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Author Topic: Problems with the Night Riviera sleeper - December 2014 onwards  (Read 200226 times)
bobm
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« Reply #735 on: February 10, 2020, 09:10:18 am »

At least it ran - all the Scottish ones were cancelled.
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phile
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« Reply #736 on: February 13, 2020, 01:42:46 pm »

1C50 Down Sleeper with 57603 failed and terminated at Plymouth this morning.      ECS ran to Penzance later
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RivieraRegular
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« Reply #737 on: February 15, 2020, 01:14:11 pm »

As my username suggests I do a round trip on the Night Riviera once every 2-3 weeks all year round, I found this thread while searching to see if its just me or does it really breakdown so often.

Many of the failures you discuss here I was on including the getting towed back to Plymouth by an engineering train last October (by the way the replacement IET definitely did have first class) and this Thursday's failure to leave Plymouth as the breaks were stuck on (this is what we were told).

I am a huge fan of the Riviera when it works and have nothing but praise for the fantastic staff many of whom now recognise me, but the unreliability is becoming worrying to the extent that I often go up to London a day early if I have a meeting I can't miss just in case, which kind of defeats the point of a sleeper train.

Don't even get me started on how quickly the refurbished cabins are wearing out!
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phile
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« Reply #738 on: February 15, 2020, 01:34:09 pm »

As my username suggests I do a round trip on the Night Riviera once every 2-3 weeks all year round, I found this thread while searching to see if its just me or does it really breakdown so often.

Many of the failures you discuss here I was on including the getting towed back to Plymouth by an engineering train last October (by the way the replacement IET definitely did have first class) and this Thursday's failure to leave Plymouth as the breaks were stuck on (this is what we were told).

I am a huge fan of the Riviera when it works and have nothing but praise for the fantastic staff many of whom now recognise me, but the unreliability is becoming worrying to the extent that I often go up to London a day early if I have a meeting I can't miss just in case, which kind of defeats the point of a sleeper train.

Don't even get me started on how quickly the refurbished cabins are wearing out!

Breakdowns are quite rare now and the instance quoted in the last post was not actually a failure.    It had actually struck a beer barrel on the track which could happen to any train anywhere.
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grahame
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« Reply #739 on: February 15, 2020, 05:02:15 pm »

As my username suggests I do a round trip on the Night Riviera once every 2-3 weeks all year round, I found this thread while searching to see if its just me or does it really breakdown so often.

Welcome to the forum.  With the best will in the world, a forum like this tends to pick up the operational incidents and oddities and 'headline' them far more that the daily good operation that happens the majority of the time ... just as the GWR site will pick up the positive and headline that to the near-exclusion of bad news.  The real truth comes somewhere between.

Time after time, meeting after meeting (and I have personally been to a lot), what turns customer off and on - what is most critical to them - is reliability.  Forget speed. Forget frequency. Forget cost. Forget comfort. Forget even safety.  I would suspect that - if we had a safety issue that the individual traveller identified with - that would shoot to the top of the list, and it's to the credit of that real industry it's presently a no-issue.

Quote
Many of the failures you discuss here I was on including the getting towed back to Plymouth by an engineering train last October (by the way the replacement IET definitely did have first class) and this Thursday's failure to leave Plymouth as the breaks were stuck on (this is what we were told).

I am a huge fan of the Riviera when it works and have nothing but praise for the fantastic staff many of whom now recognise me, but the unreliability is becoming worrying to the extent that I often go up to London a day early if I have a meeting I can't miss just in case, which kind of defeats the point of a sleeper train.

Don't even get me started on how quickly the refurbished cabins are wearing out!

I cannot speak from experience of planning trips on the Cornish Sleeper - no logical reason to personally us it - but I do on rare occasions use the Caledonian Sleeper.  If my meeting in Scotland is vital (training and I'm the instructor) it's travel up the evening before every time; if I'm there for contract programming or as an audience member at an event, the sleeper works for me.

We have much interest in the sleeper here (that's what brought you to the site!) ... what stats does anyone have to put numbers rather than spin on its performance?
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RivieraRegular
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« Reply #740 on: February 15, 2020, 10:06:48 pm »

As my username suggests I do a round trip on the Night Riviera once every 2-3 weeks all year round, I found this thread while searching to see if its just me or does it really breakdown so often.

