12:08 - Redux

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Devvy, Oct 24, 2018.

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  1. QTXAdsy That Fifer

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    That looks stunning in that! Question about the Waverley route here, how is that getting on here? Is electrification on the cards for it and is the Caledonian sleeper using regularly, I'm assuming it's mainly a freight diversion route of the WCML?

    Interesting to note that prior to the line's closure that Hawick was the largest settlement in the borders however due to its remoteness when the line closed its population decreased considerably and thus Galashills did ok in the end, wonder how the fortunes of those towns are doing ITTL with the railway still here?
     
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  2. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    Very nice train pic there!

    I was going to ask about Moor St in Brum, but it can wait for the 2nd City update.

    Is there much reopening of old routes- not mothballed, but actual track removed/abandoned routes ITTL? For example the route through Coventry that became the A444?
     
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  3. Threadmarks: 1996-Transpennine

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Feb 6, 2011
    1996 - Transpennine High Speed

    [​IMG]
    An older Class 31, now preserved, was the mainstay motive power for Regional Railways for years.

    Without including Intercity's "Cross-Country" route from South West England & South Wales directly to the north, Britain's regional cities have always been linked by a patchwork of trains, often offering unattractive timings, poor frequencies and uncomfortable rolling stock. This was the state of play for much of the cross-Pennine inter-urban routes in the 1980s; locomotive hauled trains (steam hauled until the late 1960s!), often with ancient carriages, criss-crossed northern England and north Wales, with the corresponding lack of reliability. The incoming new boss of Regional Railways was determined to change that; whilst many of the city-focussed rail networks had been migrated to locally run networks (Newcastle (*1), Manchester (*2), Liverpool (*3), Birmingham (*4), Cardiff (*5) and Glasgow (*6)), and the removal of some routes for Pullman to use, this left a core network linking together many large towns and cities across the north, and indeed much of Great Britain. Scotrail had now inherited almost all of Regional Railways' operations in Scotland, and was increasingly acting as a full subidiary of Regional rather then a branding, and duly in 1993 Scotrail became the 4th direct passenger sector of British Rail. The successes Scotrail had had over the years, despite an unfriendly geographic mandate outside the Central Belt, led to further calls, and in 1995 Regional Railways was split in two; "Transpennine" would handle Regional's operations in the north (North Wales, North-West, Yorkshire & North-East), with the rest of Regional continuing to handle existing operations south of that, although inevitably several lines involved cross-border operations which were assigned to one or other. This clear capture included the cross-Pennine operations; previously those services had been unreliable, unclear who should be operating them, and unclear whether they should really be in charge of them (*7).

    By 1985, an hourly Manchester-Leeds service was operating, rotating between a Newcastle-Liverpool and Scarborough-North Wales service, although the latter was largely empty east of York and west of Chester. Finally in 1986, a clear and concise "Cross-Pennine" service was created, emerging from a Regional Railways meeting in Huddersfield (*7). A clear Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds-York network was clear and unopposed, but extension to Newcastle was stymied by Intercity who were in works to extend Pullman services to Tyneside and wished to operate their own "Regio" service from Liverpool to Tyneside - and hopefully in to Scotland in future. Unmet demand from Hull would be included however, and North Wales as part of the core route would be dropped due to a simple lack of demand. The freight sectors, duly helped out, by switching cross-Pennine freight from the faster Standedge Line to the Calder Valley Lines, which were easier-graded anyhow - and thereby justifying British Rail's decision to retain the Calder Valley Route after a major fire inside a tunnel which was bad enough to turn the brick lining to glass (*14). The real benefit in 1988 was the authorisation for a fleet of new multiple units, closely copying Scotrail's new DEMU bi-mode multiple units (*8). Seats were again a mixture of airline-style and around-table styles, but still 2 x 2 across the train, with large panoramic windows to look out at the scenery though. Other upgrades included power-operated plug doors, full air conditioning and the capability for refreshment trolley services.

    [​IMG]
    The new 3 coach DEMU trains operated by Transpennine, still sporting a quasi Regional Railways livery. Repainting was not a priority for such a BR sector.

