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Travel & transport from BBC stories as at 19:55 08 Dec 2023
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 10/12/23 - Winter Timetable starts
14/12/23 - Estimates of station usage: Ap
24/12/23 - Paddington closed
25/12/23 - No GWR trains

On this day
8th Dec (2018)
Old Oak Common depot closes (*)

Train RunningCancelled
16:50 Plymouth to London Paddington
17:10 Gloucester to Weymouth
18:08 London Paddington to Frome
18:10 Taunton to Cardiff Central
18:29 Gatwick Airport to Reading
18:30 Plymouth to Penzance
18:36 London Paddington to Plymouth
18:59 Cheltenham Spa to London Paddington
19:04 Paignton to London Paddington
19:06 London Paddington to Bedwyn
19:08 Bristol Temple Meads to Gloucester
19:15 Penzance to Bristol Temple Meads
19:20 Reading to Redhill
19:23 London Paddington to Oxford
19:30 Looe to Liskeard
Additional 19:35 Westbury to Salisbury
19:39 Bristol Temple Meads to Gloucester
19:45 Banbury to London Paddington
19:50 Worcester Foregate Street to Bristol Temple Meads
19:58 Cardiff Central to Taunton
20:01 Reading to Gatwick Airport
20:01 Severn Beach to Bristol Temple Meads
20:05 Liskeard to Looe
20:06 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa
20:10 Gloucester to Bristol Temple Meads
20:13 Swindon to Westbury
20:14 Weymouth to Bristol Temple Meads
20:16 Frome to Westbury
20:37 Looe to Liskeard
20:42 Bedwyn to London Paddington
21:00 Penzance to Exeter St Davids
21:02 Oxford to London Paddington
21:05 Liskeard to Looe
21:08 London Paddington to Didcot Parkway
21:11 Gloucester to Bristol Temple Meads
21:16 Westbury to Swindon
21:29 Gatwick Airport to Reading
21:37 Looe to Liskeard
22:03 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads
22:16 Cheltenham Spa to Swindon
22:24 Plymouth to Exeter St Davids
22:30 Swindon to Westbury
22:36 Didcot Parkway to Reading
22:44 Taunton to Bristol Temple Meads
23:42 Swindon to Cheltenham Spa
09/12/23 05:58 Plymouth to London Paddington
09/12/23 06:27 Plymouth to Gunnislake
09/12/23 07:16 Gunnislake to Plymouth
09/12/23 08:22 Plymouth to Gunnislake
09/12/23 08:35 London Paddington to Exeter St Davids
09/12/23 09:14 Gunnislake to Plymouth
09/12/23 11:36 Liskeard to Looe
09/12/23 12:08 Looe to Liskeard
09/12/23 12:36 Liskeard to Looe
09/12/23 12:45 Truro to Falmouth Docks
09/12/23 13:05 Looe to Liskeard
09/12/23 13:15 Falmouth Docks to Truro
09/12/23 13:50 Liskeard to Looe
09/12/23 14:15 Truro to Falmouth Docks
09/12/23 14:22 Looe to Liskeard
09/12/23 14:45 Falmouth Docks to Truro
09/12/23 14:50 Liskeard to Looe
09/12/23 15:19 Looe to Liskeard
09/12/23 15:30 Weymouth to Gloucester
09/12/23 19:09 Gloucester to Bristol Temple Meads
09/12/23 19:54 Cardiff Central to Bristol Temple Meads
Short Run
15:03 London Paddington to Penzance
15:50 Penzance to Gloucester
16:35 London Paddington to Plymouth
17:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central
17:28 London Paddington to Taunton
17:50 Gloucester to Salisbury
17:59 Cheltenham Spa to London Paddington
18:02 Worcester Foregate Street to London Paddington
18:29 Weston-Super-Mare to London Paddington
18:30 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington
18:34 London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa
18:50 London Paddington to Didcot Parkway
19:04 Didcot Parkway to London Paddington
19:04 London Paddington to Penzance
19:10 Weston-Super-Mare to Severn Beach
19:20 London Paddington to Didcot Parkway
19:35 London Paddington to Didcot Parkway
19:36 Didcot Parkway to London Paddington
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1  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Park Junction on: November 30, 2023, 11:39:47 pm
2  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / Re: Rails to Lyme Bay - just a single survivor on: November 29, 2023, 11:06:54 am
I’m not sure there’s a great deal of logic to what survived and what didn’t. In Bristol only two suburban stations were to be retained post Reshaping - Stapleton Road, and St Anne’s Park. In the end the Severn Beach line survived but St Anne’s Park didn’t. Stapleton Road’s role as an important interchange was largely usurped by Bristol Parkway, and it is now only served by local trains.