Many of the failures you discuss here I was on including the getting towed back to Plymouth by an engineering train last October (by the way the replacement IET definitely did have first class) and this Thursday's failure to leave Plymouth as the breaks were stuck on (this is what we were told).

I am a huge fan of the Riviera when it works and have nothing but praise for the fantastic staff many of whom now recognise me, but the unreliability is becoming worrying to the extent that I often go up to London a day early if I have a meeting I can't miss just in case, which kind of defeats the point of a sleeper train.

Don't even get me started on how quickly the refurbished cabins are wearing out!

Breakdowns are quite rare now and the instance quoted in the last post was not actually a failure.    It had actually struck a beer barrel on the track which could happen to any train anywhere.

Not sure if you've ever been to platform five at Plymouth,  but I'm sorry I find your beer barrel explanation of the cause of Thursday's breakdown pure fantasy. Perhaps you should visit and speculate how it could possibly have got there and indeed quite how it could have disabled an entire train from a low speed frontal impact.
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #741 on: February 16, 2020, 12:34:46 am »

The Sleeper service is Loco hauled,and this being the case it has exposed hose connections for the brakes at the front of the loco ,in this case hitting an object such as a beer barrel or something similar placed on the track would cause a total loss of brake pressure leading to a failure to proceed.

 Welcome to the forum Riviera Regular,one hopes your travels on this service will be more pleasant in future ,and that you will find plenty of interesting subjects here
Also do please take a while to look around,and when you have done so you will find that our membership includes many who understand a great deal more than most about our Railways and the way in which they operate,Fantasy pure or not ,is not something that we indulge in here, which you would do well to remember in future posts WP.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #742 on: February 16, 2020, 11:26:40 am »

what stats does anyone have to put numbers rather than spin on its performance?

There are several sites that list historic data, with ontimetrains.co.uk being my preferred one.  It can be a bit difficult to keep tabs of the sleeper as its running schedule does get altered quite a lot, but the below are ones I've found:

Details over the last three months are here:

Down (MON-FRI):  https://www.ontimetrains.co.uk/journeys/PAD/PNZ/23:45/07:50/GW;dayOfWeekRange=All;dateRange=12W
Down (SUN):  https://www.ontimetrains.co.uk/journeys/PAD/PNZ/23:50/08:49/GW;dayOfWeekRange=All;dateRange=12W

Up (MON-THU):  https://www.ontimetrains.co.uk/journeys/PNZ/PAD/21:45/05:04/GW;dayOfWeekRange=Weekdays;dateRange=12W
Up (FRI):  https://www.ontimetrains.co.uk/journeys/PNZ/PAD/21:45/05:07/GW;dayOfWeekRange=Weekdays;dateRange=12W
Up (SUN):  https://www.ontimetrains.co.uk/journeys/PNZ/PAD/21:15/05:04/GW;dayOfWeekRange=Sundays;dateRange=12W

Overall performance doesn't seem to have been too bad, given it's not as much of a 'time critical' service as others?

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Celestial
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« Reply #743 on: February 16, 2020, 11:53:20 am »

Fantasy pure or not ,is not something that we indulge in here, which you would do well to remember in future posts WP.
Is it just me, or is that an unnecessary slap for a new member, especially coming from a moderator?  It would discourage me from ever coming back to the forum, being spoken to like a teacher on my second post.
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grahame
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« Reply #744 on: February 16, 2020, 12:17:25 pm »

Fantasy pure or not ,is not something that we indulge in here, which you would do well to remember in future posts WP.
Is it just me, or is that an unnecessary slap for a new member, especially coming from a moderator?  It would discourage me from ever coming back to the forum, being spoken to like a teacher on my second post.

Tough call ... I looked at the original post.  "but I'm sorry I find your beer barrel explanation of the cause of Thursday's breakdown pure fantasy." ... polite, but took my breath away too when I read it, and WP's answer was in line with that breath being taken away.

I do hope that RivieraRegular is not put off posting; the message from WP is correct in suggesting "hey, have a look around - there are already many answers here", yet in practise it's very hard to find the wood for the trees sometimes.

