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1  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Where was Red Squirrel? on: April 20, 2019, 06:19:46 pm
BNM - once again impressive answering of obscure question - ever though of changing your "by-line" from "Question everything" to "answer everything"!
2  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 20, 2019, 06:00:19 pm
3 - Fishguard harbour
3  Journey by Journey / Transport for London / Re: Climate change protests to target overground? on: April 17, 2019, 10:25:06 pm
I do however strongly suspect that many of those same protestors would also attend protests such as

"save Goring gap" from railway electrification.

Unlikely - they do not seem to have an average age of 70+!

In any event, to be fair to my neighbours in the "Gap", it was not electrification, but what they saw as the intrusive design of the OHL supporting structures. I think there is universal agreement that electrification is a good thing.

I wholeheartedly endorse TG's comments - it is humanity's inability to foresee the adverse effects of its impact on the planet until it's too late. It's been going on since early man helped destroy the soil of large parts of the Middle East and China through ignorance of the effects of early unsustainable agriculture.
4  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: April 15, 2019, 09:45:05 pm
Some good news - both West Berks and Wokingham Councils finally granted approval for the amended scheme on 28 March after a number of extensions to allow for EA input!
5  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: "I would recommend passengers to sit as far as possible from the engine ..." on: April 14, 2019, 02:15:42 pm
I expect it's far healthier to travel on a diesel train than on a diesel bus, likewise standing at a station waiting for a train would be better than waiting for a bus on a busy road.

It depends on the layout and design of the station.

One of the problems with the "new" Reading Station is that when the wind is in certain directions, and there are diesels idling on the platforms (remember we still have Turbos, and then there are the Cross Country Voyagers), the covered over bridge fills with diesel fumes.

It is not helped by the habit of holding a number of Turbos waiting to go to the depot, all at platforms idling, although this is a much reduced problem now most have been replaced by Electrostars, or by the Cross Country trains having prolonged waits at Reading during their reversal there, again with engines running. We really need them to cut their engines off, and if they need electricity for services while standing, perhaps a "shore supply" and connection could be arranged for them while they do so if their batteries are not up to it.

As for pollution from steam engines, remember they largely operated in an era when highly polluting coal provided most of our electricity, town gas, domestic fires etc, when we had pea-souper fogs and in the industrial north net curtains had to be replaced regularly as the sulphurous air dissolved them.
6  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: New Platform Markings at Reading on: April 13, 2019, 12:15:56 pm
After a fortnight of operation, my experience at Reading is as follows-

Posted by: Richard Fairhurst
Insert Quote
There are posters up at Reading explaining the change, though from the quick glance I got at one yesterday, I swear it said "to be introduced from December 2018".

Found it - by the lift shaft (see below) - it is not easy to read due to use of current spindly GWR typeface and title is misleading, as zoning also in use for Electrostars, and even platforms 4 to 6 has been marked into zones (IETs to Gatwick in due course?)

The use of zones does seem a little haphazard. They seem to be used in most announcements for Inter City services, and as well as being used on some platform arrival signage, they are now on the signs at the top of the stairs/escalators on the overbridge - see below for an example. There are though some shortcomings. This is one of three messages that constantly change at about 5 - 10 second intervals, the first being the usual time/destination/calling points (which can run to two screens on longer journeys), the second being a general announcement (currently letting you know that there may be amendments to services over the holiday weekend, without further details) and the zonal message.

I think that the information is too much to absorb in the brief view you get. Someone unfamiliar with the station and these signs is not going to know that it will be a fleeting view, nor are they going to wait to see if the message going to come around again, especially if they have little time to get down to  the platform to catch their train. Furthermore they are above most people's sightline.

Ironically, there are some large and prominent signs at a convenient level on the overbridge - see the third picture below. the advertising company JC Decaux has installed electronic advertising signs at platform level. Could National Rail see if they could arrange something for train information - a fixed not rotating view, and preferably black on white, not dot matrix  - with the destination/stopping points and zonal information?

