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Most liked recent subjects
[56] Could you give up flying? Meet the no-plane pioneers
[53] GWR bans surfboards from IET services
[53] RMT Calls For Entire Bus Network To Be Taken Into Public Owner...
[51] Treherbert, Aberdare, or Merthyr Tydfil?
[48] Coffee Shop AGM, Taunton, 8th June 2019
[44] IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent pe...
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16  Journey by Journey / Plymouth and Cornwall / Re: GWR bans surfboards from IET services on: May 17, 2019, 12:45:09 pm
Indeed, years ago I expressed the view that the IETs were basically a commuter train and unsuited to inter-city use.
IET supporters disagreed and some pointed out that IETs were intended for the shorter journeys, with HSTs being retained for Cornish services.

Then it was announced that no HSTs were being retained and all long distance services were to be downgraded to DMUs.

IET supporters then rallied with the suggestion that the additional IETs for the Cornish services "could" be to a better specification, including more luggage space, and "might" include a buffet.
I replied that this seemed unlikely, to which advocates of the new DMUs stated that I should not be so negative "before any of us have even seen any of the follow on order".

In fact of course the additional units were of the same commuter style.

And whilst I have not yet seen every example of the IET fleet, I can state that none of them have buffets.
Toilets are unreliable.
Seat reservations seldom work.
Seat are too hard.
Single 5 car formations are a frequent feature, over a dozen yesterday.
The catering downgrade has been a fiasco, with the trolley often either entirely absent, or hiding in first class, or in the other unit of a 5+5 train.
17  Journey by Journey / Plymouth and Cornwall / Re: GWR May 2019 Timetable on: May 16, 2019, 09:24:59 am
"And no buffet car/restaurant west of Plymouth"

We now have no buffet car on any part of any service, how is that for progress ?
The Pullman restaurant is excellent, but is available on fewer services than in the past and not west of Plymouth. So no improvement there.
18  Journey by Journey / Plymouth and Cornwall / Re: GWR bans surfboards from IET services on: May 15, 2019, 10:56:39 am
A proper inter-city train should have provision for bulky luggage including cycles, surfboards and large cases. The fact that such space is unused much of the time is simply part of running a train service.
A lot of seats go unused at off peak times.
Large luggage space may be unused outside of the holiday season.
Wheelchair spaces are often unused.

As the IETs make such efficient use of space, with no space "wasted" on a buffet and with minimal provision for cycles, no space "wasted" on carrying surfboards, may we look forward to significant reduction in fares ?
All this space saving efficiency should be reflected in the fares.
19  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Electric ferries on: May 15, 2019, 09:18:00 am
Excellent news IMHO, electric power is the future and should be used wherever suitable.

I suspect that we will see an electric cross channel ferry within 10 years. Electricity is often used very wastefully on board ship and a limited supply from a battery might lead to more prudent use.

One caveat with electric ferries is the very substantial electrical input required to charge them in a reasonable time, more so if fast charging is contemplated.
With a ferry that runs between say England and France, fast charging at either end of the route should be easily achieved. If however a ferry runs between a small island and a mainland, then the island might not have sufficient electricity available for charging the ferry.
A larger battery that can complete the round trip is then required.
20  Journey by Journey / Plymouth and Cornwall / Re: GWR bans surfboards from IET services on: May 15, 2019, 09:02:06 am
I must admit to having no knowledge of surfboards, but Ive heard several people suggest that one or two of the five luggage/bike areas on a 9-car train could easily be used as a storage space for surfboards if a couple of securing straps were added. 

Yes but what happens when a 5 car unit turns up for a crowd that includes 5 cycles, 2 surfboards, a couple of wheelchairs, and a few giant baby carriages ?
BTW there are about a dozen half length IETs today, must be the start of the holiday season.
21  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: How much taxi before it stops being a train journey? on: May 13, 2019, 11:46:19 pm
The fares that I quoted were only approximate, from memory, and yes it was a first class anytime single.
Cattle class no good as wanted to book in the Pullman.
Advance first class offered only a modest discount and is non refundable if some work related c0ck up stopped me getting the train.
22  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: May 13, 2019, 08:07:30 pm
New GWR IETs under fire over lack of buffets
https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2019/05/13-new-gwr-iets-under-fire.html

Quote
THE RMT has been holding demonstrations today at London, Swansea and Plymouth about the lack of buffets on GWRs new Intercity Express Trains. Surfers have also been protesting about the simultaneous withdrawal of space to carry their boards.
Continues...

