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1  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Tram v train: definitions? on: January 16, 2020, 10:50:19 am
An interesting academic exercise in trying to define it I suppose!

However, the original tramways were to all intents and purposes railways, built to take such things as coal or stone to a transhipment point, usually for onward water-borne transport. These would not have been embedded in roads and certainly not tarmac ones, because tarmac had yet to be invented.
2  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Newhaven Marine. Closure consultation, January 2020. on: January 16, 2020, 10:45:58 am
I have spent a little time in that neck of the woods, when SWMBO's daughter was at University at Brighton 2005-2008, and I sometimes took my dogs for a walk along the coast between Newhaven and Seaford.

Back then, all there was in that part of Newhaven was port-related equipment, industrial units, and a large area pf waste ground/ public open space between the south eastern edge of development and Seaford.

A quick look at Google Maps this morning tells me that nothing much has changed. Whilst local people in the know would be in a far better position to judge, I see little opportunity for a thriving rail connection to the area, if for no other reason that it is all so close to Newhaven Town and Harbour stations. Someone with a wooden leg could walk it in a few minutes.
3  All across the Great Western territory / Who's who on Western railways / Re: Searching for the next Brunel on: January 15, 2020, 12:13:06 pm
From New Civil Engineer

Quote
The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched the First of a Kind 2020 competition, which includes a £9.4M fund for innovative ideas to develop the UK’s railway.
...
This competition is designed to find the next Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and help them create the technology that defines our railway in the future.”

Well, whoever they find, as long as they don't end up with a 2030s Atmospheric Railway in Devon, a bridge across a gorge that goes from nowhere in particular to nowhere in particular, and a gauge that is wider than everybody else is using, we might be all right...
4  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Waterloo Station - some quirks and odd facts on: January 14, 2020, 11:03:47 pm
Hmm - item 9 "The name has been a sticking point"

It is said that when Winston Churchill was plannning his own funeral arrangements, he insisted that his funeral train would leave London from Waterloo, despite the insistence of railway managers that, as the eventual destination was to be Blenheim Palace and Bladon churchyard, Paddington would make much more sense. Churchill was adamant that the train should leave from Waterloo.

When  pressed even harder he said:

"If De Gaulle dies before me, it can leave from whatever damn station you like. But if I die before De Gaulle, it leaves from Waterloo"

 Wink

5  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money on: January 14, 2020, 03:42:07 pm
I have posted in this forum, and also submitted the same opinion to the recent rail fares consultation, that the remedy for the pricing nonsense that gives genesis to split ticketing is base distance related fares (DRF) with variations only for whether Fast, SemiFast or Local services are selected where available, unavoidable 'back tracking', if travel during peak hours, defined both temporally & geographically, is involved and when season tickets are used.

On the back of responses to my original submission on this forum I now also accept DRF values should to some extent reflect regional cost of living variations.     

Could you expand on this a bit please. regading your definitions?

What would be a distance related fare, how would you define fast, semi fast and local, and how would you define regional cost of living variaions and indeed how they could be calculated given that this could be a moveable target as local economies go up and dowm in relation to each other?

I ask this because my initial thoughts suggest that you could end up with as many anomalies as we have at the moment (albeit perhaps different ones). But I would prefer to hold off posting my thoughts at the moment because I may have thought of things that would have already been taken into account.
6  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money on: January 14, 2020, 11:19:54 am
You may be right about the Didcot split becoming less attractive, especially with the new fast Bristols via Parkway. Nevertheless, BRI PAD anytime £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10, is almost a third off the full price. And the time saving on a "fast" via BPW compared to a "slow" via CPM is about 17 minutes. Waste 17 minutes and gain £87.10? I know what my decision would be Wink

 ...And I believe the 17 minute saving is on the journey time - you may wish to add to that the extra wait at Temple Meads for the "slow" - e.g. from 08:53 to 09:00 which puts the extra time up to 24 minutes.  Then double the figures because you have to stop at Didcot with the same extra time penalties on the way back.  So overall you have a potential fare saving (as priced in this example) of £87.10 for a time saving of up to about an hour in total.

