Memorandum by Friends of the Settle-Carlisle
Line (REN 13)
NEW NORTHERN RAILWAYS FRANCHISE
Additions FoSCL would like to see
1. EARLY MORNING
In the run up to privatisation, the early morning
through trains between Leeds-Carlisle, and vice versa, were withdrawn.
(This was a "grooming" move by BR, to abandon some services
before the PSR was set).
Instead of through trains there are now "part
way" services at each end of the line. Whilst these cover
almost the same mileages as through trains would, they only serve
a few stations. There is an empty stock working from Skipton to
Blea Moor, which turns round and then forms the 0716 Ribblehead-Leeds
service. Thus anybody from north of Ribblehead is not served by
an early southbound train; their first arrival time in Leeds is
not until 1136, which is too late for work, education, or onward
connections to the south.
Similarly, there is an 0620 Carlisle-Kirkby
Stephen, which then forms the 0728 Kirkby Stephen-Carlisle. Thus
anybody from south of Kirkby Stephen is not served by an early
northbound train; their first arrival in Carlisle not being until
1129; which is too late for work, education, or onward connections
For the two stations in the middle of the line,
Dent and Garsdale, there isn't an early train in either direction!
FoSCL would like to see early morning through
train services between Leeds-Carlisle, and vice versa, re-introduced.
The central section of northern England (Eden
Valley, South Lakeland, Wensleydale, Ribblesdale) is not provided
with train access to/from the Lancashire/Manchester area, even
though there is track in situ at Hellifield which links the
Carlisle-Settle and Clitheroe-Manchester routes.
There are increasing numbers of people wanting
to travel southwards towards Manchester for work, education, and
access to the International Airport. It is also thought that significant
numbers of tourists and day trip visitors would travel onto the
scenic S & C from the Lancashire conurbations, as they do
from West Yorks and the Dales. Thus it is felt that a broad spectrum
of two-way passengers can be generated.
FoSCL would like to see regular (several daily)
services from Carlisle-Hellifield-Manchester Airport.
The S & C was built primarily as a fast
Anglo-Scottish route, but the machinations of BR during the 1980's
closure proposal saw such trains withdrawn.
Just lately, the franchisee has introduced a
Leeds-Glasgow train, but just one per day, with the same unit
returning Glasgow-Leeds in the afternoon. This limited service
offered limited scope for journey opportunities, but was picking
up trade. It was then withdrawn, and substituted for a bus due
to the franchisee having driver shortages.
FoSCL would like to see a more useful level
of Anglo-Scottish services restored to serve the Midlands/South
4. TYPE OF
When class 156 Super Sprinters were introduced
as the norm for S & C services, they were felt to be as good
as anything available from the fleets of the time.
4 car 156s was the standard provision on four
trains, with two car 156s on other trains. This catered fairly
well with peak passenger travel patterns. Latterly the franchisee
has reduced all trains to two car formations, with resultant heavy
overcrowding, which leads to complaints, loss of customer satisfaction,
bad publicity, and loss of repeat visits. When a lot of passengers
are travelling to experience the line and scenery, overcrowding
is just not acceptable, whereas commuters tend to put up with
FoSCL feel that reverting to bigger train formations
It may also be time to review train types. Visibility
is important on scenic routes, but class 156s have several seats
by coach body panels, giving obstructed views. Are newer trains
better equipped with seats matching up to windows?
5. ACCESS TO
In the 1980s each platform at each S & C
station was fitted with a "help phone" connected to
the local signalbox, from which passengers could obtain train
running details. This system is in steady decline, with some new
signalmen unwilling to provide information, and the phones at
Garsdale have been removed.
Each station does have a payphone, usually a
BT cardphone, and some are connected to the franchisee's customer
services dept via a dialling facility "**2". If the
older system is failing, it is essential to standardise the **2
facility for all platforms. This will mean installing either a
second phone, or an extension, and connecting them to **2.
FoSCL believe that provision of information
at isolated rural stations is of paramount importance.