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Forum in and beyond Coronavirus
Travel & transport from BBC stories as at 16:55 24 Feb 2021
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Most liked recent subjects
[89] Take the bus (or train) for you vaccination appointment
[81] Cholsey and Wallingford Railway - between Didcot Parkway and R...
[57] Day trips from Xxxxx ... early choices for early summer
[47] any indication of when we can get back on the trains?
[38] HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general dis...
[37] Trams for Bristol (again) and Bath?
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1  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Contactless on Thames Valley Branches on: Today at 03:24:55 pm
Hello All,

I have heard a rumour that contactless roll out is going to be rolled out to Windsor/Marlow/Henley branches in March. I see this as being a great step forward removing islands of paper in the contactless sea of Paddington to Reading. Does anybody know anything more? Is this definite? Is it still going to be March?

Bump ... anyone have an answer for our new member?

I had a look at the web site of the Maidenhead and Marlow Passenger Association to see if thy have anything that might provide an answer.  https://www.mmpa.org.uk/index.html . Clear sign of recent updates to the site including upcoming changes to train times in March for engineering, but no whisper I could see on ticketing changes.
2  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Day trips from Xxxxx ... early choices for early summer on: Today at 10:24:26 am
What you would expect from a cycling person. ...

Expect exactly what I got - which is a wonderful selection of ideas.    Thank you - exactly what I needed!

I hadn't cycled for 20 years until last autumn ... simply none of those middle distance day-to-day journeys for which the bicycle is ideal, and so much else to do on leisure days and trips.  Also the effects of age on energy and (in my case) balance put me off.   Triggered by various changes (electric assistance moved forward including folding bikes, need for exercise within the area, parking charges on a previously free car park) I hired a bike for the day and after feeling how I got on, I'm now a re-cyclist!
3  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Take the bus (or train) for you vaccination appointment on: Today at 10:03:53 am
Anyone else experienced side effects?

Had ours (Lisa and I) a week ago. Qualified on age. Very efficient indeed - whole process - booking and then at Spencer's Sports and Social Club here in Melksham. No medical side effects (sorry you have had some, BNM, but small price, I think!) - but in sitting there for 15 minutes after the injections, I did get to start thinking about something ... which (being transport related) will be subject of a new thread ...
4  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Tactile surfaces at station edges on: Yesterday at 11:22:40 pm
The RAIB has published a report into an accident where a visually impaired man fell off the edge of a platform and died, including recommendations for installing tactile surfaces and improving access for emergency services to third-rail electrified areas. Video summary: https://youtu.be/9eg9XO01rCI

Full report ((here)) for those odd ones amongst us who are used to reading these reports.  I remember going along to the Stationary Office in High Holborn to get copies 50 years ago - interesting how they have changed over the years.
5  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Day trips from Xxxxx ... early choices for early summer on: Yesterday at 06:33:09 pm
The Lonely Planet has published its top ten day trips from London.   Some destinations which are no surprise at all, one or two such as Margate could be a slight surprise.

Can you suggest some contenders for day trips from YOUR home station - in the early summer, when we're less locked down but while accommodation away (apart from self catering for single bubbles) is still unavailable.

Let me try some from Melksham ... Pangbourne, Mottisfont, Marlow, Heyford, Topsham ...

6  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: Mirror - older material from "Save the Train" now available via the Coffee Shop on: Yesterday at 06:15:54 pm
From 2005 through 2008, I wrote a daily blog specific to the Save the Train campaign and in tidying up documents and saving for the future, I have archives a complete set of posts into the Coffee Shop archive ...

And I moved on from that specialist blog to "The Horse's Mouth" of around 4,500 articles over a dozen years. I have  been archiving transport-relevant ones to the Coffee Shop mirror.
 
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/Z501.pdf - Public Transport, Rail - 2006 to 2018
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/Z511.pdf - Public Transport, Road - 2006 to 2016
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/Z531.pdf - Public Transport, Walk and Cycle - 2008 to 2013

Amazing to look back at all that writing, and how much remains relevant today too, and to avoid flooding you, I have just listed 3 of the 9 archive files uploaded. The ones done today are whitelisted to be available in public as well as to members, and the are all in the document search system too - search for Warminster, just for example, at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/?search=Warminster and you'll find a wide variety of documents located ranging from my blog articles to posters, timetables, DfT service level commitment and consultant's reports on the future of rail in Wiltshire.
7  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: any indication of when we can get back on the trains? on: Yesterday at 12:37:05 pm
Stay local is a bit loose,
I presume most of us in the west area could travel to Weymouth for the day?

I have been on the phone around the MRUG team this morning, and the subject of spring and summer promotion / what people may and may not be allowed and/or encouraged to do or not do.

Personally, and assuming the dates stick, no more than a short hop on public transport over Easter - train or bus in one direction and walk or cycle back, which gives you my idea of "local" - and it's not Weymouth.   That's from Melksham - if you're in Yeovil I could give you Weymouth as local.

