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Author Topic: What happens if the alternate sprinter is up to hourly?  (Read 2056 times)
grahame
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« on: January 07, 2019, 06:19:19 am »

18:42 Swindon to Gloucester is 32 min late, Do not know why this is, Although seemed late going to Cheltenham last time round.

Copied from another thread ... on another board ...

The Swindon to Cheltenham Spa local service has been horrendously inefficient over the last decade.   A local (sprinter unit) service every 2 hours, with a running time from Swindon departure to Cheltenham Spa arrival of just under 70 minutes has meant that 2 trains (diagrams) have been needed with 140 minutes out or 240 running time - so around 43% idle time.  Deeply frustrating to see a unit parked up in the bay at Swindon so much of the time when the TransWilts is deparate for a decent service (remember - we have gone up from useless only to poor) but that is another story.

Were the local service to be hourly, idle time would drop to between 20% and 25% - pretty good as far as the train(s) are concerned, with a fair compromise between as full running as possible and recovery time, bearing in mind the need to knit in at both ends with other lines and services. And increasing the number of units from 2 to 3 (50%) would increase the service level by 100%.

With Swindon to Didcot closed yesterday, I think this is what happened.  However, train efficiency does not equate to staff efficiency, where tere's a legal requirement for a 30 minute personal needs break - and as far as I can see one of the three units got very much behind hand during the day, got blocked and further delayed as it avoided other trains that were around, and furthermore appears to have been parked up for 30 minutes at Cheltenham Spa which is probably accounted for by a personal needs break / same crew in use rather than having another crew to take over and use the unit effcieicntly.

For the future, rather academic as the units are to be replaced by all through London trains on this route - and the metrics will change. Not least because units could be swapped at Paddington with units on another route to get the timings / efficieny better.  And - whilst Dispatch Box may be having a little grump at this delay, it's a darned site better that the - well, I can only use the words "thoughless", "operational convenience" or "contempt" shown for the TransWits passengers yesterday, who's service was terminated at Chippenham, NOT shown on the advanced engineering poster as such, and seemed designed to fail to connect.  See http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=20903.msg255946#msg255946
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Dispatch Box
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 12:21:09 pm »

Pardon!!, Was not intending to be grumpy, Just put that as following it on Opentraintimes, Anyway why was a train to Swindon suddenly cut short to Chippenham, I assume there were quite a numbers of passengers on this train.

To just say, we constantly kept suffering with this last year, when you get on a train to Great Malvern starting from Weymouth or Westbury only to find it terminating at Worcester shrub hill while on the train somewhere on route up by Ashchurch and you had tickets to Great Malvern.
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patch38
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 01:26:02 pm »

For the future, rather academic as the units are to be replaced by all through London trains on this route - and the metrics will change.

Do we know when this is due to happen? With the May timetable changes or at a later date?
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 02:50:31 pm »

Next Jan I believe - along with the major changes on most other routes.
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 07:40:52 pm »

It would make more sense if the I.E.Ts could run hourly from Cheltenham to London Paddington, and the smaller ones run hourly from Cheltenham to Westbury via Melksham
This would mean there would then be a half hourly service to Swindon, each stopping at Stonehouse, Stroud, Kemble Then plat 1 for a London and plat 2 for the Westbury.
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Charlie (in Gloucester)
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 09:54:54 pm »

It would make more sense if the I.E.Ts could run hourly from Cheltenham to London Paddington, and the smaller ones run hourly from Cheltenham to Westbury via Melksham
This would mean there would then be a half hourly service to Swindon, each stopping at Stonehouse, Stroud, Kemble Then plat 1 for a London and plat 2 for the Westbury.

Exactly what is happening in the December 3019 timetable change.
(to the nearest hundred years)
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 10:25:32 am »

It would make more sense if the I.E.Ts could run hourly from Cheltenham to London Paddington, and the smaller ones run hourly from Cheltenham to Westbury via Melksham


I guess it depends what you mean by "make more sense". The suggestion would mean twice as many trains on the Gloucester to Swindon line, which will obviously cost a lot more to operate.  So it only makes sense if there is enough passenger demand for more trains, and either the extra income justifies it or someone is willing to pay for it. Unless that decision is made then I would have thought an hourly service on the Melksham line would be better off self contained, so as not to complicate matters.
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 01:33:02 pm »

It would make more sense if the I.E.Ts could run hourly from Cheltenham to London Paddington, and the smaller ones run hourly from Cheltenham to Westbury via Melksham


I guess it depends what you mean by "make more sense". The suggestion would mean twice as many trains on the Gloucester to Swindon line, which will obviously cost a lot more to operate.  So it only makes sense if there is enough passenger demand for more trains, and either the extra income justifies it or someone is willing to pay for it. Unless that decision is made then I would have thought an hourly service on the Melksham line would be better off self contained, so as not to complicate matters.

The make more sense bit, was included to read, that trains from Westbury would run to Cheltenham allowing people a faster service than going via Bristol to Great malvern, which often gets delayed. Maybe it would be better to serve Stonehouse, Stroud, Kemble on this service and run the Londons right through and not stop at these stations. Surely must be more cost effective, also Melksham does have a better service than ending at Swindon.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 08:24:22 pm by Dispatch Box » Logged
Dispatch Box
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 01:43:20 pm »

Next Jan I believe - along with the major changes on most other routes.


Oh no!!!! Why that long, I will be nearly grey by then.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 03:09:20 pm »


The make more sense bit, was included to read, that trains from Westbury would run to Cheltenham allowing people a faster service than going via Bristol to Great malvern, which often gets delayed. Maybe it would be better to serve Stonehouse, Stroud, Kemble on this service and run the Londons right through and not stop at these stations. Surely must be more cost effective, also Melksham does have a better service than ending at Swindon.