As far as I can tell, zonal information seems only to be used for Electrostar and IET services. It is still not universal, and there is one service where it might be most useful and it is not used. One train I sometimes catch is the 18-57 departure from Reading, all stations to Didcot. It arrives as a 12 coach train from London on platform 13, the rear 4 are detatched (which invariably takes longer that the timetable allows!) before it departs. Clearly it would be useful for signage to tell the passenger that the coaches in the rear zones should not be used.

However even though the signs on platform 12 (the other platform face opposite 13) has full zonal information, the platform 13 sign simply tells you to listen to on-train announcements!

Overall, the initial impression that currently there is an information overload problem has been confirmed. It needs to be addressed as part of a more general overhaul/improvement of station signage at Reading - and presumably elsewhere. It could though be a useful feature if developed.

7  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Where to find Pacers on: April 12, 2019, 09:27:13 pm
Even 150s have been pretty rare in London ... though I have come across a picture of 150001 at St Pancras on, I noted, a special working.

To be fair, they do have over 100 class 455s, that are even older than Pacers and 150s, and most South London services that did not use them were still served by old slam-door stock well over a decade over such stock was replaced by Pacers and 150s in most of the west and north.

As to Pacers, presumably the ultimate Pacer experience, Barrow to Carlisle along the Cumbrian coast is still available?
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Intermediate services v stopping expresses on: April 11, 2019, 10:00:15 pm
... and I think Ash justifies a "C" rating, too, as it is used by almost all "stopping" North Downs line services.

I am not sure that the "splurge" type (Lee's category 3) works in much of the network area, or indeed much of England, as our larger towns are much less widely dispersed than in France, so more scope for journeys in both (or all) directions from most stations, rather than simply all going to the nearest large provincial centre. 
9  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: East Midlands, South Eastern & West Coast Franchise Updates April 2019 on: April 11, 2019, 09:41:05 pm
One can only assume that the Dutch government is happy to fund UK rail workers pensions.

...or have not been thorough enough in doing their due diligence or reading the small print?
10  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Timetable and other upcoming changes - overview (from GWR) last Monday on: April 10, 2019, 06:15:09 pm
This really is unsatisfactory. The gap is at exactly the time a prospective commuter who works in Reading and who starts work at 9am would be expecting to catch a train from any of the stations between Cholsey and Tilehurst.

By contrast, there are three North Downs line departures from Reading between 8-04 and 8-34!

Is there any indication whether this will be addressed in  the December timetable?
11  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Six times upon a time, six long long times ago, there was a train. But where? on: April 09, 2019, 09:21:32 pm
Another (wild?) guess for no 5  - is this the "Taunton" one?
12  Journey by Journey / North Downs Line / Re: North Camp - Ash Vale interchange on: April 09, 2019, 09:19:15 pm
And a welcome from me too - good to see another North Downs line passenger on the forum.

Are we correct in assuming that you are coming from Guildford to North Camp? If so, perhaps you might want to "like" my suggestion on 5 April (see - that the new split Guildford to Farnham service be extended to Alton.

This is not the only inconvenient change of train timing for the North Downs service, I'm afraid.
13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Hedgehog, anyone? Coming to a railway near you? on: April 08, 2019, 09:08:41 pm
Is it a new design to stop brexiteers getting access to the railway and causing chaos?
14  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Six times upon a time, six long long times ago, there was a train. But where? on: April 08, 2019, 09:01:27 pm
Would 5 be a photograph taken at the beginning of the famous weekend in 1892 when the last of the broad gauge was removed?
15  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: December 2019 timetable recast on: April 06, 2019, 08:54:32 pm
There are expected to be 8 Class 769 daily diagrams, which will be the North Downs services.  There are plans to also use them on some of the Thames Valley branches, though perhaps they are initially being a bit cautious about how many will be available - wise given that none have turned a wheel in passenger service anywhere yet!  That might also account for the unaccounted Turbos in that they will be used to cover any initial shortfall, and might mean more Turbos can be released after the timetable has commenced and all of the 769s are all available.

I don't know about actual timings of the trains and how they connect as yet.

Thanks II - looks like I am going to have to keep my fingers crossed for quite  while yet!
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