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1801  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: FGW Olympic strike action? on: June 22, 2012, 07:45:13 am
Is not crossrail being built partly in order to reduce overcrowding on other parts of Londons transport system ?
So perhaps those employed on those transport facilities that will become less busy should receive a pay cut, when crossrail opens ?
A lot more than ^500, since the the games are only for a few weeks but crossrail is permanent.

Also the growing use of Oyster cards has reduced the need for ticket offices on Suburban and underground stations. Closure of some has been proposed, to which the trades unions have reacted with predictable fury.
Perhaps more ticket offices could be kept open if the relevant staff took a pay cut. After all, if they expect more money for an increase in trade during the games, then less money for a decline in trade seems reasonable.
1802  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion on: June 15, 2012, 11:44:05 am
I can not agree that the restaurant "takes up seats" there are still the same number of seats on the train, and the same number of passengers, whether the restuarant be open or not.

Exactly, so it does take up seats. As standard class passengers are sitting in the restaurant but also have reservations in standard.

If someone has a standard class ticket and manages to sit in the restaurant, then on a busy service it would seem reasonable for another passenger to occupy the standard class seat whilst the first customer dines.
When they have completed their meal, conflict might arise in theory if they seek to return to their seat, but in practice it should not be a problem.
It is likely that the dining customer will remain in the restaurant until at least Taunton or Exeter. After the Exeter stop there are almost allways seats for all.
Indeed there is a good chance that either the dining customer, or the other passenger sitting in "their" standard class seat will allight at Taunton Or Exeter.

AFAIK, anyone may use a reserved seat, provided that they willingly give it up when the customer with the reservation requires it.
If someone boarding at Paddington finds a reserved seat that is not taken, I believe that they may use it.
1803  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion on: June 15, 2012, 09:04:22 am
I can not agree that the restaurant "takes up seats" there are still the same number of seats on the train, and the same number of passengers, whether the restuarant be open or not.
As an example, I use the Pullman regulary on the Golden Hind, I have a first class ticket, and would be sitting in a first class seat, regardless of whether or not the restaurant appears (has been more reliable lately)

I see no need for on board catering to make a profit, providing that any losses are moderate and affordable.
Does the bike rack make a profit ? or the luggage spaces ? or the toilets ?
Providing buffets, and on longer distance services a full restaurant, should be part of running a train service, and not a means of making money.
To make a profit is desireable if possible, but not IMHO essiential.


Whilst rumours of re-instating 2 or more Pullmans are welcome, it must be rembered that reliable sources of rumours suggested that 2 pullmans would be re-instated from the recent timetable change, and this did not happen.


BTW, in the good old days, we had 7 Pullmans daily from London to the West, and a similar number of return services.
Most were withdrawn "temporarily" after the Hatfield accident, and never re-instated.
1804  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion on: June 14, 2012, 08:48:22 am
Glad to see miniatures of gin, and cans of tonic back, perhaps other spirits and mixers might return ?

I dont consider the price to be excessive, remembering that the miniature bottle is a double measure compared to that served in most pubs.
Miniature bottle=50ml  standard pub measure=25ml.
1805  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Spot the error... on: June 07, 2012, 08:35:38 am
To replace a 2 car train with a 6 car one by 2020 as suggested above is entirely possible if growth continues, though of course it would be expensive.

But what about services that are already overcrowded, and already formed of 2+8 HSTs ?
8% growth a year suggests that with a similar timetable to the present one, that we would need trains of at least 30 vehicles.
I am in favour of longer trains, but fully accept that 30 vehicles is most unlikely to be viable.

This does however suggest that we need to plan for 14 or 16 vehicles as being the norm in the future for the busier inter city routes.
Not all services will justify such long trains, but I would suggest that there will be plenty of refurbished HSTs, Voyagers, Adelantes, etc. for use on secondary or less busy routes.
I dont feel that building more short multiple units is the way forward, Full length inter city trains are needed.

The most optimistic growth forecasts suggest 14 or 16 car trains running at twice todays frequencies.

Even a much more modest rate of growth would fill 14 or 16 car trains running to a timetable broadly similar to todays.
1806  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Jubilee weekend rail travel - some concerns raised on: June 04, 2012, 10:48:10 am
Then again, you could ignore the whole event completely.  Like all good republicans.

But what about republicans who voluntered to work, in order that those more interested in the celebrations could enjoy them.
Two colleagues, not much interested in the event tried to get to work via FCC. Described as a total fiasco with a limited service of short trains "because it is Sunday"
LUL described as even worse.

This does not bode well for the sporting event in a few weeks time.
1807  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: FGW to "refresh" First Class on: May 29, 2012, 09:24:40 am
I know its been discussed before but I'm all for turning First Class to the front at Paddington.  On the occasions this has happended to me its been a delight Grin (and I don't mind the stroll down the Platform, indeed now the Hot and Cold is the best way to exit east it would be great, oh and I'd be the first off the platform and out of the car park at my home station as well Grin Grin).

I would prefer First at the country end, but it would seem that I am in a minority regarding this.
Many first class ticket holders feel strongly about the extra walking involved at Paddington, but ignore the shorter walk that would result at other stations.

The absence of latecomers, with rucksacks, dogs, baby carriages and screaming infants walking through First would in my view be worth a longer walk.


It is certainly a welcome change if the train is the wrong way round.
1808  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Turbo refresh started. on: May 28, 2012, 08:34:07 am
It should be possible, at modest cost, to lock the windows electricly.
They could then be released remotely by the driver in case of AC failure.
Electromagnets for holding doors and windows shut are widely used in buildings, often for windows on fire exit routes.
In case of fire, they release automaticly so as to vent smoke and allow safe escape.