When I read this I thought you might be spending too much time talking to creative accountants or politicians Grin

A journey time is a journey time is a journey time and starts when a train pulls out of a station and ends when it pulls into another station. Taking your logic one step further, someone going through the gateline at Temple Meads at xx:25 would have a choice of the xx:30 slow or the xx:53 fast. If they went on the xx:30 slow it would take 17 minutes longer to get to Paddington but the xx:53 fast is still 6 minutes away from the stop blocks, ergo the slow train is faster Grin

Quote from: grahame
With the Didcot split you are shifting from period returns to day returns - so of course this saving as calculated does not apply if you're going up in the Monday peak and back in the Friday peak.
I take the point that in those circumstances things are a little different, but I was thinking about the sort of punter, like I used to be when I was working - under 60 so no railcard and needing to go to occasional meetings in London.

When I was in that situation, if I couldn't claim expenses out of the client I would usually drive to Hayes & Harlington and catch a local in from there. One particular day doing that I walked into PAD within a few minutes of a Bristol train departing. So I did the calculation - if I was actually on that train it would get me into CPM at x, and a 10-minute walk home would get me there by y. So I timed my actual run - a semi-slow (if there is such a thing) calling at Ealing and Southall, then car home from Hayes. I pulled into the drive a mere 12 monutes later that I would have got there on the Bristol express.

And the moral of this story is - you can make numbers prove anything if you're creative enough with them... Wink
7  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money on: January 13, 2020, 11:45:54 pm
And in addition, on one of the Meet the Manager threads with Mark Hopwood just lately, him mentioning bouyant sales to Didcot, and someone tongue in cheek asking whether that was because people wanted to go to Didcot or if the bouyant sales were caused by split ticketing.

That was me, and it was a perfectly serious question, as I am sure that the figures for Didcot are considerably distorted.  Though ironically, with more fast trains, I suspect some business travellers who split tickets even when their company was paying because "it's the right thing to do", will decide not to if the time penalty of having to take a slower train, and a less frequent service too.

I'm waiting for the campaign that it is unfair that your train has to stop at the splitting station. Cue Daily Fail headline "Outrage as commuter* thrown off train/charged twice for his ticket (delete as appropriate) as rip-off rail company uses small print to stop cheaper fair loophole. "     

*  - all rail travellers are commuters to the press, even those travelling 3pm on a Sunday afternoon from St Erth to Severn Tunnel Junction.   

It was the exclamation mark that made me think it was tongue-in-cheek Grin

I wonder how much of the revenue attributed to Didcot is "real", and how much is due to splitting tickets. Just a thought!

You may be right about the Didcot split becoming less attractive, especially with the new fast Bristols via Parkway. Nevertheless, BRI PAD anytime £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10, is almost a third off the full price. And the time saving on a "fast" via BPW compared to a "slow" via CPM is about 17 minutes. Waste 17 minutes and gain £87.10? I know what my decision would be Wink

8  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money on: January 13, 2020, 03:23:01 pm
A further thought struck me after yesterday's epistle, especially over market pricing (eg day returns Oxford to Banbury and Banbury to Oxford being different even 60 years ago), and the highly worthwhile Didcot split. And in addition, on one of the Meet the Manager threads with Mark Hopwood just lately, him mentioning bouyant sales to Didcot, and someone tongue in cheek asking whether that was because people wanted to go to Didcot or if the bouyant sales were caused by split ticketing.

If split ticketing goes more mainstream and even more sales to and from Didcot take place, TOC's algorithms should pick this up (and if they haven't got any algorithms they are missing a trick..). This could easily result in the view being taken that more brass could be prised out of people's pockets going to a "popular" destination like Didcot and, for example, you may then find the price of the unregulated fares to and from that idyllic spot in the Oxfordshore countryside start to increase disproportionately.

Perhaps we should start a campaign for split ticketing to be reserved for the "well informed few..." Wink
9  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Faresaver - Wiltshire’s family bus company turns 40 on: January 12, 2020, 07:30:58 pm
Now, once again we have the contract to run the evening service on the X31 service.  The Sunday service is now commercial (i.e no subsidy) as of 05/01/2020, if the first day were anything to go by, we didn't cover the cost of wages let alone fuel, wear and tear and overheads, but lets hope this improves as spring approaches.

