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  • Go Op AGM, Chippenham: July 18, 2015
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Author Topic: Go-Op Cooperative - update  (Read 35334 times)
grahame
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« Reply #75 on: April 24, 2019, 11:51:51 am »

Further update - longer article - published today in the Railway Gazette

Quote
Co-operative proposes Wessex open access train service

UK: Ambitious plans to launch a network of open access regional passenger services in western England are being developed by independent not-for-profit co-operative society GO-OP Co-operative Ltd, which hopes to start operations in summer 2020.

GO-OP is proposing to offer at least three direct trains each way per day between Swindon and Oxford, including some in peak hours. Two would continue via Leamington and Coventry to Nuneaton, offering an interchange with services to northern England. There would be five trips each way between Swindon and Castle Cary. From Castle Cary, four trains would run to Taunton and two to Yeovil.

According to GO-OP founder member and Operations Director Alex Lawrie, ‘a particular goal is to give some of the market towns of Somerset and Wiltshire a regular, functional service where at present the low frequency makes it hard to give up the car’,.

[snip]

Whole article worth reading ... link provided above

Looking from a service level .... some sense.  I have "crayonist" played looking at Melksham departure times ... and I'm clearly wrong because I have one more train than proposed but this looks like the sort of diagram ... and I'm noting plugged gapped, unplugged opportunities still ... and only a couple of cases where they're close to the GWR service on the same line.

2 Yeovil - Swindon - Oxford
2 Oxford - Swindon - Taunton
3 Taunton - Swindon - Oxford - Nuneaton
3 Nuneaton - Oxford - Swindon - Taunton
2 Taunton - Swindon - Oxford
2 Oxford - Swindon - Yeovil
Running time circa 14 hours

3 Yeovil - Swindon - Oxford - Nuneaton
3 Nuneaton - Oxford - Swindon - Taunton
2 Taunton - Swindon - Oxford
2 Oxford - Swindon - Taunton
1.5 Taunton - Swindon
1.5 Swindon - Yeovil
Running time circa 13 hours

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Lee
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« Reply #76 on: April 24, 2019, 12:15:22 pm »

There is a part of me that really wants them to suddenly announce the definate start of services, just to see the look of shock on everyone's faces  Grin

All still sounds a bit Mitty though - sorry.
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« Reply #77 on: April 24, 2019, 12:20:52 pm »

Yup, it's been an ambitious ambition, but nothing more, for getting on for ten years now.
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paul7755
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« Reply #78 on: April 24, 2019, 02:50:11 pm »

Yup, it's been an ambitious ambition, but nothing more, for getting on for ten years now.
Great idea for Railway Gazette to mention “Wessex” in this context, given that the name is widely used in railway terms for the neighbouring NR route and SWR franchise area...

Paul

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grahame
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« Reply #79 on: May 02, 2019, 09:38:18 am »

From the Coventry Telegraph

Quote
An hourly service running Monday to Saturday will see extra carriages connecting passengers between Nuneaton and Coventry, and for the first time, onward to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth.

Currently, the service only runs between Coventry and Nuneaton, and has just one carriage.

Though one train an hour will run, the extra carriages will massively improve capacity and passenger comfort.

Joining up - as a franchised service - Leamington Spa to Coventry to Coventry to Nuneaton, and replacing class 153 single car trains with 2 car class 172.  Does this cross-Coventry service reduce the gap identified by Go-op to a significant degree and effect their plans?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #80 on: May 02, 2019, 09:46:02 am »

Quote
An hourly service running Monday to Saturday will see extra carriages connecting passengers between Nuneaton and Coventry, and for the first time, onward to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth.
[pedant mode on]

"For the first time" since January 1965 I would suggest Wink

[/pedant mode off]
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grahame
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« Reply #81 on: May 02, 2019, 09:58:24 am »

Quote
An hourly service running Monday to Saturday will see extra carriages connecting passengers between Nuneaton and Coventry, and for the first time, onward to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth.
[pedant mode on]

"For the first time" since January 1965 I would suggest Wink

[/pedant mode off]

 Grin

Tell the newspaper, not me.  I expect they have a bright young journalist who wasn't around at that time.  But then as the new service is predominantly targeted at bright young passengers (former travellers from pre-1965 being a specialist market), I think it's the first time for that target market.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #82 on: May 02, 2019, 10:17:03 am »

Not so much a specialist market but an old one.

