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All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: Bob_Blakey on July 15, 2016, 05:27:40 pm



Title: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on July 15, 2016, 05:27:40 pm
Musings from somebody who might be regarded as an 'average' user of our rail service.

Thursday 14th July 2016 - A Day Out At The Cricket
1L26 0650 PIN > 1019 WAT
Class 159 DMU 6-Car
For trips to London I would normally get the 'local' from Digby & Sowton and travel to Paddington via Exeter St. Davids. On this occasion, even with a Senior Railcard, I was unable to secure a ticket on that route at what I regarded as a reasonable price. Travelling from Pinhoe to Waterloo for £14.35 + £8.00 taxi fare was much more cost effective. The journey itself was not without issues, being 'full & standing' all the way from Salisbury to Waterloo, and suffering a 15 minute delay into WAT due to signalling problems (something that seems to be increasingly common at that location). I can't help but wonder if South West Trains policy of specific train, rather than seat, reservations is the best way of serving their customers on the West of England route; or, being a complete cynic, is it purely designed to avoid compensation claims?

1C96 1945 PAD > 2217 EXD + 2F59 2231 EXD > 2243 DIG
HST 8+2 and Class 143
An on-time end to end journey. The service from PAD was 'full & standing' as far as Newbury. Departure from Pewsey was, as per usual, delayed because alighting passengers couldn't be bothered to shut the doors after themselves. Still it gives the train manager something to do! Unusually for this route there was no ticket check until after the train had departed Castle Cary. Splitting tickets at Westbury reduced the price to £20.80 (from the E2E £29.70 originally offered). 


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 16, 2016, 11:39:04 am
Quite interesting that the 1945 was full and standing as far as Newbury - was the Test match a contributory factor?

I know the 1903 is always the train from hell, massively and quite often dangerously overcrowded on Thurs/Fri but I thought the 1945 tended to be quieter - the need for additional capacity on that route and at that time is absolutely critical.



Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on July 19, 2016, 06:30:17 pm
There were certainly some pax on the 1945 who were identifiably cricket watchers but I couldn't say whether the number was significant.
1L26 on the morning run to Waterloo was however very much affected; I noticed a lot of passengers wearing cricket regalia of one sort or another - the 'bacon & egg' tie seemed to be favourite - and 3 passengers to whom I spoke said that they used the specific service regularly and it was 'never this busy'.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on July 19, 2016, 07:52:50 pm
Saturday 16th July / Sunday 17th July 2016 - A Weekend At Lord's
Sat 2T08 0734 DIG > 0747 EXD + 1A76 0754 EXD > 1010 PAD + 1D71 1921 PAD > 1937 SLO
Class 143 x 2 and HST 7+2
An on-time end to end journey. The local train was about half full. There was no ticket check prior to my leaving the service at EXD. A bit surprised about the London service as I thought these were exclusively 8+2 consists - somebody will undoubtedly know different. £29.70 fare for the whole journey which was booked on 22nd May. I would estimate the train was 80-90% full.

I used 1D71, which was formed of 5 165/166 cars, to get to my overnight accommodation (HI Express next to Slough Station) which was chosen because the £12.20 return fare, 2 x Anytime Day Singles, was much more cost effective than paying an inner London premium for a room. The service was on-time but I now know how unpleasant travelling on a train with inoperative air-con can be!

Sun 1P18 0843 SLO > 0903 PAD + 1C96 1957 PAD > 2235 EXD + 2F30 2248 EXD > 2300 DIG
While waiting for 1P18, 5X17 the Class 800 x 2 test train whizzed past on the up relief. Impressively quiet was my immediate thought, followed by how much I hate that Hitachi 'Inspire the Next' strapline. Inspire the Next what? ???
GWR managed to find 9 165/166 cars for 1P18 which was just as well because it was nearly full leaving Slough. The service ran to time virtually all the way but was then held immediately outside PAD waiting for a platform.
1C96 reached EXD 6 minutes late having been delayed by an unexplained signal check near Midgham. The Train Manager was, I thought, being a bit slack; virtually his only PA announcements were 'the next stop is...', although he did manage a request for alighting pax to close doors at Tiverton Parkway, and no ticket check was performed prior to my leaving the train at EXD.
2 x Class 143 on 2F30 was probably a little unnecessary and, again, no tickets were checked. On the plus side the ticket was only £18.15 - bargain.

And due to inept / amateurish batting in both their innings England contrived to lose to Pakistan by 75 runs!  :'( 


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: LiskeardRich on July 19, 2016, 08:00:44 pm
HST 7+2
An on-time end to end journey. The local train was about half full. There was no ticket check prior to my leaving the service at EXD. A bit surprised about the London service as I thought these were exclusively 8+2 consists - somebody will undoubtedly know different. £29.70 fare for the whole journey which was booked on 22nd May. I would estimate the train was 80-90% full.