    The result by 1990 was a new world; a clear every-30-minutes service between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and York, with services then continuing to a range of destinations to replace older stock on the branch lines; Hull, Scarborough, Whitby and Middlesbrough. North Wales services now terminated at either Manchester Piccadilly (nowadays via Manchester Airport (*9) or Birkenhead (*10), and Intercity eventually relented and withdrew opposition to a service to Newcastle. By 1994, passenger numbers had risen by just over 80%, and ticket revenues by 160%. The massive increases clearly demonstrated the unmet demand, and almost immediately branches of local government (passenger transport authorities in the cities as well as the county councils) began backing further works to improve connections across northern England. In part, it was the backing of local government which spurred the creation of the "Transpennine" sector, squarely aimed at the northern England market and able to act in greater alignment with the market and local political requirements. A cross-group study in to electrification of the route, following the finish of the Great Western project was quoted at £55 million (only £112 million today!), and placed further pressure on more upgrades.

    Things seemed to take a back step however in 1995, as Intercity finally flexed it's muscles. Intercity, including Pullman, marketed itself as the "Backbone of Britain", and had far more financial resources to play with as well as the prestige in Westminster following the successes of the Pullman service. Intercity's published plan for extending Pullman north would also see Pullman take a share of cross-Pennine services, with the Standedge Route being "Pullmanified" - modernised and electrified at 25kV AC for Pullman services. The fledgling Transpennine sector disagreed and argued, but knew it was going to be fighting a losing battle - the best it could do was negotiate for the best outcome it could get. The line would use existing Pullman tracks in Manchester and Leeds, but the tracks in between were to be modernised, resignalled with British Rail BBS, and electrified with 25kV AC overhead power - the "Pullman Standard". Pullman's desire for fast intercity services across the north was apparent, but in this came Transpennine's demands, and the result would transform rail transport across Lancashire and Yorkshire.

    [​IMG]
    Huddersfield lay on the primary route between Manchester and Leeds, but clearly was bereft of investment at the time.

    They argued for the retention of stations at Stalybridge (connection with Manchester Metro), Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Morley - all important towns, and were granted the first three; Morley was to be served via a continuing "Leeds New Line via Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike (*11). The viaduct tracks east of Leeds would need to be quadrupled anyway to make space for Pullman services to operate east, and a new Pullman Line from Leeds to Church Fenton where it would join with the northern stub of the London-originating Pullman Line, would need to be built - alongside an extended M1 motorway in one area. Transpennine's demands here were not enormous either; a new bridge across the River Aire near Woodlesford to join the existing BR tracks near Neville Hill. This would allow access to Leeds from the east from Wakefield and Castleford areas, and allow trains to continue on without terminating towards Harrogate and the north-east (*12) - reducing platform requirements at Leeds. The method of joining train services together to form longer routes was employed wholesale in Leeds to great success; much of the Yorkshire services which terminated at Leeds would later run through Leeds, forming a "Yorkshire Crossrail" of sorts.

    The major concession Transpennine argued for, and eventually received in part due to EU funding for the poorer East Yorkshire area, was the full electrification "east of York" (with the standard 1.5kV DC standard). The direct Transpennine service to Newcastle would be lost, replaced by the Pullman service, but the remaining routes would be operated by a new high speed commuter service across the Pullman Cross-Pennine-North (*13) Route, and branching out east of York. At Church Fenton, both routes (from south and west) would combine and divide out again - one set of tracks on to the legacy network in to York (for Transpennine), and one set of tracks heading directly north towards Newcastle (for Pullman). Service could then be operated by a new fleet of trains, copied from Network South East's new Class 395 high speed commuter train, able to operate on both 25kV AC and 1.5kV DC overhead systems. The existing DEMU units would then be cascaded down to other services; the Southern Cross-Pennine route between Sheffield and Manchester or Derby and Manchester could then be linked with the more urban and electrified routes in the north-west, forming new direct journeys across Manchester.


    Leeds Central Station

    [​IMG]
    Leeds New station was a merger between the previous Wellington station and a new cross-city line.

