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  • Go Op AGM, Chippenham: July 18, 2015
  • Go-Op Cooperative AGM: June 23, 2016
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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #150 on: September 01, 2022, 10:18:23 pm »

I share others' pessimism.  When this thread started 10 years ago things had already not been happening for quite some time.  A great pity, but somehow the people involved don't seem able to build up any momentum and I've rather lost interest in their announcements as they never seem to come to anything.  Starting an open access operation certainly isn't easy and the most recent (Lumo) seems to have taken around 7 years from inception to passenger-carrying, but Go-Op are well over that with nothing to show for it.  I'm not sure whether to admire or mock their persistence.
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grahame
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« Reply #151 on: September 02, 2022, 05:24:34 am »

I admire their persistance. But, sorry, I share the concern that even after a decade this remains unlikely to come off. I also remind members how other new service proposals have been mocked, and yet have been achieved.

When I look at Go-op, I am reminded of Derek Twigg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport speaking to contrast my campaign in summer 2006 on Radio 4's "Today" - "We cannot run a train service just for Mr Ellis"; Alex Lawrie and his team find themselves mocked but persistant too.  There are other similarities, such as a need to adjust the campaign along the way whilst retaining the core and the need to go through painfully slow process and wait for opportunities.  There are also big differences and I am personally nothing like as informed on Go-op as I was on TransWilts to evaluate all these things.  I am aware that after more than six long years of working with little apparent progress, most of our ducks on TransWilts lined up, remaining ones were coaxed into place, and that train service started not just for Mr Ellis's journeys but for 180,000 other journeys in the first year.
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broadgage
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« Reply #152 on: September 02, 2022, 07:17:18 am »

I admire their persistence, and am satisfied that public demand exists for a year round train service from Minehead to at least Taunton and preferably further afield.

Whilst the climate crisis is now last years news, concerns about petrol prices and road congestion remain. The existing bus service from Taunton to Minehead provides an acceptable service at off peak times but is almost unusable at busy times.


Actual progress is very limited.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #153 on: September 03, 2022, 06:28:07 pm »

I admire their persistence, and am satisfied that public demand exists for a year round train service from Minehead to at least Taunton and preferably further afield.

There is demand ... with traffic across intermediate places too and let me see how some of those might string together.

-> Minehead to Taunton (new service)
-> Taunton to Frome (new service)
-> Frome via Westbury (improved service)
-> Westbury to Swindon (much better service)
-> Swindon to Oxford (new service)
-> Oxford to Bletchley (new service)
-> Bletchley to Bedford (better service)

Been the same for years - but there are differences since the Go-op stuff started.  Even the daily train from Frome to Taunton has been scrapped. Westbury to Swindon has increased from 2 to 9 each way per day then back down to 8, passenger numbers up 25 fold but still 2.5 hour gaps.    Swindon to Oxford is a lottery with connections at Didcot not always being connections and since Go-op started we have been promised, then denied electric trains to Oxford by GWR (Great Western Railway). Oxford to Bicester is another line that has been shut, reopened, built up and the line is being re-extended as far as Bletchley ....

Of course, there are all sorts of other ideas that could be floated.  The hourly  Grin semi-fast from Paddington to Newbury and all stations to Taunton could extend to Minehead, passed at Taunton by the Penzance express.   But I expect someone would grumble about hard seats and the trains being only 5 carriages so not proper trains.  Probably need to ease the platform at Watchet, but I think there were similar concerns at Narbeth that were quickly fixed.

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broadgage
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« Reply #154 on: September 04, 2022, 02:08:23 am »

Yes, I might complain about the trains being only 5 coaches long, unless this was demonstrably sufficient even at Christmas, Easter, Butlins days, and bank holiday weekends.
However a 5 car train from London to Minehead and return is a GREAT IMPROVEMENT over no trains and is therefore to be welcomed. And if overcrowded could hopefully be replaced with a full length train.

I might also complain about the hard seats and other negative aspects of the IETs (Intercity Express Train), but again an inferior train is still a great improvement over no train and is still to be welcomed.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #155 on: November 02, 2022, 11:47:37 am »

From Ethos-PR (Public Relations), posted 17th October

Quote
First Co-operatively Owned Rail Service On Track

An ambitious move to launch the UK (United Kingdom)’s first co-operatively managed rail service has moved a step closer as Go-op hands in a formal application to run services in the South West of England.

