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[108] Shortage of train crews on Great Western Railway since Septemb...
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1  All across the Great Western territory / Broadcast media about railways, and other means of transport / Re: The other 'ferry' across the Severn Estuary. on: Yesterday at 12:44:32 am
See my Flickr upload on the subject:
2  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2019 - TransWilts cancellation and amendments log on: August 23, 2019, 08:37:03 pm
Quote from: grahame
.. and having been called "Jesus" and "Gerry Adams" to my face, and goodness knows what behind my back I was amused personally too.   

Drifting off topic I see we have similar histories  Grin

I gave up wearing a beard in the early 80s because I looked too much like Gerry Adams, and whilst at Bath Road in the early 70s somebody gave me the nickname of "John the Baptist"
3  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2019 - TransWilts cancellation and amendments log on: August 23, 2019, 08:08:20 pm
I see they've deigned to run the service today then...

As was said yesterday, the wider public are picking up on this shambles. I have been trying to organise a lunchtime drink in Chippenham with my ex-boss who lives in Trowbridge (we are both retired now). When we were organising it is was his idea to come up to Chippenham by train to avoid the hazards of drink driving.

He has picked up on the cancellations and is currently wary of confirming a date because of them, and he's never used the line before.

If this were still the 1960s we would be hearing the grumble:"they're running the line down with the intention of closing it." I would like to be a lot more certain that that isn't actually what's going on...
4  Journey by Journey / To Oxford, Didcot and Reading from West / Re: Is the service between Oxford and Swindon really practical? on: August 22, 2019, 09:55:53 pm
A few questions:

1. What spare capacity is there between Swindon and Didcot, bearing in mind that part of it is already quadruple tracked through the existence of loops? I don't know if they are currently available for passenger train use but making them so would surely not be an insurmountable problem?

2. I see this as a potential new service rather than an extension of an existing one. Surely there are enough trains already serving Didcot from both Oxford and Swindon so any new service could go direct via the west curve?

3. How likely is extending quadrupling going to be given that the knitting has only recently gone up and any additional tracks would require repositioning all the support masts?

If I were a cynic I might say that the introduction of a direct Oxford to Swindon shuttle might give GWR something else to cancel due to its apparent inability to employ enough staff, and thereby take some pressure off the Transwilts line...

5  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales on: August 22, 2019, 07:55:35 pm
Quote from: grahame
I've been looking too, Robin ... Severn Rail Bridge absent, so map dated after 25.10.1960; Ruthin shown as having purely the stub service, so before 4.4.1962.   In spite of label saying circa 1959.  Agrees with how Melton Contable is shown - as a branch from Sheringham, 1959 to 1964.

It's not that simple Graham - in fact the map is quite a bit of a mess!

As you say, the Severn Bridge was redesigned in October 1960, but initially it was planned to repair it. The link below takes you to a scan of he timetables for 1959 and 1964, the latter one still advertising the line as temporarily closed.

You will also notice that the section between Berkeley Road and Sharpness remained open until final closure in 1964 so, if the absence of the Severn Bridge is taken as proof that the map was produced post-October 1960, it still doesn't explain the Berkeley Road to Sharpness omission. And especially when, not too far away:-

Coaley Junction to Dursley showing on the map, closed in September 1962
Ross on Wye Monmouth Chepstow - not showing on the map, closed in 1959
Chippenham to Calne not showing on the map, closed in 1965
MSWJ Cheltenham to Andover showing on the map, closed in October 1961

There are plenty of other examples that simply do not make chronological sense.

6  Journey by Journey / To Oxford, Didcot and Reading from West / Re: Is the service between Oxford and Swindon really practical? on: August 22, 2019, 07:30:42 pm
I agree with Graham that there are likely to be many more than 10 passengers an hour wanting to make this journey off peak by rail. Apart from all the other users, there are certainly many tourists who travel from Bath to Oxford and would use a direct train.

To state the bleedin' obvious, passengers will not use a service that isn't there.

Perhaps Graham could let us know how many passengers used Melksham station when there were only two trains per day in each direction, and how many are using it now (when there are supposed to be more than two trains a day in each direction...)
7  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales on: August 22, 2019, 04:59:58 pm
Odd, there's a few omission on that map [edit - ie the Flickr map], eg Coventry - Kenilworth, Oxford - Abingdon, Cholsey - Wallingford.

Speculation Alert: Because those lines closed prior to, or were proposed to be closed, to passenger services before the map production date?...........

If you look at the comments below the map you will see that we explored the apparent idiosyncrasies in some detail. Your suggestion of outstanding closure proposals might be a possibility, but I think I'd put it down to less than precise cartography!

However, in respect of lines in Wales (which is the reason I highlighted it on this thread) the map appears by and large correct. That said, some of the lines that are shown as main lines (eg Carmarthen to Aberystwyth, the Central Wales and Neath and Brecon to Hereford) might be stretching that description a little
8  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales on: August 22, 2019, 11:32:10 am
Probability of being able to rearrange table Fourty Two is infinite?..

But I think you'd need a really really hot cup of tea to do that...

But leaving the Douglas Adams puns to one side for a moment, the facts of the matter are that the railways that were built in Wales were primarily interested in getting to and from England or the Welsh ports rather than going north to south.

