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1  All across the Great Western territory / Other ways to travel: cycle routes, cycles, and how the railways deal with them / Re: Unhappy of Melksham on: Yesterday at 12:13:11 pm
As a non-driving cyclist / pedestrian I have a small degree of sympathy with the views expressed by 'Angry of Melksham' (who, if my back copies of Private Eye are to be believed, seems to have relocated from Tunbridge Wells!).

There is no excuse for cyclists not using dedicated cycleways where provided. Trouble is it appears that dedicated cycleways are like hen's teeth outside London; certainly in Exeter & Devon all we usually get is pre-existing footways 'upgraded' to shared thoroughfares by the application of some white painted pictograms. Devon County Council don't even do the continuous centre line, in an attempt to segregate foot & bike traffic, any longer so these facilities are now sometimes more dangerous than was previously the case, particularly when the original footway was quite obviously not wide enough to support sharing.

There is also the point that some cyclists might take a bit more notice of rants such as that penned by Ms Cannings if motorists stopped using footways & cycleways as free car parks. 
2  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money on: January 14, 2020, 12:10:37 pm
I have posted in this forum, and also submitted the same opinion to the recent rail fares consultation, that the remedy for the pricing nonsense that gives genesis to split ticketing is base distance related fares (DRF) with variations only for whether Fast, SemiFast or Local services are selected where available, unavoidable 'back tracking', if travel during peak hours, defined both temporally & geographically, is involved and when season tickets are used.

On the back of responses to my original submission on this forum I now also accept DRF values should to some extent reflect regional cost of living variations.     
3  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Estimates of Station Usage, 2018-2019 - publication date 14.1.2020 on: January 14, 2020, 11:01:27 am
Digby & Sowton entries & exits have (apparently) gone up from 630,560 (17/18) to 666,324 (18/19), an increase of 35,764 or 5.67%.

I wonder what the real metrics would be if proper usage measurement was implemented.
4  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User on: January 13, 2020, 01:47:43 pm
Thursday 9th January / Sunday 12th January 2020 - A Rugby 'Weekend' In Scotland

Yes, I could have made these journeys much quicker, and possibly cheaper, by flying between Exeter & Glasgow but Flybe are the only route service provider and they remain on my blacklist for previous appalling customer service failures.

Yes, I could have done this slightly quicker, but certainly NOT cheaper without a significant amount of mucking about with split ticketing, by using the more direct 'cross country' route via Birmingham. Each E2E journey cost me around £47 - GWR £16, Avanti £30 plus Oyster.

Outward
2T11 0913 DIG > 0926 EXD : 1 x 150/2 + 1 x 143
1A77 0941 EXD > 1209 PAD : IET 9 Car
Tube Paddington > Euston Square + Walk
1S69 1330 EUS > 1759 GLC : Pendolino
The journey to London was a tad late due to a short hold immediately outside Paddington - still did RDG>PAD start to stop in 25 mins. The IET electronic reservation system was not activated until after departure from EXD. There was some extremely rough riding east of Somerton tunnel - I assume the 14/03-27/03 CLC<>TAU line closure will deal with this; it would be interesting to know why the diversionary route via Yeovil is not being used during this blockade.
Arrival in Glasgow was 11 late due to slow running through Bletchley, Crewe, on the approach to Oxenholme and over Beattock. RTT seems to show 1S69 behind a late TPE Edinburgh service at the final location.

Return
1M07 1038 GLC > 1518 EUS
Walk + Tube Euston Square > Paddington
1C88 1603 PAD > 1815 EXD : IET 5 Car
2F22 1840 EXD > 1901 DIG : 1 x 150/2 + 1 x 143
Arrived home at the expected time but...1M07 never recovered from a short complete stop immediately north of Crewe and arrived at EUS 6 down. During the tube trip I checked RTT which initially had 1C88 leaving from platform 3 at PAD but this subsequently changed to P10. When I arrived at PAD (1545) there was a 10 car IET in P10 but no departure advertised. At about 1550 the departure boards listed the 1600 BRI service leaving from P10 while 1C88 continued to show as 'Preparing'. There was no indication that 1C21 was only the front 5 coaches, or that 1C88 the rear 5, and the concourse staff had absolutely no idea what was happening. Utter chaos. At 1558 1C88 finally showed as a P10 departure. Unsurprisingly the electronic reservation system was not in use but the TM did not make a 'sit anywhere' announcement. Shortly after a delayed (5 mins) departure the customer host announced that refreshments would only be available from a static trolley; is this due to the trolley water supply not having been pre-heated? 1C88 ran late throughout but due to a timetabled 6 minute dwell at TVP arrived at EXD only 4 mins down! And now the really annoying bit; the line towards Plymouth was closed so all Avocet line services were starting from/terminating at EXD but no attempt had been made to adjust the schedule of what had essentially become a 'self-contained' service to provide better connections. There were however extended - up to 11 minutes - stops at EXC in the EXM services.
5  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: “flygskam”, or “flight-shame”, movement on: January 08, 2020, 03:46:02 pm
I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't require the services of a 'movement' to encourage a greater use of rail in preference to flying. And that is purely because I dislike all the hanging about in airports that flying entails rather than the experience of flying itself.

For that reason I do not fly within mainland UK or continental Europe unless circumstances prevent the use of rail (e.g. the return from a recent rugby trip to La Rochelle when the direct line back to Paris was closed for maintenance and the diversionary routes would not have allowed me to reach home until the following day).

