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All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: Mark A on September 17, 2022, 04:57:21 pm



Title: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: Mark A on September 17, 2022, 04:57:21 pm
Most unusual: Monday is a bank holiday that brings a complete relaxation of peak time train restrictions, but without the associated pattern of substantial line closures for engineering. The day also sees a rail timetable that across the UK is essentially at least "Weekday" - so, start of service at weekday times, with certain lines stepping up from that.

Someone I know intends to mark the day with extensive use of a rover ticket - for a reflective tour of some of the rail system that served the UK's late Queen for many years. (Only some of it, alas, as the likes of Brecon, Neyland, Trawscoed are no longer on the rail system, and much of the bus network is running more of a bank holiday pattern of services.)

Mark


Title: Re: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: Mark A on September 20, 2022, 06:53:07 pm
'Someone'... ok it was me... spent the first part of the day on the rails after an early purchase of an 'Explore South Wales' ticket + a return to Newport from Bath Spa.

Unless you're west of Carmarthen or on a Heart of Wales train these tickets have a 9:30am validity restriction which more or less cripples them - but they *are* valid on both Transport for Wales and First Great Western services, so once it was at Newport, valid yesterday on the 6:46 from Bath (which was very quiet throughout, as was the train at Bath Spa that was heading to London at the same time). The Swansea train did have several Westminster queue survivors, who were pretty sleepy and in some cases equipped with wrist bands. It lost time to Swansea, train manager announced 'Cattle on the line', we rolled into Swansea with 6 minutes or so to make the connection.

The Heart of Wales train, two carriages, one locked out of use, 10 or so people aboard, people joining and leaving at many of the 'Major' stations, including one wheelchair user. The train was the only one of the day with a trolley-buffet and person. Glanrhyd bridge (of infamy) seems to have a severe speed restriction on it for some reason.

Much of the Heart of Wales line is now a tunnel of leaves, in several places the train shouldered its way through with vegetation rattling along the carriage. A cup of coffee raised at Llandovery to mark the royal train's visit in was it 1955, and at Dolau (2002), where there is a commemorative plaque.

I'm sorry to report that the obscene cactus has vanished from sight at one of the windows at Builth Road - but this may actually be a good thing.

With a last sustained rattling of vegetation on the curve into Craven Arms we popped out onto the line to Shrewsbury and, slightly delayed, ran north and I could swear that with the repeated two-tone for all the foot crossings, the horn was actually in the passenger compartment, I hate to think how loud it was for the driver.

Into Platform 4 at Shrewsbury which is the one whose stepped entrance comes out at the front of the building which is all a bit odd - I think it was out of use for ages.

Shrewsbury's a bit of a conundrum as it's recently had an extensive repaint yet looks rather unkempt. It's partly the effect of pigeon netting beneath the canopies, partly clutter in a few of more unfrequented corners, partly the rampant vegetation overhanging it from the castle, partly the additional vegetation and various removed through lines, steelwork in indifferent condition at the foot of the platforms on the river bridge section - and a contribution from state of the canopy glass, mostly in good condition but over platform 4 especially in need of a heavy clean.

A couple of services left for Manchester in quick succession - the first one, three carriages was full and standing (the wheelchair user had a space, which is good). The second one was a single carriage, which left 'Comfortably full'. The  network here has often given the impression that it's capacity constrained by the size of the trains since... whenever.

The timetabled train back to Newport was going to be the loco and coaches, 1st class, buffet, restaurant etc from Holyhead. This had been cancelled and a two carriage 158 was running in its path, starting from Chester. The timetable was a bit flaky and another service picked up a lot of the people waiting - in due course this 158 arrived, emptyish and it stayed that way, and a smooth trip back to Newport. For inter-regional medium distance travel they can be really pleasant trains and even the underfloor engines sing in a purposeful way.

Newport: several things were running a bit late and one of the things was an HST to Taunton, so, a connection that wasn't meant to happen took me to Bristol - the train there stopping at the down end of the platform which the railway thinks is entirely normal but everyone travelling thinks is bonkers and provocative by turns. On the way, I was reminded that while Dinmore Tunnel at 90mph is unpleasant on the ear, it is for some reason eclipsed by the up  tunnel at Patchway. I distracted myself by watching the several wild swings in pressure on a barometer. Two children in the carriage, not so lucky, squealed and then burst into tears. Why that tunnel has such an impact is... a question, perhaps it's because it's already on a rising gradient which sets your ears up for the experience.

Despite the walk from the furthest reaches of Platform 3 to platform 13 and the 17:00 to Paddington, the connection was made. The train manager of the London train hadn't been told he wouldn't be going to Paddington but was effective at getting everyone to listen and to prepare them for the strong possibility {Ed: certainty} that passengers for London would be getting the 'Winnersh Triangle' experience. He also gave a strong non-technical account of the 2 1/2 miles of OHLE wrecked by the train that mangled it that morning, in the process of stopping from line speed.

Mark


Title: Re: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: JayMac on September 20, 2022, 07:11:00 pm
'Cattle on the line'

Why weren't they safely locked up in a barn being fattened up in preparation for the coronation? :P


Title: Re: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: grahame on September 20, 2022, 10:15:36 pm
Despite the walk from the furthest reaches of Platform 3 to platform 13 and the 17:00 to Paddington, the connection was made. The train manager of the London train hadn't been told he wouldn't be going to Paddington but was effective at getting everyone to listen and to prepare them for the strong possibility {Ed: certainty} that passengers for London would be getting the 'Winnersh Triangle' experience. He also gave a strong non-technical account of the 2 1/2 miles of OHLE wrecked by the train that mangled it that morning, in the process of stopping from line speed.

Ah ... so they would arrive into Waterloo ... what a good idea from Bristol.  Much more central than Paddington, and good National Rail connections to the southern Home Counties where many people live.



Title: Re: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: broadgage on September 21, 2022, 11:51:29 am
'Cattle on the line'

Why weren't they safely locked up in a barn being fattened up in preparation for the coronation? :P

Because they should be free range and grazing on grass and other vegetation, and not confined in a barn and fed prepared food. (Except in severe winter weather when keeping them indoors for their own welfare)




Title: Re: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: Marlburian on September 21, 2022, 02:57:40 pm
Despite the walk from the furthest reaches of Platform 3 to platform 13 and the 17:00 to Paddington, the connection was made. The train manager of the London train hadn't been told he wouldn't be going to Paddington but was effective at getting everyone to listen and to prepare them for the strong possibility {Ed: certainty} that passengers for London would be getting the 'Winnersh Triangle' experience. He also gave a strong non-technical account of the 2 1/2 miles of OHLE wrecked by the train that mangled it that morning, in the process of stopping from line speed.

Ah ... so they would arrive into Waterloo ... what a good idea from Bristol.  Much more central than Paddington, and good National Rail connections to the southern Home Counties where many people live.


I wonder how long it took the 1700 to get to Waterloo, trundling along in between all those stopping services?


Title: Re: Bank holiday September 19th 2022: rail services
Post by: Mark A on September 21, 2022, 03:07:38 pm
Ah, those Waterloo passengers would also have been in for a change at Reading. But thinking of class 800s to Waterloo (which doesn't happen does it??) - the HSTs that ran to Waterloo to provide connections with Eurostar back in the day - they ran via the west London line, yes?

Mark



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