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  • Peninsular Rail Conference: January 19, 2018
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Author Topic: Peninsular Rail Task Force Conference, 19th January 2018  (Read 2279 times)
grahame
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« on: December 01, 2017, 04:38:44 pm »

Peninsular Rail Task Force Conference, 19th January 2018.  For Stakeholders - not a public meeting.

Quote
The conference will provide an opportunity for [stakeholders] to hear about ‘Closing The Gap’ the South West Peninsula Strategic Rail Blueprint and receive an update on the latest progress in delivering the plan.

The conference will also provide a valuable opportunity to influence PRTF’s response to forthcoming rail franchise processes for the area which we anticipate will be undertaken by the Department for Transport during 2018. This will be the first full franchise renewal process since 2006, and PRTF is keen to hear [stakeholder] views on priority issues that should be taken forward through the franchise process.

Posting in "London to the West" but probably just as relevant for those of our members making shorter journeys in Devon and Cornwall by rail.   Also relevant for Frome members as PRTF includes Somerset.    Suggest you get in touch with your local stakeholders prior to this event so that they're up to date on aspiration.
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WSW Frome
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018, 06:16:26 pm »

Peninsula Rail Task Force – Stakeholder Group Meeting - 19 January 2018, Taunton

I attended this meeting in my personal capacity representing Frome/Westbury interests. The meeting was well supported with local authorities, councillors, rail user groups, some industry representatives, Travelwatch SW, MP representatives etc. from Wiltshire westwards plus the consultants undertaking the legwork on behalf of PRTF. The focus of the meeting was input to the GWR franchise consultation.

This was quite a short meeting of 3 hours including lunch but including introduction/summaries from the PRTF leads and a presentation by the senior consultant. PRTF has been active especially since the Dawlish collapse and had prepared (at government suggestion) an extensive report for DfT on the rail needs of the wider south west (not just far SW). This was delivered approx. 2 years ago but there has been zero response from DfT. A stronger position will be taken in future including making better use of local (government!) MPs. PRTF will also be presenting to a Parliamentary Committee shortly.

PRTF has formed the view that many of the current consultation questions are very detailed and these should be answered by the industry itself. PRTF will only respond on strategic issues as they affect the SW. As such there was a workshop session where 4 groups each discussed 3 strategic issues concerning:

1.   Resilience
This mainly revolved around completion of existing works or active planning on mitigating flood or cliff fall risk etc. for Somerset Levels, Cowley Bridge and Dawlish. Much of this has gone quiet since completion of the main Dawlish work in 2014/15.
Other aspects are re-opening of services to/through Okehampton to form the diversionary route. Active planning should start for a phased re-opening possibly with use of a contractor independent of Network Rail.
Further doubling/loops for Castle Cary to Exeter via Yeovil will add to resilience for SW.
Greater attention to Devon/Somerset banks during leaf fall season.
 
2.   Speed
Not considered as a major issue especially as very few options for increased speeds are available. Civil projects will not generally be cost effective.
A typical 3 hour (fast) service London-Plymouth and return is considered as highly desirable for the business community. (Some 3 hour services in current timetable)
 
3.   Capacity
Increased seat provision carefully matched to demand. Local and Long distance. Seasonal.
Improved frequencies which may require shorter signal sections or similar.
Quality free wi-fi provision to ensure effective working time on board.

These items will be considered for the consultation submission and the outcomes of this meeting will be reported on the PRTF website asap.

It should be noted that PRTF do recognise the importance of intermediate calls, such as Westbury, and will not jeopardise these (at least for the semi-fast services!). Few people were aware of the likely shape of the Jan 2019 timetables, which I found surprising. A representative from Cross Country commented that the formal timetable submission process commences with Network Rail in February.

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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2018, 06:58:49 pm »

It should be noted that PRTF do recognise the importance of intermediate calls, such as Westbury, and will not jeopardise these (at least for the semi-fast services!).

Many thanks for your full post.    The above struck me as potentially helpful, but can you clarify for me?

On Monday to Friday, there are six services from Plymouth and beyond to London that call at Westbury, though only three (four on a Friday) from London that call at Westbury and continue to Plymouth or beyond.

Was your reading of the what they said that they would do or suggest nothing which would reduce this level of through service? Indeed it should probably increase based on the very high levels of demand we see westward from both Paddington to stations well short of Plymouth, and from Westbury through Devon to Plymouth and beyond.

The desire for express trains from Plymouth to London is well appreciated and I don't think anyone would argue for all services to be semi-fast - what's needed is a balance of through express and semi-fast services.  
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2018, 07:10:12 pm »

Checking the diagrammatical service map thatI I understand is still current, weren't Westbury calls in the semi-fasts,most of whuch terminated at EXD?
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2018, 07:28:46 pm »

Checking the diagrammatical service map thatI I understand is still current, weren't Westbury calls in the semi-fasts,most of whuch terminated at EXD?

Yes indeed - so if the PRTF are saying that they will not jeapodise what we have, they are now supporting at least half a dozen of the semi-fasts going to Plymouth. Reduction of through trains Plymouth to Westbury from six to virtually none (and requiring an extra change at Exeter) WOULD be jeopardising intermediate calls at Westbury on through trains from Plymouth.   That's why I am looking for clarification of what was said at the meeting.

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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2018, 08:16:26 pm »

Evidential input would likely be needed as the suggested service will require additional IETs to run those services beyond EXD.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 10:55:03 am by ChrisB » Logged
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 01:41:20 am »

Evidential input woud likely be needed as the sugestiojwillbrequirevaddutional IETs to run those services beyond EXD.

Sorry, ChrisB, but you've slightly lost me there.  Lips sealed
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ChrisB
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2018, 10:55:28 am »

 Grin sorry, now edited to make sense!
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WSW Frome
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2018, 08:07:03 pm »

You may well be trying to read too much into my summary.

There were only some simple comments about recognising the importance of intermediate calls. No great policy was announced. So I will edit my final paragraph to:

It should be noted that PRTF do recognise the importance of intermediate calls, such as Westbury. Few people were aware of the likely shape of the Jan 2019 timetables, which I found surprising. A representative from Cross Country commented that the formal timetable submission process commences with Network Rail in February.
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