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Journey by Journey => Shorter journeys in Devon => Topic started by: plymothian on October 07, 2017, 04:49:11 pm



Title: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: plymothian on October 07, 2017, 04:49:11 pm
There appears to be a small protest happening along the Exmouth line today against changes GWR have made to services on rugby matchdays to cope with the increase in numbers at Sandy Park.

So far, nothing has appeared in the press, but reporters have been seen talking to protesters, who have been waving placards and photographing trains and people at stations along the line.

Due to increased demand to get to Sandy Park, on matchdays the regular stopping pattern is thrown out of the window, meaning trains skip-stopping stations with a replacement bus service instead, in addition to St David's - Digby direct coaches.  GWR have been doing this to prevent overcrowding (as both the additional coaches and the trains are full before and after the match), and to minimise delays to Paignton and Barnstaple services.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 08, 2017, 09:07:40 pm
With thanks for your post here, plymothian, I've simply expanded your topic heading, to make it easier for future reference - bearing in mind our Coffee Shop forum's now rather ancient software search facility being so flaky.  ::)

Actually, rather similar to the GWR passenger services affected by this protest, apparently?  :o



Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: plymothian on November 10, 2017, 08:50:25 am
http://www.devonlive.com/sport/football/fears-st-james-park-could-753855

Finally made it to the press... only because Exeter City FC fans are now affected.

Quote
There are fears that matchday train services to Exeter City’s St James Park could be cut off.

Currently, Great Western Railway are trialling a new timetable, which sees the Exeter Central to Exmouth service leaving St James Park off the route when City and Exeter Chiefs play on the same day.

The trains can often be overcrowded as fans of both clubs travel to Sandy Park and St James Park.

Chiefs fans use Digby & Sowton to walk to Sandy Park, and if a trial period is successful, it could mean Grecians fans would have to walk from Exeter Central station.

One fan who regularly uses St James Park, which is located right next to the stadium says the idea of stopping the service is crazy.

Neil Le Milliere said: “For them to suggest that they are not to stop trains at St James Park on matchdays, regardless of what’s going on down the road at the rugby is just prejudicial. It’s an absolutely crazy idea.

“It’s so prejudicial to the football club, that has been there since 1901 if not before, and the station is named after the football club.

“We know trains get busy, because of the amount of people at the rugby, but they chose to move out there.

“How can it possibly be right?”

Neil travels from London to watch home games at St James Park, and says the changes would affect many fans across the county.

He said: “The real kicker is that there are many supporters that travel from North Devon on the Barnstaple line.

“There are lots of people that come from Exmouth, Dawlish, Starcross and St Thomas towards St James Park.

“To make them get off at Central and walk to the ground is crazy.”

“I travel from London, so when I get off at Exeter, am I meant to walk the rest of the way?

“It’s crazy.”

The trialled timetable expires in December, with City and Chiefs currently not scheduled to play on the same day until January 2018.

In a statement, a GWR spokesman said:

“We are currently working with Exeter City FC and Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club to improve the movement and travelling experience for fans, particularly when both sides are playing at home on the same day.

“We have been trialling the new matchday timetable between Exeter Central and Exmouth since September, which is designed to spread the number of customers more evenly across our trains. We expect this to reduce crowding and improve reliability, but we will be reviewing feedback from the clubs and fans once the trial is complete in December.”


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 10, 2017, 09:27:33 am
My initial thought is that the regular service should be regular and the sporadic events which generate additional traffic should be catered for with either extra services, eg direct from Exeter St Davids to Sandys Park, if possible, or buses. As these events are not in fact sporadic but are known at the start of the rugby season (when does that start? September?), it should be fairly simple to organise buses, if needed, from eg St Davids to Sandys Pk, in advance.

But then if the extra traffic is in fact more than the regular traffic, it actually seems more sensible to put that on the train and provide a bus service for the smaller number of non-rugby passengers. It's not clear whether the rugby fans using trains do outnumber the non-rugby passengers, just saying if that's the case. I guess the same applies to the football, though I'm guessing Exeter FC is a fairly lowly football club whereas Exeter rugby is pretty big (League 2 v Premiership).

Of course in Bristol it would be easier cos the football (one of) and the rugby are in the same stadium; but as there's no Ashton Gate station even planned, it doesn't apply.  :-\

Edit: Rugby stadium capacity 20,600. Football 6,087. (Both from wikipedia).


