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Author Topic: Why I travel by train  (Read 43749 times)
grahame
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« on: March 10, 2015, 07:06:36 am »

In 2005 I drove 30,000 miles a year, and train journeys were rare.  In 2015, I expect to drive just 3,000 miles, and already in 2 months I have made long distance journeys by train to Taunton, Swansea, Cambridge, and London - multiple times - and many local journeys.  I choose to tavel by train because I arrive at my destination fresher, I'm free from the incumberance of a car in city centres and workplace overcrowded car parks, because I'm exercisong as I walk to and from stations, because it's sensibly priced (I have an Old Codger's railcard saving me 34% which assists on this balance, although many off peak and local tickets are not expensive anyway) and because I can work on the train, relax, sleep, even use a mobile phone occasionaly.

I am delighted to hear this morning that First Great Western have completed the fitting of WiFi in all their high speed trains, and it's available free for use too.  Free WiFi is also available at a number of FGW (First Great Western) stations throguh the Cloud, most notably at Swindon where I often change trains and wait for my connection home to Melksham.

It came home to me on Saturday last just how useful the free WiFi, which has been gradually appearing over the last few months, has become when I travelled on another Train Operator's service 30 minutes ahead of the FGW alternative, and found myself wishing I had waited, but I have learned over the years that a train in the hand in worth two in the bush.

Local trains / no WiFi - that's fine by me.  For a short hop of less than 40 minutes, I can do without.   Regional services - it would be nice, but the HST (High Speed Train) / sleeper / Adelante fleets were the natural firsts.

The ability to do my job by public transport rather than driving has been lifechanging, and lifechanging for the better.  I congratulate First Great Western on completing this innovation.  And I congratulate First Great Western, Wiltshire Council, the Department for Transport, political support from MPs (Member of Parliament) and candidates of all parties with major local influence for giving me the opportunity, and to the train crews, platform teams and operatuons managers who make it run, and who are sol welcoming, on a day by day basis.

Press release from First Great Western ...

Quote

TIME SPENT WORKING ON TRAINS CONTRIBUTES MILLIONS TO UK (United Kingdom) BUSINESSES Survey finds one in five Brits work while travelling on train

10 March, 2015: Research from First Great Western has found that time spent working on First Great Western services contributes an estimated ^150million* each year to businesses in the Great Western network and London. On average, British train travellers spend 33.5 minutes working on board every day, with one in ten spending over 45 minutes at work while on board.

The most common work related tasks completed on trains are checking emails (36 per cent), sending emails (26 per cent), researching (14 per cent), editing documents (8 per cent) and sending files (7 per cent). Interestingly, 38 per cent of people say they can leave work early thanks to working on the train, highlighting the move towards greater work flexibility.

The survey found other activities completed on board are checking social media (60 per cent), reading the news (56 per cent), online shopping (22 per cent) and banking online (19 per cent).

The poll was commissioned to mark the launch of free WiFi on board all of First Great Western^s High Speed Train fleet and Night Riviera Sleeper services.
In 2013, First Great Western pledged to increase WiFi provision as part of its franchise and has since worked with Nomad Digital to rollout the service. Work to install the new services began last year.

Speaking about the rollout, First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: ^After a successful trial, we pledged to provide free WiFi on more of our services. We are now pleased to announce that the rollout on long distance services is complete. Passengers travelling on our High Speed Train fleet and Night Riviera Sleeper Services will be able to connect and enjoy WiFi services as they travel through the region.

^We already know the physical connectivity of our services plays a valuable role in driving the economies across our region and now the virtual connectivity our free WiFi services brings delivers even more."
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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 07:36:47 am »

I too make use of the free WiFi on FGW (First Great Western) HSTs (High Speed Train) - I just wish they would make the login easier.  The 180s' WiFi system allows you to register and then login in on future occasions, with the HSTs you have to enter your details every time.

