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All across the Great Western territory => Introductions and chat => Topic started by: grahame on August 15, 2022, 05:19:12 am



Title: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: grahame on August 15, 2022, 05:19:12 am
A previous poll ( http://www.passenger.chat/26566 )suggests that the majority of our members expect to be travelling less this summer (and indeed it is now summer and, personally, I am on the trains a lot less).  I can guess why, but here's a poll to see if my guess is right.

Even if your travel is not reduced please complete this poll to let us know of constraints on your travel (or select the final option that you are not being held back!


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: grahame on August 15, 2022, 05:46:06 am
Feedback on my personal vote - I have selected quite a number of factors.

I am lucky enough not to have been put off by the price of tickets, and the associated cost (refreshments along the way, parking, hotel prices, entry prices are not relevant to me this year simply because I'm travelling so skinny-little.  I am not much influenced by remaining health concerns (though would avoid a severly crowded train if possible) and I do not have general safety concerns.  Beyond that almost every factor has conspired to put me off!

The following are perhaps having the most effect on me:
* I am no longer travelling to paid work, and very little to volunteer quasi-work
* In my personal life, massive local time is taken supporting our (and other) guests and on council and bus quasi-work
* Train services are limited and unreliable


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: rogerw on August 15, 2022, 09:47:02 am
My travel in the UK has dropped this year, although my foreign rail travel has significantly risen, albeit from a zero start. Although my rail travel mileage is up to pre-covid levels, it now includes a significant proportion of foreign journeys, 6100 miles this year. Two other factors are also involved. I no longer live within walking distance of a railway station, making last minute off the cuff trips less likely. The cut backs in services and their general unreliability mean that I have not considered an All Line Railrover.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Red Squirrel on August 15, 2022, 10:47:29 am
This summer's a bit complicated for my family, with lots of short events dotted around the calendar. Normally we'd have a few train trips while the kids are on holiday, but this year it's been harder to find dates which aren't already taken and aren't near a train strike.

On top of that, the extreme weather makes us reluctant to travel by train. The thought of being trapped for hours on an overheated, overcrowded train if something went wrong is a strong deterrent.

That having been said, we are having a day out by train on Wednesday. Wish us luck!


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 15, 2022, 10:54:04 am
I’ve made many journeys for leisure this year, if anything a few more than usual.  I’ve come across hardly any problems so far - helped with a little bit of defensive scheduling, common sense and insider knowledge.

Just reading the forums gives you a rather overly negative view as to how things actually are IMHO.

I would have made a couple more journeys but they clashed with strike days.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: johnneyw on August 15, 2022, 01:06:59 pm
I've voted as "nothing is holding me back" although in some instances industrial action has been/ may be, a potential or actual spanner in the works.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: TonyN on August 15, 2022, 02:19:01 pm
I've voted as "nothing is holding me back" although in some instances industrial action has been/ may be, a potential or actual spanner in the works.
Same for me although I have had a few problems with last minute Cancelations on the cross country services to Worcestershire parkway also on Avanti west coast and West Midland Trains.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Marlburian on August 15, 2022, 03:44:23 pm
Pre-Lockdown, I used to go up to London a couple of times a month. Don't fancy it all now, partly because of the Tube (crowding, and I'm uneasy on escalators).

On Sunday some relatives are in Oxford and wanted to meet up. Nowadays a journe  to meet them there from Tilehurst means a change at Didcot, and there'll be post-strike uncertainty. So I'm driving to Wallingford.

I suppose I could have caught the 0927 and got off at Cholsey, then walked alongside the Heritage railway, but there would still be the uncertainty. (Just noticed that there are services on the Wallingford line, but too late for me. I may head out that way afterwards.)


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on August 15, 2022, 05:59:44 pm
I'm travelling for work much less because most meetings are on Zoom/Teams now.

I'm travelling for leisure less for a number of reasons: fare hikes (e.g. GWR have now changed Charlbury-London Terminals off-peak returns so they're not valid in the evening peak from Marylebone, which is just spiteful), withdrawn weekend services, and the hassle of getting a bike on an IET.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: hoover50 on August 15, 2022, 07:23:17 pm
You need to add an option to this poll: Train Strikes

Train Strikes are massively suppressing my train use. My local station (Pewsey) has no trains on strike days and the day after a strike there are hardly any services calling at Pewsey.

I am fed up with these selfish rail unions holding the travelling public to ransom.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: grahame on August 15, 2022, 08:06:49 pm
You need to add an option to this poll: Train Strikes

Train Strikes are massively suppressing my train use. ...

