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1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: May 16, 2018, 11:51:40 pm

While it's not GWML electrification, two return journeys were made using the OLE by Pendolino 390 152 "Virgin Knight" from Preston to Blackpool North,  overnight (14/15) without incident.

Well done.

OTC

I'm pleased! For the year up to November last, I made regular trips to Blackpool North, and could see the electrification taking shape from the start. My last trip by rail was just before the long, long closure of the line, and sadly my future trips are likely to be infrequent and accompanied, so by car.
2  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: May 16, 2018, 10:18:07 pm
I wonder what would happen to those bridges and bus lanes if the whole project were cancelled?

An instant motorway junction for UWE Frenchay Campus.

It's being used for that already! Friends in the area have reported seeing many cars leaving the northbound M32 at the bus-only junction, some apparently unwittingly if social media is to be believed. I was directed to a post in Another Place by a lady who had obeyed the satnav order suggestion to "Leave at the next exit", and was frightened witless that CCTV may have recorded her egress. It didn't, but the council were there with a camera wagon yesterday, and someone was apparently issuing tickets. Others have mentioned seeing multiple vehicles joining the motorway from the Stoke Lane bus entrance, which surely cannot be done by accident.

Cycle paths!  Smiley Wink Cheesy Grin Cool Huh Roll Eyes Tongue Embarrassed Lips sealed Undecided Kiss Cry

There's been enough name-calling already, thank you, young Red Squirrel!

Just announced this morning further Metrobus delays.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/metrobus-confirm-further-delays-south-1572004

Should just cancel the whole project and tell First Bus to run an extra two or three 'X' services

To address the final sentence first, I'm sure one of the leading bus companies would have done that already had it been commercially viable. Aye, and there's the rub.

Going back to the Post Life article, you have to wonder at whether it is chutzpah, fraud or just incompetence at work.

Quote
Bosses have now confirmed the M2 service, from Ashton Vale to Temple Meads, is not expected to be up and running until Autumn this year. They added: "When we have a more definite date we will let you know."

The Metrobus route from Hengrove to Cribbs Causeway, or M1 service, has now been delayed again until January 2019.

A statement from organisations involved in Metrobus, including Bristol councillors, the managing director of First and the chief executive of HCT which runs Bristol Community Transport called this announcement "good news".

Councillors Mhairi Threlfall, Colin Hunt and Elfan Ap Rees, First managing director James Freeman and Dai Powell from HCT said in the joint statement: "With the preparations for the start of the first Metrobus service the M3 from Emersons Green into the city centre on May 29, are well underway, we are all pleased to give you more good news about the M1 and M2 services.
 
"We can now let you know that the M2 service, from Long Ashton Park and Ride via Temple Meads to the city centre, will start in Autumn, and the M1 service, from Hengrove to Cribbs Causeway, will start in January next year."

Whilst I have long harboured doubts about Messrs Hunt and ap Rees, I had always thought of Mhairi Threlwall as being a reasonably intelligent young lady of the type not prone to taking vast quantities of illegal hallucinogenic substances, and, despite being a councillor and in charge of the transport brief, of at least about average soundness of mind. It seems you can't judge a bus by looking at the livery after all. With the project way over budget and years late, not even Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, aka Comical Ali, at the height of his prowess would ever have described yet more delays as "good news". A quarter of a billion quid, and we can't even organise a replacement for the X73? Not good news at all, if you're a council tax payer in the West of England.
3  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: May 15, 2018, 05:54:28 pm

So, I think the 73 will survive, they may change the frequency a bit, but so long as it better than every 30 minutes it should be ok

Hardly an improvement though. MetroBust was supposed to improve public transport by opening routes nobody thought were commercially viable, not compete with what is already there.
4  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: May 14, 2018, 11:42:46 pm
I'm all for criticising JustaBus, but let's not get away from the fact that the roadworks at The Centre constitute an improvement - it has been a hellish mess since they put the Inner Circuit Road through, so the upheaval of finally burying that was well worthwhile.


As you may have guessed, I'm all for slagging off MetroBust, too. I agree - the layout of the Centre now is, whilst not perfect, a vast improvement on the previous design - at least for me in the car. The previous incarnation, when it first opened, saw some very serious accidents between pedestrians and buses, leading to a swift redesign of the parts they shared. But making it easier for private vehicles to get across the Centre is hardly the job of a quarter-billion quid public transport, is it?

I say not perfect because of some anomalies. First off, I don't think I've been through from Lewins Mead to Anchor Road yet without seeing someone turn left into Baldwin Street. That's clearly a no-no, that needs to be nipped in the bud quickly. Because secondly, pedestrians crossing Baldwin Street outside the soon to be closed Santander bank do not yet seem to have adapted to the way the traffic approaches them from the Hippodrome end. Those cars doing the right-turn legally leave a traffic light synchronised with the pedestrian lights on the opposite side of the Centre. I have seen several people start walking, not realising that the lights they are crossing at only control traffic coming from Baldwin Street in the opposite direction, and I have seen a couple of close calls. Anyone doing the illegal left turn into Baldwin Street will also arrive at the crossing with the pedestrian lights on green.

