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Author Topic: Friday 16th Feb 2018: Delays on Berks & Hants  (Read 2484 times)
Trowres
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2018, 09:09:25 pm »

It appears that a pair of Reading-Bedwyn services were also cancelled. It's not clear if these were to have been cancelled anyway, but having an HST stuck at Bedwyn (and another at Pewsey) may have been responsible.
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2018, 09:25:42 pm »

Westbury's importance as a significant interchange station is often overlooked, some would say hardly surprising, as compared to Swindon, few Railway Managers use the station or travel via it, assuming they are actually travelling by rail which often these days they are not !
From my regular observations Station Supervision there is often lacking and stretched.
The withdrawal by the current TOC of the Westbury based Area Operations Manager post
in the last year or two has clearly contributed to a drop in the quality of service provided at the sharp end;  noticeably the unacceptable number of trains that have been cancelled  on the increasingly busy ' Trans Wilts' service through no traincrew; oh for the days when a spare freight driver or guard could be made good use of.
A thought...How many Westbury based (and other places) Freight drivers  (true they now have limited traction knowledge) are spare/paid to stay at home over several days over the Christmas and New Year weeks.
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froome
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2018, 10:11:57 pm »

As I write this, 1C89 has finally limped into platform 1.
The 1J93 Frome service used platform 2 (having run via Melksham)
The 1C90 Penzance train has arrived at platform 3, following the removal of a unit from Brighton that had failed at Westbury with (according to the online info) a brake fault (although it has cleared off ECS in the Bristol direction)
1F31 (Cardiff-Portsmouth-ish) has arrived in Platform 2 following departure of the Frome HST.


I was on the train from Brighton. It stopped short of Westbury (it had been running well up to there) and then announced that it would be terminating at Westbury as there was no crew available to take it further. At Westbury most of the trains on the screen were showing as either cancelled or delayed, with no time of delay suggested. It was very confusing, as at least two trains that were shown as cancelled on the screen seemed (unless I got confused) to have arrived and departed, albeit very delayed.

I spoke with one woman who said she often took that train from Southampton to Bristol, and she hadn't yet been on one single journey which hadn't either been severely delayed or cancelled.

BTW we got the delayed later Cardiff train and asked at Bath Spa if we could get it to stop at Oldfield Park (which the Brighton train had been due to, and at Keynsham). We were told it couldn't.
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grahame
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2018, 10:27:21 pm »

BTW we got the delayed later Cardiff train and asked at Bath Spa if we could get it to stop at Oldfield Park (which the Brighton train had been due to, and at Keynsham). We were told it couldn't.

I wonder how much that was an automatic reaction, and how much it was thought through. 

Looking at real time trains, there were two trains right behind the Cardiff - a London express to Bristol then a local - and that was due within 8 minutes.  Granted it was running late (no surprise this evening), but perhaps the call not to put in two extra stops to save 8 or 20 minutes for some passengers would have held up lots of others and lead to a composite longer total.  Just asking / wondering.
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Trowres
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2018, 10:59:21 pm »

The value of a fourth platform at Westbury has already been mentioned in this thread.

What strikes me is the time taken to rescue a train that had failed so close to a train crew depot and site that usually hosts around half a dozen locomotives.

Some of this may be attributed to the fragmented railway and some to the increasing specialisation of trains (lack of coupling capability for example). It's becoming depressingly obvious, though, that the modern railway is pitifully lacking in resilience.
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Timmer
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2018, 08:29:36 am »

As I write this, 1C89 has finally limped into platform 1.
The 1J93 Frome service used platform 2 (having run via Melksham)
The 1C90 Penzance train has arrived at platform 3, following the removal of a unit from Brighton that had failed at Westbury with (according to the online info) a brake fault (although it has cleared off ECS in the Bristol direction)
1F31 (Cardiff-Portsmouth-ish) has arrived in Platform 2 following departure of the Frome HST.


I was on the train from Brighton. It stopped short of Westbury (it had been running well up to there) and then announced that it would be terminating at Westbury as there was no crew available to take it further. At Westbury most of the trains on the screen were showing as either cancelled or delayed, with no time of delay suggested. It was very confusing, as at least two trains that were shown as cancelled on the screen seemed (unless I got confused) to have arrived and departed, albeit very delayed.

I spoke with one woman who said she often took that train from Southampton to Bristol, and she hadn't yet been on one single journey which hadn't either been severely delayed or cancelled.

BTW we got the delayed later Cardiff train and asked at Bath Spa if we could get it to stop at Oldfield Park (which the Brighton train had been due to, and at Keynsham). We were told it couldn't.
Hmmmm a bit suspicious that it was able to carry on its merry way as an ECS back to Bristol unless it miraculously mended itself. If that was the case then surely it could have continued with passengers if it wasnít a train crew issue.

Thatís poor that the Cardiff train couldnít have stopped at Oldfield Park and Keynsham. Again, the railway thinking about itself and not its passengers.
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froome
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2018, 08:43:06 am »

BTW we got the delayed later Cardiff train and asked at Bath Spa if we could get it to stop at Oldfield Park (which the Brighton train had been due to, and at Keynsham). We were told it couldn't.

I wonder how much that was an automatic reaction, and how much it was thought through. 

Looking at real time trains, there were two trains right behind the Cardiff - a London express to Bristol then a local - and that was due within 8 minutes.  Granted it was running late (no surprise this evening), but perhaps the call not to put in two extra stops to save 8 or 20 minutes for some passengers would have held up lots of others and lead to a composite longer total.  Just asking / wondering.

We wanted to ask the TM but that person never appeared, and it was too crowded to try to hunt them down. So we had to get off at Bath Spa and ask there before the train moved off. The next stopping train was, at you say, showing as delayed by 10 minutes, and given the experiences at Westbury, we fully expected that 10 minutes to drag out to a much longer delay. So we took the bus instead.

As timmer says, it is disappointing that they don't automatically stop at these stops when the previous stopping train is cancelled. What happened to those passengers who had to wait over an hour more than they expected at these stations? I suspect it is assumed they just disappear off, probably to drive or take a bus instead.

I did also find it odd, to say the least, that a train that didn't have a crew available to take it to its original destination, then managed to drive itself towards that destination.
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RA
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2018, 02:16:01 pm »

Some interesting points raised. Regarding the train from Brighton terminating at Westbury, the train used to be taken forward from Westbury by a Train Manager who arrived on a service from Paddington. If that is still the case, it would explain why the train went forward as empty stock, with the TM stuck because of the failure and the driver needing a break in Bristol before coming back with the last Portsmouth service.

In BR days, a locomotive and driver would have been sourced from Westbury depot/yard and sent to clear the failure from the line. However, DB Cargo no longer have spare drivers sat around at depots such as Westbury following the restructuring with the 'hub' concept. Drivers are currently hired in by them from GBRf to meet demand.

As mentioned, the importance of Westbury is usually overlooked. Following the move to centralised rostering and resourcing, the Duty Manager and later Area Operations Manager roles have been removed, with just two (when staffed properly) platform staff per shift there now outside of office hours. Having local operating decisions made centrally (in Swindon) works fine in theory, but in reality not having eyes on the ground means the decisions are largely reactive rather than proactive. To rub it in, the staff at Westbury are on worse terms, conditions and pay than their colleagues at, say, Chippenham (through platform station, no/limited crew changes) because it is a former Wessex station.

To see the value a fourth platform would bring, have a look at Westbury station between 18:30 and 19:45 on a normal weekday to see how congested the station can be. Just requires one platform to be blocked to bring trains to a stand waiting for a platform.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 02:22:11 pm by RA » Logged
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