I came across this railway map on Flickr some time ago, dating from c.1959 so pre-Beeching. Youthful reporters writing newspaper articles might do well to study it. It's better to look at it of Flickr rather than reproduce an image here because over there you can click on it to zoom in:
9  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales on: August 21, 2019, 10:13:39 pm
Quote from: Merthyr Imp
So what would have been the most direct route from Cardiff to Holyhead prior to the 'reduction to a skeleton'?

Possibly via Merthyr Tydfil then the Mid-Wales line to Moat Lane Junction. Change there for the  Cambrian Coast route to Afon Wen, then to Bangor and Holyhead?

May be more direct on the map but I suspect it would take more than 5 hours. At least nowadays no changes are necessary.

Likewise, Cardiff-Carmarthen-Aberystwyth-Dovey Junction-Afon Wen- Bangor and Holyhead would have taken very much longer than 5 hours.

For some reason when I saw the title of this thread I thought "Hitch-hikers Guide to the Wales. Mostly harmless." I am sure there are some on here old enough to know why... Wink
10  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion on: August 21, 2019, 10:03:33 pm
Quote from: bignosemac
Not just binning HS2 for votes I suspect. I wouldn't be surprised to see alternative rail spending projects announced for marginal constituencies.

So electrification for Chippenham and Bath then...  Wink
11  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Litter on a train on: August 20, 2019, 04:58:33 pm
If I may be allowed a mini rant here…

Whilst there may be a problem with litter on trains, this woman seems to be concentrating on the symptom and not the cause, which is the amount of packaging that is created these days. Some might think needless packaging in many instances.

In the olden days when trains had buffet or restaurant cars, if you wanted tea or coffee it came in a cup. With a saucer and a spoon, and milk and sugar came in bowls and small jugs. And when you’d finished with them somebody came along and cleared up, washed the items in question and dished them out again to the next customer.

If you bought your own food, say you bought a sandwich from the station buffet or a pie from the greasy spoon outside, it came in a paper bag. Not a cardboard box with a bit of single use plastic on the front to let you see what you were buying, or a single use cellophane wrapper.

If you brought your own cold drinks then, unless you made them up at home before you left, they would come in a glass bottle that you got 3d back on when you took it back to the retailer, rather than a single use plastic bottle that cannot always be recycled.

Whilst on a Virgin Pendolino a few weeks ago I was sitting at the table right next to the onboard shop. When I decided to have a cup of tea I got:

•   A plastic cup
•   A plastic cover for the plastic cup
•   A teabag upon which the hot water had been poured
•   Individually wrapped “spoonfuls” of sugar
•   A mini plastic carton of milk
•   A wooden pole to stir the tea with

And the worst thing about it is I’m paying for this lot. Little wonder than that you can buy a box of 240 tea bags in Tesco for much the same price as you pay for a single cup of “railway tea.”

As I said, I was sitting at the table right next to the shop. When the sales assistant attempted to put all that lot into a paper bag, I stopped her and said “I don’t need a bag. I’m carrying it less than 10 feet,” she insisted I have it in a bag “because Health & Safety, innit?”

If we could make some attempt to sort out this stupidity (IMHO of course) we might go some way to sorting out the rubbish on trains issue.
12  Journey by Journey / London to Swindon and Bristol / Re: Bristol Taxi drivers cancel strike on: August 20, 2019, 02:09:25 pm
Being strictly neutral (so thereby probably annoying everybody...) I do not recall ever getting into a taxi to find the driver ask me where I've come from, or indeed telling the driver unprompted where I've come from.
13  Journey by Journey / Portsmouth to Cardiff / Re: Westbury - a transport hub - up and coming things to be aware of on: August 20, 2019, 02:06:28 pm
Quote from: grahame

Ashton Park is a proposal for an additional station between Trowbridge and Westbury, where the town of Trowbridge is growing so rapidly on what were green fields that it may in future consider itself a wannabe city.

If it ever comes to pass I would strongly suggest finding another name.

Otherwise on Saturday afternoons the place might be full of disappointed away-team-supporting football fans when Bristol City are playing at home...
14  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2019 - TransWilts cancellation and amendments log on: August 20, 2019, 10:08:32 am
Journey Check tonight at 20.45. Can one presume this will continue all week?

Tue, 20 August 15:00 Frome to Warminster due 15:21
Tue, 20 August 16:21 Westbury to Swindon due 17:03
Tue, 20 August 17:36 Swindon to Westbury due 18:18
Tue, 20 August 18:32 Westbury to Swindon due 19:21
Tue, 20 August 19:49 Bristol Temple Meads to Frome due 20:49
Tue, 20 August 20:08 Swindon to Westbury due 20:49

I was only idly musing this morning - would questions be asked in Parliament if GWR pulled the same stunt day after day on the Slough or Henley branches?
15  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2019 - TransWilts cancellation and amendments log on: August 19, 2019, 07:15:40 pm
So let me get this straight...

Sunday 18th August - 13 trains booked to call at Melksham, 12 cancelled and one ran.

Monday 19th August - they've got no crew for the afternoon trains so nothing stops at Melksham (7 cancellations) between 1314 and 1915 (the Cheltenham to Southampton is on its way as I type). Then presumably nothing for the rest of the day.

How long do GWR think they can get away with this fiasco of a service before passengers start to vote with their feet?
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