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1  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Unannounced Rail replacement bus services on: January 19, 2020, 08:08:23 pm
The strike is now over so I can now catch SWR trains from Bookham again. Except this weekend and last weekend we had rail replacement buses (RRB). No mention of this in my weekly engineering email, SWR website or SWR Twitter. I already knew about the RRB between Epsom and Clapham Junction. Only in the live trains departures on many websites does it show that there is a RRB between Epsom & Effingham Junction. Next weekend shows trains for Saturday and RRB for Sunday but I expect it will be RRB both days again.  Angry

I'm guessing it was a last minute alteration for this weekend because the replacement coaches came from Carnforth, Lancashire! This was a welcome change from the usual rickety old ex London double deckers that we normally get.

Oh, and another thing that irritates me about SWR RRB is their inability to put a display in the windscreen to show the buses destination or sometimes even if it is a RRB. You think this is your bus, ask the driver to be told no. SWT managed to do it, Southern manage to do it. Why not SWR? Having said that I've noticed that certain bus companies do put the destination on the electronic display or roller blind but they are in the minority.

Rant over.
2  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Southend Pier Tramway on: January 15, 2020, 09:53:59 pm
         On board Wi-Fi
         USB charging points


You'll probably boost your phones battery by about 1% on that short journey and by the time you've navigated the wifi login screen it's probably time to get off.  Huh
3  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Train versus tree between Chard Junction and Axminster, 13th January 2020 on: January 14, 2020, 10:13:31 pm
Surely a way can be found for staff in 'Control' to patch into stations' PA systems. Yes, 'Control' have to prioritise getting things running again or organising replacement road transport, but train operators need to understand there are passengers out there who are in the dark. Literally and figuratively last night!

I don't know about now, but I do remember in the 90s hearing the occasional tannoy announcement at West Drayton from someone at Slough saying the next train which is running late should arrive at Langley at xxxx, Iver at yyyy and West Drayton at zzzz. I seem to recall that back then the station master for those stations was based at Slough.
4  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Electric buses: Why were trolleybuses ever scrapped? on: January 12, 2020, 09:24:07 am
Many buses are now powered by electric batteries, so why go to the expense and hassle of putting up wires?
5  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Station seating design competition on: January 12, 2020, 09:04:05 am

LFA runs a lot of these competitions, several of which recently have been around stations if not in them. There was one about wayfinding around London Bridge station, and last year Wandworth Borough supported one to brighten up the space under a railway bridge (Thessaly Road), won by Yinka Ilori. Pretty, huh?

Similarly, two years ago, West Drayton railway bridge was refurbished with the history of the local area along the pedestrian walkways.

From London Borough of Hillingdon
The bridge has undergone an impressive facelift, including an extensive clean of its concrete pillars and facades and the installation of an specially-designed timeline mural that tells the history of the area from the years 929 to 2019. It has also been given new LED lighting.

The mural captures interesting and unique points of interest in West Drayton and Yiewsley, reminding local people of its agricultural and industrial heritage. 

Photo from Links Signs
6  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Crossrail - The Elizabeth Line - ongoing discussion, merged topics on: January 11, 2020, 11:09:54 am
From the Independent
The Elizabeth Line, as the link has been named, will initially open between Paddington and Abbey Wood in southeast London in “summer 2021”. The Independent has learnt that Crossrail’s definition of “summer” stretches to September.

If you go by the traditional astronomical definition of Summer (which I do) then most of September is in the Summer. The exact dates are not fixed, but Summer this year is between 20th June and 21st September. There is also a meteorological definition of the seasons where Summer is fixed at 1st June to 31st August.
7  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: December 31, 2019, 05:33:32 pm

Which prompts some speculation as to why children were urinating on the platform at Hayes at 1030? Couldn't wait? Queues at the station loos (I can't recall where they are at Hayes)? Afraid the train would go off without them?

Let me stress I'm not criticising them; I would probably have had to do the same - I'm at the age where I have to plan these things.