I happened to be outside Chippenham railway station this morning when the 1000 X31 Chippenham to Bath pulled up. As far as I could see there were no passengers on the bus on its arrival, although two got on. This, and your comment about last week's loadings, made me think.

Why might it be that Stagecoach are running what looks to be a quite well patronised 55 service at 30-minute intervals Between Chippenham and Swindon on a Sunday, whilst First and also Faresaver don't appear to be getting good loadings on the X31? They both run from Chippeham to a major local centre (one might argue that Bath is a bigger attraction than Swindon) and they are serving not-too-dissimilar population centres on the way - Calne/ Corsham, Lyneham/ Rudloe, Box, and Wootton Bassett/West Swindon vs Batheaston, although in both of those last cases there are also other local buses on the route.

I wonder whether frequency might be an issue. Being so used to what has been, to all intents and purposes, a paltry X31 service on Sundays. have people got out o the habit of even thinking of using it on Sundays? The service has now improved from 2-hourly to every 90 minutes, but even so that might not be considered regular interval by many potential passengers, and it would be very important for potential passegers to know the timetable virtually off by heart, because just missing a bus would lead to a very long wait for the next one.

How well has the new service been publicised?
10  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money on: January 12, 2020, 05:05:57 pm
Just out of interest, how/on what basis are fares currently calculated? What factors are taking into account?

(I fully appreciate that a comprehensive answer would probably dwarf the Iliad!)

Whilst I was busy rattling away on my keyboard I see that Graham has beaten me to it with part of the answer. But as I've been typing out War & Peace I'll post it anyway Grin

Being old enough to remember when a flat rate pence per mile system operated throughout the BR rail network, I recall that the original idea was described as Market Pricing ie. Charging what the market would bear. But even then before that was introduced (c.1964 IIRC) there were anomalies with discounted tickets, one of which was described in Gerry Fiennes’ books when he got a complaint about it. That was a day return from Oxford to Banbury costing 7s/6d whilst a day return in the opposite direction cost 7s/9d. Quite simply, more people in Banbury wanted daytrips to Oxford than people in Oxford wanted day trips to Banbury, so the railway charged more to the Oxford-bound day trippers.

Another initiative introduced in the 1960s was intended (once again IIRC) to stagger weekend holiday peaks by offering a mid-week return between any two stations in the UK, allowing outward travel TWThO in one week, and TWThO return travel the next week, at about two-thirds of the ordinary return fare. These tickets were withdrawn when it dawned on BR that people who went to the same location week in week out could buy another mid week return going the other way and get a third off their regular fare prices.

So it is and so it will always be. Whenever, for example, HMRC come up with a new rule to plug a tax loophole, some smart Alec somewhere will think of a workaround. Rail fares are no different in principle.

On reading some of the posts in this thread I get the impression that some poster might not, perhaps, have fully thought through what they are saying or suggesting. “If you buy more of something you expect it at a cheaper price” for example – try not changing your insurance company for 10 years and then see how much more you are paying than a new customer. And you will come across plenty of examples in supermarkets where a discounted item (say normally £1.50 reduced to £1.00) makes it cheaper to buy two of those than the larger box with twice as much product that is still selling for its RRP of £2.50.


I also read “The more 'mainstream' split ticketing becomes the more the RDG will look to close it down.” And how are they going to do that, pray tell? To take Graham’s example of an anytime BRI PAD costing £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10. Now, “they” could say that you have to leave the station and come back in again to get the second half of your split validated and, whilst that would certainly put an obstacle in the way of splitting, I doubt that I am alone in being quite happy to wait half an hour or so at DID for the next train. But how would it go down with each party? The TOC wouldn’t like it because it didn’t increase their revenue, the passenger wouldn’t like it because it pointlessly increased their journey times, and the only people that would be happy would be those who sell tea and coffee on DID station (akin to the Swindon refreshment break if old, perhaps...)

And when I think about it, there are many pitfalls in going back to the flat rate per mile too. There are 118 miles between Bristol and Paddington. It is also 118 miles from Llangammarch to Uttoxeter, or from Severn Tunnel Junction to Fratton, or from Southport to Poppleton. Are you sure the market would bear exactly the same price for all of them? I’m not...

