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Author Topic: Daytime Traffic on the TransWilts  (Read 86850 times)
grahame
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« Reply #90 on: September 01, 2014, 04:48:24 PM »

Almost forgot an "extracurricular" journey last week:

28/08/14    15.53 to Westbury arrived at Melksham with 45. 13 came off and 3 of us got on.


An off-peak Young Person (just!) return to Bath Spa for ^5 is fantastic in my opinion.


As a thought what difference do you think it would make if Melksham had some form of staff presence say during the morning?

I felt rude ignoring this question to post, even if I don't feel like the intended recipient. My experiences of the morning services have all been pre-8AM so from what I have seen a staff member at the station would just be a colder replication of the on-train staff. However I have heard there are other parts of the morning...?

48/16 is pretty good going for the 15:53 arrival - or rather it's several times what I would have guessed we would get at that time a year ago, but is probably now in line ...

TeaStew - you're probably as well placed as many to answer about staffing Melksham in the morning peak.  Grin ... the question I would ask is "for what purpose?".  Many early morning passengers are regular commuters / have tickets already on most days, or quickly ask for what they need.  So the train manager is just about coping with ticket issues and will be much more able to cope once the TVM arrives.  As an information source, most passengers for the 06:38, 07:20 and 07:48 know what they're catching and can read the display (when it's working) and carry with them interpretive manuals ("no report" means it's left Trowbridge, for example!) and pinches of salt.    However, I suspect that some business could be done in hot cups of coffee and bacon butties in the few minutes before the train left. I note that lots of people are cutting it very fine, so the opportunity window is short.

After the 07:48, nothing calls until 09:15.  There are indeed other parts of the morning, but the bits that butt up to the peak service aren't well entrained at the moment.   Come IEP to Cheltenham Spa, the 07:20 from Melksham (retimed a few minutes earlier) would make another trip, call again at 08:10 on its way to Westbury, and at 08:45 on its way to Swindon, and hopefully by that time we'll have persuaded the 09:15 to become the 09:03, with the following service being the existing train at 10:04 to Swindon.  And at that point, a facility (perhaps a private or community one) as the station each day and including Saturdays and Sundays would move from the fantastic to the feasible.

Completing the pattern of changes this describes, the stock for the 18:52 from Swindon (Melksham 19:18) would come off a working from Westbury that called at Melksham at around 17:36, having gone down there at about 17:03. Brings us full circle to the 15:53 arrival which was busy and shoulder-peak, yet there is at the moment a peak gap to 18:03.  That train in the gap would, in my view, load better that the 15:53 and indeed lead to all trains being busier as true service choice would be provided with gaps plugged at both ends of the day.
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grahame
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« Reply #91 on: September 05, 2014, 06:33:01 PM »

5th September
16:31 at Melksham.  -10 + 6 ->36   46/16 -19 +5 @ CPM
18:03 at Melksham arrived with 67 on -16 + 1 68/17 (was about -10 +30 @ CPM)
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TeaStew
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« Reply #92 on: October 23, 2014, 09:43:45 AM »

I have been counting numbers on the 18.32 from Westbury for a little while but haven't got round to getting them on here until now. Apologies in advance for the wall of numbers. These are all that same service that I join at 18.38 in Trowbridge which gets to Melksham at 18.48.

02/09  14 leaving TRO   -6+2 at MKM
16/09  8                       -2+2
17/09  8                       -6+3
23/09  14                     -8+2
29/09  8                       -3+0

01/10  12                     -2+0
06/10  8                       -5+1
08/10  16                     -8+0
15/10  8                       -4+1
20/10  13                     -10+1

[I can see the numbers that Graham is turning counts into but wasn't sure about purple/whether I should, can do that in future though if it helps]
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John R
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« Reply #93 on: October 23, 2014, 04:57:54 PM »

TeaStew

Thanks very much for this. It's very helpful.