    Leeds Central railway station is the larger of the two railway stations serving central Leeds, and the primary station for British Rail. The smaller station, Leeds Piccadilly, is in use by the private rail operator "Northern", who operate services to Bradford, Skipton, Blackburn and Preston, and lies a few hundred meters west. The station has 9 through platforms (4 for legacy tracks, and 5 Pullman tracks), along with 4 further terminus platforms for trains from the west (*15). Following the Second World War, the station had been heavily bombed and needed reconstruction, with British Rail taking the time to rebuild the main station complex. A close escape with a proposed above-station building was avoided in the 1960s (a time when many other stations received similar treatment), after large criticism of the plan which would have blocked much sunlight from City Square. Nevertheless, the station continued evolving; the later 1960s saw further work on approach trackwork, platforms and signalling. By this point, well over 500 trains were using Leeds (Central, then solely called Leeds station, as the adjacent Leeds "Piccadilly" station was at that point worked as a parcels depot), and by the 1980s the station was struggling after Pullman services had begun and isolated 3 platforms to the southern side of the station.

    [​IMG]
    Leeds station concourse was previously used as a car park (*16) before being brought back to life as an enlarged station complex in the 1990s rebuild.

    By the 1990s, the station capacity was exceeded daily, and was clearly in need of a thorough modernisation project, which duly toiled away to produce designs, but the new high speed project aimed at pushing high speed trains through Leeds as opposed to terminating at it, forced the project through. The project would see additional approach works, making sure Pullman tracks were fully isolated, and providing 5 Pullman platforms on the south side - 3 for Pullman services themselves (one terminating platform for London services, and two through platforms for high speed Transpennine services between Lancashire and further north). 4 further platforms for British Rail "legacy" services were provided, for east-west through services, whilst a further 4 terminating platforms are providing on the north-west side. In order to achieve this, station platforms and tracks were gradually closed, making use of temporary platforms to the west of the station (called "Leeds Whitehall"), then realigned and rebuilt, to squeeze in 9 through platforms on the site, with each stage reopened and services moved across in order to close the next stage. The station concourse would be completely remodelled, with the historical north concourse brought back in to passenger use (from being a car park) for shops and cafes.

    A large and extremely wide overbridge now runs over the full width of the station, with coffee shops and "quick snack" shops situated on it. A small open-air Pullman lounge for eligible Pullman passengers sits above the Pullman platforms, but is aided by a larger Pullman lounge in the main station area. Track renewals, point work and signalling was again renewed, with control over much of the area eventually handed over to a new "Leeds Signalling Centre" to the west of the station next to the River Aire. Pedestrian access from the south side, on Neville Street, was provided where much of the Yorkshire-based financial companies were based, with much of the station covered by a large platform roof.



    ----------------------
    (*1) 1973 - Tyneside Metro
    (*2) 1982 - Manchester Metro pt2
    (*3) Yet to be discussed in detail, but suffice to say Merseyrail is on it's way in the 1990s
    (*4) As briefly mentioned last chapter, a West Midlands network is underway in 1990s
    (*5) 1992 - Wales
    (*6) 1967 - Strathclyde
    (*7) OTL snippets for you.
    (*8) Copying for economic reasons, but also similarly to OTL when the first Class 158s when to Scotrail, with the second batch to the north.
    (*9) This TL version of the Manchester Airport link being a through route, from Manchester to the Airport and on towards Knutsford and destinations beyond.
    (*10) Birkenhead Woodside still going strong.
    (*11) Mothballed line, not used since 1970s, but here to come back in to operation.
    (*12) Harrogate-Ripon-Northallerton also still operating...
    (*13) Cross-Pennine-North, as opposed to Cross-Pennine-South Pullman route (Sheffield-Manchester via Woodhead Route)
    (*14) True story.
    (*15) Should just about fit in core area, with viaduct widening needed on platform ends and approach tracks from both sides. From the east side, a second viaduct to carry Pullman double track would be required; it'd have to be on the south side of the existing viaduct due to historic protected buildings on the north side.
    (*16) Never realised that it was a car park myself, until I was researching this chapter.

    So here, the Transpennine main line between Manchester and Leeds is being electrified; a large part of the business case is for Pullman to be able to operate across the Pennines which will in turn create a better business case for extending the Pullman tracks further north. Liverpool - Manchester - Ashton is already electrified as part of the existing Pullman route. Some EU funding for the less affluent East Yorkshire parts of the route, because building a train which accepts 25kV AC, 1.5kV DC and diesel power is pushing the technical limits for the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
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  4. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Waverley Line is still plugging away; stopping passenger services, and freight to Millerhill Yard (although electric freight will go via WCML). For exactly the reasons you mention, there's less push factors to make people move away, so I think people will be a little more spread out along the line. A bit anyway.