On a train, a similar system could be used in case of A/C failure, either operated by the driver, or even automated. If the A/C has been faulty for more than say 10 minutes, AND the internal temperature exceeds 24 degrees for more than 10 minutes, then the windows open.
The windows would have to be closed manually afterwards, the electromagnet only HOLDS them shut, it can not pull shut an open window.
1809  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: Incident on board First Capital Connect train at Kentish Town station - 26 May 2011 on: May 26, 2012, 09:20:38 pm
I have been caught in 2 major FCC breakdowns and inumerable minor ones.
I have NEVER known the battery lighting or the PA to function for more than a few minutes.

There seems to be a view in FCC that hundreds or even thousands of people trapped, sometimes below ground, for hours is "just one of those things"
The age or condition of the class 319s was regularly blamed, but the new trains dont seem any better.
The old signalling was also blamed, though delays seem to have increased after the recent resignalling.

Regular victims of FCC frequently observe that it is a "weekday only, fair weather only railway"
"you cant expect trains if it rains heavily" and even the forecast of snow anywhere in Southern England seems to result in closure.

The first priority is to confine everyone on the trains, and when they eventually escape the whole problem is blamed on "trespassers"


FCC are the worst train operator of any that I use regularly.
FGW could perhaps do better at times, but are IME far better than FCC.
1810  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: 2nd Class / standard class - early days, 1970s, 2012 on: May 25, 2012, 10:17:49 am
I wonder what reductions in train lengths or fleet size are planned by the potential new TOCs for the great western franchise ?
I wonder what routes will have 2+2 seating replaced with 2+3, this being regarded as progress.

Recent "improvements" on several main lines do not fill me with confidence regarding the proposed HST2/ICEP, or whatever it is called this week.
The original plan was for a full length, high speed, diesel train with inter city internal layout.
This has gradually changed into a 4 car DMU, with the ability to also use electric power.
A number of respected members of these forums have suggested that my views are unduly negative regarding these proposed new trains.
Do these optimists believe that the new trains will have the following

Almost all seats to be facing at tables.
2+2 seating in steerage, 2+1 in first.
Leg room, in each class no worse than a traditional HST.
A restaurant and full buffet.
At least 10 vehicles of passenger accomadation, which is only a modest improvement on an HST, 12 would be better.

I will be very suprised indeed if the new trains are thus fitted out.

What we will probably get is a 4 car DMU, with 2 tables per coach and high density bus seating layout.
1811  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: 2nd Class / standard class - early days, 1970s, 2012 on: May 24, 2012, 09:17:49 pm
What? Great Anglia axed carriages from packed commuter trains? Angry Shocked

On what basis? Where have the carriages gone?

Yes, it is called progress, and it IS what customers wanted, surveys* show it.
AFAIK the now surplus stock has been returned to the leasing company for storage.
This is why I am cynical about actual or proposed new trains, the main priority of TOCs is to reduce fleet sizes and run shorter trains.
If a long distance train is overcrowded, simply add a few more seats "thousands of extra seats every month"
If a suburban service is overcrowded, then improve it by new/refurbed "metro trains"


1812  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: Concern for welfare after charred clothes found near Essex scene of cable theft on: May 24, 2012, 08:10:51 am
Yet again, the concern appears to be primarily with the welfare and safety of the thieves, and not about the delay and expense caused to the railway and its customers.

A better response in my view would have been

"we seek to arrest and charge the person(s) involved, even if injured"

1813  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: 2nd Class / standard class - early days, 1970s, 2012 on: May 24, 2012, 06:17:43 am
 FGW HSTs have been "improved" by the removal of tables and squashing in a few more seats, this is known as progress and is advertised as providing "thousands of extra seats"
Other TOCs have carried out much more impressive "improvements" SWT have downgraded Portsmouth services to suburban trains with 2+3 seating in steerage replacing the previously used 2+2 seating which used to be the norm on longer routes.
One of the first actions of the new TOC at Liverpool street was to replace 12 car trains with 8 car, pointing out that this provided a similar number of seats, due to being higher density.

On inner suburban services, the emphasis is not on higher density seating, but on removing seats to give more "circulating space", what most would call standing room only.
New suburban trains are increasingly "metro style" which sounds better than "designed for standing with minimal seating"
1814  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Angry commuters start fightback against fines on: May 20, 2012, 11:47:48 am
Whilst in general I would side with the railway as regards enforcement of terms and conditions, I seen some unreasonable enforcement.

One of the worst was a family with A/P tickets valid only on a particular train, they were well aware of this restriction.
They boarded a train of the correct TOC, from the usual platform, at the advertised time, believing this to be in order.
On board they were told that in fact they were on the preceeding train, which was running late and which therefore left at the time at which the correct train should have left.
As a result they had to pay hundreds of pounds and vowed never to use the train again.

Another group on the same train, similarly affected, when told to pay again simply said "F**k off, or we will sort you out" I dont think that they paid again !

Whilst I do not support threatening to assualt those doing their job, one can see why some might be tempted to make threats.
One group meekly paid up, and no doubt consider that the railway had stolen some hundreds of pounds from them.
The other group saved a similar amount by being threatening.






1815  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Rail Travel in the UK: Why So Many First Class Carriages? on: May 04, 2012, 05:44:19 pm
I consider the provision of two and a half coaches of first class to be about right on average.
More would be ideal on some business trains, and less at weekends, but that is not readily achieved with modern trains.
I have regularly seen first class well filled on the 18-03 and 19-03 from Paddington.

The difference in comfort between first and steerage has increased recently, not because first is better, but because steerage has been "improved" by higher density seating, fewer tables, and reduced luggage space.
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