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Author Topic: The impact of population change and demography on future infrastructure demand  (Read 13588 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2017, 07:45:31 am »

The questions "why do people need to travel (on a daily basis) anyway", "can people live and work in locations close to each other", "why do people travel at the same time" and "can we be more joined up and share" are fundamental.

Although I seem to be regarded as a campaigner for / advocate of better public transport provision, I do look and wonder what we're doing at times with lots of people in "A" travelling to "B", 40 miles away, and lots of people in "B" travelling to "A" at the same time.  Seems like the worst madness ... it isn't, of course - a worse madness is "A" and "B" 100 miles apart, and everyone going in a single direction with all the housing at "A" and all the work at "B", Monday to Friday, "9 to 5".

I was struck by the quote "Commuters and tourists to Wales will now have better more reliable services and there will be new trains coming in the next year too." - Network Rail Chief Exec Mark Carne about Cardiff, quoted by John R at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=17801.msg207341 where it appears that the railway industry is primarily thinking of the people who travel every day, and of the people from afar who are coming to look at our beautiful countries and the activities they offer. What about other little groups such as those who travel to Ninian Park, the National Stadium of Wales, the shops in Cardiff, their local hospitals and courts, friends and relatives, or business appointments to name just a few things.

I also note "Somewhat outside the scope of this thread" from Bmblbzzz ... but little should be out of scope on this thread; massive questions.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2017, 08:36:43 am »

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Some respected members have stated or implied that the frequently reported overcrowding is the fault of the passengers for choosing to travel to work during working hours, or choosing to visit holiday destinations at holiday times.

 Grin

I read those more as pointing out that the way our society works is pretty darned inefficient in the peaks it produces, and social change encouraged by peak ticket pricing would be helpful.  I don't see any fault bing inferred.  Just as I see cars with an average of 1.25 people in them but five seats blocking the roads and think "if only we trusted each other enough to hitch hike and to pick up hitch hikers".  But car sharing (and has anybody thought of "groupsave clubs"?) are against human nature.




I agree with Broadgage's comments and would challenge your interpretation of them, I have read the statements to which he has referred and they generally (but not exclusively) refer to customers (rather naturally) wishing to travel home and see their families at busy times (Easter is often the issue), and the inability of GWR to manage this. The tenor of these statements is that it serves them right, and/or they should know better.

Are you suggesting that rather than providing extra capacity to reflect increased demand, higher rail fares should be used as a form of social engineering to discourage people from going to see their families at Easter/Christmas, or encouraging them to go on holiday to Cornwall in February rather than the summer holidays?

Your point about cars is a bit straw man but had it occurred to you that a lot of those who have chosen to drive have done so because the daily commute by rail is an unpleasant, unreliable, overcrowded, overpriced experience?

Cart before horse springs to mind.

Edit just to fix quoting - grahame
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 09:02:50 am by grahame » Logged
stuving
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« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2017, 09:44:05 am »

Has any thought been given to prevent commuting from these new villages towns whether by car bus train or cycle by providing jobs close by?

I don't think that works any more - it's probably out of date by several decades. In effect, employees and employers are so selective that you can't order up or otherwise arrange "jobs, general purpose, 2000 off". That's part of the reason why there is so much awkward and often long-distance cross-country commuting - especially when you consider a couple needing to reach two jobs from the same house.

Then again, it's a long time since we had a government that believed it could/should do more than encourage and facilitate. Some other countries in Europe are keener on the idea - and they haven't had much success with it, in the sense that they have more unemployment that we do.

Having re-read that last bit I think it's too facile. And "anecdotal" - though I think you'd struggle to find good data on the subject. There may well me some people(s) in Europe who don't expect mass-produced jobs for the masses but are keen on "localism" - the Dutch or Danes, maybe.

But I'm still not convinced that new houses with jobs "heavily facilitated" nearby will work. The recent history of the housing market, and how we choose where to live, will have a big effect. Do you believe you could/are you willing to move each time you change job so as to be close to it?
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grahame
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2017, 10:26:56 am »

Aspects for considerations ... following on from my earlier thoughts

Rail passenger numbers have doubled in 20 years. Why?  Is this due to more people needing to travel or due to the railways becoming more attractive?  How much does the provision of a rail service encourage social change and development along a route?

A proportion don't need to travel

"Is your journey really necessary?". Such questions are being actively asked with regard to rural bus services, where it's been suggested that the need for buses is reduced because of  online ordering and home delivery services.   And can you do more of yor work from home or from a local 'hot desk' rather than by travelling to an office every day?