That's a vote for "unreliable train services" please  ;D

Whether it's strikes, cracked brackets, lack of crew, floods, leaves on the line, disruptive passengers, scheduling errors, axle counter failure or  a cow moo-ving around on the track, if trains are cancelled or so delayed that connections are missed it's a  "unreliable train service" that people remember. 


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: hoover50 on August 15, 2022, 08:27:27 pm
You need to add an option to this poll: Train Strikes

Train Strikes are massively suppressing my train use. ...

That's a vote for "unreliable train services" please  ;D


I still think you need to add a separate option for train strikes.

Cracked brackets, lack of crew, floods, leaves on the line, disruptive passengers, scheduling errors, axle counter failure or a cow moo-ving around on the track are all unplanned one-off events which cause disruption that results in an unreliable train service.

That is rather different to having NO TRAINS ALL DAY on strike days because of train strikes which are deliberately planned to cause disruption.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Trowres on August 15, 2022, 10:29:03 pm
Well, I've broken a long spell of not using national rail services (since March 2020!) with a leisure journey on Northern Rail. Avoided strike days and journey worked out as planned.

Back in GWR-land, an essential journey. Portsmouth-Cardiff ran late and missed connection. Coming back, two consecutive Portsmouth trains cancelled so over an hour late home. Other train services on GWML and Elizabeth Line ran OK.

The Cardiff-Portsmouth route (and its offshoots to Swindon and Weymouth) are performing miserably this year and it's not all down to strikes.

As for SWR...


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Hafren on August 15, 2022, 10:57:47 pm
Overall I'm back to 'full' use, or something approaching it.
My job itself and personal preference are such that I'm basically full-time in the office, but the odd day of working from home happens.
Leisure travel is mostly as before, but not 100%; certain things are happening less often than they were, for various reasons.

But there are certain journeys that I would have made occasionally, that I've made zero times since 2020 took off. This is a mix of services not being quite back to their previous level (e.g. I've said elsewhere that if I wanted to do a full-day return on the Heart of Wales Line, I no longer can), and wariness over the railway's inability to provide the advertised level of service.

I've always been able to brush off the various delays and cancellations that occur as 'one of those things'.... I have enough understanding of railway operations to be able to see why things happen, and generally know that they'll make arrangements to get me home if a last connection is missed, or whatever. And I accept that if a lot of people want to travel, it will be busy. But the trust is evaporating.  The resources just aren't there. Insufficient traincrew. Insufficient trains. So although I'm mostly back to the way I was pre-2020, and if I'm seeing someone in particular or whatever I'll still go for it, but I'm a little bit wary and a bit more averse to travelling for the sake of it. These issues are particularly hitting routes that rely on tourism at a time when tourism should be a focus for the industry.

Covid-related delays to training are understandable. Lack of stock isn't, given how much new stock is running around at the moment, and therefore how much cascading should be possible. (Actually financial constraints that might be behind this are also understandable... but the end result is unchanged.)


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Bob_Blakey on August 16, 2022, 08:40:02 am
My overall train usage has been lower since February as that was when I qualified for my 'crinklies' bus pass. This has only impacted local rail journeys between DIG and EXC.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 16, 2022, 12:37:21 pm
That is rather different to having NO TRAINS ALL DAY on strike days because of train strikes which are deliberately planned to cause disruption.

What is the point of a strike if nobody notices its happening?

In addition of course, it takes two to tango, and I often wonder why some people automatically blame only one side, without perhaps being in full posession of the facts.

Sorry for the off-topic comment, but I for one am getting increasingly agitated by the union-bashing tabloids and government, and we would perhaps all benefit from not havinf this forum full of it too.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: grahame on August 16, 2022, 03:54:20 pm
... I for one am getting increasingly agitated by the union-bashing tabloids and government, and we would perhaps all benefit from not having this forum full of it too.

This thread / poll was designed not end up talking about .... oops ...

With a very few exceptions (such as when a passenger is taken ill on a train and it can no longer carry on, on time and making its connections), it really doesn't matter why a service is unreliable to most people.  Passenger taken ill, and perhaps "person hit by train" and people are far more symathetic and understanding [statement unproven]


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 16, 2022, 06:56:01 pm
My travelling habits have changed markedly but mainly due to medical reasons. Due to my glaucoma I can no longer see much out of the window and have difficulty in finding my way in places I know, let alone unfamiliar ones

Then back in July I got a very mild dose of COVID but it appears to have affected my lungs, exacerbated of course by 60 years of smoking. 5 years ago I would think nothing of getting a train to Didcot and walking up the DNS to Upton and back, or walking from Temple Meads along the Bristol & Bath railway path to Yate or Saltford – today I walked a quarter of a mile from Chippenham bus station to the Town Bridge bus stop, and had to stop twice for a blow-up on the way

Advancing years don’t come alone...


