Following complaints regarding the Transpennine Train operation in Redcar I am keeping a public timeline of subsequent meetings and correspondence. The bulk of the complaints are from residents living in the train corridor where the service, which has been operational since May, is parked up idling and revving during a 20 minute turnaround. I received the first complaint in July and many more followed. The main complaints are regarding the noise and vibration to property starting as early as 5:30am on the hour until 10pm daily. To date over 30 individual complaints have been sent to me and many others sent directly to the railway companies, to the council and to other councillors.
5th February 2021 – The TPE has reviewed and now proposed for the early service to no longer use the goods loop and to leave at the slightly earlier time of 0600 from May 2021 – leaving before the Northern Service
4th February 2021 – TV Mayor Ben Houchen said the Tees Valley Combined Authority cannot justify funding the extension of TransPennine Express train services into Saltburn
1st February 2020 – TPE operator dismiss suggestion to reschedule as impacting on timetable (Although it clearly does not)
1st February 2021 – CQ requests the TPE reschedule first train to leave before the Northern train and therefore would not clash and to pick up the scheduled timetable by waiting in a non residential area
27th January 2021 – TPE dismiss suggestion of holding the 0607 train outside of Redcar until turnaround because it clashes with the Northern train timetable
19th January 2021 – The TPE proposal for the service to be temporarily reduced from hourly to two hourly due to Covid-19 and lack of demand has now been approved by the Rail North Partnership or Transport for the North.
11th January 2021 – CQ requests the first train wait outside of Redcar such as British Steel until time to arrive and depart from Redcar Central
8th January 2021 – Following meeting with TPE request made to change operation to the first train going out of Redcar Central to not sit idling for up to 40 mins in the Goods Loop in a residential area but to arrive and depart at the station. Request being looked into.
Correspondence, news and diary of events regarding the complaint and operation of the Transpennine Express from Redcar to Manchester
Residential meeting regarding the TP trains 07/01/2021 Thursday 7pm
Attendees: Cllr Carl Quartermain; 12 residents within the Coatham and West Dyke ward. Minutes taken by resident.
Carl welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for their responses and participation this evening. Carl has a meeting with First Group and Network Rail tomorrow (Friday, 08 January) and will update all including those who couldn’t make the meeting tonight. Carl opened up the floor and the following contributions were made:-
Resident A – Has been a resident at railway end of Soppett Street for over 60 years. She explained that while living alongside the track was something all came to accept as part and parcel of life, the main change in train stock volume happened some 40 years ago when Boulby Potash started the move their goods. These trains have never stopped, just simply passed through and everyone has come to terms with their existence. The arrival of the Trans-Pennine Express was muted several years ago, but no consultations were ever taken place, or indeed invited. Several rumours of the route were initially proffered, first it was to start and end at Saltburn; then it couldn’t do so because there was an excessive curve in the track &/or the weight of a bridge at Marske wouldn’t take the load – both erroneous as the Boulby goods trains are far more heavy than the Trans-Pennine, then I was informed back in October that the reason the train stands at Redcar is because there is nowhere at Middlesbrough Station for it to stand!! It has stood at Middlesbrough for many years – why the sudden change in circumstances?
Resident B – resident on Muriel Street for many years – agreed with all the previous speaker had mentioned and was most concerned at the diesel fumes/climate change issues we all face (2030 being the deadline).
Carl Q informed us that 102 Trans-Pennine trains per week pass through Redcar which necessitate the closure of the West Dyke Road crossing gates some 204 times each week, the traffic queuing to/from Redcar town centre is horrendous, bordering many days on the dangerous.
Resident C & his partner live on The Avenue which backs onto the railway line itself. He is a shift worker, the train idling causes fume and privacy issues as often there are cleaners on board the first train of the day (circa 5.30am), the revving of the engine impacts on sleep too.
