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Author Topic: Thames Valley signalling problems - big delays - July 2014  (Read 81683 times)
IndustryInsider
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« on: July 14, 2014, 09:50:33 am »

Nothing has moved between Reading and Twyford for the last 90 minutes as of 09:50 today.

Major disruption on all services in the area as a result.  Will take many hours to get back to normal.
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BBM
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2014, 10:29:12 am »

Just had the good news at work that my request for a job move from London to Reading (much nearer my home) has been accepted although it won't happen until the end of the year.

In a way I'll be sorry to no longer travel regularly by train but I've well and truly come to the end of my tether. I know this sort of thing is not FGW (First Great Western)'s fault (although their level of customer service in such situations can be quite lacking) but I've had enough. I really have had enough.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2014, 11:33:25 am »

Just had the good news at work that my request for a job move from London to Reading (much nearer my home) has been accepted although it won't happen until the end of the year.

In a way I'll be sorry to no longer travel regularly by train but I've well and truly come to the end of my tether. I know this sort of thing is not FGW (First Great Western)'s fault (although their level of customer service in such situations can be quite lacking) but I've had enough. I really have had enough.


Yep pretty hopeless this morning, turfed off at Maidenhead around 0830 and told to speak to staff on platform (naturally there were none to be seen), another train arrived about 0900 which everyone boarded but only to hear the driver warning of further lengthy delays so gradually everyone disembarked - hung around for an hour or so listening to sporadic "apology" type announcements which were just about audible albeit in a very heavy foreign accent, went for a coffee and having checked FGW website realised that nothing much was moving so decided to take advantage of local buses which were allegedly accepting tickets and work from home...........bus arrived, driver knew nothing about ticket acceptance however was sensible enough to take the word of the dozen or so unhappy customers who boarded.

Agree with BBM, customer service not brilliant, much staring at screens and scratching at chins when asked what is going on although one lady was proactive enough to be directing people to local bus services.

I escaped the London commute a few years ago and now only have to go as far as Reading however that too is often a rollercoaster ride as it was today - several v important meetings missed, however only saving grace was that Boss (coming from other direction) was also caught up in the same problem so sympathises!!!

Hope it gets sorted out before the evening peak, good luck all!
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2014, 11:34:31 am »

And now also delays between Bath and Chippenham due to a lineside fire.

Yet another bad day in FGW (First Great Western) land!
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Silver
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2014, 02:03:06 pm »

The signalling between London and Reading, especially around Maidenhead and Twyford, appears to be totally unfit for purpose with, I would estimate, at least one significant issue per week along with many minor delays.  I am left pondering if the planned upgrades (Crossrail and electrification) have meant that focus has been moved from BAU maintenance and replacement (I'm not suggesting that safety is compromised here, just that these issues regular may have been resolved if there were not bigger plans to upgrade the infrastructure in the future).  Very few evening peak trains reach Reading on time, I have heard stories of commuters being delayed for 5 of 5 weekly journeys on a semi regular basis, I am usually on the 6.05 Frome service and get off at Twyford, this rarely arrives/departs Twyford on time and the connection to the Henley service is usually only made by the platform staff at Twyford going against company policy and delaying the Henley train.

I understand that FGW (First Great Western) get compensation from Network Rail when infrastructure issues create significant delays.  I also wonder if the compensation received is greater than the cost of such delays (overtime and customer compensation) to the extent that FGW are not unhappy with the situation, especially as they approach the end of their franchise?  If this is not the case why don't FGW demand that the issue be resolved, obviously, that could be happening behind the scenes but I have seen no public comment by FGW that would suggest this is happening?

Don't get me started on how FGW manage the fallout and passenger communications when this happens.  Staff at Paddington seem to rely on the public aps on their smart phones for information rather have confidence in what they are being told by FGW and train managers either hide from passengers or make the "I don't know why" announcements regarding delays.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2014, 02:14:16 pm »

If this is not the case why don't FGW (First Great Western) demand that the issue be resolved, obviously, that could be happening behind the scenes but I have seen no public comment by FGW that would suggest this is happening?

I am assured that it is, and the public won't be told generally, as there is a non-slagging off in public agreement between rail bodies/operators
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Silver
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2014, 02:24:55 pm »

If this is not the case why don't FGW (First Great Western) demand that the issue be resolved, obviously, that could be happening behind the scenes but I have seen no public comment by FGW that would suggest this is happening?

I am assured that it is, and the public won't be told generally, as there is a non-slagging off in public agreement between rail bodies/operators

If FGW are trying to address this behind the scenes I suggest they need to re-think how they are doing this as the problem is not new and is getting worse not better....
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ChrisB
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2014, 02:42:41 pm »

I hear it is at the highest level :-)
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 03:00:50 pm »

I hear it is at the highest level :-)

..........then you can be assured that nothing will happen..............this problem has been ongoing for years and nothing ever seems to resolve it, I suspect that resolution was always going to be tricky/expensive and so it has been deferred and deferred.......I for one agree with Silver that Crossrail is now being prioritised at the expense of everything else and that FGW (First Great Western)/NR» (Network Rail - home page) are happy to suck it up in the meantime with the usual platitudes.

With the honourable exception of individual members of staff, the concept of "Customer Service" is completely alien to FGW, I too have seen staff not only at Paddington looking up information on their own smartphones rather than being able to advise customers themselves...........and now the weather is getting slightly warmer I'm pretty sure we'll have a load of delays/cancellations due to "poor rail conditions" by the end of the week..............
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ChrisB
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2014, 03:10:56 pm »

fyi, customer facing staff have mostly been issued with company BlackBerrys - so if that's what you see, they ain't personal....
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Silver
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2014, 03:13:40 pm »

fyi, customer facing staff have mostly been issued with company BlackBerrys - so if that's what you see, they ain't personal....

Nope, it is normally the Train Times ap on iPhone/Android or similar that I see them using and several have told me is far more accurate/timely than the information they receive from their employers.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2014, 03:41:21 pm »

fyi, customer facing staff have mostly been issued with company BlackBerrys - so if that's what you see, they ain't personal....

Nope, it is normally the Train Times ap on iPhone/Android or similar that I see them using and several have told me is far more accurate/timely than the information they receive from their employers.


Ditto, I was told exactly the same thing by two FGW (First Great Western) employees.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2014, 05:06:41 pm »

This stretch of line is being resignalled.  You will see new equipment cupboards and buildings appearing over the next few months.  The existing signalling is not immune to 25kv overhead electrification.
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BBM
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2014, 06:22:33 pm »

FGW (First Great Western)'s Twitter account now reporting signal failure at PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) affecting platforms 9-14.
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2014, 06:46:58 pm »

Yep got kicked off the 6.05 Frome on p10 and moved to another train on p5. Running late into Twy now.
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