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Author Topic: Track problems near Earley  (Read 1012 times)
eightonedee
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« on: August 03, 2018, 09:16:14 pm »

A warning for anyone using the North Downs line in and out of Reading this week.

For the second time in two days, there was a suspension of services between Wokingham and Reading for "inspection of possible track defect" in the early evening. Last night I took the Woking/Basingstoke zigzag route to avoid the problem, only to discover that the three trains held at Guildford were released shortly after I departed.

Today trains were running again by the time I left work, and I noticed discarded rail in sections lying on the eastbound track sleepers just west of Earley, so it seems there has been a stretch of rail replaced on the westbound side. We ran slow through this section, so I assume this is likely to persist for a few days if this heat continues.

Not a good week on this line this week - I was not in work on Wednesday, but I was told that trains to Reading were suspended due to a problem near Wanborough during the early evening as well.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 08:41:56 pm »

I wonder if this is related to the incident discussed under the "Electricity failure", although it seems a long time for them to identify it.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 11:13:57 am »

Another unlucky Saturday for the North Downs line.

Tree down between Wokingham and Crowthorne. My return trip from Brighton ended up allowing me to refresh my knowledge of Clapham Junction. All in all not a good day, I don't think a single train I used ran to time.
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bobm
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2018, 05:57:32 pm »

Not been a particularly good Sunday.

The signal at the end of platform 1 at Wokingham will not clear for trains heading towards Bracknell so all Waterloo trains have had to be talked past it most of the days.  Services to Redhill and Gatwick are not affected but have occasionally been delayed while a SWR service clears the junction.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 10:34:22 pm »

Things seem to be getting worse on the line - speed restrictions in both directions between Ash and Guildford, and on the approach to Reading over the London Road bridge have resulted in poor timekeeping. There also seem to be problems east of Guildford.

There has though been almost no information, either at stations or on Journey Check which has typically been optimistic when estimating train arrival times for delayed services already on their way. However this evening the 18-26 ex-Guildford, 21 minutes late departing and 30 late into Reading was shown on Journey Check as cancelled beyond Wokingham - until it actually left that station.

Anyone any idea why it's got so poor?

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Fourbee
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2018, 08:06:59 am »

Things seem to be getting worse on the line - speed restrictions in both directions between Ash and Guildford, and on the approach to Reading over the London Road bridge have resulted in poor timekeeping. There also seem to be problems east of Guildford.

The TSRs East of Wanborough I believe are going to be sorted in 'October'. I assume it's an embankment/ground issue. I heard a pair of GWR drivers complaining about them recently.
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martyjon
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2018, 09:25:07 am »

Things seem to be getting worse on the line - speed restrictions in both directions between Ash and Guildford, and on the approach to Reading over the London Road bridge have resulted in poor timekeeping. There also seem to be problems east of Guildford.

The TSRs East of Wanborough I believe are going to be sorted in 'October'. I assume it's an embankment/ground issue. I heard a pair of GWR drivers complaining about them recently.

October , what year ?
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eightonedee
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2018, 10:20:39 pm »

Still misery and disruption on the North Downs line.

Speed restrictions apparently partly removed between Wanborough and Ash this morning, but slow eastbound. Trains generally late into Reading with knock-on delays on services back to Guildford, Redhill & Gatwick.

This evening semi-meltdown. GW's website advised that most services were running on time with no reported problems. However, 17-44 ex Guildford cancelled, I didn't get away in time for 18-04 (started from Shalford). Next two trains (started in theory from Redhill and Gatwick) subject to conflicting information on GW website and Journey Check, apparently due to signal problems at Gatwick, unclear which starting first, but clear will be late. At one stage it seems later limited stop train may leave earlier, but then clarified that it will not, but its shown arriving earlier at Guildford (later corrected after a period when no Guildford arrival time shown, but earlier at Reading - this later corrected too). Surely someone entering data onto Journey Check must know that aside from Guildford there is nowhere en route for one train to pass another?

Eventually 18-26 ex-Guildford leaves at 18-55, Journey Check promises arrival at 19-35 (actual arrival 19-46). It's a 2 car train full of Gatwick passengers with luggage, piled on or between seats. I sit with an elderly couple, he recovering from hip surgery, anxious about catching onward train at 19-50 from Reading to Pershore, and two elderly women who miss a 19-30 for Newton Abbot, so face an hour's wait for the next train. Fortunately the Pershore couple's daughter arranges assistance at Reading.

During the journey another commuter and I keep them informed from Journey Check, warning them that the information would be (as usual) hopelessly optimistic about catching up the delay, especially as speed restriction still on part of Wanborough to Ash and also over London Road road bridge in Reading. There was just one inaudible on-board announcement.  Understandably our four elderly holidaymakers vow never to take the train to Gatwick again, and one suggests ceremonially burning her railcard at Reading.

I am sorry GWR - THIS IS SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH!   
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eightonedee
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2018, 10:15:04 pm »

Update from the North Downs line (at least west of Guildford).

Guildford bound trains seem to be running with little or no restrictions, and restriction over London Road bridge in Reading seems to be lifted. There still are problems between Guildford and Wanborough though on the westbound line, although between Wanborough and Ash there seems to have been work undertaken, as trains pick up speed on this stretch. Trains are still generally losing time, with knock-on effects on return trips from Reading.

On Tuesday (a bad day for the morning journey), the train manager explained that the "kink" in the tracks west of Guildford had been waiting for over two months to be fixed by NR. The better news is that late Gatwick trains have been cancelled the last three nights "for essential track repairs" - hopefully these!  This morning there were lengths of rail around the track and recently deposited ballast on the affected stretch.

One of the disappointing aspects of these problems has been the total inadequacy of information.  On Journey Check  delayed trains (and we've had a lot lately) have been shown as predicted to catch up time notwithstanding the problems, except yesterday when suddenly all trains were flagged with a message that there could be delays of up to 15 minutes between Reading and Guildford. The GW website also had an amber message on the Live Network Updates page to this effect too - they have all gone today.   Last Friday, the dot matrix signs at the end of platforms 5 and 6 announced delays "due to defective"! This is the only acknowledgement of the continuing problems I recall on station signage.

Let's hope the weekend sees the remedial works completed.
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