Resident D & partner live on Thrush Road backing onto the railway track and have lived there quite a few years and are happy living alongside the railway line. However, things have changed somewhat with the arrival of the Trans-Pennine Express. While the revving is annoying, not all trains do rev, occasionally they switch off their engines, but there are privacy/noise/vibration issues which wakes their grandchildren whenever they stay over in the back bedroom. Often during warm summer nights they sleep in the back bedroom themselves, but this has proved impossible since the arrival of this train. The first and final trains of the day are the most annoying.
Resident E who lives on The Avenue – agreed with all the previous speaker said, her back garden has become impossible to enjoy as the lack of privacy and fumes not to mention the impact on lack of sleep.
Resident F – who is the previous speaker’s neighbour on The Avenue agreed with all that the previous two speaker had said. Initially she had not mentioned the service but it has had a catastrophic effect on her and her son’s qualities of life (he resides in the back bedroom which faces the railway line). The invasion of privacy caused by cleaners on the first train of the day, the vibrations which keep her and especially her son awake, it is as if there is a tumble dryer constantly being in use, living with a constant hum ten to twenty minutes each hour 5.30am-10pm is no joke.
Resident G who lives in Muriel Street, is a key worker (NHS) it has brought about a detrimental effect on her sleep patterns, getting up early (while been woken up maybe an hour earlier than necessary due to the arrival of the train) makes driving into work, doing a day’s work often problematic. The resident is angry that no communication regarding this train has ever been received from either the railway company or the council.
Resident H – lives halfway down Alfred Street, agrees with all the previous speakers and finds the hum very sleep disruptive.
Resident I – lives in Alfred Street – the arrival of the train often before 5.30am she finds particularly disruptive. She has discovered plaster cracks – are they anything to do with the vibration caused by the revving of the train? She is also angry that no notification of this train service was given and is particularly concerned that when the trains re-started after the first 2020 Lockdown, the first train arrived much earlier than before – often before 5.30am – why? The pollution and noise are obvious issues but what will the situation be once folks wish to move house? Who would want to purchase a property with such train noise, fumes, vibration? When she needs to attend virtual meetings, she needs to sit in her kitchen as it is the quietest room in the house thanks to the Trans-Pennine Express!
Carl Q thanked everyone for their time and the meeting closed at 7.45pm.
Attendees: Andrew Carter RCBC Assistant Director Growth & Enterprise Chair
Simon Houldsworth RCBC Transport Strategy Manager
Councillor Carl Quartermain Coatham Ward
Councillor Wayne Davies Cabinet Member for Economic Development & Strategic Transport
Jan Topham RCBC Community Development Officer (Coatham Ward) Minutes
Toby Higgins Head of Communications Network Rail North East
Graham Meiklejohn Regional Development Officer Trans Pennine Express
|Item No||Subject||Action owner|
|1||Welcome & Introductions AC welcomed everyone to the meeting and round of introductions took place.|
|2||Purpose of meeting AC explained that there had been 30 complaints received in relation to the Trans Pennine Express train service from local residents via Cllr CQ, which have been circulated to the group 5 minutes prior to the meeting. This is not a complete list of complaints as some have been made direct to RCBC and other ward councillors. CQ explained that the areas of concern from residents were in relation to the following: Structural damage, concern about environmental issues, Residue in gardens and properties, privacy issues, light issues but mainly noise. CQ stated although there are the issues from residents it is recognised the importance of the service for the area and there is no expectation the service is withdrawn but possibly terminated at Saltburn instead.|
|3||Discussion AC asked GM to take complaints forward and GM gave a brief history about the train service since it started to run from Dec. 2019. GM explained that the train can not be stopped completely before return journey and so it did not block the line to other rail traffic (freight & passenger) it sits in the loop area. The train has a very tight turnaround for its return. It has up to 6 engines and is a Class 185 type train, but only uses 1 engine to limit noise when in the loop area. TPE would like to consider with TVCA and Department for Transport to extend the service to Saltburn but funding is not there currently. GM stated that Network Rail lead on all complaints regarding vibration (TH). TH stated he was aware of the area and issues and has had limited involvement so far. There has been some works carried following a complaint about vibration from a resident and due to the increased usage of the track Network Rail will be increasing inspection and maintenance. It is not expected that the maintenance issues are the cause of the complaints, but the issue is to be investigated further as level of complaints larger than initially thought. Action: AC suggested the priority is to collate all complaints