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Author Topic: Thames Valley services from December 2019 - GWR press release  (Read 20765 times)
Thatcham Crossing
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2019, 01:22:06 pm »

Quote
Yes, it'll be in addition to the Bedwyn's.  It'll be an IET (Intercity Express Train) every other hour (and run through to Exeter and beyond), and on the alternating hours it'll be a Class 387 just running Paddington<>Reading<>Newbury.  I can pretty much guarantee that it will be the first service to be canned when there's disruption!

Thanks as always II.

So actually no service improvement at the likes of Theale and Thatcham (assuming they don't stop, as your info suggests) which is a pity.

Having said that, our service is much improved since the takeover (on most services) of IET's and 387's between Reading and Newbury/Bedwyn.

It'll be nice when the trains don't dwell so long waiting for the advertised departure time (as they often do currently due to their speed between stops) - I know this is also going to change in December.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2019, 01:55:51 pm »

Yes, there's no real change in service levels at Theale and Thatcham, but schedules will be tightened up, especially on the IET (Intercity Express Train) services.
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2019, 02:09:54 pm »




Are we seeing the same thing in Boris Johnson's announcement of a higher speed (none stop?) service from Manchester to Leeds ... as a commuter asks on Northern Resist "what about the people who live between - what are you doing for their service?

What we are seeing is the standard modern attitude from those who don't use the railways and what they think the railways in Britain are for, interurban travel only. Usually considering only one direction dependent on time of day and never considering local use at all, even though local use has occurred because of timetable opportunity all over the country. Why would we use railways locally outside of london? I can see them wondering. We all have cars and we would never want to give them up! Operators are private, so they clearly want to concentrate there efforts on the number one popular journey so they wouldn't encourage much change.

 A friend of mine who recently returned from New Zealand after several years found it fascinating that, from Newbury, he was positioned on a mainline railway but could only really get trains in one direction, like he was living on a branch terminus. He found this out when attempting to visit a friend in Paignton, he was given the routing of getting the train to Reading (general) then changing to get a train which would go back through his town to go west. Why couldn't there be an hourly usable service to Westbury, from where he could change trains to go towards Bristol, Salisbury and points further west and south, he wondered. The rail operator could say there isn't the demand, but perhaps this is because there isn't the opportunity in the first place, he mused. If there was the opportunity perhaps people could live in Westbury and work in Newbury. Or leave Newbury to visit Salisbury for the day without much planning. Surely having the option is the best way to get people using trains locally and that's better for everybody. He noted that, it seems in the south, the train is only for going to london and going anywhere else but those places on route to there must be the cars job.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2019, 03:00:35 pm »

The further you get away from London the less travelling to / from it is completely dominant. For example I remember an Oxfordshire County Council report that stated that Didcot to London made up only about half of the journeys originating there, with about 30% being to stations in Oxfordshire or Berkshire and the rest further afield. This was contrasted with Henley where journeys to London were 85%. (Don't ask me about the methodology for these, it wasn't stated.)
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grahame
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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2019, 10:39:49 pm »

A friend of mine who recently returned from New Zealand after several years found it fascinating that, from Newbury, he was positioned on a mainline railway but could only really get trains in one direction, like he was living on a branch terminus. He found this out when attempting to visit a friend in Paignton, he was given the routing of getting the train to Reading (general) then changing to get a train which would go back through his town to go west. Why couldn't there be an hourly usable service to Westbury, from where he could change trains to go towards Bristol, Salisbury and points further west and south, he wondered.

Take a look at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21974

Your friend from New Zealand confirms the London-centric nature of services that perhaps flows out too far, and is a dis-service to outer more counties, central southern England, and beyond.
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Thatcham Crossing
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2019, 08:11:52 am »

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Your friend from New Zealand confirms the London-centric nature of services that perhaps flows out too far, and is a dis-service to outer more counties, central southern England, and beyond.

Interesting and valid comments, but the city-centric nature of operations is even more prevalent in NZ, where there are virtually no long-distance passenger services at all (apart from what are really tourist trains), and the only places with decent suburban services are Auckland and Wellington.

