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1  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / Re: First experience - by train to Exmouth on: March 08, 2020, 07:39:13 am
I'm glad you enjoyed your trip on our line, Graham.

For the record - the line was double track from Exmouth Junction to Topsham until the early 1970s (when the M5 was built), but it has only ever been single track between Topsham and Exmouth. Lympstone - now Lympstone Village - had a goods loop (but no second platform) until the 1960s. I think the current service is the best the line has ever had.

Topsham is indeed 'worth a visit' but I should point out that The Swan (in your picture) is in the wonderful village Lympstone, which is worth a visit too!  Smiley
2  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Estimates of Station Usage, 2018-2019 - publication date 14.1.2020 on: January 14, 2020, 12:11:42 pm
I have updated my maps based on the ORR daya to include the 2019 figures, and trends for the full period 1998 - 2019, and the 5-year period 2015 - 2019:

http://empslocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/tej202/stations.htm

3  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Advent Quiz - 2019 on: December 23, 2019, 05:44:48 am
Ilfracombe?
4  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Two Track, Now! on: November 15, 2019, 06:27:40 pm
Interesting analysis here https://www.railfuture.org.uk/display1587
5  Journey by Journey / Transport for London / Re: Shortest journey on the tube ... what is shortest on GWR? on: October 28, 2019, 09:38:59 am
I wonder if it is possible for someone to leave a southbound train at Exton and run along the path to Lympstone Commando before the train comes to a halt there?

(I reckon it must be nearly 700 metres between the stations, and so it would take someone very much fitter than I to run it in under 2 minutes - a challenge for the Royal Marines?)

In case anyone wants to get in training for my challenge(!) I have just timed a journey in the other direction (LYC -> EXT, with the train stopping at both).

Time between doors opening at LYC and doors opening at EXT: 1 minute 45 secs
Time between doors opening at LYC and doors closing at EXT: 2 minutes
6  Journey by Journey / Transport for London / Re: Shortest journey on the tube ... what is shortest on GWR? on: October 26, 2019, 09:46:33 pm
I'd hazard a guess at Exton <-> Lympstone Commando. Since the two are also connected by a footpath / cycle track alongside the railway I have often wondered (as I pass on the train) if it could be the venue for a 'runner races the train' stunt along the lines of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaMiV3Wus9c.

The public are not allowed to alight / join at Lympstone Commando so I suspect very few passengers have made the journey by train. (Marines would run!)

I wonder if it is possible for someone to leave a southbound train at Exton and run along the path to Lympstone Commando before the train comes to a halt there?

(I reckon it must be nearly 700 metres between the stations, and so it would take someone very much fitter than I to run it in under 2 minutes - a challenge for the Royal Marines?)
7  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion on: September 24, 2019, 09:12:42 am
I do wonder if there is any sum of money at which the HS2 fan club would eventually admit that it's too much.

A good question put in a slightly patronising way.


Indeed. "How much is too much?" is a good and interesting question. The answer may be complex, and there is always a danger that costs can be made to 'seem' large, or 'seem' small according to people's pre-existing views and how they choose to frame the numbers.

As an example, expenditure of 1bn can be made to sound large (by calling it 1bn!), but it is (approximately) equivalent to 20 per person in the UK (which doesn't sound nearly so bad), or 40p per week per person in the UK (which sounds positively affordable).

I find that '1bn is twenty quid a head' is a good ready reckoner to carry around in one's head.

So - what to make of the cost of HS2? Let's work with a round 100bn.

100bn is - roughly - 1 year's total UK govt education spending, or 3 year's total UK govt transport spending (see  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_spending_in_the_United_Kingdom  ), or Network Rail's total budget for about 14 years ( https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Annual-report-and-accounts-2019.pdf ) . To put it another way - it is roughly 10% of annual UK govt spending.

100bn is - roughly - 2000 per person, or 40 per person per week over a year, or 4 per person per week over a decade, or 80p per person per week over half a century. So - near enough 10p per person per day for the next 50 years.....

Is that too much?  Well, I suppose it depends on the benefits - which I don't feel qualified to quantify, but must surely include uplift in GDP due to greater connectivity, north-south rebalancing of the economy and savings from work that would otherwise have to be done on WCML / MML / ECML to provide capacity.

My own (current) hunch is that HS2 is well worth it. Does anyone have any quantitative arguments to suggest that it isn't?