And I'm also glad I'm not called Keith Williams... Wink
11  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - 2020 to 2045 / Re: Future government spending - defence not rail, road and hospital? on: January 10, 2020, 07:31:09 pm
HS2 was also, and inevitably, on the table, but the reason for saving money was so as to steer more of it to the new electoral targets - such as the NHS, and the "new Tory" areas in the north and Midlands where railways are certainly on their shopping lists.

Bearing in mind that the Midlands and North are quite keen on HS2, binning it now might not go down too well in the "new Tory" areas.
12  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Faresaver - Wiltshire’s family bus company turns 40 on: January 09, 2020, 05:54:01 pm
We now also have constant summaries at the office, so we can see if there is a bus or buses struggling to keep to schedule at a glance.

When my local bus is significantly late (by which I mean over about 8 minutes) as we have a regular driver I ask "Bad traffic or bad passengers?" I am usually told "bad traffic" or just get a knowing smile... Just for clarfication, before you read on. I can do that whilst the machine is reading my card and printing the ticket.

Traffic conditions will always delay buses, and to an extent can be timetabled for. What can't be factored in to timings so easily is to deal with, to take a recent example, an old fool who has rung the bell to get off, the bus stops, and then he jabbers away for a full minute (I timed it) to another couple on the bus whilst the driver is just stuck with it. He was delaying the bus, delaying the rest of the passengers' journeys, but no doubt if the driver had said anything to him then he would probably have made a complaint against the driver.

I see this sort of thing happening time and time again, and usually with the same culprits who, if I said anything would no doubt come back with a rejoinder about me being a miserable old git or the time honoured "but we were only two minutes..." And just to rub salt in it, two particular nutcases on my route who don't appear to be physically capable of getting on or off a bus without rabbiting about nothing at length to the driver, then have the nerve to compain that "Your bus is always late!"

I would be interested to know what guidance if any Faresaver (and indeed other bus companies) give to their drivers about this sort of thing.


PS - the 'erberts I describe above are probably most unlikely to be Coffee Shop members. However, if they are, I shall probably hear about it tomorrow morning. At some considerable length...
13  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Effective fare changes resulting from timetable changes in December on: January 09, 2020, 04:45:13 pm
This is by no means an isolated instance of huge fare rises following the withdrawal of certain "concessions" in recent weeks.

I found out last night, for example, that an off peak single PAD-CPM is now not valid for travel before 0916 (which means the 0933 train). These tickets were valid on the 0830 departure until 3 years ago when it was adjusted to the 0900. Now the coffee outlets in PAD will be getting my business for even longer...

But back to the OP's issue, there are of course various search engines out there that will find you the best splits. The companies operating them charge a fee for teir services, but it is possible (if unethical) to get the necessary informaion out of them and then buy the tickets yourself.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Looking forward 100 years in 1915, what predictions have come true? on: January 02, 2020, 08:12:08 pm
I imagine our skulls are much the same size as always, but we've put on a bit of fat around them, even if not to the same extent as elsewhere.

After I was pulled up over my rather dismissive final original paragraph I went away to think about it.

It is certainly trie that largely as a result of better nutrition the population teds to be rather larger these days, and even I can tell it. As a 1952 model at 5'9" I fet quite tall compared to older people when I was 40 years younger. I feel like something of a midget compared to many younger people today Grin

Logic would suggest that if the population has got larger in general, a similar situation could apply to bonce size. Indeed, up in my attic I have a top hat owned by a great grandfather who was a coachman - it never fitted me and the kids could only get their heads in it until they were about 8
15  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Looking forward 100 years in 1915, what predictions have come true? on: December 31, 2019, 09:24:42 pm

And to finish her year, Today's post picks up an article written 104 years ago, looking forward to what we might have expected in 2015.  Quoting here because in 1915 - as in 2015 - how we get around and indeed the dirt and pollution caused by current methods were very much to the fore:

Quote
The November 25, 1915 edition of Dalkeith Advertiser reported on an article printed in 'Harper's Magazine' written by Mr Alan Sullivan, when he reflected on what the world would be like in 100 years (2015). According to Sullivan, he "sees broad and spotless streets, to which the horse is a stranger, and whose smooth surface is unscarred by the universal pneumatic tyre. Synthetic rubber has arrived. The city traffic is entirely electrical, Trucks and motors speed swiftly, without odour or noise; they are charged with power at the great central station. The air is notably pure and stainless. Coal is not used as fuel; there are no ashes to haul away. Buildings are no longer over-decorated, Line, proportion, and form are the dominating factors. These structures are full of light and air, and heated electrically. It is now many years since a new heating element was discovered many times more efficient than its predecessor.