It is of course a sparsely populated Country, I think there are roughly 4.5m inhabitants in total, in a Country roughly the same size of the UK (United Kingdom).
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Reading General
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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2019, 08:21:00 am »

It always makes sense, anywhere in the country, to run local services from one major intercity/interchange/junction/hub whatever you want to call them station to the next, even though there might not be much demand for passengers to travel from one end to the other. This is the reason that crossrail will come all the way to Reading, although personally I don't think it should be running beyond Heathrow airport, it makes operational sense to replace the paths of half the GWR (Great Western Railway) stopping trains in this location. The trouble is, operators could potentially see a stopping service like that as capacity to remove a stop on a fast service to speed it up as a train with sufficient capacity runs from one point to the other. For example, and it's a simplified example, GWR could decide to reduce fast services in both directions stopping at Didcot, because there is a stopping service between there and Reading/london, by suggesting that the nice new 8 coach electric trains have the capacity to cover the main flow. It would upset london bound passengers from Didcot specifically but could make economic sense for the operators profits. However, it would ignore the possibilities for travelling west from Didcot by passengers both from Didcot and those using it as an interchange from the stations to the east and north and vice versa. It's these opportunities that are being ignored by operators in many locations across the south where daily travel to work in london occurs. This is what leads to the thinking by many that the train is only for use by those referred to by the broad label of 'commuters'. As I said above, the Government, media, TOCs (Train Operating Company), even local government and bus operators are guilty of this thinking and if we continue with this thinking it will become harder and harder to promote the use of trains for as many types of journey as possible.
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Reading General
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2019, 08:30:33 am »

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Your friend from New Zealand confirms the London-centric nature of services that perhaps flows out too far, and is a dis-service to outer more counties, central southern England, and beyond.

Interesting and valid comments, but the city-centric nature of operations is even more prevalent in NZ, where there are virtually no long-distance passenger services at all (apart from what are really tourist trains), and the only places with decent suburban services are Auckland and Wellington.

It is of course a sparsely populated Country, I think there are roughly 4.5m inhabitants in total, in a Country roughly the same size of the UK (United Kingdom).

Of course, but he was looking forward to getting back to a country where he thought he would no longer have to rely on a car to get around when not living in the major city. He made an assumption by looking at a map of the U.K rail network where lines snake all directions, but found out that the services don't. He may move up to the 'big city' (Reading) where we are lucky enough to have the option of fast and regional services to everywhere not just the capital.
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grahame
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2019, 10:03:15 am »

It always makes sense, anywhere in the country, to run local services from one major intercity/interchange/junction/hub whatever you want to call them station to the next, even though there might not be much demand for passengers to travel from one end to the other.

That very much depends on your rules of the game, and objectives, of course.

The largest passenger flows from Pewsey and from Newbury and both to London, with the cost of a return ticket (adult, standard class, any time) being £120 and £59.90 respectively.  The Pewsey fare is a period return (as no day return is offered); the Newbury fare is a day return. If all trains that called at Pewsey also stopped an Newbury, what a big temptation for the day return / peak passengers to "split" - £9.80 Pewsey to Newbury return and £59.90 Newbury to London - total £69.70 - a loss of £50.30 in revenue for each passenger so doing.   

So ... the current setup has rather suited the financial / business model, maximising rail industry income rather than journeys / journey opportunities, or indeed the wider economic model that allowing people to make shorter local commutes across the old Network South East boundary would make.

I am, somewhat, heartened at suggestions that the train every 2 hours from London to Pewsey, Westbury and beyond will routinely call at Newbury come December; I really hope that's right, and I'm sure someone will have looked at that in relation to revenue.   Last years' RDG(resolve) fare review, which seems to have been used as a feed to Williams rather than for any immediate suggestions, may also have taken (and Williams may take) a whole look at the fares issue where they pull the railway's business case in a different direction to the railway's case for the wider economy and livelihood of the people it serves.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2019, 10:51:13 am »

Quote from: grahame

That very much depends on your rules of the game, and objectives, of course.

<snip>

The largest passenger flows from Pewsey and from Newbury and both to London, with the cost of a return ticket (adult, standard class, any time) being £120 and £59.90 respectively.  The Pewsey fare is a period return (as no day return is offered); the Newbury fare is a day return. If all trains that called at Pewsey also stopped an Newbury, what a big temptation for the day return / peak passengers to "split" - £9.80 Pewsey to Newbury return and £59.90 Newbury to London - total £69.70 - a loss of £50.30 in revenue for each passenger so doing.   