Many service / social jobs naturally around people

Even if you develop a setup where you have residential (dormitary) towns and work areas where few if any people live, there will still be a proportion of the jobs / work in the dormitary towns.

Some places think. Some don't.

I have seen examples of planning where both employment opportunities and residential accommodation are provided in balance; with specialisation of the workforce, and with people pairing up with members of the pair each having different specialisations this isn't going to remove the need for transport on a frequent basis for everyone, but it sure can help. And having balanced places along a flow corridor helps remove imbalances of everyone headed one way in the morning and back in the evening.

Not everyone thinks in this way. It's policy in Bath to create loads of employemnt / jobs. It's policy in West Wiltshire to create loads of housing and build the population. But (alas) so much travel planning seems to run out at the boundary bewteen Wiltshire and Bath; I get rather tired of maps that make it look as if there's a seaside just to the west of Box / Badford on Avon, and maps from a different source that shows Land's End being just to the east of Bathampton.

Hotel and away

For those [of us] who have to work not-very-close to home at times, there's an interesting balance between daily commuting, and staying away; these days, if I'm working in London it's lower cost for me to stay a couple of nights in a cheap hotel near Paddington than commute; additionally, I can be more sure of being on time for work, being fresher for work, and being fresher for the family when I get home.

Looking at the cost (for me) of working for two days in London, home in Melksham
2 peak return tickets: 331.20
weekly season ticket: 264.10
Off peak return and cheap hotel, 2 nights: 206.50 to 266.50
Peak return and hotel, 1 night: 235.60 to 265.60
Peak single up, hotel 1 night, off peak single back: 192.10 to 222.10
Hotel priced at 70 (low season) to 100 (high season)
Off peak rather than super off peak as no super off peak service in the evening.

Car share / rare train / need to have same schedule

Car share - fails at an individual level unless both people travelling have the same outward and return schedule that they can rely on, and that there aren't too many issues around alternatives at holiday time or when the driver is sick. So many "if"s that many / most options are excluded. 

I've added "rare train" which is what we used to suffer from on the TransWilts to the extent it drove away virtually all potential business - taking ticketing distortions out from the ORR figures, I estimate that passenger numbers using Melksham Station have risen between 15 and 20 fold since the service was increased 4 fold as it has somewhat moved us out of that trap. Add extra trains to fill the gaps - from Swindon at about 07:48, 16:47 and 22:06, and from Westbury at 08:40, 17:40 and 21:00, provide extra capacity on the services (because people are now trying the train and then moving away from it because of overcrowding) and with that extra 33% on the trains you'll change that factor into a factor of 30 (on what will have become a 6 fold increase in service) 2 years from now.

Partner issues

Our increased mobility and specialisation, and the availability of worldwide communications, means that far fewer of us partner with a person from "up the road" and work locally. We also live in a society where paired people both work for a much higher proportion of their working lives.  Result is that even if one of a couple lives and works close by, the other is likely to have to commute, or that there are "away during the week" type arrangements, or both people commute significnat distances from a base 'halfway' between.   All of which adds to demand even if you have jobs and residences cheek by jowl.
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grahame
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« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2017, 10:39:52 am »

I agree with Broadgage's comments and would challenge your interpretation of them, I have read the statements to which he has referred and they generally (but not exclusively) refer to customers (rather naturally) wishing to travel home and see their families at busy times (Easter is often the issue), and the inability of GWR to manage this. The tenor of these statements is that it serves them right, and/or they should know better.

Are you suggesting that rather than providing extra capacity to reflect increased demand, higher rail fares should be used as a form of social engineering to discourage people from going to see their families at Easter/Christmas, or encouraging them to go on holiday to Cornwall in February rather than the summer holidays?

As you're saying "you" and quoting my post, I think I'm the one being asked rather that a general "you".

I agree that there's an attitude in places that regards peak passenger flows - especially on an occasional basis as a nuisance which it looks to 'blame' on those passengers. It's actually far more complex than that; on one hand, people can and should be able to travel when they want and not feel guilty about it in any way, and on the other hand it is very hard to make the case for extra trains which make very occasional outings to cover that peak demand.

We already have higher fares to "socially engineer" when people travel around peak commuter times, and it's a very interesting argument as to whether last weekend's introduction by South West Trains of two tiers of pricing on Saturdays and Sundays is an attempt to socially engineer things to balance out their leisure loadings, or an opportunity being taken to increase their income.[/quote]

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Cart before horse springs to mind.

