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  • GWR Community Rail Conference: June 15, 2018
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Author Topic: 15th June 2018 - GWR Community Rail Conference  (Read 1205 times)
grahame
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« on: January 12, 2018, 04:44:58 pm »

This is the event that was in Barnstaple last year ... this year it's in Swindon.   There is likely to be an opportunity for some regular Coffee Shop contributors to come along in addition to community rail and station and line friends groups, and much of the time during the day will be given over to surgeries and market places, with networking and question asking opportunities.      Please message me if you would like to attend this day; I'll confirm your interest and suggest you hold the date for now.
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2018, 11:12:07 am »

As a pre-cursor to the GWR Community Rail Conference on 15th June, The TransWilts CRP all be running a pop-up booth at Swindon Station on 14th, and first thing on 15th too.  The idea is to welcome delegates to the root of the local Community Rail service at Swindon, and to take the opportunity to distribute literature and promote the line to regular users of Swindon Station too. 

1. Everyone who expressed an interest in coming along on my prior post, together with many contacts and stakeholders away from this forum, should have received their invites by now and indeed have everything confirmed; looks like a full and interesting day.

2. We have a team of local volunteers coming together for the pop-up booth at the station - done by word of mouth so far;  I would welcome a few more people to do a few hours each as we've got a very long day to cover, and a couple of us need to take a couple of hours in the afternoon for other duties ( trip on the TransWIlts, with commentary!)   Please message / email / notify if you can help.

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bobm
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 11:15:54 am »

We are here all day - do come and say hello.

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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 11:29:29 am »

See you in the morning!
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 07:12:50 pm »

See you in the morning!

Yep, see you then, Chris

Facebook post from me ...

Quote
A huge HUGE thank you to Eddy, Paul C, Bob, Erin, Tracey, Reuben, John H and Paul J - I hope I have remembered all of you - who helped today on the TransWilts stand at Swindon Station telling people about Communty Rail and the line from Swindon to Westbury and onward links to Southampton. Big "Thank You" too to the GWR team at the station who made us very welcome. Great to meet so many rail users and other Community Rail contacts too.

Tomorrow is GWR's annual Community Rail Conference - to be held at Steam in Swindon. Another booth will be set up at the station to welcome delegates who arrive between 8 and 9 O'Clock, and there will be two "market stall" sessions at the conference too where all the community rail groups and specialist rail industry groups make contact and share ideas and best practice. We're quite happy in Wiltshire to re-use an idea that's worked in (say) Cornwall - and it's no competition; they are welcome to use any ideas of our that work in their county.

A new array of literature - days out, community rail, timetables, etc, was on show for the first time today. We'll be making it available up and down the line and at tourist information centres, in the next few days.

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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 10:06:26 pm »




Ghosts?

Or is everyone zooming past to catch the 17:36?
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 10:18:12 pm »

One question......the T Shirts.....who chose the colour scheme? 🙂
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bobm
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2018, 11:30:56 pm »




Ghosts?

Or is everyone zooming past to catch the 17:36?

GDPR - didn’t have their permission to photograph them  Grin.  Actually it was a vain attempt to be artistic!
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2018, 04:49:29 am »

One question......the T Shirts.....who chose the colour scheme? 🙂

My wife Lisa ... designed to be obnoxious and eye catching.   The T shirt design, that is - not the wife.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2018, 08:51:49 am »

This is the event that was in Barnstaple last year ... this year it's in Swindon.   There is likely to be an opportunity for some regular Coffee Shop contributors to come along in addition to community rail and station and line friends groups, and much of the time during the day will be given over to surgeries and market places, with networking and question asking opportunities.      Please message me if you would like to attend this day; I'll confirm your interest and suggest you hold the date for now.

Yesterday's GWR Community Rail Conference in Swindon.   Wow - what is there to say about it?  A superb day to network, to inform and be informed, to look and learn where we are and where we are headed.

For those of you who took up my invite (above) - I hope you felt the day was useful. There was certainly excellent opportunity to listen to the GWR MD, and others including the Department for Transport, talking - and ask them and others questions / raise issues. Many, many people who know a thing or three available to us, as outlined in my invite.  I will post separately on the key public slides looking - with open-ness - at the problems currently being faced.  I will note here that the lines singled out as having really drawn the short straw of late are the Severn Beach, North Cotswold, TransWilts and Heart of Wessex.

The TransWilts team of volunteers put on a seriously good show - with a stand at Swindon Station all day on Thursday 14th, a line tour that afternoon, and a "market place" booth at the conference on the Friday.  For key volunteers, there was a further networking opportunity on Thursday evening over a meal, and I understand that was very useful too.

