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[84] St.Erth Park and Ride
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1  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: South Wales - service reliability issues on: Today at 07:52:41 am
Not so much South Wales ...


The introduction of a new generation of train, which was set to come into service on the Wrexham to Bidston line in December, has been delayed Transport for Wales (TfW) confirmed to

The train operator – which has been ‘celebrating’ the first-year anniversary of taking responsibility for rail services across Wales and the Borders this week – will, instead replace the current trains operating on the Wrexham, Bidston line with Class 153 trains – or ‘Scuds’ as they are affectionately known.

Trains currently operating on the line – Class 150 trains – are being redeployed to South Wales in a bid to boost capacity, the change will take place when the new December timetable kicks in.

The move which has been labelled a “significant retrograde step” by influential passenger group, the Wrexham Bidston Rail User Association (WBRUA).

A lot of negative comment about 153s and there unsuitability for the line ... amongst which I noted:

A Transport for Wales spokesperson said: “We’re currently investing £40 million on refurbishment of our existing fleet, alongside acquiring additional trains so that we can increase capacity for all our customers throughout the Wales and Borders network.

“In our December timetable change we will be introducing Class 153 trains. These will run in pairs on the Wrexham-Bidston route, providing more seats for our customers than current trains.

“The Class 153s are currently being refurbished and will provide a much improved customer experience including a reconditioned interior and accessible toilet facilities.

I know we no longer have class 153 units on any GWR services but very interesting to note accessible toilets being fitted;  in a single carriage train, the number of seats lost would be significant.   Noting that the trains will run in pairs, will the refurb and fitting be only made to half the units?   Also noting from the article that the 153s on Wrexham to Bidston are a temporary measure until the 230s arrive - so TfW probably has other plans for the 153s in a cascade once the 230s are running (otherwise not worth investing in an upgrade / refurb).

Personally, I love the 153s ... but appreciate that on the Wrexham to Wirral line with lots of intermediate stops, door layout will slow down station duties.

Looking at what will be running beyond December that was not expected some time back ...

Pacers (142 and 143) with Great Western, with Northern and with Transport for Wales
153 with multiple operators
HSTs with GWR and East Midlands and Scotrail

In some cases with refurbs to upgrade them to meet new standards, in other cases through derogation.  So much for the promises I recall that they all would be gone by 1.1.2020.   Having commented on what reads as a broken promise, there remains excellent life in many of the trains.
2  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Ladbroke Grove (Paddington) train crash - 5 Oct 1999 - anniversaries, memories and publications on: Today at 06:39:04 am
A long account from a passenger on the train published this morning here - in The Guardian

On 5 October 1999, two trains collided at speed in west London, killing both drivers and 29 passengers. Barrister Greg Treverton-Jones, who survived the crash and worked on the harrowing inquiry, pieced together what went wrong

• Warning: this article contains graphic descriptions of injury and trauma

There was no warning and no screech of brakes – just a huge bang, and then we were crashing ...
3  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Night Riviera Sleeper refurb on: Yesterday at 10:16:28 pm

There’s a new early service on December timetable change

There seem to be an awful lot of westbound trains heading west from Truro ... at Penwithers Junction ...

07:02 - Falmouth Docks (from Truro)
07:12 - Penzance (this one's the sleeper from London)
07:14 - Penzance (from Plymouth)
07:37 - Penzance (from Plymouth)
07:45 - Falmouth Docks (from Truro)
07:57 - Penzance (from Plymouth)
4  Journey by Journey / London to Swindon and Bristol / Re: Fatality at Bristol Temple Meads on: Yesterday at 04:42:57 pm
From The BBC - a more reader-friendly report with some pictures from today' full publication.

A woman was killed as she leaned out of a train window below an inadequate warning sign, a report said.

Bethan Roper, 28, was hit in the head by a tree branch while on board a Great Western Railway (GWR) service travelling at about 75mph (120km/h) near Twerton, Bath.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) also noted trees along the route had not been inspected since 2009.
Signs around the window were updated after Ms Roper's death.

The investigation said Ms Roper was returning to Penarth, South Wales, from Bath Spa station on 1 December 2018.
She was with friends, and the RAIB said it believed "at least one other friend leant out of the window before [Ms Roper]".