The toilets used to be on platform 4. Everything on that platform was demolished a few years ago for Crossrail. I did see a temporary toilet behind the ticket office a few months ago amongst all the construction huts which was locked and possibly needs a Radar key on the station approach.
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Tracking Rail Replacement Buses on: December 29, 2019, 08:13:05 pm
Having had to put up with these since the beginning of December, I am growing weary with the lateness I often encounter and not knowing when the bus will actually arrive. I have submitted several delay repay claims, all but one have been accepted and that is in the process of being appealed. The departure boards at the stations, online and on apps only show the times the bus should turn up and seemingly have no way of knowing where the bus actually is. I've noticed over the last few weeks that different drivers have taken different routes to get between Bookham and Epsom. Some of which have left me scratching my head.

I wonder if it is time to properly track the progress of the bus perhaps introducing a mandatory tracking device that all rail replacement companies use. This could be a mobile phone app doubling up as a satnav with pre-programmed routes approved by the TOC or rail authorities avoiding low bridges, width restrictions and other unsuitable roads. The GPS location could then get fed into the national computers to provide an estimated arrival that everyone can see on departure boards and their normal apps.

Any thoughts?
9  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Disruption at Epsom on: December 29, 2019, 01:17:26 am
Network Rail have posted a video update
10  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: Can't believe everything you read on: December 28, 2019, 10:19:40 pm
Its not just the "local" paper. Local TV news was just as bad. I used to watch London Tonight on Carlton / LWT and sometimes they'd say "Today in West London....." and I'd look at the images to try and work out if it was somewhere near me. Usually I had no idea. Was it Hammersmith?, Uxbridge?, Hounslow?, etc.

I wasn't bothered if they spoke about South / North / East London in that way as I didn't know those areas anyway.
11  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Member's travel record on: December 24, 2019, 04:23:40 pm
Of those shown, 12 visited.

I have travelled by train from the UK to just one of those countries - Belgium. The others were by plane. France also by ferry / coach.

Does an urban underground/metro count as rail travel? My scores for the train element would be considerably more if they did!

Some of those countries, I know I have used mainline trains in at least 5 - Germany, Spain, Belgium, Portugal & UK. Some I have used underground & tram but can't recall mainline train travel.

I can rule out train travel in at least 2 of those countries - Turkey & Greece.
12  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The West - but NOT the West's trains / Re: Is your name unusual or unique? on: December 23, 2019, 08:50:37 pm
a gerbil was named after me in a well-known kids TV show of the 1980's! 

Is your name S.P.G?
13  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The West - but NOT the West's trains / Re: Is your name unusual or unique? on: December 22, 2019, 11:03:46 pm
Lots of names that wouldn't be considered unique today, but some of those unique girls names would today perhaps be unique boys names- Ernie, Alfred, Victor, Mervyn etc
14  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: GWR, Paddington Christmas Engineering, 2019 on: December 21, 2019, 09:39:57 am
Apart from suggesting the obvious route on Christmas Eve (Tube to Waterloo, SWR to Reading, taking almost 120 minutes), the National Rail website lists this alternative, taking as long:

Tube to Marylebone; Chiltern Trains to High Wycombe; bus to Maidenhead; GWR to Reading, taking 120 minutes.

Wonder how many people will turn up at Paddington expecting to be in Reading within 30 minutes and be really upset at the delay?

For people wanting to get to Slough, the suggested journey is bizarre, in that the National Rail website says "TRANSFER" from Paddington to Hillingdon Tube Station, allowing an hour. It doesn't specify how this transfer is to be made, and there's just a cyclist icon under "Additional Information". I suppose that the inference is don't start your journey at Paddington but work out how best to get to Hillingdon. Then one takes a bus to Slough. But if one has cycled to Hillingdon, what does one do with one's bike?

Or am I missing something?


The transfer to Hillingdon will be a rail replacement bus from Slough. The image below is from the last page of the December West of London Crossrail newsletter.

Having planned journeys on the National Rail Enquiries site in the past, I agree it is very vague when transferring between central London stations. It will say to get on the underground but not which line or where to change to another tube.

15  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Frosting applied to footbridge windows at Reading on: December 20, 2019, 10:37:28 pm
I’m sure the architect would be mortified by this assault on his/her design. 

I wouldn't feel too sorry for them. Am I correct in remembering comments by others that the footbridge design allowed in rain and wind? Was that ever rectified?
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