from different places onto one spreadsheet CQ stated that the Redcar and the residents want the service to continue but the current situation is causing immense concern and disruption to peoples’ lives. CQ raised the following questions: The Potash freight train comes through the station and there are no issues, complaints are in relation to the idling of the TPE train in the loop and wondered if it could wait at the station which would not need the level crossing being closed twice? Is it due to a clash of trains? Action: TH to follow up and get a robust answer WD suggested that it is in the loop due to the Northern Train not the Potash and whether the Northern Train could swap tracks? Action: GM & TH to discuss with TH but certain trains do need to be on certain tracks at specific times. The train shouldn’t be parked in residential areas for periods of time. Could it wait at the Steel works or nearer the Coatham Marshes? GM stated the turnaround is very tight and any margin of lateness effects timings on the main lines. Only solution is using the goods loop or extending the service to Saltburn which needs significant funding but is the preferred solution. CQ agreed the extension of the service is the best solution but in the interim, there are unhappy residents. Even though the train is using one engine the complaints are still being made. The main issues are the first and last trains as the morning train can stand for 14 mins. Could the passenger numbers be obtained to see if the service is required? GM explained a solution could be to terminate at Middlesbrough but TPE are contractually bound to deliver service to Redcar and a change would require am adjustment to the contract with TVCA. Also, with the planned London trains leaving Middlesbrough that station will need capacity for the increased traffic. WD stated the first Northern Train is 6:20 am to Saltburn therefore there may not be a clash therefore the TPE could wait at the Station if no other train passing. Action: GM & TH to consider this suggestion and feedback CQ stated that this would rebuild relations with residents who feel they were never consulted about the service prior to it starting. WD stated that rail infrastructure doesn’t need consultation which was confirmed by TH but would have been ideal out of courtesy. Action: TH will consider ways of improving communication with residents in the future Some of the complaints are in relation to the revving of the engine whilst waiting. Is this necessary? GM stated the engine needs to run for the heat and light for staff and the running of the air conditioning in the summer. The engine cannot be turned off in case there are any technical issues. The revving is the general engine function and not human intervention. CQ stated that this will be good feedback for residents. SH wondered if the westbound carriage engine could be used which is closer to Morrisons, but GM thinks this is not possible. Action: GM to check and feedback CQ agreed the best solution is to extend the service to Saltburn and asked for the cost to extend the service? GM stated contract is due for review 2023 but would require an additional £10m to extend the service to Saltburn in the meantime due to the resources required which would include an extra train as the turnround is longer. This could be a consideration at the contract review between TVCA and the rail company. GM gave an example of Great Western Railway pilot model that could be considered for this case which would require an additional train for a trial period which would improve connectivity to Saltburn and be consideration for the long term. WD stated that train franchise is currently on agenda at a Tees Valley wide meeting that he attends. The agreement around the table was to extend to Saltburn as soon as funds available and consider at the 2023 contract review. Action: GM to provide GWR information via a link and suggested the possibility of testing the market for Saltburn by public funding for a trial period Action: AC & SH to continue to make the case to TVCA for securing the extension to Saltburn. An opportunity for TfN & DfT to specify this now in the new contract for TPE. CQ stated that residents would like to meet the rail companies and is there a possibility for this? GM asked that for the complaints to be processed through the correct system he would like all complaints to be directed to him (or TH for vibration issues) so it can go through the extended monitoring processes. Action: SH to ensure GM & TH email contacts are available for CQ to circulate to residents. This ensures that correspondence is direct and responded to more quickly and resolved. Action: SH and CQ collate all complaints currently with RCBC or other Cllrs. and forwarded to GM/TH Action: SH to ask RCBC Environmental Health team to refer any resident complaints directly to GM/TH Meeting brought to close.||SH/CQ TH GM/TH GM/TH TH GM GM AC/SH SH SH/CQ SH|
Cllr Carl Quartermain Transpennine Train Meeting Notes – 08.01.20 compiled by Cllr Leah Quartermain
C Quartermain (RCBC Coatham Councillor), S Houldsworth (RCBC Transport officer) , A Carter (RCBC Director of Environment and Economy) , J Topham (RCBC Community Development Officer taking minutes), W Davies (RCBC Cabinet member Economic Growth and Strategic Transport), T Higgins (Network Rail Head of Communications), G Meiklejohn (First Group TPE Regional Development Officer)
AC Is everyone happy for me to chair? Agreed.
