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Author Topic: Diary Of A Reasonably Frequent Rail User  (Read 27075 times)
Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #75 on: January 30, 2022, 01:31:42 pm »

A Day Out At The Rugby - 29/01/2022 - London Irish v Exeter Chiefs

A first taste of the (dubious) delights of Brentford and the relatively new Community Stadium.

Tickets
Senior Railcard Advance Single DIG>PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) £22.20
Senior Railcard Advance Single KWB>DIG £11.15 (Bargain, but I had to use a 'via Addlestone' parameter in the GWR (Great Western Railway) booking engine to get it)

Outward
Intended Itinerary:
DIG 0845>EXD» (Exeter St Davids - next trains) 0857 (2T10 EXM>PGN) : 166/2 (3 Cars)
EXD 0916>PAD 1129 (1A76 PNZ >PAD) : 2 x 802/2 (10 Cars)
(Break For Lunch At Paddington Basin & Walk To TfL» (Transport for London - about) Warwick Avenue Station)
TfL Underground Bakerloo Line Warwick Avenue>Willesden Junction & TfL Overground WJ>Gunnersbury
(Walk Gunnersbury>Brentford Community Stadium)

All went well as far as EXD (I think that I may have written the same words before!); I assume due to laziness / incompetence on the part of GWR, and possibly RTT» (Real Time Trains - website), the online system was still showing 1A76 as a 5-car service even after departure from EXD. How difficult is it to ensure this data is accurate? And just before the train arrived at EXD the platform PIS (Passenger Information System) screens started to display a 'No Seat Reservations' message. On boarding the TM(resolve) apologised, blamed the omission on a system failure (rather than some herbert forgetting to run the download), and advised passengers to use any available seats as 'there are plenty to go around' - famous last words as after TAU» (Taunton - next trains) the train was busy enough to prompt musical chairs when pax travelling together insisted - quite rightly in my opinion - on occupying their reserved seats. On the plus side GWR did manage a full ticket / railcard check shortly after leaving EXD and provided two full out & back catering trolley runs during the journey. Pleased to note that Taylors No4 Italian Roast now seems to be the default coffee offering - at least it tastes something like. Arrival at PAD was 4 late due to a number of slow running episodes after an initial short complete stop immediately west of Somerton Tunnel.
After some lunch we (I met my son at PAD) trotted round to Warwick Avenue tube station intending to take a service to Willesden Junction but soon encountered severe delays at Queens Park (QP) resulting from a failed train in the Harrow & Wealdstone area. This part of the journey was completed on a TfL Overground service after a 25 minute wait at QP. The TfL train from WIJ>GUN does the job but it is SO SLOW.

(Another disappointing rugby result - Irish 18:14 Chiefs - and the first game I recall watching in person where neither team scored any points during the second half, although not for the lack of effort.) 

Return
Intended Itinerary:
KWB 1720>WOK 1815 (2S51 WAT>WOK) : 2 x Class 450 (8 Cars)
WOK 1846>EXD 2142 (1L57 WAT>EXD) : 2 x Class 159 (6 Cars)
EXD 2217>DIG 2229 (2F36 PGN>EXM) : 1 x 150/2 (2 Cars)

The return journey was completed pretty much as booked although there were inconsequential arrival delays at WOK (12 mins) & EXD (5). Fortunately I still had time to visit the Woking Station M&S and obtain a supply of my normal evening travelling companion, their rather lovely ready mixed G&T.
And just to liven things up on Woking Station and the journey home, some of them as far as CKN, there was a contingent of inebriated Yeovil Town football supporters for company. The staff at WOK were having to work hard to keep them away from the platform edge. Idiots.
Then when the TM finally managed to get the on-train PIS system working he 'pressed the wrong button' and lots of very confused, and possibly worried, passengers were informed that the service was going to Yeovil via Westbury & Castle Cary. A system reset and apology followed.
Also, and I know I shouldn't laugh about this, just as we were pulling into BSK (Brake Standard Corridor (carriage)) one of two young European women who also joined the train at WOK and sat next to and across from me initiated the following conversation (some of it via a mobile phone translation app):
Her: Where is this train going?
Me: Exeter
Her: Quizzical look
Me: A quick show of relative locations via Google Maps
Her: Even more quizzical looks
Me: Where are you trying to get to?
Her: Guildford!
Obviously I just told them to get off the train and, as there was no time for a proper explanation, ask the BSK station staff for help; I hope they got home safely.

At no time on this entire return journey was my ticket/railcard properly checked; I'm unconvinced that the lady on the WOK gateline really knew what she was looking at (I was using m-tickets) as I went to & from M&S.   
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #76 on: January 30, 2022, 03:24:38 pm »

Very disappointing result for the Chiefs - do you like the new branding?

The best comment I've heard is that it's like a cross between Jimmy Hill and Genghis Khan!  Smiley
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #77 on: January 31, 2022, 01:37:59 pm »

Very disappointing result for the Chiefs - do you like the new branding?

Disappointing but not surprising given the Chiefs were without all their England internationals plus a few other sick & injured senior players.

