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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 116086 times)
Electric train
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« Reply #555 on: November 26, 2018, 07:01:40 am »

Why will 387s need to go to Swindon?

So they can be stored there overnight. 


Another very silly question ... we have been told that there is no capacity available between Swindon and Didcot for a service that extends an hourly Oxford - Didcot shuttle to Swindon, and / or an hourly TransWilts service to Oxford.    Is that because the capacity is needed for these darned empty stock trains, or because "capacity" is a convenient excuse to give?   I appreciate top speeds 125 v 110 v 90, but then isn't the top speed 60 at the Steventon bottleneck?


I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.
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« Reply #556 on: November 26, 2018, 08:01:24 am »

I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.

There is no lack of demand for the service. It was well loaded when it ran previously, it did not stop because it was not used. There are plenty of people who live in Swindon and work in Oxford and vice versa. The change at Didcot is an issue as it adds journey time and is disruptive.  If you add a stop at Wantage & Grove (new station) then it would have even larger demand. 

The reasons the last service stopped was that it was affecting reliability of main line services.  Electrification and use of the long loop at Wantage (currently only a goods lop?) could ease those problems, though extra services have been added or planned since, so I am not clear whether the capacity exists. 
 
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onthecushions
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« Reply #557 on: November 26, 2018, 11:36:08 am »


Now departing Newbury....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=WCE47_EUehM

OTC
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« Reply #558 on: November 26, 2018, 12:01:55 pm »

Seems to have done a fair few runs between Reading and Newbury yesterday while the line was shut to other traffic.

One I saw on the railcam had it coming down the Racecourse loop into Newbury and back out the same way.

I believe there are some 387 test runs scheduled for a few nights next week?
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« Reply #559 on: November 26, 2018, 01:13:52 pm »

EDIT: This post went dramatically wrong.

Not without precedent  - glad  it ended  well.


Whats up!, What happened.
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« Reply #560 on: November 26, 2018, 01:20:09 pm »

I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.

There is no lack of demand for the service. It was well loaded when it ran previously, it did not stop because it was not used. There are plenty of people who live in Swindon and work in Oxford and vice versa. The change at Didcot is an issue as it adds journey time and is disruptive.  If you add a stop at Wantage & Grove (new station) then it would have even larger demand. 

The reasons the last service stopped was that it was affecting reliability of main line services.  Electrification and use of the long loop at Wantage (currently only a goods loop?) could ease those problems, though extra services have been added or planned since, so I am not clear whether the capacity exists. 
 

Lovely, I was brought up in Grove,And back in the seventies Oxfordshire County Council, Then tried to get that station reopened, But British Rail were against it.
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ellendune
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« Reply #561 on: November 26, 2018, 06:55:32 pm »

Lovely, I was brought up in Grove,And back in the seventies Oxfordshire County Council, Then tried to get that station reopened, But British Rail were against it.

I was brought up in Wantage. I think it was around 1977 I remember trooping round with questionnaires so someone could estimate the likely usage. 

There's probably a better thread for this sideline discussion.
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Dispatch Box
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« Reply #562 on: November 26, 2018, 07:26:24 pm »

Lovely, I was brought up in Grove,And back in the seventies Oxfordshire County Council, Then tried to get that station reopened, But British Rail were against it.

I was brought up in Wantage. I think it was around 1977 I remember trooping round with questionnaires so someone could estimate the likely usage. 

There's probably a better thread for this sideline discussion.

I was there in 1977, that was when I heard the news, I was at King Alfreds when this happened.
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froome
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« Reply #563 on: November 26, 2018, 09:38:18 pm »

I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.

There is no lack of demand for the service. It was well loaded when it ran previously, it did not stop because it was not used. There are plenty of people who live in Swindon and work in Oxford and vice versa. The change at Didcot is an issue as it adds journey time and is disruptive.  If you add a stop at Wantage & Grove (new station) then it would have even larger demand. 

The reasons the last service stopped was that it was affecting reliability of main line services.  Electrification and use of the long loop at Wantage (currently only a goods lop?) could ease those problems, though extra services have been added or planned since, so I am not clear whether the capacity exists. 
 

There is definitely a demand for this service. However, there is now a pretty fast direct bus. I've taken this a couple of times as I worked out I could get to Oxford as quickly that way than waiting at Didcot for a connecting train, as they don't seem to connect well with the services running up from Bath Spa and Temple Meads.
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Charlie (in Gloucester)
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« Reply #564 on: November 26, 2018, 09:43:17 pm »

EDIT: This post went dramatically wrong.

Not without precedent  - glad  it ended  well.



I managed to type in many fonts and mess up quotes  Wink

Whats up!, What happened.

Edit: It has happened again. My phone is glitching so I do apologise if any further issues do occur.
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We should be aiming towards a country where no matter where you are you can get around all day with an easy to use, affordable and modern transport system.
ellendune
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« Reply #565 on: November 26, 2018, 10:19:04 pm »

I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.
There is definitely a demand for this service. However, there is now a pretty fast direct bus. I've taken this a couple of times as I worked out I could get to Oxford as quickly that way than waiting at Didcot for a connecting train, as they don't seem to connect well with the services running up from Bath Spa and Temple Meads.

