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Author Topic: Tarka Line Overcrowding Problem To Be Solved  (Read 12330 times)
bradshaw
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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2019, 11:54:32 am »

The Class 158 has entrance doors at the end of the carriages, whereas the 150 series has them at 1/3rd and 2/3rd positions, typical of metro-like services. This should make it easier, hence quicker, for entrance and exit when busy, thus reducing the dwell time.
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alexross42
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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2019, 12:43:00 pm »

The Class 158 has entrance doors at the end of the carriages, whereas the 150 series has them at 1/3rd and 2/3rd positions, typical of metro-like services. This should make it easier, hence quicker, for entrance and exit when busy, thus reducing the dwell time.

That makes sense, thanks for clarifying!
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Apedlar12
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« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2019, 04:54:27 pm »

Just replying to Phile's message immedately above about 158763 being out on Barnstaple/Exmouth today, again I think that must be pure desperation.  I have had it from on high in GWR that they really don't want to be using 158s on Exmouths.  I'm not making it up!

There is STP working today due Engineering work and it came down from Bristol (158 diagram) and terminated Newton Abbot and then amended diagram going to Exeter Central, Barnstaple and Exmouth

Sounds like the typical 'to be avoided' scenario, but 'not at all costs!'

158766 worked 0921 Paignton to Exmouth this morning

Yes, it was used as an only option when a set of pacers failed earlier on but later was taken off and replaced with 143603 + 150261 as 158766 had to go and do a diagram that runs up to Bristol later in the day.
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Apedlar12
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« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2019, 12:45:25 am »


Hello,

I am a frequent user of the Tarka Line as Barnstaple is my local station and yes it does get very overcrowded on particular journeys atm. Do we know when the 158s will be appearing on the Tarka line, or has that yet to be declared?

Thanks in advance Smiley

I'm afraid we still don't know just yet.  The full introduction of 158s will be when the improved timetable is introduced, hopefully December, because the 158s can't be used on Exmouth services - the increased time at stations for people to get on/off the trains would simply wreck the timetable.  Still not many 158s in Devon & Cornwall yet but when more arrive, I have heard suggestions that some off peak services may go to 158s and run only between Barnstaple and Exeter St Davids, with an immediate change into a 150/143 running the rest of the service to Central and Exmouth.  We'll see.

If that is the case I suspect that the change of trains will deter some folk from travelling. Better to run the 158s up to Central and reverse at Exmouth Jct. I seem to recall that, (eventually), the Barnstaple trains would extend to Honiton/Axminster whilst the Paignton trains would continue to Exmouth?

I take the point but to run up to Central and then reverse at Exmouth Jn is what will happen when the timetable change is made and the improved service introduced.  It is not possible to make any change like that beforehand, mainly because of the national clampdown on timetable changes following on from last year's Northern etc problems.

Yes, the Exmouths will go to Paignton when the timetable change is made - the Barnstaples going beyond to Honiton/Axminster depends on a loop probably around Whimple.  Think it will happen one day, providing Honiton and Cranbrook with a half hourly Exeter service is a big local aspiration, shared by Devon and the rail operators, but obviously these things aren't usually quick.

So if the Barnstaple services do end up running to Honiton/Axminster in the future, I assume GWR will run these and not SWR as I did think that as Honiton/Axminster are in SWR territory, that SWR would have taken over the services to Barnstaple...
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grahame
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« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2019, 06:34:32 am »

So if the Barnstaple services do end up running to Honiton/Axminster in the future, I assume GWR will run these and not SWR as I did think that as Honiton/Axminster are in SWR territory, that SWR would have taken over the services to Barnstaple...

At the risk of starting the most enormous debate ... I have oft looked at SWT and now SWR and wonder at the structure of the franchise with around 400 trains - 90% of which are electric and the other 10% are the diesel fleet based at the single Salisbury depot.   Perhaps there is so much history between LSWR/GWR,  Southern/Western, that even generations later a transfer would be howled down.  Perhaps there's a need to keep them separate to ensure the continued provision of competitive services from London to Bristol and to Exeter under the commercial franchising system.
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RichardB
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« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2019, 09:01:02 am »

So if the Barnstaple services do end up running to Honiton/Axminster in the future, I assume GWR will run these and not SWR as I did think that as Honiton/Axminster are in SWR territory, that SWR would have taken over the services to Barnstaple...

