

 

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18 minutes ago, melmerby said:

There are now likely challenges for the road building programme as well.

 

However Covid-19 could scupper all the forecasts in the immediate future as many finiancial insiders are now fearing a world recession, with all the contractions in consumption, travel etc.

 

Would a world wide recession bring a review of suppling the UK from distant markets - or might we see a resurgence in UK manufacturing, further fuelled by post Brexit UK manufacturing protectionism?

 

And would this place increased demands on the domestic railway system for increased freight flows on top of the current burgeoning passenger growth - and who is responsible for planning such strategic issues in the current fragmented industry?

 

Crystal ball anyone? As far as Worcester is concerned there is no international substitute for Worcestershire Sauce - was spotted on the table in Croatia last year.

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17 minutes ago, Phil Bullock said:

Wow - very joined up thinking Martin, the Junctions of Comer Road and Oldbury Road don't exactly lend themselves to significant traffic flows at either end.

 

 

Hi Phil,

 

Road junctions can surely be modified to suit driverless electric cars? Receiving junction instructions from roadside transmitters? Only 30 years until 2050.

 

Martin.

 

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31 minutes ago, martin_wynne said:

 

Hi Phil,

 

Road junctions can surely be modified to suit driverless electric cars? Receiving junction instructions from roadside transmitters? Only 30 years until 2050.

 

Martin.

 

 

Hee hee! Might be nice to think that rail expansion might have alleviated road congestion by then Martin. Along with completion of the 3rd river crossing via completion of the northern link road which would probably also alleviate traffic in the area. Oh hang on no more road building, doesnt meet environmental test.

 

Locals are quick to point out the narrow end of Comer Avenue, the rail under bridge with a weight restriction and the presence of two schools in the area as further challenging dynamics to the Wynne master plan. What price a Worcester station on the Malvern side of the river - Henwick might be too far in, out by the bypass perhaps? 

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7 minutes ago, Phil Bullock said:

 

Hee hee! Might be nice to think that rail expansion might have alleviated road congestion by then Martin. Along with completion of the 3rd river crossing via completion of the northern link road which would probably also alleviate traffic in the area. Oh hang on no more road building, doesnt meet environmental test.

 

Locals are quick to point out the narrow end of Comer Avenue, the rail under bridge with a weight restriction and the presence of two schools in the area as further challenging dynamics to the Wynne master plan. What price a Worcester station on the Malvern side of the river - Henwick might be too far in, out by the bypass perhaps? 

There used to be a Rushwick Halt:

 

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=17&lat=52.18210&lon=-2.26109&layers=193&right=BingSat

 

 

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4 minutes ago, melmerby said:

 

Absolutely - my father used to use it!

 

http://www.miac.org.uk/rushwick.html

 

From your link the bypass goes right across the site....

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Phil Bullock said:

Locals are quick to point out the narrow end of Comer Avenue, the rail under bridge with a weight restriction

 

My plan applies ONLY when Hylton Road is flooded. Locals can surely put up with a bit of disruption for a week or two each year. At other times Hylton Road can easily handle the extra traffic from closing Henwick Road to through traffic. Most locals try to avoid it anyway because of the level crossing.

 

It is not actually illegal to rebuild bridges which are life-expired. What has happened to the can-do attitude in this country when the response to everything is "it can't be done"? If the Comer Road bridge could be built 150 years ago, we are surely still capable of building one now?

 

Martin.

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1 hour ago, Phil Bullock said:

 

Wow - very joined up thinking Martin, the Junctions of Comer Avenue and Oldbury Road dont exactly lend themselves to significant traffic flows at either end. And the frequency of closure of Hylton Road is only likely to increase....

 

Would need a major policy shift for something so radical to gain local support....

 

And probably best to improve local signalling and/or loo facilities to avoid any further delays....

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-21410006

 

 

I suspect too that the residents of St Clements Close which stands partially on that site plus Iceland on much more of it might not be at all happy to have the embankment widened towards them and used for overnight stabling  or even for reversals.  The crossovers would inevitably have to go on the other side of the river as there would be no space to get them in on that side and give a facing access to that sidings site.

 

1 hour ago, Phil Bullock said:

 

Would a world wide recession bring a review of suppling the UK from distant markets - or might we see a resurgence in UK manufacturing, further fuelled by post Brexit UK manufacturing protectionism?

 

And would this place increased demands on the domestic railway system for increased freight flows on top of the current burgeoning passenger growth - and who is responsible for planning such strategic issues in the current fragmented industry?

 

Crystal ball anyone? As far as Worcester is concerned there is no international substitute for Worcestershire Sauce - was spotted on the table in Croatia last year.

I doubt you'll see a railway signalling contractor re-establishing a works in Worcester ;)  As for anything elser it remains an open quesytion but in the end consumer resistance (or acceptance) will be the big decider - do folk want to pay three or four times as much for the consumer goods they buy or for its impact on the prices of numerous other things they buy which include Chinese made components?

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Rushwick Halt opened on 31 March 1924.

 

Another nail in the claim that Parkway is the first new station in 100 years. I mentioned Burlish Halt a few days ago. Any more?

 

Martin.

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48 minutes ago, martin_wynne said:

Rushwick Halt opened on 31 March 1924.

 

Another nail in the claim that Parkway is the first new station in 100 years. I mentioned Burlish Halt a few days ago. Any more?

 

Martin.

 

That edifice at Bromsgrove looks pretty new! And how about SVR Country Park - or is that over the border?

 


 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, martin_wynne said:

Rushwick Halt opened on 31 March 1924.

 

Another nail in the claim that Parkway is the first new station in 100 years. I mentioned Burlish Halt a few days ago. Any more?

 

Martin.

Most of the now closed intermediate stations on the Worcester- Malvern route were opened at the same time in 1924

 

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On 26/02/2020 at 18:05, Joseph_Pestell said:

2XC services per hour each way from the low level platforms could be a game changer. 

 

I doubt the car park would cope...

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18 minutes ago, Hobby said:

 

I doubt the car park would cope...

Room to expand?

 

Local to me is Whitlocks End, which was a sleepy halt on the North Warwickshire line with little patronage.

gwrwe2893.jpg

 

It all changed when Centro (that was) decided it was a better located commuting station than the next one nearer to Birmingham at Shirley, which was short of parking.

Short Journey trains which normally terminated at Shirley, were extended the short distance to Whitlocks End, which got a makeover with new platforms, long ramps for wheelchairs, pushchairs etc. and a car park.

https://goo.gl/maps/SSYaCNQABzJPucU78

The car park has had to be extended twice so far and is full again due to the sheer number that now use this station.

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Cutnall Green

 

Opened 1928

 

Andy

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