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 10, 2017, 09:27:47 am
Surely the obvious answer is to run longer trains.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: plymothian on November 10, 2017, 09:39:17 am
Surely the obvious answer is to run longer trains.

The answer is not always run longer trains!

It's physically impossible.
St James Park is only 2 carriages long (up - all trains excluding 2x153 which are too long) and 4 (down - 2x143 only, everything else is too long).

My initial thought is that the regular service should be regular and the sporadic events which generate additional traffic should be catered for with either extra services, eg direct from Exeter St Davids to Sandys Park, if possible, or buses. As these events are not in fact sporadic but are known at the start of the rugby season (when does that start? September?), it should be fairly simple to organise buses, if needed, from eg St Davids to Sandys Pk, in advance.

There are coaches from EXD - DIG, and have been for years, but hey, guess what - people want to go by train.

Like the guy in the article, changing to a coach or walking 10-15 minutes is not on their agenda.

This is the problem for you to solve:

- You have a single track railway, with 1 passing place at Topsham, and a minimum frequency of 2 trains per hour, an end-end journey must only take a maximum of half an hour
- You have short platforms which will accommodate 2, 4 or 5 carriages depending on the make up of the train - these are non-gangwayed stock with no SDO
- You have a lot of people trying to get to and from 2 separate stations within a 2 hour window.
- You have regular passengers trying to board overcrowded trains at intermediate stations.
- A delay alighting and boarding these passengers can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
- You have a lot of through passengers from the rest of Devon trying to get to Exeter Central at the same time.
- Your services run Barnstaple -> Exmouth -> Paignton -> Exmouth -> Barnstaple (in the general)
- Your passengers want the fewest changes and to remain on the train to their destination


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 10, 2017, 09:59:24 am
Surely the obvious answer is to run longer trains.

The answer is not always run longer trains!

It's physically impossible.
St James Park is only 2 carriages long (up - all trains excluding 2x153 which are too long) and 4 (down - 2x143 only, everything else is too long).

My initial thought is that the regular service should be regular and the sporadic events which generate additional traffic should be catered for with either extra services, eg direct from Exeter St Davids to Sandys Park, if possible, or buses. As these events are not in fact sporadic but are known at the start of the rugby season (when does that start? September?), it should be fairly simple to organise buses, if needed, from eg St Davids to Sandys Pk, in advance.

There are coaches from EXD - DIG, and have been for years, but hey, guess what - people want to go by train.

Like the guy in the article, changing to a coach or walking 10-15 minutes is not on their agenda.

This is the problem for you to solve:

- You have a single track railway, with 1 passing place at Topsham, and a minimum frequency of 2 trains per hour, an end-end journey must only take a maximum of half an hour
- You have short platforms which will accommodate 2, 4 or 5 carriages depending on the make up of the train - these are non-gangwayed stock with no SDO
- You have a lot of people trying to get to and from 2 separate stations within a 2 hour window.
- You have regular passengers trying to board overcrowded trains at intermediate stations.
- A delay alighting and boarding these passengers can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
- You have a lot of through passengers from the rest of Devon trying to get to Exeter Central at the same time.
- Your services run Barnstaple -> Exmouth -> Paignton -> Exmouth -> Barnstaple (in the general)
- Your passengers want the fewest changes and to remain on the train to their destination

-You have a railway that cannot cope.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: broadgage on November 10, 2017, 10:17:12 am
No chance of obtaining longer trains with selective door opening in order that they may serve the short platforms ?
Or extending the short platforms ?


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: LiskeardRich on November 10, 2017, 11:06:19 am
Quote
But then if the extra traffic is in fact more than the regular traffic, it actually seems more sensible to put that on the train and provide a bus service for the smaller number of non-rugby passengers. It's not clear whether the rugby fans using trains do outnumber the non-rugby passengers, just saying if that's the case. I guess the same applies to the football, though I'm guessing Exeter FC is a fairly lowly football club whereas Exeter rugby is pretty big (League 2 v Premiership)

Rugby supporters considerably outnumber regular users. I’d been to exmouth a while back on match day, came back in the early evening, and there were no more than 15 passengers in my carriage. It then became close to crush loaded.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 10, 2017, 11:15:35 am
This is the problem for you to solve:

