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All across the Great Western territory => Introductions and chat => Topic started by: grahame on November 24, 2020, 02:49:05 pm



Title: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on November 24, 2020, 02:49:05 pm
From Yahoo News (https://uk.news.yahoo.com/trains-christmas-rail-engineering-works-transport-minister-134705915.html)

Quote
People have been told to consider avoiding travelling by train at Christmas because of planned rail engineering works.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Tuesday that people should "look very carefully" at their festive travel plans.

A number of engineering works are scheduled between Christmas and New Year, while coronavirus restrictions to ensure social distancing mean even less capacity on trains.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Shapps said: "I would appeal to people to look very carefully at their Christmas travel plans.

"It may well be the case that very, very long planned engineering works are scheduled. A lot of them take 18 months or two years to plan."

In a separate interview with BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, he said people should contemplate not travelling by train at Christmas because of the rail network?s "limitations".

He said: "We have got to understand there are limitations to the network caused by, for example, things like the need on some trains to pre-book tickets at this time, in order to prevent overcrowding.

"So we are going to be appealing to people to look very carefully at the transport route they take and of course even making a choice about whether they travel at all.

?It is the reality of the situation we?re in; we will try to do everything we can with the network to make it as good as possible, but I think it is worth people being aware that busy times of travel is a problem."

Will our members be making use of trains over Christmas?   Poll - with the full knowledge that our group is unlikely to be a sample that reflects the behaviour of the general population.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: eXPassenger on November 24, 2020, 04:55:07 pm
I have voted 'No' as we do not use the train over Christmas.  However our daughter, who lives in London, always uses the train at Christmas and will this year if she can join us.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: eightonedee on November 24, 2020, 06:32:51 pm
I am not sure my answer would fit the alternatives.

It is - not this year as for the first time for years I am not working between Christmas and New Year, but historically I have ended up driving as often as not in recent years due to closures for engineering works over the "festive break".


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on November 25, 2020, 09:51:35 am
What to do this Christmas is going to be a very difficult and very personal decision for many families. 

Our own very personal decision is to meet family purely on line; agreed by the three "children".  One case of a very great distance and travel would not be allowed (and we don't get together each year because of the distance / logistics), one case of a household that needs to be oh-so-careful. In the third case just so much going on, so little time, and a visit to Grandma / Grandad with the little ones getting bored ("can we go now") - it will be a relief (and less hurtful) not to host at Christmas but rather meet up next year in a child-friendly environment.

For others [amongst readers] the decision is not so obvious - and I wish well to anyone who has to weigh up the risks of infecting one another or passing on to their wider family against the emotional risks of not meeting over Christmas.  Truly a difficult call in some personal circumstances.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: bobm on November 25, 2020, 10:45:08 am
With yesterday's announcement that the 5 day "window" is to run from 23rd to 27th December, it is probably worth drawing attention to the significant engineering work in the Bristol area on the 27th.

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Signal gantry replacement and station regeneration work at Bristol Temple Meads.

Trains between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads will start/terminate at Bath Spa instead.

Services between Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour will be diverted and won?t call at Bristol Temple Meads.

Services from the South West will terminate at Bristol Temple Meads; services from the Midlands, North of England or Scotland will terminate at Bristol Parkway.

Buses replace trains between:
Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa
Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway
Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: Bob_Blakey on November 25, 2020, 01:47:07 pm
Previously we have always stayed in Exeter for Christmas but now our two boys are permanently settled in their own homes it has become a 'take it in turns to travel' scenario.

So Xmas 2020 will be a Yorkshire adventure for us sampling the dubious delights of Cross Country, East Midlands Railway & GWR.

In a vaguely sane world we would have hoped to travel via London on GWR / LNER, because in our experience the latter have been brilliant, but the closure at King's Cross has put the mockers on that. On the plus side we have managed to avoid Cross Country on the return, mainly due to their services being full already but also because we didn't fancy the bus trip around the BPW<>BRI closure.

BTW Grant Shapps is an idiot; 19 million people in the UK, according to Simon Calder, do not have access to a private motor vehicle so how would he square that particular circle?


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: broadgage on November 25, 2020, 03:14:47 pm
I do not intend to travel by train around the holidays.
I used to avoid it so far as possible due to overcrowding and closures for engineering work, now we have the plague as an extra reason to avoid travel.

