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Author Topic: Road vehicle collision with level crossing barriers near Didcot  (Read 377 times)
Rob on the hill
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« on: May 15, 2018, 12:56:58 pm »

Quote
Cancellations to services between Didcot Parkway and Swindon

Due to a road vehicle colliding with level crossing barriers between Didcot Parkway and Swindon trains have to run at reduced speed.

Train services running through these stations may be cancelled, delayed by up to 60 minutes or revised. Disruption is expected until 14:00 15/05.

Last Updated:15/05/2018 12:48
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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 01:06:30 pm »

Causeway Crossing at Steventon.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 06:47:56 am »

From a passenger's perspective - with a note of little things that the rail industry could put right to make a massive difference for passengers ...

Melksham to London ... a log during planned rail replacement - 15th May, afternoon

Plan - to catch the 16:25 bus, 16:55 train at Chippenham, around 18:00 in Paddington.  And to see if I learnt anything about good or bad operations, information, anc customer service in the procss.

Actual ...I got to Melskham Station at around 16:15 ... three people waiting on the platform and one at the bus stop. Told two together that the next service was a bus, but they informed me in very certain terms that I was wrong. Our of their earshot, I let the third person know and she confirmed she knew - just using the station sets until the bus was due.

LESSON 1 - not everyone is beind reached

LESSON 2 - people looking for timetables which were not there

Outside the station, spoke to two others. One looking for information about his journey to / from South Wales on 2nd June. He is not online - suggested he call in a few days ahead to check times and routes.  Noted in chatting that he too suffers from the 17:36 ex Chippenham being dispatched such that the incoming recommended  connecstion from Swansea misses. He has noted this getting much worse now that the 15:29 off Swansea is an IET and often late.

LESSON 3 - The importance of connections from South Wales and NOT to race the 17:36 out before the Swansea doors open

LESSON 4 - Many people wait over an hour for the next train - quiet and seething - when they could / should be given taxi from CPM

Second person was telling me about how he's changed his travel since the TrasWilts service improved; really gratifying to hear - of course, passenger numbers tell us of the change but it so rewarding to hear the individual stories.  A discussion about this week's service and I was able to tell him about the 17:36 and 18:48, and bus replacement for the 20:06.  "How do you remmeber those times" he asked.  "Ah - they are still so few it's too easy" I replied.

You may have gathered ... 16:25 came and went, but no bus with it.  Minutes ticked by.  A young lady waiting for the bus was worried - it had shown "on time" on the WebTIS, and her online tracker was showing it to be between Melksham and Chippenham - had we been missed?  I assured her we had not and , sure, at 16:38 the bus rolls in. -2 +2 -> 15 / not bad for rail replacement

LESSON 5 - On line systems that perport to show current running but do not ("ON TIME"), where services then disappear at the time they are scheduled even if they are still on their way, are shown to have left when they have not are worse than no system at all. The rail industry should NOT provide false information or information that is taken as being false.  It looses goodwill and customers. Shouls track buses, etc ... or if it can't shouls say "report not available"

You may be relievd to know - no lessons on the bus (the driver could not sell a ticket to the young lady who "I'm 15 - I don't have a card") had been unable to buy at Melksham where the TVM has a coin and note slot - but does not take coins or notes.  The bus did, though, get in a bit of traffic and arrived at Chippenham station pretty well at 16:55 when the train was due to leave.

No problem - next train 16:55 but running late and  expected 17:12.

The young lady who had joined the bus at Melksham had no ticket - wanted to pay by cash. The TVM at MKM does not take cash even though it has coin and note slots.  She asked the bus driver for a ticket but he was not able to sell her one. She was concerned; I advised her to buy at Chippenham ticket office.  On arrival at Chippenham, the two TVMs where "card only" and the ticket office was closed due to (?) the one staff member being on his break.

This young lady had made THREE attempts to buy her ticket, but was still denied access through the barriers.  "We are trained not to let anyone through without a ticket" said Xxxxxxx on the barrier ... and she made the passenger wait for well over quarter of an hour until the ticket clerk returned.  Frankly, I was disgusted at this treatment of a passenger;  can gateline staff not take payment (e.g. from people arriving from a train without a ticket?).  Why should a cash customer ("I'm 15 - I don't have a card yet") be treated as a second class citizen?  If the woman on the barrier was a mum, would she want her daughter treated like that?

LESSON 6 - Where there has been no opportunity available to purchase a ticket, barrier staff should be trained to let passengers proceed. If the railway can't protect its own revenue, it shouldn't take it out on legitimate customers.

The 16:55 train slipped back and back in time - eventually left at 17:30.

One customer service rep telling passengers that even when it left, it would be delayed by about an hour at Swindon with the result that passenger gave up and said "I will get the car and drive" and asking about refunds.  Customr service rep seemed to think no harm done as they would get their money back, not seeming to appreciate the disruption to that person.

Customer service rep was advising that problem was between Didcot and Reading, and that driving to Didcot would not put the passenger beyond the problem.

LESSON 7 - Customer service reps need full information and customer appreciation training

Second customer service rep telling people delay was due to a level crossing strike, but the announcements made were talking of a vehicle hitting a bridge

LESSON 8 - Excuses should line up. I spoke to one of the customer service reps who confirmed it was one not two incidents

16:55 kep slipping back by a few minutes.  From 17:12, then 17:13, then 17:20, then 17:25, then "Delayed", then 17:33. At one point the syste was showing 17:25, with the seond train being the 17:25 on the same platform.   Makes the information system look like a joke.

I had a chat as to why the train was slipping, and he told me that it was because crew to run it had got stuck the other side of the level crossing problem.  I asked his to explain why that hadn't meant simply a single slip back when the train left Bristol as it didn't make sense to me, but he was unable to explain

LESSON 9 - Customer service staff and information systems need to be accurately informed

Footnote - train arrived into Paddington at 19:00 - a few minutes delay due to an extra passenger stop beind made at Didcot (although the on train system said "next stop Reading" then delays inwards of Ealing Broadway as we were zigzagged onto the relief line, then back across to platform 2 at Paddington.   The hour at Swindon was reduced to about 2 minutes.

LESSON 10 - on-train information should reflect the journey the train is making; it causes serious concern to people on the train - especially for those travelling to stations added!
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 10:25:08 am »

Did the two on the platform get on the bus? What did you say to them, "ner ner ner nerrrrr ner"?
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eightf48544
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 10:41:24 am »

Grahame very interesting analysis. One of the issues that your analysis shows is that there is no "Fat Controller" responsible for running the trains and making a plan to overcome the problems.

Network rail have to analyse the problem pass the details to  the TOCs and maybe suggest ideas so that the TOCs can  look at crewing stock working etc.  and then convey to Network Rail what they can do which then has to be conveyed to other TOCS to see if it fits in with  their plans.

Too many links in the chain to ensure that information is passed in an accurate and timely fashion even within the railway let alone to the travelling public.

One of the quirks of running the railway is that if everything is running to plan you need very few people to run the railway and unless you are train crew it's quite boring job. however once something goes wrong there are never enough people to cope.

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phile
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 01:37:32 pm »

There are times when TOC Twitters advise passengers to ask staff at stations for travel advice in cases of disruption but when staff asked they can't give an answer because nobody has informed them as to what is happening.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2018, 08:16:46 am »

Did the two on the platform get on the bus? What did you say to them, "ner ner ner nerrrrr ner"?

No - turned out they were just collecting tickets for later travel and as it was a pleasant afternoon were taking their time about it and watching the HSTs and freight trains go through.

There is a very serious point, though, to this business of [ trying to be / being ] helpful at times of disruption and having people not believe the information they're being given.   I personally find it natural that when I see someone who seriously needs words of assistance (e.g. may be about to miss their train / bus) to offer them that assistance, but that advise tends to contradict what they had previously understood and is often not believed.  Never the less, the 'job' of sewing a seed of doubt in their mind so they re-check / are altered may have been done.

Having been told (dogmatically!) that you're wrong ... walk away; little choice. And don't do any "rub in in" type stuff if you're still around when you're proven right!

Instructions to Community Rail team members are "do not get involved in operational matters" and "do not get involved in complaints".  And I can understand why; even if you are right, walking away rather that pressing the point is unnatural and needs to be learned.   And it can be hurtful to volunteers to be rebuffed then they thought they were coin a favour.   There is a further issue if advice is offered, taken, and proved to be incorrect.   Further still, some volunteers can be wrong just like customers can, and on top of that may not be great communicators. But yet even after these cautions, a few words to alert people in some circumstances feel right rather that watching them miss a train or bus, and speaking with community rail practitioners who've been in the role far longer than me and do it superbly, they take a similar line where appropriate.

I was on the platform at Chippenham a couple of weekends ago when the line towards Swindon was closed and the half hourly 8 or 10 car train to Bath Spa was replaced by an hourly 3 car 158.  The train had arrived on what is usually the Swindon side of the island platform, showing on the scrolling board as "Bristol Temple Meads", but a group was determinedly seated with their back to it.   A casual comment "are you headed for Bath or Bristol - if so that's the train" was met by an "oh no it isn't - they run from this side".  "Do check - it's different today" and I walked on.  Well - they did check / joined the train and - good on them - "sorry - you were right" to which the answer was "no problem - it's all being done very differently today because of engineering".   Always try to look at the customer's comfort.    I did note the Chippenham platform staff - who are excellent - doing a "sweep" before the train left for Bristol ... so it could be argued I should have made no comment to the passenger waiting in the first place ...  will admit to being far more used to this (and a little more proactive) at unstaffed stations.
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