Go-op has applied to the Office of Rail and Road to run services between Taunton and Westbury, starting in 2023. This will see ten departures a day, improving the service levels in growing market towns, such as Frome and Melksham.

and later in the article

Quote
“A debate about private versus nationalised rail system misses out the benefits that a co-operatively owned train business can bring,” says Alex Lawrie. “We are confident that we can bring together the benefits of a community and worker focus to create a sound commercial operating model.”

I - and Melksham - will welcome additional services on what has only moved up from a useless to an infrequent (and still below appropriate) service over the years.  However, Go-op has been in the planning for so long that we'll believe it only when we see the first trains arrive. With a new and different operational model, I remain unconvinced that the business and case is robust for the long term; I hope that concern is mis-founded. The route / flows certainly are excellent ones for significant service improvement - the Go-op team are right in that analysis.
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« Reply #156 on: November 02, 2022, 09:33:42 pm »

From Ethos-PR (Public Relations), posted 17th October

Quote
First Co-operatively Owned Rail Service On Track

An ambitious move to launch the UK (United Kingdom)’s first co-operatively managed rail service has moved a step closer as Go-op hands in a formal application to run services in the South West of England.

Go-op has applied to the Office of Rail and Road to run services between Taunton and Westbury, starting in 2023. This will see ten departures a day, improving the service levels in growing market towns, such as Frome and Melksham.

and later in the article

Quote
“A debate about private versus nationalised rail system misses out the benefits that a co-operatively owned train business can bring,” says Alex Lawrie. “We are confident that we can bring together the benefits of a community and worker focus to create a sound commercial operating model.”

I - and Melksham - will welcome additional services on what has only moved up from a useless to an infrequent (and still below appropriate) service over the years.  However, Go-op has been in the planning for so long that we'll believe it only when we see the first trains arrive. With a new and different operational model, I remain unconvinced that the business and case is robust for the long term; I hope that concern is mis-founded. The route / flows certainly are excellent ones for significant service improvement - the Go-op team are right in that analysis.

and before a wheel turns, there is the small task of raising a target of £1.1m from investors.........   
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anthony215
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« Reply #157 on: November 03, 2022, 02:59:49 am »

No application on the ORRs» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) website.  I'm.watching to see if hopefully grand unions application is successful
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paul7575
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« Reply #158 on: November 03, 2022, 04:13:38 pm »

No application on the ORRs» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) website.  I'm.watching to see if hopefully grand unions application is successful
Apparently it’s on the NR» (Network Rail - home page) track access application page. (However I haven’t checked myself.)
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ChrisB
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« Reply #159 on: December 27, 2022, 12:24:34 pm »

The application & responses are now on the ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) website under section 17 applications

https://www.orr.gov.uk/rail-guidance-compliance/network-access/regulated-networks/network-rail/current-applications

The responses are worth a look-see. GWR (Great Western Railway) object on several grounds, which do include the timetable suggested.

There is also a draft contract on that ORR page.
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grahame
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« Reply #160 on: December 27, 2022, 01:18:50 pm »

The responses are worth a look-see. GWR (Great Western Railway) object on several grounds, which do include the timetable suggested.

As I read it, they object not only on various technical grounds but on the whole idea ...

Quote
This application it is believed is for ...

[snip]

GWR objects to all these aspirations.

GWR are right in having detailed and capacity concerns. 

Quote
The application utilises the route through Melksham. This can be congested as it incorporates single line and is used by freight services. GWR has not always been able to expand its service on the route because of this.

A little disingenuous of you, GWR!   There have been a handful of situations where extra trains would not fit on the single line.  However, there have been many more circumstances where line capacity has been available, but there has been no train available, no crew available, no funding available and ongoing to thi s day, GWR is failing to run trains not due to capacity issues on the line, but lack of crew.

I share some of the concerns expresses in the responses, and answers from Cross Country (for example) are well measured.  GWR seems to have looked for every possible reason to object, and in my view has weakened its case and its moral standing by so doing.
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