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Author Topic: Campaigning For A More-Appropriate Train Design - HOW?  (Read 796 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2019, 07:02:50 am »

Thank you all for your supportive comments.

Delighted to see your long and thoughtful feedback - thoroughly thinking through the issues. I'm going to add just one or two penneth ...

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There also seems to be a policy of ordering short multiple units rather than trains long enough to meet present and reasonably expected demand.
On a route where two car units are very inadequate, and 3 car units somewhat inadequate, it seems that future trains should be at least 5 car, and that 6 car should be considered.
Not likely to happen though, "lets order some more 2 car and 3 car units"

And yes I know that they can run in multiple, but previous experience suggests that if the TOC has available shorter trains, that single unit operation will feature regularly.
It's not quite like that on the Wales & Borders franchise. There's a fair bit of portion working planned; in addition to the current Cambrian line services (2 coaches each for Aberystwyth and Pwllheli, ensuring a 4-car train between Machynlleth and Birmingham) the Manchester - South Wales service is intended to split at Swansea and the Liverpool - Chester to extend to both Cardiff and Llandudno with a split at Chester, giving a longer train from Chester to Liverpool. That could perhaps do with 3-cars rather than 2 beyond Chester on at least one of those portions though.

Hmmm ... I could foresee a situation where the 2 car from Pwllheli and the 2 car from Aberystwyth are NOT combined at Macynelleth but rather people are moved from one train to the other - onward 2 car not 4 via Welshpool.  The suggestion that this isn't happening tends to suggest adequate stock levels / no teething troubles which is what's being 'blamed' for 5 v 9 from Paddington.   Just beware of the risk.

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Re. the comments on the merits or otherwise of the split at Swansea; that's a whole different campaign. Because of the long journey time, I feel that services might as well terminate at Swansea from both directions, with new express services from Carmarthen (calling at only Llanelli and Port Talbot) to maintain through links to Cardiff with no changes.

Beware of mixing two campaigns and having them interdependent.   If each has a 1 in 4 chance of success, would linking them reduce the chance of success to just 1 in 16?

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You might also contact Railfuture Wales - they'll likely know how far down the design route TfW have got & whether, therefore, your campaign might get somewhere, or it's too late....
I actually wrote to Rowland Pittard of Railfuture Wales for a second time a week ago asking for his comments, having not had a reply from my first e-mail a few weeks earlier. I've still not had a reply; is he still at Railfuture Wales?

Community rail seems to be very patchy ... strong in the South West, weak in the east end of GWR territory and in South Wales.  I'm not (yet?) all that well informed of the relative strengths of RailFuture branches for contact links (connecting individual campaigns) and I don't know of a TravelWatch SouthWales type organisation that does what TravelWatch SouthWest does (being involved in that latter, I could help oil introductions). I was surprised the other day to find the lack of stations friends and user groups in the valleys - not the exact area we're talking about, but perhaps that lack also extends to West Wales??

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« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 09:00:46 am by grahame » Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and of RailFuture
ChrisB
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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2019, 11:29:58 am »

I actually wrote to Rowland Pittard of Railfuture Wales for a second time a week ago asking for his comments, having not had a reply from my first e-mail a few weeks earlier. I've still not had a reply; is he still at Railfuture Wales?

Yep, he's your guy there.

I was with him only two days ago. If you can drop me your real name by IM, I can drop him a line & chase up a reply, if that would help?
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2019, 03:45:56 pm »

I actually wrote to Rowland Pittard of Railfuture Wales for a second time a week ago asking for his comments, having not had a reply from my first e-mail a few weeks earlier. I've still not had a reply; is he still at Railfuture Wales?

Yep, he's your guy there.

I was with him only two days ago. If you can drop me your real name by IM, I can drop him a line & chase up a reply, if that would help?
Thank you for the offer ChrisB. That won't be required at this point as I have now had a reply from him (unfortunately right at the start of a very busy fortnight at work (I was helping with the company's move to new premises over the Easter weekend), so I've only just found time to get back to him). He confirmed my belief that construction of the new trains will not commence this year. I've now asked him at what point he expects the deadline for changes to the design.

