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Author Topic: A week in the life of ...  (Read 2541 times)
grahame
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« on: December 09, 2017, 04:46:48 pm »

"A week in the life of" ... all pictures taken in the last six days. I've been on 26 trains, stayed in 2 hotels (only one at the same hotel and time as Chris B), ridden only one bus.  I've presented 2 days of training, attended a conference, a network event and four pre-arranged meetings. I've bumped into 6 people whom I knew / know that's been fortunitious to catch up with outside the other events.  Countless good discussions at the various events and by email too. And countless discussions with fellow travellers too. I've agreed in principle the sale of a house (although the purchaser has yet to get all his ducks in a row sufficient to give me confidence it will all go through. Seen the kids :-) ... but not the grandkids :-(. And I've booked Christmas Dinner.

I love all the variety and all the things I learn. And I love to see the positive output of what I do and help with. For sure, there are times (there have been 3 this week) where 2 steps forward have turned into 2 steps forward and one step back; I bite me tongue, ask "why didn't that work fully", celebrate the half full glass we have and look to see if we can make superb use of the half glass, and perhaps get a top-up to follow.

The pictures are not in proportion to the time invested; I tend to take pictures (and searchable notes these days) when I want to remember something or be triggered as I look back at ... so here's a very biased selection from the week.

Monday morning ... and a trip to London.  The two TransWilts morning peak trains were both 2 cars (first time for the 07:49 and it really needs it) ... and I dread to think how rammed the 17:36 one-car only-peak-train was back in the evening!





At the other end of the week at Paddington - utter chaos due to "person hit by train".  I was headed back to Westbury - not included on the "next fastest train" board but the 20:35 to Plymouth which was the train I had planned for (and final train of the day) was no-where to be seen on any board, and the instruction was "please enquire".   Only one of the two information stands was manned (!) so "please enquire" meant "please queue to see someone".  A helpful poster told us that more trains with more seats were on the way, but I suspect that wasn't about that evening  Grin







End of week ... Essex Road station ... came across as a bit in need of some TLC ...



It was the first time I've used the new station at Cambridge North - a long overdue opening. Very impressive yet very stark set on a flat area that's not really developed yet.  Good to see integrated bus stops and as you'll note from one of these pictures, already a healthy flow of passengers.   The 4 car stopper from King's Cross to Cambridge, extended to North, pulls halfway up the platform away from the station buildings ... when asked "why" station dispatcher tells me they have a few teething troubles and "it went right to the far end at first".







Monday was the Great Western Stakeholder's conference and an opportunity to get updated on a few things; most weren't really news to me, but then many stakeholders are far from as closely involved so the pitch was probably very much at the right level.   As even, very professionally and positively presented - though with reference and explanations of some of the challenges that have been visible to passengers, and information about plans to address those which remain.  One presenter (not a GWR one) let the side down somewhat by not having any visuals to help him, and clearly his talk hadn't been co-ordinated before had as he stated with "I'll try and leave out the stuff that the previous speaker has already covered"













Tuesady - can you believe the 18:38 Trowbridge to Swindon?   To be fair, most of these passengers wanted to go to Bristol or Cardiff, but in the absence of a working railway between Bath and Bristol they were going round via Hullavington!   Even on this train, a walk through / plenty of visibility from both the train manager and me and we managed to advise most people.   I understand later and following day TransWilts trains also got a bit busy!



Although the new station at Cambridge North in wonderful, its integration into the area isn't.  Picture shows the entrance from the main road for foot passengers (and most will be from the science, business and innovation parks) - you have to know where you're going.  No signs!     And take a look at the gate into the busies park; not exactly officially labelled.   But I have to admit it's a darned sight better than Melksham where the council can't evene remove a fence panel between two pieces of lands it owns and are public accessible!.

On train announcements seem kludged too ... "this train for ... Foxton, Cambridge and Cambridge [take breath] North". I suspect the recording is a cut and paste job, and the inflection at the beginning of the work "North" suggest that whoever spoke it was staring a longer name ... "North Sheen" or perhaps even "Northampton".





So this morning ... my decision to stay in London gave me a chance to ride an Adelante and to take a snap including the sleeper loco.   I look at "Restormel Castle" and wonder what it was restored from!





Looking to see who's leaflets are available and it what quantity



The main business of the week was my training - a couple of slides to remind me of what I had to cover on the second day, and show you the sort of thing I write in front of delegates on my day job.