- You have a single track railway, with 1 passing place at Topsham, and a minimum frequency of 2 trains per hour, an end-end journey must only take a maximum of half an hour
- You have short platforms which will accommodate 2, 4 or 5 carriages depending on the make up of the train - these are non-gangwayed stock with no SDO
- You have a lot of people trying to get to and from 2 separate stations within a 2 hour window.
- You have regular passengers trying to board overcrowded trains at intermediate stations.
- A delay alighting and boarding these passengers can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
- You have a lot of through passengers from the rest of Devon trying to get to Exeter Central at the same time.
- Your services run Barnstaple -> Exmouth -> Paignton -> Exmouth -> Barnstaple (in the general)
- Your passengers want the fewest changes and to remain on the train to their destination
Thankfully it's for railway people to solve, not me! But it does look as if TG is right, the railway cannot cope with the rugby traffic. As it's the rugby generating it, could the Exeter Chiefs be persuaded to "sponsor" a platform extension and a match-time shuttle train from EXD to DIG?


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: rogerw on November 10, 2017, 11:38:17 am
There is no line capacity for additional trains so that the only possible solution would be platform extensions and longer trains. Whether there would be available trains on a Saturday is another question


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 10, 2017, 12:24:10 pm
There doesn't need to be additional line capacity if the shuttle train ferries rugby fans from EXD to DIG and back again with no intermediate stops, while the trains that normally run on the Avocet Line at that time are replaced by buses. Of course that does mean taking a decision to prioritise on "group" of passengers above others, which could lead to all sorts of complications.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: GBM on November 10, 2017, 12:30:49 pm
A shuttle unit between St David's & Digby, running in between the scheduled Exmouth times. 
Could do two or three runs before the scheduled returns from Exmouth.
Or if paths are short at St David's, the shuttle runs from Central. 
Runs a few hours before kick off and a few hours after. 
Laid up whilst the match in progress.
There was/is? a bay at Central on the up platform but not been there for ages.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: LiskeardRich on November 10, 2017, 09:01:36 pm

There was/is? a bay at Central on the up platform but not been there for ages.

I did a photo quiz with a pic of Exeter Central included last week. There is a bay for definite on the st David’s bound side


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: plymothian on November 10, 2017, 09:43:57 pm
A shuttle unit between St David's & Digby, running in between the scheduled Exmouth times. 
Could do two or three runs before the scheduled returns from Exmouth.
Or if paths are short at St David's, the shuttle runs from Central. 
Runs a few hours before kick off and a few hours after. 
Laid up whilst the match in progress.
There was/is? a bay at Central on the up platform but not been there for ages.

OK.

"Regular" train 1 leaves Central,
"Regular" train 2 leaves Exmouth,
"Relief" train leaves Central,
Relief waits at Exmouth Junction for 15 minutes for regular train to reach Topsham,
Relief is admitted on to the branch, arrives and reverses at Digby.
Relief returns to Central.
Regular train 2 has waited at Topsham an extra 1/2 hour and regular train 1 is waiting to leave Exmouth.



Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Bob_Blakey on November 11, 2017, 08:51:40 am
I can't see where Wikipedia gives a Sandy Park capacity figure of 20,600 but if it does it is incorrect; the current capacity is, near as damn it, 13,000. 20,600 is the intended capacity when the stadium is completely rebuilt as an all-seater venue and this will only be done in stages over the next ?10-15 years.
I suspect nothing major will now be done until the hoped for full 4-carriage (2x150/2) train service arrives in mid 2018 to see if that improves the crowding situation. I think we all know that it won't!
Aside from that, and in the absence of any other significant enhancements to the overall Avocet Line infrastructure, I think the quickest & cheapest solution would be reinstatement of the second track between Exmouth Junction & DIG together with an additional platform at DIG and any necessary signalling upgrades - perhaps changing Exmouth Junction to a double lead ladder arrangement would help - so that an EXD<>DIG shuttle could be run in relative isolation. Again, under the current railways financial regime, not a cat in hells chance.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 11, 2017, 12:38:13 pm
Sorry, that was me misinterpreting this sentence:
Quote
In the summer of 2012 the club announced a five-year plan to redevelop the ground to hold 20,600,
In fact I'm not sure it was even that sentence I saw originally, but something along those lines. 12,500 is the current capacity it gives.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Southernman on November 11, 2017, 03:34:51 pm
Although it would require an extra unit and crew, why not simply run from Exeter St Davids, Exeter Central to St James. Then onto Exmouth Junction and reverse (as do some service trains).

