Network Rail Wales Route Utilisation Strategy -
Draft for Consultation
Following the Rail Review, the Department for Transport (DfT) specifies the outputs it wishes to buy from the railway system : -
(i) as input to the Office of Rail Regulation's (ORR) periodic review of Network Rail's funding and charges and
(ii) through the award of franchises to Train Operating Companies (TOCs).
Other funders, such as the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), may seek to increment or decrement these infrastructure outputs.
In addition the Welsh Assembly Government is a co-signatory to the Arriva Trains Wales franchise and specifies those Arriva Trains Wales services which operate exclusively in Wales or which call at stations in England and Wales.
Network Rail leads the development of Route Utilisation Strategies (RUSs) with rail industry parties, balancing passenger and freight demand, and operational performance and cost, considering the potentially fundable aspirations of stakeholders.
Route Utilisation Strategies then inform the development and delivery of timetables and infrastructure maintenance and renewals for the network. They also underpin the development of future franchise specifications.
Purpose of the Wales RUS
The development of a RUS for Wales is required for a number of reasons. A key driver of the RUS is to inform the High Level Output Specification being prepared by the DfT for input to the Access Charges Review. This will enable the UK Government, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and the Office of Rail Regulation to make timely and well informed decisions on the efficient use of the network and identify opportunities to improve capacity and reliability of the network consistent with the route utilisation objective and in the light of agreed changes in rolling stock and timetables.
It will enable Network Rail to develop an informed renewals and maintenance programme in line with its customers' and stakeholders' aspirations for the routes in Wales. It will also enable the development of an optimum engineering access strategy that takes into account both cost issues and the impact on passenger and freight users of the maintenance and renewal activities on the railway.
The RUS process
· Analyse the current position for this route using a consistent framework (i.e. passenger and freight demand, capacity, capability and, if required, both infrastructure and operator performance). This will be a detailed baselining exercise which will involve a thorough audit of available data.
· Encompass the emerging requirements of DfT, Welsh Assembly Government and other stakeholders. In particular, the UK Government and Welsh Assembly Government are given an opportunity to clarify their understanding of the issues relating to the future development of the route in the light of our baseline analysis.
· Undertake a gap analysis to understand how the current situation for the route differs from the high level aspirations of stakeholders. The gap analysis will give rise to alternative scenarios for meeting their reasonable requirements;
· Consult informally with stakeholders throughout the rail industry and wider community to ensure that their aspirations are considered and where appropriate included within the analysis. Stakeholders will be regularly informed of progress through one of the RUS stakeholder groups.
· Prepare and cost alternative options for the route using appropriate criteria, modelling and analytical tools. At this stage we will also consider other funders' aspirations for incremental or decremental services.
· Consult formally with stakeholders and interested parties before fixing on a particular solution.
· Publish for Office of Rail Regulation review.
Publication of the Conclusion
Having considered all responses to the formal consultation document, the final RUS document will be published, incorporating the recommendations for consideration by funders. Network Rail will share the document with DfT and Welsh Assembly Government in advance of publication. The document will address the issues raised during the consultation period and provide an explanation of the conclusions.
Access to the Wales RUS Document
The Wales Route Utilisation Strategy - Draft for Consultation can be accessed through the link below
Your Views and Comments
You are invited to give your comments to the Severn Tunnel Action Group ideally before Tuesday 15th July. This is because Railfuture, The Wales Branch of the National Rail Campaigning Organisation have offered to consider to additionally include our response in their formal response to the consultation.
Please e-mail your response to email@example.com
Arriva Trains Wales December 2008 Draft Timetable
Arriva Trains Wales have provided us with their Draft December 2008 Timetable and we would welcome any comments or feedback to add to our response.
Introduction / Timetable Changes
In December this year Arriva Trains Wales will be introducing a new timetable on many of their mainline routes. Some of the changes are being made so that Arriva Trains Wales fully integrate their services with the new Virgin West Coast timetable.
There are however no significant changes proposed for the Severn Tunnel Junction services.
The key changes are as follows:
· Most Aberystwyth and Chester to Birmingham New Street services will be extended through to Birmingham International, providing new direct journey opportunities to the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham Airport. The timetable is being designed with extra performance contingency, which should improve punctuality and prevent the need to regularly turn trains around at Wolverhampton.
· A new direct two hourly service from Holyhead to Birmingham New Street and International via Chester and Shrewsbury. This will replaces Arriva Trains Wales direct Holyhead to Crewe services.
· Connections with Virgin London services from North Wales will be at Chester instead of Crewe, where Virgin will be running an hourly service.
· Better spacing of trains along the North Wales Coast, giving a more even half hourly pattern in both directions for the majority of the day.
· Additional hourly shuttle trains between Llandudno and Llandudno junction in addition to the through Manchester services. These will connect at the junction with Cardiff / Birmingham services.
· Regular hourly Sunday services between Cardiff and Manchester, Chester and Manchester, Holyhead and Crewe and Shrewsbury and Birmingham, plus some extra journeys to Aberystwyth.
· Other changes are being made to services in West Wales to improve performance and provide a better match between capacity and demand, in which will help reduce overcrowding.
You will notice that the timetable has been split in to three periods:
· A: 14th December 2008 to 25th January 2009
· B: 26th January 2009 to 22nd March 2009
· C.. 23rd March 2009 to 15th May 2009
They are split in accordance with Network Rail's datesets when Engineering Work may take place affecting Timetabled services.
Details of Engineering Work affecting Arriva Trains Wales Services is as follows: (Please note, as always there may be supplementary engineering work done through their Informed Traveller Timescales)
· Period A (14th December 2008 to 25th January 2009) - 00:05 SUN to 04:00 MON: Buses will replace trains between Chester and Llandudno Jn
· Period B (26th January to 22nd March 2009) - 23:50 SAT to 05:00 MON: Trains are diverted between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street. Trains may start / terminate Birmingham International due to pathing constraints.
· Period B (26th January to 22nd March 2009) - 23:40 SAT to 04:00 MON: Buses will replace trains between Llandudno Junction and Holyhead
· Period C (23rd March 2009 to 16th May 2009) - 00:20 SUN to 04:35 MON: Trains between Chester and Manchester will be subject to diversion, Intermediate stops will utilise bus replacement transport.
· Period C (23rd March 2009 to 16th May 2009) - 00:55 SUN to 11:50 SUN: Buses replace trains between Hereford and Cardiff Central
· Period C (23rd March 2009 to 16th May 2009) - 19:45 SAT to 06:30 MON: Buses replace trains between Wrexham Central and Bidston.
· Period C (23rd March 2009 to 16th May 2009) - 23:00 SAT to 04:25 MON Services between Crewe and Wolverhampton (via Stafford) will be diverted via alternative routes where possible.
The individual timetables can be accessed through the links below (The Severn Tunnel Junction services are in Table 132)
Your Views and Comments
You are invited to give your comments to the Severn Tunnel Action Group before Tuesday 22nd July to enable them to be considered and included in our response as appropriate.
Please e-mail your response to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note this consultation applies to Arriva Train Wales only and not Arriva Cross Country or First Great Western services.