    Cracking photoshop on it! :)

    The routes which are old and gone (ie. built over in places) are the ones closed roughly pre-1960; these lines would have been a poor business case anyway and unlikely to reopen. More lines have remained open as Beeching has not been as bad as OTL, but also where some lines have "closed", they've either been mothballed technically, or BR has retained the right-of-way so that it can be reopened if necessary.

    The Coventry A444 "line" is closed. It's a duplicate route, for which the route can be achieved equally by running through Coventry station, and then...it's running through Coventry station so useful for passenger trains.
     
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  5. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Why is 14 between 7 and 8?
     
  6. Along the bay Active Member

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    Interesting to see a revived Birkenhead Woodside. Interested to hear more about it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
  7. QTXAdsy That Fifer

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    Just a thought regarding the Pullman service to Scotland. While it seems more than likely it'll go to Edinburgh and Glasgow soon, it is possible to go further to Aberdeen by avoiding the Forth and Tay Bridges by going via Alloa, over the Glenfarg route to Perth. The Glenfarg was designed for high speed so would seem more than suitable for Pullman trains though some work will need to be done at Perth, mainly that bottleneck single line bridge heading towards Dundee will have to be changed. Having a good chunk of the Scottish rail network electrified, even if not for Pullman trains in the short term, will be more than welcomed.

    Even in this improved TL for the rail network though...Fife looks still yet to be behind the rest! x'D
     
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  8. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    Pennines Route updates was very neat- thank you for that. I could see that 'Northern Powerhouse' at least having a chance here!

    Are places like Blackpool on Regional or City control/connections?

    Seems North Wales is better served, and the Bristol improvements mentioned Cardiff and the south (as I recall), but what about N-S and Trans Wales routes? Any change there?
     
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  9. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Because of my editing style; sometimes when I'm in a flow and have things well pictured in my mind, I just write and then come back and add footnotes later. And then ocassionally I miss something I meant to add a footnote about, and come back and add it, and can't be arsed to jig all the numbers around!

    Thank you for catching that; corrected the note to say Birkenhead Woodside, not Central. It's not so much revived, but still operating. The creation of OTL Merseyrail was a reaction to the OTL Beeching Axe proposing to cut and close a lot of the Merseyside railways. Here, Beeching "Reform" in this TL has not been so savage (because of better investments during 1950s), so less routes have been proposed to close, meaning more terminus stations required to stay open, and meaning Merseyrail wasn't proposed as vigourously as OTL (which is how Manchester has pipped in earlier for their underground system).

    Merseyside is on my list to get to at some point! :) But suffice to say:
    - Liverpool Lime Street serves longer distance destinations and Manchester
    - Liverpool Exchange serves local services to Southport as well as long distance Pullman services to London.
    - Liverpool Central serves the suburban route to south Liverpool and Warrington
    - Birkenhead Woodside serves North Wales, Chester, Wrexham etc.

    The creation of this TL Merseyrail will shake that up a bit, and I think I've got it roughly mapped out in my head.

    I have a few thoughts about Pullman north-of-the-Forth, but it's not decided. I'm just focussing on the next 5-10 years at the moment, which is within the timerange British Rail will be hoping to extend further north. To be honest, it's a complicated matter here, and how it ends up is still in flux.

    Kinross/Glenfarg Line is still open, but Bridge-of-Earn to Ladybank is closed. Trains still run to Leven, and from Dundee to St Andrews, whilst the Kincardine Line is still open to Alloa & Stirling via a new south-west connection to allow trains to Edinburgh. Ups and downs! :)

    Pennines conversion will see the last small stations north of Standedge tunnels being closed alas, so it's not all good news (quadruple track formation, but will be reduced to double track in order to slew the tracks and reduce curves to increase speeds). But to BR, it's the cost of modernisation and fast train services. South of Standedge, one pair of tracks is used for the Manchester Metro east-west axis, so are still served.