SH I have provided a data summary into a grid with four basic areas of concern, predominately noise. I have forwarded CQs complaints to the companies.
GM I have only just received this data and have only just received the actual complaints but will read these. It will be more informative to read the complaints rather than receive in this grid form summary.
CQ I have logged around 30 with the council and I am aware individuals and other councillors have also sent complaints in. The problem is the council seem to be separating noise complaints out as environmental and unknown to me these were not being forwarded. So I have sent you my own record of the complaints via Simon as his data was incomplete. To AC It’s fine sending noise complaints off to the Environment Protection department, albeit they have no powers over the trains under the Environment Act, but all these complaints need to be recorded under one heading as well, “Transpennine trains”. Then they can be researched as required. These issues are not exclusively noise issues they are concerned with vibration, property damage, environmental issues brought on by idling and fumes not just from the trains but also traffic, black residue in gardens and on walls, privacy and lights flashing into people’s homes. I understand that damage and the effects of vibrations are not being recognised by First Group as brought on by the trains idling outside people’s homes but these complaints are known to you.
GM Last year it was decided to extend service to Redcar; we were intending for but not able to extend to Saltburn. The service has been running since March. There is a 20 minute turnaround to go back to Manchester airport. Following noise complaints we are only using one engine for slow speed manoeuvre. These are six engine, six carriage trains and we are minimising noise using the one engine. Objective is to have the service extended to Saltburn but would need to be via TV Combined Authority and Department for Transport for funding, which is currently not available.
CQ Appreciate the changes to operation practice but I have received many of the complaints after the changes were put into action. They are clearly not effective or not always being adhered to. Trains, particularly the first one out, are staying longer than expected causing distress and disturbance and not always are these engines being switched off. Reports that the 6am service is idling and revving in the residential area sometimes as early as 5:20am is wholly unacceptable.
TH I Know the area but have only become aware of the issues in the last week or two. Network Rail role is to support infrastructure. Looked at track and a damaged sleeper could have added to noise and vibrations. Investigating team says there is nothing wrong with infrastructure. Not aware of complaints prior to meeting.
AC Are we now in a position to collate all complaints into a spreadsheet.
CQ As stated, I have been logging complaints and will continue to catalogue and forward as received. I appreciate that TPE and Network rail have only just received these a few minutes before the meeting. The council should now then be passing these on to the companies on receipt. I urge TPE and Network Rail representatives to take time out to read through them all to understand the depth of feeling and the variety and to create their own log. Some of these testimonies are extremely concerning and emotive. All complaints need to be kept together as an ongoing concern so other councillors and officers are able to research for future reference.
CQ I have a number of questions and think it will be the best to go through them. So, firstlythere aretrainsarriving and leaving that are not interfered with by passing trains or the potash train. As these trains will be scheduled and known, Why can’t the Transpennine trains be given priority to wait at Redcar station given that the current solution is having it wait in sidings across the road in a residential area, idling and revving and upsetting residents, over 100 times per week which also means shutting off West Dyke Road by lowering the level crossing over 200 times per week between 5:30am and 10pm everyday?
