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Author Topic: Rugby or the Community? Protests about GWR service changes at Sandy Park  (Read 1631 times)
plymothian
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« on: October 07, 2017, 04:49:11 PM »

There appears to be a small protest happening along the Exmouth line today against changes GWR have made to services on rugby matchdays to cope with the increase in numbers at Sandy Park.

So far, nothing has appeared in the press, but reporters have been seen talking to protesters, who have been waving placards and photographing trains and people at stations along the line.

Due to increased demand to get to Sandy Park, on matchdays the regular stopping pattern is thrown out of the window, meaning trains skip-stopping stations with a replacement bus service instead, in addition to St David's - Digby direct coaches.  GWR have been doing this to prevent overcrowding (as both the additional coaches and the trains are full before and after the match), and to minimise delays to Paignton and Barnstaple services.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2017, 09:07:40 PM »

With thanks for your post here, plymothian, I've simply expanded your topic heading, to make it easier for future reference - bearing in mind our Coffee Shop forum's now rather ancient software search facility being so flaky.  Roll Eyes

Actually, rather similar to the GWR passenger services affected by this protest, apparently?  Shocked

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plymothian
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 08:50:25 AM »

http://www.devonlive.com/sport/football/fears-st-james-park-could-753855

Finally made it to the press... only because Exeter City FC fans are now affected.

Quote
There are fears that matchday train services to Exeter City’s St James Park could be cut off.

Currently, Great Western Railway are trialling a new timetable, which sees the Exeter Central to Exmouth service leaving St James Park off the route when City and Exeter Chiefs play on the same day.

The trains can often be overcrowded as fans of both clubs travel to Sandy Park and St James Park.

Chiefs fans use Digby & Sowton to walk to Sandy Park, and if a trial period is successful, it could mean Grecians fans would have to walk from Exeter Central station.

One fan who regularly uses St James Park, which is located right next to the stadium says the idea of stopping the service is crazy.

Neil Le Milliere said: “For them to suggest that they are not to stop trains at St James Park on matchdays, regardless of what’s going on down the road at the rugby is just prejudicial. It’s an absolutely crazy idea.

“It’s so prejudicial to the football club, that has been there since 1901 if not before, and the station is named after the football club.

“We know trains get busy, because of the amount of people at the rugby, but they chose to move out there.

“How can it possibly be right?”

Neil travels from London to watch home games at St James Park, and says the changes would affect many fans across the county.

He said: “The real kicker is that there are many supporters that travel from North Devon on the Barnstaple line.

“There are lots of people that come from Exmouth, Dawlish, Starcross and St Thomas towards St James Park.

“To make them get off at Central and walk to the ground is crazy.”

“I travel from London, so when I get off at Exeter, am I meant to walk the rest of the way?

“It’s crazy.”

The trialled timetable expires in December, with City and Chiefs currently not scheduled to play on the same day until January 2018.

In a statement, a GWR spokesman said:

“We are currently working with Exeter City FC and Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club to improve the movement and travelling experience for fans, particularly when both sides are playing at home on the same day.

“We have been trialling the new matchday timetable between Exeter Central and Exmouth since September, which is designed to spread the number of customers more evenly across our trains. We expect this to reduce crowding and improve reliability, but we will be reviewing feedback from the clubs and fans once the trial is complete in December.”
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 09:27:33 AM »

My initial thought is that the regular service should be regular and the sporadic events which generate additional traffic should be catered for with either extra services, eg direct from Exeter St Davids to Sandys Park, if possible, or buses. As these events are not in fact sporadic but are known at the start of the rugby season (when does that start? September?), it should be fairly simple to organise buses, if needed, from eg St Davids to Sandys Pk, in advance.

But then if the extra traffic is in fact more than the regular traffic, it actually seems more sensible to put that on the train and provide a bus service for the smaller number of non-rugby passengers. It's not clear whether the rugby fans using trains do outnumber the non-rugby passengers, just saying if that's the case. I guess the same applies to the football, though I'm guessing Exeter FC is a fairly lowly football club whereas Exeter rugby is pretty big (League 2 v Premiership).

Of course in Bristol it would be easier cos the football (one of) and the rugby are in the same stadium; but as there's no Ashton Gate station even planned, it doesn't apply.  Undecided

Edit: Rugby stadium capacity 20,600. Football 6,087. (Both from wikipedia).
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 09:34:01 AM by Bmblbzzz » Logged

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 09:27:47 AM »

Surely the obvious answer is to run longer trains.
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plymothian
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 09:39:17 AM »

Surely the obvious answer is to run longer trains.

The answer is not always run longer trains!

It's physically impossible.
St James Park is only 2 carriages long (up - all trains excluding 2x153 which are too long) and 4 (down - 2x143 only, everything else is too long).

My initial thought is that the regular service should be regular and the sporadic events which generate additional traffic should be catered for with either extra services, eg direct from Exeter St Davids to Sandys Park, if possible, or buses. As these events are not in fact sporadic but are known at the start of the rugby season (when does that start? September?), it should be fairly simple to organise buses, if needed, from eg St Davids to Sandys Pk, in advance.

There are coaches from EXD - DIG, and have been for years, but hey, guess what - people want to go by train.

Like the guy in the article, changing to a coach or walking 10-15 minutes is not on their agenda.

This is the problem for you to solve:

- You have a single track railway, with 1 passing place at Topsham, and a minimum frequency of 2 trains per hour, an end-end journey must only take a maximum of half an hour
- You have short platforms which will accommodate 2, 4 or 5 carriages depending on the make up of the train - these are non-gangwayed stock with no SDO
- You have a lot of people trying to get to and from 2 separate stations within a 2 hour window.
- You have regular passengers trying to board overcrowded trains at intermediate stations.
- A delay alighting and boarding these passengers can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
- You have a lot of through passengers from the rest of Devon trying to get to Exeter Central at the same time.
- Your services run Barnstaple -> Exmouth -> Paignton -> Exmouth -> Barnstaple (in the general)
- Your passengers want the fewest changes and to remain on the train to their destination
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 09:49:25 AM by plymothian » Logged

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2017, 09:59:24 AM »

Surely the obvious answer is to run longer trains.

