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February 24, 2018, 07:50:04 AM *
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1  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Peculiar Dream / Nightmare on: Yesterday at 11:31:22 PM
I've had a dream in which I was driving a "heritage" DMU on a line resembling a rollercoaster gradient profile.

Wirksworth to Ravenstor, Waterfall to Hebron, Cass to Whittaker, or am I reading too much reality into this? What is the steepest heritage line?
2  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Letting of the next franchise for trains in Wales on: Yesterday at 06:25:10 PM
ATW have today announced that they are withdrawing from the bidding for the 2018 franchise.

And now from The Railway Gazette

Quote
Abellio pulls out of Wales & Borders bidding
3  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The West - but NOT the West's trains / Re: Last KFC shuts in Cornwall as chicken crisis worsens on: Yesterday at 05:38:22 PM
Meanwhile, news sites are reporting that staff are being encouraged to take holiday. That's a bit unfair. Losing a day, or days, holiday because KFC's new delivery partner (one with little experience in chilled/frozen food distribution) has messed up spectacularly.

DHL should be publicly apologising to the Colonel's customers.

Perhaps fake news ... The BBC reports

Quote
In the ad, KFC said: "A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It's not ideal.
"Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who travelled out their way to find we were closed."

It also thanked its staff and franchise partners for "working tirelessly to improve the situation".
4  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The West - but NOT the West's trains / Re: RIP Little Chef on: Yesterday at 04:15:48 PM
Leaves you hungry to buy a desert.

Kalahari? Sahara?  Tongue

Hang on ...  I dropped something

Ah yes - here it is

s
5  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: BoJ on Direct Route on: Yesterday at 04:12:20 PM
Next, is the station you wish to BoJ at on a permitted route between origin and destination? In the example asked, London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh is a permitted route, so yes, you can BoJ there.

I think there are a couple of exceptions??

a) Break of journey not allowed at an intermediate underground station if your ticket include cross London?  Or rather you can break, but have to resume at National Rail kick off point

b) Direct trains always a permitted route - but I don't think Break of Journey allowed if the direct train takes a route that would not otherwise be permitted.   I'm thinking of Fife Circle trains - Edinburgh to Dunfermline probably would not allow break of journey at Kircaldy. 

6  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The West - but NOT the West's trains / Re: RIP Little Chef on: Yesterday at 04:03:16 PM
Most locations continue to trade, but all Little Chef branding and trademarks have disappeared. So, this morning, instead of an Olympic Breakfast™, I had a generic big breakfast. Identical in all but name.

RIP Little Chef. Born 13th October 1958. Died 31st January 2018.

Ah - memories of my youth.  

But, alas, standards had dropped and my final two memories are of a truly dated - OUTdated - offering in Cambridgeshire, and a breakfast that was far from what it should have been somewhere else (which will remain nameless).  I rarely - VERY rarely - complain in a restaurant, but I did complain at my breakfast which was shown on the menu with two halves of tomato
and lots of other goodies in significant quantity.   It arrived with one half tomato only, and acres of plate visible where the menu showed a well filled plate.   My complaint was answered by the member of staff pointing out the small print on the menu that pictures were just representative ...

Little Chef - little meals.   Leaves you hungry to buy a desert.  Or perhaps a little chef couldn't have managed a big breakfast!
7  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / When is T-12 NOT T-12? When it suits the rail industry!! on: Yesterday at 03:42:15 PM
From The BBC

Quote
Passenger groups have reacted angrily to news that hundreds of train timetables are likely to be published later than usual. Rail users are normally told about new timetables 12 weeks in advance, enabling them to book cheap tickets.

But the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has announced that over the next six months passengers may get as little as four weeks' notice of new train times.

It blamed a huge number of timetable changes coming up in May.

<rant>It's T-12 when it's convenient to the rail industry to say "too late" when a request is made, but T-4 when it's convenient for them.   Have to love dual standards!!</rant> ... oh, never mind ... just blooming frustrating to see a service scheduled to sail none-stop through a station that's being bustituted and then wait 15 minutes for the timetable to catch up!  "But request was made less that 12 weeks before ..."
8  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: Yesterday at 03:18:09 PM
Not only has the SBL vanished like an old oak table, but nothing seems to be heading for Parkway any more. Those poor boffins from the science park won't be able to get to their closest mainline railway station by MetroBust after all, which I seem to remember being a major point in conning the money out of DafT.

