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[122] RISK OF DAMAGE - BBC Points West, Breakfast Time, 20th October...
[96] Trimode cl 769 to operate Reading to Oxford and Gatwick.
[73] 20th October 2021 - Special Rail Users meeting, Trowbridge, on...
[48] The passengers are BACK!
[28] Porkway Partway
[19] South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed
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1  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: The passengers are BACK! on: Yesterday at 09:21:04 am
On a smaller scale, the Sunday midday (can't remember exact time) train I took from Temple Meads to Keynsham (a Parkway to Portsmouth train) was full when it arrived at BRI» (Bristol Temple Meads - next trains) and full and standing thereafter. My first train journey since last February!  Shocked

It is horrendous at times at the moment - horrendously busy and horrendously quiet.   Lots of rebalancing needed, but they have to know what to balance. A number of us were at the GWR (Great Western Railway) Community conference today, and various things of interest on this subject and others.

Overall however, a lot less horrendous for the vast numbers of people who no longer have to endure it 5 (or more) days a week  Smiley

Indeed - two coins with two sides.

Rail fare box income is down to 65% of what it was pre-covid (source - Mark Hopwood and Andrews Haines at yesterday's GWR Community Stakeholder meeting in Cardiff) and the Government is continuing to support to the tune o f £70 million per week. I note carefully that it's not passenger numbers or passenger miles that are being quoted, but income.

Passenger NUMBERS are all over the place - very thin indeed in the "peak", especially in the Thames Valley / outer suburban / commuter trains and up to 130% of what they were in summer 2019 in some places - the St Ives branch being quoted as an example of this.

But you have classic "double speak" now, where what is called the "peak" is no longer the peak time for travel, and "off peak" and "super off peak" tickets - at lower prices to encourage travel at the quieter times of day and in fact encouraging travel on the trains which under a normal description would be described as the "peak" ones because they are now naturally the busiest.  It's a mess!

Listening carefully to Andrew, fares will be set by GBR (Great British Railways) and changes have moved from "important" which they have been for years to "very important indeed" and also "urgent". I could speculate as to some of those changes, but I note "affordable" is the key word rather than "low", "cheap" or even "attractive" to attract people out of their cars ...

Perhaps - but there was no need for the railway to wait until a crisis like this came along to attempt, in a meaningful way, to "attract people out of their cars", however it was always easier to sit back and count the revenue generated by commuters/business travellers money.

People look at the way leisure travellers are treated, especially at weekends, and understandably choose the car instead.

Years of missed opportunities to put this right have been frittered away - it could well be (if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor!) that Messrs Hopwood etc are chasing after a ship that has already sailed.

Don't worry, they are in hot pursuit!
2  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed on: October 18, 2021, 10:20:00 pm
I've just noticed this in the Bristol Post:
"The fact is that Paddington and Waterloo are two very different destinations."
Mentions a Mark Annand and one Graham Ellis.

Of course the signature count is slightly out of date in that article. Just topped 2800 now...
3  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Two seperate bus storys from Devonshire on: October 18, 2021, 09:34:30 am
I have heard similar views from bus drivers in Somerset, who are not keen on the prospect of driving Evening services again after a decade of the county's bus network effectively being a daytime-only one.

This of course runs directly counter to what is the barest minimum aspiration of bus users, the county council and the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) in the Somerset Bus Service Improvement Plan
4  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: The passengers are BACK! on: October 17, 2021, 09:09:56 pm
We definitely need to find you a harder assignment next time.
5  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Reading Trainspotting on: October 16, 2021, 02:56:25 pm
Hi all

I'm planning a trip to Reading to do some trainspotting, does anybody know the best platforms for spotting and filming?

Thanks GWR 158

Actually, Trainspotting - and its 2017 sequel T2 Trainspotting - was filmed at Corrour station rather than Reading - see

In terms of platform choice, there are nominally two - It has a passing loop around an island platform with a siding on the east side. However, since November 1985, all passenger trains have used the original “down” platform. The "up" loop remains and is serviceable but it is no longer used by passenger trains.
6  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Porkway Partway on: October 15, 2021, 05:49:11 pm
I take it that's not a trick of a tail then!....

Or The Lamb Lies Down On Broadmead...
7  Journey by Journey / Bristol (WECA) Commuters / Re: WECA meeting four councils not gonna turn up on: October 15, 2021, 05:29:38 pm
I have been informed that the meeting ran smoothly, and the WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) Bus Service Improvement Plan (which was the bit I had my eye on) was officially signed off.
8  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Porkway Partway on: October 15, 2021, 12:04:03 pm
Matthew 8:26

Genesis 7
9  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Where were PhilWakely and bignosemac yesterday, 13th October 2021 on: October 15, 2021, 09:38:56 am
Come on team - let's rise to their challenge!

Is it somewhere along Crossrail/Elizabeth Line?