It is not often that I agree with the RMT, but this time I side with the brothers.
It would IMHO have been preferable for the RMT to raise their objections before the trains were built.
My crystal ball forecast no buffets, long before this was publicly admitted. Do the RMT not have a crystal ball ?
23  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: How much taxi before it stops being a train journey? on: May 13, 2019, 04:50:44 pm
The journey to Sutton was many years ago and was a one-off to visit a dying relative, cost and carbon emissions were secondary to getting there quickly. Public transport throughout was not an option as I knew not how to get from the station to the nursing home.

The bus from Taunton to Minehead is indeed much lower carbon and also a lot cheaper than a taxi. I use the bus where possible. ALL my recent journeys have been by bus.
However when I was working/living in London but visiting my Mother in Minehead, I often had to get a taxi as the last bus departed Taunton before the arrival of the train from London.

24  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: How much taxi before it stops being a train journey? on: May 13, 2019, 01:31:17 pm
I tend to think of a journey as being primarily by train if the train fare is significantly more than the taxi fare.

Example, London to Minehead. Train fare to Taunton 170. Taxi fare Taunton to Minehead 60. A train journey IMHO

Example, Berrylands to Sutton. Train fare Berrylands to Surbiton 3. Taxi fare Surbiton to Sutton 40. A taxi journey IMHO.
The only reason for taking the train to Surbiton was a lack of reliable taxis in Berrylands It was quicker and simpler to take the train to Surbiton at which place there is a taxi rank.
25  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: IET Quiet Coach Signage on: May 12, 2019, 07:30:08 pm
Any such announcements would have to made at a higher than normal volume, otherwise people on the phone might not hear them.
26  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Preserved railway lines, Railtours and other rail based attractions / Re: Newly restored "Flying Scotsman" back in service - ongoing discussion on: May 12, 2019, 03:08:41 pm
It shouldn't be too long before the muppets pictured upthread are facing plod and then a magistrate. The BBC have published the picture of their blatant trespassing.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-48219462

..I wonder how many of said muppets will be behaving in a similarly irresponsible and moronic way when the HSTs set out on their final journeys in the near future?

I doubt it.
HSTs were very common until recently, and a photo or a viewing of the last service is not different enough to be worth the trouble.
The problems might arise in years to come when a preserved HST makes a rare main line trip.

Returning to the present trespass problems, I would hope that the courts start imposing more significant penalties for such trespass. If the owner of a child is involved one might hope that they could be charged with endangering the child.
27  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy on: May 12, 2019, 11:39:59 am
Agree. Rail is one of the best modes of transport WRT carbon emissions, but nothing beats not travelling at all !

And for leisure travel, and for non urgent freight, we should make more use of coastal shipping and of inland waterways.
Canal barges use very little diesel fuel, and could be powered by batteries charged from solar energy.
A return to sail power is a distinct possibility for coastal shipping.

Oh come, this is just absurd.  Even where inland waterways exist (say Bristol to Bath), who's going to spend at least three hours to do a journey that would take 15 minutes by rail (remember all those locks have to be got through). And for freight traffic the slow pace and limited capacity of each barge would mean that labour costs would be astronomical per tonne mile. And of course the current network and capacity of that network would be woefully inadequate for what you suggest.

Presumably you practise what you preach and never make leisure journeys?

The way to make rail more carbon efficient is to cram more seats in, do away with buffets and restaurant cars which are not space efficient, and have shorter sets so that trains aren't carting round lots of empty seats at the extremities of their journeys, and have capacity more tailored to the demand. I'm sure you'll be supportive of this for the greater good.