However, despite that, I have travelled some 100,000 miles by train since 2011 and the ability to work on the move has been invaluable.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 08:57:33 am »

In 2005 I drove 30,000 miles a year, and train journeys were rare.  In 2015, I expect to drive just 3,000 miles, and already in 2 months I have made long distance journeys by train to Taunton, Swansea, Cambridge, and London - multiple times - and many local journeys.  I choose to tavel by train because I arrive at my destination fresher, I'm free from the incumberance of a car in city centres and workplace overcrowded car parks, because I'm exercisong as I walk to and from stations, because it's sensibly priced (I have an Old Codger's railcard saving me 34% which assists on this balance, although many off peak and local tickets are not expensive anyway) and because I can work on the train, relax, sleep, even use a mobile phone occasionaly.

I am delighted to hear this morning that First Great Western have completed the fitting of WiFi in all their high speed trains, and it's available free for use too.  Free WiFi is also available at a number of FGW (First Great Western) stations throguh the Cloud, most notably at Swindon where I often change trains and wait for my connection home to Melksham.

It came home to me on Saturday last just how useful the free WiFi, which has been gradually appearing over the last few months, has become when I travelled on another Train Operator's service 30 minutes ahead of the FGW alternative, and found myself wishing I had waited, but I have learned over the years that a train in the hand in worth two in the bush.

Local trains / no WiFi - that's fine by me.  For a short hop of less than 40 minutes, I can do without.   Regional services - it would be nice, but the HST (High Speed Train) / sleeper / Adelante fleets were the natural firsts.

The ability to do my job by public transport rather than driving has been lifechanging, and lifechanging for the better.  I congratulate First Great Western on completing this innovation.  And I congratulate First Great Western, Wiltshire Council, the Department for Transport, political support from MPs (Member of Parliament) and candidates of all parties with major local influence for giving me the opportunity, and to the train crews, platform teams and operatuons managers who make it run, and who are sol welcoming, on a day by day basis.

Press release from First Great Western ...

Quote

TIME SPENT WORKING ON TRAINS CONTRIBUTES MILLIONS TO UK (United Kingdom) BUSINESSES Survey finds one in five Brits work while travelling on train

10 March, 2015: Research from First Great Western has found that time spent working on First Great Western services contributes an estimated ^150million* each year to businesses in the Great Western network and London. On average, British train travellers spend 33.5 minutes working on board every day, with one in ten spending over 45 minutes at work while on board.

The most common work related tasks completed on trains are checking emails (36 per cent), sending emails (26 per cent), researching (14 per cent), editing documents (8 per cent) and sending files (7 per cent). Interestingly, 38 per cent of people say they can leave work early thanks to working on the train, highlighting the move towards greater work flexibility.

The survey found other activities completed on board are checking social media (60 per cent), reading the news (56 per cent), online shopping (22 per cent) and banking online (19 per cent).

The poll was commissioned to mark the launch of free WiFi on board all of First Great Western^s High Speed Train fleet and Night Riviera Sleeper services.
In 2013, First Great Western pledged to increase WiFi provision as part of its franchise and has since worked with Nomad Digital to rollout the service. Work to install the new services began last year.

Speaking about the rollout, First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: ^After a successful trial, we pledged to provide free WiFi on more of our services. We are now pleased to announce that the rollout on long distance services is complete. Passengers travelling on our High Speed Train fleet and Night Riviera Sleeper Services will be able to connect and enjoy WiFi services as they travel through the region.

^We already know the physical connectivity of our services plays a valuable role in driving the economies across our region and now the virtual connectivity our free WiFi services brings delivers even more."


..............there speaks a man who is fortunate enough not to have to use peak London/Thames Valley services on a daily basis!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 09:29:02 am »

Frankly, if it were installed on the turbos, there wouldn't be enough bandwidth for everyone that uses it. Chiltern already have that problem. It doesn't help that some greedy b*gg*rs not only connect their laptop/tablet, but also their phone too. And occasionally, all three.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 09:43:27 am »

Frankly, if it were installed on the turbos...

