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Author Topic: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User  (Read 15211 times)
Bob_Blakey
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« on: July 15, 2016, 05:27:40 pm »

Musings from somebody who might be regarded as an 'average' user of our rail service.

Thursday 14th July 2016 - A Day Out At The Cricket
1L26 0650 PIN > 1019 WAT
Class 159 DMU 6-Car
For trips to London I would normally get the 'local' from Digby & Sowton and travel to Paddington via Exeter St. Davids. On this occasion, even with a Senior Railcard, I was unable to secure a ticket on that route at what I regarded as a reasonable price. Travelling from Pinhoe to Waterloo for £14.35 + £8.00 taxi fare was much more cost effective. The journey itself was not without issues, being 'full & standing' all the way from Salisbury to Waterloo, and suffering a 15 minute delay into WAT due to signalling problems (something that seems to be increasingly common at that location). I can't help but wonder if South West Trains policy of specific train, rather than seat, reservations is the best way of serving their customers on the West of England route; or, being a complete cynic, is it purely designed to avoid compensation claims?

1C96 1945 PAD > 2217 EXD + 2F59 2231 EXD > 2243 DIG
HST 8+2 and Class 143
An on-time end to end journey. The service from PAD was 'full & standing' as far as Newbury. Departure from Pewsey was, as per usual, delayed because alighting passengers couldn't be bothered to shut the doors after themselves. Still it gives the train manager something to do! Unusually for this route there was no ticket check until after the train had departed Castle Cary. Splitting tickets at Westbury reduced the price to £20.80 (from the E2E £29.70 originally offered). 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2016, 11:39:04 am »

Quite interesting that the 1945 was full and standing as far as Newbury - was the Test match a contributory factor?

I know the 1903 is always the train from hell, massively and quite often dangerously overcrowded on Thurs/Fri but I thought the 1945 tended to be quieter - the need for additional capacity on that route and at that time is absolutely critical.

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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2016, 06:30:17 pm »

There were certainly some pax on the 1945 who were identifiably cricket watchers but I couldn't say whether the number was significant.
1L26 on the morning run to Waterloo was however very much affected; I noticed a lot of passengers wearing cricket regalia of one sort or another - the 'bacon & egg' tie seemed to be favourite - and 3 passengers to whom I spoke said that they used the specific service regularly and it was 'never this busy'.
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2016, 07:52:50 pm »

Saturday 16th July / Sunday 17th July 2016 - A Weekend At Lord's
Sat 2T08 0734 DIG > 0747 EXD + 1A76 0754 EXD > 1010 PAD + 1D71 1921 PAD > 1937 SLO
Class 143 x 2 and HST 7+2
An on-time end to end journey. The local train was about half full. There was no ticket check prior to my leaving the service at EXD. A bit surprised about the London service as I thought these were exclusively 8+2 consists - somebody will undoubtedly know different. £29.70 fare for the whole journey which was booked on 22nd May. I would estimate the train was 80-90% full.

I used 1D71, which was formed of 5 165/166 cars, to get to my overnight accommodation (HI Express next to Slough Station) which was chosen because the £12.20 return fare, 2 x Anytime Day Singles, was much more cost effective than paying an inner London premium for a room. The service was on-time but I now know how unpleasant travelling on a train with inoperative air-con can be!

Sun 1P18 0843 SLO > 0903 PAD + 1C96 1957 PAD > 2235 EXD + 2F30 2248 EXD > 2300 DIG
While waiting for 1P18, 5X17 the Class 800 x 2 test train whizzed past on the up relief. Impressively quiet was my immediate thought, followed by how much I hate that Hitachi 'Inspire the Next' strapline. Inspire the Next what? Huh
GWR managed to find 9 165/166 cars for 1P18 which was just as well because it was nearly full leaving Slough. The service ran to time virtually all the way but was then held immediately outside PAD waiting for a platform.
1C96 reached EXD 6 minutes late having been delayed by an unexplained signal check near Midgham. The Train Manager was, I thought, being a bit slack; virtually his only PA announcements were 'the next stop is...', although he did manage a request for alighting pax to close doors at Tiverton Parkway, and no ticket check was performed prior to my leaving the train at EXD.
2 x Class 143 on 2F30 was probably a little unnecessary and, again, no tickets were checked. On the plus side the ticket was only £18.15 - bargain.

And due to inept / amateurish batting in both their innings England contrived to lose to Pakistan by 75 runs!  Cry 
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2016, 08:00:44 pm »

HST 7+2
An on-time end to end journey. The local train was about half full. There was no ticket check prior to my leaving the service at EXD. A bit surprised about the London service as I thought these were exclusively 8+2 consists - somebody will undoubtedly know different. £29.70 fare for the whole journey which was booked on 22nd May. I would estimate the train was 80-90% full.

