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December 10, 2018, 01:36:14 am *
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Most liked recent subjects
[73] 9th December 2018 - Santa, Melksham to Swindon and back
[56] Four track for Filton Bank - ongoing discussion
[53] How to further improve the Cotswold Line
[50] MetroBus
[46] Tonight at Reading (01-12-2018) - Useless Staff
[38] Relettering of coaches for reservations
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1  Journey by Journey / Swindon to Gloucester / Cheltenham / Re: On-train Announcements on: December 06, 2018, 10:21:34 pm
One for the insiders: how are the onboard announcements programmed and triggered? Twice recently I have been on an up IET service from Kemble and, approaching Swindon heard the following:

“We are now approaching Swindon” (all good)

“Change here for Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse etc...” (eh? That’s where we’ve just come from)

All subsequent messages (Didcot, Reading etc.) seem to be correct.

Curious.

Ha, I've just read this after posting the same message on the other thread.
2  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: On Train Information Irritants on: December 06, 2018, 10:19:56 pm
I caught a London bound train at Stroud a few days ago and when it approached Swindon the train announcement said 'change at Swindon for Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester and Cheltenham, despite having just stopped at these stations on its way to Swindon! It didn't mention changing there for Chippenham, Bath Spa etc, which is what half the train wanted to do.
3  Journey by Journey / Cross Country services / Passengers trapped on train for over 6 hours on: December 03, 2018, 09:26:19 pm
This apparently happened today just outside of Gloucester on a Cross Country service heading towards Bristol, which hit a deer. I can't find anything posted about it here, which is very surprising. The news stories say it happened at about 10am, and passengers were left 'without heating, food, toilets or electricity' for over 6 hours until the train was finally brought back to Gloucester.
4  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: I want one ... on: December 02, 2018, 09:07:27 pm
Dartford crossing by bike


So it is. I've taken my bike across the Thames on the Gravesend to Tilbury ferry, but never knew this service existed. I must try it out when I'm next in that part of the world - I assume folding bikes can be carried inside the vehicle, though it doesn't specify that.
5  Journey by Journey / Cross Country services / Re: Kenilworth Station - new project? on: November 30, 2018, 10:08:32 pm
I reckon 'Melksham fever' may well be reached pretty soon and a 1-car unit will no longer be adequate for the peak services.  Pleasing to see.

Kenilworth and Melksham are very similar in population I think.  Of course Kenilworth has been started with an hourly service rather than every 2 hours - perhaps a lesson learned from Melksham where we're playing catch up with them on service frequency!

Delighted their train is busy.

I thought Kenilworth was larger, and Wikipedia confirms this, though not by much - 22k compared to 19k in 2011. I hadn't realised Melksham had grown that large. Perhaps due to the station?
6  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Ticket machines at stations on: November 30, 2018, 01:43:08 pm
A ticket machine was installed at Oldfield Park station a few months ago. For several weeks now, it has had a sign saying that it can only take cards, so no cash payments.

I've tried using it many times, and on about half I've failed to get a ticket. After trying repeatedly yesterday, with the machine taking me through the whole process until saying I needed to press Buy Ticket, and just getting no response at all from this, I was told by train staff that the machine doesn't work in wet weather!

Earlier this autumn, there were different problems with the low sun blinding the screen and making it impossible to read anything on it, despite any amount of attempting to shade the screen.

Are all these common problems with these machines or is it just this one? (obviously the last problem is one of aspect, but it should have been given some thought before installation).
7  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Corsham Station reopening on: November 27, 2018, 06:07:40 pm
A station at Corsham would also serve villages like Rudloe, Box, Gastard, Neston and Atworth, and probably attract a few Melksham residents who wished to travel to Bath or Bristol directly. So potentially sufficient to justify the expenditure.

One point for consideration that Graham didn't mention is the endless debate in Bath about the lack of an eastern park and ride. In my view, I doubt whether a suitable site for one will ever be found, and if this was just accepted, then the case for a station here would become a lot stronger, as a train would be much faster than any bus could be as well as any car journey.
8  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: November 26, 2018, 09:38:18 pm
I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.

There is no lack of demand for the service. It was well loaded when it ran previously, it did not stop because it was not used. There are plenty of people who live in Swindon and work in Oxford and vice versa. The change at Didcot is an issue as it adds journey time and is disruptive.  If you add a stop at Wantage & Grove (new station) then it would have even larger demand. 

The reasons the last service stopped was that it was affecting reliability of main line services.  Electrification and use of the long loop at Wantage (currently only a goods lop?) could ease those problems, though extra services have been added or planned since, so I am not clear whether the capacity exists. 
 