    I can see some Northern Powerhouse stuff; I think Leeds will be a slightly bigger banking city then OTL (in part due to fast London connections), whilst Manchester will end up (sorry Brummies) being seen as the second English city; probably a decent chunk of British public services for the north based there, BBC, C4, etc.

    Blackpool & Fleetwood are part of the overall BR network; trains are operated predominately into Manchester.

    North Wales services are roughly similar to OTL in terms of English connections (obviously North Wales also covers Caernarfon and beyond as per a chapter a while ago); they used to be part of Transpennine services in OTL, but lack of patronage meant they got cut off. They just terminate at Birkenhead or Manchester now. North-South Welsh services are possible, with only a tiny deviation through England, but that can wait for another time. A chapter on Swansea is in development which will mention that in passing.
     
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  10. Along the bay Active Member

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    Jul 15, 2019
    2 further questions
    Do north wales - Birkenhead trains reverse at Chester or do they use the avoiding line ?
    Does the halton curve ( Frodsham - runcorn wcml ) survive ?
     
  11. SadSprinter Well-Known Member

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    London, England
    Ah my sweet glorious Networkers. Good to see them living on in your TL.
     
  12. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    I think that is a universal law, no matter what TL you are in! XD
     
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  13. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    I'd be more inclined to keep the name of the OTL station as "Chester General" and open a "Chester Deeside" station roughly near the racecourse where the line crosses New Crane Street (don't take this as gospel "has happened" truth yet, but it's part of my thinking for a future Merseyside chapter). The alignment here used to be quadruple track, and in this TL is double track as per OTL (there's not that much traffic going to North Wales any more!). If you use the middle tracks, it gives you enough room (just) for some thin and cheap platforms over the top of where the old outer tracks used to be, probably opening in the 1980s as a pretty barebones station. In later years, I can see a larger multistory car park built on the north side of it for rail passengers, and some small amenities along Kitchen St. If anything, this new station is actually closer to the town centre then the remaining OTL station is. Also means that North Wales to Birkenhead can call at Chester without any reversing.

    PS: Halton Curve probably survives, being singled as per OTL; it's not in regular passenger use at all, and I can't see freight finding it useful either. Probably mothballed, by now (1990s), I could see it being completely cut off later and used as a pathway.

    :)
     
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  14. Along the bay Active Member

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    Ever since I learned that Chester station was originally Chester General I've always preferred it to plain chester. Your Chester deeside station idea is fantastic considering how busy the trains can get on racedays
    Does Chester Northgate station and it's routes to Wrexham and new Brighton survive ? I recall reading that they were popular services.
    Thank you for your fascinating and patient responses.
     
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  15. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Always happy to talk trains on here! :)

    I'd take a guess that on racedays, there would probably be severe crowd control at a "Chester Deeside" station due to narrower then usual platforms. But the rest of the year, it'd be a useful station on North Wales to Birkenhead.

    Chester Northgate is gone, it's routes to Wrexham or east aren't completely certain yet to be honest. New Brighton is almost a guaranteed line as it's part of the Merseyside urban area.
     
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  16. Along the bay Active Member

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    Looking on maps it appears the approach tracks to Northgate crossed the north wales coast / great western main line just west of a hypothetical deeside station. A cheap single track link might not be impossible allowing Northgate trains to call at deeside and general or continue to the wirral.
     
  17. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    Sorry it’s not directly related to the timeline, but does anyone know why Newcastle’s trainline was allowed to cut straight through its Castle?
     
  18. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    It was in the way? After all the railway pretty much demolished the castle at Berwick because it was in the way. The Victorians were more than happy to bulldoze their way through existing buildings, which, given what happened in the '60s and '70s is slightly ironic.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: 1996-Swansea

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    1996 - Swansea Railway Station (Gorsaf reilffordd Abertawe (*1)), Article from Railopedia

    History

    [​IMG]
    The approach to Swansea Victoria station in decades gone by.

    Swansea has had, since the 19th century, several different railway stations owing to the different railway companies; originally, the city had seven stations in 1895, owned by five different railway companies: High Street (GWR), St Thomas (Midland Railway), East Dock (GWR), Riverside (Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway), Victoria and Swansea Bay (both London & North Western Railway), and Rutland Street (the town terminus of the Mumbles Railway). Of all five, only a single station now remains for British Rail, although High Street station is operated by the "Welsh Railway Museum" which preserves several old steam locomotives used in Wales and has a short stretch of track (built in 2006) to operate back and forth on along side the Swansea Tramway.