I am largely ambivalent about the branding change - I do not engage with advertising & marketing guff - but it may be to the club's advantage since it could activate commercial sponsorship offers, which are currently on hold, from firms who worry about that sort of thing. Covid disruption has seriously affected club revenues.
A little more physicality from the team, in the style of GK but without the gratuitous killing, might improve results.  Smiley
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RichardB
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« Reply #78 on: January 31, 2022, 09:10:41 pm »

I'm a Brentford FC(resolve) season ticket holder and was there on Saturday last week.  Another route for if you go again is to travel via Ealing Broadway.  The 65 bus goes straight from there to the London Museum of Water & Steam (Kew Bridge Steam Museum), a short walk from the ground.   If you get off at the University of West London stop, not far out of Ealing town centre, over the road are the Castle and New Inn pubs.  Both very decent.  The Castle's menu is mainly burgers, the New Inn is a Youngs pub so more varied - the fish and chips is always good.   It's also only a max of 15 mins walk from Ealing Broadway station to these two pubs.  The bus journey Ealing Broadway to Kew Bridge is about 15 mins unless you are very unlucky.  Can be 10 with a clearish run.

I've been going to Brentford games for many years and, while I miss the old Griffin Park, they've done a really good job with the new stadium and the atmosphere with a good sized crowd in is great.   Up the Bees!
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rogerpatenall
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« Reply #79 on: February 01, 2022, 10:07:02 am »

And if you've already done the Steam and Water museum, I can recommend for another occasion the Musical Museum (just two or three minutes further walk). Of course, it probably depends on what sort of music you like - there is no rap section -yet!
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RichardB
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« Reply #80 on: February 01, 2022, 07:29:13 pm »

And if you've already done the Steam and Water museum, I can recommend for another occasion the Musical Museum (just two or three minutes further walk). Of course, it probably depends on what sort of music you like - there is no rap section -yet!

The stop before the Steam and Water Museum on the 65 if coming from Ealing.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #81 on: February 06, 2022, 07:34:39 pm »

Just returned from a Calcutta Cup weekend in Glasgow - Edinburgh.

6 of us got the train/Tube to Heathrow on Friday, flew to Glasgow, picked up the 500 bus right outside Glasgow airport into The City Centre, Scotrail to/from Edinburgh Saturday, taxi back to Glasgow airport today, Glasgow-LHR, TfL» (Transport for London - about) T5 to Hayes and Harlington, then Hayes and Harlington to Taplow.

Just goes to show how transport can be integrated and that there is a place for all kinds.

It was a seamless experience..........more than can be said for England's performance, but we won't say any more about that...... Angry
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #82 on: February 19, 2022, 02:15:57 pm »

And now for something completely slightly different...

Several trips between DIG & EXC over the last couple of weeks during two of which I noticed a very disappointing issue with the Class 150/2 on-train PIS (Passenger Information System) / PA (Public Address).
On both occasions, at EXC and SJP, there was evidently an issue with closing the doors which required the process to be repeated, several times in the second instance (I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the doors are fitted with a sensor which, when activated by proper door closure, allows the train brakes to be released).
This revealed that the PIS / PA software is very poorly constructed as these problems caused the system to skip to subsequent stations, despite the trains not having moved, evidently because once a train has come to a halt and the doors opened no further GPS location checks are performed until correct door closure and/or train movement is detected.
As I have said several times before there is no point in presenting customers, especially those who may be in unfamiliar territory, with information that is incorrect.
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Mark A
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« Reply #83 on: February 20, 2022, 03:00:47 pm »

OT but class 150s currently on a service from Exeter to Reading? Not sure how the announcements will handle that.

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:14087/2022-02-20/detailed
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Timmer
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« Reply #84 on: February 20, 2022, 03:07:44 pm »

OT but class 150s currently on a service from Exeter to Reading? Not sure how the announcements will handle that.

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:14087/2022-02-20/detailed
Was trying to find out what the 6 cars of traction was so thanks for that Mark. Their 75mph top speed won’t be an impediment today with the 50mph speed restriction in place.
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Mark A
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« Reply #85 on: February 20, 2022, 09:07:54 pm »

Video of something similar passing Melksham courtesy of one 25Kv. Not sure if any passengers aboard, mind.

https://twitter.com/25kV/status/1495497305935745026
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grahame
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« Reply #86 on: February 20, 2022, 09:15:35 pm »

Video of something similar passing Melksham courtesy of one 25Kv. Not sure if any passengers aboard, mind.

https://twitter.com/25kV/status/1495497305935745026

Doesn't look busy - mind, late in the day service for a long journey on a nasty night it wasn't likely to be crowded.