At the risk of starting the most enormous debate ... I have oft looked at SWT and now SWR and wonder at the structure of the franchise with around 400 trains - 90% of which are electric and the other 10% are the diesel fleet based at the single Salisbury depot.   Perhaps there is so much history between LSWR/GWR,  Southern/Western, that even generations later a transfer would be howled down.  Perhaps there's a need to keep them separate to ensure the continued provision of competitive services from London to Bristol and to Exeter under the commercial franchising system.

If the original idea for Wessex Trains had been pursued, then Waterloo - Exeter would have been added to the Wessex network and there would have been even more competition between Exeter and London than there is now.  On balance, I think the way it went (i.e. to instead have what we have today) has been better.  One of the things we were all worried about at the time was that the operator of the Paddington main line would concentrate on that and the London suburban services and largely ignore the branch and local services away from London.  Our fears were unfounded.
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phile
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« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2019, 10:02:30 am »

Surely the plan is for the Barnstaples to run to St James Park and back, the Timetable requiring 3 x 158/9s to accomplish this and 2 x 150/2s working Exmouth to Paignton   
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Apedlar12
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« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2019, 10:45:41 am »

Surely the plan is for the Barnstaples to run to St James Park and back, the Timetable requiring 3 x 158/9s to accomplish this and 2 x 150/2s working Exmouth to Paignton   

Yes that is what I also thought is going to happen, but when is what I would like to know but I am sure it will be very soon as the Portsmouth services have started to transfer over to the turbos since the beginning of the year.
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RichardB
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« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2019, 10:49:55 am »

Yes, that is what is going to happen but, Apedlar12, scroll back on this thread to see why it's not going to be very soon.



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grahame
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« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2019, 11:31:55 am »

... One of the things we were all worried about at the time was that the operator of the Paddington main line would concentrate on that and the London suburban services and largely ignore the branch and local services away from London.  Our fears were unfounded.

We were indeed very worried.

I am delighted that your fears in Devon and Cornwall were unfounded.  Watching and getting involved form the tail end of the 2005 consultation which merged three franchises, I saw some really significant cutbacks specified across the old "Wessex" area. In Devon and Cornwall, virtually all of the proposed dropped services and intermediate station calls were re-instated before the cuts ever happened, and that is (in my view) largely due to the county councils, and the community via the strong voice of Community Rail putting up a good and common case, and I believe some money too,  to maintain the services at an appropriate level.  Full credit is due to all three legs - rail industry, local government and community working together with a common aim.

I'm afraid the story up here in with some of the Bristol based services was different. And some of the worries proved to be justified. The December 2006 timetable change brought a slashing back of services and capacity from Severn Tunnel Junction to Melksham, and from Keynsham to the Solent area.  Trains were stored in lines at Eastleigh, while people squeezed onto remaining services, suffered long gaps between trains, and indeed moved away from using rail at all.   I have to admit, looking back, that much of the problem was probably that we didn't have the degree of co-ordination between local government, the community and the rail industry in the area, so there was not a common consensus to keep an appropriate service level.

So much has changed in the past decade, and I will stress that FGW / GWR has changed too - perhaps because (belatedly) there are now combined / co-ordinated voices which, surely, are a blessing to the DfT - if everyone asks for broadly the same thing, and it fits policy, it's the natural way to go.   But we still have ways to go to get back to pre-FGW days.   First Melksham to Swindon train was 05:52 - now it's 07:19. Last Swindon to Melksham train was 22:12 - now it's 20:08.  Sure, there are more trains - usefully - in between but up here in Wiltshire, our local trains and regional expresses from Cardiff to Portsmouth were cut back and we still have work to do.

To summarise - huge admiration for Devon and Cornwall; you did an excellent job when the franchise map was redrawn, whereas up here we were, frankly, ineffective.
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RichardB
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« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2019, 01:46:35 pm »

Thanks Graham. I should have said that our fears turned out to be unfounded.  As you outline, the whole story of the franchise competition and award in 2006 is a different picture, of course, and we in the far South West suffered with the Bristol area and yourselves too.  Frankly, we were all lied to back then, sadly, and not by the railway.  The timetable given to bidders was strictly secret and when FGW/GWR were awarded the new, larger franchise in December 05, they made the very sensible decision in February 06 to tell us what the franchised service would be, starting that December, and launch a consultation.