There was a 9+2 on a Newquay service a few weeks ago. Unsure if that's the norm but possibly stealing a coach from a 8+2 for services more in need
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All posts are my own personal believes, opinions and understandings!
Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 08:10:06 pm »

Quote
I thought these were exclusively 8+2 consists - somebody will undoubtedly know different

I know 43002, (the yellow and blue power car) has been running with only 7 coaches recently, not sure how many others though.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2016, 09:21:36 am »

Just a thought could you have changed at Reading the Oxfords you caught both ways are fast Reading Slough? You could ahve saved around 30 minutes both ways.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2016, 11:15:04 am »

Just a thought could you have changed at Reading the Oxfords you caught both ways are fast Reading Slough? You could ahve saved around 30 minutes both ways.
   Yes I thought that, especially on the way home, surely quicker/easier to go Slough-Reading & change there rather than going to Paddington & doubling back?
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Oxman
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2016, 12:09:53 pm »

Would have been difficult to see the cricket doing that!





Edit note: Minor typo corrected, for clarity. CfN.  Smiley
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 07:29:02 pm by Chris from Nailsea » Logged
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2016, 01:15:28 pm »

Would have been difficult to see the cricket doing that!

Yeah.......doh! 😉 the heat is making me malfunction, I'm going to paint myself white to see if that helps





Edit note: Minor typo corrected, for clarity. CfN. Smiley
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 07:30:42 pm by Chris from Nailsea » Logged
Rhydgaled
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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2016, 01:22:04 pm »

I hate that Hitachi 'Inspire the Next' strapline. Inspire the Next what?
At least one poster on the WNXX forum follows that strapline with 'trip on the M4, ' list of A roads ' etc.'
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----------------------------
Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2016, 06:24:55 pm »

Friday 2nd September / Friday 30th September 2016 - Why Take A Car To The Airport?
02/09/16 0912 DIG > 0925 EXD + 0958 EXD > 1224 PAD + Heathrow Express
Paddington service held at Royal Oak waiting for a platform due to a 7 minute early arrival - no timetable padding there then! Previously I would have used the RDG Railair bus but the relatively cheap Heathrow Express advance fares make travelling via PAD so much more convenient. Split the EXD > PAD tickets at WSB and saved quite a bit.
30/09/16 Heathrow Express + 1006 PAD > 1206 EXD + 1216 EXD > 1229 DIG
1C77 departed PAD 6 minutes late, apparently due to emergency engineering work disruption, but arrived EXD on time. Very good. The service was VERY busy - we were in coach D and there were only 2 unoccupied seats. The DIG connection was also very busy.The PAD > DIG tickets were booked at the end of July and, with a 2Together Railcard, only cost £18.15 each.
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 05:30:31 pm »

Thursday 20th October
1820 DIG > EXC & 2235 EXC > DIG
4 cars (2 x 143) & 3 cars (1 x '150')
Both services on time but no ticket check on either train (and the EXC gates were open on the way home).
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2016, 01:54:37 pm »

Friday 21st October / Sunday 23rd October 2016 - To Belfast For The Rugby

NB. The obvious travel solution should have been the direct Exeter > Belfast City FlyMaybe service but that was not an option because:
1) Flybe are still on my blacklist as a result of previous appalling service failures, and
2) anyway I wouldn't have paid the £400+ they wanted for a return ticket - as soon as the Ulster v Exeter fixture date was confirmed Flybe increased the price from the more usual £90-£100. A pox on them for such blatant profiteering!
Going train + plane via Bristol would also have been much more expensive.
 
Fri 2T15 1242 DIG > 1255 EXD + 1S51 1324 EXD > 1556 BHM + 9M55 1610 BHM > 1619 BHI
Class 150 x 1 & HST & Pendolino
An on-time end to end journey, although the initial local service was delayed at EXC for no obvious reason. The local train was about half full. The XC service left EXD a little late because it was VERY busy, and the BHM>BHI train was full & standing seemingly because the passengers had been told to keep off the reserved seats (I got my allocated pew).

Sun 2C36 1823 BHI > 1842 BHM + 1V66 1912 BHM > 2139 EXD + 2F29 2148 EXD > DIG 2200
Class 350 & Voyager 4 Car & Class 150/2 x 2
3 minutes late at my final destination which, under the overall circumstances, wasn't too bad!
The LM train ran a few minutes down but there were plenty of seats. The fun started at BHM; 1V66 arrived 27 mins late and left 23 late. The station PA announced that this was due to 'a problem currently under investigation'. I would guess that the service being very overcrowded had something to do with it. I was not able to get my allocated seat, until BRI, due to the the presence of a 'Bristolian' knuckle dragger who refused to move. Had the train not been so 'ram-packed' - although I didn't see Jeremy Corbyn aboard Grin - I would have gone to the Train Manager but that was not an option. I did have a conversation with the TM, who had been busy dealing with an ill passenger, between BHM & CNM when she came through the train but the information provided didn't tell me anything of which I was not already aware. I will be claiming the appropriate compo and be asking XC a number of questions about their service provision so this journey may resurface shortly on a separate thread.
Anyway the upshot was a 9 minute late arrival at EXD and somebody very kindly decided it would be appropriate to hold 2F29 for a couple of minutes to collect transferring passengers.

All the train travel was covered by a £61.20 Senior Railcard Off-Peak Return.
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bobm
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2016, 02:01:42 pm »

Just a shame Exeter lost by a point....
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