You need both cart and horse to be planned / work together to provide a transport solution.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2017, 11:09:52 am »

I also note "Somewhat outside the scope of this thread" from Bmblbzzz ... but little should be out of scope on this thread; massive questions.
Good!
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2017, 02:23:47 pm »

We already have higher fares to "socially engineer" when people travel around peak commuter times, and it's a very interesting argument as to whether last weekend's introduction by South West Trains of two tiers of pricing on Saturdays and Sundays is an attempt to socially engineer things to balance out their leisure loadings, or an opportunity being taken to increase their income.

Quote
Cart before horse springs to mind.

You need both cart and horse to be planned / work together to provide a transport solution.

That's not social engineering, that's hard headed revenue maximisation by a virtual monopoly supplier in response to relatively inelastic demand. Demand is relatively insensitive to price, as commuters have little or no option but to pay it if they want to get to work/get home.

It removes the incentive for GWR to provide extra services, as the full price is paid by the customer whether or not they get a seat or whether they are crammed in a vestibule. Basically the supplier cannot lose. The more people they cram on, the more income is generated by the same asset.

This can only get better for the supplier as demand inexorably grows.

A similar scenario exists around holiday times - Christmas/Easter etc are fixed, GWR know months in advance and so should provide additional capacity, but there is no financial incentive for them to do so for the reasons above......although to be fair as I understand it a couple of additional services were laid on to the Westcountry this Christmas which is something I guess.

Until there is some sort of Customer Satisfaction KPI with real financial teeth as part of the contract, it probably won't get much better.

You do need a horse and cart, but the horse needs to be pulling........if there are so many people on the cart that it can't move, those on board will probably end up covered in the result when the horse has had enough!!!  Wink



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broadgage
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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2017, 03:10:40 pm »

In the interest of clarity, I should confirm that my remarks in post #4


"Some respected members have stated or implied that the frequently reported overcrowding is the fault of the passengers for choosing to travel to work during working hours, or choosing to visit holiday destinations at holiday times."

Were by no means directed specifically at Grahame.
My remarks were intended to be a more general observation regarding the views of a number of respected members, whose answer to complaints about overcrowding or lack of capacity seems to be that passengers are largely to blame for choosing to travel at busy times.

"I believe that passengers largely have brains and could use them" (presumably by not travelling at Easter)
"It is the choice of passengers to board crowded trains, they could use a different service"
"It is unreasonable to expect a seat on rush hour services"
"You cant expect significant extra services for major sporting events"

And so on, are very widely held views frequently posted on these forums and not generally attributable to any one particular member.

In my view lack of capacity is a huge problem, being very belatedly and partially addressed by some new trains.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2017, 05:13:13 pm »

In the interest of clarity, I should confirm that my remarks in post #4

"Some respected members have stated or implied that the frequently reported overcrowding is the fault of the passengers for choosing to travel to work during working hours, or choosing to visit holiday destinations at holiday times."

Were by no means directed specifically at Grahame.

And grahame hadn't taken them as being directed at him, but he thanks Broadgage for his clarification in case others had misread the conversation.

There's a difficult balance to strike - difficult in that it's not going to please everyone - in terms of resource provision.

If you provide enough rolling stock to allow every passenger to get a seat every time (s)he travels, you're likely to have a lot of under-utilised rolling stock on the system, with all the storage and maintenance costs involved, and with those extra costs having to be recouped over a relatively small number of uses, or in general from the farebox, or even more in general from the taxpayer - be that in the form of greater subsidy or less franchise payment.  Considering (accepting) that the margins that TOCs work on are quite low, a decision to increase stock levels for 'peaks' would have to flow from a decision to fund more from taxpayers, or from the general farebox, or from premium fares at those busy times.

Two boats with a comfortable capacity of 500 people each run from Fishguard to Rosslare, and 1000 passengers are carried.   Perfect.   Except that 100 people catch the 02:15 and 900 people catch the 14:15 ... and you end up with 90% of the passengers telling you the service is badly overcrowded, and 10% telling you it runs at an awful time of day.    And the questions come "what ratio of peak to average should we plan for?" and "at what point does a service that's so below average get cancelled because it's making a thumping great loss that cannot be justified for social reasons, bearing in mind it's a big boat because it's busier at other times in its timetable"

Where resources are re-assigned to cover specific long standing events (Glastonbury, Gold Cup at Cheltenham, Dawlish Air Show, Santa comes to Melksham) it can be planned well ahead and the number of travellers is known within reasonably tight margins.   But come other events and it's a nightmare to work out; I confess to some experience here, talking with people at GWR and trying to work out what the effect of certain events and the advertising associated with them might be.   Solid provision sometimes has to be based on a guess ... as things repeat it can be a progressively better guess, but Christmas and the new year have seven varied patterns depending on which day of the week Christmas falls on, and which lines are closed when for engineering.   So I have a lot of sympathy; I think they got it right on the run up to Christmas, but that will soon be forgotten in comparison to the guesses that have been wrong.

