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[113] Bristol Temple Meads Station redevelopment
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1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: Yesterday at 03:09:29 pm
I heard the rumour from a group of GWR office staff enjoying a day out at the West Somerset Railway gala.
The shortage of rolling stock was given as the main reason, not only have IETs failed to achieve the hoped for level of reliability, older stock is also in short supply.
2  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion on: Yesterday at 12:02:35 pm
Travelled on the Pullman today.

Almost the first thing one of the staff said to me was "Have you heard from [broadgage] recently?  We haven't seen him about".

I was able to reassure them that having met broadgage in Taunton recently he is in fine fettle.

I travel less these days, partly because of the new trains. I am not fit enough to stand for a long journey if the train is half length, and booking a seat is of limited help since the reservations don't work reliably, and are void if the train is half length.
On my most recent trip to London, the Pullman failed to appear.

I look forward to a Pullman meal, but opportunities are limited these days.
I was considering a London trip today, rather glad that I did not looking at journey check.
3  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Eurostar goes almost dry on: Yesterday at 11:27:57 am
Another small but regrettable step towards making rail travel less attractive and more hassle, if compared to air or road transport.
Alcoholic drink may be carried in a car on a cross channel ferry, or in an aircraft, with the volume limited only by customs regulations, or by limits on size or weight of luggage.

To carry a bottle of spirits as a gift on Eurostar will cost an extra £30 as checked luggage, but by air or road/ferry there is no extra charge. That will help increase air transport and carbon emissions.
4  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: Yesterday at 10:40:05 am
Over 20 half length IETs today, according to journey check which is not that reliable these days.
Is the warm weather taking its toll ?

I have heard a rumour that the major timetable alteration that was planned for this December is being cancelled again, due to concerns about IET availability. (minor alterations are of course possible and could be "re-branded" as a major alteration)
Apart from rolling stock problems, there is rather a fear of major timetable alterations after well publicised fiascos elsewhere.
GWR are struggling to run the PRESENT timetable, how on earth would they hope with significant enhancements ?
5  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy on: Yesterday at 12:34:48 am
Wind turbines can and do kill people, but not very often and not in large numbers. Nuclear power has the potential for large scale disaster.

Under PRESENT CONDITIONS we do not really need storage of wind power. Gas is being burnt 24/7 for electricity production, and we simply decrease gas use when the wind blows, and increase gas use in calmer weather.

However with the move away from fossil fuel use, the day will come when some electricity in calm weather will HAVE to come from batteries or other storage.
Therefore pilot schemes and trials are underway, well in advance of any urgent need.
6  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 24, 2019, 07:59:51 pm
Iím thinking of going to see a doctor as there is clearly something wrong with me in that I actually like the IETs and thatís coming from someone who loves HSTs.

We could start a support group. I think they are fine too.

So do I, if confined to local or suburban services.
7  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: buses that clean the air on: June 24, 2019, 11:48:36 am
The two systems are not the same.
The earlier one treated the exhaust gases and claimed these to be cleaner than the surrounding air, which was the case if only certain pollutants were considered.

The equipment fitted to the bus is not connected to the exhaust. It is a simple air filter that removes fine particulates from the surrounding air. Such particulates are dangerous to health and removing them is desirable.

Neither system removes carbon dioxide which is the principle cause of climate change.
Carbon dioxide emissions would in fact be slightly increased due to the weight of the extra equipment.

8  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 24, 2019, 01:03:06 am
Why is it that people are continually so obsessive about these trains being so terrible because there are faults? Either HSTs were faultless, or, they were never discussed so regularly as they were the norm and such an iconic train..
The point is that the HSTs, whatever their problems with reliability at the time, were such an advance on what went before they were universally admired.
  • The jolt at starting as a locomotive took up the slack in the couplings in hauled stock disappeared
  • The ride in the early days with the long swing link bogies on the Western's immaculate track was a revelation
  • The brakes were silent - quite astonishing after clasp brakes with cast iron blocks. (The hot brake pad smell was solved quite quickly by adding flaps which closed the air conditioning air inlet on first step braking)
  • Automatic doors to the saloons
  • Much quicker journeys.

After over forty years of service the replacement trains:
  • have a ride which is noticeably harsher. On one train on which I travelled there was a significant high frequency vibration at speeds above about 115mph. Loud bangs can be heard occasionally from under the coach - this never happened with the HSTs
  • are not significantly faster. Time savings over the HST are marginal - mainly achieved by omitting stops
  • the seats are reasonably well shaped for my body but are not padded. For a top-of-the-range product this seems cheap and mean.
  • on the older trains the internal fittings are already starting to look well used. More intelligent design and better quality materials might have helped.