I see nothing absurd in my suggestion that some leisure travellers could use canals.
The much reduced speed is of little consequence if the journey is considered as part of the holiday or leisure trip rather than simply as a means of getting from one place to another.
Canals are already used for some leisure trips, I was suggesting that such use should be encouraged and expanded.
Virtually all canal boats are diesel powered, but solar looks viable in view of the modest speeds.

I do practice what I preach by not flying or driving, and limiting leisure trips by public transport. And also by minimising my use of fossil fuel at home (no oil central heating, no gas, normally no coal used)

I could not support "greening" trains by use of shorter trains, higher density seating, and removing catering. IMHO trains need to be made MORE comfortable and attractive in other ways, so as to encourage train travel instead of flying or driving.
Trains are unlikely to be as convenient as driving door to door, nor to be as quick as flying. Therefore train travel needs to be made more attractive in other ways, including.
Trains long enough to seat everyone under all but exceptional circumstances.
Comfortable seating with good legroom.
A proper hot buffet on most long distance services, and a full restaurant on selected services where demand exists.

Promote train travel as being more comfortable than flying or driving.

"bacon rolls and fresh coffee served on our trains. we advise against cooking bacon whilst driving"
"enjoy a beer, or something stronger in our buffet and lounge car. We advise against drinking in your car"
"over half our seats are at full size tables, use your laptop in comfort. Please don't use a PC whilst driving"
"catch up on phone calls whilst on board (except in designated areas) You cant do that on a plane"

28  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy on: May 11, 2019, 04:52:31 pm
Agree. Rail is one of the best modes of transport WRT carbon emissions, but nothing beats not travelling at all !

Rather than reducing the costs of rail travel, I would prefer to see the costs of road and air travel increased.

And for leisure travel, and for non urgent freight, we should make more use of coastal shipping and of inland waterways.
Canal barges use very little diesel fuel, and could be powered by batteries charged from solar energy.
A return to sail power is a distinct possibility for coastal shipping.
29  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy on: May 11, 2019, 03:55:45 pm
And here is a specific proposal to reduce carbon emissions on the Waterloo to Exeter route, AND improve capacity.
This line is worked by class 158s and 159s, these have many years of useful life left and cant be readily converted to bi-mode operation.

Therefore consider building a small fleet of high powered DC EMUs, with every axle motored and about twice the power per ton of standard designs.
These designed to work in multiple with existing DMUs. On the electrified part of the route, the DMUs are to be hauled "dead" with the new electric unit hauling and powering on board services.
At the limit of the electrified area, the diesel engines are to be started and the electric unit detached.
The ample electricity supply from the conductor rail could pre-heat the diesel engines and fully charge the starter batteries so as to ensure quick and reliable starting.
The total train length should be maximum that Waterloo can handle.
This would give more capacity on the inner part of the route, and would eliminate diesel consumption on the electrified part of the route.
A bit like an updated version of the old REP units.

When the DMUs become life expired, consider replacing them with battery units that are hauled by the EMUs on the electrified part of the route.
30  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy on: May 11, 2019, 02:04:22 pm
A couple of specific points to add to the above.

When planning or carrying out significant civil engineering works on or near the railway, make at least passive provision for considerable capacity enhancements in years to come.

New bridges over rail lines should allow for at least one, and preferably two extra tracks under the new bridge.
New or re-built stations and platforms should allow for future platform extensions to at least 150% of the present train length.

Think twice before building any more 100% diesel trains. We cant electrify the whole network overnight, but with a rolling programme of electrification, the existing fleet of diesel trains should be adequate.
All or almost all new trains to be electric or bi-mode.
To allow for growth, virtually all new trains to be 10 car or longer. I fully appreciate that shorter trains are sufficient for many services, but such needs could be met by cascading EXISTING shorter trains, not building more short units.

As is well known, I don't think much of the IETS, but that is due to the downgraded on board facilities. I have no objection to the PRINCIPLE of bi mode operation.

IMHO all new electric trains should incorporate a small diesel engine, or a battery for use when the wires come down.

The railway industry owns or controls a great deal of property, and should set a good example by generating renewably as much electricity as possible.
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