Quote
"According to Mr Sullivan, there will be portable wireless telephone instruments, and electric trains running at two hundred miles an hour on a single rail. The people them selves will have larger heads and feebler legs and arms. Life will be more colourless and scientific; emotion will be regarded as crude and prehistoric, and the laughter of children more rare.

On this final day of the decade, which of these projections do members feel have come fully true, which partially, and which have been way off the mark.  Which concerns for 1915 are the same as the concerns we have as we head forwards into 2020?


One of the advantages of making predictions 100 years into the future is that the predictor can guarantee not to be around to take the criticism when the date finally arrives Wink  We must also take into account that, as we have discussed on another thread just lately, the past is a foreign country where they do things differently.

All that said, he is fairly spot on with many of them, but we have to see them in the light of how a 1915 observer would see them:

..."broad and spotless streets, to which the horse is a stranger" in 1915 the streets woul have been covered by that stuff that falls out of the back of horses. Those days have generally gone so in his terms that prediction had come true. There were no plastic sweet wrappers, plastic cups and, to an extent, fag ends in his day (many smokers used pipes, and the butts of untipped cigarettes are completely biodegradable and will vanish after a spot ot two of rain

..."and whose smooth surface is unscarred by the universal pneumatic tyre. Synthetic rubber has arrived." True again by 1915 standards. Most vehicles with tyres used solid tyres, and they could make an absolute mess of road surfaces, especially when on heavy wagons.

..."The city traffic is entirely electrical, Trucks and motors speed swiftly, without odour or noise; they are charged with power at the great central station." Electricity was already being used on the strees for trams and he presumably envisaged an evolution of that technology, although the sentence is a little anbiguous because he doesn't say how it would be delivered. Is he thinking that battery technology will do it? If so we are getting there. If he saw all these vehicles running on the same principle as trams or trolleybuses then that, of course, didn't catch on.

In addition, of course, he didn't foresee the vast increases in personal travel by car that started shortly after the prediction was made, nor realistically could he.

..."The air is notably pure and stainless." In 1915 terms he is correct. To them, pollution was what they could see (or perhaps not see through), and what they could smell. Older readers may recall going past North Somerset Junction on a summer's evening and experiencing the honk of the bone yard/ glue factory that was thereabouts at the time . Things like that have gone, to be replaced by pollution we can's necessarily see.

..."Coal is not used as fuel; there are no ashes to haul away. Buildings are no longer over-decorated, Line, proportion, and form are the dominating factors. These structures are full of light and air, and heated electrically. " All by and large correct, although there are of course mixed views over modern architecture (as, in truth, there always have been)

..."there will be portable wireless telephone instruments" - yup

..."and electric trains running at two hundred miles an hour on a single rail." Well it could be done, and systems such as MAGLEV are in use in other parts of the world. But the problem with monorails is that the necessary train design means that each line has to be either totally self-contained, or expensive to engineer and operate with points and junctions.

...The people them selves will have larger heads and feebler legs and arms. Life will be more colourless and scientific; emotion will be regarded as crude and prehistoric, and the laughter of children more rare." - Well we've finally found the digo's kidneys - he should have stopped while he was ahead...

People's bonces are much the same size as they ever were, although the feebler arms and legs suggestion may be partially true as fewer people are involved in strenuous physical work, and people walk nowehere near as much as they did back then. The emotions prediction has turned out to be pure nonsense.

And the laughter of children is now rare? Well he might just have a point - they spend most of their time with their noses in their phones and Ipads or whatever, their parents won't let the little darlings out to play either because the Mail and the Express have convinced them there's a paedopile around every corner...

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