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September 21, 2017, 01:18:23 PM *
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1  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The West - but NOT the West's trains / Re: Spreading the word on: Today at 11:56:06 AM
Speaking of redundant factories, I noticed last week that demolition has begun of the former Westinghouse site in Chippenham.  More houses presumably, and thus more commuters on the local train services?

You ain't seen the half of it.   I'm just formatting up a copy of the plans that are in the public domain for this evening of what happens to those dreadfully inefficient single layer car parks near row station.
2  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: Service meltdown - advice is to use other means to travel on: Today at 08:53:47 AM
After 2 service lost last night, another lost this morning - the 07:04 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa via Swindon.

I was at Chippenham at five past eight when the 08:00 to Swindon (first running train today Westbury to Swindon) pulled in.  42 off the front door, 35 off at the rear door. Report of 91 on the ongoing train.    Looked to me like about 25 got on, so it brought about 143 into Chippenham ... that fits with its "jammed up the aisles" appearance.   

Usual number off that train at Melksham is 10 ... so it had conveyed 153 passengers on the section unique to the TransWilts.  We have joked about carrying 153 passengers on the line on a 153 (single carriage train).  Well - looks like we've done it.

Regulars who know me well and know that I am doing what little I can to persuade GWR to strengthen our service sooner rather than later gave me a cheery smile and looked up as if to say "here we go again".  One gentleman who thinks I have a lot more ability to get stuff done than I have was pretty strong in his language to me ...
3  Journey by Journey / London to Swindon and Bristol / Re: Chippenham Rail User Group on: Today at 05:30:09 AM
Early issues raised with us prior to tonight's meeting noted at

May be on the breakfast show on BBC Wiltshire too (yeah, up early to prepare!)

Look forward to seeing anyone who can join us this evening - or indeed who comes to the 07:30 radio interview / live broadcast at Chippenham Station
4  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: Service meltdown - advice is to use other means to travel on: Yesterday at 07:55:09 PM
It's interesting (and disappointing, if understandable) to see comments critical of the service appearing on the TW Facebook page.  But it should serve as a reminder that as time goes on, people will start to forget (if they were ever aware) how poor the previous service was. So the "well it's still better than it was" view will be replaced by objective criticism of timekeeping/overcrowding/reliability/frequency.

Two MORE cancellations this evening due to train failure ... though this time I don't think it was one of GWR's trains that failed.   And a message that a third train was skipping Melksham though looking at real time trains I think the stop was re-instated.

Gentlemen, you'll note that even I am echoing the comments that are critical of the service.   We have moved from a service that was so diabolical it did nothing for 99% of travellers who wanted to go up and down the corridor to a service that is at the lower end of the appropriate frequency for the flows and passenger needs, is overcrowded much of the time, and has a shocking cancellation record at present.   The fact that it's full and standing up the aisle even at the very mediocre performance level shows just how much its needed / loved even in this condition.

We can learn from what we've achieved so far - and we can partner with the train and infrastructure operators and local transport authority to move towards capacity (2 cars please), reliability (staff for every train that's timetabled, please) and frequency (hourly, please) which will answer much of that criticism, and that criticism helps add power to our elbow where that partnering has to verge on complaining or campaigning.
5  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Henley line improvements - May 2017 on: Yesterday at 03:35:16 PM
The old 0742 direct to Paddington was 4 car - full and standing from Twyford

The new 0738 to Twyford with a connection to London is 2 car (supposedly 3 car from 2018) and most days (Mon - Thursday) full and standing from Henley

Very useful indeed to read that, thank you.

It looks like a very good illustration of where the headline changes that are positive on the main line have side effects that may be less positive for branches and connections.  Very much a cautionary tale;  the network needs rather better than "set up the main line trains to be really great, then see what's left for the branches" ... the timetable for when all the works are completed needs to look at passenger's journeys as a whole.
6  Journey by Journey / London to Swindon and Bristol / Re: Chippenham Rail User Group on: Yesterday at 07:11:23 AM
Holding page (with links to various useful places) -
7  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: Daytime Traffic on the TransWilts on: September 19, 2017, 08:51:47 PM
14:30 today (Tuesday 19th September)

-7 + 17 at Melksham => 29  36/24

Astonishingly few got off at Chippenham - most for Swindon and onward connections. Where people are going and on which train makes for a fascinating study - helps us learn which are the important connections
8  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: September 19, 2017, 08:04:15 PM
From the Plymouth Herald.  I was going to post this in the 'Lighter Side' but had second thoughts...... Roll Eyes Tongue

"Spot" electrification has been quietly bubbled along as an idea in some very professional quarters for open stretches on straighish line in hilly countryside.    Interesting how the article seems to morph from speed of trains to speed of WiFi ... perhaps there's a tradeoff there - people will be happy with slower journeys if they have really good connectivity?
9  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: National Railcard discounts - ongoing discussion, no longer date specific on: September 19, 2017, 12:24:24 PM
If you have a railcard for all ages, you may as well just lower fares, surely?