We've got a street in Bristol named after us  Grin
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paul7755
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« Reply #83 on: May 02, 2019, 12:55:13 pm »

From the Coventry Telegraph

Quote
An hourly service running Monday to Saturday will see extra carriages connecting passengers between Nuneaton and Coventry, and for the first time, onward to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth.

Currently, the service only runs between Coventry and Nuneaton, and has just one carriage.

Though one train an hour will run, the extra carriages will massively improve capacity and passenger comfort.

Joining up - as a franchised service - Leamington Spa to Coventry to Coventry to Nuneaton, and replacing class 153 single car trains with 2 car class 172.  Does this cross-Coventry service reduce the gap identified by Go-op to a significant degree and effect their plans?

From what I've read over recent years, LM & NR previously had huge difficulties pathing the service across the flat junctions at Coventry.  For a long time Network Rail seemed to be publicly against linking the Nuneaton and Leamington Spa legs of the possible through service, (ie the one that is about to start).   NR have active plans for an additional bay platform on the up side at Coventry, to allow another Nuneaton service to run independently of the main lines.

My initial view would be that the combination of the WMR hourly Leamington to Nuneaton service, and an additional WMR Nuneaton to Coventry service in the opposite half hour, mean that GO-OP will find their service doesn't fit at all.  It's not just the passenger service, the Leamington to Coventry leg is a busy freight corridor, and has a significant single track section.  If the infrastructure was ever improved, I believe XC have got first dibs on any new capacity from Leamington to Coventry, so that both their long distance services can run via Coventry and Birmingham International? 

So, "Open Access" edged out by the local TOC just in the nick of time, who'd have expected that...

Paul
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TonyK
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« Reply #84 on: May 06, 2019, 11:44:15 pm »

Not so much a specialist market but an old one.

We've got a street in Bristol named after us  Grin

That's impressive - and my wife worked in the terrace off that road.

A part of a local hospital was named after my grandma, Mrs E Ward.
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Now, please!
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« Reply #85 on: June 19, 2019, 05:50:58 pm »

So curiously Go-op has now applied for a service that goes nowhere near Oxford, but may go to Newport, or may go to Cheltenham.  And it may go to Exeter, or if not to Dorchester, or if not to.... oh I give up.

It seems odd that after so many years they still can't decide where they want to go, and even make an application which leaves all the options open.  I can't imagine they will be taken very seriously.  Why don't they just start with something simple like Westbury to Oxford, and if that works built up from there.  At least all of them involve an extra train every two hours through Melksham, which I presume will please Grahame.

https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/41278/open-access-economic-equilibrium-test-form-go-op-june-2019.pdf
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eightonedee
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« Reply #86 on: June 19, 2019, 07:10:08 pm »

I can't help thinking that all the time and energy spent in dreaming up routes and dreaming of running their own trains might not have been better spent engaging with GWR or other TOCs lobbying for services to fill gaps in current services and carrying out customer research to demonstrate that there's demand to justify them.

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TonyK
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« Reply #87 on: June 19, 2019, 07:51:29 pm »

I can't help thinking that all the time and energy spent in dreaming up routes and dreaming of running their own trains might not have been better spent engaging with GWR or other TOCs lobbying for services to fill gaps in current services and carrying out customer research to demonstrate that there's demand to justify them.

Which thought occurred to me also. Permission to run five trains daily from Euston to Blackpool North by Alliance Rail Holdings subsidiary Grand Central has been granted from September. This must have taken years out of someone's life, with a lot of expense and no income. The first try ended in failure, when they got the permission but couldn't source Pendolinos. This time, the proposal is to use Class 91s, which, because they can't tilt (or at least can't straighten up if they do) are limited to 110 mph. This means the trains will stop only at Nuneaton and Milton Keynes before Preston, thereafter making a decent local stopping service to Blackpool North. In this, they are up against Virgin, with three or four daily direct trains, at a time when the big operators are grumbling about lack of profit. I can't honestly see the point.
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grahame
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« Reply #88 on: June 20, 2019, 09:53:14 am »

So curiously Go-op has now applied for a service that goes nowhere near Oxford, but ...

I can't help thinking that all the time and energy spent in dreaming up routes and dreaming of running their own trains might not have been better spent engaging with GWR or other TOCs lobbying for services to fill gaps in current services and carrying out customer research to demonstrate that there's demand to justify them.

I'm noting these comments and went to sleep (after an eventful day that "Transport Scholars" will have read about) answering in my mind - and it's a very long answer.