Finally, there is my favourite new foible. The A1 airport bus, which I was on last month and will be again soon, used to simply turn left into Baldwin Street from Colston Avenue. It can't now, so passes Baldwin Street into Broad Quay, then doubles back along Marsh Street to join Baldwin Street. As it might one day be able to use the misguided busway to regain some of the time lost in making the detour.

I have said it many times, Metrobus will fail because it does not integrate with a frequent rail service!

A bus every 5 minutes, with connecting trains every 10 minutes ... and so on, all on one ticket!

When Metrobus starts in Bradley Stoke, I'll have a twenty minute stroll to Willow Brook shopping centre, and then a 35 minute bus journey to Bristol Centre, or a two minute stroll and get 73 bus for 50 minutes bus journey, or a 12 minute cycle ride to Bristol Parkway for a 15 minute train journey.

Will I get Metrobus?, yes once to try it out, and then back to my bike and train.

You assume the continuation of the 73 service. First have said they will withdraw the X73 as soon as MetroBust starts running, becasue it won't be commercially viable any more. They will make some slight alterations to the 73, then monitor usage. They can't guarantee keeping it at the same frequency for long if numbers drop off.
5  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: City tram-trains trial unveiled in South Yorkshire - Rotherham / Sheffield on: May 14, 2018, 10:19:27 pm
Good news, and not before time!
6  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: April 29, 2018, 11:20:00 pm
We could always look for a precedent - presumably at least one of the hundreds of other operators worldwide who use this sort of system will have come up with a good answer.

As we don't seem to have consulted any of them before building MetroBust, I shouldn't think we have done much research into ticketing options. Most of the ones I have seen in foreign climes seem to involve a tobacconist's shop next to the stop. The only one I can think of along the MetroBust route is the kiosk in the Asdabury in Bedminster Parade.

Foreign operators would probably stand outside Temple Meads and wonder where the BRT route is. In Buenos Aires, it is the four lane middle bit of Avenue 9 de Julio, just down from Belgrano station, with 6 lanes of traffic either side. We don't have squares that big in Brizzle, let alone roads. In Lisbon, buses follow the tram tracks where they are separated from the roads. I haven't been to Curitiba in Brazil yet, but I am told they have bi-articulated buses running entirely separately from all other traffic, yet fully integrated with all public transport. They would probably look at MetroBust and say "But it's just a bus!" So it's probably best that we don't embarass ourselves by asking for advice.
7  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: April 29, 2018, 06:57:45 pm
I'm intrigued, what will happen on MetroBus when a stops ticket machine is OOO, will the bus drivers convey passengers to the next stop where the ticket machine is fit and well and make passengers get off, get their tickets and wait while the multitude obtain their tickets and reboard the vehicle, that'll slow down the service.

One of a number of questions that are unanswered. Some of them are unasked, and will only become apparent if and when it opens for business.
8  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Turbos on Severn Beach line from 03 Jul 17 on: April 27, 2018, 11:03:24 pm
I would be surprised if someone's not suggested it / looked at it. But how do the economic, financial and political case(s) stack up?    Will the Severn Beach line compete with or compliment other plans underway such as Metrobus, MetroWest and the Bristol Underground?   Isn't it part of Metrowest in which case capacity will have been considered?

Strangely, or maybe not, MetroBust doesn't really touch the SVB line anywhere. The nearest it comes to it is passing below, on the M32. Atkins, in 2006, did suggest ripping up the line and replacing it with a guided busway. This met with stiff opposition, and they have had to wait until now to prove that guided busways are not necessarily cheap and easy to build. So other than on that existential basis, the SVB line neither complements nor competes with MetroBust. It is part of MetroWest, or at least will be when that happens properly, and should be part of routes to Bath Spa (or possibly even Westbury) and Portishead. The Bristol Underground will remain a pipe-dream until there is absolutely no room on roads for anything to move. The only reason I can see for it being mentioned is to try to persuade the locals that the councils and the new Metro Mayor actually have ideas, and that they can forget how long we have been talking about Portishead and rejoice that we want an Underground instead.

Quote
Routine cross-acceptance of tickets on public transport (not just put in place when one mode / operator is malfunctioning) would be too joined up ...  Grin Grin.   No-brainer, but you would want to have a co-ordinated fare system.  My understanding is that rail fares on "The Beach" are lower than bus fares at present, and indeed the low fares may also be a barrier to major investment in infrastructure such as an extra track as the rate of immediate return might be pretty poor.

