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1  All across the Great Western territory / Who's who on Western railways / Re: Jo Johnson Resigns As Transport Minister on: November 09, 2018, 06:39:06 pm
2  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Evesham incident and possible follow-up strike action on: November 07, 2018, 02:08:33 pm
Do they have to take religious orders on the Cotswold Line?
Only on the Cathedrals Express.
3  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: Train travels 57 miles without driver on: November 06, 2018, 04:52:52 pm
During my (far off) days in Local Government we had a Union called NALGO - aka Not A Lot Going On.

I wonder if any of their members worked for that late unlamented franchise WAGN, aka We Are Going Nowhere.
4  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: Train travels 57 miles without driver on: November 06, 2018, 11:23:47 am
Just as well it wasn't 57 miles without a guard, otherwise the RMT would be calling the Brothers out.

yes yes I know it was an Australian freight train
5  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Worcestershire Parkway Station project - ongoing discussion on: November 05, 2018, 03:51:38 pm
Looking at Ashchurch prices - £42.00 for an anytime return to University ... £26.10 after 09:30.  £87.90 for a 7 day season looks like much better value.   Ashchurch to University as a commute isn't one I had previously thought of - perhaps because of the poor through services - see attachment

Of course, there's the pricing elephant in the room...

Worcester Stations to Birmingham Stations is £11.30 SDR, £9.60 CDR.

Ashchurch to Birmingham Stations is £42.00 SOR, £26.10 SVR. (No day returns available.)

You've probably already guessed that the former are set by West Midlands Railway and the latter by Cross"we've never found a flow we don't want to gouge"Country. Given that the services at Worcestershire Parkway will be operated by CrossCountry, I would assume they'll set the prices too.

But if a day out from Parkway is three or four times the cost of one from Shrub Hill or Foregate, I wonder how many people will choose it. Yes, there are always advance fares, and maybe - he says doubtfully - it'll find a niche for Worcestershire folk going on holiday to Devon or something. Still, WMR's Worcester-Birmingham fares are famously good value, and XC's fares are famously bad value, and putting the two up against each other may not end happily.
6  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Worcestershire Parkway Station project - ongoing discussion on: November 05, 2018, 03:44:18 pm
Out of interest, can anyone think of another instance of a station being named after a county rather than a city or town? Why isn't it Worcester Parkway?

Not a county, of course, but there's East Midlands Parkway.
7  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Evesham incident and possible follow-up strike action on: November 05, 2018, 11:35:11 am
On the RMT website:

RAIL UNION RMT will ballot all guards and drivers at Paddington Depot for strike action and action short of a strike over the victimisation and decision to sack Great Western Railway (GWR) rail guard and union activist Ben Frederick.

Frederick has been sacked following a disciplinary hearing this week after he was assaulted at Evesham Station by a member of the public while working his train as a guard (train manager) on Saturday 11 August 2018.

I have no knowledge of the circumstances of this incident, but I don't think it's too controversial to say that Evesham passengers can sometimes be a handful...
8  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line - 2018 cancellation and amendments log on: October 31, 2018, 08:02:50 pm
The following (Moreton-starter) turbo was less crammed than I'd feared.
9  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Avonmouth NR Work "axed as hundreds risked being trapped in chemical emergency" on: October 30, 2018, 04:47:57 pm
The Severnside Sirens would be a great name for a band.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - 2019 to 2045 / Re: Weston MP says consumers deserve choices when it comes to local rail services on: October 11, 2018, 12:50:40 pm
John Penrose: “I’d like to see more choice for local rail users in Bristol, Weston, Swindon and everywhere else so that if they don’t like the service that is being provided by First...

Quote from: Somerset Live
A spokesman for GWR said South Western Railways also serves Bristol and the West of England region.


(quotes extensively snipped)
11  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Shipton to London on: October 10, 2018, 07:55:02 pm
Where else?   The halts on the North Cotswolds could be next ... with development within easy walking / cycling distance of any or each of the stations, extra calls could be worthwhile for everyone.  A thousand new homes with a decent train service started before they were sold ... 2300 new residents, 50,000 passenger journeys per annum upwards.