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: broadgage on August 16, 2022, 08:09:27 pm
This summer's a bit complicated for my family, with lots of short events dotted around the calendar. Normally we'd have a few train trips while the kids are on holiday, but this year it's been harder to find dates which aren't already taken and aren't near a train strike.

On top of that, the extreme weather makes us reluctant to travel by train. The thought of being trapped for hours on an overheated, overcrowded train if something went wrong is a strong deterrent.

That having been said, we are having a day out by train on Wednesday. Wish us luck!

I agree, WRT to the risks of stuck for hours on an overcrowded overheated train.

I HAVE been stuck for hours on an HST, the delay was tedious but conditions not bad. Everyone had a seat, air conditioning working, refreshments available.
But on a new shorter train conditions would be far worse.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: jamestheredengine on August 16, 2022, 08:29:12 pm
But there are certain journeys that I would have made occasionally, that I've made zero times since 2020 took off. This is a mix of services not being quite back to their previous level (e.g. I've said elsewhere that if I wanted to do a full-day return on the Heart of Wales Line, I no longer can), and wariness over the railway's inability to provide the advertised level of service.
And then added to the infrequent trains are the barmy Two Together Railcard restrictions. The YP one has a £12 minimum fare before 0930 on weekdays; so obviously Two Together has a £24 minimum fare... No, it has a blanket ban, which is really unhelpful for connecting onto the 1105 Trans-Wilts from Swindon from anywhere west of Newport. Even the Network Railcard has an enormous list of easements. GWR would probably make a pile more money out of me for one if they put in place a blanket easement to remove the Two Together time restrictions for journeys over £12 each that don't cross into the South East Government Office Region – that would make up for trying to connect onto very infrequent trains.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: broadgage on August 16, 2022, 08:29:42 pm
I’ve made many journeys for leisure this year, if anything a few more than usual.  I’ve come across hardly any problems so far - helped with a little bit of defensive scheduling, common sense and insider knowledge.

Just reading the forums gives you a rather overly negative view as to how things actually are IMHO.

I would have made a couple more journeys but they clashed with strike days.

I disagree. Many reports on these forums do, in my view give an unduly optimistic view.

"short formations are less common than suggested by by journeycheck"
"we dont need full length trains, due to reduced passenger numbers"
"Covid mode is fine, again due to reduced passenger numbers"


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 17, 2022, 12:21:53 pm
"short formations are less common than suggested by by journeycheck"

How is it unduly optimistic to correct the obvious fact that journeycheck is absolutely littered with errors, which I’ve demonstrated on many occasions, especially regarding services later in the day?


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: Marlburian on August 20, 2022, 08:00:11 am
Pre-Covid a visiting friend living in South London would cycle to Paddington and take the train to Tilehurst. As restrictions eased, she resumed her visits, but by car, out of concern that she might catch Covid on public transport and pass it on to vulnerable family members.

This year we've become less cautious, eating out twice in quiet country pubs and she's just returned from a holiday in Europe. She's still visiting me by car, despite not liking the "smartness" of the M4.

I hesitate to suggest she resumes her train journeys as it's coming up to five months since I had my last jab and we both can see an increase in Covid and other infections as the autumn progresses.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: grahame on August 21, 2022, 07:40:02 pm
Many thanks for all the votes in this poll.  The major issue holding people back is service reliability - be that because of industrial action, lack of staff for other reasons or ... other reasons. With such overwhelming results (and moderator team support), I'm writing to our key provider to highlight the results to our train operator, and asking that he and his company work alongside partners on all sides to address reliability as a priority.


Title: Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why
Post by: johnneyw on August 21, 2022, 08:11:27 pm
..... asking that he and his company work alongside partners on all sides to address reliability as a priority.

Just so long as that doesn't help provide an excuse for big reductions in services.

I agree though, reliability....or lack of....is my biggest concern about making a planned railway journey and that concern increases in proportion to the distance from home that I'm traveling, especially on a day return journey.  It's not come to actually detering me from doing such things but it has, for the first time, put that germ of a thought into the back of my mind.



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