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Author Topic: Timetable changes making commute longer  (Read 1395 times)
truthspeaker
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« on: December 05, 2019, 09:38:37 pm »

Hi all, newbie poster here. I was miffed to discover that despite what is being trumpeted about the forthcoming new timetable, my morning commute from Pangbourne to Paddington will actually end up 9 minutes longer. Currently 06.56 arriving 07.38 but this train seems to be being merged with the current 06.48 to become a new 06.49 arriving at 07.40. I suspect this might have something to do with the new TFL rail service but does anyone know what has happened here and whether it is likely to change when full Crossrail comes along?
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 06:15:33 am »

Hi all, newbie poster here. I was miffed to discover that despite what is being trumpeted about the forthcoming new timetable, my morning commute from Pangbourne to Paddington will actually end up 9 minutes longer. Currently 06.56 arriving 07.38 but this train seems to be being merged with the current 06.48 to become a new 06.49 arriving at 07.40. I suspect this might have something to do with the new TFL rail service but does anyone know what has happened here and whether it is likely to change when full Crossrail comes along?

Welcome to the forum, Truthspeaker.

Across the GWR franchise, 3 out of 4 trains are retimed come 15th December. And in far more cases than headlines suggest, trains which people had come to love and cherish to suit their own daily plans are moved by anything from a few minutes to torn asunder. Think of it being like an old and faithful pair of shoes becoming worn out, and having to buy a new pair.  They need bedding in, they're not as comfortable at first BUT you will get used to them and at least they don't let your feet get wet when you step in a puddle.

There are issues of change all over the GWR area, with perhaps the biggest concerns being journeys that start and end west of Reading and east of Taunton. For intermediate stations between Reading and Didcot, I suspect that Crossrail is only one factor in the complex mix ... I'm going to suggest five factors that make / have made it very much more difficult to provide the best-tuned service. Others may have mention other things too

1. Dodging the Paddington bullets
2. Failure of electrification to reach Oxford
3. CrossRail
4. Busy line with freight and Cross Country Paths too
5. Revisions to remove historic features in favour of the future

Examples all around the forum (and for a newcomer - I know - it can be hard to find what's wood for you in all the trees), and there are other members who will be able to fill you in on those.  For Christmas 2019 - sorry - it's "grin and bear it" at this stage.  The final timetable for Mondays to Fridays is much improved on the original drafts, but still there are negative elements. Seeing how it goes into the New Year, various members do have something of a relationship with GWR which helps them tune things for the overall common good and I'm sure we'llfind some of those.  In rail things are on a long timescale though, and the next "significant" change opportunity will be December 2020, though panic fixes will be possible in May 2020.

In amongst all of this ... "who runs our railway" and "what is asked of them". We have a general election coming up with all sorts of promises and suggestions from various parties, and the current franchise expires on 31st March 2020 with a lot of work done on what the next steps should be in First's "DA3" proposal to the DfT which they received in June but have not yet reached a decision (or at least an announced one) on.

You ask about changes when "full Crossrail" comes along.  Goodness knows - it's in the melting pot.  I will give you some encouragement in pointing out that the users of Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn stations, threatened with a shuttle to Newbury from next weekend, have ended up retaining an hourly London service with much improved trains though, I'm afraid, some cases of longer-than-needed waits at Newbury for expresses to pass, and without any useful service westwards.
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Gordon the Blue Engine
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 09:51:34 am »

Hi all, newbie poster here. I was miffed to discover that despite what is being trumpeted about the forthcoming new timetable, my morning commute from Pangbourne to Paddington will actually end up 9 minutes longer. Currently 06.56 arriving 07.38 but this train seems to be being merged with the current 06.48 to become a new 06.49 arriving at 07.40. I suspect this might have something to do with the new TFL rail service but does anyone know what has happened here and whether it is likely to change when full Crossrail comes along?

You may be better on the new 0704 from Pangbourne, which arrives Paddington at 0752.  Still slower than the current 0656, but the new 0704 calls additionally at Twyford compared to the current 0656.

The 0649 from Pangbourne calls additionally at Sough as well as Twyford and Maidenhead, so probably best to avoid if you’re travelling to Paddington.

My local station is also Pangbourne (hurray – another poster from here!), and overall we see a better peak hour service from 15th December.  As Graham says there’s still “work in progress” on getting the timetable right - eg in the off peak the GWR Didcot - Padd stoppers are pretty slow despite the reduction in stops, and there are some long layovers at Reading.   

Another example -  I mentioned somewhere else that Pangbourne and Tilehurst passengers who travel home from Reading on the 1701 to Banbury see it cut from 15th December (expect lots of PA announcements that first stop is Goring and some over-carried passengers on 16th December)    This looks to me like NR and GWR running out of time to come up with a sensible solution on pathing west of Reading around this time, and I expect it to be fixed in May or next December at the latest.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2019, 10:10:28 am »

As another newbie I hope it's OK to piggyback on this thread as my comments relate to the new timetable and local stations between Reading and Didcot.
 
Nowadays I only travel off-peak from Tilehurst, including to London. A few days ago, I looked at the new timetable on the National Rail website and twitched about new restrictions on travel, with the first service on which off-peak tickets to London are valid apparently being the 0947 - until now it's been the 0855. But GWR's own timetable suggests off-peak fares will still apply to the 0855 (which gets into Paddington shortly after 1000). The very pleasant ticket lady at Tilehurst reckoned that off-peak would only apply to the 0927 and subsequent services.

Incidentally up to last week the National Rail website was suggesting that off-peak fares to Reading would be available for morning rush-hour services  - too good to be true, and the glitch has now been corrected.