There is a danger that the meek will follow the spirit of the request, with others not so inclined pushing the boat out; we save summer crowds on beaches last summer, and those were not the meek and cautious - having said which, it's suggested that neither beach crowds nor public transport were "superspreaders" or even spreaders.

Noting that GWR enhancements for the summer to Newquay and to Pembroke Dock are in the plans for this summer, but from reading through extras to Weymouth on Saturdays and Sundays are not.  Let's see early next month when we should have more details of what's planned from mid May.

8  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / MOVED: any indication of when we can get back on the trains? on: Yesterday at 11:22:48 am
This topic has been moved to Across the West.

Moving from "Fare's Fair" to "Across the West" as this is very much about when we can use the trains again and what will be running ... the fares perhaps being only a very small part of that bearing in mind that we have been saved money that would have been used for last year's travel!

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=24702.0
9  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: any indication of when we can get back on the trains? on: Yesterday at 07:47:30 am
And alongside those changes ... what changes will there be to what GWR is running?

8th March - a handful of extra trains to support school journeys

Easterish - some re-instatement of needed trains

16th May - summer timetable changes as discussed at various meetings a month ago. 
To be finalised "early March". 

Key expectations for the summer of 2021
* Remains just hourly to South Wales (some extras London - Bristol Parkway for operational reasons)
* South Cotswold line (Swindon - Cheltenham) running as a shuttle off peak, not through to London
* No superfasts
* Saturdays - more extensions to Weston-super-mare; Pembroke Dock and Newquay to run (if can be staffed)
* Saturdays - core hourly Westbury - Gloucester, some cut back of extended services. Extra DMH calls in CDF-PMH
* Sundays - no more changes planned; reductions in place already for BRI works to remain.
No specific confirmation I can recall, but I think Paddington to Bristol may be back to half hourly, and London - via Taunton back to hourly express and every-two-hours semifast from May

December 2021 - bids in to Network Rail by July. Changes expected to be very limited in scope nationally.  So it would be a surprise if there's super fasts in early 2022.

And also ...
Okehampton looks like it's getting closer ...
I will be very interested to see what happens to fares on 1st March - i.e. what it will cost us to travel
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: any indication of when we can get back on the trains? on: Yesterday at 07:00:55 am
in the turn up on the day scenario,could not find anything in the PM's statement.Or is it a case of waiting till monday 21st june

Essential use only at present

Use train to get to / from school from 8th March

Lockdown and legal limits end on 29th March; you can use the train or bus - but not stay away and limited what you can do at destination.

From 12th April, you can also start away at a holiday let or your second or third home. Theme parks, zoos, outdoor eating re-opened so train a bit more useful

From 17th May, hotels, cinemas, etc,  open; international travel allowed (depending on the destination country) . Two households can meet indoors, so train more useful again to visit friends, etc.  Also major sporting venues open though some limited on crowds

From 21st June, remaining hospitality to re-open and most restrictions removed. 

Various social distancing and other reviews along the way - unclear / not yet decided on social distancing into the future, nor on facemask rules - to go, or with us permanently?

All dates are "at the earliest" - may slip if medical numbers aren't working


11  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion on: February 22, 2021, 08:15:48 pm
With todays announcement that the end of lockdown is within sight, do GWR have any firm plans to reintroduce catering ? ...

I'm sure we'll get an answer in due course ... for the moment, we have a promise to ensure that any school-critical trains not running at the moment will be restarted for the return to school:

Quote
Dear Graham
 
Following the Prime Minister’s confirmation this afternoon that all schools and colleges will return on Monday 8 March, I wanted to reassure you all our key school and college services will be operating.
 
Many are already running, but where they are not, we will have the reinstated in time to support students, pupils and returning staff.
 
Over the last year, we have worked closely with colleges and schools as well as our colleagues on mapping these services, and I am grateful to them for their help in this vital piece of work.  If there are any services that you would like to specifically check are included, do let me know and we will check for you.
 
As restrictions ease over the course of the coming months and more passengers return to the railway, we will continue to restore services to our timetable. We will of course keep you updated on our plans but should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
 
Best wishes
 
Mark

I will be writing up a few things tomorrow and putting up a "returning" thread.
12  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Mirror - older material from "Save the Train" now available via the Coffee Shop on: February 22, 2021, 08:03:50 pm
From 2005 through 2008, I wrote a daily blog specific to the Save the Train campaign and in tidying up documents and saving for the future, I have archives a complete set of posts into the Coffee Shop archive at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_blog_archive.pdf - and that is a whitelisted document so it's available there to everyone.