What you've done is fine for my purpose. Interesting to see that the numbers exiting at MKM varies between 2 and 10! I'd suggest looking at the variability should be useful for those analysing the results of the recent four day count as the number onboard seems to vary by up to 100%.
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grahame
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« Reply #94 on: October 30, 2014, 04:33:07 AM »

Yesterday evening

20:12 ... 9 ex Swindon +3 -0 @ CPM   +2 -6 @ MKM  14/8

Tight connection off a late running 19:00 from Paddington, though most of the traffic was already there when the 19:00 got in.  Left 1 minute late; didn't notice how we were doing by Melksham, but we had had a good fast run so were probably pretty well on time.
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grahame
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« Reply #95 on: November 06, 2014, 08:14:45 AM »

Yesterday ...

12:03 Melksham to Swindon +9,-1@ MKM -> 25, 26/10
Noted 12 off and 3 on at Chippenham

15:14 from Swindon. 25 ex Swindon, -5+18 @ CPM, -17+3 @ MKM   41/20
Left Swindon about 7 minutes late / behind the Cardiff.  Still early and waiting time by Melksham!

Arrival at Swindon at around 15:05 had about 15 passengers

Nothing especially unusual about the day or the look of the traffic - good solid business.

Side question - why is there only a DAY return from Melksham to Bristol Airport ... surely most people who make such a journey are going to want to come back a few days of a week later?
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bignosemac
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« Reply #96 on: November 06, 2014, 10:45:06 AM »

There are only Day fares available to Bristol Temple Meads from Melksham and it would appear that the destination BRISTOL AIR BUS takes Bristol Temple Meads as its fares cluster point.

Other origins in the west that have period returns to Bristol Temple Meads have the same period return ticket types to BRISTOL AIR BUS.

I agree it makes little sense to only have day fares to an airport, but that's the way the fares system is set up. If Melksham were to get period return fares to Bristol Temple Meads then the airport would also get them.
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stuving
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« Reply #97 on: November 06, 2014, 11:16:40 AM »

From Wokingham to Gatwick there is a full range of fares, including anytime returns - by both routes (and set by FGW or SWT). All are either twice the (day) single, or a little higher. I think that's quite common, so all you are missing is the convenience of not buying the return single.

Of course you might prefer the single anyway, since by the time you come back either your plans,  the trains, or the flight may not be as expected and a bit of flexibility might be worth having.

And that "full range" of fares still leaves out some possibilities, like 1st off-peak non-day and off-peak singles (via London).
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grahame
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« Reply #98 on: November 06, 2014, 11:59:53 AM »

I think that's quite common, so all you are missing is the convenience of not buying the return.

Two singles is fair enough - but can I buy my return Bristol Airport to Melksham ticket when I get back to the airport?  A single bought in advance isn't going to be much good if I fly out on a business trip of indeterminate duration.

I called National Rail to check this ... and they don't know if there's a ticket office at Bristol Airport to buy the ticket to come back.   After being on hold for a long time, they admitted that "the page isn't coming up for us" ... and suggested that the best way is to fly in, but a ticket for just the bus to Temple Meads, then buy another ticket at Temple Meads for the ongoing journey to Melksham.   They assure me it won't cost any more, but my goodness this seems like how NOT to encourage people to use the train when they're flying out from their local airport.
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John R
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« Reply #99 on: November 06, 2014, 12:21:03 PM »

Yesterday ...

12:03 Melksham to Swindon +9,-1@ MKM -> 25, 26/10
Noted 12 off and 3 on at Chippenham

15:14 from Swindon. 25 ex Swindon, -5+18 @ CPM, -17+3 @ MKM   41/20
Left Swindon about 7 minutes late / behind the Cardiff.  Still early and waiting time by Melksham!

Arrival at Swindon at around 15:05 had about 15 passengers

Nothing especially unusual about the day or the look of the traffic - good solid business.


These numbers are well up on those captured recently in the survey. 17 off at Melksham seems a very good flow for a service outside the peak on a weekday.
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grahame
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« Reply #100 on: November 06, 2014, 12:46:32 PM »

These numbers are well up on those captured recently in the survey. 17 off at Melksham seems a very good flow for a service outside the peak on a weekday.

