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Author Topic: Ghost stations and parliamentary services  (Read 450 times)
grahame
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« on: March 09, 2019, 02:42:26 pm »

A railway service that's so infrequent it's of no normal use, or a station where more often than not no-one gets on or off a train ... these are sometimes known as "parliamentary services" and "ghost stations".  I've been following a series of differing views on a social media forum as to the definitions ... in a South West (GWR franchise area) I think the following might not be too far out.

Parliamentary service or station - "a service that's provided to meet a franchise or direct award requirement without little or no consideration of developing traffic on that service or at that station, or providing something of use to the economy of the catchment(s) served or people who might use it"

Ghost station - "a station at which, more often than not, no-one gets off or on when a train calls or may call if the station is a request stop"

Examples in GWR land ...

Parly - "A service from London Paddington shall call between 2325 and 0015 on Mondays to Fridays. A service to London Paddington shall call between 0515 and 0545 on Mondays to Fridays."

Ghost - A station with 1,780 journeys per annum, and just about 7,000 trains that may call there if someone sticks a hand out or asks the Train Manager

The "ghost station" definintion is a bit woolly.  Looking for an example in GWR land, I initially landed on a station with 2394 journeys and around 4600 possible calls. At first glance, not quite a ghost station.  At second look, it might be as it's likely that the 2,394 figure was not made up of solo traveller only, and perhaps the number of calle was more like 1,500 to 1,700.  At third look: are there a lot of rover, ranger and staff journeys, or people buying tickets to other stations but then getting off short?

On the definitions here, the TransWilts service was "parliamentary" from 2006 to 2013 but is no longer so; the station at Melksham was never a "ghost".   A station in Scotland I visited - with 102 passengers in a year with around 500 calls per annum certainly was.

The TransWilts is a good example of a parliamentary service that should not be parliamentary ... get the service right (or even a bit better than useless, but still poor) and it will grow.  And we have examples of stations that were (I think) in the ghost category but have climbed right out.  Can you tell me which GWR station climbed from 356 passengers in 2004/5 to 15,262 in 2017/18 or from 7,361 to 138,996 in the same period.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 06:49:13 pm »

Copplestone and Parson Street

(I cheated - I looked them up!)
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 06:59:06 pm »

Copplestone and Parson Street

(I cheated - I looked them up!)

Correct ... did you look up the ghost station and parly examples earlier in the post  Grin Grin
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 04:06:53 pm »

Your definition of a Parliamentary service is incorrect - it is usually a service (can be just once a week) that is run to keep a line open, rather than have to issue a closure notice (required if no service perovided).

Chiltern's Ruislip-West Ealing (was Paddington) is keeping the piece of line through Greenford open from South Ruislip, for example. This runs Mon-Fri only.
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plymothian
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 08:32:46 pm »

Your definition of a Parliamentary service is incorrect - it is usually a service (can be just once a week) that is run to keep a line open, rather than have to issue a closure notice (required if no service perovided).

Chiltern's Ruislip-West Ealing (was Paddington) is keeping the piece of line through Greenford open from South Ruislip, for example. This runs Mon-Fri only.

And I would add:

..., provide the mimimum service required by the government on letting of the franchise, or maintained only to serve train crew competence across a particular route.

Ghost trains are those which are parliamentary but also those that are not widely advertised.  Such as Wandsworth Road - Battersea Park on the Overground.

Ghost stations are either stations only served by parliamentary trains stations (such as Denton) or are only served by a few trains of those scheduled to pass it.  Examples include Ardwick, IBM, Chapelton, Portmouth Arms and Pilning.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 10:25:52 am »

Your definition of a Parliamentary service is incorrect - it is usually a service (can be just once a week) that is run to keep a line open, rather than have to issue a closure notice (required if no service perovided).

Chiltern's Ruislip-West Ealing (was Paddington) is keeping the piece of line through Greenford open from South Ruislip, for example. This runs Mon-Fri only.

And I would add:

..., provide the mimimum service required by the government on letting of the franchise, or maintained only to serve train crew competence across a particular route.

Hmm, not quite. Yes if the requirement is a single service/day or week, but not if the requirement is several trains a day.
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