Witnesses told investigators Ms Roper had her head out of the window for a few seconds "before falling back into the vestibule".

Despite the efforts of other passengers, including some with medical training, she was pronounced dead at Bristol station, the report said.

The full report goes very much more thoroughly into how the tree branch came to be so close to the train and does not major on the signage the same way that the BBC report does.

5  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Weather disruption caused in 2014, and how to prevent it happening again - ongoing discussion on: Yesterday at 02:51:53 pm
I love the analogy, but if the meetings were planned along the route I suspect they were indeed publicised locally.  (By the way, weren't the plans in the basement where the light didn't work?)

Even harder than that ...

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
6  All across the Great Western territory / Your rights and redress / Re: How many stations remain no-go zones for wheelchairs? on: Yesterday at 07:21:40 am
Someone else points out that according to ORR statistics, just 92 of the 2,559 stations in Britain account for half of all passenger exits and entries, so it's quite easy to get good accessibility for most journeys with a small station coverage, but also very easy for that 61% step free to be quite unimpressive in terms of usefulness, if it includes a lot of rural single-platform stations which see few journeys.

ORR have tightened up the definitions of these things - this is from "Accessible Travel Policy - Guidance for Train and Station Operators, July 2019"

This is the ORR's list of percentages as fractions. Are they what you would predict?

Many thanks for all that feedback and these ad other comments.   It really confirms how complex this area is to analyse and how statistics can show all sorts of things ... solid conclusion is that there is lot of the network accessible but still a lot's that's hard to get at or has impracticalities / issues.

I would agree that there's almost certainly a bias in number of stations that are accessible (at least to some extent) being larger ones ... at least a move in that direction. It figures - the investment goes to where the people want to travel and Waterloo is going to get more attention than Teeside Airport. But each counts as 1 unit in the tables?

Numbers of toilets and ticket counters look low - but then what is the number of toilets and ticket counters available for the able bodied?  15% have ticket office counter access in the South West for the disabled - what's the figure for the able bodies, though? 

The A/B/C categorisation looks like a reasonable attempt - after all, it's not too different to what I came up with empirically. 

And ... I note that each journey involves two stations;  if (and I know it is not the case) passenger numbers were spread evenly between them all, a 0.61 ratio for enabled stations would mean a 0.61 x 0.61 station accessibility for journeys on a single train (0.37) and an even lower figure once you start looking at journeys which involve a third or more stations for a change of trains ...
7  Journey by Journey / London to Kennet Valley / Re: New Timetable Fares Issue - Bedwyn, Hungerford, Kintbury on: Yesterday at 12:47:13 am
View from Bedwyn / Kintbury / Hungerford on Facebook

Very high percentage price increases for some as trains move a few minutes and long-standing concessions are withdrawn.  It may be that the new system is fairer across the board, but as the post says "we have built our lives around these trains and train prices".

8  All across the Great Western territory / Your rights and redress / Re: How many stations remain no-go zones for wheelchairs? on: October 15, 2019, 04:55:25 pm
As well as the stations don't you also need to consider the trains?
For example one platform at Radley is accessible by wheelchair (down platform) but I don't know how a wheelchair user would get on/off the train given that all trains are Driver-Only, unless they were lifted on/off by passengers.

Looking at NRE it says that a'Ramp for train access' is available, but no staff help!
How is that supposed to work given that I would hope that the ramp is securely locked? Is the driver supposed to get out there cab, unlock it, get the wheelchair user on and then lock the ramp back up, get back in and drive off?

Pretty much everything is right at many stations - access to and from platforms, and between platforms where a change is being made, and staff on hand to help whenever passengers want to get on and off  or transfer between platforms, disabled parking if there is parking, loos with disabled access if there are loos, low level ticket counter if there's a ticket office.  On the TransWilts, that's Swindon, Melksham and Westbury.   I am unsure of Chippenham, in terms of accessible toilets - never taken a specific look, it may be in this group too.

Most things are right at many more stations - but something is missing.   At Trowbridge, for example, there is no change between platforms without a very long wheel around the streets.  Very much the same at Bradford-on-Avon, with out and back passenger wanting to park their disable car finding the have to take a "tour of the town" to get back to their car when they get back in the evening.   Based on your description, I would place Radley in this group as I suspect that you'll need to book assisted travel ahead of time to have someone on hand to use the equipment.