8  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Out of Office quiz - September 2019 on: September 03, 2019, 06:30:15 am
Knaresborough?
9  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Does anyone know of a bus station that they actually like? on: June 14, 2019, 09:11:24 am
I nominate Galashiels "Transport Interchange". Brand new, bus and railway stations combined, interesting architecture and nice facilities. Unfortunately you have to cross a road to get to the railway platform, but otherwise it's a model of how to do it, I'd say.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Penalty fare changes from 1st April 2019 on: February 04, 2019, 09:28:06 pm
I notice that Topsham is listed as being a Penalty Fare station after 1 April.

This may cause a problem for southbound passengers unless a ticket machine is to be provided on the southbound platform. (There is indeed a ticket machine on the northbound platform, but when the level crossing barriers come down there is no way to cross the tracks. Thus, a southbound passenger coming to the station from Topsham town centre has to get to the southbound platform early enough not to get caught on the wrong side of the barriers, and has no reasonable opportunity to purchase a ticket before boarding.) Under current conditions it is unreasoable to treat Topsham (southbound) as a Penalty Fare station. I have argued this very point with GWR.

More generally, I fear the mix of Penalty Fare / non-Penalty Fare stations on the Exmouth line will cause unnecessary problems for honest passengers who have been *unable* to purchase tickets. I am, of course, all in favour of penatlty fares for those who are *evading* fares.



11  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Station Usage figures from the ORR on: December 11, 2018, 11:01:56 pm
Fascinating to see that Exeter Central has overtaken Exeter St David's for the first time (ever?)

2,607,502 versus 2,605,166
12  Journey by Journey / Bristol (WECA) Commuters / Re: Four track for Filton Bank - ongoing discussion on: November 19, 2018, 10:21:30 pm
The new layout now appears on traksy:

https://traksy.uk/live/M+25+PATCHWY+11
13  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Bumper picture quiz - November 2018. on: November 10, 2018, 07:00:22 am
9. Bodmin General
14  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / Re: Devon Metro on: November 01, 2018, 09:27:35 am
Is there any mileage in persuading Exeter Chiefs to part-fund a loop/turn-back between Digby and Sowton and Newcourt?

I've been thinking about this idea as I trundle past twice a day.....

I think the problem with having the turn-back / loop *between Digby & Sowton and Newcourt* is that it doesn't help to solve the capacity constraint on the single line between Topsham and Exmouth Junction. The problem with having the loop _at_ Digby is that there is no room - the platform takes up the space of the lifted 2nd track. The problem with having the loop _south_ of Digby is that it is too close to the existing loop at Topsham and so doesn't help with capacity.

The current service is 2 trains per hour (tph) in each direction on the single line. This makes full use of the exisiting capacity because it takes trains ~ 13 minutes to go from Topsham to Exmouth Junction (and it will take slightly longer if the proposed station at Monkerton between Digby and Polsloe Bridge gets built).

The only way to run more trains on this section is to have a loop, but to maintain regular services it must, by symmetry, be somewhere that is  ~7 minutes north of Topsham. so the new loop really has to be north of Digby, between Digby and the proposed station site at Monkerton. Of course it would be even better for timetable resilience to re-double all the way to Exmouth Junction, but this would cost more, not least because Polsloe Bridge and Monkerton would then need two platforms rather than one.

So perhaps a plan could be:

(1) Install a loop between Digby and the proposed station site at Monkerton, and upgrade the signalling so that the line in one of the platforms at Topsham is reversible. This allows a 4 tph service to Tophsam. Alternate southbound trains would continue to Exmouth as currently, while the others would turn-back at Topsham. Thus Digby could have 4tph to Exeter, 4tph to Topsham and 2tph to Exmouth. This requires upgraded signalling, some pointwork and a short section of new loop line.

(1a) (optional) beef up timetable resilience by re-doubling all the way from the new loop in (1) to Exmouth Junction. Amongst other things, this has the advantage of preventing southbound trains at Exmouth Junction from blocking the Up Waterloo line while they await access to the branch. It would, however, require station upgrades as well as new track and an upgrade of Exmouth Junction.

(2) (possibly later) Install a loop at Lympstone Village so that all 4 tph to Topsham from stage (1) can run to Exmouth.


15  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Know your timetable on: October 27, 2018, 08:27:31 am
3. Exeter Central?
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