The balloon went up and all hell let loose as the cuts became apparent.  Community Rail - and particularly support for Community Rail being a Government policy - was key here as the small Community Rail team at the DfT were very helpful and did a lot of liaison with their colleagues in the franchising side.  What was also key was the formation of new public groups to campaign against the cuts.  The ones in Devon & Cornwall are all still going and have achieved a massive amount over the years - the Avocet Line Rail Users' Group, Saltash Rail Users' Group and St Germans Rail Users' Group (which has recently expanded to cover buses too). 

I think what you say about co-ordination between local authorities, the railway and the community is right, Graham, because the core of it in Devon and Cornwall was already then well and pretty long established.

Another factor here is that we also had the very experienced and always helpful Julian Crow as our key liaison with FGW.  After many (but not all) of the cuts had been reversed, Julian worked with me and the local authorities to not just restore the rest of the cuts, as far as possible, but to further improve the service using whatever grant funding that could be obtained and also looking at what was in the franchise and seeing if it could be better used.

One great example of this was on the Gunnislake and Newquay lines.  As I remember, under the franchise, the peak commuter Tamar Valley train (08 17 or so at Plymouth) carried on to Par and then formed the Newquay service, returning to Plymouth in time to make the afternoon peak Tamar Valley Line service (16 30ish ex Plymouth).  FGW had a good hard look at this and proposed splitting the two branch line services, not running the linking trains (which ran close to other main line services) and using the savings to improve the service on both branches.  Cornwall, we and others had to agree to the franchise change - which really was a no brainer and the changes came in in December 2008.  We promoted them heavily e.g. they meant the best ever service to Calstock & Gunnislake.  Julian was a key, key part of this. 

Of course the franchise change also meant (as part of the contract) that a lot of stock left the franchise (I'm afraid I think we can put part of that down to the First Group bid team) and, as was quickly found, there wasn't enough left to cope with demand or even reliably run the timetable.  You mention the stock stored at Eastleigh, Graham.  It was a terrible time performance-wise and FGW soon started negotiating to bring more rolling stock in. Performance only really got radically better when Andrew Haines took over at FGW in late 2007/early 2008.  One of his early key appointments was Mark Hopwood as Operations Director.

On other issues, FGW were great throughout - all of our arrangements with Wessex Trains e.g. Carnets, Looe ticket office etc were simply rolled over and FGW were always very supportive. 

It could have all been very different and I'm really pleased it wasn't.   Of course, the one service cut that wasn't all or even partially reversed was the Melksham service and without your campaigning, Graham, and those of your colleagues in the area over the intervening years, the service could very well still be where it was.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 02:43:26 pm by RichardB » Logged
Apedlar12
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« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2019, 05:51:00 pm »

Yes, that is what is going to happen but, Apedlar12, scroll back on this thread to see why it's not going to be very soon.

Yes, thanks more likely December then at this rate... I see you did mention something about changing the train at St Davids so that the Barnstaple section would receive the 158s and then the Exmouth and Paignton end would be 143/150. I guess if this did happen, it may happen before the 158s turn up full time?
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RichardB
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« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2019, 05:56:18 pm »

Yes, that is what is going to happen but, Apedlar12, scroll back on this thread to see why it's not going to be very soon.

Yes, thanks more likely December then at this rate... I see you did mention something about changing the train at St Davids so that the Barnstaple section would receive the 158s and then the Exmouth and Paignton end would be 143/150. I guess if this did happen, it may happen before the 158s turn up full time?


Yes, if it happens, it would be before the 158s turn up full time.  We'll see.
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paul7755
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« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2019, 05:59:37 pm »

There wouldn’t really be anything odd about GWR running trains across Exeter into what is theoretically considered SWR territory.  Looked at more widely across the south would it be much different to GWR running to Gatwick or Brighton?

Paul

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Apedlar12
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« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2019, 06:23:06 pm »

Yes, that is what is going to happen but, Apedlar12, scroll back on this thread to see why it's not going to be very soon.

Yes, thanks more likely December then at this rate... I see you did mention something about changing the train at St Davids so that the Barnstaple section would receive the 158s and then the Exmouth and Paignton end would be 143/150. I guess if this did happen, it may happen before the 158s turn up full time?


Yes, if it happens, it would be before the 158s turn up full time.  We'll see.

Where did you hear the info about this possible idea before they turn up fully?
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