Parkway is back on a map in the Bristol Post showing the Cribbs Patchway Metrobus Extension



Quote
Thousands of new homes along with schools, a new railway station and community facilities are set to be built at the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN) in the next 10 years.

Land identified in the Cribbs-Patchway area will be developed into a new neighbourhood creating around 5,700 homes, around 50 hectors of employment land, open spaces and infrastructure including a dedicated MetroBus route.

[snip]

The Westgate application specifically covers the Charlton Road aspect of the proposed ‘North – South Public Transport Link’ on the former Filton Airfield.

Signing this S106 agreement between developers and local authorities creates the first planning permission for the site.

It also consents to having a new shared use path for cyclists and pedestrians, a new bus only access and installation of a CCTV bus gate, allowing for direct north-south bus connections across the airfield to the San Andreas Roundabout to the north of the site.

The council says the agreement marks another "key milestone for the CPNN development which will deliver much needed housing across the area".

[snip]

Councillor Colin Hunt, Cabinet Member responsible for planning, said: “The new communities planned here will be well-connected with key transport and employment hubs.

"A key feature of infrastructure identified on the former Filton Airfield plans is the proposed ‘North – South Public Transport Link’, which will provide a new bus link across the site connecting Merlin Road/Hayes Way to the north and Charlton Road in Brentry to the south.

"This link will bring significant accessibility and connectivity benefits to large areas of Bristol’s North Fringe, providing a direct public transport link from the parts of northern Bristol south of the airfield to Cribbs-Patchway and the Mall area," he added.

9  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2018 cancellation and amendment log on: Yesterday at 06:14:26 AM
Purely for the record - 2 cars not 3 on the 07:33 Westbury to Swindon and the 08:49 (should be 08:36) back.  As a single carriage train just two months ago, this was one of the trains that was holding back growth because more people couldn't fit on it.  However, two is plenty ( at the moment  Grin ) .

Last night (logged elsewhere) the 17:36 was reported as "1 carriage not 3" and that is serious - busiest train of the day. "At least it ran".  Not sure if it really was a 153, or something else with a carriage out of use.
10  Journey by Journey / London to Kennet Valley / Re: 2018 Full line closure Newbury line on: February 22, 2018, 08:16:12 PM
Hourly service to Plymouth is pretty much the same as now I think?
Yes, though more trains will omit some of the smaller intermediate stops and will be quicker, in some cases by quite a large amount.  Though of course that works both ways and will remove the attractiveness of direct trains from places like Westbury that are currently available, albeit in a patchy way.

Exactly - I worded the original carefully - perhaps too carefully.   And I should have include opposites too, but being on the Kennet Valley, I wrote it from that viewpoint.    However, let's have a further go:

Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn gain the replacement of a turbo with a five car IET.
London and Reading passengers will gain a better train to Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn

Pewsey and Westbury both gain trains that fill the current massive gaps during the day
Passengers from London, Reading, Taunton and Exeter will have gaps in services to to Pewsey and Westbury filled

Pewsey, Westbury and Castle Cary loose though trains beyond Exeter
Passengers from Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall will have to change to get to Westbury and Pewsey
Passengers from Torbay, Plymouth & Cornwall will have to change twice rather than once to get to Solent & Trowbridge.
Passengers from Solent & Trowbridge will have to change twice rather than once to get to Torbay, Plymouth & Cornwall.

Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Cornwall gain (speed) improvements to their London and Reading services
London and Reading passengers will be able to get to Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Cornwall consistently a bit faster

Kintbury, Hungrford and Bedwyn probably see no change in the virtually zero provision from them via Pewsey
Getting from the west to Kintbury, Hungrford and Bedwyn will remain a hassle

Frome will see no change (?) - virtually no service to its county town of Taunton, and perhaps one peak train to London
Still bl**dy difficult to get to Frome from London, or from Taunton or beyond, even though it's on the same line

Oh - and passengers from Castle Cary to London will find they have a more consistent but slower service and vv
11  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Bus Users Manifesto on: February 22, 2018, 03:26:19 PM
I took a close personal look at this - including discussions with friends and family and concluded that although I meet all the mandatory and desirable elements, I will not be taking it further.