There was a 9+2 on a Newquay service a few weeks ago. Unsure if that's the norm but possibly stealing a coach from a 8+2 for services more in need


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Adelante_CCT on July 19, 2016, 08:10:06 pm
Quote
I thought these were exclusively 8+2 consists - somebody will undoubtedly know different

I know 43002, (the yellow and blue power car) has been running with only 7 coaches recently, not sure how many others though.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: eightf48544 on July 20, 2016, 09:21:36 am
Just a thought could you have changed at Reading the Oxfords you caught both ways are fast Reading Slough? You could ahve saved around 30 minutes both ways.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 20, 2016, 11:15:04 am
Just a thought could you have changed at Reading the Oxfords you caught both ways are fast Reading Slough? You could ahve saved around 30 minutes both ways.
   Yes I thought that, especially on the way home, surely quicker/easier to go Slough-Reading & change there rather than going to Paddington & doubling back?


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Oxman on July 20, 2016, 12:09:53 pm
Would have been difficult to see the cricket doing that!





Edit note: Minor typo corrected, for clarity. CfN.  :)


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 20, 2016, 01:15:28 pm
Would have been difficult to see the cricket doing that!

Yeah.......doh! 😉 the heat is making me malfunction, I'm going to paint myself white to see if that helps





Edit note: Minor typo corrected, for clarity. CfN. :)


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 24, 2016, 01:22:04 pm
I hate that Hitachi 'Inspire the Next' strapline. Inspire the Next what?
At least one poster on the WNXX forum follows that strapline with 'trip on the M4, ' list of A roads ' etc.'


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 08, 2016, 06:24:55 pm
Friday 2nd September / Friday 30th September 2016 - Why Take A Car To The Airport?
02/09/16 0912 DIG > 0925 EXD + 0958 EXD > 1224 PAD + Heathrow Express
Paddington service held at Royal Oak waiting for a platform due to a 7 minute early arrival - no timetable padding there then! Previously I would have used the RDG Railair bus but the relatively cheap Heathrow Express advance fares make travelling via PAD so much more convenient. Split the EXD > PAD tickets at WSB and saved quite a bit.
30/09/16 Heathrow Express + 1006 PAD > 1206 EXD + 1216 EXD > 1229 DIG
1C77 departed PAD 6 minutes late, apparently due to emergency engineering work disruption, but arrived EXD on time. Very good. The service was VERY busy - we were in coach D and there were only 2 unoccupied seats. The DIG connection was also very busy.The PAD > DIG tickets were booked at the end of July and, with a 2Together Railcard, only cost £18.15 each.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 21, 2016, 05:30:31 pm
Thursday 20th October
1820 DIG > EXC & 2235 EXC > DIG
4 cars (2 x 143) & 3 cars (1 x '150')
Both services on time but no ticket check on either train (and the EXC gates were open on the way home).


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 24, 2016, 01:54:37 pm
Friday 21st October / Sunday 23rd October 2016 - To Belfast For The Rugby

NB. The obvious travel solution should have been the direct Exeter > Belfast City FlyMaybe service but that was not an option because:
1) Flybe are still on my blacklist as a result of previous appalling service failures, and
2) anyway I wouldn't have paid the £400+ they wanted for a return ticket - as soon as the Ulster v Exeter fixture date was confirmed Flybe increased the price from the more usual £90-£100. A pox on them for such blatant profiteering!
Going train + plane via Bristol would also have been much more expensive.
 
Fri 2T15 1242 DIG > 1255 EXD + 1S51 1324 EXD > 1556 BHM + 9M55 1610 BHM > 1619 BHI
Class 150 x 1 & HST & Pendolino
An on-time end to end journey, although the initial local service was delayed at EXC for no obvious reason. The local train was about half full. The XC service left EXD a little late because it was VERY busy, and the BHM>BHI train was full & standing seemingly because the passengers had been told to keep off the reserved seats (I got my allocated pew).

Sun 2C36 1823 BHI > 1842 BHM + 1V66 1912 BHM > 2139 EXD + 2F29 2148 EXD > DIG 2200
Class 350 & Voyager 4 Car & Class 150/2 x 2
3 minutes late at my final destination which, under the overall circumstances, wasn't too bad!
The LM train ran a few minutes down but there were plenty of seats. The fun started at BHM; 1V66 arrived 27 mins late and left 23 late. The station PA announced that this was due to 'a problem currently under investigation'. I would guess that the service being very overcrowded had something to do with it. I was not able to get my allocated seat, until BRI, due to the the presence of a 'Bristolian' knuckle dragger who refused to move. Had the train not been so 'ram-packed' - although I didn't see Jeremy Corbyn aboard ;D - I would have gone to the Train Manager but that was not an option. I did have a conversation with the TM, who had been busy dealing with an ill passenger, between BHM & CNM when she came through the train but the information provided didn't tell me anything of which I was not already aware. I will be claiming the appropriate compo and be asking XC a number of questions about their service provision so this journey may resurface shortly on a separate thread.
Anyway the upshot was a 9 minute late arrival at EXD and somebody very kindly decided it would be appropriate to hold 2F29 for a couple of minutes to collect transferring passengers.