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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2017, 05:07:45 pm »

1. Melksham  Smiley
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Timmer
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 06:08:42 pm »

Picture 10 is one for Taplow Green. There’s Mr Hopwood!  Grin
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bobm
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2017, 06:49:06 pm »

I've bumped into 6 people whom I knew / know that's been fortunitious to catch up with outside the other events. 

What a busy week - and to think I bumped into you once and turned down a second opportunity to meet later in the week!  Grin
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 12:48:56 am »

I rather think bumping into bobm once in any week would be more than enough.  Wink

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 08:49:25 am »

Picture 10 is one for Taplow Green. There’s Mr Hopwood!  Grin

Don't believe it - it's a hologram.
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Timmer
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 09:26:40 am »

Don't believe it - it's a hologram.
Grin Cheesy Grin
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 09:55:40 am »

To complete my week ... Monday to Sunday.

This morning is the day where I can finally say "TransWilts offers an all day service, every day of the week, all year, between Westbury and Swindon".    Welcome the return - on a permanent, year round basis, of the 08:30 Westbury to Swindon service on a Sunday morning.

A truly awful morning weather wise; it's been pouring with rain all night and there's standing water all over the place and it's cold and windy ... all the things to put people off their Sunday trips.  Result ....



That was +13 -3 at Melksham ... limited promotion / publicity at our end due to recent reliability concerns over Sundays, and to avoid deflecting interest from other things we're doing or planning.    I'll admit to being rather pleased.   More so as I spoke with several groups (7 out of the 13 departing passengers) and every one of those seven  was changing to make connections - most being long distance connections that really help make the financial case.  But in any case, I estimate there were about a dozen through passengers - so that's 28/16 which is respectable to say the least.

And when I recall that for our experimental summer 2011 service, when we were asked to prove that a train would be used, we had to persuade FGW as they then were to actually stop the early train as it ran up from Westbury to Swindon - they had proposed an ECS (empty carriage stock) to feed the (marketed) return train!
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eightf48544
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2017, 12:07:25 pm »

Picture 10 are you sure it's Mr. H?
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Timmer
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2017, 04:34:10 pm »

Picture 10 are you sure it's Mr. H?
Yes, definitely. Says so on the screen next to him.
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2017, 04:40:35 pm »

Picture 10 are you sure it's Mr. H?
Yes, definitely. Says so on the screen next to him.

I took the picture. Can confirm it was Mark Hopwood ... unless it was his identical, equally well informed, twin brother.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2017, 09:28:58 pm »

.....did he sign autographs? Pose for selfies? Enter the hall to some pounding "walk on" music and jog around shadow boxing to get psyched up?
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2017, 07:19:01 am »

.....did he sign autographs? Pose for selfies? Enter the hall to some pounding "walk on" music and jog around shadow boxing to get psyched up?

No - it was professionally presented through the day (one exception, one presenter not from GWR who came across as unprepared) - if I criticise at all perhaps slightly too glossy - but then I was not the real target audience. There is an acknowledgement of the "challenges" across director level - you'll note some of the graphs on the other slides - and a view that they should be got back on track.    But such meetings / events are not the places to attend to put high profile grievances; that's likely to do more harm than good; better to accept an acknowledgement and to encourage things along in the right way during opportunities for networking as well as during questions.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 08:18:13 am »

.....did he sign autographs? Pose for selfies? Enter the hall to some pounding "walk on" music and jog around shadow boxing to get psyched up?

No - it was professionally presented through the day (one exception, one presenter not from GWR who came across as unprepared) - if I criticise at all perhaps slightly too glossy - but then I was not the real target audience. There is an acknowledgement of the "challenges" across director level - you'll note some of the graphs on the other slides - and a view that they should be got back on track.    But such meetings / events are not the places to attend to put high profile grievances; that's likely to do more harm than good; better to accept an acknowledgement and to encourage things along in the right way during opportunities for networking as well as during questions.

Relax Graham, I wasn't being entirely serious! ☺........glad you enjoyed your "audience"
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2017, 08:41:32 am »

Relax Graham, I wasn't being entirely serious! ☺........glad you enjoyed your "audience"

I'm more relaxed than may "come across" - you offered me an excellent hook onto which to hang a bit of an explanation as to how this sort of event works ... thank you Cheesy
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