Given all the information & services available on the web I don't understand why any reasonably compos mentis individual would need to go to a 3rd party.
6  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Airport stations - a bus ride too far from the away? on: January 08, 2020, 12:49:13 pm
In the case of Leeds/Bradford (LBA) we are probably looking at the usual lack of ambition and/or finance on the part of both local & national government. A brief glance at the map shows that a spur from the Leeds<>Harrogate line just south of the southern portal of Bramhope tunnel would provide a fairly clear - but possibly NIMBY enraging - run to the airport terminal. Given the preponderance of farmland along the route perhaps a cut & cover tunnel for most of it would be appropriate. I would regard a 'parkway' station as an utter waste of time and money.

However, as has already been mentioned, would this be a sensible use of taxpayer moolah? LBA is not that busy and passenger numbers seem to have plateaued at around 4m (2017/18 figures). This means that each flight carries an average of 104 pax, most flights being operated by Ryanair / Jet2 737-800's which seat 189 so the load factors look not that great (Warning: Back of a fag packet calculation). With the forthcoming Northern Powerhouse Rail / HS2 (don't hold your breath) developments I suspect the roughly daily BA flights to/from LHR might be for the chop and Ryanair are cutting routes over the next 3 months. Most of the passenger traffic appears to be package holiday related and this is very likely to be affected by future government action over climate change concerns.

What seems to be missing is a proper survey of LBA passengers which asks pertinent questions concerning whether they would use an airport rail link if one was provided; I can only find documents relating to a 2016 Leeds City Council consultation which dealt solely with road access upgrades. 
7  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Member's travel record on: December 24, 2019, 05:26:45 pm
12 of those countries visited, train travel in 11.
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Not Just GWR Then....... on: December 17, 2019, 10:33:54 am
A possibly stupid question - I have a basic understanding of how track circuits work - but could this problem be eliminated by replacing the 'traditional' TCs with axle counters? And, if so, what would be the time & cost of doing so on the routes over which the Stadler trains run?
9  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Is there a case for reinstating the line to Clevedon? on: December 04, 2019, 05:01:03 pm
I think a railway reinstatement between Yatton & Clevedon would only be viable if it could be made to serve the centre of Clevedon. Looking at the current maps use of the original route after the point at which it crossed the River Kenn seems to be an obvious non-starter. One solution might be a slight diversion onto the B3133 at that point and then a run into the town centre as some flavour of tram-train service - with the new terminus in the aforementioned Station Road!.
At the Yatton end a reconnection with the main Taunton<>Bristol line looks pretty easy.
However given the apparent lack of potential for intermediate heavy rail stops between Yatton and the River Kenn crossing I reckon such a reinstatement could only be justified as a self-contained light rail service which in the fullness of time could be expanded to use (some of) the old alignments towards Congresbury and beyond.
It would just need a bit of political will and ambition - so it will never happen.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: Hustings on: November 29, 2019, 12:11:17 pm
Interesting demographic...Not particularly representative?

Impossible to tell but is that really an issue?; the makeup of most audiences will be governed by the willingness of individuals to attend (and buy tickets where necessary). In politics it is true that anybody who chooses not to engage in the process cannot complain about the outcome after the event.   

11  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / 28/11/19 2B73 0852 EXM > BNP Delayed & Overcrowded on: November 28, 2019, 06:55:17 pm
As usual I used the service between DIG & EXC. The service was provided by a single Class 150/2 which, given that this is the first Off-Peak Exeter-bound train, is probably not very sensible (GWR did the same thing a fortnight ago).
On arrival at DIG the service was 7 minutes late due, you will not be surprised to learn, to being held at Topsham waiting for a late running Exmouth-bound train (2F11 which started from EXD on time but was delayed by 6 minutes at SJP). It was also full & standing to the extent that boarding & alighting of passengers at POL & SJP was rendered difficult. Further delay was also incurred by a 'brief stop and chat with the signaller' - that's how it was announced over the train PA - at the signal immediately east of POL resulting in the train being 11 late arriving at EXC.

Looking at RTT it appears that a problem with the signalling could have been the cause of a series of Avocet Line delays but I cannot find any reports to that effect.
 
Footnote: While on P3 for my 2F19 EXC 1053 > DIG 1058 train home I noticed two uniformed police officers waiting - possibly for the late running 2T11 - at the bottom of the P2 stairs so perhaps there was something else involved. 
12  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Two Track, Now! on: November 14, 2019, 05:45:34 pm
 Currently heading to London on 1L60 and have just departed Gillingham 23 minutes down due to an initial delay east of Axminster (late running GWR divert) and subsequent conflicts. Reinforces my view that this important diversionary route urgently needs to be looked at in terms of redoubling.
13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: The sushi train is closed! on: October 15, 2019, 08:47:52 am
Recently returned from a couple of weeks in Japan watching some early Rugby World Cup pool matches (and doing some of the usual touristy stuff). Our group used the JR Central Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen for Osaka > Nagoya, Nagoya <> Kyoto & Nagoya <> Tokyo trips and saw no evidence of any buffet cars, with on-board refreshments being supplied via a well stocked trolley. Needless to say said trolley was not nailed to a carriage floor and traversed it's section of the train more than once during each journey (GWR take note! Grin).
14  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: On crossing borders by public transport - to and within the UK contrasted on: October 14, 2019, 12:48:31 pm
The UK-Eire Common Travel Area must certainly lead to a few anomalies. I have travelled by plane between Bristol/Birmingham & Dublin a number of times recently when going to european rugby matches. My passport invariably gets a quick check on arrival in Dublin, very rarely on the return except by the airline on departure.. SWTSMBO is a UK PR who travels on her Singapore passport (although the 'Leave to Remain' stamp is in an old passport which is no longer used). Likewise it gets checked by Irish immigration but not when we return to the UK. On only one occasion have airline staff properly verified that Singaporeans are permitted to enter the UK visa-free.

More holes than a Swiss cheese.     
15  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: What would you advertised on the floor of your station on: October 13, 2019, 08:57:34 am
Shoe Polish
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