All the train travel was covered by a £61.20 Senior Railcard Off-Peak Return.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: bobm on October 24, 2016, 02:01:42 pm
Just a shame Exeter lost by a point....


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 24, 2016, 04:53:29 pm
Indeed...but it was a brilliant game to watch and both the Ulster supporters and the wider population of Belfast were extremely friendly and helpful. I also took in Titanic Belfast and the Giant's Causeway so it was still a very good weekend.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on November 05, 2016, 10:39:36 am
Friday 4th November 2016 - BSO Concert At The University
2T26 1821 DIG > 1829 EXC
Class 143 x 2
I would guess 30% loaded although +/-30 pax boarded at DIG. Service departed EXM on-time but then ran 2-3 mins down on my journey; leaf fall?

2F59 2235 EXC > 2243 DIG
Class 143 x 1
143603 with a fairly obvious wheel flat! Service just about ran to time. About 80% loaded from EXC. Nice to see the EXC gateline still in operation that late. It is noticeable that on occasions the PA at DIG is not synchronised with actual arrivals/departures; this evening the '...next train to arrive...' announcement was still going when the service departed towards EXM.

Fare: Senior Railcard Off-Peak Return £2.00; bargain - the bus costs £3.70 (Exeter Dayrider) with an E2E journey time of 50 minutes.   


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on November 17, 2016, 07:27:49 pm
Thursday 17th November 2016 - Quick Shopping Trip
2B74 1012 DIG > 1018 EXC
Class 143 x 1
Service, very close to full, ran 9 mins down after being held at Topsham waiting for the late 2F15. TVM at DIG 'Out Of Service' again; I informed the EXC gateline staff.

2F21 1120 EXC > 1128 DIG
Class 143 x 2
Service on time. Another 'clunking' ride, this one due to a wheelflat on 143612.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on December 01, 2016, 01:18:13 pm
Tuesday 29th November 2016 - Abortive Dental Appointment
2B73 0912 DIG > 0920 EXC
Class 143 x 1
Slightly delayed service about 90% loaded.

2F15 0953 EXC > 0959 DIG
Class 153 x 2
Service ran 5 mins late. Very lightly loaded.


Thursday 1st December 2016 - Too Icy For The Bike
2B73 0912 DIG > 0920 EXC
Class 150 x 1
Service 6 mins late. About 90% loaded. TVM at DIG Out of Service.

2F17 1020 EXC > 1028 DIG
Class 143 x 2
Service 5 mins late. Lightly loaded. TVM at DIG was back online. The CIS & PA at EXC specified that 2F17 was reported to be 'full & standing', something that proved to be entirely correct. However the same information was delivered on arrival at DIG when it was obviously not the case as a large number of passengers alighted at EXC. Lack of attention to detail in the delivery of customer information.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: chuffed on December 01, 2016, 03:32:32 pm
TVM at DIG Out of service

Did you all have snow shovels ? Or could you have called on a passing snowplough for service ?


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on January 09, 2017, 01:03:00 pm
Monday 9th January 2017 - A Quick Trip To Town
2B74 1012 DIG > 1018 EXC
Class 150/2 x 1 - actually the fully refurbished 150248 which delivered a very pleasant travelling experience.
TVM at DIG not available as it was being attended to by a couple of GWR bods; not sure if this was cash collection or fault rectification. Service on time. About 95% loaded. On-board ticket purchase very easy.

2F21 1120 EXC > 1128 DIG
Class 143 x 1 - although the CIS showed 4 coaches until very shortly before arrival at EXC.
Service 5 mins late; RTT showed the service initially delayed on the approach to NTA. Given the late departure of the subsequent 1L44 from EXD I wonder if the other 2 coaches of 2F21 were detached there. Lightly loaded. 3 Guard/Conductor staff on-board - revenue protection or training?

PS. Tweeted @GWRHelp to highlight the out-of-date poster at DIG advertising pre-fare rise prices for EXC & EXM CDR tickets - GWR still frequently failing on the 'attention to detail' front.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on January 19, 2017, 10:23:10 am
Thursday 19th January 2017 - Too Icy To Cycle
2T08 0843 DIG > 0852 EXC
Class 143 x 2
Service essentially on time. Full & standing (but tickets were still being checked).

2F13 0920 EXC > 0928 DIG
Class 143 x 1
Service on time. About 60% loaded. Tickets checked.

