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- Rail strike is cancelled - at the cost of paid sick leave
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 30/03/23 - Railfuture Annual, Leeds

No 'On This Day' events reported for 3rd Dec

Train RunningCancelled
12:01 Severn Beach to Bristol Temple Meads
12:33 Exeter Central to Okehampton
12:48 London Paddington to Swansea
13:35 Maidenhead to Marlow
Short Run
13:26 Okehampton to Exeter Central
14:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour
18:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central
19:29 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour
20:29 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour
04/12/22 00:01 Wokingham to Gatwick Airport
04/12/22 06:11 Gatwick Airport to Guildford
10:22 Swansea to London Paddington
11:10 Weymouth to Gloucester
11:30 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington
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1  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Missing Easement on: November 30, 2022, 10:33:45 pm
So yet again between Christmas and New Year, the South Wales trains are diverted between Swindon and Newport, not stopping at Bristol Parkway, but stopping additionally at Patchway. Simple enough, short delay, never mind.

But yet again the way they've done this has made all the fares between Melksham and stations in South Wales disappear. Shock horror, the diverted train will pass through Chippenham and the journey planner sees this as a DOUBLE BACK. Never mind that all but the last train of the night don't actually stop at Chippenham.

Whose neck does one have to wring to get the people who encode journey planners to realise that when they're using this particular diversion, there needs to be an easement that journeys between Melksham and destinations via Newport (South Wales) may double back between Chippenham and Swindon?
2  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Weekend First Upgrades on: November 30, 2022, 10:13:58 pm
I think this zonal map is now out of date:

I’ve just looked up:
Paddington to Reading £10
Paddington to Didcot £15

The above map showing both stations in the same zone.

Hardly worth it for Paddington-Reading is it?
Not the only journey segment where Weekend First is atrocious value. I think it's true to categorically state that for all journeys wholly within Wales, just buying a normal First Class ticket is far better value than Weekend First.
3  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Can / do your rely on the train these days? on: November 24, 2022, 08:16:41 pm
I've recently started a new role that sees me going into Cardiff far more regularly than I have been in the past 2½ years. My experience so far is that I can depend on GWR (Great Western Railway) – worst case scenario is the train home is late and I just sit in the lounge at Central enjoying the complimentary tea and ginger biscuits. And I can always work from home on the strike days anyway. The problem is the Central to Cathays leg where TfW come up with creative ways of making me late for work. These have included flooding on the Aberdare branch, with TfW's imagination extending only to turning trains at Central, rather than Radyr or Pontypridd, then amending the short-term plan so their cancellations don't show up on Delay Repay; everything running an entire 15-minute interval behind, and rather than just relabelling the trains deciding that running non-stop from Central to Pontypridd makes sense; general late running caused by trying to squeeze Barry-Cardiff loads into a two-car 150 (TfW are really bad at rolling-stock allocation – they are roughly 30 years out of date in where they think the ridership is); and today's classic of blocking platform 6 with a 769 on the Rhymney Valley Line with dodgy door indication, followed by the gateline (if two counts as a line) at Cathays jamming on my ticket and my having to use the help-point to get someone to come over from the ticket office the other side of the terrifyingly steep footbridge (Cathays is a shockingly underspecified station for how busy it is). When it gets light enough that Bute Park isn't locked, I'll probably start walking up from Central – TfW's "Metro" is so lacking in metro-like characteristics that in pleasant weather it's more trouble than it's worth.
4  Journey by Journey / Cross Country services / Re: Bristol - Manchester services on: August 31, 2022, 04:25:44 pm
What routes are technically permitted between Bristol and Manchester? Looking at the timetable, this ought to work as a way of avoiding changing at Birmingham New Street, taking less than 15 minutes longer:

1035 Bristol Temple Meads
1318 Sheffield

1343 Sheffield
1437 Manchester Piccadilly
5  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Eurostar - snapshot of current services on: August 31, 2022, 04:12:53 pm
Such are the perils of a fully private operation and the complications of Brexit.
So fully private that Eurostar is 55% owned by the French state railway, 30% by the Quebec civil service pension scheme, 5% by the Belgian state railway, and only 10% by an American asset management fund. Sounds 90% foreign public sector to me. Not really sure why we're continuing to allow their trains between Ashford International and London St Pancras really – proposing suspending their trackage rights would certainly be an interesting version of playing hard ball with intransigent Gallic bureaucrats to make them pay for their railway company's obligations. If they only want to pay for one border station, then fine, their trains can terminate at Ashford and stop disrupting what should be a regular clockface timetable on the South Eastern.
6  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2022 - TransWilts cancellations and amendments log on: August 22, 2022, 02:15:58 pm
I actually looked at taking the 1426 today. I didn't, not because it was cancelled, but because it sits around at Westbury pointlessly, ....

