Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum Great Western Coffee Shop - [home] and [about]
Read about the forum [here].
Register and contribute [here] - it's free.
 today - TWSW AGM
tomorrow - GWRA Auction, Pershore
21/11/2018 - First Bath Bus panel
21/11/2018 - Consultation end - Angel Road
26/11/2018 - TransWilts Board and Members
26/11/2018 - Bath Clean Air consult ends
Random Image
Train Running @GWR Twitter Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail News GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4 Chat on off
November 16, 2018, 12:58:19 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[290] Closure of Old Oak Common (81A) December 2018
[112] Use of senior railcards at peak times
[60] MetroBus
[46] Defective on-train PA systems
[37] Yate Tytherington Freight Branch
[30] South Western Railway unveils refurbished carriages
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
  Home Help Search Calendar Login Register  
  Show Posts
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Defective on-train PA systems on: November 12, 2018, 10:10:42 pm
In response to Grahame-

Quote
Audabilty often seems to have been a problem om 15x units ... not sure about 16x yet.

Sadly, as a Turbo veteran they are no better! The quality varies enormously. At one extreme, today's Guildford - Reading run was exemplary, clear audible automated announcements, backed up by clear relevant manual ones form the train staff. However at the other extreme sometimes there's an indistinct mumble somewhere in the background, and we all look at one another wondering if it was meant for us, and if so, what did they say?

I wonder if it's not only maintaining equipment and testing it, but also staff training? From my experience not using a microphone correctly can have a material impact - simply not having it at the right distance and direction. Do staff get training with feedback or testing?

Quote
The comments about train announcements being out of sync with stations, worries me on North Downs services from Gatwick. If you have just arrived in the country you probably assume the announcements are correct.

A more general problem with announcements is audibility. Surely somebody can develop an affordable system that it responsive to ambient noise levels, noted when it is quiet almost to the point of inaudability, but the other extreme when you are almost felled by the volume (a specialty of the Tube, amongst others).

Absolutely! I've been on FGW/GWR trains with stations in reverse order, from the wrong line, or out by one or more stations either way on the  walking writing/automated announcement system.

Although my experience of the Electrostars did not get off to a good start (it insisted the next station was Tilehurst throughout my journey from Reading to Goring), so far they seem far better and more reliable. The "worst" experience was last Friday when a late-running stopping train that had been shown as not calling at any station between Reading and Didcot on the Reading Station signs arrived with its external "walking writing" still showed it calling at all stations. It was up-dated as they turfed off the unfortunate passengers for the intermediate stations, though. Do they have a better system that can be retro-fitted to other stock?



 
2  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Wrong Passenger Information - Again! on: November 12, 2018, 09:48:41 pm
I explanation the answer may be here-

Quote
Posts: 491


View Profile  Personal Message (Offline)
   
Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014
Reply #3081 on: Today at 06:36:19 am
Reply with quoteQuote
Due to a broken down train between Slough and Hayes & Harlington the line is blocked.
Impact:
Train services running through these stations may be delayed. Disruption is expected until 07:15 12/11.
{like}

By the time I arrived at Goring for the 7-45, things were still in a state of disarray, my train arriving nearly 10 minutes late. However by this time Journey Check had lost interest and no explanation was given for this.

What did Mark Hopgood say about information for passengers...?
3  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Cambridge Guided Busway - ongoing discussion and updates (merged topic) on: November 09, 2018, 11:07:02 pm
Quote
So I am not clear that a busway is a 'transport undertaking'

Don't worry - I have sat in meetings with staff from Cambridgeshire County Council's highways department and their solicitors discussing a proposed bus link and they have not been certain about its status and how to deal with laying services, and they must be the keenest "bus laners" in the country!
4  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Bath Spa to London - potential saving? on: November 09, 2018, 10:59:54 pm
It makes you wonder at the mentality of anyone who can either think it worthwhile introducing such discrepancies, or (if they have come about by accident) not think that they should be removed straight away when they come to light in the interests of a better customer experience!
5  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Dawlish closures - November 2018 on: November 08, 2018, 10:43:54 pm
Perhaps the leasing agreement with Hitachi for the IETs includes something about not exposing their new trains to salt water?
6  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Cambridge Guided Busway - ongoing discussion and updates (merged topic) on: November 06, 2018, 07:13:06 pm
Quote
The used a specific section in the Highways (?) regs so that there can be no services underneath it, so no digging it up. Can't remember which section, could be used elsewhere, although a lot of the Sustrans routes have fibre underneath them to offset the original cost.

From my experience, they get around what is known as the Street Works Code  (the legislation which permits utility undertakers to dig up roads and lay services in them) applying to "non-guided" busways by specifically not making them part of the public highway, but holding them as land assets or leaving them in the ownership of developers subject to rights. One of the consequences is wrangling between the parties as to whether they should be available for use by emergency services.
7  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Planning? What planning? on: November 06, 2018, 05:55:05 pm
Thankfully, on my usual commute, changing from Thames Valley to North Downs and vice versa I won't have to see this!