There is definitely a demand for this service. However, there is now a pretty fast direct bus. I've taken this a couple of times as I worked out I could get to Oxford as quickly that way than waiting at Didcot for a connecting train, as they don't seem to connect well with the services running up from Bath Spa and Temple Meads.
9  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Four track for Filton Bank - ongoing discussion on: November 20, 2018, 08:41:50 am
Am I right in thinking that trains heading to Temple Meads from Filton Abbey Wood can now stop at both platforms 1 and 3, which are separated by the footbridge? If so, it will make it awkward deciding which one to wait at.

I hope there are some sort of electronic signs  to help the poor traveller.


Of course there are, but this is actually a serious matter, not a facetious one. My partner, who is female, commutes back from Filton every day, often having to catch trains late in the evening. It is not the sort of place she wants to hang around alone in the dark, and has little protection from the elements, so if the train to Oldfield Park is late, she will catch the first train to Temple Meads. This was easy when they all arrived at the same platform, but now would involve making a last minute decision, when the train is approaching, to go over the footbridge to the other platform.

There is presumably no reason why just one platform cannot be used for all Temple Meads services. Few, possibly none, are going to be passing others en route.
10  Journey by Journey / To Oxford, Didcot and Reading from West / Re: A welcome to XC from Bristol to Swindon. Delighted to have you; we have space on: November 19, 2018, 09:15:50 pm
Did I note that a few diverted XC services are stopping at Bath during the evening?
Pretty much all diverted XC services are stopping at Bath which makes sense as there would be a fair few XC related journies that start/end there. Pick up only northbound. Set down only southbound.

The pick up only northbound and set down only southbound appears to be not strictly adhered to though.  I was on the XC service this evening that was scheduled to set down at Bath Spa at 1718.  I thought as it was approaching Bath Spa, even though this service is scheduled as set down only there, I bet a number of people will still get on.  And I noticed they did!  Even though the departure screens specific to that platform had SET DOWN ONLY displayed, and there was a platform staff member there.   I suppose there's not much that can be done about that really, as some people will still know that that service will be stopping at Bristol Temple Meads so will board it!  And/or maybe that platform staff member mentioned to people they could get that service to Bristol. Not really a complaint, but just an observation. 

I don't understand why they made these services pick up or set down only. It must have been obvious they couldn't stop people getting on or off. And I don't understand why Chippenham wasn't included as a stop. As has been said earlier, there is capacity for this to happen, and on the one service I used during this time, it just missed a connection at Swindon for a service to Chippenham, meaning an unnecessarily long wait for anyone wanting to go there.
11  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Four track for Filton Bank - ongoing discussion on: November 19, 2018, 09:06:36 pm
Am I right in thinking that trains heading to Temple Meads from Filton Abbey Wood can now stop at both platforms 1 and 3, which are separated by the footbridge? If so, it will make it awkward deciding which one to wait at.
12  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Network Rail to abolish station toilet charges in 2019 on: November 19, 2018, 11:37:03 am
Meanwhile, in Gloucester we have five new toilets costing 20p.



I assume you are referring to the town rather than in the station?

On my trips to Gloucester I invariably use the gents on the platform as the toilets on the train from Bath are often out of order, and if not, are hardly fit for use.
13  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Renumbering platforms at Bristol Temple Meads on: November 18, 2018, 09:37:07 pm
Good to see that all these ideas retain a platform 13. I find it quite extraordinary the recent fashion for new housing to miss out number 13s altogether, or to replace them with 12a or 11a. I hope we don't see that spreading to the railway network.
14  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: November 15, 2018, 09:24:30 am
The Guardian states 2030 and references the recent report requiring major change within 12 years:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/14/bristol-plans-to-become-carbon-neutral-by-2030


It is now 2030, following this week's council vote, inspired by the recent IPCC report on the impending climate catastrophe. I look forward to seeing other south-western towns following this initiative soon.
15  Journey by Journey / Portsmouth to Cardiff / Re: Isn't that awful........ on: November 15, 2018, 09:12:31 am
I think Clan Line's point is well made. Our expectation now is for second-rate rolling stock on this line, and if anything better arrives, it is far more notable.

I'm not that concerned about graffiti myself, though there are obviously limits to what is acceptable. If people find the notion of graffiti a problem, have they traveled in France, where you can often see huge numbers of carriages lined up on lines completely covered in graffiti.

I get far more upset if a train hasn't been cleaned outside, so that you make your journey straining to look out of filthy windows. That has happened quite a few times to me this year, and I can't understand how some trains can be left to get quite so bad (they haven't been at times when the weather would cause them to be that dirty, so must just be long-term build-up of dirt on their outside).
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