Hmmm ... it  arrives at 14:41 and leaves at 14:52, providing a connection off the 14:46 arrival from Exeter.    Well - in theory at least as the train from Exeter didn't arrive until 45 seconds after the Swindon train had left from the adjacent platform.

This is actually another instance of the previous train being much, much better: it comes from Weymouth, and therefore already serves Castle Cary and Bruton. This allows the Taunton/Exeter connection to happen at Castle Cary, which is a bit easier to stop fast trains at than Westbury. It's a shame that this train is an oddball in being a Trans-Wilts with a Castle Cary call, as it's useful to have that extra option.

With nice juicy junctions at both ends,  it's a compromise and the choice is made to wait until the train from Exeter is in sight; from Swindon, the main onward connection is to London.  The South Wales connections especially are a bit random, and routings from the TransWilts tend to be via Bath Spa - "via Swidon" isn't even a valid route from Melksham to Bristol Parkway, even though it's very much faster than going via Bath Spa.

This is fundamentally an issue of the Routeing Guide being a mess. Bristol Group is a bit of a nonsense as a routeing point and should be replaced by having Temple Meads and Parkway as separate routeing points. Fixing the Routeing Guide like this ought to be easier than explaining to passengers that Bristol Parkway is pronounced "Severn Tunnel Junction".

And even though the main connection in volume is London Paddington, those trains are so frequent that that connection scarcely needs planning – there are relatively few long gaps in eastbound onward service at Swindon. The ones heading west and north-west are much more sensitive to small timing adjustments.

Routeings via Bath Spa are unattractive for a couple of reasons. As well as being very slow, it's also very crowded, and the trains that continue to Cardiff don't have First Class. The combination of a train calling at Bristol Temple Meads and being Standard Class only is not one I'm personally comfortable with travelling on if I can possibly avoid it. At least if my destination is Temple Meads itself, I can wait for Cross Country at Bristol Parkway.

... only to miss the Swansea and Cheltenham connections at Swindon by minutes – whoever does the timetable should change this to have it do a sensible two-minute stop at Westbury instead and get to Swindon at a useful time. The train two hours later is just as bad. ...

A perpetual nightmare for timetabling and one we have had great fun "playing" with over the years.   Basically, Swindon and Westbury aren't synchronised so it's going to be random at one end or the other.

Definitely something I'll have a play with to at least understand the issues better. I certainly noticed with the timetable on my outward journey that there were intervals with very poor connections at both Swindon and Westbury – in particular, the 1514 from Swindon on a weekday gets to Westbury when there's a gap of over an hour and a half in onward services – it would be much more use from a Westbury-focussed perspective for that train to run half an hour earlier. The previous train at 1315 isn't good when it gets to Westbury either, but there's not a lot that could be done to improve that one. It looks like the rot begins to set in with the 1147 arrival at Westbury waiting for not one, but two connections from Salisbury and Warminster before heading back to Swindon, making the rest of the day run 20 minutes later at a stroke. But then again it predictably looks like the freight paths around that time are at particularly unhelpful times.
7  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2022 - TransWilts cancellations and amendments log on: August 21, 2022, 08:07:10 pm
14:26 Frome to Swindon due 15:34

14:26 Frome to Swindon due 15:34 will be cancelled.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.

15:44 Swindon to Frome due 16:38

15:44 Swindon to Frome due 16:38 will be cancelled.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.
I actually looked at taking the 1426 today. I didn't, not because it was cancelled, but because it sits around at Westbury pointlessly, only to miss the Swansea and Cheltenham connections at Swindon by minutes – whoever does the timetable should change this to have it do a sensible two-minute stop at Westbury instead and get to Swindon at a useful time. The train two hours later is just as bad. Hence ending up on the 1233, despite my prejudice against lunchtime trains with no catering (I went to Marks and Spencer's in Frome, only to then be unimpressed with a rubbish suburban unit with no tables, not even the fold-down ones on seat backs – if there aren't enough 158s, can't GWR (Great Western Railway) at least get some 156s? Or a Class 37 and Mark II stock?).
8  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: two pound maximum fare for the U.K.? on: August 16, 2022, 08:40:02 pm
And of course this is not the UK (United Kingdom), only England. Nice idea though.
9  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Our (members) train use is down - poll as to why on: August 16, 2022, 08:29:12 pm
But there are certain journeys that I would have made occasionally, that I've made zero times since 2020 took off. This is a mix of services not being quite back to their previous level (e.g. I've said elsewhere that if I wanted to do a full-day return on the Heart of Wales Line, I no longer can), and wariness over the railway's inability to provide the advertised level of service.
And then added to the infrequent trains are the barmy Two Together Railcard restrictions. The YP one has a £12 minimum fare before 0930 on weekdays; so obviously Two Together has a £24 minimum fare... No, it has a blanket ban, which is really unhelpful for connecting onto the 1105 Trans-Wilts from Swindon from anywhere west of Newport. Even the Network Railcard has an enormous list of easements. GWR (Great Western Railway) would probably make a pile more money out of me for one if they put in place a blanket easement to remove the Two Together time restrictions for journeys over £12 each that don't cross into the South East Government Office Region – that would make up for trying to connect onto very infrequent trains.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Brizzle Arenal....where to mi babber ? on: August 13, 2022, 10:07:33 am
I haven't checked the other places but the idea that Liverpool would have a marginal Conservative MP (Member of Parliament) was surprising to me. In fact:
There are five MPs in Liverpool.