From the latest edition of Bus Users News - received by email - an advert for the role which suggests the extra elements which were missing from the "job description".  Every board does need its mix of experiences, backgrounds and skills ...
 
12  Journey by Journey / London to Kennet Valley / Re: 2018 Full line closure Newbury line on: February 22, 2018, 02:55:46 PM
Quite a bit of pain for the gain of electric services to Newbury.

Yes, all pain and no gain for people wanting to travel to/from stations west of Newbury, i.e. Kintbuty, Bedywn Hungerford and Pewsey.

Once the much-loved HSTs are replaced by the new Hitachi trains, there is likely to be even more pain due to the hard "ironing board" seats that they have. Angry

Won't stations west of Newbury as far as Bedwyn benefit from an hourly service with IET's replacing (mostly) Turbos, with better connections to the west - that's surely an improvement, even if you do think the seats are too hard (which I personally don't)?

And won't Pewsey benefit from a far more clockface pattern of services than the random service it currently receives?  For me, the Berks & Hants line is one of the ones that benefits the most from electrification and new trains, although it does seem like this year is going to be very disruptive.

From what I have seen, there is some woolliness in public information and plans have changed a bit along the way.

* From Reading to Newbury there will be two stopping trains an hour one calling at all stations and one only at major stations.  The all stations train will be electric, and run just between Reading and Newbury. The major-stations-only train will be an IET from London, calling at Reading, major stations to Newbury, Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn where it will terminate.

* Every 2 hours, a "semifast" IET is planned from London to Reading, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary and Taunton; then on to Exeter St David's is suggested but probably not beyond.  Any stops between Reading and Pewsey are unclear to me.

* Every hour, an express will run - Paddington, Reading, Taunton, Tiverton, Exeter, Newton Abbott, Plymouth.  Additional stops west of Exeter and continuation on into Cornwall - I'll let others comment.

So ...

Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn gain the replacement of a turbo with a five car IET.
Pewsey and Westbury both gain trains that fill the current massive gaps during the day
Pewsey, Westbury and Castle Cary loose though trains beyond Exeter
Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Cornwall gain improvements to their London and Reading services
Kintbury, Hungrford and Bedwyn probably see no change in the virtually zero provision from them via Pewsey
Frome will see no change (?) - virtually no service to its county town of Taunton, and perhaps one peak train to London
All trains used on these services will be new.
13  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Metrowest Status on: February 22, 2018, 10:03:59 AM
Simples! Why didn't the boffins at MetroWest come up with that instead of wringing their hands over where to put a turnback signal? I suppose that turning back on the mainline at Bath is problematic because the tight timescale would upset late-running intercity trains, but what you suggest could be done now with a bit of effort.

It's a darned sight more carefully worked out than you might think.   Noting plans for another 2000 homes in Frome the other day - which is very much a dormitory town - "up to the railway" says the blurb, 400 metres from the station.  And platform blocking there far less of an issue that it could become at Westbury. Time allowed for a Saltford stop too.  Some other issues to overcome and lots of unknowns as I don't have other timetable plans ahead, but the idea does scream "on existing infrastructure", "meeting current and pent up demand" and "sensible schedules and turn around times".


Edit to correct new house numbers - then correct them back because I was fed a pup!  2000 homes is about 5000 people.

Nice positive slant on the story  - "Garden village could 'devastate' the area south of Frome, warn residents" from  Somerset Live

14  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Scrapping trams from Birmingham on: February 22, 2018, 09:35:16 AM
Not even 20 years, only 16: 1998-2014 according to that story. Perhaps we could have had them in Bristol for Mayor Marvin's Marvellous Metro?  Cheesy

Yep - I worded what I wrote carefully - withdrawn after just 16 years in service, stored for 4 years so now 20 years old.
15  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Scrapping trams from Birmingham on: February 22, 2018, 09:14:36 AM
Perhaps is a bit optimistic.

[snip]

Not the right solution by a long way for TV branches.

Indeed - and I'm sure that if they had been the right solution, someone would have spotted how the jigsaw pieces come together and at least suggested fitting them in.   But if asking "what if" 5 times about different things brings 4 replies of "don't be silly" and one "yes - hadn't though of that - what a good idea" then it's worth asking!
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