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Author Topic: Integrated Transport - Clyde Style  (Read 422 times)
grahame
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« on: November 03, 2017, 06:25:46 PM »

From The Buteman

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Construction worker Billy Tipping (55) from Rothesay, spoke of his concern about a “lack of joined-up thinking” after taking a Saturday journey from Glasgow to Wemyss Bay for the 5.30pm ferry to Bute. His train arrived on time at 5.25pm allowing Billy and his fellow passengers time to catch the ferry, or so he thought. He was then told that the ferry was closed at 5.27pm to ensure a 5.30pm departure.

etc

Headline, of course, is "Rail link not ferry good".   Story goes on to quote both ferry and train operator ... pointing fingers towards each other.  So perhaps I should have posted in "Smoke and Mirrors"

Lesson here for those of us with aspirations for improved train / bus links early next year.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2017, 06:31:15 PM »

Would you timetable a connection like that one for 5 minutes?

Of course not. The connection is off the previous service
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BandHcommuter
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2017, 06:38:14 PM »

A passenger reading the ferry timetable might reasonably expect the connection to work:

https://www.calmac.co.uk/wemyss-bay-rothesay-bute-ferry-winter-timetable
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2017, 06:51:26 PM »

Hmmm, agree. Ferry company changes its schedule & reduces the connection time. Suspect the previous train is the one connecting with previous ferry, therefore leaving this ferry with no reasonable connection.

CalMac's fault, but the train company catches the (rather unfair) bullet
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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2017, 07:35:03 PM »

Or, an example closer to home. SWR's published strike-day timetable for next week (and we'll have to see what really happens) is quite generous for the Reading line. We get the regular half-hourly trains all day, missing only the extra peak-hour (and other) ones. Oddly, the Up times are based on the normal times, not the current leaf-fall ones - evidently the leaf-fall will be on strike too.

The reason for this level of service is that his is a "spine" route, and the Guildford/Ascot and Weybridge/Virgiinia Water services become buses that feed into it. The stopping pattern has lost its few variations, so no Longcross, Ashford, or Vauxhall stops. But one quirk has come through - the 7:12 ex Reading skips Virgiinia Water. But there is still a bus from Weybridge, arriving at 7:33 so as to be in good time to wave at the 7:49 non-stopping train.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 07:57:21 PM »

A passenger reading the ferry timetable might reasonably expect the connection to work:

https://www.calmac.co.uk/wemyss-bay-rothesay-bute-ferry-winter-timetable

It does indeed show a five minute connection onto a boat ... but then deep in the FAQ, it warns:

Quote
The train times we show in our timetables are for guidance only and you should always check with the other travel provider if you're concerned about missing a connection. CalMac doesn't accept any liability for the costs of any accommodation or additional travel you incur following a missed connection.

and

Quote
Once all safety checks and procedures are completed by the crew and all passengers, who have arrived for check in on time, are onboard, the Master is permitted to depart ahead of the advertised departure time.

Before you travel you'll find your latest check in time on your confirmation email or our timetables. Passenger and vehicle check in times vary and can be between 5 minutes and 60 minutes before the advertised departure time.

Of course, every traveller reads the FAQ from start to end before they travel and knows the five minutes from train to ship is a complete gamble  Cheesy Wink
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 08:50:51 PM »

Would you timetable a connection like that one for 5 minutes?

Of course not. The connection is off the previous service
The previous train arrives 16:39, so that gives you either an excessive 51 mins to wait or an equally skinny 6 mins for the 16:45 ferry.
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Day return to Infinity, please.
ChrisB
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 09:15:57 PM »

Its easier of course to amend an end-to-end ferry on one circuitous trip than possibly an entire rail service south-west of Glasgow.
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 06:15:50 AM »

Probably a change with the times, but train to ferry connections have faded in my lifetime from being key links in the chain of travel off our island to facilities that have become secondary or even tertiary alternatives - with passenger connections by air, or using a private motor vehicle which people take with them to the port.

Just look at how airports have grown, and how rail links to them have improved - to Birmingham, Southampton, Manchester, Bristol, Gatwick, Stansted, Southend ... and there's where your growth to counterbalance traffic loss through Newhaven Marine, Fishguard and Holyhead ... through Dover Marine, Stranraer, Folkestone Harbour and Weymouth Quay ... has gone.  And there's traffic lost to the Channel Tunnel too.

Ferry companies' schedules are now designed with both eyes on the motorist, and in most cases only lip service to the passenger arriving at the UK port without a car. There are routes and services where "foot passengers are not permitted". Many of the services have been re-timed to best suit the major current traffic, to the detriment of the historic trade. Perhaps rail to air (can't take you car on either) and road to sea (can take your car on both) are the natural synergies?

If I appear to be suggesting doom and gloom for rail to ferry, there is an exception. That's the boat train to ports for smaller offshore islands (i.e. not Ireland) where passenger really don't want / need a car on the far side.  The Scillies and the small island services from Mallaig are amongst those which clearly fit into this category, and there are others which come somewhere between.

I am surprised at the "blow up" on the Bute route. Whether this is a real problem, or a mountain out of a very occasional miss by a few strong voices, I don't know.  It does perhaps remind us of the need for public input to our transport operators rather than an assumption they know what's right for their communities so that appropriate decisions can be made and seen to be made ... which is where I got involved in this whole rail thing in the first place!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 08:08:34 AM by grahame » Logged

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ChrisB
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 08:47:25 AM »

They possibly stopped for a smoke, not realising the ferry wouldn't wait.
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chuffed
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2017, 11:22:33 AM »

The last ferry to Rothesay on a weekday saga has been going on for a while. About 7/8 years ago I took the evening train to Wemyss bay to have a look at Rothesay and catch the sunset from the ferry. I checked the times carefully to rekindle memories  a family holiday taken there 40 years ago. The deckhand saw a group of us coming down the gangplank off the last train, cast off and off he went. The gap in service was such, that we all had to wait for the fully laden ferry to return from Rothesay in order to get the next train. The only consolation was that we could enjoy the delights of Wemyss Bay station, on a lovely evening, when it looked just like the photo on the cover of Simon Jenkins' book 100 best railway stations. I couldn't help wondering whether the photographer had missed the ferry as well !
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