Virgin West Coast trains will be affected by strike action on December 15 and 22 and on January 5, 8, 26 and 29. They intend to run hourly London-Glasgow trains. The trains via Birmingham will only run from London-Preston. For Lockerbie, Haymarket or Edinburgh tickets will be accepted on TransPennine Express. There will be limited ticket sales from Virgin stations such as Carlisle and Penrith and no shops or catering.
Engineering work affects the west coast main line on 24 and 27 December with buses replacing trains between Lancaster and Preston and the sleeper on 27 December using the east coast line. TransPennine Express services on 24 and 27 December trains run between Lancaster and Edinburgh/Glasgow and on 27 December only Preston and Manchester Airport with buses elsewhere with some trains over the holidays using Manchester Victoria instead of Piccadilly.
The December timetable is online with no changes from the current one except for a few on the Furness line, It now incorporates the Lakes line. There will also be two additional services each way between Newcastle, Hexham and Carlisle on Sundays. There will also be five additional Carlisle-Dumfries trains a day making a roughly hourly service from the December timetable and an additional return Glasgow journey.
Regulated fares are set to go up by the Retail Prices Index amount of 3.6% on 2 January, including most season tickets and many longer distance off-peak fares. Average fares will rise by 3.4% nationally but 4.7% on Northern and 4.6% on TransPennine Express. However sample fares on the Fares 2019 page increased by 10-60p or 2.0-4.4% – less than Northern’s advertised increases across their network.
The planned improved timetable for December 2017 has now been put back to May 2018 because of delays in electrification in south west England and subsequent transfer of trains. This will include Sunday services between Whitehaven and Barrow, some earlier and later trains and generally fill almost all the gaps in the current timetable. The previous date for the withdrawal of loco hauled trains and Pacer units of December 2019 still stands, when we should be served by a fleet of four car refurbished class 156 diesel multiple units.
Cumbrian Railways Association have published a new book An introduction to Cumbrian railways by David Joy at £9.95.
The Turning Point Rail journey to recovery video is here.
Christmas and New Year There are no trains on 25 and 26 December but a normal service on 1 January. Stagecoach are running some buses on 26 December (but none on 25 December or 1 January).
Newcastle-Metrocentre trains are replaced by buses from 6-14 January 2018.
The estimates of station usage for 2016-17 show little change from the previous year. However if we compare last year’s figures with 1997-98 there is a 23% increase over the period with some big changes. Corkickle has grown by 322%, Drigg 218%, Ravenglass 140% and St Bees 84% though the actual numbers are quite small – Corkickle moved from 11,000 to 46,000. Of the bigger stations Whitehaven is up 60% and Workington 16%. Five stations have less users – Flimby has a 1% drop, Sellafield and Millom 6% each, Bootle 19% and Braystones 39%. By comparison Carlisle had 100% increase from 930,000 to 1.9m.
Railfuture’s summer conference is in Carlisle on 23 June. CRUG members can take advantage of our membership price of £25 if booked by the end of April.