Says it all about the need for a direct service. Given that the bus will often get delayed in traffic in either Swindon or Oxford (or both) and and the road is mostly 50/60mph and the line from Swindon to Didcot is mostly 125mph!
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #566 on: November 27, 2018, 05:10:57 pm »

I suspect the main reason for the lack of Swindon - Oxford direct services is bums on seats ie lack of demand. If the service were to go into Didcot and reverse then operationally its not good also passengers may as well change trains as the journey time saving is not great.
There is definitely a demand for this service. However, there is now a pretty fast direct bus. I've taken this a couple of times as I worked out I could get to Oxford as quickly that way than waiting at Didcot for a connecting train, as they don't seem to connect well with the services running up from Bath Spa and Temple Meads.

Says it all about the need for a direct service. Given that the bus will often get delayed in traffic in either Swindon or Oxford (or both) and and the road is mostly 50/60mph and the line from Swindon to Didcot is mostly 125mph!

If I could put a bit of perspective into this:

It can sometimes be overlooked that timetable planners for both the bus and the rail industries think along broadly similar lines. Whilst. for example. trains will have pathing allowances added into the schedule to allow for potential conflicting movements, bus timetable planners will build potential delay allowances into their schedules. This may not only be confined to expected congestion levels, but could also include such matters, for example, extended stop dwell times outside schools at chucking-out time.

The S6 Stagecoach service runs every 20 minutes between 0450 and 1735, with a reducing service (half hourly then hourly) up until the last bus at 2205 (ex-Swindon) and 2320 (ex-Oxford). Journey times vary between 1h 12m off peak to 1h 27m in the peak, so normal levels of traffic congestion are built into the timetable. There are bus lanes in and out of Oxford so no additional delays would normally be expected at that end. The routes in and out of Swindon are not usually a congestion issue, as bus lanes exist there too, although not as many.

If passenger numbers did not justify such an intensive service then Stagecoach, as a private company running an unsubsidised route, wouldn't provide it. There is clearly a demand, although some of which of course will be to intermediate towns and villages which wouldn't be catered for anyway by a through train service.

The "top speed" figures for the respective modes of transport may be interestin as a headline/ sound bite but have little relevance in the real world. A bus is unlikely to exceed 50mph and is going to stop frequently anyway, irrespective of the road's speed limit. Similarly, a train will not be doing 125mph all the way from Swindon to Oxford as it too will be slowing and accelerating for stops. What will matter to Joe Public is the overall journey time. I have already looked at that for the bus, so what about the train?

The par for the course time from Swindon to Didcot is 17 minutes and Didcot to Oxford 15 to 19 depending on stops. Therefore, in theory and allowing, say, 6 minutes for the Didcot change, the journey could be done in around 40 minutes, so roughly half the time that the bus takes. The Swindon to Didcot service is rather erratic, with somewhere between 2 and 4 trains per hour arriving (off peak) at 03, 17, 29 and 47 in the "even" hours, and 17 and 29 in the "odd" hours. Between Didcot and Oxford there are 2 trains an hour with a third every two hours, but the two and hour pattern is not clock face - quite close to 00 and 30 departures from Didcot, but they vary by a few minutes either way and a few minutes can be crucial in cases like these.

Connection times are, in all honesty, pretty poor. Provided everything is running to time, the "17 arrival" would more or less guarantee getting the "30 departure," as would the 47 arrival and 00 departure. But, as someone else has said, the Didcot 29 arrivals come from Bath and Bristol, so no good for a "quick" connection from those places.

So if you were only going from Swindon to Oxford then the minimum transit time by train would be c. 45 minutes. If you started from Bristol or Bath then the Swindon-Oxford transit time would be closer to 62 minutes.

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« Reply #567 on: November 27, 2018, 08:40:55 pm »

If I could put a bit of perspective into this:

I agree with much of what you say, Robin, but have a few comments:

The S6 Stagecoach service runs every 20 minutes between 0450 and 1735, with a reducing service (half hourly then hourly) up until the last bus at 2205 (ex-Swindon) and 2320 (ex-Oxford). Journey times vary between 1h 12m off peak to 1h 27m in the peak, so normal levels of traffic congestion are built into the timetable. There are bus lanes in and out of Oxford so no additional delays would normally be expected at that end. The routes in and out of Swindon are not usually a congestion issue, as bus lanes exist there too, although not as many.

If passenger numbers did not justify such an intensive service then Stagecoach, as a private company running an unsubsidised route, wouldn't provide it. There is clearly a demand, although some of which of course will be to intermediate towns and villages which wouldn't be catered for anyway by a through train service.

