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Author Topic: Impact of SWR changes in May  (Read 4368 times)
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« on: April 05, 2019, 10:57:56 am »

I just thought I'd take a look at how SWR are planning to implement their split of Guildford to Ascot via Aldershot services (with extension to Farnham for the Guildford part) and see how it might impact on GWR's North Downs' service.

Take the **04 from Farnham which arrives in Guildford platform 6 at **28. It then appears to block that platform until **53 when it runs back to Farnham. At the moment the equivalent service only spends 5 minutes at Guildford allowing the Redhill train to use platform 6.

In May the Redhill trains appear to mainly use platform 8 as a result which is mainly used by Reading trains now (and in May) with only a 4-5 minute difference (plus the Redhill train will be held to the North of Guildford station until the Reading train has departed).

I fear this is going to have an impact on the punctuality of services for little gain. You can currently have a cross-platform interchange going Guildford-Farnham at Aldershot anyway (with a 3 minute wait which doesn't show in the journey planners as it's below the 4 minute minimum connection time at Aldershot).

Also, add in the additional shunting moves at Farnham potentially impacting SWR Waterloo services for a service which currently stays out of the way at Aldershot.

I'd love to be proved wrong and it would be interesting to see what the additional Guildford-Farnham passenger numbers are.
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 09:27:26 pm »

On the one hand, as a regular Reading - Guildford passenger this is a cause for concern. Blocking another platform at Guildford for 25 minutes an hour, when platform 2 is often blocked by trains for London Road for considerable periods too, doesn't seem great.

However, anything that encourages more people from Farnham to take the train to Guildford rather than add to the queues on the Hog's Back and Farnham Road in their cars must be welcome. A thought - why not run them on to Alton (also a source of much traffic on the A31 into Guildford) so that the trains are at least in motion and (potentially) carrying passengers, instead of blocking platform space/track capacity. Is their sufficient capacity to do so?
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 10:16:41 pm »

A thought - why not run them on to Alton (also a source of much traffic on the A31 into Guildford) so that the trains are at least in motion and (potentially) carrying passengers, instead of blocking platform space/track capacity. Is their sufficient capacity to do so?

I think the timing comes from wanting to connect at Farnham (not Guildford) to the Alton trains both ways. The single line to Alton can only cope with 2 tph if they cross at Farnham, so the Guildford train has to come in about 10 minutes before that and leave about 10 minutes after. (With only two platforms at Farnham, and no turnback crossover, that train has to go out and wait in the depot.) With the run to Guildford being about 25 minutes, when you do the cycle timing sums you have twenty minutes to waste there.

Of course the underlying assumption - the connection at Farnham - is only that, and might be seen as a modest gain driving an awkward bit of timetabling. Unless you are one of its new users, of course; and time will tell how numerous they are. 
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