Thanks are widely due to the GWR organisers, to the organiser at the Steam end, who is a very good friend of TransWilts, to the DfT and to ACoRP for their support of the event - and to others who I may have overlooked.   But also to our volunteer team - a "thank you" which is one of the purposes of the even, together with an ongoing direction, focus, motivation.    I'm going to quote below the text of my email just sent around to say "Thank you" to the TransWilts team.



Dear All (defined below ;-) )

Another great day yesterday  (15 June 2018) - huge thanks with the setup and manning of the TransWilts stand at the GWR Community Rail Conference.    It looked really good, and as I circulated around the other booths and met people, I could look across and see out team in networking conversations with those with whom we were there to network with.  And when  I drifted by and heard what was going on, it re-confirmed just how deduced, personable, positive and knowledgable our team is.

Chris Austen - when talking about the West Somerset Railway and its links to the national network - brought very much home the enormity of what we have achieved on the TransWIlts. He described the huge issues of ongoing cost and support, of line speed issues, of staffing, of having available stock enhanced to include National Network systems, and passed over but clearly aware of other issues  too, which face the West Somerset Railway.  We have not had the enormity of starting with a closed railway, but never the less the issues they face to a daily, useable service from Minehead to Taunton and perhaps beyond have all been overcome here in Wiltshire.

As our “home game” we were expected to put on a hansomly superb / superior show to compared to the other CRPs.   Of course, on day to day issues it isn’t a competition at all as we all work very much together; for TransWilts, that is so important as we interface to other lines and services at all bar one stations.  From a very biased viewpoint (I admit) I think we / you met and exceeded those expectations. And it was so good to hear within presentations and in general chat just ho much our team is noted as being effective and professional, with others who have aspirations for improvements being directed to take a look at us to see what can be achieved / has been achieved in just one part of the country.  These achievements are cross-discipline; Community Rail is built on three pillars - the rail industry, local government and the community.   Thursday and Friday were a celebration and a forward looking network and learning opportunity primarily for the community, but the other elements are equally important, and it’s so good to have the support of the good people there, also being aware of restrictions placed on them in their work to help us.

Those of you who were able to attend the Thursday evening reception / meal - please do forward me a couple of pictures so that I can do the publicity stuff into the future using them.  I understand there was something of an appreciation of our community team that evening too … and indeed I (briefly) has the remaining section of a cake in my hands last night.   Well done one and all!

Although we look forward, and in a none-competing way, with other community rail groups, we also look back, compare, learn from what we have done, and use that learning to also promote our future path.  Over the last couple of week, I have submitted two entries for ACoRP’s national awards - our online Forum’s response project to the GW franchise where we co-ordinated views from a very wide range of knowledgeable people across the whole franchise area, and the second into the “Individual Contribution”  category for Paul Johnson, who is amongst a number of our team without whom we would not have achieved what we have.  A third entry - for the TransWIlts app - will be submitted over the next 48 hours, using the latest statistics in the “results” section - and I will be updating the detailed text to add reference to Mark Hopwood’s speak / confirmation that the App is form the base of the Severnside and other apps across the franchise.  Two out of the three entries are in the most heavily fought categories; I know we have potential winners - let’s hope I have been able to show that in the wording ;-).

Our task at TransWIlts is to help passenger journeys to, from and within Wiltshire - getting bums on seats or (at time) getting seats for those bums to sit on. We have gone from being a line with a service so bad it was useless to a line with a service which - though it remains too infrequent to say it’s “good” - meets the daily needs of so many people and in doing so also has a wider - much wider - economic benefit.   Pictured below - last night’s 17:36 off Swindon - so full that the the train manager was walking along the outside before we left, gesticulating to people to move up to allow more on.   Granted the current stock shortage had - exceptionally - taken us back to a single carriage; thank goodness it was Friday, which is the quietest weekday on this service - and we did manage to get all the joiners on at Chippenham too.

Last night’s picture illustrates that we still have a job to do.   We need to move from the single carriage train being “exceptional” to “never”.  We need to fill the service gaps - the previous train ran well over 2 hours previous, and the addition of interlaced services taking us up to hourly will more than double our current traffic as people move from “I will plan my train - then see if I can plan my day around it”  to “I will plan my day and then catch the train that runs around then”. We need to have a seamless service southwards to Warminster, to Salisbury and to Southampton - the most popular leaflet at Swindon Station on Thursday which confirms other previous evidence of the need for that linkage.   Much, much more about that at our Stakeholders’ conference next Wednesday (20th) in Trowbridge where I look forward to seeing many of you - all invited, but I appreciate that your time as volunteers is precious (and indeed I appreciate that time!)

One and all - many, MANY thanks for all your help over the past few days, and over many months / years prior.   I know you enjoy most of it - but never the less it is hugely appreciated each and every time you’re involved and I look forward to having so much more fun in the future!

Graham

P.S. Please feel free to share the above - let partners / colleagues know how much good you’ve been doing, and thank them too for their support of you and indirectly of us.  I know for some of you there are considerable personal arrangements to be made to come along and help.

For Friday: [names redacted from public copy - being careful on privacy laws]
Thursday thanks also to: [names redacted from public copy]
Copy - [recacted]  - with thank to you to for your massive part in the setup and smooth running.

Graham Ellis - grahamellis@transwilts.org
Community Rail Officer, TransWilts Community Rail Partnership
A division of the TransWilts Community Interest Company (CIC)
http://www.transwilts.org  - 0845 459 0153 / 01225 708225

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bobm
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2018, 11:03:53 am »

I'd echo Graham's comments with a particular thanks to Emma Morris of GWR.  This was the second conference she has organised and it all worked very smoothly. 

The Thursday talk on the work of control was particularly interesting.  I was surprised to learn there are four main data systems involved in control which don't actually interface with each other.  These are slowly being replaced with new systems which deal with various different aspects but all talk to each other.  Controllers can now home in on a particular train and see exactly which unit it is, where it is and what speed it is travelling at.   This is particularly valuable in the South West where currently a lot of train reporting is done manually by signallers which leads to delays in the information being fed back.  By their own admission they know train control is not a perfect art and in the heat of the moment mistakes are made but where lessons are learned they are added to their "bible" of contingency plans.

There was the guided tour of the TransWilts Line.  Despite having travelled over the line many times I learned some new things - despite Graham making himself hoarse over the noise of the class 150 engines.



Yes it wasn't all work.  The evening dinner was very convivial and despite being mass catering was very well presented and wholesome.   Also a valuable chance to speak with GWR staff you don't normally get to meet.  I spent some time chatting to the person responsible for energy conservation across the company's buildings.   It is much more than just low energy light bulbs.  With such a large estate a small saving multiplied over several sites soon adds up.



With the event being in Swindon, the TransWilts was pleased to act as unofficial hosts alongside GWR.  However on arrival in the dining hall we did notice there were some birthday balloons.   It was only later that it became clear we were being honoured for our first year as a DfT recognised designated line.  This has given us greater input into the running of the line and additional sources of funding.  It also earned us a birthday cake!


Picture credit: Jane Jones GWR

Friday saw the main part of the conference with a chance for the Community Rail Partnerships to show off their wares and exchange ideas with colleagues around the GWR area.





The DfT's Kulvinder Bassi spoke warmly of the role community rail has in the department's thinking and the value their input has been in the various consultations that have been circulated in recent months.

The drive to co-ordinate bus and train travel in Cornwall was the next presentation.  For so long the Duchy was the preserve of cascaded buses handed down from other areas.  By the end of next year there will be in excess of 100 vehicles less than three years old operating across the county with the two main operators.  Already passenger numbers are up, bus stations have been improved and real time displays are appearing at bus stops.   With plans to increase the frequency of trains work is now moving to ensure buses and trains meet at stations as much as possible and thought is being given to more through ticketing.



After lunch Mark Hopwood gave a candid view of the state of the business.  Across the country there has been a fall in punctuality and this has been exacerbated in this area by the electrification works and other disruptive possessions.   

GWR actually have 239 more drivers than they did 18 months ago - but delays in the arrival of rolling stock and wires to run them under has thrown the training programme askew.   A fire which knocked out the driver simulator at Bristol didn't help either.  The company could have cut back the training which would have reduced the number of cancellations in the short term but led to widespread problems when new stock started to arrive and fleets were cascaded west.  The alternative has been to try to compress the training.   This has been achieved in part by crews giving up their rest days to attend training sessions during the week, but left them unavailable to work weekend.

Issues with Network Rail being late in validating timetables around engineering work have been another big issue.  Mr Hopwood said he was pressing for this to improve and it is hoped once the plethora of summer works has been carried out there will be timetables issued nearer the industry aim of 12 weeks out.   I sense if it isn't we may start to see more public criticism of Network Rail by GWR in the future.

The conference was wrapped up by two presentations from lines hoping to extend their reach in the near future.   The West Somerset Railway wants to introduce a regular diesel shuttle from Taunton to Bishop's Lydeard to connect with steam trains to Minehead.  This would benefit not only day trippers but also the many thousands who stay at the Butlins resort every year.

Meanwhile Oke-Rail outlined its plans to get a regular service from Okehampton to Exeter St Davids for both tourists and commuters.

So a mixture of work and play over two days but very informative and I was grateful for the chance to be involved.
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rogerw
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2018, 06:20:06 pm »

Thanks for the very comprehensive reports as I was unable to attend as I am currently in a warm and sunny Mallorca (checking out the railways). See you all on Wednesday
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