TH Will take away and get a factual answer. Not sure how easy to reschedule potash train.
WD Can changes be made to northern train which is following? Perhaps change track?
GM Doing so affects all other train services. Local solution isn’t strictly local but has wider reaching consequences.
CQ I understand that the narrowness of Redcar station is the issue for the service as it will not allow enough room for the potash train to pass through safely but parking the train across the road, closing the level crossing twice every hour and parking up in the residential area, idling and revving surely is not the solution. Residents have lived here for decades and have never complained knowing full well trains will be passing. This situation is new and is harmful to the mental wellbeing of those who have written to me. Parking trains outside their homes is unreasonable. Can the trains not wait in a non-residential area such as nearer the marches where there are no homes or wait at British Steel station before coming into the station?
GM There is a tight turnaround of 20 minutes. Any margin of lateness can have knock-on effect. Solution is to head to Saltburn but strategic change required and needs funding. We require intervention from other parts of Public Sector.
CQ The solution to terminate at Saltburn is the ideal one and everyone I have spoken to agrees with that. Nobody wants to lose this service and agree that it is a welcome addition but people living here are at the end of their tether with the turnaround. Your interim solution to reduce noise, going down to one engine when idling does not appear to have reduced complaints and hasn’t worked. Is it possible to look at those early trains as I believe these are causing the most upset, waking people up daily. In particular the earliest which is sometimes idling for over 40 minutes?
GM Would need a change in contract, which will need to be addressed by Tees Valley Combined Authority. Mindful of other aspirations, including introduction of the direct train to London. Complicated factors to be looked at. Passenger numbers are low due to Covid.
CQ I am aware of some residents who do use these trains in normal times for university and the airport. I do not propose losing the service but many tell me no one is getting on the early trains regularly and often they are going back and forth empty. Are passenger numbers available for the earliest trains? If the service isn’t being used, perhaps because of Covid, could they not stop at Middlesbrough for the interim?
WD First train from transpennine at 6am, first train in Saltburn at 6.20. If nothing following, can it sit in Redcar Station? Need clarity regarding this.
SH Toby & Graham this is one for you to look into. If the TP goes ahead of first northern train it may be a possible way to solve the early train disruption.
ACTION: GM & TH to look at if first train can be sat in station amongst other solutions. Will provide answer and convey to other parties.
CQ Such a change would go a long way to rebuild confidence and restore relations with residents that their complaints are being listened to. Following my residential meeting with complainants they advice me that there was no consultation and they were unaware the service would be parking outside their homes with the engines on. Was there any consultation from Network Rail, TPE or RCBC?
WD Consultation doesn’t need to be carried out.
TH There is no obligation to consult on this.
CQ Not having to consult but doing so would have been a more neighbourly thing to do. It might be that you don’t have to but sometimes it’s the right thing to do. Communication can make a lot of difference and the residents I’ve met are very reasonable people. I think they would appreciate it more if they were more informed over what was going on.
TH Along with Graham I will look at how to communicate with residents go forward.
ACTION: Improve comms with residents
CQ Why can’t engine be turned off and is the revving of the engine necessary? Is it revving automatically or manually?
GM Heat and light affected for crew if engine is turned off, also for air conditioning in summer. Tight turnaround window. Due to short turnaround, it is left on in case issues when turning it back on. Engine is not being revved it will be the general noise of the engine working, such as air pressure.
CQ I would be interested to understand that better and would appreciate a more detailed explanation.
SH Graham and Toby – one engine in use, is it possibly to use certain engines to minimise noise say near to the Morrison’s end?
GM This would be ineffective.
CQ It’s been reported to me that to extend the service to Saltburn it would cost 10 million extra on the contract. Is that correct, is that the only reason not to terminate there?
GM 10 million is the transpennine figure. Transpennine contract expires March 2023. To extend to Saltburn would cost an additional 10 million as need extra resources and as is longer than 20 minute turnaround. Window of opportunity for TCVA transport when contract changes.
