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1  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line - 2019 cancellation and amendments log on: Yesterday at 10:39:55 pm
"Heavy snow" Ö well at Didcot this afternoon there were some very large flakes of wet snow falling at times, but I'm not sure it was ever 'heavy', and didn't settle although it did further north around Oxford.

Very heavy snowfall around Oxford mid-afternoon - the biggest flakes I have ever seen in fact.  Though fortunately pretty short lived, and fairly localised, so it didn't amount to more than a couple of inches on the ground at most.  The vast majority of trains continued normally, though the local roads and M40 were quite badly affected:


Oxford Bus Company
‏@OxfordBusCo
4 hours ago
Due to severe traffic congestion on the M40, the following services did not/will not operate:
LHR - 18:00 Oxford City to Heathrow
OXF - 19:50 Heathrow to Oxford City
X90 - 18:10 Oxford City to London BPR
X90 - 20:40 London BPR to Oxford City


6 hours ago
We are experiencing severe traffic congestion around the city this evening.  We are seeing delays of between 30 and 60 minutes on our services.  Please be assured that we working hard to maintain the services under difficult circumstances. Thank you for your patience.

2  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / Re: Tarka Line Overcrowding Problem To Be Solved on: Yesterday at 10:26:09 pm
There should be a decent proportion of longer distance traffic given the size of the cities. But it's hardly a surprise if there isn't given the quality of trains used.  Turbos will probably drive more longer distance passengers onto the road, especially as the journey time end to end is much slower by train. So then that will be used to justify even more tailoring to short term journeys. No toilets and side on seating next?

Well, as mentioned before Turbos have been working along the Cotswold Line daily since the early 1990s (and for a large part of that they formed the majority of the trains on the route), on journeys of 2-3 hours without seemingly that much fuss made of the lack of quality.  And that was before such luxuries as proper disabled spaces, universal access toilets, better air conditioning (though still not perfect) and free Wi-fi and plug/USB sockets were fitted. 

Perhaps when a proper franchise is let the new operator will be able to invest in new, better quality stock as TPE, Northern and Greater Anglia have done, and the Turbos will provide a much needed boost in capacity for only a few years before a more suitable replacement comes along?
3  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: East - West Rail update (Oxford to Bedford) - ongoing discussion on: Yesterday at 09:48:55 am
Also if you send a train to Reading to terminate then it takes up valuable platform time until it heads back again.  Send it onwards from Reading somewhere might work, but nowhere immediately springs to mind.

Try Heathrow on the Western Access Link. Oh yes.

That has been suggested before, though personally Iím not sure it would be a very good fit.  Would trains with Diesel engines fitted be allowed to use the Heathrow tunnels anyway, even if not in use as part of a bi-mode train?
4  Journey by Journey / Heart of Wessex / Re: Glastonbury 2019 on: Yesterday at 09:05:16 am
I wonder how many will then be withdrawn by Hitachi for deep cleaning (assuming a muddy festival)

Given the state of some of the carpets that might not be a bad thing!
5  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: East - West Rail update (Oxford to Bedford) - ongoing discussion on: Yesterday at 09:04:07 am
I donít follow, Ellendune.  The train will have come from the west and called at Bristol, Bath, Chippenham and Swindon so it would be direct from those stations. Anyone from elsewhere could change onto it at Swindon.  There would be no change to the existing planned IET service pattern.

You would save 5-10 minutes on through journeys if it didnít call at Didcot.
6  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: East - West Rail update (Oxford to Bedford) - ongoing discussion on: January 21, 2019, 10:34:02 pm
1 - I sincerely hope that the Didcot/Oxford shuttle is only temporary. Indeed I understood the rationale of the bi-mode/trimode was to restore a proper full stopping service all the way between Reading and Oxford, mitigating the adverse impact of the dreadful decision to cut the electrification to Oxford short at Didcot.

2 - I am not so sure that the case for trains beyond Oxford all going west to Swindon/Bristol etc is strong. The potential passenger traffic from the Reading/Basingstoke/Winchester/Southampton/Bournemouth axis surely justifies a substantial part of any southward traffic going east. Reading alone generates considerable volume, and more capacity might encourage more to take the train not the car. I have over the years had a number of regular meeting commitments in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and used the car to avoid the hassle of crossing London by tube at peak times.

1 - From what Iíve so far heard, the Tri-mode 769s will not be used on services to Oxford.  They will be used on Reading to Gatwick trains as well as covering for the loss of 387s to Heathrow Express on the Paddington to Didcot services, as well as possibly some of the Thames Valley branches.  That of course may not be the current plan, or it may be the current plan but will change.  Iíll see if I can find out.