There isn't really a proper bus lane out of Oxford which can often cause congestion issues, thirty minutes to go three miles along the Botley Road to the A420 turn off isn't uncommon, especially on a Friday evening.  Whilst the S6 is a pretty good 'express' service, it still detours off the A420 to serve Kingston Bagpuize and Faringdon.  The latter involves a 3-5 minute wait and technically the bus then becomes a different service, though in reality it is a through service with through ticketing.  This is why the slightly confusing Faringdon for Swindon destination is displayed on the bus.  Not sure whether that is due to county borders or driving hours, but there is some silly reason.

Either way, if you cut out the stops at the villages, at least ten minutes could be saved, but as you say that is what makes the service viable.  It's slow enough to put off most commuters though

The par for the course time from Swindon to Didcot is 17 minutes and Didcot to Oxford 15 to 19 depending on stops. Therefore, in theory and allowing, say, 6 minutes for the Didcot change, the journey could be done in around 40 minutes, so roughly half the time that the bus takes. The Swindon to Didcot service is rather erratic, with somewhere between 2 and 4 trains per hour arriving (off peak) at 03, 17, 29 and 47 in the "even" hours, and 17 and 29 in the "odd" hours. Between Didcot and Oxford there are 2 trains an hour with a third every two hours, but the two and hour pattern is not clock face - quite close to 00 and 30 departures from Didcot, but they vary by a few minutes either way and a few minutes can be crucial in cases like these.

Connection times are, in all honesty, pretty poor. Provided everything is running to time, the "17 arrival" would more or less guarantee getting the "30 departure," as would the 47 arrival and 00 departure. But, as someone else has said, the Didcot 29 arrivals come from Bath and Bristol, so no good for a "quick" connection from those places.

So if you were only going from Swindon to Oxford then the minimum transit time by train would be c. 45 minutes. If you started from Bristol or Bath then the Swindon-Oxford transit time would be closer to 62 minutes.

There is no reason why the Swindon to Oxford service has to call and reverse at Didcot of course - though in many cases it might still make sense to do so.  Avoid Didcot and you would have a potential journey time between Swindon and Oxford of under 30 minutes, as was the case for the occasional Oxford<>Bristol Turbo that used to omit Didcot when that service operated.  My belief that the best way (in terms of chances of it happening, and maximising the potential market) is to route the East-West Rail services between Reading and Milton Keynes/Bedford to start at Bristol.  I've said it before, but that would not only provide through journeys between Swindon and Oxford, but also provide a more long distance regional service eventually running between Bristol and Cambridge/Norwich/Ipswich.  Although E-W Rail is no longer being electrified, initially at least, bi-mode trains now offer potential rolling stock.

Additional advantages of such a service would be providing an appropriate service for reopened stations at places like Corsham, Grove and Wootton Bassett - though you would need to be careful about compromising through journey times with too many intermediate stops.  And of course there is precious little capacity between Didcot and Swindon available.
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« Reply #568 on: November 27, 2018, 09:39:28 pm »

There is no reason why the Swindon to Oxford service has to call and reverse at Didcot of course - though in many cases it might still make sense to do so.  Avoid Didcot and you would have a potential journey time between Swindon and Oxford of under 30 minutes, as was the case for the occasional Oxford<>Bristol Turbo that used to omit Didcot when that service operated.  My belief that the best way (in terms of chances of it happening, and maximising the potential market) is to route the East-West Rail services between Reading and Milton Keynes/Bedford to start at Bristol.  I've said it before, but that would not only provide through journeys between Swindon and Oxford, but also provide a more long distance regional service eventually running between Bristol and Cambridge/Norwich/Ipswich.  Although E-W Rail is no longer being electrified, initially at least, bi-mode trains now offer potential rolling stock.

Additional advantages of such a service would be providing an appropriate service for reopened stations at places like Corsham, Grove and Wootton Bassett - though you would need to be careful about compromising through journey times with too many intermediate stops.  And of course there is precious little capacity between Didcot and Swindon available.

I, for one, was pretty gutted when the Bristol to Oxford Turbo direct service that used Foxhall Junction and therefore bypassed Didcot ceased, as I used that service quite frequently when it was available.  I did try it a few times after once it returned to the current situation of a Bristol - Didcot train and 'hopefully' timing a decent enough connection, but remember several late nights sat around for ages at Didcot waiting for a return train home.  Was definitely a backward step in my view, and one that should easily be able to be reinstated
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« Reply #569 on: November 27, 2018, 09:55:37 pm »

I, for one, was pretty gutted when the Bristol to Oxford Turbo direct service that used Foxhall Junction and therefore bypassed Didcot ceased, as I used that service quite frequently when it was available.  I did try it a few times after once it returned to the current situation of a Bristol - Didcot train and 'hopefully' timing a decent enough connection, but remember several late nights sat around for ages at Didcot waiting for a return train home.  Was definitely a backward step in my view, and one that should easily be able to be reinstated

Ditto ... really hate pulling into Didcot and seeing a potential connection pulling out as you pull in. All the more horrid when trying to connect onward at Swindon too. 

In fact ... our "To Oxford from the West" board has that title to help rattle a few cages for this service  Grin Grin
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