No infrastructure costs and one unit could operate a half hourly (football) shuttle
service, not interfering with the Exmouth (Rugby) trains.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Phantom on November 15, 2017, 02:14:15 pm
There is just as big if not bigger problem serving Ashton Gate for Bristol City and Bristol Rugby coming up from the WSM corridor

The nearest station that serves the Stadium is Parson Street

On a Saturday there are services at all the intermediate stations starting from WSM at 11:10 / 12:10 / 13:10
The last two services are nearly always full and standing by Worle and are often turning people away by Yatton

What makes it worse there are services at 11:39 / 12:39 / 13:39 that stop at the same stations EXCEPT Parson Street and Bedminster which could be used as an additional service

The return journey is much worse, with only a 17:30 / 18:30 THEN 22:24 !!!
It has become almost impossible to get on the 17:30 service now with people often left behind at Parson Street, and with the Christmas shopping etc on the horizon the coming weeks are even worse than normal with trains pulling in full
Again there are stopping services half hour after from BTM to WSM etc that don't stop


Then the worst part of all - for Sunday matches when Bristol rugby play a large number of their fixtures
The FIRST train on this route to stop at Parson Street is 17:25 - which is AFTER the game has FINISHED!!

With Bristol City regularly getting crowds now in the 20k and the rugby 7k it is mind blowing that GWR haven't looked into this more as the potential customer base to tap into is massive



Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 15, 2017, 05:19:34 pm
With Bristol City regularly getting crowds now in the 20k and the rugby 7k it is mind blowing that GWR haven't looked into this more as the potential customer base to tap into is massive

... and - taking this discussion even further off-topic (and I can, because I'm an admin! ;D ) - the incredible amount of road traffic on the A369 from Portishead into Ashton Gate, Bristol, on football / rugby days / evenings also shows how the reopening of the Portishead Branch Line for passenger services would be so very useful.

CfN  ::)



Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: grahame on November 15, 2017, 05:53:32 pm
With Bristol City regularly getting crowds now in the 20k and the rugby 7k it is mind blowing that GWR haven't looked into this more as the potential customer base to tap into is massive

... and - taking this discussion even further off-topic (and I can, because I'm an admin! ;D ) - the incredible amount of road traffic on the A369 from Portishead into Ashton Gate, Bristol, on football / rugby days / evenings also shows how the reopening of the Portishead Branch Line for passenger services would be so very useful.

CfN  ::)


The problem you have taking big 'event' crowds is that you need a lot or resource for very rare use.  You can cover up to the amount of rolling stock you use on a weekday peak perhaps, but that's unlikely to be anything like enough, especially as the rail industry and working hours soften that peak from what it used to be.

I am minded of a web site visitor graph from a few years back - our web site when we appeared on TV.    If we had to pay for a fixed flat line resource, just look at what a huge area (cost) would be under that line, but above the actual!

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/3weeks.jpg)


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 15, 2017, 06:00:49 pm
To be fair, I wasn't suggesting that the Portishead line should be reopened for use only on Ashton Gate home days.  ;D



Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: devonexpress on November 29, 2017, 06:38:04 pm
GWR are doing the best they can. Asking people to walk from Exeter Central to St James Park is sensible. However maybe South Western Railway could also stop their on match days if time could be built into their schedule? Probably unlikely. The problem with SJP is that its just before a big junction with the line to Exmouth/Salisbury/London or the sidings so any train that gets delayed here can hold up everything. Network Rail could make the platforms longer, but then GWR have to find extra rolling stock.

Since Barnstaple services will no longer serve Central station once the 158's take over the services, its only going to get worse. Myself I would get all the rugby/football players to travel to St David's and then get coaches to take them to St James Park or Sandy Park.


Title: Re: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park
Post by: RichardB on November 30, 2017, 08:44:58 am
Since Barnstaple services will no longer serve Central station once the 158's take over the services, its only going to get worse.

No, that's not true.  The Barnstaple service will terminate at Central (or possibly St James Park) and the longer term aspiration is to see if they can extend to Cranbrook/Honiton/Axminster (all of which would need some kind of extra infrastructure e.g. turnback signal for Cranbrook and new loop around Whimple for beyond.)




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