...and later:

Thursday 19th January 2017 - BSO Concert At The University
2T26 1821 DIG > 1829 EXC
Class 143 x 2
Service 10 minutes late having waited at TOP for the delayed 2F47. However the short journey was much improved by my first encounter with 'Conductor David' who regaled us with such gems as '...change at Exeter Central for the city centre and the exquisite Exeter Prison...' & '...don't forget to take your belongings, and your own partner...'.

2F59 2235 EXC > 2243 DIG
Class 143 x 1
Service on time. About 30% loaded. Tickets not checked.



Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on March 12, 2017, 10:20:14 am
Thursday 9th / Saturday 11th March 2017 - A Couple Of Days In London
Thu 2B74 1012 DIG > 1023 EXD + 1A16 1056 EXD > 1340 PAD
Class 150/1 + HST
On-time (actually 2 mins early at final destination) E2E journey although 1A16 left EXD 5 mins late having been delayed by 'safety checks' in Cornwall.

Sat 1C86 1448 PAD > 1731 EXD + 2F47 1745 EXD > 1758 DIG
HST + Class 150/1
Another on-time E2E journey.
Tickets checked on all 4 services.

A couple of random observations:
1) On the return HST the GWR WiFi worked well enough to allow me to keep fully up to speed with the rugby score; on all previous appropriate journeys WiFi speed has been similarly acceptable. So what exactly is the problem?
2) Appropos the proposed installation of 'pretty' OHLE gear through the Bath Sydney Gardens area I would have more respect for the opinions of the local NIMBYs & council representatives if they got off their hypocritical high horses/backsides and did something about the mass of graffiti (or 'street art' for those of you who prefer the PC approach  ;D) currently despoiling the location.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: ChrisB on March 12, 2017, 11:39:57 am
Re wifi...speeds are fine until the train gets busy....usually shoulder-peak/peak services. Then its bandwidth thats the problem & slso possibly the number of connections. I'm not surprised it was fine on your off-peak services


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on March 20, 2017, 11:05:51 am
Thursday 16th March 2017 - BSO Concert At The University
2T26 1821 DIG > 1829 EXC
Class 143 x 2

2F59 2235 EXC > 2243 DIG
Class 143 x 1
Both services on time. No ticket checks on either train. I may be imagining things but the 150/2's seem to have temporarily vanished from the Exmouth branch.

Sunday 19th March 2017 - Anglo-Welsh Rugby Cup Final At The Twickenham Stoop (Yes, Exeter Lost Again  :()
2T10 0929 DIG > 0942 EXD + 1A78 0956 EXD > 1225 RDG + 2C38 1258 RDG > 1356 TWI
143 & 153 + HST + 450 x 2
On-time E2E journey. Obviously plenty of timetable padding for the diverted 1A78 which apparently made up 8 minutes between YVJ & YVP! From memory my first ever trip along the YVJ>CLC section of diversionary route; I hadn't realised that YVP was such an absolute technological backwater from a railway perspective.

2C53 1749 TWI > 1847 RDG + 1C95 1932 RDG > 2120 EXD + 2F59 2148 EXD > 2200 DIG
450 x 2 + HST + 143
An on-time E2E journey despite both TWI>RDG & RDG>EXD services running slightly late throughout.

Tickets checked on all 4 GWR trains. Very surprised, given their reputation, that neither SWT service included any ticket checks; according to my son, who lives in Reading and uses the RDG<>WAT route on a regular basis, this is quite normal.

And finally...which twit decided to change the CIS description for LYC from Lympstone Cmdo(x) to Lympstone Comma(x)?


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on May 28, 2017, 11:06:03 am
Saturday 27th May 2017 - A Day Out At Twickenham For The Rugby Premiership Final

Victory at last! Brilliant game and atmosphere at HQ.

Outward
2B73 0912 DIG > 0925 EXD
Class 153 + 150/2
Service pretty well loaded and on-time. Given the potential passenger traffic on a busy sporting weekend for Exeter it was good to see ticket sellers at both POL & SJP.

1A78 0954 EXD > 1147 RDG
HST 8 Coach
Service full & standing from EXD. 9 late into RDG due to passenger (un)loading delays at both TVP & WSB. No ticket check.

2C36 1212 RDG > 1311 TWI
Class 450
Service full & standing all the way to TWI; pax (un)loading delays at various stations along the route.

Return
2C55 1810 TWI > 1915 RDG
Class 450
Train 21 mins late into RDG due to following the delayed preceding 2Z75 after FEL(tham). Service full & standing from TWI and significant additional pax at VIR & SNG from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

1C96 2035 RDG > 2235 EXD
HST 8 Coach
Service arrived RDG on-time but departed 8 mins late due to loading delays. Full & standing as far as WSB. 11 late into EXD. Some of this additional delay undoubtedly due to inconsiderate alighting passengers not closing doors at unstaffed stops - the new power door equipped stock cannot arrive soon enough!