The fares on the SVB must be the best value in terms of pence per mile anywhere in England. The fare was set at 3 return between Severn Beach and Temple Meads back in 2007, when the service was improved to the point of being usable by commuters.( My inner conspiracy theorist still thinks that improvement was done to prove that the line was not economic, and give Atkins their way after all!) A weekly ticket costs 9, which is less than a day's car parking in central Bristol. Between Clifton Down and any station to Temple Meads is a mere 2 return. The fares would cover the cost of the service if they were all collected, but that isn't easy at peak periods, given the large number of passengers, the short distance between stations, and the lack of TVMs or gatelines anywhere but Temple Meads. There have been proposals to raise the fares, but Bristol City Council no longer subsidise the service, and GWR may recognise that any increase could reduce the numbers actually paying for the ride. Extra track would enable extra trains, and so extra passengers, and would probably justify fare rises, but no-one seems to want to do that, at least not until MetroWest rail is up and running, and a more holistic approach can be taken.

The Severn Beach Line has been, for the past decade, its own feasibility study. The success it has had even with limited expenditure on improvements should be used to calculate new figures to judge cost against benefit for urban rail investment, because it doesn't look as though the current formulae fit the job.
9  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Henbury Loop Train Service on: April 27, 2018, 10:25:49 pm
I wouldn't go so far as to say a decision has been made, at least not in the traditional sense of the inevitable next step being the reopening of the line. The latest announcement of a resurgent Henbury seemed to me to be a reaction to the latest estimate for the cost of rebuilding the line to Portishead. Almost "Good grief, we can't afford that! But we must do something."
10  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: April 24, 2018, 08:45:21 pm

Some issues there, Red Squirrel. Plenty of bust, no Metro.

You might fare better here, which is this evening's bulletin:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b027s1/points-west-evening-news-24042018#

It starts about the 7 minute mark. After Tin Kent has done his piece, we get Cabinet member for transport Mhairi Threlfall in the studio, putting a brave face and some additional spin. Yes, we won't get buses on most of it, but look at all those lovely cycle lanes, and how much better the centre is for cars! She wasn't even a councillor when MetroBust was spawned, and the Mayor is at best lukewarm about the project. Despite that, she seems to back-pedal and defend the indefensible.
11  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: April 24, 2018, 05:54:15 pm
That's because the number 10 takes just under an hour to get from Emersons to Parkway, hence the idea of having a Metrobus to replace it in the first place...  the last 10 service from Parkway back this way is before 8pm and there's no service on Sundays, leaving just the 19 which on a Sunday doesn't run far past 6pm.  My son who works over there ends up having to get taxis home if i'm not about to pick him up!  Just more false promises, and after years of us enduring roadworks on the ring road to get this thing up and running

It is 4 miles, and wouldn't take much longer to walk! The 10 would be much faster if it didn't go around the houses on the way to Parkway. One assumes that the idea of having a more direct service using main roads and with fewer stops has been considered, but not done because it wouldn't be commercially viable, not even with all those boffins in the Science Park. Which leads me on to MetroBust, and what would work for it that doesn't work already, given that the roads are the same? I can't think of anything other than that MetroBust will call at UWE for all those students and take them to the Centre.

On other matters, I said that everyone would start blaming everyone else, and Cllr Tim Kent, formerly cabinet member for transport and MetroBust cheerleader under the Lib Dem administration, popped up on the lunchtime to blame Western Super Mayor Tim Bowles for the loss of the route between Hengrove and Long Ashton. I am sure there will be more like this soon.
12  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: April 23, 2018, 09:09:16 pm
Hm. I am pretty sure that Gypsy Patch Lane bridge was only ever intended to be part of the "MetroBust Extension" project. The route from Cribbs Causeway to Hengrove was always going to go via Patchway, Aztec West and Bradley Stoke, so would not use the GPL bridge. The reason it does not take the straight route to Parkway and thence to the UWE is that not enough disadvantaged people live along that route, so the BCR would be low. GPL came up in earnest after the election of Western Super Mayor Tim Bowles, who seems keen to build on the success of MetroBust, even before the first passenger has ridden on the existing bits.
13  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Four track for Filton Bank - ongoing discussion on: April 22, 2018, 11:55:55 pm
Thanks for that video, metalrail - I hadn't seen the extent of the work on the northern abutment at SRD. I don't know what's occurring over the two possessions, but a bit of track realignment would seem a good idea, maybe even the installation of the live sides of the crossovers. The new viaduct goes up in June, and it would be so much easier to lay two new tracks and keep the railway running that way.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Shortage of train crews on Great Western Railway since September 2017 - ongoing discussion on: April 22, 2018, 06:37:37 pm
I have no proof ... but the suggestion that there's a staff BBQ today seems to fit the bill. To my knowledge Sunday working is still a matter of choice for many / most, so no contractual reason that individuals should choose driving a train over a social with their colleagues.  Indeed, if said BBQ is organised by colleagues it catches individuals between a rock and a hard place of not letting their colleagues down by missing the event, and letting a wider public down by being an element in train services being cancelled wholesale.

It's a nice day for it.

Read in another Forum that a long serving and respected person at Plymouth is holding his retirement do today is the reason

Always a nice day for retirement!
15  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: MetroBus on: April 21, 2018, 07:58:41 pm
Cynical, but probably true  Tongue

My usual literary style. Smiley
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