Fitment of the FGW (First Great Western) Turbo fleet has just commenced I think.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 09:50:29 am »

Frankly, if it were installed on the turbos...

Fitment of the FGW (First Great Western) Turbo fleet has just commenced I think.

May be handy off peak however the services are so overcrowded in the morning/evening peak it would be virtually impossible to work......balancing a laptop with one arm, clinging on to something solid with the other whilst attempting to remove nose from fellow customer's armpit is not really conducive to productive work!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 09:58:47 am »

It'll be interesting to watch the complaints roll in on social media. There are only 254 connections available on any one router, I think
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 10:31:21 am »

..............there speaks a man who is fortunate enough not to have to use peak London/Thames Valley services on a daily basis!

Fortunate - or rather ... by my career and way-of-working choice.  There are times that I *could* commute / sardine, but those weeks I tend to stay in a cheap hotel instead ... for my own office base, I have a 10 minute walk from home.  And, yes, I could earn more in London, I'm sure!
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 10:39:19 am »

Quote

TIME SPENT WORKING ON TRAINS CONTRIBUTES MILLIONS TO UK (United Kingdom) BUSINESSES Survey finds one in five Brits work while travelling on train


Is this an arguement against speeding trains up? Taken to it's illogical conclusion, wouldn't it boost the economy to have sidings full of stationary (but Wi-Fi-enabled) carriages, where people could work without even needing to leave the station?
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2015, 12:45:35 pm »

Quote

TIME SPENT WORKING ON TRAINS CONTRIBUTES MILLIONS TO UK (United Kingdom) BUSINESSES Survey finds one in five Brits work while travelling on train


Is this an arguement against speeding trains up? Taken to it's illogical conclusion, wouldn't it boost the economy to have sidings full of stationary (but Wi-Fi-enabled) carriages, where people could work without even needing to leave the station?

Yes, this is a significant case against building HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)), in that time spent on trains should no longer be deemed to be 'unproductive' as it is now possible to treat assorted means of transport as virtual offices, so it is debateable how much 'benefit to business' the ^40bn is actually going to bring. I share the opinion that the money would be better spent investing in the current infrastructure & longer (double decked?), more reliable & better equipped trains with better timetables.

Personally speaking, I find the environment on a train not particularly conducive to work, so this is a 'why I don't travel by train'! The FGW (First Great Western) services (S.Wales services) I formerly used were often very busy, not particularly peaceful (noisy headphones, loud conversations, drunk people, standees all over the place at peak times etc) and perhaps most significantly for me lacking the space & confidentiality that an office environment affords, be it at home or client site. This and also the ever increasing cost has conspired to make me choose driving over rail (I'm currently about mid-way between young persons & senior railcards!). Virgin Trains on WCML (West Coast Main Line) I found to be a somewhat better environment in which to do some work for some reason, just a bit more peaceful overall in first class.
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Alan Pettitt
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2015, 01:28:56 pm »

I travel by train because I enjoy it. I last had a motor vehicle some seven years ago. I found that I was always getting frustrated in town traffic, a couple of times I unexpectedly met up with friends and had a few drinks then having to go back to get the car the next day, once my car got locked for the night in a Weymouth car park where overnight parking was not allowed and it cost me ^17 to get it out the next morning. Since not having a car I have enjoyed not paying out ^50 odd to fill her up, I can get a train or bus right to the centre of a town or city without worrying about finding parking and I also feel marginally more environmentally friendly. It has annoyed me somewhat that the fuel duty stabilizer or whatever it is called has not done much to stabilize the fuel price, in that, when oil was very expensive the duty did not escalate as planned, but when the oil price fell the government missed the opportunity to ramp up the duty and claw some money back which could have been used to avoid the above inflation rises in public transport fares, and also avoid the continual cuts in the bus services.
I feel that I am saving quite a lot of money. Fortunately, although my family is pretty well spread out, the stations I travel to visit them, Maiden Newton, Dorchester West, Axminster, Great Malvern, Bristol and Trowbridge are all covered by the Freedom of Severn and Solent Rover, so since I got my railcard the 8 days in 15 ticket suits me just fine at a cost of under ^6 per day, probably less than I would pay for parking in some towns.
I do try to get some work done during the journey sometime, but find pencil and notebook more efficient that trying to use a laptop, this may not appeal to many, but it suits me just fine!
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2015, 05:13:49 pm »

..............there speaks a man who is fortunate enough not to have to use peak London/Thames Valley services on a daily basis!