The answer is not always run longer trains!

It's physically impossible.
St James Park is only 2 carriages long (up - all trains excluding 2x153 which are too long) and 4 (down - 2x143 only, everything else is too long).

My initial thought is that the regular service should be regular and the sporadic events which generate additional traffic should be catered for with either extra services, eg direct from Exeter St Davids to Sandys Park, if possible, or buses. As these events are not in fact sporadic but are known at the start of the rugby season (when does that start? September?), it should be fairly simple to organise buses, if needed, from eg St Davids to Sandys Pk, in advance.

There are coaches from EXD - DIG, and have been for years, but hey, guess what - people want to go by train.

Like the guy in the article, changing to a coach or walking 10-15 minutes is not on their agenda.

This is the problem for you to solve:

- You have a single track railway, with 1 passing place at Topsham, and a minimum frequency of 2 trains per hour, an end-end journey must only take a maximum of half an hour
- You have short platforms which will accommodate 2, 4 or 5 carriages depending on the make up of the train - these are non-gangwayed stock with no SDO
- You have a lot of people trying to get to and from 2 separate stations within a 2 hour window.
- You have regular passengers trying to board overcrowded trains at intermediate stations.
- A delay alighting and boarding these passengers can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
- You have a lot of through passengers from the rest of Devon trying to get to Exeter Central at the same time.
- Your services run Barnstaple -> Exmouth -> Paignton -> Exmouth -> Barnstaple (in the general)
- Your passengers want the fewest changes and to remain on the train to their destination

-You have a railway that cannot cope.
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broadgage
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 10:17:12 AM »

No chance of obtaining longer trains with selective door opening in order that they may serve the short platforms ?
Or extending the short platforms ?
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 11:06:19 AM »

Quote
But then if the extra traffic is in fact more than the regular traffic, it actually seems more sensible to put that on the train and provide a bus service for the smaller number of non-rugby passengers. It's not clear whether the rugby fans using trains do outnumber the non-rugby passengers, just saying if that's the case. I guess the same applies to the football, though I'm guessing Exeter FC is a fairly lowly football club whereas Exeter rugby is pretty big (League 2 v Premiership)

Rugby supporters considerably outnumber regular users. I’d been to exmouth a while back on match day, came back in the early evening, and there were no more than 15 passengers in my carriage. It then became close to crush loaded.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2017, 11:15:35 AM »

This is the problem for you to solve:

- You have a single track railway, with 1 passing place at Topsham, and a minimum frequency of 2 trains per hour, an end-end journey must only take a maximum of half an hour
- You have short platforms which will accommodate 2, 4 or 5 carriages depending on the make up of the train - these are non-gangwayed stock with no SDO
- You have a lot of people trying to get to and from 2 separate stations within a 2 hour window.
- You have regular passengers trying to board overcrowded trains at intermediate stations.
- A delay alighting and boarding these passengers can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
- You have a lot of through passengers from the rest of Devon trying to get to Exeter Central at the same time.
- Your services run Barnstaple -> Exmouth -> Paignton -> Exmouth -> Barnstaple (in the general)
- Your passengers want the fewest changes and to remain on the train to their destination
Thankfully it's for railway people to solve, not me! But it does look as if TG is right, the railway cannot cope with the rugby traffic. As it's the rugby generating it, could the Exeter Chiefs be persuaded to "sponsor" a platform extension and a match-time shuttle train from EXD to DIG?
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rogerw
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2017, 11:38:17 AM »

There is no line capacity for additional trains so that the only possible solution would be platform extensions and longer trains. Whether there would be available trains on a Saturday is another question
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2017, 12:24:10 PM »

There doesn't need to be additional line capacity if the shuttle train ferries rugby fans from EXD to DIG and back again with no intermediate stops, while the trains that normally run on the Avocet Line at that time are replaced by buses. Of course that does mean taking a decision to prioritise on "group" of passengers above others, which could lead to all sorts of complications.
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GBM
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2017, 12:30:49 PM »

A shuttle unit between St David's & Digby, running in between the scheduled Exmouth times. 
Could do two or three runs before the scheduled returns from Exmouth.
Or if paths are short at St David's, the shuttle runs from Central. 
Runs a few hours before kick off and a few hours after. 
Laid up whilst the match in progress.
There was/is? a bay at Central on the up platform but not been there for ages.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2017, 09:01:36 PM »


There was/is? a bay at Central on the up platform but not been there for ages.

I did a photo quiz with a pic of Exeter Central included last week. There is a bay for definite on the st David’s bound side
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plymothian
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2017, 09:43:57 PM »

A shuttle unit between St David's & Digby, running in between the scheduled Exmouth times. 
Could do two or three runs before the scheduled returns from Exmouth.
Or if paths are short at St David's, the shuttle runs from Central. 
Runs a few hours before kick off and a few hours after. 
Laid up whilst the match in progress.
There was/is? a bay at Central on the up platform but not been there for ages.

OK.

"Regular" train 1 leaves Central,
"Regular" train 2 leaves Exmouth,
"Relief" train leaves Central,
Relief waits at Exmouth Junction for 15 minutes for regular train to reach Topsham,
Relief is admitted on to the branch, arrives and reverses at Digby.
Relief returns to Central.
Regular train 2 has waited at Topsham an extra 1/2 hour and regular train 1 is waiting to leave Exmouth.

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