No grouping or cluster reason I could see, either.  A number of regulars I'm getting to recognise, a school / college flow, and a number of "miscellaneous".  Apparently, that 26 on the up train was the quietest run of the day in that direction up to that point, and based on the number arriving on the next train into Swindon that was roughly as busy.  All remarkably satisfactory.   Of the 17, 2 drove from the station, one was picked up, one cycled, one was hanging around I suspect for a lift and the rest walked purposefully as if they knew where they were going.
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grahame
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« Reply #101 on: November 15, 2014, 08:18:12 PM »

Two dozen helpers over 60 trains over four days from 11th to 14th October ... approaching 600 survey forms returned from the first three days are now nearly all entered (just the difficult - to - interpret ones to go and a few late hand-ins), and we have on and off passenger counts all up the line for 58 of the 60 trains where, alas, our team got so involved in surveys they didn't note the numbers.  Anyways ... a month later, a similar Saturday timetable, and I quietly travelled on the nearest equivalent train today to come up with a suitable estimate - or rather I intended to.

15:14 from Westbury - in summary form as we report here:  26 ex Trowbridge, 6 off 0 on at Melksham - 26/6

The it went a bit belly up.  In October, with the Cheltenham line shut, it was the same train up and back.  Today, we were on swap over turn - swapping a westbury layover train with a swindon layover one.  Both timed to depart Chippenham at the same time ... and alas as I crossed the platform the lights went out on the door buttons.  Cry  ... and after the 15:38 the next train wasn't due until 18:03.   Watching it as it pulled out, there were around 35 passengers.

Every cloud has a silver lining ... an opportunity to pop up to Swindon, measure up for the grotto, and see how the 17:46 was doing.   Oh - my - goodness.  "Full and Standing", 116 on a 153 off Swindon.   One lad passed out and I was part of the group tending him as we got to Chippenham - so I missed offs and ons there.   However, 24 off and 3 on at Melksham leaving 79 on the train.   That means exactly 100 from Chippenham to Melksham.  So 103/27


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John R
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« Reply #102 on: November 15, 2014, 08:29:12 PM »

Gosh. I expect a combination of early Xmas shoppers and Swindon Town playing their local rivals probably swelled the numbers somewhat. But if this is what we can expect in the run up to Xmas then I wonder whether FGW can find a two car unit from somewhere on a Saturday. (I guess the same problem will exist elsewhere though.)

And of course, it would mean that the services into SWI in the morning would also have been busy, though maybe spread a little more.
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grahame
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« Reply #103 on: November 16, 2014, 07:12:54 AM »

Gosh. I expect a combination of early Xmas shoppers and Swindon Town playing their local rivals probably swelled the numbers somewhat. But if this is what we can expect in the run up to Xmas then I wonder whether FGW can find a two car unit from somewhere on a Saturday. (I guess the same problem will exist elsewhere though.)

"Swindon Town at home" was the main cause of the upward blip ... but being a local derby only added a small "delta" - they're at home some 20 Saturdays in the year, and a significant traffic surge happens on each of them!   There was indeed shopping traffic on there too.  I would be surprised (but happy) to see a 2 car unit on the TransWilts shuttles on match Saturdays, bearing in mind that (over the next month) the Bath Christmas Market will such in the spare stock such as it is; it's no co-incidence that Santa can come on a Sunday rather than a Saturday to these parts.  It's ironic that the trains that run on the TransWilts during the match, when the fans are otherwise occupied in the County Ground, are 2 car as they provide a service by doing a set swap between the South Cotswold line and the Westbury area!
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John R
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« Reply #104 on: November 16, 2014, 09:57:59 AM »

Having checked RTT I also notice that the 1734 departure via Chippenham didn't leave until 1754, so for the first leg of the journey you probably had a lot of passengers (particularly fans, given the timing) who would naturally have been on the earlier service. Though that would only explain the severe overcrowding as far as Chippenham, and shouldn't detract from the very healthy flow beyond that point.

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