Thursday, 31 March 2016

Goodbye "Northern Electrics"

I took a trip into Liverpool yesterday, and as the train set off something odd caught my ear.

The auto-announcer used to say "This is the Northern Electrics service to ..." but someone has done a bit of clumsy editing and she now says "This is the Norther' service to ...".  Electrics has gone, along with the end of Northern.

I assume this rebranding is part of the switch to the new Arriva-run Northern - Sorry, that should read northern - franchise which takes place this Friday (1 April).


Of course, the announcements could have changed ages ago; one tends to tune them out on a regular journey.  Yesterday was the first time I noticed.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Very Short Notice Service Changes

When I commented last week that diversions of the Liverpool to Manchester Victoria service to Oxford Road had been cancelled for Saturday 30 January, I had failed to check every train.  In fact, a number of westbound trains had been missed and were still recorded in the database as running from Oxford Road.

These errors remained in the system until Saturday morning.  For example, the 10.02 Oxford Road to Liverpool Lime Street was 'live' until 09.30 when it was cancelled.  At the same time a new train was added to the system via the VSTP (Very Short Term Planning) process, this being the 10.02 Victoria to Lime Street, which proceeded to run as normal.

I've just looked at the National Rail web site for trains next Saturday (6 February) and, once again, there's a higgledy piggledy mix of schedules with 13 starting from Victoria and 8 from Oxford Road.  I might be in Manchester that evening, hopefully the data will be updated before I set off.

So, my moan about trains being changed at 48 hours notice pales into insignificance, now they're changing with only 30 minutes notice.  If you are on the ball that's long enough to walk from Oxford Road to Victoria, but, more likely, your desired train from Oxford Road would simply be shown as cancelled, and it'd be up to you to find out what's going on.

I realise the train planners have been very busy with storm damage at various locations but really this just isn't good enough.

Update Friday 05 February:  In the schedule database download this morning the errant services were corrected and all trains have reverted to their standard schedules running to and from Manchester Victoria, tomorrow and the following Saturday.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Short Notice Service Changes

Last January I grumbled about significant changes to the service with only 48 hours notice.  Well they're at it again.

Later today I'm off to Manchester.  When I planned the trip on Tuesday, the Liverpool to Manchester stopping trains were diverted from Manchester Victoria to terminate at Oxford Road instead. 

This morning I went to look up times for my return trip.  That's odd, there's no service home from Oxford Road.   And my morning train runs to Victoria.  My first thought was that I'd entered the wrong date when I originally checked the train times.  However, a little research in my timetable database showed that news of the cancellation of the diversions had been delivered on Thursday morning.

Further investigation reveals that Saturday diversions to Oxford Road have been cancelled for 23rd and 30th January and 6th February, but at the time of writing remain in place on 13th February.


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

"New" Timetable

It's that time of the year again, and Network Rail's Christmas present arrived this morning with the delivery of the new timetable (15 May to 10 December 2016) into my database.

I must say I am somewhat disappointed to find another "no change" timetable for Huyton, with exactly the same service, and all trains still specified as Class 142 Diesel.  There have been a number of detail changes, with tweaks of half a minute in the working times of some trains, but the public timetable remains unchanged.

The small print:  As I always say in posts about new timetables, the data is well outside the twelve week limit and so must be considered provisional.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Rainhill Footbridge Update

A regular user has kindly updated me on the "Rainhill Bridge Fiasco":

As you can see, the western bridge has gained an extra attachment so that it now meets the regulations.


The eastern bridge has been closed to the public, and the ugly mess of scaffolding has been removed.  Presumably it will soon receive similar modifications.

Update:  On Monday 21 December, the work was apparently nearly complete on the eastern bridge.