No.  It is somewhere that shares part of its name with a London football team, but is located nowhere near to that football team's ground. However, (according to the TfL» (Transport for London - about) route planner) you can reach that ground from here on one train.

Football league/Premiership side, or local parks team you came across?
10  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Somerset Bus Service Improvement Plan - October 2021 on: October 14, 2021, 08:17:46 pm
The very latest version of the Somerset Bus Service Improvement Plan can be found here, with Page 37, Table 5.4 containing the correction of the omission that rogerw spotted.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Porkway Partway on: October 14, 2021, 03:45:52 pm
FoSBR» (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways - site) is told that work hasn't started yet at Portway Park and Ride station because of 'some additional delays' in getting GRIP5 (detailed design) completed.

Bristol City Council are now waiting for Network Rail to inform them when they will start on site. With an estimated 20 week build, the station 'should be complete by the end of March 2022'.

Sorry Team Reading Green Park, but I did say that Porkway Partway wouldn't give up their "longest time taken to open a railway station" lead easily!
12  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Railway bridges struck by road vehicles - merged topic, ongoing discussion on: October 14, 2021, 02:04:32 pm
We're being held at Hungerford awaiting inspection by a Mobile Operations Manager.

Will he/she be frisking passengers for extra cans of Tribute?
13  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Staff reductions - London Area on: October 14, 2021, 04:10:29 am
From My London

(Selective quoting here for comment)

The association of train operators, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG(resolve)), says that peak hours travel on railway lines into and out of London and across the UK (United Kingdom) is not just supressed but will not return to pre-pandemic levels despite leisure and weekend travel booming once again. It's currently stuck at around 65 per cent of 2019's figures.

It means that all the extra staff needed at peak hours to manage the larger passenger flows will not be required. The exact figure is estimated to be in the thousands given that the 11 affected train operators in the capital employ 35,802 people according to the ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) (some are based outside London).

For now though, the two train companies operated under contract to Transport for London (TfL» (Transport for London - about)), London Overground and TfL Rail, pas well as Southeastern which is currently in the process of being taken over by the government will be spared.

The likely targets for job cuts are most likely to be platform, ticket office and customer service employees as other positions will still need to work the same number of hours. Drivers union ASLEF» (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen - about) estimates that 5,000 drivers are set to retire in the next five years anyway, allowing train companies to cut jobs by not backfilling posts instead of forcing any drivers out.

The 11 London train operators which are looking to cut jobs:
Avanti West Coast
Caledonian Sleeper
Chiltern Railways
East Midlands Railway
Greater Anglia
GTR (Thameslink plus Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express)
GWR (Great Western Railway)
LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about)
London Northwestern Railway
SWR» (South Western Railway - about)

Interesting to see SWR on the list, given Claire Mann's recent Bristol-Waterloo comments:

Quote from: Claire Mann
In line with this, we have sought to identify areas of duplication across the network where the removal of services would reduce the burden on the taxpayer, while not having a significant  effect on services for commuters or school flows. Given the volume of services operated between Salisbury and Bristol by GWR and the large proportion of leisure travel on the SWR services, we are confident the withdrawal of our services between will not materially  impact key flows of commuter or school traffic and agreed with the Department for Transport to realise the cost savings as soon as possible.

Left hand, right hand etc...
14  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Extinction Rebellion UK - May 2020 on: October 13, 2021, 12:32:58 pm
Motorway protests continue, by "insulate Britain" an offshoot of XR (Crossrail).

And taking an interesting new twist...

Quote from: Yahoo News
Insulate Britain: M25 protester is married to Transport for London boss

An Insulate Britain protester who had to be removed by police from the roof of a DLR (Docklands Light Railway) train was revealed on Tuesday to be the wife of a Transport for London boss.

Cathy Eastburn, 54, has also been arrested several times for blocking the M25 and is reportedly one of Britain’s most prolific climate activists.

Her husband Ben Plowden, 58, was a director in TfL» (Transport for London - about)’s surface transport team and previously a leading environmental campaigner with the charity Living Streets. In 2019, she was twice arrested taking part in Extinction Rebellion protests, including an incident when she glued herself to a DLR train, The Sun reported.

Last month she was involved in similar stunts on the M25 and at Heathrow for Insulate Britain.

Mr Plowden has spent the past 20 years as a TfL director and most recently has been overseeing plans to adapt its buildings to changing work practices resulting from the pandemic.

TfL said on Tuesday that he was leaving the organisation at the end of the month. His departure is said to be unrelated to the revelations about his wife.

A TfL spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on the activities of the families of our staff.”

The High Court was on Tuesday set to review injunctions issued over the past fortnight preventing protesters targeting the M25, TfL red routes and the Port of Dover.
15  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / Re: Okehampton on: October 13, 2021, 11:27:05 am
Can IEPs (Intercity Express Program / Project.) be used to Okehampton? Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere...

I don't know the answer, but I am certainly ready to be entertained by the discussion.
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