2 - For me, the problem with Reading as a destination is that it is either a new service calling at Didcot and Reading, or it somehow absorbs the current stopping services between Oxford and Didcot and Didcot and Reading.  You will have problems finding paths for the former, and journey times will be badly compromised to/from Reading if the latter - donít forget Crossrail will make certain cross London transfers easier, though not Milton Keynes admittedly. 

Also if you send a train to Reading to terminate then it takes up valuable platform time until it heads back again.  Send it onwards from Reading somewhere might work, but nowhere immediately springs to mind.

Send them west to Bristol and you open up all sorts of new through train markets.

The best compromise in terms of being a little more adventurous might be to run a Reading/Didcot to Milton Keynes train each hour and a Bristol to Bedford one each hour (not necessarily calling at Didcot).

Plenty of options on the table, letís hope thereís a bit of imaginative thinking.
7  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: East - West Rail update (Oxford to Bedford) - ongoing discussion on: January 21, 2019, 06:30:45 pm
Electrification extension to Oxford would potentially wreck plans to extend EWR to Didcot.  It made sense in the early iterations of EWR service planning, a good few years ago, but surely the present day Didcot - Oxford shuttle should be seen as a temporary stopgap?

It should be seen as a stop-gap, but I guess if it is going to continue then it makes more sense as part of a Didcot-Oxford-Milton Keynes/Bedford service than it does now as a little shuttle service with the odd extension to Banbury.

I've said many times that extending it to Reading is a bit barmy IMHO and the powers that be should be looking at westwards from Didcot towards Bristol.

Let's just get the thing built - who knows how many hurdles are still to overcome.
8  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: East - West Rail update (Oxford to Bedford) - ongoing discussion on: January 21, 2019, 12:55:44 pm
An existing operator, or operators, would be a better option in my opinion.
9  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: January 18, 2019, 07:47:33 pm
You may well have done, the list changes regularly.

Just the one unit on the list today.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: GWR Performance Figures on: January 18, 2019, 12:34:57 pm
Too see how bad it got over the last year punctuality wise especially, a fifth graph showing the end of year Punctuality MAA average over the past four years is attached, showing how all sectors, except Plymouth/Cornwall collapsed over the last twelve months.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: GWR Performance Figures on: January 18, 2019, 12:33:54 pm
A most welcome, and surprising, big boost to the figures for the last period covering up to 5th January!

Virtually all sectors saw much improved performance.  HSS Punctuality was the best recorded since September 2017, LTV Punctuality was the best since October 2017 and 15% higher than the last period.  Bristol's Punctuality was the best since May 2017, which was matched by South Wales to South Coast.

Reliability was also improved upon with HSS recording an exceptional 99.7%.  I haven't been logging reliability for as long, but that's comfortably the best over the previous year.  LTV's 99.3% was also the best and enough to lift the Reliability figure out of the charter discount trigger level, so only 5% renewal discounts will now apply.

The only 'bad' stat across the whole board was South Wales to South Coast's Reliability score of 95.4%, the third worst of the year.  Even the 'shortform' stats were encouraging with HSS at 6.33%, half the typical figure over the last twelve months.

This is a real boost, however I am fully aware it is only one months figures after a year of terrible ones, possibly distorted slightly with the Christmas and New Year alterations, but if these figures can be repeated then we will be largely back to where we were before the general crash and burn experienced from mid-2017 to late-2017 onwards.

12  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: January 18, 2019, 08:12:21 am
You may well have done, the list changes regularly.
13  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: January 17, 2019, 03:59:54 pm
The list of diesel only restricted units has been pretty short recently, usually numbering somewhere between five and ten (from a current fleet total of seventy odd).  I would suggest those observations were not typical of the actual percentage of trains running on diesel.

Just checked todayís list and just two units are restricted to diesel out of the entire 800 and 802 fleet.  They are 800313 and 800320.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: January 17, 2019, 11:12:01 am
The list of diesel only restricted units has been pretty short recently, usually numbering somewhere between five and ten (from a current fleet total of seventy odd).  I would suggest those observations were not typical of the actual percentage of trains running on diesel.
15  All across the Great Western territory / Who's who on Western railways / Re: Transport secretary - on subjects beyond transport on: January 16, 2019, 10:28:54 pm
I think it's member 'onthecushions' sign off - onthecushions being an old railway term for a driver/fireman travelling on the train not in the engine.
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