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Author Topic: Speed to London v. Network Reliability (Qn.3 5/11/2019 )  (Read 1599 times)
Red Squirrel
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« on: November 05, 2019, 05:14:57 pm »

Our passenger survey came up with reliability as the No. 1 priority for customers, and our Transport Focus rep has confirmed that this is what they find from their surveys too.  However, the emphasis in the new timetable, and indeed from rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris seems to be about journey speed to London.

How are you balancing speed to London v reliability of service across the whole network and maintenance of connections?
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 05:18:20 pm »

Simply, I donít think we should be choosing between the two. Many existing customers, potential new customers, local business, politicians and others have campaigned to reduce journey times across the region and, especially, to/from London. But the timetable isnít just about journey time, it is also about frequency improvements on many routes. Connections are important and we recognise the new timetable brings some challenges but we are working to address as many, if not all, of these.

Equally, we agree punctuality is a key requirement of customers and one we need to ensure we deliver.

This timetable is the culmination of years and planning, modernisation work and a multi-billion pound investment in the railway.

New trains and the electrification of the main line allows us to operate more trains with faster journeys both improving the customer experience.

The new trains are already proving more reliable than the 40 year old trains they have replaced. In addition to that, by operating more trains we provide more journey options for customers meaning if there are delays the impact on journeys is reduced.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 05:19:44 pm »

Note from back channel .... very busy at HQ on Q1 and Q2 ... get to further follow ups in a few minutes Grin
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 05:24:39 pm »

I very much see Network Rail being a supplier of GWR but know that Network Codes work the other way around.  How is GWR going to manage that post December?
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2019, 05:26:07 pm »

Simply, I donít think we should be choosing between the two. Many existing customers, potential new customers, local business, politicians and others have campaigned to reduce journey times across the region and, especially, to/from London. But the timetable isnít just about journey time, it is also about frequency improvements on many routes. Connections are important and we recognise the new timetable brings some challenges but we are working to address as many, if not all, of these.

It's an issue we're very aware of here in the North Cotswolds: of our four evening peak trains, three of them will skip Reading and run fast to Oxford.

Though this is obviously a nice-to-have for Cotswold-London commuters (and, I guess, makes GWR more attractive for Oxford passengers vs Chiltern), it's a very big issue for people who commute between the Cotswolds and Reading/other Thames Valley locations. I personally know a handful of people here whose commute will be seriously affected.

I hope GWR will be able to look at this in future timetable revisions and restore the Reading stops to at least one of the services.
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2019, 05:27:54 pm »

S & T Engineer - not sure I understand your question. Manage what exactly in the network code?
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2019, 05:31:15 pm »

S & T Engineer - not sure I understand your question. Manage what exactly in the network code?

Perhaps I wasn't very clear.  What I meant was that NR obviously controls the Network and has laid down rules as to priorities for services.  The new timetable will be very demanding on that and I wonder how, if past examples such as poor regulating of service conflicts with Heathrow Express at Stockley Junction, are going to be managed?
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2019, 05:32:31 pm »

The Reading stops in the North Cotswolds trains have been a challenge as the trains are followed by the fast Bristol services and we have not been able to find a way of doing that without a massive journey time penalty and avoiding the Cross Country services. We continue to review it.

Equally, I would note that the train which probably suits the biggest number of commuters from Reading (1734 Paddington to Hereford) does call at Reading at 1759.

In addition, we have had a lot of very positive feedback from London passengers on the route with, for example, a 55 minute journey from Paddington to Hanborough and there is evidence it will help bring business back that has been lost to Chiltern Railways from Oxford Parkway.
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2019, 05:40:23 pm »

Network Rail are working very closely with us to ensure we deliver the timetable from an operational perspective. If regulating decisions arise at Airport Junction the performance of the new rolling stock helps us get back to line speed much quicker but, ultimately, we need to take the right decision at the time to minimise delay and, I hope, we will.

Of course, the key aim is to try and avoid issues arising which knock trains out of path in the first place and that is receiving considerable focus in both businesses.
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