I have no trouble believing that the entire train was disabled (and replaced by an IET) because it hit a beer barrel. How the beer barrel got in the way of the train, I wouldn't know;  strongest bet - some sort of vandalism, with accident or weather being less likely runners.  None of those likely to be the fault of GWR, but it's their role / part of the franchise to pick up the job of getting customers to final destination station, and to take the flack.  It's usually better, I think, to tell the customer what's happened when a train is capped like this, but I say "usually"; exceptions to the generality because:
*) Don't want to give other people ideas
*) Don't want to scare passenger into needless worry about "will it be safe to go through on the replacement"
*) Don't actually know what's been hit as the incident develops, so couldn't fully inform the customer; it's a fault on the train, but at an early stage was that some sort of mechanical problem on the loco, or it hitting something?

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, if something went wrong with a vehicle in a train / it was damaged, it could be removed from the train and parked up in a siding and the rest of the train continue.  And if it was a locomotive that was disabled, another could be requisitioned from nearby.  Those days are gone - GWR operates 4 x class 57 locomotives suitable for the sleeper, as opposed to BR who operated 512 class 47 locomotives.  When the train sets out from Penzance it's basically on its own until Reading, with fingers crossed that the old locomotive makes it.   Failure along the way ... there is no spare "Thunderbird" rescue locomotive;  working with freight / engineering operators the best GWR can hope / ask for is a tow to Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton or Westbury, with their spare loco at Penzance or Reading rescuing the train during the next day.
 
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 12:24:55 pm by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #745 on: February 17, 2020, 07:00:10 am »

Last night ... "a day in the life of a sleeper train" ...

Up service - 28 late off Plymouth ("awaiting connections") ... scheduled to run via Taunton and Bristol Temple Meads. Diverted from Exeter via Yeovil, Castle Cary, Westbury and Melksham, resumed scheduled route at Thingley; just 3 minutes late into Reading and on time (05:04) at Paddington.

Down service - scheduled 23:50 off Paddington but did not leave until 01:33 ("awaiting crew").  Ran via Bath and Taunton, About 80 minutes late between Reading and Exeter, on time from there (110 minute stop reduced to 30) and into Plymouth at 06:12 (2 minutes late).  As the empties arrived in Paddington at 21:51 (scheduled 21:12) I suspect that the passengers didn't mind and perhaps didn't even notice the late departure.

For future record - Truro to Penzance closed, engineering works this week.  Cowley Bridge closed on Sunday evening - flooding from Storm Dennis.
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« Reply #746 on: February 17, 2020, 07:37:40 pm »

Welcome to Riviera Regular. Iíve used the Sleeper for leisure in the past but not sure I would trust it if I had, say, a job interview to travel for.

Itís true that breakdowns are comparatively rare on the Sleeper, but unfortunately the impact of any breakdown far exceeds that of a daytime train (as Iím sure we all appreciate). Rather like a Premier Inn turfing all its customers out from their beds at 4am and offering them camp beds in the cafe instead.

Can anyone with inside knowledge confirm if those failures that do occur are majorly down to the age of the locomotives? I was wondering idly to myself if a 9 car IET could be redesigned as a sleeper, or perhaps HST power cars used with the existing coaches.
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bobm
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« Reply #747 on: February 17, 2020, 08:38:53 pm »

Seems all UK sleeper services are plagued by locomotive problems.  Ask Caledonian sleeper passengers. 
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Celestial
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« Reply #748 on: February 17, 2020, 09:58:44 pm »

I was wondering idly to myself if a 9 car IET could be redesigned as a sleeper
Or even two 5 car sets with one stopping at Plymouth (a bit like the old days when a coach was dropped off), and one going on to Penzance.

Mind you, think of the fun the inevitable night it was short formed.  Come on, cwtch up everyone!
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TonyK
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« Reply #749 on: February 17, 2020, 11:21:15 pm »

As my username suggests I do a round trip on the Night Riviera once every 2-3 weeks all year round, I found this thread while searching to see if its just me or does it really breakdown so often.

Many of the failures you discuss here I was on including the getting towed back to Plymouth by an engineering train last October (by the way the replacement IET definitely did have first class) and this Thursday's failure to leave Plymouth as the breaks were stuck on (this is what we were told).

Welcome indeed to the Forum. The ongoing issues with the sleeper are read by many people on this site who have never ever been on it. Your regular use of the service gives you an exalted status, and I shall watch keenly for updates!

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I am a huge fan of the Riviera when it works and have nothing but praise for the fantastic s
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taff many of whom now recognise me, but the unreliability is becoming worrying to the extent that I often go up to London a day early if I have a meeting I can't miss just in case, which kind of defeats the point of a sleeper train.


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