2F61 2309 EXD > 2321 DIG
Class 150/2
Service 4 late due to following delayed 1L88 as far as Exmouth Junction. The excellent guard started ticket checks/sales before departure from EXD.


I cannot help thinking that on days like this the relevant TOC's should seriously consider reintroducing reservation only 'sport special' services; given appropriate publicity via the clubs involved I believe they could be run on a commercial basis. And the travelling experience for other 'ordinary' passengers would be significantly improved.






Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: ChrisB on May 28, 2017, 12:01:28 pm
But more trains would be needed to shift pax unable to be carried on those 'reservation only' trains?....


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on July 06, 2017, 08:22:53 am
Sunday 2nd July 2017 - Dawlish In The Sunshine

Outward
2F05 1129 DIG > 1147 EXM
Class 143
Service lightly loaded. Ran 3 mins down having left EXC late.

(Stroll around Exmouth followed by 1240 ferry to Starcross and a very pleasant walk to Dawlish interrupted by an excellent (seafood) lunch at the Anchor Inn, Cockwood - try it if you ever get the chance.)

Return
2F17 1624 DWL > 1658 DIG
Class 143 x 2
Lightly loaded service ran around 5 mins down throughout due to the developing signalling failure between EXD & TVP. Disappointed to report a 'free' trip because the DWL TVM was OOS and no attempt was made to check/sell tickets on board (despite a non-stop run from DWW>EXD).


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 22, 2018, 09:51:13 am
An appropriate juncture to resurrect this thread (?)

Wednesday 17th October 2018 - My First Conveyance By An IET
2B80 1643 DIG > 1655 EXD
Class 150/2 + 153
Service ran a few minutes late due, not unusually*, to waiting a late running Exmouth-bound service at Topsham. Conductor not doing proper ticket checks (the fact that I had one was deemed sufficient) because, he explained, the revenue protection team had taken up residence at Polsloe Bridge. I failed to see the connection between these two events.

*Perhaps Sir Tom Jones could be persuaded to catalogue the many failings of our railway system in a song.

1A93 1702 EXD > 1920 PAD
Class 80x 9-Car
The wrong type of IET! 9 cars instead of the apparently rostered 10 so no reservations (not that it mattered as there were plenty of spare seats). I found the seats to be acceptable in terms of comfort and the increased legroom was a welcome improvement. I thought overall ride quality was a slight step up from the HST and background noise was noticeably reduced. The positioning of the power socket information panels (partly obscured under the lower window frame) was obviously the work of an imbecile and I found that my 3-pin plug (a USB adapter) would not seat fully into the sockets and it was a struggle to get the juice flowing. I have never had the same issue with this adapter anywhere else.
Pedant Alert: I dislike the internal scrolling displays because I find the repetition of the final destination as a calling point annoying unnecessary.
And, finally, the really poor bit: Service arrived at Paddington 17 minutes late following a delay in the Lydford area (c. 5 miles west of CLC) due to a cow on the line. Why the hell is this still allowed to happen? 


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Lee on October 22, 2018, 10:05:54 am
An appropriate juncture to resurrect this thread (?)

Wednesday 17th October 2018 - My First Conveyance By An IET
2B80 1643 DIG > 1655 EXD
Class 150/2 + 153
Service ran a few minutes late due, not unusually*, to waiting a late running Exmouth-bound service at Topsham.

*Perhaps Sir Tom Jones could be persuaded to catalogue the many failings of our railway system in a song.

#Hold on, I'm coming...#


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: LiskeardRich on October 22, 2018, 09:33:16 pm
Quote
Conductor not doing proper ticket checks


On a recent 3 in 7 FoSW I had my tickets checked 3 times in my 3 days.... twice was by the same guard on a round trip to Barnstaple.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on June 21, 2019, 11:04:58 am
Tuesday 18th / Wednesday 19th June 2019 - Personal Business In London
Outward
2B74 1012 DIG > 1022 EXD
Class 150/2
5 minutes late due to waiting a late running Exmouth-bound train at Topsham (again!). Very poor (33 minutes) connection into: 

1A81 1055 EXD > 1315 PAD
Class 800 x 2 - 10 Cars
Service a little late arriving at EXD due to the Teignmouth signalling issue. Platform PIS indicating electronic reservations not posted, although the system miraculously burst into life shortly after departure from EXD (this of course created more problems than it cured at Taunton - perhaps a lesson for the future?). Front unit trolley not able to provide hot drinks, not impressed.

Return
1C92 1803 PAD > 2016 EXD
Class 800 - 9 Cars
On time. Reservations provided by both electronic system & paper cards (I assume GWR / Hitachi still do not entirely trust the former). Excellent advertising of the Pullman Dining Service (last PA stated only 1 place remaining).