    Rationalisation of the situation came in the 1960s, as British Rail attempted to stem financial losses. Swansea lay at the middle of a few long distance lines however; the South Wales Main Line (to Cardiff and London, and the predominant passenger route), the West Wales Line (to Pembrokeshire, important for freight to the various docks at Milford Haven), the Central Wales Line (to central and northern Wales, important for political reasons as a link to the rest of Wales), and various "Valleys" rail routes which predominately served local freight. The mid 20th Century would see huge rises in car ownership, and bus usage for short distance travel, and the Mumbles Railway was axed in the 1950s; an early vision of the future for several routes, particularly as mining freight traffic from the Valleys began to dry up, and oil shipping slowly left Swansea. Out of the two main stations, Swansea High Street was the main station as far as the Western Region of British Rail were concerned; they were the modern incarnation of the Great Western Railway who had built the station. The only other station left was Swansea Victoria; a smaller station to the south side of the main city centre, and from which most of the services to the west and northwards operated. (*2)

    By the late 1960s, further closures of local rail routes meant that even two stations was over the top, and expensive. 1970 saw the the "Swansea Rail Study" as British Rail decided what to do in order to cut costs in the Swansea & Neath area. Swansea High Street was undoubtedly the "main" station, but it was a terminus, and forced all traffic heading east to west to pull in from the main line, stop, and then reverse out to continue it's journey - or bypass Swansea entirely. In the mean time, Swansea Docks continued to stick around, with the Prince of Wales Dock, Kings Dock and Queens Dock all in use into the 1980s, and using rail for goods transfer. 1971 saw the full closure of the Swansea South Dock, with the North Dock already closed, and suddenly space opened up. British Rail headquarters, who had kept the Western Region on a leash ever since they attempted to use completely different locomotive traction types in the 1950s (*3), forced their hand, despite the WR favouring High Street station. Swansea Victoria, expanded using the released South Dock space, was to be Swansea's primary railway station, and allow Swansea to be a completely through station. Not for many decades had passenger trains run over the high level rail bridge since a train fell off in to water when the bridge itself had been raised, resulting in the death of driver and fireman (*4). It had gradually worn down over time, particularly as freight declined; it would need some works done on it, but otherwise was largely left in place (in the closed position, as ships no longer needed to access upstream). The bridge would be demolished and rebuilt slightly south in the late 1980s in preparation for electrification, with a wider loading gauge, space for overhead line supports, and smoothing out the tight curves on either side as warehouses were demolished and heavy industry evaporated.

    [​IMG]
    Central Swansea in it's former years.

    Services

    Despite having space for terminating trains in the middle two platforms, these days Swansea is largely a through station and sees a wide range of trains pass through. Shorter diesel multiple units, part sponsored by the Welsh Government, operate from Cardiff via Swansea to Carmarthenshire & Pembrokeshire (either Fishguard, Milford Haven, Pembroke or Newcastle Emlyn (*5)) via Llanelli. Longer distance trains, still locomotive hauled operate from Cardiff via Swansea again to the north of Wales via a winding route through the heart of Wales, but operates infrequently, with only 6 trains per day. The service, marketed as the "Welsh Explorer", is the attempt at a Welsh answer to the Scottish scenic railways, as it winds through the Welsh mountains on a generally single-track route offering dramatic views. The train is usually timetabled to terminate at Chester, but some specific services do continue to Holyhead; usually special weekend services hauled by steam. The GWR Castle class locomotive "Drysllwyn Castle" (*6) is a firm favourite on the route, and spends the rest of it's time in preservation at the heritage centre at the former High Street station. London services also operate here, and are the only trains which terminate at Swansea, being as they are electric-only, although electrification is now being considered further west to Carmarthen for freight trains, and the growing tourism market further west. Such a move, planned for 2025, would see Intercity services extended to Llanelli and terminate at Carmarthen as an alternative to A40 widening in the area, although a replacement of the Loughor Viaduct would also be finally required (*7).