AC When was initial decision taken not to go to Saltburn?
GM Came down to funding and resources. Thought as of stepping stone. Couldn’t justify asking extra ten million to extend service.
WD Under impression had to wait until franchise was up for renewal, rather than pay for variation to contract. Currently on the agenda with TVCA
CQ Can we pursue this question please Wayne? When does the franchise end?
GM Contract is up for renewal in 2023
CQ As stated, I recently held meeting with residents who have complained and would like the opportunity to speak to rail company. Would you be willing to attend a meeting sometime? I will of course ensure it is orderly.
GM I Would like meaningful engagement with the community but not sure this would be the best way. Happy for residents to write to me or Toby so the correspondence can be logged for environmental monitoring. None of it has entered TPE before so I will read the complaints sent and respond. It would be helpful to have a spokesperson for residents and to pass on resident’s comments and complaints as well as receiving emails direct.
CQ I’ll happily continue to do that as long as residents want me to. Many thanks
AC Thank you all
**9th January – Held an informal virtual meeting with West Dyke councillors. All agreed it was not acceptable to have trains parked up in this corridor causing such distress. We had a good discussion with suggestions and updating on individual complaints. All agreed to work together in support of residents in both wards.
Email from Graham Meiklejohn (TPE) 9th January 2021
Dear Cllr Quartermain,
I hope you are well. I wanted to thank you (and your colleagues copied into this e-mail) for your time yesterday to outline the complaints that have been received by residents. Earlier today I read all of the verbatim comments that Simon sent over.
I appreciated the constructive nature of the meeting and for the clear outline that the Council does not wish to see the service revert back to starting/terminating at Middlesbrough. There was also clear strategic support for our Manchester Airport service to be extended to Saltburn, albeit with recognition of the taxpayer support such an extension would require.
We are already reviewing with Network Rail if our first train of the day might be able to occupy the mainline rather than the goods line and I’d hope we will be able to report back quickly on this. If no change can be made we will provide a clear explanation of why in order that this can be shared with residents.
In the meanwhile, if there are any further matters you would like to raise please let Toby and I know.
Regional Development Manager
Reply to GM (TPE) from Carl Quartermain 11th January 2021
Thank you Graham.
I felt it was a productive meeting and appreciate the effort to try and work with the residents on their complaints.
The first train not waiting at the footbridge would make a lot of difference and would mean an extra hour of peace which would be a great start. I do feel many complaints stem from this one because the residents who live around this corridor are tolerant of noise, many having lived there for decades. It also keeps the road open without the alarms of the level crossing going off too.
Bringing the train straight into Redcar station instead though is also a concern depending on what time it arrives. As we know in practice drivers coming in could still come in around 5:30am and even earlier to idle the train at the platform until 6am so passing the problem and complaints on to residents of Sandringham and Buckingham Road.
If it was stood at or around British Steel station where there are no houses at all until a set time, then came in to pick up passengers nearer to when it would leave again, I think that would stop any complaints at this time in the morning. If that is possible it will make a huge difference I am certain.
Councillor Carl Quartermain
Email from Simon Houldsworth 14th January 2021
TPE have announced changes to their services yesterday to be effective from Monday 25 January 2021. They are proposing to reduce the frequency of their services to/from Redcar Central from hourly to 2-hourly as a temporary Covid measure, as well as service reductions on other parts of their network. Demand remains very low at this moment in time.
The timetable will be published later and I will forward that to you.
Transport Strategy Manager
Reply to SH from CQ 14th January 2021
During the meeting with the operator we discussed contractual restraints regarding timetable, regardless of passenger numbers. So it appears there is leeway to change the timetable after all depending where the request comes from. As in the meeting it makes sense to reduce service if no one is using it. I am keen to see the new timetable and am hopeful it removes the early morning trains creating the must unrest with residents.
When you say later I assume you mean later today?
Reply to CQ from SH 14th January 2021
I will keep an eye out for the new timetable & circulate it. It hadn’t been published on their website a hour ago.