I'm personally not going to disagree with that...

...but in reality: the West Oxfordshire Local Plan has just (last week) been adopted, with a fairly last-minute change in that the expectation of development within the "Burford/Charlbury sub-area" has been withdrawn.

The previous draft of the plan had a modest number of houses within the area, but it was successfully challenged on the basis this wasn't consistent with the statutory protection for the Cotswolds AONB. Although there may be some small-scale development, hundreds of houses are vanishingly unlikely, let alone a thousand. And both Combe and Finstock stations (as well as Charlbury, Ascott, Shipton and Kingham) are within the AONB.

You could well argue that it is absolute madness to be building those thousands at Witney, Carterton and Eynsham, which are served by the notoriously congested A40 and which don't have any railway service at all. I wouldn't disagree with you... but them's the breaks.
12  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Other things railways did on: October 05, 2018, 02:17:54 pm
And don't I recall them taking over and running canals too?

Yes - by 1947 (i.e. immediately pre-nationalisation), the great majority of the canals were owned by the railway companies.

Some railways were better stewards of the canals than others, and the GWR was not one of the kinder ones. (For the GWR's 150th anniversary, Waterways World ran a series of articles headed "No cause for celebration"!) Usually the railway companies bought the canals either to eliminate the competition or to get their hands on the useful land. The Wilts & Berks Canal's most profitable years were when it was used for carrying building materials for the new railway being constructed nearby...

A few canal companies remained independent and profitable right up to 1947, such as the Staffs & Worcs and the Aire & Calder. They, too, were nationalised - but the Rochdale and the Derby (perhaps a couple of others?) were not. When a waterway campaigner quizzed a civil servant about this a few years later, the answer was "oh, that was one we forgot".

(And then there's the Hereford & Gloucester Canal, leased to the GWR in 1862 and partly used for construction of the Gloucester-Ledbury line. The canal is now being restored and the plan is to reuse the old railway alignment around Ledbury, with the water flowing between the station platforms...)
13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: ORR Report into May 2018 GTR and Northern Timetable Failure on: October 05, 2018, 12:52:38 pm
And as a follow-up...:

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today opened an investigation into whether Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern breached its requirements to do everything reasonably practicable to provide appropriate, accurate and timely information to passengers in the run-up to the May 2018 timetable and during the disruption that followed.

The action comes after the ORR’s timetable Inquiry last month identified concerns with information provided to passengers who use Northern and GTR’s Thameslink and Great Northern services.

The ORR is investigating whether GTR and Northern breached Condition 4 of their ‘Statement of National Regulatory Provisions’ which requires train companies to provide “appropriate, accurate and timely information to enable railway passengers and prospective passengers to plan and make their journeys with a reasonable degree of assurance, including when there is disruption.”
14  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: How do journey planners choose where to have you change? on: October 03, 2018, 01:59:47 pm
I will have a very heavy bag.  And be travelling with a gentleman who's not as nimble on his feet as he once was, also with luggage.  So we will change at Cheltenham Spa.  Why on earth would the journey planner advise anyone to change at Gloucester? I can't see the advantage in so doing.

Shortest-path routing engines are my speciality rather than multi-modal timetable-based ones but...

Given two different journeys producing identical outcomes, the route chosen will generally be a random, implementation-dependent pick from the two. So the trick is to weight the outcomes. WP has mentioned one way this can be done (better score for long layovers) but it should be equally possible to downrate a transfer that involves struggling over a long footbridge.

Some journey-planner software does support "preferred transfer" points, places where changing trains incurs a smaller penalty. Here's the relevant ticket for OpenTripPlanner, for example:

In this case, it depends whether the software commonly used in UK rail sites supports it (I'd be surprised if it doesn't) and whether the people putting the data in have defined Cheltenham Spa as a preferred transfer point.
15  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Why don't tickets work on trains and buses (stupid question day) on: September 28, 2018, 04:35:31 pm
It has happened, on occasion. The X90 coach used to accept regular Oxford-London return train tickets, so if you missed the last train, you could catch the bus. But that was when Go-Ahead, who own the Oxford Bus Company, had the Thames Trains franchise.
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