Back in the good old days I enjoyed many journeys between London and the West, but the least satisfactory were often those around Christmas.
Often no Pullman.
First often declassified.
No enforcement of reservations.
Screaming infants everywhere.

I tried to travel West a full week before Christmas, before the rush.

As one or two members may have inferred, I don't think much of the new trains which is another disincentive to travel.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 25, 2020, 06:03:20 pm
Will be staying put rather than heading West, mainly for plague reasons, however like Broadgage I gave up on long distance rail travel at Christmas (and Easter) a few years ago due to ridiculous levels of overcrowding and generally chaotic service.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on November 26, 2020, 12:27:15 pm
From GWR by email

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Following the announcement of the five day Christmas travel period, we thought it would be helpful to let you know about our Christmas and New Year services.
 
Services will run normally on 23 December. On Christmas Eve late afternoon and evening services will be amended to prepare for our usual closure on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  Heathrow Express trains will run on Boxing Day.
 
There are no planned improvement works in this area affecting our services between Christmas and New Year. London Paddington remains open and services to London will operate normally throughout.   
 
If you are travelling via Bristol Temple Meads or Gatwick Airport there are some local changes from Sunday 27 December which can be checked on our Christmas travel page www.gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/christmas
 
As with all current journeys, we are asking customers to please check their journey before travel on www.gwr.com and book in advance reserving a seat, and for advice about travelling with confidence there is more information on https://www.gwr.com/safety

Please feel free to pass this information on, and we will be happy to help if there are any questions or queries.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: Fourbee on November 26, 2020, 01:44:25 pm
Probably just a local journey on Christmas Eve for a few beers a substantial meal and refreshments.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on November 28, 2020, 04:10:39 pm
from the Daily Mail (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8995187/Fears-chaos-rail-network-festive-period-prompts-government-appoint-travel-tsar.html)

Quote
Fears of Christmas travel anarchy grow: Government may run extra trains and suspend engineering work as Britain hits the railways for the Christmas bubble
- Ministers are preparing urgent plans to limit travel chaos over Christmas period
- Boris Johnson announced this week three households could mix over five days
- People will be allowed to travel home between December 23 and December 27
- But networks are already running at a fifth capacity due to the pandemic
- The government have appointed a Christmas transport tsar to tackle the issue
-Sir Peter Hendy, the former Olympic Tube boss, has been handed the role

The comments are more interesting than the body of the article - a sample of what's being said:

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Now that we are in the 21st Century, perhaps we could run public transport on the 25th and 26th December like most civilised countries.

Be allowed to travel? What control freakery, just travel when and to where you want to in the UK, no one should be able to legally stop you.

Trains are going to be longer, this probably means using mothballed stock. If they are clever they will make a train so long that it will stretch from its departure station to its destination and then people will be able to walk to their destination. The other way of putting people off is to increase the fare, which they will probably do anyway. I have never understood why they don't just sell enough tickets of seats available it works in other countries. Suspend maintenance great idea then the infrastructure will collapse and trains will not run when they are required. Leaves on the line, flooding or the wrong kind of snow will ruin any plans.

So after telling everybody to not move about then they want to make it easier for everybody to move about all over the place. Could anybody possibly be confused by this?

A good illustration of the phrase, "The left hand doesn't know what the right hand's doing"!

The dates also need to change for relaxed laws to travel. Im sure alot of people hate travelling back on a Sunday and/or Sunday travel restrictions on the bank Holiday Monday. It needs to be extended atleast to the Tuesday! Furthermore the engineering works need to be frozen and moved in order for people to travel more freely.

Every year pandemic or not they close mainline routes over christmas so why appoint somebody bloody stupid grant shapps I dont think could tell the difference between a bike and a truck

More wasted money. Governments have never bothered before so I don't see the difference now.

Because if Covid rules are broken (ie distancing) there could be sued.

Super spreader event, or will these full trains be diverted to the inoculation camps.

The DfT (It's for transport not of transport now) as part of the franchising agreement tells the franchisees what the service levels they are to provide are. The franchisees may try to improve that if economically they think it will work. The DfT also control what rolling stock a franchisee can use and any new stock has to be approved by DfT so although you may think that the franchisees do what they want they are very much restricted by the government. Most of this is now irrelevant as franchises were suspended since covid and the government has been in total control effectively nationalizing the railway so if you don't like it blame the government.