15th January 2021 Email from Carl Quartermain to Graham MeikleJohn of TPE and Toby Higgins of Network Rail
Hi both, (GM TPE & TH Network Rail)
I have received notification from Simon that the TPE service is to be halved and we are awaiting confirmation on a new timetable of which trains are still running.
The initial feedback I have following this announcement is concern. Residents genuinely do not want to lose the service coming to Redcar.
The questions I’ve been asked are:
Can we be reassured this is just a temporary measure until we get back to more normal times?
When will we see the new timetable?
And will this temporary measure mean the removal of the early service?
Appreciate this is not what you want to do and the reasons for it.
Cllr Carl Quartermain
Reply To CQ from GM (TPE) 15th January
Dear Cllr Quartermain,
Thank you for your e-mail below. I think there might have been crossed wires somewhere on this issue and I hope the following helps to clarify the situation.
The rail industry have reviewed service operations against current demand due to the lockdown. As part of this TransPennine Express has reviewed all of its services, including the “North route” timetable which serves Redcar Central, and that review has proposed Redcar Central is served with a service every two hours throughout the day by TransPennine Express with a limited hourly service for the morning peak. This is a more regular service than was operated during the first lockdown in Spring 2020.
Any changes to our timetable needs to be approved in advance. We have submitted that proposed plan to the Rail North Partnership and also to Transport for the North, who consulted with their members on it, including providing them with the proposed timetable.
We have not been advised nor instructed to introduce that alternative timetable yet for our “North route” and as such our services for Redcar Central will remain as per the current timetable. In the event that we are asked by the Rail North Partnership to introduce a revised timetable please be assured that we will communicate that change widely in advance of implementation.
If introduced it will only be for a temporary period in response to the current public health crisis. The timings of services under such a timetable would be:
- From Redcar Central: 0606, 0706 and then every two hours until 1907, with the last service of the day departing at 2207
- Arriving Redcar Central: 0647 and then every two hours until 1849, with the last service of the day arriving at 2149
I hope that this background helps and I will ensure you are informed in advance of any revised timetable being introduced.
Regional Development Manager
GM (TPE) email to CQ 19th January
Dear Cllr Quartermain,
Further to my e-mail below I wanted to advise that we have now received the required instruction from the Rail North Partnership. The temporary timetable changes for our services to/from Redcar Central will now come in operation on Monday 01 February.
Please let me know if you have any queries.
Regional Development Manager
CQ Reply to GM (TPE) 19th January
Thank you Graham,
I have forwarded to residents. As before the reassurance was requested this is temporary arrangement (which I have given), as was the decision regarding idling the first train outside Redcar (British Steel?) until the appropriate time as opposed to the current disturbance. I’m advised it is still arriving earlier than needs be.
GM (TPE) reply to CQ 19th January 2021
Thank you for your e-mail Carl. Our respective teams at TransPennine Express and Network Rail for myself and Toby are still looking into the first train. Once we have a response to that query we will provide an update on that, including an explanation if the service cannot be amended.
Further Reply from GM (TPE) to CQ 27th January 2021
Dear Cllr Quartermain,
I hope you are well. Further to the e-mail below and our recent meeting, with Network Rail we have reviewed the services that are planned to operate around the time of our first weekday service from Redcar Central to Manchester Airport.
Unfortunately there is a conflict in the timetable that prevents our first service of day waiting at Redcar Central station rather than using the goods loop.
Northern have a service that needs to operate through Redcar Central at 0601 whereas our service departs at 0607. That means our service needs to wait in the goods loop until the Northern service has passed. Under the current lockdown arrangements and resulting temporary train service amendments in place, Northern are not operating that service at the moment but the rail industry needs, under Department for Transport instruction, to be able to reintroduce services within a fixed two week notice period. As a result there are no alternative timetabling amendments available for this first service of the day which needs to operate as planned.