I could foresee a situation where the 2 car from Pwllheli and the 2 car from Aberystwyth are NOT combined at Macynelleth but rather people are moved from one train to the other - onward 2 car not 4 via Welshpool.  The suggestion that this isn't happening tends to suggest adequate stock levels
That does happen from time to time at present with the class 158s; one hopes there will be enough slack in the new fleet to cover for 'more trains than normal needing repairs' but unfortunately it doesn't look that way. I wouldn't be surprised if the full hourly service to Aberystwyth increases demand on that route to the point that portion would benefit from 3-car units year-round (and perhaps the Pwllheli portion in the summer) but with most of the new 3-car units expected to be deployed on Manchester - South Wales services it does look as if the ratio of 2-car to 3-car units could do with being revised in favour of the latter.

Community rail seems to be very patchy ... strong in the South West, weak in the east end of GWR territory and in South Wales.  I'm not (yet?) all that well informed of the relative strengths of RailFuture branches for contact links (connecting individual campaigns) and I don't know of a TravelWatch SouthWales type organisation that does what TravelWatch SouthWest does (being involved in that latter, I could help oil introductions). I was surprised the other day to find the lack of stations friends and user groups in the valleys - not the exact area we're talking about, but perhaps that lack also extends to West Wales??
There are a number of 'adopted' stations on the routes west of Carmarthen, plus two transport-user groups (North Pembrokeshire Transport Forum and Pembrokeshire Rail Traveller's Association) that I'm aware of; but no Community Rail Partnership anymore (to be re-established under the new franchise we're told).

If you were the only person (or even one of a handful) to raise the issue then I think quite reasonably the reviewers would decide it's not an issue that is of great importance to people.  And of course it may be that more people responding said they wanted 1/3 2/3 doors (highly unlikely, but the point is that in a consultation your view may not be in the majority).  Or maybe it was considered and advisors pointed out that the advantages of mid carriage doors were x, y, and z, so on balance it was the best design to go for.
I wouldn't be surprised if nobody else mentioned door layout, either way, in their responses; my recollection is that the questions regarding train design/quality were very superficial. To try and make my views on the different types of train required for different service groups known I had to make a bespoke submission outside the 'questionnaire' forms provided.

One final thought - are you sure that this layout is definitely proposed, and that TfW or the manufacturer haven't just used a stock image of a new train, whilst the detail is still to be finalised?
Transport for Wales have claimed that the images are, to a certain extent, placeholder designs (specifically they argued that the seats ('ironing-boards' were pictured) have not yet been selected). However, sadly they have confirmed that the wide 'doors at thirds' are intentional and are resisting changes to that aspect of the design.
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Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
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« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2019, 11:32:30 am »

Following attending one of their meetings, I have now sent a cheque and membership application form to SARPA (the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Passengers Association). I discussed the design of the new stock with two or three SARPA members at the meeting (there were others present but they didn't make their views known). Others felt that it may be too late to change the design and thought that the choice of the Civity platform meant the door layout was fixed. In this they didn't seem to have realised that the TPE class 397 is part of the same family and has single-width doors.

It is clear however that my biggest problem is that I don't know how hard it would be to change the door layout. The class 397 shows that the Civity UK family can have different door layouts, but without them having produced a UK 100mph DMU with anything other than a suburban layout I'm unclear how much design rework would be required. Rowland Pittard did get back to me saying that 'the design issue is on [Railfuture Wales'] agenda' but didn't make clear whether he thought changes to the door layout were possible.

Any ideas how I could find this out? I'm thinking of writing to CAF directly, but the only e-mail address I can find for their UK operation is a careers one. Do I write to the general enquires e-mail address (probably would be read by somebody in Spain!) or by post to the UK office and/or Newport factory site? Alternatively, does anyone happen to have a UK e-mail contact for them?
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Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
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