It does provide a reminder of how useful the line through Melksham is for long distance diverted trains.sss
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #87 on: September 27, 2022, 08:47:31 pm »

Our First Ever Trip To Portugal - 12-22/09/2022

Tickets
Senior Railcard Advance Singles DIG>PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) & PAD>DIG £20.90 x 4
Heathrow Express Day Singles £7.50 x2 & £10.00 x2

Outward
Intended Itinerary
DIG 1114>EXD» (Exeter St Davids - next trains)» 1124 (2T15 EXM>PGN) : 150/2 (2 Cars)
EXD 1142>PAD 1407 (1A81 PGN >PAD) : 1 x 800/3 (9 Cars)
PAD 1425>HXX 1440 (1T61 PAD>HWV) : 2 x 387 (8 Cars)

2T15 ran 6 late having been held at TOP for the late running 2F13 which was delayed at both NTA» (Newton Abbott - next trains) & EXD. The other two services ran to time. Tickets were not checked on either GWR (Great Western Railway) service. The refreshment trolley on 1A81 did not appear until halfway between WSB» (Westbury - next trains) & PEW. Since I last used the HEx ticket checks have changed from on-train to gates at both ends.

(BA» (British Airways - about) flight from LHR > OPO late due to a delay on the incoming aircraft from NAP)

14/09/22: Day trip by train from Porto Sao Bento to Pinhao and back. Outbound service 865 held at Regua for 60 minutes while a rockfall was cleared. Eventually we were all moved to the similarly delayed 21861 service to complete our journey. The return 21860 1621 from Pinhao was terminated short at Porto Campanha due to a delay at Regua to pick up some additional coaching stock left there during the morning disruption. It was obvious from the amount of steel mesh & rock anchors seen on some sections of the line that rockfalls are a significant issue. Still a thoroughly enjoyable day out despite the delays and not entirely clement weather.

15/09/22: CP IC720 Porto Campanha 1038 > Lisbon Santa Apolonia 1400. Travelled 1st Class and the train had a proper 'cafe bar' which brought back some good memories! Arrival in Lisbon was around 35 minutes late resulting mainly from slow running through the massive engineering works immediately south of Porto. Quite a few new or replacement stations and some significant 4-tracking were evident.

21/09/22: Day trip from Lisbon to Sintra. A 40 minute ride each way on a CP Class 2400 EMU (Electric Multiple Unit). Very comfortable.

(BA flight from LIS > LHR landed early but we then had to wait 30 minutes for our assigned T5 gate to become available and our 1 checked bag took around 45 minutes to appear). 

Return
Intended Itinerary:
HWV ---->PAD ---- (Wasn't concentrating on the time!) : 2 x 387 (8 Cars)
PAD 1704>EXD 1915 (1C90 PAD>PNZ) : 2 x 802 (10 Cars)
EXD 1948>DIG 2000 (2F31 BNP (Barnstaple)>EXM) : 2 x 158/9 (3 Cars)

We got back to PAD earlier than expected (we have had very few on-time arrivals with BA over the years) so rather than change the tickets for an earlier service we decamped to the Mad Bishop & Bear for a late lunch. The food - fish & chips - was very good.

An on-time E2E journey. On 1C90 there were problems with the rear unit trolley which did not surface until after departure from PEW, and we had Superman as the Train Manager; although he was in disguise I know it was really Superman because he was able to read the details of our tickets from a distance of 6 feet! On 2F31 the guard was obviously too busy with other stuff.

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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #88 on: November 11, 2022, 11:29:51 am »

BSO (Brake Standard Open (carriage)) Concert At The University - 10/11/2022

Ticket
Senior Railcard Anytime Day Return £2.55
Something that had escaped my notice until now, Off-Peak tickets are seemingly no longer available for DIG<>EXC journeys but can still be had if travel is from NCO or further down the Avocet (Branch line from Exeter to Exmouth) Line. Anybody know the reason for this apparent anomaly?

Outward
DIG 1815>EXC 1823 (2T29 EXM>PGN) : 2 x 150/2 (4 Cars)
Journey was delayed 3-4 minutes as a result of 2T27 coming off the branch 8 down earlier. Unusual for such a minor delay to not be recovered more quickly than this.
The Asian individual (?student) sat across the aisle from me was not able to produce a ticket to the guard, explaining that his phone had no power. The guard let it go. On a train fully equipped with mains & USB charging points I would not have been so forgiving.
A minor curiosity with this service is that it drops one of the units at EXD» (Exeter St Davids - next trains) and this is used for the 2K13 train to OKE.

Return
EXC 2246>DIG 2255 (2F36 PGN>EXM) : 158/9 (3 Cars)
Service on time.

On both journeys my eTicket was properly checked (scanned) but not my Railcard. Both services were reasonably well loaded for a mid-week evening.

Maybe not directly related but the concert audience was much larger than for the previous two events. I believe that many more people are returning, post-pandemic, to normal life and this seems to be borne out by recent reports such as https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2022/11/04-passenger-figures-continue-to-recover.html
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ChrisB
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« Reply #89 on: November 11, 2022, 11:58:35 am »

BSO (Brake Standard Open (carriage)) Concert At The University - 10/11/2022

Ticket
Senior Railcard Anytime Day Return £2.55
Something that had escaped my notice until now, Off-Peak tickets are seemingly no longer available for DIG<>EXC journeys but can still be had if travel is from NCO or further down the Avocet (Branch line from Exeter to Exmouth) Line. Anybody know the reason for this apparent anomaly?

Price rise by the back door - generally used only for values of under a few quid that the difference in fare is usually less than than £1 or so. Simplification, innit.
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