I would be interested to learn of the outcome of any discussions that have taken place with Tees Valley Combined Authority and Transport for the North regarding support for this service to be extended to Saltburn.
Reply to GM (TPE) and TH (Network Rail) 1st February 2021
Thank you for your email and explanation as to why the first Transpennine train (TPT) out of Redcar each morning cannot wait in a non-residential area because it would conflict with the first Northern train coming through. I am very disappointed that this is the case and that no alternatives have been offered or considered to relieve the distress caused to residents as documented.
Currently the first TPT can arrive and idle in the residential goods loop earlier than 0530. It is scheduled to leave at 0607 to wait until the first Northern train departs at 0601. Could the TPT therefore depart earlier than the Northern train instead of after it? If it was scheduled to leave around 0555 there would surely be no conflict with Northern or residents.
With no conflict this would mean it can arrive at Redcar station at a reasonable turnaround time and leave from the station without impacting on the level crossing. The timetable would not need to change beyond the first train as it can adhere to the existing schedule further up the line, near to or at Middlesbrough station, but crucially in an area suitable for this purpose unlike the current operation.
Finally, I am receiving a number of messages regarding activity from Network Rail regarding the goods loop, whereby there is a lot of new ballast and a cabin has been erected. Is this in response to the complaints regarding vibration? (Toby?). Please can you advise?
NB: For expediency, I have copied in the relevant ward councillors from Coatham and West Dyke with responsibility to residents at this part of the rail corridor and would ask they are kept informed in all future correspondence.
Cllr Carl Quartermain
GM Reply to CQ 1st February 2021
Dear Cllr Quartermain,
Thank you for your e-mail.
I am afraid that the proposal you outline would not be viable due to timetabling conflicts with other services elsewhere on the network. The service needs to depart Redcar Central in its booked timetable slot in order to have a clear route for the whole journey to Manchester Airport. This includes the precise timing of arrivals at key junctions, such as at Northallerton where this service gains access to the East Coast Main Line.
Any works on the goods loop would be by Network Rail and such Toby will be able to respond to that query.
Dear Cllr Quartermain,
I hope you are well. Although current train timings are fixed, we have nevertheless continued to review any alternative timetabling options for this service as we finalise the timetable to be introduced at the annual timetable change in May.
As a result of that work, we will be able to make the following amendment in May 2021 to the first TransPennine Express departure of the day from Redcar Central:
- From the May 2021 timetable change, the first TransPennine Express departure of the day will no longer be required to use the goods loop. Instead it will arrive and depart from Redcar Central station. All other services will continue to use the goods loop due to the passing requirements of other services
- This first train of the day from Redcar Central – Manchester Airport will also from the May 2021 timetable change depart slightly earlier at 0600
- That service will arrive into Middlesbrough at 0612 which provides a new connection into Northern’s 0620 service to Nunthorpe, providing a new rail commuting journey for key workers from Redcar travelling to James Cook Hospital for a 0700 shift start
The above changes are subject to formal acceptance by Network Rail as part of the routine timetabling process, however we foresee no circumstances where they will not be accepted and look forward to them formally being introduced at the May 2021 timetable change.
I hope this this update is of assistance. If you have any queries please let me know.
Reply to GM and TH (Network Rail) 5th February 2021
Thank you for your email. This is good news for the residents impacted by the noise and vibrations and for Redcar. This earliest of TPE trains has been the most difficult to endure given it was arriving earlier than was necessary as not being constrained by tight turnaround times and therefore idling for a prolonged period.
I have to say I was writing back to your last email to contest your reasoning for not looking at this as it wouldn’t impact on the timetable beyond Redcar Central and would only be that first train. Thankful that the review has resolved this particular concern. I have notified the group and am sure they will be delighted. Please pass on our appreciation.
Toby – I have still not received any information regarding the works taking place tomorrow and Sunday other than through a letter sent to residents. Please can you clarify what the work is and why it is necessary. Many thanks.
Cllr Carl Quartermain
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