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Author Topic: Worcestershire Parkway Station project - ongoing discussion  (Read 36682 times)
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« Reply #105 on: July 17, 2019, 05:59:59 pm »

XC journeys are already too slow.  In most cases it is much quicker (and cheaper) to travel via London than to use XC direct services

I like to travel.  It lets me feel I'm getting somewhere.
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« Reply #106 on: August 16, 2019, 12:35:29 pm »

Well, the station fit-out continues.  Might be a bit of a mad rush getting it ready for a December opening, but when it does open a quick look at how the station will be served* compared with current options from Worcester:

Low level platforms: 31 trains, 16 northbound, 15 southbound.

First University/Birmingham train of the day is 07:36.  Quite late.
First Cheltenham/Gloucester/Cardiff train is 07:58.  Also quite late.

Commute to Birmingham is possible on 07:36 or 08:14 departures with 39 minute or 31 minute journey times - quickest option currently from Shrub Hill or Foregate Street takes 41 minutes, but 45-50 minutes is more typical.  Generally a few more (and earlier) options available from Shrub Hill/Foregate Street though.  Return commute on 17:30 or 18:30 takes just 28 minutes, with (again) more options to Shrub Hill or Foregate street but a fastest time of 41 minutes.  My conclusion is that depending on where you live in Worcester, then commuting from Parkway station will be a better option for some as you won't have to battle through the streets of Worcester to get to and from the station and the trains are a little quicker.

Commute to Cheltenham/Gloucester possible on 07:58, taking 16 minutes to Cheltenham and 27 minutes to Gloucester.  Equivalent today from Shrub Hill is 07:08 taking 21/32 minutes, but that gets you in too early for a typical 9-5 commute where the Parkway option is much more suitable.  Coming home it is 17:48/17:59 taking 25/14 minutes compared with a similar time now of 17:37 Gloucester or 17:48 Cheltenham taking 39/28 minutes - so again depending on where you live it might open up more commuting options.

Leisure journey opportunities roughly every hour to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Chepstow, Newport and Cardiff one direction.  Birmingham, Tamworth, Burton-On-Trent, Derby and Nottingham the other way - many of which can't be done by direct train at the moment.  1h 20m to Derby, under two hours to Nottingham, 1h 30m to Cardiff - all quite a lot quicker than you can currently do those journeys with changes.  Off-peak to/from Cheltenham/Gloucester is regular and hourly rather than one every two hours which you can currently get from Shrub Hill/Foregate.

High level platform: 36 trains, 17 eastbound, 18 westbound, 1 late evening terminating train from London

Less of a pattern than the low level services, but generally a train every hour to Oxford/London, a train every hour to Worcester with six of those continuing to Great Malvern and a further four going through to Hereford.  Several sub 2-hour journeys to London, with the quickest being 1h 49m with off-peak services generally taking around the 2-hour mark.  That's generally around 15-20 minutes quicker than currently from Shrub Hill, although these are the same trains so the journey times from the other Worcester stations also become quicker and to a more standardised pattern.  What effect that will have on passenger numbers remains to be seen, but certainly new London passengers might be attracted to use the station who would otherwise had driven to another station such as Warwick Parkway, or not used the train at all.

Connections between High and Low Level platforms:

Commuting from places like Moreton, Evesham or Pershore to Cheltenham or Gloucester isn't really an option at the moment with journey times of well over an hour and nothing that fits in with standard commuting hours.  Leisure journeys aren't much better - every couple of hours and again at least an hour.  It's the same story commuting from those stations to Birmingham with arrivals at 07:10 or 09:09 being too early or too late for most.

By changing at Worcestershire Parkway more options become available, though sadly still nothing realistic for the typical commuter to Cheltenham or Gloucester.  The 07:58 departure from Low Level departs four minutes before the arrival from London via Evesham at 08:02.  It's better for Birmingham though as the current 09:09 arrival becomes 08:45 departing at the same time (07:51).  There is a similar improvement on the return journey.

It's a shame the large gap in trains from Evesham west between 05:53 and 07:51 can't be plugged with something as that would really make commuting a feasible option from those Cotswold Line stations!

Leisure opportunities from Moreton/Honeybourne/Evesham and Pershore to Cheltenham/Gloucester/Cardiff/Birmingham do improve considerably though.  For example, many 35/45 minute journeys are available between Evesham and Cheltenham/Gloucester with a good connection at Worcestershire Parkway.  Evesham to and from Birmingham in around an hour becomes possible several times a day.

So, I've no doubt new journey opportunities will open up by changing trains at Worcestershire Parkway, but it is a shame that the commuting options don't improve as much as they could.

* Based on RTT data which may be inaccurate or incomplete

To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see:
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