Meanwhile what would now be a very useful main line via Fishponds to Yate and Gloucester is a linear park. It’s all a bit random really.
3  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion on: November 16, 2023, 11:56:26 pm
I thought that column was a bit eccentric, even for Jenkins. For context, he’s the columnist who, back in 2010, argued that the entire defence budget - ‘all £45 billion of it’ - should be cut. I suspect his views on rail will age just as well.
4  All across the Great Western territory / Active travel: Cyclists and walkers, including how the railways deal with them / Re: Possible improvements in Gloucestershire on: November 07, 2023, 11:01:36 am
It will indeed. I remember that stretch of the A38 before the M5 opened. It was a fast road with dual carriageways and long stretches of shared bidirectional overtaking lane, where high speed collisions could easily be had by anyone who wanted one.

It’s much wider than needed for the current local traffic, so this really ought to be doable without upsetting anyone. But who knows, these days!

5  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion on: October 23, 2023, 11:26:36 am
An interesting take on HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) from Oxera, an economics and finance consultancy. I won't quote the whole thing - you can read it here

...but here is their conclusion:

Our analysis suggests that there are good reasons to cancel Phase 2 of HS2. However, the country also needs more transport investment, and the budget flexibility afforded by the cancellation of Phase 2 is an important opportunity. How do we make the most of this?

Well-articulated business cases are required for each of the new Network North investments, announced to use the funding freed up by Phase 2 of HS2 being cancelled. We need a genuine debate on the strategic needs that should be met and the projects that should be taken forward. We also need business cases that quantify benefits in a way that is linked to the strategic case. This is more difficult than the current approach, but it will also allow us to make better decisions.

It is important that we learn from HS2. A key lesson from the 2006 Eddington Review is particularly relevant: the review found that a set of smaller interventions can often have a much greater overall cumulative impact than large, ‘showpiece’ schemes. Equally, the value of each element of a large project should be understood. The overall impact of many small decisions in concert can deliver much better value for money for the tax payer than a single major project.

What they don't explain is how you could deliver a 100km-long railway line with perhaps one or two intermediate stations via 'smaller interventions'. They also seem to be suggesting that the thing that will really get Britain moving is... giving much more work to consultancies.
6  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion on: October 21, 2023, 12:51:28 pm
A personal view:

It's quite interesting looking back over this long thread to see how people's positions have developed.

I started out as an HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) sceptic; back in 2013 I may even have played my part in persuaduing JayMac that the project was a bad idea, suggesting that the money could be better spent on improving provincial connections.

It's only now, with the cancellation of the Birmingham-Manchester leg, that I have really understood what the project was and what we've lost.

The population of the UK (United Kingdom) has grown by about 15% since rail privatisation, and rail usage in the same period (even accounting for COVID) has doubled.

Like most people I didn't really understand the argument that HS2 added capacity. But then I got involved in trying to achieve the very thing I once argued should be prioritised over high speed rail: opening new local stations to give people better access to rail.

Opening new stations on branch lines where trains stop at all the stations is technically fairly straightforward. Adding branches can be done astonishingly quickly where there is the will. But opening stations on busy main lines is very difficult, because fast trains hog capacity. As an example, there is demand for two stations between Bristol and Bath, but trains won't be able to stop at both because that would hold up London to Bristol services. Six new stations will open on the four track line between Cardiff and Severn Tunnel Junction, but Pilning will keep its parliamentary service to avoid holding up the fast trains from Cardiff to London.

If we believe that railways have an important role in the future of this country, then it follows that we have to build new railways and open new stations. The alternatives are much less efficient: more roads, or more congestion.

The trickle of reopenings we have seen in recent years is welcome, but it is fiddling around the edges. Taking fast trains off the network opens up the possibility of a vast web of new local connections in the North, the Midlands and even around the Chilterns. The full HS2 network would have freed up the local network around all but one of England's biggest cities: Bristol.

So HS2 has been cut back to be what it's harshest critics said it would be: an expensive shuttle between (somewhere in) London and Birmingham. HS2 is dead. Do we grieve? A bit.

There was a lot wrong with the HS2 project. The whole delivery process has been far too expensive, and the PR (Public Relations) has been atrocious. But the idea that railways are still relevant, that they might actually be increasingly relevant, hasn't died. Which means that something like HS2 is still needed. Those who don't understand that either don't understand ralways, or prefer a future of fewer choices where cars and aeroplanes are increasingly dominant.
7  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Railways in a "state of crisis" on: October 19, 2023, 02:22:57 pm
The railway has friends and enemies across the political spectrum. In general politicians like the economic benefits that railways bring, but seek to reduce the costs that go with those benefits. They try to strike a balance.