Quote
In my view lack of capacity is a huge problem, being very belatedly and partially addressed by some new trains.

I agree.   Note my comment elsewhere that all these new coaches on regional, suburban and local lines (classes 387, 165, 166, 150, 153 and 158 (and dare I add 143)) will, I suspect, only address the backlog and provision for the next two years after we'll be back into overcrowding.  Mind you, by that time Crossrail will be bringing more trains in and I wonder if we'll see the 387s leaving us to replace older electrics up midlands and north prior to the next general election.
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broadgage
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« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2017, 05:54:54 pm »

Whilst allways providing every passenger with a seat is probably going a bit far, I think that the need for significantly greater capacity than provided at present is clear.

A large part of the problem IMO is the railway industry (and the supporters thereof) regularly stating that the purchase or leasing of extra stock cant be justified for once a year events such as say Glastonbury or Cheltenham gold cup day, or major rugby matches at Cardiff.
Taking each event in isolation this is clearly true, but it seems to me that over a year that there ARE enough special events and revenue resulting therefrom to justify the purchase or leasing of extra stock.

Christmas and new year holidays say 4 days of extra demand
Easter another 4 days of extra demand.
Glastonbury, 2 days
Fridays preceding bank holidays, and the bank holiday itself, 6 days a year.
Racing at Cheltenham, 4 days a year
Racing at Newbury, 4 days a year.
Popular events at Butlins, Minehead, 2 days a year.
Major rugby matches at Cardiff, 1 day a year.
Major football matches in London, when one team is from Wales or the West, 2 days a year.
Probably at least another 6 days for events that I have omitted.

Consider also the delays caused by bad weather and infrastructure failure, an extra few trains would enable better recovery from out of course events. 3 spare trains, one each at or near London, Plymouth, and Penzance, would allow several trains originating from those places  to depart on time even if the incoming service is delayed.
Significant delays caused by bad weather/infrastructure failure seem to occur on about 20 days a year.

That is well over 50 days a year on which extra stock would be used, which sounds a lot more worthwhile than the standard "you cant buy or lease extra stock just for Easter"

Providing extra stock costs money of course and I don't see why passengers using trains at busy times should not pay for the privilege, by making such services full fare only, or at least greatly restricting discounted tickets.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2017, 06:50:04 pm »

That's not social engineering, that's hard headed revenue maximisation by a virtual monopoly supplier in response to relatively inelastic demand.

How inelastic is the demand really?  In the short term yes, but what about the longer term? Even in the short term can differentiating between high peak and shoulder of peak ticket prices spread the load?  Have there been any trials?
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grahame
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« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2017, 08:01:49 pm »

That's not social engineering, that's hard headed revenue maximisation by a virtual monopoly supplier in response to relatively inelastic demand.

How inelastic is the demand really?  In the short term yes, ...

It depends what you mean by "short term".    Day trip to the seaside services, such as Heart of Wessex to Weymouth in summer, can drop from rammed to virtually empty in the event of a diabolical weather forecast for one Sunday.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2017, 08:24:48 pm »

Whilst allways providing every passenger with a seat is probably going a bit far, I think that the need for significantly greater capacity than provided at present is clear.

A large part of the problem IMO is the railway industry (and the supporters thereof) regularly stating that the purchase or leasing of extra stock cant be justified for once a year events such as say Glastonbury or Cheltenham gold cup day, or major rugby matches at Cardiff.
Taking each event in isolation this is clearly true, but it seems to me that over a year that there ARE enough special events and revenue resulting therefrom to justify the purchase or leasing of extra stock.

Christmas and new year holidays say 4 days of extra demand
Easter another 4 days of extra demand.
Glastonbury, 2 days
Fridays preceding bank holidays, and the bank holiday itself, 6 days a year.
Racing at Cheltenham, 4 days a year
Racing at Newbury, 4 days a year.
Popular events at Butlins, Minehead, 2 days a year.
Major rugby matches at Cardiff, 1 day a year.
Major football matches in London, when one team is from Wales or the West, 2 days a year.
Probably at least another 6 days for events that I have omitted.