Fortunate - or rather ... by my career and way-of-working choice.  There are times that I *could* commute / sardine, but those weeks I tend to stay in a cheap hotel instead ... for my own office base, I have a 10 minute walk from home.  And, yes, I could earn more in London, I'm sure!

It seems choice v necessity is quite relevant to this discussion......for those of us who need to use the train to get to work, enduring the high fares, overcrowded conditions and frequent delays are a means to an end, for others in less of a "hurry" and an inherent enjoyment of rail travel the journey can be an end in itself?
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Fourbee
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2015, 05:34:04 pm »

..............there speaks a man who is fortunate enough not to have to use peak London/Thames Valley services on a daily basis!

Fortunate - or rather ... by my career and way-of-working choice.  There are times that I *could* commute / sardine, but those weeks I tend to stay in a cheap hotel instead ... for my own office base, I have a 10 minute walk from home.  And, yes, I could earn more in London, I'm sure!

It seems choice v necessity is quite relevant to this discussion......for those of us who need to use the train to get to work, enduring the high fares, overcrowded conditions and frequent delays are a means to an end, for others in less of a "hurry" and an inherent enjoyment of rail travel the journey can be an end in itself?

Absolutely. I have two friends one who "has" to commute into London everyday and spends hundreds on a monthly season and another who has a senior railcard, takes advantage of off-peak fares and travels for leisure. Their views of the rail industry are polar opposites.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2015, 05:43:33 pm »

When I was working, my employer had offices in Exeter, Salisbury and Dorking and on many occasions I took the opportunity of working on the laptop when travelling between offices - usually 'locally' as no Wifi available on SWT (South West Trains) then and mobile signal non-existent for much of the route. I would like to think I was productive most of the time.

However, I have had two journeys between Waterloo and Exeter which I would consider as 'journeys from hell' because of other's work. On one occasion I was returning from a stateside holiday having flown red-eye and just wanted to sleep. I was in first class, but the foursome around the table opposite insisted upon holding a very loud business meeting using ipads and laptops. A few weeks later, I was on the same train, but this time with my family. We opted to sit around a table (three of us) in first class, but we hadn't even left Waterloo when the same group of four that I'd encountered previously (I remember them well!) insisted we move as they needed a table for their meeting and were quite adamant that their first class tickets entitled them to sit at that particular table (even though seat reservations cannot be made on that service). Thankfully, my good lady wife can be quite feisty and stood her ground,  but it was not a pleasant experience.
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2015, 07:51:29 pm »

Absolutely. I have two friends one who "has" to commute into London everyday and spends hundreds on a monthly season and another who has a senior railcard, takes advantage of off-peak fares and travels for leisure. Their views of the rail industry are polar opposites.

Yes, agreed completely - it'll always be hard to win over someone who 'has' to do something against someone who chooses to.  Very much the same with my bus commute into work, which is through fairly pleasant countryside until we get into the city and quite pleasant outside of the rush hour.  Totally different when I 'have' to do it in rush hour the bus is usually either packed and/or delayed and it's often pretty miserable - though I have to say the free Wifi recently installed on the bus makes it less of a grind and that's not because I'm working but because it gives me a chance to easily check up on things such as social media and this forum.  Hopefully FGW (First Great Western) Turbo passengers will find the same benefits even when they are squeezed in.

Well done to FGW for not just fitting out their premier trains.  Hopefully the 158 fleet will be next?
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