You are right to raise these issues - and more. Yet some of them have significant and excellent answers and whist certain concerns remained to be resolved, others are far more logically correct from looking at public evidence in numbers than you might expect.   A full answer to follow as I get the opportunity - just wanted to flag "not as daft as you might speculate".
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grahame
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« Reply #89 on: June 21, 2019, 06:18:09 am »

So curiously Go-op has now applied for a service that goes nowhere near Oxford, but ...

I can't help thinking that all the time and energy spent in dreaming up routes and dreaming of running their own trains might not have been better spent engaging with GWR or other TOCs lobbying for services to fill gaps in current services and carrying out customer research to demonstrate that there's demand to justify them.

I'm noting these comments and went to sleep (after an eventful day that "Transport Scholars" will have read about) answering in my mind - and it's a very long answer.

You are right to raise these issues - and more. Yet some of them have significant and excellent answers and whist certain concerns remained to be resolved, others are far more logically correct from looking at public evidence in numbers than you might expect.   A full answer to follow as I get the opportunity - just wanted to flag "not as daft as you might speculate".

I'm running out of time to post a major reply here ... please excuse this brain dump.  No doubt - lots of spelling and grandma mistakes (  Grin )  and double dipped claims of the same dividend.

In summary, I believe that there is double-plus evidence reaching the same conclusion in different directions, that there are untapped passengers flows - unaddressed travel requirements - on just about all legs of the proposed / suggested Go-op routes. There may not be a glossy case statement, the result of an expensive survey putting this particuar set of evidence together, but there's some pretty well known stuff in the 'right circles' there and I could easily enough cobble together a paper if only I had the time.  And, yes, I note the tails now wagging with Nuneaton becoming Newport and we're back to Dorchester and Taunton. The areas are riddled with good cases - some gooder than others.

Just because there are good cases, services will only work if all the ducks are in a row. Trains, paths, crew, price, passenger confidence in the service, timed when they want to go, advertised, appropriate cross ticketing and easy ticket purchase, information, comfort, ability to share station facilities, etc.  I know some of those overlap something rotten - this is a very quick morning note not a full list or report.   For a franchised service, or one sponsored by a local authority or grant body for a trial, risk looms huge, with elimination of public / taxpayer risk being frustratingly high up the agenda.  Political expedience and planning something which fits best into a grand overall government infrastructure is also key and can frustratingly hold a scheme back (or propel it forward even if risky!). But with an open access provider, only the safety risks and the risks of the service interfering with someone else's trains really need to be robustly and publicly considered - it's their shareholders who take the financial risk in the setup, and the risks of carrying fresh air or of not having enough serviceable trains or staff to run the service.  So if they're happy, that means far less studies for open access. We 'grin' at the lack of detailed studies, etc, on parts of the route, perhaps.   Or perhaps we are simply not privy to matters commercial in confidence.  Either way, that's OK.

I do look at some previous open access services and note their lack of robustness over quite short lead times. And for than reason I was concerned at an earlier point at suggestions that my town's service might almost exclusively be run by such a service.   The risk of it going "belly up" in early build-up days was a risk I would prefer to be without, and such a risk if perceived in public would put people off making life changing decisions based on the service in question.  Open Access has no government guaranteed safety new such as that we see repeatedly used on service such as franchised express trains from London via Peterborough. And this lack of guarantee on an operation that provides virtually all services to a place would be a hurdle putting people off using it - no safety net - resulting in many having an objection to using it, and traffic not being what they wished.

Now – take a line / service that's running anyway - that's moved up from an unusable service of 2 trains each way per day to a frankly poor service of 8 or 9 trains each way per day.  Serving a town which should generate 350,000 journeys per annum but which has only moved up from 3,000 to 75,000 and paused there because no more people could fit on the trains.  And whilst the trains are longer is still growing again only slowly because of gaps of 132 minutes (and going up to 150 minutes!) at peak shoulders for a typical journey of 10 to 28 minutes and you see a gap which could be well filled by another service combed in, to the mutual profitable benefit of both operators.  Food for thought, and I can come up with other data that's not purely Melksham numbers but for the line / service as a whole, less spectacular in proportion, but far higher in magnitude.



I am not reaching any conclusion as to whether all ducks are in a row. But I have some more evidence and more thought than many that, perhaps, they are. And I have far more evidence and thought that a combined service that's hourly on the Swindon - Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Westbury - Frome - Yeovil and/or Taunton corridors would / will be capable of generating spectacular further passenger numbers growth, however changes of train at Westbury work out; in may ways, it's two different flows joined end to end.

Edit to correct some of the more major spelling issues, and highlight key points in the mass of text!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 08:13:06 am by grahame » Logged

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