After over forty years of development with deeper understanding of suspension dynamics and improvements in materials and components one would expect to travel on a train which is very smooth and near silent inside.
The IET gives the impression that it has been designed to a price and corners have been cut.

None of this has anything to do with reliability - it has all to do with the impression the train makes on the passenger. The internal appearance of the IETs on the Western would be credible for an outer suburban train. It is well under par for the top of the line long distance train running on the routes once travelled by the 'Super Saloons'.

Maybe the moral is that one should not let generalist civil servants specify a train.


Could not have put it better myself.
HSTs were a most welcome improvement over that which went before, and teething problems therefore forgiven.
IETs are generally considered to be a backwards step. It is not just me who feels that in many respects they are not proper inter-city trains, but at best a regional DMU.
9  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 23, 2019, 05:11:22 pm
The operational faults of the HST were made somewhat more invisible in recent years on the main services than they might have been by the practice of a failed one being covered if possible by reallocating one scheduled to run on the Cotswolds or Oxfords. This was in turn covered by a turbo often dividing a 2+3 formation from elsewhere. So whilst those on the main lines still got their HST and were blissfully unaware of what was going on, others got a 3 carriage turbo instead of an HST, and a 2 carriage turbo instead of a 5. Next to suffer might be Cheltenham, with a through HST cancelled in favour of a shuttle from Swindon.
Of course this couldn't happen every time depending on where and when the failure occurred, but it certainly had an effect.

Yes, but that is of little consolation to the long distance passengers who used to always get a full length HST, but now have a lottery as to train length.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 23, 2019, 05:01:04 pm
Decades ago when the HSTs were new and less reliable, it was common to substitute a full length loco hauled set.
In more recent years it was the norm to take an HST from a lower priority service, in order to avoid cancelling an important express.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 23, 2019, 02:09:15 pm
Why is it that people are continually so obsessive about these trains being so terrible because there are faults? Either HSTs were faultless, or, they were never discussed so regularly as they were the norm and such an iconic train..

Several reasons.
1) Many people consider the IETs to be a very poor quality replacement for the proper inter-city trains used previously, a position worsened when they are half length.

2) HSTs undoubtedly failed, but such failures usually resulted in either a spare HST or a full length loco hauled set being used instead. These days we get a half length train.

3) IETs are hugely expensive, and for all this expense we were promised "Japanese levels of reliability"

4) Previous promises have not been kept "all trains that need to be full length, will be full length"
"much improved trolley service"  "hot food in cattle class"
Therefore many people don't believe promises about future improvements and suspect that we stuck with uncomfortable trains, often reduced in length, with minimal catering, for the next 26 years.

I, and I suspect many others, would forgive the underfloor engines if the trains had proper buffets, padded seats, working reservations, more tables, reliable toilets, proper luggage space for holidaymakers, and were reliably 9 or 10 car with gangways throughout.
12  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 23, 2019, 11:20:33 am
Several services to/from Bedwyn are today formed of 3 car Turbos instead of 5 car IETs. "due to a shortage of IETs"
So much for the new fleet being ample.
So much for numerous Turbos being available to relieve overcrowding on branch lines further west.

Quite a few 9 car IETs instead of 5+5 today also, not a problem in itself as the capacity is almost the same, but an interesting reflection on availability.

A significant number of cancellations and part cancellations due to normal summer weekend staff shortages. Presumably had staff been available, then more services would be short formed or cancelled for lack of trains.
13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy on: June 21, 2019, 11:57:32 pm
I have just returned from a splendid feast of Beef Wellington at a neighbors.

The beef was produced within a few miles, so that is good from the POV of food miles.
Cattle however are bad from the global warming POV.
I was conveyed to the feast in via a heritage train.
And returned home in a horse drawn cart.

Drink included home made sparkling orange wine, home made beer, and a morsel of port.

So have I sinned, or was this a fairly virtuous night out ?
14  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Off-lease High Speed Trains running out of time to avoid scrap threat on: June 21, 2019, 03:40:01 pm
Perhaps some of the redundant HSTs should be secretly stored in Box tunnel, instead of the steamers?
Not much point in storing steamers thus these days as few stations have coaling or watering facilities. Lips sealed
15  Journey by Journey / London to South Wales / Re: Open Access Application - London to Cardiff (28/03/2019) on: June 20, 2019, 07:46:21 pm
Who would pay for the development costs?  Modifying DVTís and then the 91s and carriages so they would be compatible would no doubt be expensive.  Beyond the means of a small Open Access Operator?

It would in my view be reasonable for public money to be used, possibly via the research department of a university.
The DVTs would need significant work.
I do not believe that any modifications to the coaches would be needed, and only very minor modifications to the locomotives.

The use of batteries and traction motors in a former DVT is IMHO innovative enough to be publicly funded as a research project.
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