I think you are proposing a doubling of frequency on both the Swindon to Gloucester route and the Swindon to Westbury route? So it might be more cost effective, but it will certainly cost a lot more, and I would imagine that both routes would need to be cost justified separately on stronger grounds than that. And there will be uproar from local stations between Swindon and Gloucester if their London service is withdrawn too, despite the tempting alternative of a direct service to Westbury. (Sorry - no offence meant Westbury.) 

I've also read that there are hopes that the service through Melksham continues on to Salisbury and beyond, and I expect this would be a more logical link up when you consider possible traffic flows.  If you linked it at both ends to include Cheltenham then would such a long service then have the same sort of reliability problems you mention on the services to Great Malvern today?
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 03:12:50 pm »

Yes, the direct hourly London service is the big win here.  It will of course be a bonus if it has good connections at Swindon with the west and south, good connections at Didcot for Oxford, good connections at Reading for Gatwick etc.  Perhaps the odd additional service formed of a DMU could run to help with peak demand, and I guess that could be an extension of a TransWilts service, but certainly an all-day 2tph service is too much to ask for at the moment.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 03:53:32 pm »

We have ourselves in this discussion as a we have drifted away from the issues at the weekend.

Big win - big capacity increase, Swindon to Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa, almost all trains through from London at the major timetable change.   2 and 3 car trains on the run are up to at least 5 cars.   Increasing further to add in a 2 or 3 car train that doubles the capacity on that would require a very strong business case on top of the one made successfully but not yet implemented for the London extensions and routinely longer trains.

Now - what's missing from Swindon's service?  A fast service to Birmingham (reverse at Gloucester seems to take an age on the way up North!).  And a decent service to Oxford.  With Swindon looking to join the Heart of England Subregional grouping, it's looking at a future with Oxford and it's perverse for that near-city at the western extreme of that area to be reliant a single carriageway A420 or an M4/A34 dogleg nearly to Newbury, and with a frequent but slow bus service or trains that involve a pretty randomly connecting none-pattern at Didcot.

So - a better use of one of the two units release off the Stroud Valley would be an extension to Oxford from the TransWilts.   It's already a major flow for people, it's very poor by rail at the moment, it gives excellent connections onward to Coventry and Birmingham, it links up the way the regions will be linking up, and it looks forward to Manjana when the train are running from Oxford to Milton Keynes, with West Coast main line connections.  In fact, the same train may as well carry on from Oxford.
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 06:17:24 pm »

Quote
So - a better use of one of the two units release off the Stroud Valley would be an extension to Oxford from the TransWilts.   It's already a major flow for people, it's very poor by rail at the moment, it gives excellent connections onward to Coventry and Birmingham, it links up the way the regions will be linking up, and it looks forward to Manjana when the train are running from Oxford to Milton Keynes, with West Coast main line connections.  In fact, the same train may as well carry on from Oxford.

In summary grahame you are proposing to extend EW Rail to Southampton - Milton Keynes/Bedford.  Some empire building!
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Charlie (in Gloucester)
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 07:36:11 pm »

We have ourselves in this discussion as a we have drifted away from the issues at the weekend.

Big win - big capacity increase, Swindon to Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa, almost all trains through from London at the major timetable change.   2 and 3 car trains on the run are up to at least 5 cars.   Increasing further to add in a 2 or 3 car train that doubles the capacity on that would require a very strong business case on top of the one made successfully but not yet implemented for the London extensions and routinely longer trains.

Now - what's missing from Swindon's service?  A fast service to Birmingham (reverse at Gloucester seems to take an age on the way up North!).  And a decent service to Oxford.  With Swindon looking to join the Heart of England Subregional grouping, it's looking at a future with Oxford and it's perverse for that near-city at the western extreme of that area to be reliant a single carriageway A420 or an M4/A34 dogleg nearly to Newbury, and with a frequent but slow bus service or trains that involve a pretty randomly connecting none-pattern at Didcot.

So - a better use of one of the two units release off the Stroud Valley would be an extension to Oxford from the TransWilts.   It's already a major flow for people, it's very poor by rail at the moment, it gives excellent connections onward to Coventry and Birmingham, it links up the way the regions will be linking up, and it looks forward to Manjana when the train are running from Oxford to Milton Keynes, with West Coast main line connections.  In fact, the same train may as well carry on from Oxford.


And the issue is Gloucester. You have a massive revenue spot and probably a lot of people using it but the fact it takes around a decade to reverse it just causes delays even greaterly.
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 09:29:49 pm »

And the issue is Gloucester. You have a massive revenue spot and probably a lot of people using it but the fact it takes around a decade to reverse it just causes delays even greaterly.

Agreed, Gloucester is a source of considerable revenue. And to acknowledge that, as from (?) end of this year, Gloucester's train service direct to London goes up from one every 2 hours to one an hour.

Doesn't do badly on some other fronts too - look at this comparative for trips to Birmingham:
Gloucester to Birmingham 69 miles, population 130,000.  Train journey just under 1 hour, hourly train without changes
Swindon to Birmingham 93 miles, population 200,000. Train journey 2 hours 5 minutes, 1 or 2 changes

I suspect there is a far better business case for Swindon - Oxford - making for good journeys beyond there to Milton Keynes, to Coventy and to Birmingham that there is for another train up the Stroud Valley, which to a greater or lesser extrent would compete with / abstract traffic from the higher capaity to London being provided, calling at exacely the same stations.

Gloucester may have a case for
a) Hourly rather that two hourly to Worcester
b) Improvements on the Journey to Bristol, which a few trains do in 37 minutes but most take around 53, and they're only running hourly.
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