2F55 2034 EXD > 2046 DIG
Class 143 x 2
On time.
   


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on July 13, 2019, 02:21:26 pm
Saturday 13th July 2019 - A Quick Shopping Trip Not Possible By Bike

Outward
2B75 1114 DIG > 1120 EXC
Class 143 x 2
On time. Presence of ticket checked but sight of railcard not requested.

Return
2F23 1153 EXC > 1158 DIG
Class 150/2 x 2
Late departure from EXD. No ticket check.
In the same carriage as me was a passenger who was intending to travel to WAT but, because the 1130 SWR service to London was delayed (35 mins), he had boarded the wrong train. This despite a number of quite specific PA announcements at EXC regarding the order of train arrival.
My question is: Can the PIS displays be manually overridden to reflect the actual situation so passengers don't receive conflicting information? The displays at EXC are of the type which display full details of the 1st train and a summary of the 2nd & 3rd services - 1L44 was always shown as the first departure.
(It probably didn't help that the passenger concerned was 'Eastern European' and possibly not that familiar with UK rail travel.)


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Robin Summerhill on July 13, 2019, 07:04:34 pm
Quote from: Bob_Blakey

In the same carriage as me was a passenger who was intending to travel to WAT but, because the 1130 SWR service to London was delayed (35 mins), he had boarded the wrong train. This despite a number of quite specific PA announcements at EXC regarding the order of train arrival.
My question is: Can the PIS displays be manually overridden to reflect the actual situation so passengers don't receive conflicting information? The displays at EXC are of the type which display full details of the 1st train and a summary of the 2nd & 3rd services - 1L44 was always shown as the first departure.
(It probably didn't help that the passenger concerned was 'Eastern European' and possibly not that familiar with UK rail travel.)

There must be an insider on here somewhere who can answer this question definitively, but from my own experience I don't think that they can be overridden locally.

They can, however be changed somewhere in the system. There is a standard train pattern at Bath where something southbound (ie. to Westbury and usually beyond) departs at 9 minutes past the hour, and the London comes in shortly behind. I have been at Bath on at least two occasions when one the southbound service has been delayed and runs behind the London, and the departure boards (both the one-line summary board and the detailed one) have been changed. On one recent occasion they changed more than once, as it became clear that Control was having a difference of opinion on which one to send out from Bristol first :)

Manual PA announcements were made in all cases.

On another occasion some years ago I was on a St Pancras to Dover - non stop to Ashford then all stations. We were held for 20 minutes at STP because of an idiot trespasser, and the decision was taken to skip the intermediate stops between Ashford and Dover (I believe this was a DOO service as I never saw another staff member on the train). A manual announcement was made before Ashford that passengers to intermediate stations should change, but the automated announcements kept going. On departure from Ashford the driver came on to tell passengers to ignore the automatic announcements, so he clearly couldn't shut the thing off.

Needless to say, however, there were a number of irritated passengers on that train who ended up unexpectedly at Dover because they took no notice of the manual announcement.

If passengers insist on not listening to announcements made over a PA system (such as at EXC as indicated above), nobody can be blamed but the passengers themselves if they end up on the wrong train or at the wrong station. But that said, the display boards should have been updated and that certainly didn't help. I won't go into the Eastern European issue because exactly the same thing could have happened to a deaf white bloke from Honiton who was waiting for that train.



Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: bobm on July 13, 2019, 07:12:48 pm
Ideally they shouldn't need to be overridden as they rely on the signalling system to identify where each train is.

However Exeter Central's close proximity to Exeter St David's means the information may not be available until the last minute when whichever train is coming first departs (or perhaps fractionally before that when the signaller sets the road).

I have often seen it at Swindon where a service from Bristol and one from South Wales jockey for position until one gets to go in front at Wootton Bassett Junction.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on August 15, 2019, 03:20:51 pm
Thursday 15th August 2019 - Bicycle Is OOU For A Major Transmission Repair

Outward
2B73 0912 DIG > 0920 EXC
Class 150/2 x 2
I am pleased to report the much more frequent appearance of 4 car services (except 143 x 2 obviously) recently. Noticed that this service departed DIG at 09:11:17 (according to the PIS clock) leaving at least one extremely p*ssed-off intending passenger on the platform. Is this a bit naughty or are the clearly displayed notices concerning 'early' closing of the train doors sufficient?
Also the train PIS was stuck on '...next station is Lympstone Village...'; there isn't much point in having these if the TM can't be bothered to ensure they are providing accurate information.