That’s the consensus. But I think it’s fair to say that since Johnson’s exit, the enemies of rail are in the ascendant. Johnson, May and Cameron used trains. Sunak’s transport policy seems to be based on building helipads and filling potholes.
8  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion on: October 16, 2023, 07:19:31 pm
The latest statement on the travelwest website reads as follows:

Oct 2023

A significant number of the ecology enabling works are now coming to an end for this season, with the next phase now being planned for. The works have been very successful, and those completed so far include:

o Multiple ecological licence applications have been granted and works carried out under their respective licence conditions to protect Great Crested Newts, badgers, and the propagation of Bristol Rock Cress​
o Tree planting on the A369 Portbury Hundred to provide an alternative bat corridor has been completed and a maintenance plan is in place to ensure they are fed and watered, which will continue over the coming months​
o 1,200 metres of reptile fencing has been installed at multiple locations along the disused line and in the Ecology Park at Portishead​
o Reptile trapping is now complete with ecologists visiting the 1,000+ reptile mats daily over the summer and safely moving them to the two translocation sites away from the line​
o Reptile displacement also has to occur in certain locations which involves gradually reducing the length of the vegetation to encourage them away from the line to more suitable habitat​s
o Several bird and bat boxes have been installed to provide alternative nesting locations and roosts whilst work is underway
o The annual harvesting of whitebeam fruits from the Avon Gorge occurred in October and are being propagated at Bristol Botanicals, ready to plant during construction. This year the focus was on the rarest variety the sorbus avonensis. Over 100 whitebeams have already been planted in Leigh Woods with the help of Forestry England and are thriving.

Detailed design – otherwise known as Network Rail’s GRIP (Guide to Railway Investment Projects) stage 5 – has progressed significantly. The project team continue to assist the contractors with this work stream, and we’d like to thank all those landowners and tenants who have allowed the teams access for noise surveys, ground investigations works, soil sampling, and other necessary works.
Source: travelwest
9  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion on: October 16, 2023, 09:19:15 am
The need to complete the business case was always there from the point when the DCO (Driver Controlled Operation) was granted. Has anything changed?
10  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Which public transport do you like to travel on most? on: October 15, 2023, 09:01:40 am
Perhaps he was confusing popularity with the volume of use. ...

That's a pretty fair bet!   And are we governed on such confusion?

I’m not sure ‘confusion’ is the right word. He’s just speaking in tabloidese, as do politicians of every stripe these days.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Bristol to York next weekend on: October 13, 2023, 06:01:13 pm
OK, thanks everyone. I'll have a think!
12  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Bristol to York next weekend on: October 13, 2023, 04:14:01 pm
I'm planning a trip to York next weekend (19th-22nd Oct), probably departing from Bristol Parkway, I plan top stay 2 nights, which could be Thurs/Fri or Fri/Sat. Best fare I can see is an off-peak return at  £95.40 with railcard discount. Have I missed something obvious?
13  Journey by Journey / Bristol (WECA) Commuters / Re: Bristol Temple Meads Station redevelopment on: October 11, 2023, 10:25:12 pm
...I've just realised that I've posted this on the incorrect WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) Passengers thread.  Is it possible for admins to move it to the "Temple Meads Redevelopment" thread?

Might be. We'll see...
14  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: The Essex commuter town that changed its name just to attract tourists on: October 09, 2023, 11:09:36 am
Thamesdown was created by the same Local Government Act as Avon. Avon and Thamesmead had a couple of features in common: they were named so as not to offend the suburban and exurban communities within them, and no-one outside them knew where they were. Thamesdown possibly got the worst of the deal, as it's name sounded very similar to a large housing estate on the Plumstead Marshes. Most people thought of Avon as a door-to-door cosmetic company.

Swindon seems a much more sensible name for, well, Swindon. If Bristol logic had been applied, it would probably be called the Lower Midlands now. Or maybe Lower Midlands-on-Thames.
15  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion on: October 06, 2023, 08:48:44 pm
Out of interest, am I the only one seeing parallels with Br*x*t?

It's about as close to comparing apples with pears as it's possible to get, but just for fun, had there been a binding, yes/no national referendum on persisting with HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) this week instead of just a Government announcement, what do you think would have been the outcome?

I'd have to agree that it's like comparing apples with pears - both members of the rosaceae family, both pome fruits... I'd also agree that if there had been a binding referendum (unlike the advisory one in 2016) people would have probably voted against HS2, and for similar reasons for voting against EU» (European Union - about) membership..

I suspect that in this case it will take less time for people to realise how much harm has been done though.
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