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Author Topic: The reliability of the early morning services  (Read 1785 times)
bradshaw
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« on: March 09, 2018, 09:01:51 am »

So far this week the 0533 Weymouth has been cancelled between Weymouth and Westbury three times; points failure and crewing issues. Today was the latter on RTT but more trains  needing repair according to journey check.
A look at Recent Train Times Planning shows that this and the next service out of Weymouth have appalling records of punctuality, even allowing for the inclement weather last week.
Is it not time to look at a Salisbury style operation with a new DMU service depot at Westbury which looks after and crews the Weymouth, Melksham and Portsmouth services. The use of ecs as per SWR towards Exeter with limited crewing from small depots like Weymouth might help reliability, as would the ability to swap units mid shift. This site might also have a role in any new service, say Reading to Taunton via Pewsey.
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 09:34:08 am »

I would certainly agree that GWR services around the Westbury hub seem to suffer from being a long way from base - with more suffering at the further extremes from there at Weymouth, Brighton and indeed Swindon.  Readers may have noted I asked about refuelling at Westbury the other day ...

There may be enough depots and fuelling points around - you note Salisbury and I'll add Fratton - but there may be some merit in better sharing.  As regards crew, I'm seeing lots of trainees around at the moment.
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RA
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 05:23:41 pm »

If the proposed order for new DMU vehicles countrywide hadn't been shelved, the Cardiff to Portsmouth route would have seen new units maintained in all probability at a purpose built facility at Westbury.

The centralised depot operation as with Salisbury is already practiced by GWR with the LTV fleet centered on Reading depot. The arrangement with the West fleet is slightly different with SPM being the hub with Exeter as an outbase, although Exeter will be upgraded to allow it to undertake heavier work. SPM is very congested overnight, although the removal from traffic of the bulk of the HST fleet will free up space. As mentioned, Fratton (and additionally Cardiff Canton) provide fuel to GWR units. However, there are stabling locations that have no facilities such as Westbury and Gloucester. Both of these locations would be ideal for fuelling and servicing outbases, taking the pressure off of SPM and allowing units to stay out for longer without having to be cycled through SPM (roughly every 3 days at present).

Crew availability for local services in the Westbury area is not brilliant at the moment. The biggest problems seem to be releasing drivers for class 166 training, which also requires the release of instructor drivers and assessor drivers to undertake the training, leaving a shortage of available staff. In addition to this, the Bristol signalling renewal over Easter also requires each driver who works trains through there to be released for a day to learn the new operating methods. By the time you add annual leave and sickness, I am told that it is a struggle to cover all the services.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 07:46:37 am »

If the proposed order for new DMU vehicles countrywide hadn't been shelved, the Cardiff to Portsmouth route would have seen new units maintained in all probability at a purpose built facility at Westbury.

Many thanks for that reminder and the detail RA ... an excellent lead to look at where we are ...

As I recall from an earlier thread here ( http://twcrp.info/t5066 ) the order was cancelled and replaced by one for electric trains to be running from London to Newbury, Oxford, Swansea and Bristol Temple Meads by the summer of 2016.   With released suburban diesel trains replacing corridored sprinter units around the UK on other shorter distance runs, and by now (two years after the completion of GWR main line electrification) we should have 4 car 158s on all our longer distance services though Westbury, with 4 car services on Heart of Wessex too.

158s and 150/2 are getting a little dated too. So the teams that should have moved on to electrifying other lines such as the Midland main line and the spine up from Southampton / Reading to the Midalnds would by 2020 have been releasing further diesel stock to cascade - directly or indirectly - to all none-London services that go though Westbury.

As it is, the DMU order was cancelled, the electrification [understatement mode=British]is a little curtailed and late[/understatement] and the DfT have moved on in new franchised lets in East Anglia and in the North, to include major new rolling stock programs, leaving the GWR area in a backwater of hand-me-downs;  2+3 seating and lack of corridor is regarded as inappropriate in many quarters for the longer journeys such as Cardiff and Bristol to Southampton and Portsmouth.

There's a further year of the current franchise extended, followed by a probable two years of management contract taking us through to 2022; the DfT consultation that concluded last month asked about the next franchise, and its rolling stock too - it does acknowledge that the 150s and 158s will be in need of replacement during the seven years from 2022 or 2024.   Whilst I think it's a good idea to extend the management contract at least to 2022 to give us some stability of operator while the mess caused by late and curtailed electrification and its consequences is sorted out, it does mean that we're unlikely to see new rolling stock on the Weymouth services, or Cardiff / Portsmouth - until 2025.  That's 7 years off.   Which is exactly the same 7 years that we were told in 2009 for electrification to be done and dusted.

Quote
The centralised depot operation as with Salisbury is already practiced by GWR with the LTV fleet centered on Reading depot. The arrangement with the West fleet is slightly different with SPM being the hub with Exeter as an outbase, although Exeter will be upgraded to allow it to undertake heavier work. SPM is very congested overnight, although the removal from traffic of the bulk of the HST fleet will free up space. As mentioned, Fratton (and additionally Cardiff Canton) provide fuel to GWR units. However, there are stabling locations that have no facilities such as Westbury and Gloucester. Both of these locations would be ideal for fuelling and servicing outbases, taking the pressure off of SPM and allowing units to stay out for longer without having to be cycled through SPM (roughly every 3 days at present).

The turbo units come from a suburban background where they've not had to spend more than one night away from home - i.e. they've been on depot and fuelled every 2 days.  Will they be able to run a full three days of diagrams between depot calls?

As well as congestion,  I understand that SPM (St Phillips Marsh) has lost a significant number of experienced staff to Hitachi.  They also have a new train type - the 166 - to deal with.  And together those factors have made it rather hard to keep on top of routine, and none-routine, servicing and repair.  Of course, that was totally foreseeable, and I'm sure there's mitigation in place.

Quote
Crew availability for local services in the Westbury area is not brilliant at the moment. The biggest problems seem to be releasing drivers for class 166 training, which also requires the release of instructor drivers and assessor drivers to undertake the training, leaving a shortage of available staff. In addition to this, the Bristol signalling renewal over Easter also requires each driver who works trains through there to be released for a day to learn the new operating methods. By the time you add annual leave and sickness, I am told that it is a struggle to cover all the services.

I hear that too.  I also heard about 4 months ago that the training on the class 166 was being done before they arrived and we would be off to a fresh start and see massive improvements very quickly in the new year.

I do compliment GWR on their current training and recruitment - in that there are lots of new staff on the trains shadowing and being taught by the experienced team we already have.   And I do look forward to seeing those new people in the hopefully-soon future starting to take the load off the current team and being able (on the train manager side) to increase on-train customer service on short runs between ungated stations so that everyone will be offered the opportunity to pay for their journey.
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Timmer
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 08:19:06 am »

There is no doubt that since the start of the year we’ve seen a huge improvement on West local services not been cancelled due to train crew issues.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2018, 09:44:17 am »

There is no doubt that since the start of the year we’ve seen a huge improvement on West local services not been cancelled due to train crew issues.

Unfortunately everywhere else the situation seems to be deterioriating in this regard.
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Timmer
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 09:59:27 am »

There is no doubt that since the start of the year we’ve seen a huge improvement on West local services not been cancelled due to train crew issues.

Unfortunately everywhere else the situation seems to be deterioriating in this regard.
Sure has.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 05:47:43 am »

Although a "Heart of Wessex" thread, we have wandered off into the slightly more general topic of the reliability of services at the more distant outposts.   Our headline map on the top of the forum so often shows issues with trains to / from Brighton - quite out of proportion to the number of services run.  Is this because those services have a far longer running time than most, so stay on the map longer, or are they inherently unreliable?

Recent Time Trains ... checked yesterday, Monday to Fridays during last 100 days:





And having just posted that ... a blue line has appeared on the map ...

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08:59 Brighton to Great Malvern due 14:30
08:59 Brighton to Great Malvern due 14:30 will be cancelled.
This is due to a fault with the signalling system.
Last Updated:21/03/2018 05:12
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bradshaw
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 08:58:53 am »

The reliability of the first two from Weymouth to Bristol over the last eight weeks; 68% and 47% respectively, with average arrival being 14 and 12.5 late.
The spread being from RT to 34 late or cancelled for the first and RT TO 23 late or cancelled for the second.
Over 12 weeks the figures are 70% and 55%, suggesting that this is not just weather related.
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tramway
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2018, 01:59:33 pm »

The loss of engineers was always going to happen, and probably forseable in any competent corporate governance structure.

Sadly First Group seem to have just left them to follow the money, and the shiney new undercover maintenance facilities up the road, unsurprising.

This has left a frequent stock fill in of the 3 car150/1's on the Portsmouth Cardiff's, and on Fridays without the added 153 or 150 2 car makes an entertaining journey.

And you can just hear the claims from First that they have added X extra seats by running Turbos on this route. Not that everyone of their passengers is royayl pissed off with the stock.
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