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Author Topic: Daytime Traffic on the TransWilts  (Read 86851 times)
grahame
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« on: February 25, 2014, 03:08:26 PM »

The current service of eight trains per day - i.e. a train every two hours through the day, in additional to the previous early morning and early evening trains that strengthened the near-peak - was (in my view) a sensible minimum service level for the new TransWilts service.  With a service at this level, potential passengers can plan for most journeys requirements and be able to travel with a maximum shift (forward of backward) in their plans of under an hour; with a lesser level, the line would be "cherry picking" at specifically timed flows, and excluding the passengers who thought that a train was probably the one they would catch, but they needed fallback and fallforward services if their plans changed.

There's a target of an average of 20 passengers per train [average over a year]. Passenger levels on the peak trains are already up around the 50 level, but those necessary and sensible fallback and fallforward trains are unlikely to load as well - indeed we have been anticipating that spring / summer / autumn leisure traffic will be vital to bring the numbers up.

However - I had an opportunity today to be at the station [Melksham] for the 09:15 southbound train and the 14:30 northbound.

09:15 ... 20 passengers on the train when it arrived in Melksham, 5 got off and 4 got on, and it left with 19. That's 24 passengers served on the TransWilts unique section between Chippenham and Trowbridge.

14:30 ... 17 passengers on the train when it arrived in Melksham, none got off and 5 got on, and it left with 22.  That's 22 passengers served on the TransWilts unique section between Trowbridge and Chippenham.

For later reference.   It's a Tuesday in February, during school term.   It's showers and sunny periods - certainly not a wonderful day to go out.   Talking to people waiting for the train ... leaving on the 09:15 to visit family in Southampton, and leaving on the 14:30 for Swindon and for Hayes and Harlington having visited two different businesses in the town.  All three were using the train for the first time from Melksham, and both the afternoon leavers reported a positive experience on the journey to Melksham in the morning.
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TransWilts Rail - Linking North to West and South 9 times a day. [see here]
Trowres
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 09:15:28 PM »

Was one of the passengers on the 14:30 a smartly dressed gent? - Someone was dropped off at the station at about 13:20, so would have had a long wait  Shocked
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 09:40:38 PM »

Was one of the passengers on the 14:30 a smartly dressed gent? - Someone was dropped off at the station at about 13:20, so would have had a long wait  Shocked

Not waiting at the station when I got there about 20 minutes before the train was due, but quite a smart gent did appear a few minutes before the train was due, and he caught it.  We chatted / he gave a very positive report and wasn't in the slightest grumpy / didn't comment about the infrequency.  He was delighted with the relaxed nature of his journey down, but somewhat breath-taken at the high price he had had to pay.
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John R
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 10:56:17 PM »

That sounds very encouraging. I presume when you talk about the peak trains you mean the arrival into Swindon around 0810 and the 1736 back, rather than the services that run in the former Transwilts service timings, which are more shoulder-peak (particularly the evening one). If so, then 50 pax is around 70% capacity, which is not bad at all after 2 months. 
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 07:51:34 AM »

The 07:48 arrival into Swindon is also running at around 35 to 50 passengers, and the 18:50 from Swindon's at around 30 to 40.  You'll note the vagueness in my figures as I haven't counted very recently.   We were concerned about these two existing trains becoming quieter than last year as existing users moved to the new services, but in practise this movement has happened, but been compensated by new traffic.  They feel quieter than the other services running, though, because they're longer trains.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 08:02:21 AM »

That sounds very encouraging.

Just picking up on that John, Yes.   And in spite of the weather too.  The publicity machine telling people not to travel to the South West, and showing pictures of flooding and broken seawalls, has depressed traffic and continues to do so.  We've had people cancelling visits to Wiltshire until "things are running normally again" (a real shame when the train they had been scheduled to be on from London was just 2 minutes late into Swindon, and the connection perfect!), and for this coming weekend we've been busy assuring people that Melksham is not flooded as they were wondering if they should pull out.

