Thursday, 11 January 2018

New Timetable

Details of the timetable for Sunday 20 May to Saturday 8 December 2018 have arrived in my database over the last few days, and for the first time in many years we have some major changes on the Northwest Sparks lines.

The new schedules involve a complete re-cast of services all over our area, so it would be too much like hard work to go into details here.  You can see what is intended for your local station on my Open Rail website, just enter your station and a date after 20 May.

I must, as always, warn that the information is very much provisional at this stage.  Network Rail work to a twelve week deadline ("T-12") and all this is outside that limit.  In particular, the rumour mill reports that the Manchester to Preston electrification will not be ready in time, and that the timetable is unworkable without it.  If this turns out to be correct then we can expect major changes to what we are now seeing.

Update Friday 12th:  As usual, the rumour mill was correct.  Manchester - Preston will not be electric in May.  What this means for the timetable changes there, and elsewhere, remains to be seen.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Lime Street Progress

I visited Lime Street to see what changes were made over Christmas.  In summary:-

  • Platform 6 (Old number) is closed.
  • New platform 8 is opened.
  • Old platform 8 is renumbered 9 and re-opened.
  • Platform 9 (Old number) is closed.

Work on demolishing the existing platform 6 is well under way.  It is to be rebuilt longer and straighter and will be numbered 5 in the new layout:

The brand new platform 8 and the former platform 8 now numbered 9 share this island:

This ugly board is to hide the platform 7 (old number) exit signal which is just behind the right hand edge of the panel in this shot, from trains leaving the new platforms 7 and 8 on the track nearest the camera:

Some new departure panels have been added at the concourse end, still wrapped in bubblewrap today:

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Short Notice Closure?

At about half past five today (Saturday) I was rather startled to see a long string of VSTP (Very Short Term Planning) timetable updates which have cancelled every train on the Liverpool/Wigan/Preston service tomorrow.

I am not aware of any announced closure of this line on Christmas Eve so if this is genuine there will be some unhappy people at St Helens station tomorrow.

I notice National Rail are still showing the trains as running, suggesting this is merely a database wobble.  Let's hope so!   I wonder if someone has pressed the wrong button shortly before going home.

P.S. I checked Real Time Trains, and they also show the trains as cancelled, so at least I can rule out a problem in my software.

Update Sunday 10:00:  National Rail are now showing these as cancelled due to shortage of train crew, and so far nothing has run through St Helens.

Update Sunday 13:45:  A handful of services have just been re-instated, with one train making two out and back trips Liverpool - Wigan.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Problem at Huyton?

I've no idea of the reason, but the northern entrance to Huyton station was closed yesterday.
I couldn't see any obvious cause, perhaps there's a problem with the old wall?

Update:  The entrance had re-opened by Tuesday 12 December.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Lime Street Update

Things are gradually progressing at Lime Street, the next blockade is at Christmas.

Work on the new platforms is moving on:
 .. and at the other end, electrification masts and danglies are in place:
Meanwhile, the replacement platform edge on 8 (old number) is also slowly progressing: