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[103] Reading Green Park
[102] 2020 - TransWilts cancellation and amendment log
[97] IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent pe...
[64] Chris Grayling does it again - and is now gone
[41] Train fire at Mortimer Station
[35] Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st S...
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1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: Today at 11:07:04 am

Diesel Multiple Units.   Diesel trains where multiple trains can be hooked up to each other to run as a single longer train in the normal course of operation.

HSTs and Castles are NOT multiple units?
5 car IETs are multiple units?
9 car IETs are NOT multiple units?
Adelantes are multiple units

All of the above are diesel powered and with passenger accommodation within a virtually permamently coupled train.  Which (none / some / all) of the passenger accommodation has engines in the same vehicle will vary (but not change the definition) ... and whether or not they have electric capability too does not effect them being diesel multiple units (5 car IETs) or diesel units (others) west of Bedwyn, Bristol, Oxford and Swansea Newbury, Cocklebury Lane, Didcot and Cardiff and electric on the important sections east thereof.
2  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Is Saturday the new peak? on: Today at 07:41:46 am
I?ve noticed this too that the Saturday SWR timetable is better than the Monday-Friday timetable on some lines. So yes maybe Saturday is the new peak for travel by train these days.

Not just SWR ... TransWilts through Melksham is back up to 100% on Saturdays, and 88% on Monday to Friday - not as dramatic as Bookham, but still leaving a gap in the early evening - if you miss the train just after five thirty from Swindon (a good after-work train for central Swindon), you'll be waiting until quarter to nine for the next and final one of the day. 

How are other GWR lines doing?     Severn Beach?    Exmouth?   Gunnislake?  Falmouth?   Missing services on locals in the Bristol area?
3  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2020 - TransWilts cancellation and amendment log on: Today at 07:30:05 am
Quote
08:11 Warminster to Swindon due 09:03
Facilities on the 08:11 Warminster to Swindon due 09:03.
This is due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time.
Will be formed of 2 coaches instead of 3.

Lots of short forms today ... from reports, although I thought they were supposed to be 2 cars only in the first place.

Interestingly, reports starting to come back of train use - including one suggesting that social distancing was / is beginning to be a bit tight and asking "should the train be stepped up to 3 cars?". 
4  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September? on: Yesterday at 11:48:34 pm
Late addition following my reading Graham's pos,. posted whilst I was typing. This level of detail is exactly the sort of thing you DON'T want to get involved with now, because urgent action needs to be taken. If you tried to address all that lot before you implemnted anything it wouldn't be dome before all of us were pushing up daisies. I wonder how much truck the government of the day would have given to questions like those in 1940.

So
1. We know ahat the problem is
2. Get the nub of the problem sorted now
3. Once (if) we have the pandemic out of the way, that is the time to sort out the details for the future

But so much of the work has already been done. ... the Rail Delivery Groups's 2018 work, including stakeholder and community / volunteer input.  I didn't hear of them coming up with any brilliant changed / new fare system to sort out the mess - rather (as I understand it) the report fed into the Williams review to be part of the outcome of that. Whether it turns out to be a significant element in the larger plan, or consigned as a footnote to a dusty shelf, is a question as yet unanswered.  I do hope we'll see a substantive result with root and branch caches if they're what's recommenced, or a very strong conclusion along the lines of "the current system is far from perfect - but it's the best bad system we can have for the job involved and we should plan ahead with it broadly unaltered for the next decade".  To simply shelve the report would be an insult to all the time and effort put in the the community and volunteers - for free (though the consultants, I'm sure, were paid well); it would look like a lot of work done to console / occupy the community into thinking that the situation had been looked at, but with (perhaps) the initial intensity of showing that things  had been looked at, rather than actually making any changes.

Robin writes "This level of detail is exactly the sort of thing you DON'T want to get involved with now, because urgent action needs to be taken" but yet I'm not sure that I have applied any level of detail.  A dozen broad questions to set the scene, a few ideas (such as the appendix below) a handful of examples to see what it does to existing fares / likely payments by individuals and likely traffic flows, and go for it.  Could be done over a few days work, changes from the January fare change date.   An admission that "this may bring anomalies until [test end date]" and a leaving of the old fares in place / valid as an alternative until December 2021, with a review and decision on keeping the trial changes based on evidence gathered by the end of August 2021.

Three extras for my "are you looking" list - and you may think I am being cynical with these.
Are you looking to bring uncertainty so that you can take over the railways with subdued company and union complaint?
Are you looking to engineer use to balance general economic resurgence against some safety and freedoms?
Are you looking to meet or to suppress community and external stakeholder involvement?

Nice big sheet of paper (A00 or double elephant?) - matrix of ideas versus guesstimated outcome values, then applying importance factor to each of the intent items.   Each idea comes up with a score when they're combined (added or multiple together).

Appendix A:  Considerations of intent
Are you looking to maximise passenger journeys?
Are you looking to maximise income?
Are you looking to balance the load between services?
Are you looking to encourage competition between operators?
Are you looking to encourage multi-buy products to save collection costs and generate loyalty?
Are you looking to minimise the cost to the treasury?
Are you looking to like and be voted for?
Are you looking to encourage journeys that most enhance the economy?
Are you looking to avoid overcrowded trains at the new 'full' level?
Are you looking to set fares to encourage carbon neutral (electric train) use over diesel?
Are you looking to sell seats on quiet trains?
Are you looking for something that simplifies the system?
Are you looking for a scheme that encourages people away from driving and flying?
Are you looking to discourage travel on weekends when you have trouble staffing?
Are you looking to bring uncertainty so that you can take over the railways with subdued company and union complaint?
Are you looking to engineer use to balance general economic resurgence against some safety and freedoms?
Are you looking to meet or to suppress community and external stakeholder involvement?


Appendix B:  Possible changes to evaluate against desired outcome
* 3 day season tickets
* Off peak seasons
* Carnet of 9 journeys for the price of ten
* Advance fare sale at guaranteed price for half capacity of train up to 7 days ahead
* No peak fares
* Fares reset (so no peaks, but risen off peak fares to balance fare basket)
* Fares based on mileage rate + station use charge
* Day returns valid for 24 hours rather than midnight to 4 a.m. next day
* Free travel for accompanies children, 50% for 16 to 21 year olds
* Cycle and dogs to pay half fares (or, rather, their owners/guardians to do so)
* Railcards for all (Bronze, Silver, Gold)
* Groupsave nationwide
* Railcard and groupsave discounts to compound
* Railcards valid against season tickets
* Railcards right withdrawn on fare avoidance
* "Any reasonable route" added to routing guide; quickest route from when you arrive at the station is always valid.
* Bus operators (also under government control) must accept rail tickets for same journey
5  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September? on: Yesterday at 04:26:41 pm
Wouldn't an easy short-term option until 31 December be to remove "Peak" pricing completely?  Wouldn't that give the discounts commuters are looking for, for the 2/3 day week they are allegedly wanting/needing to travel?

Maybe too simple  Huh

If the fare system was a bit of a complex mess, significantly inappropriate at times to best meet needs, then it's probab;y all that much more inappropriate now.  But the definition of "needs" - err - needs to be addressed.  What are the objectives your fare strucure and policy?

Are you looking to maximise passenger journeys?
Are you looking to maximise income?
Are you looking to balance the load between services?
Are you looking to encourage competition between operators?
Are you looking to encourage multi-buy products to save collection costs and generate loyalty?
Are you looking to minimise the cost to the treasury?
Are you looking to like and be voted for?
Are you looking to encourage journeys that most enhance the economy?
Are you looking to avoid overcrowded trains at the new 'full' level?
Are you looking to set fares to encourage carbon neutral (electric train) use over diesel?
Are you looking to sell seats on quiet trains?
Are you looking for something that simplifies the system?
Are you looking for a scheme that encourages people away from driving and flying?
Are you looking to discourage travel on weekends when you have trouble staffing?

I've come up with over a dozen things there with just a quick think ... most of them pull in a smiliar direction - but not the same direction, not headed for the same destination either.
6  All across the Great Western territory / Broadcast media about railways, and other means of transport / Re: Chris Grayling does it again - and is now gone on: Yesterday at 03:29:22 pm
It is very difficult to work out what he brings to the job to justify the reported ?100k per year for 7 hours a week.

Perhaps they will use him as a kind of negative sounding board ...

I have, in hindsight, come across organisations which have felt the need to refactor what they do / provide for their stakeholders in  a negative way, and they have appointed a heavyweight in the twighlight of his / her career who can take the knocks a bruises as they reduce the organisation, clearing the way for a newcomer at some point a year or two in the future who can rebuilt it - not as good as it was, but then everyone will think of it being good having been through the hatchet and wreckit phase.    I just wonder.
7  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2020 - TransWilts cancellation and amendment log on: Yesterday at 12:39:20 pm
Quote
12:05 Westbury to Swindon due 12:56
12:05 Westbury to Swindon due 12:56 has been delayed at Westbury and is now 7 minutes late.
This is due to train crew being delayed by service disruption.
8  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September? on: Yesterday at 08:56:16 am

WHAT!!!! How difficult is it to say - yes that's a good idea, just what we need to encourage rail travel if part working at home becomes widespread as seems to be happening?

They have a problem with the algorithm ....
"70% of weekly" type algorithm?  Would sometimes decimate income from people travelling twice in a week
"250% of daily type algorithm? Would sometimes work out higher than the weekly season

They have very little scope for coming up with a price on certain flows that is attarctive and people like without decimating the one day a week traffic / making people who travel just one day a week upset unless they cut there fares too.

Chippenham to Paddington
Daily   183.00
Weekly   290.20
Algorithms give 203.15 or 455.00 for 3 days

Peterborough to Kings Cross
Daily   118.20
Weekly   205.60
Algorithms give 149.90 or 295.50 for 3 days
or excluding LNER
Daily   63.10
Weekly   173.40
Algorithms give 121.0 or 157.75 for 3 days

Henley on Thames to Paddington (not Reading)
Daily   32.60
Weekly   100.90
Algorithms give 70.63 or 81.50 for 3 days

Sevenoaks to Charing Cross
Daily   24.60
Weekly   92.70
Algorithms give 64.90 or 61.50 for 3 days

But then they have had YEARS to discuss and think about this.  Me thinks that it's in the "too hard" box, still with no-one wanting to grasp the nettle!
9  Journey by Journey / Plymouth and Cornwall / Re: Paths west of Plymouth on: Yesterday at 06:30:17 am
I'm really interested in hearing from experts here what leeway there is for additional services running alongside those currently running?

As a none-expert, may I add some thoughts?

I think there are three single line sections - between St Budeaux and Saltash, Liskeard and Bodmin Parkway, and St Erth and Penzance.  The current 30 minute service is probably about the limit though those sections - especially as the through services have to be knitted to fit all three single line sections. But for Truro - Par, really no problem stepping up to a 15 minute service that I can see; might be signalling / headway issues.  Whether such extra trains could be synchronised to the single line to Falmouth running every 30 minutes, the offsets of the eastbound and westbound mainline trains necessitated by the remote single line sections, and the single line via St Blazey to Goonbarrow and then on to Newquay I question / doubt.

Expert comment welcome.

and the pre C19 level of service provided by GWR and XC,

I'm going signal double amber not green ... I am not convinced that post-covid services will rise to pre-covid levels, or levels that were planned at that time.  There is both a risk and an opportunity there - the risk that trains which are doing more than simply adding capacity will be 'taken out', and the opportunity to put in something different and fit for the future.

Quote
Could any Open Access service also be possible, I think not?

Technically, it probably could be. Practically, it feels highly unlikely to me in terms of the financial model that would need to be found, the risk that someone would need to take to do it, and the utter off-putting complexity and roadblocks that seem to be thrown in the way of such proposals.

But ... we are in changing times.  We hear talk of localism.  We see some really good stuff from some councils such as Cornwall (and some less that helpful initial reports from our subnational transport boards).  It is not beyond the bounds of dreams to have a Cornwall Metro, run by and within Cornwall / extension to Plymouth. 

10  Sideshoots - associated subjects / News, Help and Assistance / Re: When does a thread become stale? on: Yesterday at 05:58:12 am
Robin, thanks for your strong support and example for keeping threads open for an unlimited period. Always been 'policy' here, totally agree with it, not changing ... and the root of the nightmare of stepping up to the current version of the SMF (Simple Machines forum) software.

