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376  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Why are First Enviro 400s freezers on wheels ? on: February 10, 2019, 06:54:09 pm
I think this situation is all over with running times (except probably that big london). Bus management feed off each other with regards to money saving ideas. Reading Buses used to be different, used to still have corporation values well into the early 2000's. But when the bus branding idea came along all that changed, the multi route run cards all disappeared and if a route could just about be done in 50 minutes, it would be. The bus industry really needs to change it's approach.
377  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Buses - dirty-feeling engines ticking over. on: February 10, 2019, 06:46:20 pm
The manual override on the particular buses concerned can only occur after it's turned itself off by placing your foot back on the throttle and after a couple of seconds the motor will kick back in, this would provide a quicker getaway after the doors had closed and, more importantly, the heating would come back on! The Wrightbus StreetDeck are the vehicles in question and I couldn't tell you if the stop/start feature was aftermarket or not.
378  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Why are First Enviro 400s freezers on wheels ? on: February 09, 2019, 07:10:42 pm
The 400MMC buses Reading have need to have the ignition switched on about two minutes before the engine has started to reset all the electronics, including the heating. A common problem was taking over one of these vehicles where the heating wasn't working because the previous driver hadn't reset the bus bus first thing in the morning. This would then require delay where you had to switch everything off including the master switch and then switch it all back on allowing time for the electronics to reset. This could cause about 4/5 minutes delay which, with the tight running times R.B have, could mean running late for the rest of your shift. Cold bus on time or warm bus late was the choice. It's worth noting that this reset always worked.
379  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Buses - dirty-feeling engines ticking over. on: February 09, 2019, 01:48:05 pm
Having recently driven brand new diesel buses with stop/start fitted for Reading Buses, I can confirm that the driver has no ability to override the feature. The stop/start would only occur with the doors open and doesn't work at the times when you want it to, a minute or two wait at a timing point for example. When it did occur it had the effect of unsettling the passengers who would come to the front to ask how long you would be waiting. You can of course still shut the engine of yourself while waiting, but the older the vehicle the less chance it may start again which may explain drivers leaving vehicles running. Reading buses also had hybrid buses as described above which didn't cut out with the exception of one vehicle, ex demonstrator 232. This vehicle, when working properly, was possibly the best bus the company had, certainly from a driving point of view. The engine would cut out often at almost every stop, sometimes before you had even come to a standstill. You could turn around at a terminus without the engine cutting in at all with careful throttle control. This was the closest thing to driving a modern trolleybus and the silence and ride quality was far superior to any diesel bus with a gearbox. It's a shame that replacing the batteries in the hybrids are so expensive.
380  Journey by Journey / London to Didcot, Oxford and Banbury / Re: Oxford Station - improvements, incidents and events (merged topic) on: January 08, 2019, 10:06:20 pm
Yes. The Vastern Road bridge has a large sump underneath for floodwater to collect in heavy rainfall as it's below the water table (also below the river level) the water is then pumped away. The service entrance to the pumps can be seen in the middle of the roundabout to the south of the bridge. Last year at some point the pumps failed and the road way was completely impassable in both directions, so it is definitely needed. The Botley Road already appears to be below the river level as it runs under the railway now and the Osney area between the city centre and Botley is clearly marshland as the Thames runs across this land in several courses. I always thought to myself that digging down any further here would be taking it to extremes. Not so much what happens when water courses burst banks but drainage of water on marshy land.
381  Journey by Journey / London to Didcot, Oxford and Banbury / Re: Oxford Station - improvements, incidents and events (merged topic) on: January 07, 2019, 08:09:30 pm
If the road here is to be dug down further do you think it would require a sump for water collection similar to the Vastern Road bridge at Reading?
382  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: London to Reading, London to Heathrow, service patterns under Crossrail on: October 20, 2018, 05:35:47 pm
Thanks for responding. I guess nobody quite knows what happens if trains coming off the mainline into the tunnel are delayed for whatever reason on the relief lines, do they lose their place in the tunnel order? Is the turnaround of service versatile enough to correct this when it reaches a terminus? Is there only one platform available in each direction underground at London Paddington? If there is only one I can envisage trains finishing in the traditional platforms in the terminus. I don't think it's going to work and I think in a couple of years time we will see half of the Crossrail trains coming out of the tunnel heading up the line to Wycombe via South Ruislip.
383  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: London to Reading, London to Heathrow, service patterns under Crossrail on: October 19, 2018, 07:54:10 pm
After reading this forum with interest for a couple of years I thought I would join. I'm certainly not as knowledgeable as many people on here, but since the project began I have struggled to see the point of Crossrail running to Reading or even Maidenhead. Since the branch off the Western mainline to Heathrow was built I have viewed this as the natural terminus for the project. Four trains an hour off peak along the relief lines to and from London Paddington running their same service pattern as now and interchanging with the six, eight, ten or whatever it happens to be between the Heathrow branch towards the tunnel, seems more than adequate especially as they are now eight carriage electric trains. The GWR (Great Western Railway) trains stopping for interchange at Ealing Broadway only after West Drayton, provided the station was remodeled to accommodate better interchange, appears adequate to me even if I was heading back down the line to Hayes as the frequency is so high. But then again I am not familiar with how many people do a journey from West Drayton to Hayes for example. There was always going to be more trains in the tunnel section so anybody joining a train west of Hayes would stay on till the terminus and swap to Crossrail there at busy times I would assume, and then do the reverse to go back as they would be joining an empty train from London Paddington. I have seen how busy Ealing Broadway can get heading towards Reading (General) in the afternoon/evening and Crossrail calling at all stations till Hayes and GWR doing beyond would split the crowd here onto different trains, again I'm unsure of figures and journey patterns. The excitement shown of Crossrail coming as far as Reading by some parties confuses me as I'm convinced any people heading for London in the morning (many who got off other trains at Reading) will still be on the fast trains and change to Crossrail, if it is of any advantage to them, at London Paddington. Plenty of people I have spoken to about Crossrail were under the impression it was a brand new tube line all the way to Reading and were surprised when I point out that the trains already exist they currently just finish at London Paddinton. It has been sold by property companies and estate agents as a faster service to London and some adverts suggest that it's going to be the reason why you should move to one of the many daft luxury flats being built around the town (rather than just live and work there instead). Clearly all these new flat dwellers will be filing onto the GWR fast trains in the morning and evening rather than Crossrail. Also I have no idea how the Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) card is going to work when the journey off peak is 20 quid return. Will people still buy national rail type season tickets? What's to stop me using Oyster to gain access to my station and get on a GWR fast train to London instead of a Tfl train? How will Oyster work for those travellers from the Thames branches? Will anybody heading west from an Oyster covered station have to leave the station at Reading to fetch a different ticket? I still don't see the advantages. It seems to me that people in the Thames Valley are happy with the trains they have at the moment finishing at London Paddington if punctuality was better and more train capacity was available for the relief line stations. Tfl running the service in an area beyond their zone 6 makes an assumption that everybody is just going to London and not doing any other journey.
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