Various generations of home pages for Save the Train are as follows:
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_001.pdf - Save the train, final front page - Mar 2010
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_002.pdf - Save the train, front page to Mar 2010 - Mar 2009
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_003.pdf - Save the train, very early front page - Oct 2004
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_004.pdf - Save the train, early front page - Nov 2005
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_006.pdf - Save the train, our case in a letter - 2 Oct 2005
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_007.pdf - Save the train, ORR letter giving us data - Jan 2006
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_008.pdf - Save the train, about the web site person - Feb 2006
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/stt_wa_009.pdf - Save the train, case for a service above spec - 21 Apr 2006

By mirroring the pages on The Coffee Shop, we have made them searchable in the document mirror search at http://www.firstgreatwester.info/mirror to come up in context with other documents we hold from other sources.
13  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Contactless on Thames Valley Branches on: February 22, 2021, 02:44:29 pm
Hello All,

I have heard a rumour that contactless roll out is going to be rolled out to Windsor/Marlow/Henley branches in March. I see this as being a great step forward removing islands of paper in the contactless sea of Paddington to Reading. Does anybody know anything more? Is this definite? Is it still going to be March?

Excellent question, and welcome to the forum.   I'm afraid I'm just saying "welcome" - don't have an answer for you, but lots of members visit the forum over a day or two and chances are that someone will know, and will follow up.
14  Journey by Journey / London to Didcot, Oxford and Banbury / Re: Trimode cl 769 to operate Reading to Oxford and Gatwick. on: February 22, 2021, 02:40:31 pm
Yup, there are worrying signs that this will turn into a right old farce!

I mean they look ok...Will they be used on the Reading-Basingstoke line?

When will they enter passenger service?

There are times it's good to be leading edge rather than bleading edge.   Predictions / suggestions for them entering GWR service is in a few month's time but that's slipped a few times already and while various formations are reduced across GWR due to covid, sensible to get it right rather than rush it.    Looking OK is a bit of a cosmetic view - they need to work reliably too; inevitably there will be a learning curve for the maintenance teams at first so there may be a struggle to maintain reliability just at first, but we should (I think) be happy that experience is being gained in Wales.
15  Journey by Journey / Bristol (WECA) Commuters / Re: Trams for Bristol (again) and Bath? on: February 22, 2021, 11:49:09 am
There is an awful lot of meat in that post, Robin and Lee - so many good points / items to answer in general that I have selectively quoted.

Down here the view appears to be that it is a bloody sight cheaper to simply talk about these things than actually get off collective backsides and do anything about it.

Although we are often on opposite sides of the optimist/pessimist coin, I am definitely with Robin on this one.

I would like to think that what people like grahame, Phil, Reginald25, myself and many others - with it has to be said the genuine help and hard work of several politicians - did with securing an appropriate TransWilts rail service was the exception that proves the rule. However, it took 8 long years ...

Also, as grahame's post today once again illustrated, it could be argued that because it took so long to get what was in 2005 an appropriate level of service put in place, it was already inappropriate by the time it was introduced! ...

The cynic in me also worries that framing the debate in that direction hands the perfect excuse for inaction to those who have an agenda to keep the Melksham line as the "lightly-used passenger backwater" they always believed it should have remained - "Sorry folks, it will be a long time before funding is available  for that kind of enhancement, so you will have to make do with what you've got".

[Brittany example and contrast]

So why can you make this work in Brittany but not Wiltshire, when the legislative hurdles that used to preclude it have now largely been removed? I'm afraid the answer lies in a culture that is still firmly wedded to "the way things have always been done", and an instinctive opposition to the perceived hassle and upheaval that change might bring, no matter how hard you try to allay such fears, and as you can see from this link, we tried exceedingly hard.

Finally, I noted this quote from the recent Travelwatch Southwest online event:

[snip - trackers on rail replacement buses]

It was at that point everything went rather quiet, with the conclusion being drawn very similar to Robin's overall point, that some organisations prefer the kudos of talking a good game, rather than the risky business of having to actually implement the solution.

Indeed it is cheaper and less risky to talk, engage consultants and report. It's also a way to get some quick positive outcomes - at least in the ether - in the current election cycle, while passing the bigger spend on implementation on to the next generation.   There is a wonderful upcoming opportunity to take another cycle of talking and reporting on so many projects now, as source assumptions are incorrect due to coronavirus ... at the same time and with the looming climate friendly / zero carbon agenda, there should be an opportunity to rebuild different and there should be incredible community help into that - win the hearts of the community, please - they are you future customers and they now have a choice as to what to do for their new normal. 

Not sure I'm 100% optimistic on that one, but that does not preclude making every effort.  Can't be worse than not trying, can it?

Coming back from macro to micro, looking at Melksham's town bus (services 14 and 15). Log jam has been "but the people who use them at the moment don't want to go to the station, and a bird in hand is worth ten in the bush". Well - hardly anyone is using them at the moment, so what better time than to changes the routes to be fit for the 20s?   

I note Lee's comment about our train service being inappropriate before it was introduced (witness the train manager  walking up and down the side of the train, banging on the windows and asking people to move up so more could get on) and really don't want to wait for bus service changes for the 20s to only be implemented just before the 30s. For sure, it's likely that a service in the 30s that was designed for the 20s would be better than a service designed for the 10s still running at that time - but how about (a novel idea?) an appropriate service for the current time??

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