Return
2F17 1020 EXC > 1028 DIG
Class 143 x 2
2 late from EXC, 4 late at DIG. Additional delay at SJP due to detraining family group with pushchairs through the single front door. POL also very busy with pax heading for a day at the seaside.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on January 13, 2020, 01:47:43 pm
Thursday 9th January / Sunday 12th January 2020 - A Rugby 'Weekend' In Scotland

Yes, I could have made these journeys much quicker, and possibly cheaper, by flying between Exeter & Glasgow but Flybe are the only route service provider and they remain on my blacklist for previous appalling customer service failures.

Yes, I could have done this slightly quicker, but certainly NOT cheaper without a significant amount of mucking about with split ticketing, by using the more direct 'cross country' route via Birmingham. Each E2E journey cost me around £47 - GWR £16, Avanti £30 plus Oyster.

Outward
2T11 0913 DIG > 0926 EXD : 1 x 150/2 + 1 x 143
1A77 0941 EXD > 1209 PAD : IET 9 Car
Tube Paddington > Euston Square + Walk
1S69 1330 EUS > 1759 GLC : Pendolino
The journey to London was a tad late due to a short hold immediately outside Paddington - still did RDG>PAD start to stop in 25 mins. The IET electronic reservation system was not activated until after departure from EXD. There was some extremely rough riding east of Somerton tunnel - I assume the 14/03-27/03 CLC<>TAU line closure will deal with this; it would be interesting to know why the diversionary route via Yeovil is not being used during this blockade.
Arrival in Glasgow was 11 late due to slow running through Bletchley, Crewe, on the approach to Oxenholme and over Beattock. RTT seems to show 1S69 behind a late TPE Edinburgh service at the final location.

Return
1M07 1038 GLC > 1518 EUS
Walk + Tube Euston Square > Paddington
1C88 1603 PAD > 1815 EXD : IET 5 Car
2F22 1840 EXD > 1901 DIG : 1 x 150/2 + 1 x 143
Arrived home at the expected time but...1M07 never recovered from a short complete stop immediately north of Crewe and arrived at EUS 6 down. During the tube trip I checked RTT which initially had 1C88 leaving from platform 3 at PAD but this subsequently changed to P10. When I arrived at PAD (1545) there was a 10 car IET in P10 but no departure advertised. At about 1550 the departure boards listed the 1600 BRI service leaving from P10 while 1C88 continued to show as 'Preparing'. There was no indication that 1C21 was only the front 5 coaches, or that 1C88 the rear 5, and the concourse staff had absolutely no idea what was happening. Utter chaos. At 1558 1C88 finally showed as a P10 departure. Unsurprisingly the electronic reservation system was not in use but the TM did not make a 'sit anywhere' announcement. Shortly after a delayed (5 mins) departure the customer host announced that refreshments would only be available from a static trolley; is this due to the trolley water supply not having been pre-heated? 1C88 ran late throughout but due to a timetabled 6 minute dwell at TVP arrived at EXD only 4 mins down! And now the really annoying bit; the line towards Plymouth was closed so all Avocet line services were starting from/terminating at EXD but no attempt had been made to adjust the schedule of what had essentially become a 'self-contained' service to provide better connections. There were however extended - up to 11 minutes - stops at EXC in the EXM services.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on February 13, 2020, 02:36:09 pm
Friday 7th February / Monday 10th February 2020 - Yorkshire For The Weekend

Again both out and back via London as it was cheaper than travelling via Birmingham

Outward
2T11 DIG 0913 > EXD 0926  : 1 x 150/2 + 1 x 158
1A77 EXD 0941 > PAD 1209 (+11)  : IET 9 Car
Tube Paddington > Piccadilly Circus + Leicester Square > Kings Cross/St.Pancras (Chinatown Shopping!)
1D18 KGX 1433 > WKF 1631  : 2 x 801/1
For some unknown reason both PIS & PA at Digby insisted that 2T11 only had 2 coaches.
After Taunton timekeeping on 1A77 was poor and the service was then additionally held at Southcote Junction due to the congestion caused by the Basingstoke points failure. I noted freight trains waiting on both Up line from BSK and the Reading West Curve (from Tilehurst). 14 late from RDG and 11 down at PAD. On the plus side the refreshment trolley was double 'manned' and made two runs through the train.
Just for the hell of it I travelled 1st Class on the LNER Azuma; the food & drink service (at no extra charge over the £38.95 ticket price) was in my opinion exceptional with a brilliant selection of both hot & cold options. The Azuma provided a significantly better ride quality than the IET but I will leave the experts to decide whether that was down to the train or track or a combination of the two.

Saturday 8th February - A Day Trip To York
1D03 WKF 0901 (+1)  > LDS 0914 (+4)  : Azuma
1E27 LDS 0927 > YRK 0955 (+2)  : Nova 3
Lots of service disruptions, in particular congestion on the approach to LDS, due to the early stages of Storm Ciara. The essentially brand new TPE Nova 3 unit rattled continuously on the journey to York; it seems there might be some build quality issues with these trains.
(Returned to Wakefield by road)

Sunday 9th February - Accommodation Move
2805 WKF 1134 (+10) > FZW 1144 (+11) : Class 331
A short trip at the height of Storm Ciara, but the ride quality & internal layout and appearance of the Class 331 created a very good impression with me.