We need a new direction and leadership,, Please bring back the teletubbies!


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 28, 2020, 04:58:41 pm
Interesting that in a rail forum, 50% of those responding say that they never or rarely travel by train at Christmas.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on November 29, 2020, 08:07:07 am
Interesting that in a rail forum, 50% of those responding say that they never or rarely travel by train at Christmas.

A "Christmas Tsar" has been appointed with the purpose of .... well, I have not seen the job desciption.  "Help people have a safer and happier Christmas by activities within the transport sector"?  A separate thread is running at http://www.passenger.chat/24294 on that subject though I have made reference back to this thread.

I suspect that the mix of people travelling around Christmas is ALWAYS a different mix to a typical week, and that the journeys made are always very different too.  Characterised, perhaps as long distance travellers making an annual trip while local services in the few days before and after thin out as people extend their Christmas break.  Weoking from home already, furloughed or no longer with a job, and it may thin out all the more.  I am far from surprised at our poll - results within the realm of what I might have guessed, but my purpose in setting it up was to check that and get drifts and ideas - and also to help any readers think through the topic and help them make their own sometimes very difficult decisions and plan well for it.

During the first lockdown, gyms were shut, play areas were shut, sport was shut down ... and as a result all the exercise and opportunity-to-take-air activities were compressed onto walking the streets, paths and remaining open parks.  Quiet places became much busier, even busy, as the natural social distancing of these places was compromised by the high volume of extra people there.  If you put limits on and squeeze people like a balloon at one place, that squeeze is likely to bulge out elsewhere.   Here are two frames I found from a video illustrating this (https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/pregnancy/hilarious-video-balloon-ping-pong-ball-what-labor-contractions-really-like/) in a different walk of life.

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

Surprising how even a little distortion / pressing can result in a darned big bulge.  We may be headed for an interesting holiday season.  My / our decision is to stay at home.  Gotta be best; I understand the pressures and reasons that may not be the decision for everyone.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: Sixty3Closure on November 29, 2020, 03:43:58 pm
I use to when I was younger head back to Scotland for New Year. As a shift worker I generally volunteered to work Christmas in exchange for getting a good week or so off at New Year.

I gave up after a few years due to over crowding, cancelled services and bus replacement services. I also ended up being stuck in Scotland often due to bad weather and more than once mudslides between Perth and Inverness which meant no Stirling to London service.

After the first time I learnt the hard way to buy a very expensive open ticket.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: Reginald25 on November 29, 2020, 05:46:43 pm
No travel at all over the holiday period, whether by train, bus or car.  If not essential, safer not to do it!


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: rogerw on November 29, 2020, 10:04:25 pm
Visiting the grandchildren on 27th. Driving as it is not feasible by train with all the presents, not to mention the fact that it would mean a 1 hour bus ride, two trains, a lift at the other end and less than 2 hours there


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on November 30, 2020, 12:55:57 pm
Bumping this poll at http://www.passenger.chat/24273 - coming into its final 24 hours. I urge members who have not yet voted to, please, do so.   We may be a small, self selecting and biased group here, but the data is useful.   And useful wider in helping GWR - being a clue (along with others) as to how people might choose to travel late next month.  Unprecedented times - all clues gratefully received by them.  So if you vote, you are not just ticking a box that gets archived in a dusty poll.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: bobm on December 03, 2020, 05:34:35 pm
Update from Network Rail - Kings Cross works re-timed while Bristol and Paddington works continue as planned

Quote
While the vast majority of the rail network will be unaffected by engineering works over the Christmas and New Year period, some upgrade projects are taking place, including:

Significant works on the East Coast Main Line as part of the East Coast Upgrade, which will improve reliability for passengers and boost connectivity between London, the North of England and Scotland. The work is now scheduled to start later than originally planned to ensure extra Christmas Eve services can run out of King?s Cross.

Upgrades on the West Coast Main Line that will now be completed earlier than planned ? on 27 December ? to enable a full Sunday service to operate from 10am rather than midday, making it easier for passengers to travel home from their Christmas bubbles.