What ever happened to tasteful statues of royalty?
8  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: November 05, 2018, 10:46:51 pm
As many other contributor/members have expressed their views on the passenger experience, can I add mine, having recently completed my third, and longest trip so far, a journey from Exeter St Davids to St Erth, part of a day trip to St Ives during a Devon holiday to use the complimentary "use anywhere" tickets issued in response to renewing my annual season ticket?

My wife and I traveled standard class in the front half of a 5 & 5. Generally the experience was good - the diesels' noise not too intrusive as we went over the Devon banks, seats fine and ride good. Catering consisted of a trolley that visited twice during our trip (Lavazza in cup with filter cap rather wan and tasteless). It ran to time, and announcements audible and legible. It seemed to be a recently commissioned set, with the interior still fresh, better than my last previous experience with one that appeared rather scruffy on a trip from Paddington to Reading.

One thing that has struck me on both trips. The decor on Electrostars is much brighter and pleasing to the eye. My previous trip, involving changing trains at Reading for Goring between both types, highlighted this. The IET was a drab mix of shades of mid grey with a few pallid green touches - hand grabs and the strip with directions to toilets etc along the top of the windows. In particular, the grey carpet down the gangway was already soiled. The (apparently newer) Devon train seemed to have a darker seat fabric. By contrast the Electrostar's charcoal/bright green and off-white looks much more cheerful. and the charcoal and green carpet seems more durable and does not seem to show the grime so much.

On our day out to St Ives, the St Erth - Sr Ives train was a nicely refurbished 2 car 150, also in the same colour scheme as the Electrostar, what looked like new seats throughout, only 4 across and tables for each seat (admittedly small fold down ones where seats did not face), with the only downside the poor fenestration of this type meaning not all enjoyed a decent view on this scenic journey. The return St Erth - St Davids was a refurbished 2 car 158 also in the same colour scheme. Both were a much better experience that the tired worn out  tatty First Group interiors of the Turbos I normally encounter on my commute. Everything ran on time, the trains were busy at times but not crowded. A pleasant GWR experience (for a change?)
9  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Cambridge Guided Busway - ongoing discussion and updates (merged topic) on: November 05, 2018, 09:51:42 pm
The answer may be (to bring this into a thread I did not know existed when I made this contribution a little while back-

Quote
I have had a very peripheral involvement with new public transport schemes in Cambridgeshire, whose county council fell in love with guided bus lanes some years ago, concreting over the old Cambridge to St Ives branch - a scheme that ran hugely over program and budget, and ended up as a massive claim against the contractor.

In the course of my involvement I was informed by an experienced transport consultant that the bus companies do not actually  like them.They involve expensive additional fitments to buses and the additional risk of damage from the bus way structures. They would rather just have ordinary roads built with access restricted by barriers or signage.   
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Control, and communication to passengers when things go wrong on: October 31, 2018, 10:36:00 am
And here is Mark Hopwood's response-

Quote
Thank you for your email and I am sorry for the significant delay in coming back to you.

 

I just wanted to offer my apologies for what happened on 21 September. We did start the day with one of our trains striking a fallen tree near Earley - then our service was impacted by a signalling issue near Crowthorne and that caused us quite a bit of disruption. However, we absolutely should have kept customers on the North Downs line much better informed.

 

I always impress on my teams the importance of reliable and timely advice. Weve invested significantly in this area and weve got a number of tools in place that should help the flow of live information from our Control Team through to our station staff and Customer Information Systems. So it was really disappointing to read how we let you down and I am grateful for your feedback, which Ive shared with our Customer Information Manager as a useful example of how we must do better.

 

Thank you once again for getting in touch and for bringing this to my attention.

 

Best wishes

 

Mark

 

Mark Hopwood | Managing Director | Great Western Railway
Milford House | Swindon | Wiltshire | SN1 1HL

The commitment has been given. The mechanisms to cascade information are in place - let's monitor delivery!
11  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: October 31, 2018, 10:11:21 am
Quote
View Profile  Personal Message (Offline)
   
Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014
Reply #3071 on: October 28, 2018, 10:55:03 pm
Reply with quoteQuote
Quote from: eightonedee on October 28, 2018, 07:26:17 pm
As someone who uses these platforms almost daily during the week to commute, and have done so since 2001, I am not impressed. "Less clutter" means fewer seats -actually now benches - and an inadequate roof that's too high to provide shelter.

Yes, there is a little more room at the inner end of the platforms, but this doesn't seem to done much to alleviate the crush shown in the pictures of today's problems.

