Request stops abolished! ….

Posted on November 29th, 2010, by The Chairman

Back in May 2000, 5 stops on our line had their status changed to “request” – Mouldsworth, Delamere, Lostock Gralam, Mobberley and Ashley.

This was in the days when the train running performance on the line was dreadful. The idea for the request stops came from the newly-established Mid Cheshire Train Running Quality Improvement Team (QIT). The idea was that by doing this without amending the timetable, where trains were running late (they often were) a couple of minutes could be caught up every time one of the 5 stations didn’t need to be stopped at. In those days the main service was operated by only 3 units, and with a 4 minute turnround time at both Chester and Piccadilly, by the afternoon the service was often well adrift.

This was seen as a temporary measure, prior to the train running performance reaching over 80% of trains arriving at their destinations within 5 minutes of the timetabled time – it was then below 50%.

Since then Mouldsworth was reinstated as a “mandatory” stop due to concerns that the conductor on a Down (Chester-bound) train might give the driver two buzzes, the driver not check whether the signal was green, and if he/she passed a red signal the train could be onto the single line towards Chester, and with a train coming the other way, there could potentially be a collision. Since then the buzzing procedure has also been changed as now the driver initiates the buzzing sequence with the conductor responding only if he/she believes there are no passengers for the upcoming station.

Lostock Gralam was later removed due to the impending Lostock Triangle development.

This left Delamere, Mobberley and Ashley. Train running performance is now way better than 80%. Delamere has become much busier with the newish nearby caravan site and the excellent promotion of the train service carried out by our friends in the Forestry Commission. Mobberley has also become busier being used by 15-20 scholars heading towards Altrincham and a few heading to Mid-Cheshire College by Greenbank station, as well as more passengers generally. This just left Ashley as a candidate to stay as a request stop.

When we discussed this in the QIT last July, the thought was to stick with just Ashley as a request stop. However, the drivers’ representatives present requested that Ashley also be made mandatory, pointing out how hard it was to see people waiting for trains, particularly on cold, wet, windy nights when they tended to stay in the shelter, not hearing the trains coming and the drivers were crawling through the station peering into the dark. So the QIT agreed Ashley would also become “mandatory” from the timetable change of 12 December.

Great news, and it’s only taken 10½ years!!

A minor hiccup. When Network Rail took the request stops out of the electronic timetable, they forgot to set them as mandatory. Thus, at present if you look at the National Rail website, you’ll see the only services that stop at these stations after 11 December are the planned rail replacement buses!! We’ve pointed this out to Northern, they’ve told Network Rail and this should be fixed by the middle of next week.

Please leave a comment

  1. The Chairman Says:

    Minor hiccup over. Network Rail has corrected the electronic timetable for the ex-request stops.

    Thanks, Northern, for getting them to do this.

  2. Peter Says:

    I’m sure it’s good news for the people using the request stops, especially as conductors are inconsistent with request stops – some stop anyway if they haven’t made their way through the whole train, while others will let the train go through unless the passenger has gone and found the conductor.

    However, while stations like Mobberley and Delamere can have 10+ passengers on some services, a few services rarely have passengers for any of the request stops, so the request stop status does currently allow a late running service to make up a couple of minutes by just slowing down on approach to the station opposed to stopping, opening and closing the doors then starting from stationary.

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