Remodelling and roof repair work at Bristol Temple Meads which will see amended timetables in operation from London Paddington, with some trains at peak times not running at all between 28 December and 1 January. From 28 December until 11 January, timetables will be amended because platforms 3-6 at Bristol Temple Meads will be out of use.

Switches and crosses renewals at London Waterloo that will provide a more reliable railway for passengers in future. Platforms 12-20 at Waterloo will be closed between 27 December and 3 January, with a reduced timetable in place between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. There will also be a reduced service between Woking, Basingstoke, Guildford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Weymouth and Salisbury over the festive period.

Maintenance and track renewal works at Charing Cross/Cannon Street to London Bridge and New Cross to improve passenger safety and the journey experience. Southeastern services will operate from London Bridge, and there will be a bus replacement service between Lewisham and Hayes from 27-29 December. Between 1-3 January buses will replace trains between Lewisham and Hayes and between Lewisham and Charlton via New Cross.

Vital maintenance to the Great Eastern Main Line around Colchester will improve the reliability of services in the region. Engineering work will be taking place between 25 December and 3 January with rail replacement bus services running on several routes.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on December 06, 2020, 05:42:42 pm
Catching up / concluding the vote

"Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?"
Yes - and I usually do   - 4 (10%)
Yes - though I don't normally   - 1 (2.5%)
No - though I usually do   - 8 (20%)
No - I only do so rarely and won't this year   - 8 (20%)
No - I never do   - 13 (32.5%)
I don't know yet   - 6 (15%)

40 members votes (a turnout rate of around 25% of members who were reading and logged in while the poll was open, though it will have been seen by some other members not logged in, and by many guests. I do know that although the sample size if small, and the voters probably don't represent a typical cross section of GWR passengers, they have picked it up and indeed have written to thank us for running it and to pass on thanks to people for voting. It is pretty hard to know what people's travel will be like over Christmas and, to borrow working from Tesco, "every little helps" - in this case every little data snippet.

And, yes it IS ironic that on our rail forum the majority of our members avoid trains over Christmas, even in a normal year.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: IndustryInsider on December 06, 2020, 09:16:15 pm
And, yes it IS ironic that on our rail forum the majority of our members avoid trains over Christmas, even in a normal year.

I'm not sure the word avoid is appropriate when asking about their habits during a normal year?  It might well be that the railways don't offer a product over Christmas that forum members might otherwise choose to use the rest of the year.  Somebody who commutes during a normal working week might have no need to travel over Christmas if their family lives down the road.  They are not avoiding using the railways, it is just that they have no need to.


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on December 07, 2020, 12:11:00 am
And, yes it IS ironic that on our rail forum the majority of our members avoid trains over Christmas, even in a normal year.

I'm not sure the word avoid is appropriate when asking about their habits during a normal year?  It might well be that the railways don't offer a product over Christmas that forum members might otherwise choose to use the rest of the year.  Somebody who commutes during a normal working week might have no need to travel over Christmas if their family lives down the road.  They are not avoiding using the railways, it is just that they have no need to.

Compound question ... "do you usually travel by train over Christmas" and "will you be travelling by train this Christmas" and I would suggest that the word "avoid" is reasonable for the 20% who say "No - though I usually do" and perhaps for some of the 20% who say "No - I only do so rarely and won't this year".  Though whether the third who "no I never do" are avoiding the trains, don't need to travel, or have no services available because they want to travel on 26th (or 25th) we have no way of knowing from the data gathered ...


Title: Re: Will you be travelling by train over the Christmas / New Year holiday?
Post by: grahame on December 10, 2020, 10:13:42 am
https://www.gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/christmas

Quote
On Christmas Eve, late afternoon and evening services will be amended as we prepare for the two-day shutdown which applies across most of the UK national rail network.

There will be no Great Western Railway train services on either Friday 25 or Saturday 26 December. However, there will be Heathrow Express trains running between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport on Boxing Day.

Trains on New Year?s Eve and on New Year?s Day will be significantly amended to cater for anticipated demand.

Rail improvement work will be taking place in the Bristol area as well as near Gatwick Airport and between Par and Newquay.

Please note there is also rail improvement work affecting South Western Railway services between London Waterloo and Clapham Junction as well as Basingstoke and Salisbury.



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