The statement of a thread being stale after a couple of weeks is informational, and not a warning; it becomes a warning at 120 days.  Beyond that point, the word "warning" is added, the colour changes from blue to red, and the suggestion of a new thread is added.   For sure, if you've scrolled down and found a thread you'll likely know anyway.  But if you have followed a link from another thread, from away from the forum, from a search engine, from the latest posts of a quieter member, or are on a pinned thread you may not realise the age.

As I write this, I am actually tempted - very temped to change the "over 120 days" message to reflect the actual time period ... not to say "120 days" but perhaps "6 months" or "3 years" ... thoughts??.  As you think, please remember, no way am I suggesting that we close threads.
11  Sideshoots - associated subjects / News, Help and Assistance / Re: When does a thread become stale? on: September 18, 2020, 08:44:41 pm
Threads become stale at different times depending on the topic.  A railway accident thread typically comes back to life about a year after the accident when the RAIB report is issued and that is quite right.  Other threads are very stale after a couple of weeks. 



Difficult, isn't it  Grin Grin

Conclusion

* Threads remain open and available to post in ad infinitum - NO CHANGE
* "Warning - nothing here for over 120 days. Consider new thread" for old threads - NO CHANGE
* "This will be the first post in this topic for 20 days" (JUST AN INFORMATION MESSAGE) for threads over a fortnight old.

If I get screams of horror at the last element, I can take it back out ...
12  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Weekend timetable! on: September 18, 2020, 04:22:33 pm
Full normal weekend timetable.   First time since March, last time for at least a month!

13  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September? on: September 18, 2020, 02:26:40 pm
From a (different) article in City am

Quote
A number of rail networks could be heading for nationalisation by the government this week as emergency contracts set up during the coronavirus crisis come to an end.

Sources told the BBC that talks between the government and nine private operators were ongoing, but that it could leave some franchises falling back into public hands if a deal cannot be found.

Similar emergency arrangements could be extended to leave private operators in place, however some may choose not to continue with the plans.


The Department for Transport (DfT) declined to comment.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps declined to give MPs an update on the situation in the House of Commons yesterday, saying the talks could not be discussed ?in public?.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September? on: September 18, 2020, 02:24:52 pm
Revitalise local high streets, simplify the ticketing system, carnet type tickets, invest in broadband rather than HS2. Move people out of the over crowded south east. Instead all I read from most of the government is an attempt to return to 'before'. ...

From City am

Quote
Plans by train operators to provide flexible season tickets to cater for people returning to the office part-time have been reportedly been stifled by government inactivity.

Rail companies last month submitted plans to the Department for Transport to offer Carnet-style ticketing, which would allow commuters to use up their rail trips over a certain period of time.

However, the Sunday Times reports that rail companies have been told by the government that the proposal will not be approved in time for January when ticket prices are set to rise.

Rail companies have proposed the new option as season tickets only make financial sense for commuters if they travel at least three times a week.
15  Sideshoots - associated subjects / News, Help and Assistance / On signing up from an anonymous server on: September 18, 2020, 02:12:29 pm
Dear Guests,

Delighted if you sign up and join us.  Free forum; membership gives you the ability to make posts as read, to post yourself, email yourself notifications and much more.

If you are signing up from an anonymous server, please email us too to let us know - otherwise our system is likely to reject your application.   To quote one of these servers:
Quote
[Anonymous server] sees use by many important segments of the population, including whistle blowers, journalists, Chinese dissidents skirting the Great Firewall and oppressive censorship, abuse victims, stalker targets, the US military, and law enforcement, just to name a few. While [anonmous server] is not designed for malicious computer users, it is true that they can use the network for malicious ends. In reality however, the actual amount of abuse is quite low. This is largely because criminals and hackers have significantly better access to privacy and anonymity than do the regular users whom they prey upon

The abuse from such systems may indeed be low - but "low" is a lot higher than the zero we see from most of our users, and without an alert you'll worry our server and system into rejecting you.    Few whistle blowers or Chinese dissidents are interested in GWR's trains, we're out-of-country for the US Military (I hope) and we prefer to engage with law enforcement if they need to speak with us knowing who they are.

Signing up requires an email address in any case ... so your anonymity wouldn't last for long from our admins anyway!
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