Consider also the delays caused by bad weather and infrastructure failure, an extra few trains would enable better recovery from out of course events. 3 spare trains, one each at or near London, Plymouth, and Penzance, would allow several trains originating from those places  to depart on time even if the incoming service is delayed.
Significant delays caused by bad weather/infrastructure failure seem to occur on about 20 days a year.

That is well over 50 days a year on which extra stock would be used, which sounds a lot more worthwhile than the standard "you cant buy or lease extra stock just for Easter"

Providing extra stock costs money of course and I don't see why passengers using trains at busy times should not pay for the privilege, by making such services full fare only, or at least greatly restricting discounted tickets.


Absolutely nailed it Broadgage!  Smiley

It's long overdue for the railways to stop being a default "can't do" industry to a flexible mindset and solutions such as those you highlight above!

If HST sets can be justified for jaunts to the seaside at Weymouth in the summer (virtually empty much of the time due to bad weather), then I am sure they can be sourced for prestigious national sporting events and National holidays when they are guaranteed to be (in the words of our esteemed Mr Corbyn) "ram packed" regardless of weather!!!
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grahame
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« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2017, 09:07:21 pm »

If HST sets can be justified for jaunts to the seaside at Weymouth in the summer (virtually empty much of the time due to bad weather)

Hmm ... not a good characterisation; I carefully used the word "diabolical" and mentioned SUNDAY services to Weymouth when the HST runs on a Saturday.    Believe it or not, Saturdays are not as prone to vicious swings as Sundays, probably because a lot of the Saturday traffic is the stag party / hen do / go to the pub, watch the match and get drunk brigade who don't care if it's chucking it down. Sunday is a beach day, and a 15x day, where perhaps 1 Sunday in 4 gets clobbered by the weather.

You may feel I'm throwing up objections to your cunning plans for 50 days of work for some extra sets. I'm not ... and I think there could be far more than 50 days of work.  Take a look at my old thread on Merrymakers  and think what could be done with a modern program; to some extent you might be competing with the Steam Dreams and Catherdal Express folks, but we're talking more mature rather than heritage stock, with a program of general destinations on Saturdays and Sundays when there's no special events going on - seaside and summery stuff in summer, a variety of inland destinations in winter, and one of the two trains doing "specials" during the week too - again, seaside trips in summer and other trips to attract new custom to rail in spring and autumn.
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« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2017, 10:06:13 pm »

Whilst allways providing every passenger with a seat is probably going a bit far, I think that the need for significantly greater capacity than provided at present is clear.

A large part of the problem IMO is the railway industry (and the supporters thereof) regularly stating that the purchase or leasing of extra stock cant be justified for once a year events such as say Glastonbury or Cheltenham gold cup day, or major rugby matches at Cardiff.
Taking each event in isolation this is clearly true, but it seems to me that over a year that there ARE enough special events and revenue resulting therefrom to justify the purchase or leasing of extra stock.

Christmas and new year holidays say 4 days of extra demand
Easter another 4 days of extra demand.
Glastonbury, 2 days
Fridays preceding bank holidays, and the bank holiday itself, 6 days a year.
Racing at Cheltenham, 4 days a year
Racing at Newbury, 4 days a year.
Popular events at Butlins, Minehead, 2 days a year.
Major rugby matches at Cardiff, 1 day a year.
Major football matches in London, when one team is from Wales or the West, 2 days a year.
Probably at least another 6 days for events that I have omitted.

Consider also the delays caused by bad weather and infrastructure failure, an extra few trains would enable better recovery from out of course events. 3 spare trains, one each at or near London, Plymouth, and Penzance, would allow several trains originating from those places  to depart on time even if the incoming service is delayed.
Significant delays caused by bad weather/infrastructure failure seem to occur on about 20 days a year.

That is well over 50 days a year on which extra stock would be used, which sounds a lot more worthwhile than the standard "you cant buy or lease extra stock just for Easter"

Providing extra stock costs money of course and I don't see why passengers using trains at busy times should not pay for the privilege, by making such services full fare only, or at least greatly restricting discounted tickets.

Spot on, except I think you've underestimated. e.g. there are at least 6 major rugby matches in Cardiff each year, 7 in alternate years, all of which attract significant passenger flow from England, no matter who is playing. And as you say, some others, such as the Dawlish and Weston Air Days (so 3), Bridgwater Carnival, maybe Weston too. 

I'd also agree about restricting discounted tickets to such events, though that does run the risk of the inevitable "rip off Britain" backlash, when no logic can persuade the media, politicians etc that why should cheap tickets be sold when passenger flows are expected to be high.     
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This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

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