    [​IMG]
    Rails around Swansea now:
    Blue: British Rail electrified
    Black: British Rail unelectrified
    Green: Swanea Metro (Tram)

    The last group of passenger services are those from Cardiff on the Valley Lines via Aberdare and Neath. These trains formerly terminated at Swansea too, but since the 2012 when the Welsh Government finally reopened the roughly 2 miles of short line (as a single track spur) from the main line to Mumbles (*8), the services have been extended through Swansea to Mumbles. Finally, a selection of freight trains, predominately from the Milford Haven ports, operating to inland ports across Great Britain. Most of them are hauled by powerful bimode diesel / electric locomotives, slowing briefly as they pass the Swansea stations platforms in order to switch from diesel to electric (or vice versa) traction; the switchover and sudden silencing of the diesel engines when operating eastwards shortly after can cause bewildered looks from non-locals (*9) - Swansea is one of the few places in Great Britain where the switchover takes place in a station.

    Facilities

    [​IMG]
    Planned new Swansea station.

    The renovated Swansea Victoria station, now just "Swansea" railway station, is a 4 platform affair, and sees a wide range of trains passing through nowadays. To the east, on the other side of the river, lies a large train maintenance and stabling depot, for the electric Intercity trains, built on the former dock railway lands (*10). It provides train inspection facilities, as well as train washing for the interior and exterior, employing several dozen locals. A cafe, ticketing facilities and a small shop fit inside the 1970s "CLASP" style slab concrete station building (the only such example in Wales) on the north side of the tracks, although in 2005 a new southern entrance opened providing access from the Marina area (former South Dock). British Rail has planning permission to demolish the station and rebuilt it, in a style befitting the local area.

    The Swansea Tramway (*11), operated by Transport for Wales, operates from the station via the city centre to northern suburbs of Swansea, terminating at Clydach using older disused rail alignments outside of the city centre, and is fairly well used. A later Park & Ride addition next to the M4 motorway provided some extra passengers, whilst a southern extension to Swansea University provided extra student traffic. Studies are underway to extend this to Neath or Gowerton, using the former GWR main line to access the former stations which were protected for future reuse by the British, and later Welsh, Governments. The Swansea Metropolitan Line which is nowadays only used for a few freight trains bypassing Swansea, heading from the Cardiff Valleys to the Central Wales line, with some freight trains also using the line to bypass Swansea during busier times.

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    (*1) Hopefully that's correct...
    (*2) Those first two chapters roughly OTL, but that after is diverging.
    (*3) Ever since the Western Region wanted to introduce non-standard diesel hydraulic transmission locomotives which were untested in Britain during the 1950s, and BR blocked it, forcing standardised locomotive types (unlike OTL!).
    (*4) Again true, apparently no passenger trains ran over the bridge following the accident. Here, the closure of the North Docks means the bridge can stay shut, and as such is eventually used again by passenger trains.
    (*5) Line still operating via Carmarthen, kept open due to milk/creameries until 1980s when a trial passenger service was attempted and was retained, and then gradually expanded in service. I'd imagine each of these destinations having an every 2-hour service, resulting in a every 30 minutes service east of Carmarthen.
    (*6) A classic GWR locomotive seemed right for the route.
    (*7) So the Loughour Viaduct hasn't been replaced...yet...but is firmly on the cards as it's a bottleneck on the route. Potential Intercity extension west to Carmarthen, maybe 1tph with others terminating at Swansea, and 2tph to Carmarthen during summer peak?
    (*8) Mumbles Line closed, and then reopened later. Just a single track spur; but that's all which is required to operate the service.
    (*9) We've discussed bi-mode diesel and electric locomotives, so shouldn't be a surprise they are also hauling freight!
    (*10) Plenty of spare land here at the time for train stabling, cleaning and maintenance.
    (*11) Welsh funded tram system; not particularly long, but stretches circa 10 miles from Clydach to the University now.

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    It's possible, but tbh I can't see it being financially sustainable. There's too many rural lines in that area for the population; some are going to have to be abandoned, and that's highly likely to be the Chester Northgate network.

    No idea of the top of my head (and despite doing some Wiki trawling looking for some hints about it); will defer to JN1 on that!
     
    Swede, scretchy, Ogrebear and 3 others like this.
  20. teg The Worst Unionist

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Aberystwyth
    So no Aberystwyth-Carmarthen line ITTL?
     
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