It becomes a loyalty card.    If I pay (say) 50 a year I get 34% off off-peak, special fares, rangers and rovers. If I pay 100 a year, I get 40% off, if I pay 200 a year, I get half price and the card extends to a friend travelling with me too.   Figures and benefits need to be tuned.

Once someone takes the plunge buys a higher tier card , it really encourages them to use the train rather than their car as their per-journey cost is cut.  Even those entitled to other rail cards might plump for the higher levels of this one (make it a 16 to 100 card!) and switch more of their travel to rail spending (in the end) more than they do at the moment, but for much more off peak travel.

Rough edges and unintended consequences need looking at ... this is mega-playing with fares!
10  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: National Railcard discounts - ongoing discussion, no longer date specific on: September 19, 2017, 08:54:07 AM
Good news.  If rolled out nationally will they just rename the 16-25 Railcard the 16-30 Railcard to keep it simple?

Perhaps it's too radical, but how about a 16 to 59 railcard - or a 16 to 54 if the Senior were to be switched back to 55?

Could even do different prices and discount levels - Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond cards (though I'm not sure which of those is the most precious gemstone so what order they would come in!)
11  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: Daytime Traffic on the TransWilts on: September 19, 2017, 08:41:09 AM
Tuesday, 19th September, 08:30. Steamers Cafe, Chippenham Station

07:49 ex Melksham this morning.
10 people left the train when it arrived from Trowbridge (accurate count)
Around 40 people joined the train (+-5; hard for 1 person to count)
Around 100 on train to Chippenham (that's also +-5)

Lest anyone be new to this thread - that's 110 users on the section unique to the TransWilts, or whom 50 were journeys to / from Melksham, and the remaining 60 through from Trowbridge or south thereof to Chippenham or east thereof.

The train was a single carriage 153.

Station dwell at both Melksham and Chippenham was significant; no longer a quick pause to get a handful of people on and off, but a distinctly slower operation as people joining have to wait for others to push there way on and down into the carriage at Melksham, and as people pick there way past standees staying on to Swindon as they get off at Chippenham.  Close to right time arriving at Melksham, 4 minutes late leaving Chippenham due mostly down to the size of the passenger flow.   If it weren't for those pesky passengers, it could keep time! Grin

P.S. No requirement this morning for wheelchair ramps to be used, nor any passengers needing extra time to leave or board.
12  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Widespread Ryanair cancellations in September and October 2017 on: September 19, 2017, 08:14:24 AM
(Graham - I don't think that's libellous?  Wink )

I suspect you're correct, but don't look to me for legal advice on the matter.  Posters are the primary ones responsible for their own content ...

[Checked - I think that's correctly "advice" not "advise"]
13  All across the Great Western territory / Your rights and redress / Re: Public Performance Measure (PPM) details on: September 18, 2017, 08:08:14 PM
Many thanks for the responses. Out of interest, does anyone know of any GW territory stations where this amount of detail is posted?

No knowledge of such stuff being specifically posted at the stations, which I think is your question?  I am aware of significant data extraction in the past - we did it on "Save the Train" for both our own line and for the Severn Beach line.   However, that was to allow our campaign-mode operation that was appropriate at that time to highlight the system falling down whenever it did, and permission to post it at the station would have been unlikely to have been granted.

I would love to be able to publish a really boring straight line plot showing zero cancellations and zero delays of more than five minutes for week after week, month after month.  I fear that TransWilts is just about the toughest case to achieve that with lots of interesting stuff around at both ends of the line to get in the way, and those d**ned stone trains - the only reason the line survived the 1970s - getting in the way too.   When using "recent train times", I tend to switch to trains within 10 minutes rather than trains within 5, in appreciation of the capacity issues - and still don't highlight week on week comparisons ...
14  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: Service meltdown - advice is to use other means to travel on: September 18, 2017, 02:04:17 PM
12:47 Swindon to Frome due 13:44
12:47 Swindon to Frome due 13:44 will be terminated at Westbury.
It will no longer call at Frome.
It has been delayed between Swindon and Chippenham and is now 22 minutes late.
This is due to a fault with the signalling system.

14:04 Frome to Swindon due 15:04
14:04 Frome to Swindon due 15:04 will be started from Westbury.
It will no longer call at Frome.
This is due to a fault with the signalling system.

OK - not half as bad as we've seen (but sorry, Frome).  Notable as being the first report in this thread that's attributable to Network Rail!
15  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Victorian tram routes around London on: September 18, 2017, 11:06:00 AM
From The Standard

Fascinating 19th century London tram map shows Victorian routes around capital

A fascinating new map shows the routes trams took across the capital in Victorian London.

The interactive map gives fresh insight into the late 19th century tram network which ceased running completely in 1952.

Experts have mapped the routes used in the Victorian era and revealed stark differences with major routes used in modern London.

Link within article to source data at!html5

Suggestion is made that the modern tube network was based on where there was a lack of tram service - and with trams being so good south of the river, few tube lines came south - something that's left a mark to this day.
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