So ... the current setup has rather suited the financial / business model, maximising rail industry income rather than journeys / journey opportunities

Or does it? There is another way.

If I lived in Pewsey, given the paucity of the service and the cost of the ticket, I would jump into my car, drive the 11 or so miles through empty lanes to Bedwyn in about 20 minutes, and get the train from there. A much more frequent service and NRE(resolve) tells me that an anytime return Bedwyn to Paddington is £63.10 and an off peak one £30.80.

By the way, NRE is also telling me this morning that there is an off peak return available from Pewsey to Paddington costing £53.60. I haven't looked into what trains you could practically use the ticket on, but it is one sale Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2019, 11:29:37 am »

Quote from: grahame

That very much depends on your rules of the game, and objectives, of course.

<snip>

The largest passenger flows from Pewsey and from Newbury and both to London, with the cost of a return ticket (adult, standard class, any time) being £120 and £59.90 respectively.  The Pewsey fare is a period return (as no day return is offered); the Newbury fare is a day return. If all trains that called at Pewsey also stopped an Newbury, what a big temptation for the day return / peak passengers to "split" - £9.80 Pewsey to Newbury return and £59.90 Newbury to London - total £69.70 - a loss of £50.30 in revenue for each passenger so doing.   

So ... the current setup has rather suited the financial / business model, maximising rail industry income rather than journeys / journey opportunities

Or does it? There is another way.

If I lived in Pewsey, given the paucity of the service and the cost of the ticket, I would jump into my car, drive the 11 or so miles through empty lanes to Bedwyn in about 20 minutes, and get the train from there. A much more frequent service and NRE(resolve) tells me that an anytime return Bedwyn to Paddington is £63.10 and an off peak one £30.80.

By the way, NRE is also telling me this morning that there is an off peak return available from Pewsey to Paddington costing £53.60. I haven't looked into what trains you could practically use the ticket on, but it is one sale Smiley

Apparently, people drive from Cheltenham to Swindon to get to Paddington as it is easier. It certainly isn’t unheard of..
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Reading General
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« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2019, 12:59:28 pm »



Or does it? There is another way.

If I lived in Pewsey, given the paucity of the service and the cost of the ticket, I would jump into my car, drive the 11 or so miles through empty lanes to Bedwyn in about 20 minutes, and get the train from there. A much more frequent service and NRE(resolve) tells me that an anytime return Bedwyn to Paddington is £63.10 and an off peak one £30.80.

By the way, NRE is also telling me this morning that there is an off peak return available from Pewsey to Paddington costing £53.60. I haven't looked into what trains you could practically use the ticket on, but it is one sale Smiley

So operators can make an entire station redundant simply through arrangement of services and prices of tickets, as well as directly increase car journeys.
Out of interest, if the Bedwyn journeys were extended to Westbury and tickets prices rearranged would the hourly service from Pewsey (both towards Newbury/london and Westbury) increase patronage immediately because of those driving to elsewhere already I wonder,  GWR (Great Western Railway) could certainly drop Pewsey from West of England trains as interchange would be available at Westbury, possibly even drop Newbury if gaps between trains were not that big. It would certainly open up a world of opportunity for Newbury passengers. On the flipside though, extending the Bedwyn train to Westbury would mean GWR might be tempted to make less West of England calls there.
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« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2019, 01:52:17 pm »



Or does it? There is another way.

If I lived in Pewsey, given the paucity of the service and the cost of the ticket, I would jump into my car, drive the 11 or so miles through empty lanes to Bedwyn in about 20 minutes, and get the train from there. A much more frequent service and NRE(resolve) tells me that an anytime return Bedwyn to Paddington is £63.10 and an off peak one £30.80.

