Northern has further RMT strike action on 8, 10 and 12 January. Details of which services will run or be replaced by buses should be available around new year but it is likely to follow recent patterns with trains mainly between 0700 and 1900 including Sellafield commuter trains, with a reduced service between Barrow and Whitehaven and trains, buses or a combination from Whitehaven to Carlisle.
Virgin West Coast strikes have now been called off.
Christmas and New Year There are no trains on 25 and 26 December but a normal service on 1 January. Some services finish early on 24 and 31 December – 2110 Carlisle-Whitehaven does not run. Stagecoach are running some buses on 26 December (but none on 25 December or 1 January).
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 have trains between Lancaster and Edinburgh/Glasgow and on 27 December only Preston and Manchester Airport with buses elsewhere and some trains over the holidays using Manchester Victoria instead of Piccadilly. No trains between Manchester Oxford Road and Piccadilly 30 December-1 January.
Other alterations include:
Liverpool Lime Street closed on 27 December with buses for the last part of the journey from Preston
Newcastle-Metrocentre trains are replaced by buses from 6-14 January
Preston-Blackpool South replaced by buses until 27 January and Preston-Blackpool North until 25 March
Trains from Preston via Bolton replaced by buses on Sundays 7 January-4 February
Over the Easter weekend 31 March-2 April west coast lines have buses between Carlisle and Glasgow/Edinburgh and on 1 April also between Carlisle and Lancaster
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 2018 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.
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.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the creation of British Rail, Whitehaven Archive and Local Studies Centre is showcasing railway records and plans on 16 January 1900-2100.
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.