Return
1A28 WKF 1158 (+1) > KGX 1402 (+3) : Azuma
Tube Kings Cross/St. Pancras > Paddington
1C86 PAD 1504 (+17) > EXD 1715 (+21) : IET10
2F27 EXD 1741 (OT) > DIG 1755 (+4) : 1 x 150/2 + 1 x 143
We travelled on through WKF > DIG Advance Singles at a cost of £37.95 which I reckon is extremely good value.
Given the conditions - very strong SW winds & intermittent downpours - a very impressive run down to London.
Followed by (the not uncommon) chaos at Paddington! - late arrival of the train at platform, late notification via PIS & PA and, quelle surprise, no seat reservations. And as mentioned above I don't fully understand why the LNER Azuma feels like a significantly better train than the GWR IET given that they are, I assume, the same basic design.
As luck would have it, because of the extended EXD > EXM connection times introduced by the December timetable change, arrival at home was only a tad later than scheduled due to waiting for a late running 2T28 coming off the Exmouth branch.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on February 20, 2020, 11:50:33 am
Thursday 20th February 2020 - Bike Replacement Train
On time trips in both DIG-EXC directions but I did think that the 'Passengers for St. James Park should only travel in the front coach of this service' PA announcement AFTER departure from EXC on the return leg qualified as slightly less than helpful given that it was the usual 150/2 + 143 combo.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on August 28, 2020, 09:13:19 am
Thursday 27th August 2020 - First Post-Lockdown Rail Journey
The 'Reasonably Frequent' part of the thread title still being somewhat optimistic!
0843 DIG>EXC which, going by a few previous journeys on the same service, would normally be full and standing was carrying about half-a-dozen pax in each of the four carriages. Some things however seemingly do not change - the DIG TVM was 'Out Of Service'!
0955 EXC>DIG return also lightly loaded.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on September 12, 2020, 09:50:44 am
Thursday 10th September 2020 - Return Home From Lunch In Town (Outward By Other Means)
2F25 1651 EXC > 1700 DIG
We should, from past experiences, have known better but some delightful early-Autumn sunshine prompted a post-prandial stroll around the Exeter Quay area and we ended up catching what has become known as the 'Exeter College Chucking Out' train. Prior to departure both main EXC platforms were quite crowded (there is a same time service to Paignton). Repeated PA appeals for passengers to move away from the stairwell areas, and essentially socially distance themselves along the platforms, were ignored and many individuals only donned face coverings when instructed to do so over the tannoy. On the subject of on-train distancing you would, as they say, be having a laugh - in some parts of our carriage it would have been difficult to swing a gerbil never mind a cat. And in the middle of this an unfortunate wheelchair passenger wishing to alight at EXC was completely forgotten until one of her companions collared a member of platform staff. Happy days!  ::)


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 04, 2020, 08:43:02 am
Quick DIG<>EXC return trip a couple of days ago; good to see that work on the SJP Platform 2 (Up Waterloo) extension has finally started. And my return 1054 EXC>1100 DIG (2F13 PGN>EXM) disgorged something like 50-60 pax on arrival at EXC which I thought was encouraging.


Title: Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User
Post by: Bob_Blakey on October 17, 2020, 09:53:44 am
Tuesday/Wednesday 13th/14th October 2020 - The Metropolis That Is Basingstoke!
Helping one of our children move into their new home. Tickets split at EXC saving ?11.55 over the SVR fare.
Outward
DIG 0743>EXC 0752 (2T08 EXM>PGN) + EXC 0827>BSK 1055 (1L32 EXD>WAT)
Both services on time and lightly loaded. Local connection only 2 coaches despite station PIS saying 4 (again). Waterloo service 6 coaches to Salisbury and 9 thereafter, definitely optimistic!

Return
BSK 1507>EXC 1737 (1L41 WAT>EXD) + EXC 1745>DIG 1755 (2F27 PGN>EXM)
Again both trains on time at destination but the SWR service was slightly delayed leaving SAL I think due to an issue with dropping the rear 158 (8 coaches before SAL, 5 from there to EXD). I travelled in 1st with SWR - at ?12.85 with a crinklies card it would have been daft not to - which was a very pleasant experience. And busier than I expected. Only issue was the train PIS showing '...Next Station Is Tisbury...' all the way to EXC; I dislike such laziness on the part of the TM.

SWR have still not reinstated the catering trolleys on their services, and the information was not particularly easy to find on the website, but given all the Covid-19 precautions I think this is very poor.



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