Finally, you have cases that really cannot be used by wheelchairs - local examples in Wiltshire include Avoncliff with step only access to the platforms, and I suspect still Dilton Marsh - a front door only job, and on some of the trains that call there pretty much impossible to get a wheelchair to that door.

I suppose I'm looking for an indication rather than an accurate figure of what proportion of the network is in which category;  clicking on the map (linked earlier) I would guesstimate that around half the stations are "green" for wheelchair ... and that the ones that are not tend to be smaller ones. 

9  All across the Great Western territory / Your rights and redress / How many stations remain no-go zones for wheelchairs? on: October 15, 2019, 02:36:30 pm
Writing up a leaflet ... looking for data.   Of around 2,500 stations in the UK, how many are now wheelchair accessible?   I know it's getting better (Chippenham)  ... but I know we still have a long way to go (Avoncliff).
10  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: TravelWatch SouthWest - general meeting, 18th October 2019 on: October 15, 2019, 12:10:08 pm
Re this Friday, is refreshment to be taken at the plough in Taunton after the meeting ?
I expect to be at the pub, presuming that anyone else is coming.

I think we have multiple threads running on this one.   Planning to be there!

Tempted to pop by / hang around until about 18:00 ...  18:30 train to WSB and 19:32 connection to Melksham.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / MOVED: November Amendments to First Discover Services on: October 15, 2019, 10:55:55 am
This topic has been moved to The Rumour Mill.

At present, there are lots of possibilities being suggested / discussed - to the best of my knowledge elements of truth in many of them.

I am moving this topic to "The Rumour Mill" for the moment - an area that all frequent posters (and that includes all thread contributor so far) can read.  That way, other unconfirmed data can be added and discussed with creating a confusing public thread about what may be happening.
12  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Weather disruption caused in 2014, and how to prevent it happening again - ongoing discussion on: October 15, 2019, 09:18:00 am
I am surprised they have not considered a modern viaduct on uprights. The beach would still be there and any rockfalls would fall pass under to the beach. At high tide the sea would pass under the viaduct instead of having a new seawall to batter. The uprights could be angled to dissipate the power of the sea round them.

Perhaps they considered a viaduct, but ruled it out / it's not the selected option.  How open is the Network Rail system to finding out (and how much point would there be in doing so?)
13  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Helping (?) people in wheelchairs on: October 15, 2019, 08:25:28 am
From the BBC

Bronwyn Berg became so fed-up with people manhandling her without asking, she put spikes on her wheelchair. And she's not alone. With a spate of disabled people reporting unwanted touching some are taking action to stop it in its tracks.

Not sure if this topic belongs on the forum ... but we are looking at how people get around.

I suspect people for the most part may believe they are helping when their actions 'headline' as an invasion of personal space.  With very limited experience (one particular wheelchair user), thinking back I believe that I always ask before providing a push ... but the article is a reminder.
14  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Railways and the Queen’s Speech on: October 15, 2019, 08:03:10 am
From the Swindon Advertiser from a Swindon MP

Queen's Speech: Robert Buckland on justice system changes and railway reform


"The railway changes are based on recommendations made at the end of a root and branch review of the current system. I hope it leads to improvements in quality and value for money in railway services to and from Swindon.

"We do not have a majority so MPs can support this bold agenda or reject it and block Brexit. That would not be in the national interest. I want to see progress made on all these reforms ASAP."

Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said: “The industry welcomes the government’s firm commitment to take forward the recommendations of the Williams Review, particularly its focus on fares and contract reform.

“Both are key to a new partnership between the public and private sectors in rail that delivers more for passengers and the country.

“We agree that decisions about trains should be brought closer to home and are pleased government plans to reform the regulations that underpin fares to enable greater local control.”
15  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Swindon to Esher on: October 15, 2019, 07:39:45 am
Any split ticket ideas for Swindon to Esher and back in a day? Off peak give only a very short time there.

Departure time? Return time? Railcards?

Good questions - I misread the detail as "Off peak as only a very short time needed there" which is, of course, very different to what was asked.
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