Great Western Coffee Shop

Journey by Journey => TransWilts line => Topic started by: grahame on April 09, 2017, 12:57:07 PM



Title: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: grahame on April 09, 2017, 12:57:07 PM
Melksham Station all quiet this morning as the Portsmouth Harbour train goes though without stopping. Our station would not have been quiet, though, if the trains that are passing through every hour this weekend were all to stop. Yesterday evening, the 17:44 arrival from Swindon dropped off 30 people (and all through one door so it took a while!) ... and once some trains have started to call today it will get busier - but what a shame that Sunday service doesn't start until nearly lunch time.


The diversion of the Cardiff to Portsmouth service via Melksham this weekend - and it's running to time - confirms the ability of GWR to run an hourly service each way on the line.

When I first got involved in campaigning for a better service for Melksham, I used the term an "appropriate service" because I wasn't sure of the details of what was needed. The community accepted the offer of a train each way every 2 hours, six and a half daytimes a week (no services until very late in the morning on Sundays except in high summer, and no trains after early evening on any day of the week).

Passenger numbers have been way in excess of forecasts on the service provided ... with strong requests for it to be stepped up to hourly, provided on a Sunday morning all year and with an extra round trip in the evening. And these requests are not just "it would be nice if ..." - they are real requests from people who are not yet using the train because they won't wait up to 2 hours, they need to travel on Sunday morning, or they want to be able to get home in the evening.


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 09, 2017, 06:35:43 PM
The diversion of the Cardiff to Portsmouth service via Melksham this weekend - and it's running to time - confirms the ability of GWR to run an hourly service each way on the line.

Would their ability to run an hourly service each way be compromised at all by adding a station stop at Melksham into each such service, grahame?



Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: Surrey 455 on April 09, 2017, 07:09:37 PM
First MTR having won the South West franchise have promised to increase Sunday services amongst others on some routes. The GW franchise winner is still to be determined. Have any of the bidders spoken of their plans for the TransWilts?


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: grahame on April 09, 2017, 08:04:25 PM
First MTR having won the South West franchise have promised to increase Sunday services amongst others on some routes. The GW franchise winner is still to be determined. Have any of the bidders spoken of their plans for the TransWilts?

The diversion of the Cardiff to Portsmouth service via Melksham this weekend - and it's running to time - confirms the ability of GWR to run an hourly service each way on the line.

Would their ability to run an hourly service each way be compromised at all by adding a station stop at Melksham into each such service, grahame?



The 2005 franchise was awarded with minimal consultation concerning the TransWilts, and a lack of much response to what was offered was taken as an acceptance of a lack of service into the future.    With much improved information systems, a fully co-ordinated and rather more visible community team including members with prior political, rail industry and LEP experience, and current passenger numbers somewhat  ;) above those that were thought to be possible in those days, things are a little different.

The value of consultation (in the South West franchise) was questioned by a member of the audience at the TravelWatch SouthWest meeting at the start of last month - "why do we bother - is it just to tick boxes?" was the question asked.   Chris Irwin (I think it was) answered for TWSW; he had been through the ITT and picked out 15 places where inputs supported / mirrored / echoed by TWSW could be see to have made a difference as the ITT developed. On the GW franchise, we're now in early stages; we do know that the strength of local stakeholder knowledge has been noted, and the sense of everyone working in the same direction with the common goal of a vibrant, financially sensible outcome for all.

Nothing written in my piece should surprise anyone, nor be considered to be impractical at some stage in the foreseeable future.  Looking a real time trains data for today, journeys from Trowbridge to Chippenham seem to have taken 17 and a quarter minutes pretty consistently, whether or not there was a Melksham stop.   I haven't spotted anything late off Trowbridge, so I would suggest that the trains were being driven to keep time and be economical on fuel, rather than at the timetable limits.   Two exceptions - one train took longer in to Chippenham as it looks like it was caught being a Paddington express straining from there, and there was an extra 30 seconds on the train that called at Melksham at 17:44 last night - hardly a surprise with 30 off / single door, and I suspect a develop(ing) incident.  An inebriated gentleman certainly left that train (against his will ) as one of the 30, and I suspect he was not alone judging by a long stop for that train at Trowbridge too. Final evidence ... "Old Lady" 150-002 with a top speed of 75 m.p.h. seems to be doing just as well as the 158s over the single line.