I take your points about signage and so on, but the following two photos show the much better passenger flow that is now achieved - as you say a few benches have since been added, but nothing like the clutter that was there before with vending machines, trolley stacks and awkwardly placed seating (as well as, not in the picture, the old ticket check booth which got right in the way with everyone having to funnel into almost single file).  And the canopy was doubled in length, even if maybe not the perfect design.  I dread to think how 4a and 4b as was would have managed with today's number of passengers.

Point also taken that there is some more room, and what was a bad experience might have been worse, but the passenger experience, especially for the unfortunate ones who have done the right thing and decided to go to Gatwick by train via Reading remains poor. If II has colleagues who decide such things, please try to persuade them to put Gatwick semi-fasts on parts of the station that are convenient for lifts, changing platforms, etc etc. I fear that someone may have a mind set that still thinks these are Southern Region trains that should use Southern Region platforms!

Even with the greater capacity, it is also clear that Reading remains a difficult interchange for large numbers of passengers when GWL closes east of Reading. Platforms 4-6 struggle with regular peaks during Royal Ascot and Welsh Rugby internationals at Twickenham, when special control arrangements are put in place. Presumably any use of the two connecting lines is stymied by capacity issues, train types not being cleared for use and the two different types of electricity supply.
12  All across the Great Western territory / Broadcast media about railways, and other means of transport / Re: The Ghan, Australia's Greatest Train Journey - BBC Four, 28th October 2018 on: October 28, 2018, 07:45:19 pm
Perhaps you will find yourself stuck on Channel 5's Paddington Station 24/7 for an extra three hours tomorrow (or will it be Reading Station 24/7)? Cheesy
13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: End of Automated Station Announcements? on: October 28, 2018, 07:40:23 pm
Having just had a good old moan about some problems at Reading on another thread, there was one particularly irritating use of them when the refurbished station first reopened. This was "letting off" two announcements on nearby platforms almost simultaneously, so neither could be heard.

There is one announcer though at Reading, who when he is on duty goes the extra mile in trying to give helpful information. It does not sound like he was on duty today, and (presumably) his ability to do so depends on Control providing the information. At Guildford we seem to get helpful real human voices more often when there are problems, although not always.

Grahame's point about who will pay for them is well made. It does not seem that there are enough staff to cascade information out from Control, let alone announce to passengers. Or is it a case that the industry does not have the time/initiative/motivation to spend looking at how they might look at the way they do things to see if they could bridge the information gap? 

 
14  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: October 28, 2018, 07:26:17 pm
Quote
They are wide in comparison to the old Platforms 4a and 4b (especially at the far ends), with a reduction of clutter on the platform, such as vending machinges, which is what I was getting at.  They also have a much larger waiting area at the concourse end - the Twitter photo shows that being used to good effect.  Much better.

As someone who uses these platforms almost daily during the week to commute, and have done so since 2001, I am not impressed. "Less clutter" means fewer seats -actually now benches - and an inadequate roof that's too high to provide shelter.

The former adequate platform signage was replaced by new smaller dot-matrix signs that are so far apart that even my quite good distance vision struggles to read when on much of the platform, compounded by the ones at the inner ends being half hidden behind a transverse beam, with the added problem that the curve on platform 5 means you cannot even see all the width of the half-hidden screen.

Yes, there is a little more room at the inner end of the platforms, but this doesn't seem to done much to alleviate the crush shown in the pictures of today's problems.

When the reconstruction was underway, a member of staff told me not to worry, once the project was complete Gatwick trains would depart from the main platforms, which bearing in mind that we the taxpayers kindly spent (I guess) 100,000s on reopening the underpass seemed credible. However, we end up with those the industry is (presumably) trying to encourage to use this service having to struggle all the way down the length of platform 7 with their luggage, and if they have the misfortune to have a platform 4 departure experiencing the problem referred to in my last post. Even if they have a platform 5 or 6 departure, until recently early evening departures were often on a Turbo parked behind another adding further to the distance the poor traveler had to haul their luggage.

Sadly, these are just some of the poorly thought out (from the passenger's point of view) ergonomic details that spoil the experience of using the new station, taking the edge off a project that was completed on time and within budget in a very challenging location. Perhaps there's a new thread looming here - Improving the Reading experience? - where issues such as the dreadful signage and inconvenient platform allocation and use, could be aired!

 

 
15  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: October 28, 2018, 04:52:30 pm
Quote
No surprises there!  Mind you, at least they now have 10 carriages in the main and wide platforms at Reading for passengers to circulate as best as possible.
{like}

The trains may have 10 coaches, but platforms 4 to 6 from which they depart are not wide. Platform 4 in particular is narrow, and doesn't cope well when a Gatwick service arrives to disgorge its luggage laden passengers into another crowd of luggage laden passengers waiting on it for the next outward bound service - these trains really ought to run from Platform 7 which is nice and spacious.
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants