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Author Topic: Defensive scheduling  (Read 2410 times)
grahame
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« on: June 27, 2018, 09:28:24 am »

Breaking this off from the topic on the problems of IET introduction.

Suggestion is travel in good time and find something to do at destination if it works for you.

How would you defensively schedule if you had an appointment in Cheltenham at 15:00 on a Sunday, aim to arrive at 18:00 on the Saturday?

Arrive in Cheltenham for a Sunday lunch.  If megaproblems via Kemble, go via Parkway.   All this assuming a London start.   If Pilning start then, yes, travel on Saturday.

As a piece of defensive travel ... I'm working in Motherwell tomorrow, and started from Wick this morning.

08:02 train cancelled, lack of conductor.  We were all on board and the driver turfed us off - "sorry - just heard we have been cancelled". Train left empty a few minutes behind schedule with just the driver and the young lady on the buffet trolley who was going to have extremely lean takings.

Station unstaffed until 10:10 ( 8 passengers who had all managed to find their way in via the unsignposted back gate!). Phone for "Train information".     "We are trying to source a bus ... don't know how long it will be.  We will let you know in the next half hour".  On being asked how he would let us know, he suggested I call back.  On being asked if we could use the 08:53 bus, "I have not been told of any arrangements in place", and on asking if my Spirit of Scotland was valid on the route "I don't know anything about tickets".

I am writing this from the 08:53 bus ... not risking a wait for rail replacement, which might (or might not) be visiting all the intermediate places to Inverness.  Not waiting for the next train at 12:34 - that's assuming that would be running ...

So - greetings from Lybster, last served by trains in 1944, as I recall!
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Timmer
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 10:27:58 am »

Probably find the bus is quicker back to Inverness though maybe not quite as enjoyable as travelling by train.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2018, 10:53:03 am »

Probably find the bus is quicker back to Inverness though maybe not quite as enjoyable as travelling by train.

You might bump into four & twenty virgins on the way back! 🙂
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2018, 11:33:05 am »

I am writing this from the 08:53 bus ... not risking a wait for rail replacement, which might (or might not) be visiting all the intermediate places to Inverness.  Not waiting for the next train at 12:34 - that's assuming that would be running ...

So - greetings from Lybster, last served by trains in 1944, as I recall!

Did you pay for your bus ticket or did the driver/conductor accept your Spirit of Scotland ticket/explanation for using the bus?

I was very lucky last week. Enroute for Inverurie from Wick, I could catch either the 08:02 or 12:34 (both did run). If I caught the 08:02, I would have had to miss breakfast (served from 8am), but could have a couple of hours in Inverness. If I opted for the later 12:34, I could have a leisurely breakfast, but only 9 minutes in Inverness. In the end, my very kind landlady provided breakfast at 7am and gave me a lift to the station so that I could get the 08:02.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 02:15:39 pm by PhilWakely » Logged
eightf48544
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2018, 12:10:46 pm »

Interesting topic. Many years ago I would never think of defensively scheduling. Now a days with the total unreliability of the railways it's almost automatic.

As most of my journeys start at Taplow that usually means leaving on the train 30minutes in advance of one that I need. Assuming that it is  running. Real Time Trains is good for checking.
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2018, 03:25:02 pm »

I'm 'defensively' re-scheduling my plans for next week's All Line Rover trip (intended to encompass Wick).  Dare I risk missing the Highland Chieftain for Inverness by making an early start from Yatton to Paddington on a (hot) Monday morning in a possibly short formed/non-available IET?  I have already booked seats but the more I am reading the less I like look of the chances of making it. I have to be in Inverness by 21:00 to make the last train North for my paid for accommodation.

I have to consider a number of other options now with companies with more reliable trains and more chance of making connections or even a coach to London the day before (Sunday - so not risking a GWR train) and adding a hotel bill.

I am finding what promised to be a relaxing break turning into a worry and possible disappointment.  How sad that it has come to this.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2018, 03:31:09 pm »

I'm 'defensively' re-scheduling my plans for next week's All Line Rover trip (intended to encompass Wick).  Dare I risk missing the Highland Chieftain for Inverness by making an early start from Yatton to Paddington on a (hot) Monday morning in a possibly short formed/non-available IET?  I have already booked seats but the more I am reading the less I like look of the chances of making it. I have to be in Inverness by 21:00 to make the last train North for my paid for accommodation.

I have to consider a number of other options now with companies with more reliable trains and more chance of making connections or even a coach to London the day before (Sunday - so not risking a GWR train) and adding a hotel bill.

I am finding what promised to be a relaxing break turning into a worry and possible disappointment.  How sad that it has come to this.

If you don't fancy GWR and you can get yourself to Bristol, then SWR Train via Salisbury to Waterloo the day before and Travelodge (other overnight acccommodation is available) would be my preferred option.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2018, 03:53:16 pm »

Probably find the bus is quicker back to Inverness though maybe not quite as enjoyable as travelling by train.

Indeed.  Rather than the 08:02 train, I caught the 08:53 bus.  Which got me to Rose Street Inverness (A pretty sounding name for a spot that isn't) a few minutes before 12:00, rather that at 12:36 which is when the train was due.

Did you pay for your bus ticket or did the driver/conductor accept your Spirit of Scotland ticket/explanation for using the bus?

I explained what had happened / showed my ticket and did not have to pay.   I don't think any alternative arrangements were in place, rather an act of kindness (or a thought that I could have caused a scene and delayed the bus) allowed me on.  Big thank you to the driver from me and the others who had also been caught up in the cancellation.

The saga will continue - I am in a further stage of my journey to Glasgow, again making use of my defensive scheduling because I am not on the planned service, but rather on my first reserve!
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2018, 04:06:57 pm »

If you don't fancy GWR and you can get yourself to Bristol, then SWR Train via Salisbury to Waterloo the day before and Travelodge (other overnight acccommodation is available) would be my preferred option.

I think it'll be XC to Brum, Virgin to Edinburgh and pick up the Chieftain there. And I can leave 2 hours later with a fall back train if I miss the Chieftain (but without a meal).  I'll decide when I know if seats are available.

At least my income is not dependent on trains being reliable. I am glad you got to Inverness in time Graham.  Smiley
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2018, 06:16:58 pm »

The saga will continue - I am in a further stage of my journey to Glasgow, again making use of my defensive scheduling because I am not on the planned service, but rather on my first reserve!

I'm in Glasgow ... and not sure whether to report that I've been on 4 trains today, or travelled on two.   Turfed off one because of a lack of conductor, turfed off a second because of a train fault ... hot, sticky, tired - but in good time to recover from my journey for work tomorrow.   I blame the tiredness on 3 hours sitting crammed on a bus, but then I would, wouldn't I?    12 miles on a bus is fine, 20 miles is stretching it, 100 is taking the proverbial!

Arrived in Glasgow on "First Reserve" which was due 16:52 rather than 16:18.   Actual arrival dead on 17:00.  Intermediate connection failed due to the 170 we were on not climbing on full power from Inverness - overheating engines due to the hot weather.  Perhaps things will improve when these units have got through their teething troubles phase  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2018, 08:25:26 pm »

My 'defensive scheduling' in that neck of the woods was back in 2002.

I didn't book my bike on the Up Highland Chieftain (Inverness to York) for the Wednesday until my Sunday night stay in Inverness on the way north.  I had spent the previous 9 days cycling from Land's End, and by now I'd got the hang of how far I could cover in a day.  Monday was Inverness to Wick; Tuesday Wick to John O'Groats and then on to Thurso - then train (with bike in ScotRail Transit Van) to Inverness, for a plush night's stay in the station hotel.  Then trains back to Derby in time for tea and medals.

Happy days.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2018, 12:40:26 pm »

By way of balance: The Squirrel family had a few days in Edinburgh last half-term. We got the train from Droitwich, changing to the Euston-Edinburgh service at Birmingham; this was cheaper than flying (with F&F railcard). All trains were on time, and everyone was very pleasant and helpful; even the woman who'd caught the wrong train and tried to turf us out of our reserved seats was alright once we'd explained whose problem it was. We met up with some friends from Bristol whilst up there; they had flown, which meant getting up at sparrow's fart, and spending most of their first day feeling very tired whilst we were fresh as daisies and up and at 'em.

On the Saturday, we got our train back to Brum and they headed off to the airport to be told that (a) their flight was cancelled, (b) There was no flight on Sunday, and (c) Monday's was/were full. The good news was that there were seats on Tuesday! They clubbed together with a couple of others and hired a minibus, which they drove back to Bristol through the night.

Overall, I think we got the better deal!
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eightf48544
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2018, 01:03:59 pm »

I think the whole reason for defensive scheduling is the unreliability  of the current of the services.  It is difficult to anticipate what problems you will face be it infrastructure failures train failures, staff shortages etc. etc.

When a rail journey works there's nothing better when it fails there's nothing worse.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2018, 02:24:01 pm »

When a rail journey works there's nothing better when it fails there's nothing worse.

That's my point - there IS something worse! Delays, cancellations and inconvenience are obviously a feature of today's railway, but can you think of a time when for purely operational reasons your rail journey was delayed for three days? It's not like our friends were trying to fly home from Predporozhnyy during an unexpected monsoon...
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2018, 05:11:40 pm »

I think the whole reason for defensive scheduling is the unreliability  of the current of the services.  It is difficult to anticipate what problems you will face be it infrastructure failures train failures, staff shortages etc. etc.

Yes, as far as I'm concerned that's true.  But even if the trains ran 99.5% of the time, and 98% arrived at final destination within 5 minutes, I would probably still travel one early for important and time critical appointments - if nothing else to give me a chance to relax and prepare for what I was headed into. 
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