In the longer term, there *is* a robustness and threading issue to be considered as you move towards an hourly service each way between Trowbridge and Chippenham at the same time as having the HST or IEP expresses at full volume west of Swindon, and freight too. I'm reminded of my original (2005) 4 steps (paraphrasing though)
1. Make people realise there's something to look at
2. Get it fully and properly looked at
3. If the result of analysis suggest something should be changed / done, get it done
4. Ensure it works and stays
and we're certainly not only in phase 1 on this.


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: grahame on April 10, 2017, 06:41:21 AM
A report from the Cornwall Railway Society shows historic pictures and also weekend activity - confirming that even with the diversions there was freight in the mix. http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/headlines---latest-reports-and-photographs/archives/04-2017

Many thanks to the member who tipped me off about this posting.   The author writes

Quote
Happily the passenger trains returned to Melksham from 13th May 1985 and although only a short section of the down platform is currently in use there are plans to extend it at the Chippenham end to accommodate the class 165-6 Turbo trains when they are cascaded to the Bristol area.  The passenger service has had a very chequered history over the years but seems to be on the up at last and the line's prospects are probably better and stronger now than at any time since the early 1950s.


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: paul7755 on April 10, 2017, 10:47:47 AM
First MTR having won the South West franchise have promised to increase Sunday services amongst others on some routes. The GW franchise winner is still to be determined. Have any of the bidders spoken of their plans for the TransWilts?

There is no GW franchise competition going on at the moment, the next ITT is not due until Feb 2019 for a changeover in Apr 2020, so why would there be any bidder's plans?   

I didn't think bidders for a franchise could formally announce their proposals during the re-letting process in any case.   All you get is an initial DfT consultation which calls for 'stakeholders' proposals, prior to the ITT being written.

Paul


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: John R on April 10, 2017, 11:19:38 AM
Not only can they not formally state their intentions but they are expressly forbidden from making any comment before or after the competition. This is to prevent the govt being criticised for not choosing an option that was offering more benefits to passengers.

The only competition where a losing bidder disclosed their offer IIRC was in the West Coast fiasco, where the loser successfully challenged the process.


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: grahame on April 18, 2017, 09:48:31 PM
Another interesting "learning experience" this evening ...

16 late off Westbury, yet on time by its Gloucester departure  ;)  ... in all probability was a reasonable powered 2 car 150 or the 2 car 158

I'm not suggesting that schedules could be clipped ... but rather that they're sensibly padded to allow a bit of joined up operation at one of both ends, without waves of minor disruption being spread.

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/regain16.jpg)


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: rogerw on April 19, 2017, 07:57:18 PM
It's interesting to look at this in a bit more detail.  There is a 2 minute pathing allowance before Chippenham where 2 minutes were gained. 21/2minutes of engineering and pathing allowances before Swindon, all gained. Swindon station stop cut by 1 minute. There is then 2 minutes of engineering and pathing allowances before Gloucester, where the station stop was cut by 6 minutes.  Overall, not really much slack in the schedule other than the Gloucester stop of 10 minutes


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 19, 2017, 08:16:10 PM
To my layman's eye it looks as if the key to making up the time was cutting 7 mins off the wait in Gloucester. It was still late arriving in Glos. Where does it go after Gloucester? Back to Swindon?

A side note, why is there no report from Stonehouse?


Title: Re: Looking forward and learning from the activities this weekend
Post by: John R on April 19, 2017, 08:30:30 PM
It goes to Cheltenham. I suspect Stonehouse is like MKM and there is no reporting point there.