Garston and Halewood Constituency - Maria Eagle MP, Labour Party - Unit House, Speke Boulevard, Liverpool, L24 9HZ. Tel: 0151 448 1167.
Riverside Constituency - Kim Johnson, Labour Party. Tel: 0151 709 4120 -
Walton Constituency - Dan Carden, Labour Party - 66 Priory Road, Anfield, Liverpool, L4 2RZ. Tel: 0151 284 1160 -
Wavertree Constituency - Paula Barker, Labour Party. Tel: 0151 724 5767 -
West Derby Constituency - Ian Byrne, Labour Party. Tel: 0151 222 2345 -

Good point. There are 7 Glasgow MPs, all SNP. Sheffield remains red wall, having had all 5 MPs Labour since Nick Clegg's defenestration. It's 8 labour and one token Tory for Birmingham, 100% Labour for Newcastle and Leeds. Add to the fact that the government has absolutely no role in this particular beauty contest, and it looks as though support from  marginal Conservative MP is about the same as the number of trains running to Portishead tomorrow.
Birmingham's like Bristol in that most of the places that are not Birmingham lean Conservative. They currently have Sutton Coldfield, both Solihull seats, two out of three in each of Walsall and Wolverhampton, and six out of seven in Sandwell and Dudley. It's an interesting bit of geographical structuring that core cities and their neighbours seem to be becoming increasingly polarised in their voting patterns.

In  a way, this still makes Liverpool weird: of all the not-Liverpool constituencies in Merseyside, only Southport voted Conservative last time. No blue halo there.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Strike ... again on: August 13, 2022, 09:52:15 am
Also, if we had a network more aligned to travel needs, Bristol - Oxford's through trains would have been retained and developed (and possibly further via East West Rail). Oh, and Oxford would have through trains to Leicester and Nottingham via Coventry, tho I can't work out what would have had to be done to Nuneaton to enable those.

Or maybe Oxford - Banbury - Rugby Central - Lutterworth - (new curve from the GCR» (Gloucester - next trains) to the MR (Midland Railway) near Countesthorpe) - Leicester London Road
12  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Day after strike - is advice really still "only travel if essential" on: August 08, 2022, 08:33:47 pm
I'm wondering quite how likely I am to get a hefty wodge in Delay Repay...

On a Sunday the day after a strike day:

1233 Frome
1329 Swindon

1336 Swindon
1522 Neath

Tickets split at Melksham (because the Routeing Guide and Fares Table can't cope with offering a First Class fare from anywhere in South Wales to Frome, Westbury, or Trowbridge, despite the Standard Class fares matching those to Swindon and Melksham) and Newport (because of Two Together Railcard restrictions the other way – it's a bit rubbish that it's a flat no on those empty trains before 0930 on a weekday, rather than the YP you must spend £12 or whatever it is these days).

Anyway, I'm basically considering this a wager with GWR (Great Western Railway). It's mad that they even think they can get me home in 2h49. I'll be cheering them on if they win, although I expect to collect on this one.
13  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Rogue Ticket Gates on: August 08, 2022, 08:18:34 pm
I'm pretty sure the gates Deutsche Bahn Arriva installed at Cardiff Queen Street are particularly susceptible to wiping tickets. I've often wondered what outfit they got to manufacture those ones, as they seem peculiarly unreliable, and significantly worse than the barriers they replaced.
14  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: SWR services evening of 1/1/22 on: August 03, 2022, 09:22:37 am
Surprising, given the amount of redundancy in SWR» (South Western Railway - about)'s network that they seem to have sent nothing at all that night right at Clapham Junction, then left at Virginia Water to pick the Main Line back up at Byfleet.
15  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: no “safest spot” for passengers to ­minimise risk of Covid on: August 03, 2022, 09:19:43 am
I'm rather of the view that the safest spot is in First Class. Fewer people surely means less risk.
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