Great Western Coffee Shop

Sideshoots - associated subjects => Railway History and related topics => Topic started by: grahame on January 20, 2022, 09:58:43 pm

Title: OTD - 21st January (2011) - Go-Co or Go-Op hits the radar
Post by: grahame on January 20, 2022, 09:58:43 pm
When I first got "involved" with rail beyond being an occasional passenger, and picking up / dropping off customers at my local station, I was warned by someone with prior experience that achieving anything with rail takes ten times longer than you expect, and ends up costing ten times as much. And there was, and is, so much truth in that warning.

In researching "On this day", I have looked back at various ongoing organisations and their history and foundation ... and in early research, the first date I found for the proposed open access operator wishing to run through that local station - Melksham - was 21st January 2011 when I commented on my blog - the theme thread is (here) ( Further research took me back to an article from 2009 ( referring to a seed sown at a conference in 2007 and for services to begin in 2011.  Their 2010 offer document ( is still available for reference purposes too, as is their 2012 document ( looking forward to a 2014 service.

Sadly, that "ten times as long as expected" seems to have a seed of truth in it, and the Open Access services is still promoted - and much has been learned along the way - there's a presentation in Bridgwater to update us on 5th March (it's in the diary, and arranged by Railfuture)

I'll start with the part of the route I am MOST familiar with.  There remains an excellent case - putting together financial, economic, social and environmental elements for a "regional" style service, running reliably at least once an hour, from Westbury to Swindon.  But neither Westbury nor Swindon are "ultimate" destinations - ongoing services, integrated ticketing, sensible fares, excellent connections, joined-up information, clock-faced timetables, and three year guarantee are also key elements.

Extensions ... Westbury - Frome - Taunton - Minehead.  Swindon - Oxford - Banbury - Brum. Not as informed or certain of those as the central section.  I do find myself wondering where the far ends "flap around", and I also find myself wondering if the Co-op and open access model is leading edge or too much bleeding edge, and perhaps they have been like the pacemaker in a race who drops out towards the end having prepared the ground.   For sure there has been a very long learning curve with this one, and so many of the underlying metrics have changed over the years.

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