The "don't travel unless you have too" advise widely broadcast had a depressing effect over a far wider area than was really closed, and has a very long tail in that people remain concerned;  I guess that I'm well "au faite" with our geography in these parts, but others may not be.   After all, how many Wiltshire based people could put Chelmesford, Clacton and Colchester in order on the way out from London?

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bobm
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 10:39:29 AM »

These geographical terms are fraught with difficulty. For some things Swindon is in the South East. As far as Royal Mail is concerned we are in the South West. We get ITV West while a few streets away they get ITV Meridian for the South.

Saw the 08:18 TransWilts arrival into Swindon this morning. I was over on platform 4 but looked to be 22 or 23 get off.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 10:43:47 PM »

And I saw the 1736 depart Swindon today. The 153 looked almost full.
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John R
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 10:51:24 PM »

I notice nothing has been using platform 4 at Swindon since around 6.15. Anyone know why?
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 10:57:01 PM »

The lighting failed under the canopy, leaving the platform in darkness. 'Elf 'n Safety dictated that no trains could call.

So, it was back to the old days with everything using one side of the station. Could almost have been 2002 again. Wink
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 07:57:48 AM »

I had to drop urgent papers "need a signed original by the end of the month" in Trowbridge today, so took the early train ...

The 06:12 from Swindon arrived in Melksham with 7 passengers. 1 got off, 4 on.  That's 12 passengers served on the TransWilts unique section between Chippenham and Trowbridge.

Returning on the 07:10 from Trowbridge, there were 38 passengers (and 3 cycles) travelling. 4 got off at Melksham and 7 on. That's 45 passengers served on the TransWilts unique section between Trowbridge and Chippenham.

It's Friday, 28th February - a cold and quite pleasant morning and a normal working winter friday. No major rail disruption anywhere, no know events causing or suppressing flow.  Train Manager of the 07:10 describes the train as 'getting noticeably busier' which is heartening, and doubly so as there's another one half an hour later which is the real peak train into Swindon  Grin

Couple of constructive comments back which I'll feed into CRP channels.  Nothing unexpected / new, but we need to be discussing any suggestions - especially repeated ones - in good time.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 08:13:16 AM »

No major rail disruption anywhere

Those in Somerset and Devon, or wishing to get to those areas may disagree.  Wink

As, possibly would some folk in the Bristol area who experienced delays, cancellations and short formations this morning due to 3 DMUs failing to get away from St Philip's Marsh depot.
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 08:26:30 AM »

No major rail disruption anywhere

Those in Somerset and Devon, or wishing to get to those areas may disagree.  Wink

As, possibly would some folk in the Bristol area who experienced delays, cancellations and short formations this morning due to 3 DMUs failing to get away from St Philip's Marsh depot.

OK - I was being regionalist ... let me re-phrase.  "Nothing short term / unusual that would effect usage.  Somerset and Devon are settled into a pattern of operation for the present, and there were a handful of trains that weren't available somewhere on the FGW network ... as happens from time to time"
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2014, 07:26:40 PM »

Saturday, 1st March. 

07:48 Melksham to Swindon. 12 passengers on into Melksham. 1 off and 8 on. That's 20 passengers served on the TransWilts unique section between Trowbridge and Chippenham.

08:48 arrival into Chippenham - observed to have around 30 passengers on when it arrived in Chippenham

08:44 [1Z04] Chippenham to Exeter St. David's via Westbury.  Left Chippenham with approx 90 passengers for the TransWilts section (had to guess coach H in First class; was travelling on a standard ticket and couldn't see through).

16:32 Westbury to Swindon.  Left Westbury with 11 and Trowbridge with 26 passengers. 10 got off and 2 more got on at Melksham. So that's 28 passengers served on the TransWilts unique section between Trowbridge and Chippenham.

Notes ... a fine, cold day. 
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bobm
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2014, 07:32:39 PM »

That is encouraging.  It is still early days, but I must admit I was a bit downhearted in the early days with numbers and then a spate of weather related and mechanical problems, however the figures are certainly looking up.

It will certainly be the one train I don't mind having to stand on!
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