By the way, NRE is also telling me this morning that there is an off peak return available from Pewsey to Paddington costing £53.60. I haven't looked into what trains you could practically use the ticket on, but it is one sale Smiley

So operators can make an entire station redundant simply through arrangement of services and prices of tickets, as well as directly increase car journeys.
Out of interest, if the Bedwyn journeys were extended to Westbury and tickets prices rearranged would the hourly service from Pewsey (both towards Newbury/london and Westbury) increase patronage immediately because of those driving to elsewhere already I wonder,  GWR (Great Western Railway) could certainly drop Pewsey from West of England trains as interchange would be available at Westbury, possibly even drop Newbury if gaps between trains were not that big. It would certainly open up a world of opportunity for Newbury passengers. On the flipside though, extending the Bedwyn train to Westbury would mean GWR might be tempted to make less West of England calls there.

Whilst Bedwyn does clearly act as a railhead for the area, I don't think it's quite the large one some people think.  Looking at usage over the last six years, Bedwyn has flatlined, whilst Pewsey has risen by over 40000 and is more than twice as busy as Bedwyn with fewer trains and both have seen very little timetable development over those six years.  The trains that do run often do the trip to London quicker than from Bedwyn due to fewer stops despite being almost 10 mile further away.

It'll be interesting to see what happens from December.  Bedwyn remains at a similar frequency as now but with faster journeys but still a next to non-existent westbound service, Pewsey gains a more regular clockface interval ever two hours and speeded up journey times to London, but to less of a range of westerly destinations as now.

As mentioned before, the Driver Only Operation (DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard))) agreement only extends out to Bedwyn due to that being the historical Network SouthEast boundary, so Train Manager's would be needed to extend those out to Westbury.  However Train Manager's are required now as the IETs (Intercity Express Train) are still some way off of having their cameras deemed of an acceptable quality to use at unstaffed stations - the longer that goes on, the more the case IMHO (in my humble opinion) for giving up on the idea of running DOO to Bedwyn and instead extend those trains through to Westbury (and perhaps Frome).  That would improve both frequency of trains from Westbury and Pewsey to London, but also make westerly journeys from Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn possible without doubling back through Newbury.
 
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« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2019, 04:08:03 pm »

Whilst Bedwyn does clearly act as a railhead for the area, I don't think it's quite the large one some people think.  Looking at usage over the last six years, Bedwyn has flatlined, whilst Pewsey has risen by over 40000 and is more than twice as busy as Bedwyn with fewer trains and both have seen very little timetable development over those six years.  The trains that do run often do the trip to London quicker than from Bedwyn due to fewer stops despite being almost 10 mile further away.

Also to consider - for stations in somewhat rural setting - the Bedwyn station car park is said to have just 25 spaces ("said to" as I'm not sure if that is current) and that gets - or got - full and limits the amount people will use it.  Kerbside parking in Bedwyn is not something that's to be done lightly either, even on streets without restrictions.  If I lived in Marlborough and drove to a railhead, I would choose Hungerford.  Google tells me it's 4 miles further, takes 4 minutes longer (only 4 minutes because it's main road where Bedwyn involves a lot of lanes) and there are 68 parking spaces at the station, plus other town car parks. 

For further comparison, there are 77 parking spaces at Pewsey Station and then looking at passenger numbers, 1 parking spaces represents perhaps 600 to 700 passenger journeys per annum if the car park is routinely full.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2019, 07:35:14 pm »

Quote from: grahame
Whilst Bedwyn does clearly act as a railhead for the area, I don't think it's quite the large one some people think.  Looking at usage over the last six years, Bedwyn has flatlined, whilst Pewsey has risen by over 40000 and is more than twice as busy as Bedwyn with fewer trains and both have seen very little timetable development over those six years.  The trains that do run often do the trip to London quicker than from Bedwyn due to fewer stops despite being almost 10 mile further away.

Also to consider - for stations in somewhat rural setting - the Bedwyn station car park is said to have just 25 spaces ("said to" as I'm not sure if that is current) and that gets - or got - full and limits the amount people will use it.  Kerbside parking in Bedwyn is not something that's to be done lightly either, even on streets without restrictions.

I have never caught a train from Bedwyn but I worked there quite a lot (albeit for a short period) in my Surveying days. The ex-Council estate right next to the station is known as The Knapp and doesn't have a major issue with commuter parking, although there is quite a bit of it immediately next to the station. But the estate runs to 150-odd houses, flats and bungalows.
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