It's a minor pain that off-peak tickets will no longer be valid in the evening on semi-fasts to Tilehurst and beyond (42-45 minutes' journeys). The ticket lady pointed out one can still use the TFL trains - 65 minutes to Reading and no loos!

(With regard to there being no toilets, I wonder how this will affect Friday and Saturday night "revelers" who have spent the evening drinking?)
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2019, 10:54:32 am »

As another newbie I hope it's OK to piggyback on this thread as my comments relate to the new timetable and local stations between Reading and Didcot.

Welcome to the forum ... piggybacking here not only OK but perfect!.

I will leave others with local knowledge to comment;  one of the strengths of this forum is that we have contributors (and for each contributor there are, we estimate, a dozen who just read) right across the network. Personally, as I still have a gap from before 08:00 to after 10:00 in trains headed east towards London, I'll not be effected by trains moving from off peak to peak on this occasion; wish we had a train in between to worry about!
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2019, 03:57:01 pm »

Nowadays I only travel off-peak from Tilehurst, including to London. A few days ago, I looked at the new timetable on the National Rail website and twitched about new restrictions on travel, with the first service on which off-peak tickets to London are valid apparently being the 0947 - until now it's been the 0855. But GWR's own timetable suggests off-peak fares will still apply to the 0855 (which gets into Paddington shortly after 1000). The very pleasant ticket lady at Tilehurst reckoned that off-peak would only apply to the 0927 and subsequent services.

Hi Malburian, and welcome to ... well, you'll see what!

When you say "I looked at the new timetable on the National Rail website", do you mean their Online Journey Planner? That does interpret the timetable off the industry data feeds, including ticket restrictions.

I've just had a look at the 08:55/0856 from Tilehurst eastwards on the OJP, and it seems to me that the anytime/off-peak situation won't change. Have you looked at the printed timetable (T10)? Following* a suggestion of mine, that now labels trains according to off-peak status, and for that train it says anytime is needed if joining up to Maidenhead. But there's a note "A", which means "Off-peak tickets are valid if travelling to West Drayton and beyond".

That's what the OJP shows, for after 15th December (though I don't claim to have tested all possible journeys). If your ticket is to Reading up to Slough, or if you change to a faster train and arrive at Paddington before 10:00, it's a peak journey, otherwise it isn't. And that does appear to be the case now, at least if you're the OJP. I suspect it's not very well known, perhaps not even by staff, so it looks like something new.

I reckon the same is true of the weird rules for the 08:50GWR/08:52XR RDG-PAD stopper (look in that new T10). The off-peak restriction code for the first part of this run is WA, which says "not valid before 09:10", so that becomes valid from Burnham or Slough. However, West Drayton and inwards is within the TfL zones, so their off-peak rules apply for tickets from here - not valid before 9:30. But by Southall, it is now 09:30 or later, so off-peak is valid again! Did someone say "complicated"?

* True chronologically, at least!
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Marlburian
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2019, 04:32:07 pm »

Hi Grahame, and thanks for that. Whilst you were posting, I was looking at Timetable T10, thanks to a link elsewhere on this Forum. I'd sussed out that blue-shaded times meant that one would need an Anytime ticket, but hadn't picked up on Note "A". So that's reassuring, though I hope that the ticket lady has realised this too. Up to now, when I've bought a One-Day Travelcard for the 0855 she's always asked if I'm staying on the train to Paddington. In fact, I've forestalled her by assuring her that I am.

(Let it be whispered, ever so softly and just between you and me, that up to March I might just have switched on to the Central Line at Ealing Broadway ..)

Curiously T10 suggests that a couple of "easements" for off-peak tickets in the evening rush hour will continue for semi-fast 1840 and 1920 departures to Tilehurst and beyond, as well other semi-fasts to Reading.

As you say, "complicated". I'll be at Tilehurst Station mid-morning on Tuesday and shall collect a new timetable - and ask the ticket lady how Monday went ...

I won't be travelling to London until February, so hopefully by then the dust will have settled.

Marlburian
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ellendune
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2019, 08:04:37 pm »

So the new timetable actually started today.

Well I know that Sunday is not the biggest test, but from what I am not hearing it seems to have passed day one without major incidents. 
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2019, 08:51:06 pm »

So the new timetable actually started today.

Well I know that Sunday is not the biggest test, but from what I am not hearing it seems to have passed day one without major incidents. 

Next weekend, surely! Sunday, 15th December, or have I missed something?
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2019, 09:13:21 pm »

I very much hope ellendune can make the same post in a weeks time!
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2019, 09:57:17 pm »

I very much hope ellendune can make the same post in a weeks time!

Sorry, too much going on at the moment! I hope so too. 
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Marlburian
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2019, 07:14:04 pm »

... Another example -  I mentioned somewhere else that Pangbourne and Tilehurst passengers who travel home from Reading on the 1701 to Banbury see it cut from 15th December (expect lots of PA announcements that first stop is Goring and some over-carried passengers on 16th December)    This looks to me like NR and GWR running out of time to come up with a sensible solution on pathing west of Reading around this time, and I expect it to be fixed in May or next December at the latest.

The 1701(diesel? bi-mode?) starts from Reading and runs to Oxford. It's due in at Goring & Streatley just four minutes after the 1652 from Reading to Didcot that stops at all stations.

Something like has already been happening now and then in the day, with, for example, a DMU from Oxford preceding an electric train from Didcot by a handful of minutes. Of course, if the DMU is delayed, so is the electric train.

Marlburian
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2019, 07:38:54 pm »

Something like has already been happening now and then in the day, with, for example, a DMU from Oxford preceding an electric train from Didcot by a handful of minutes. Of course, if the DMU is delayed, so is the electric train.

The relief lines from Reading to Didcot have to take local passenger trains, freight, and express passenger services. Each has a different envelope, but pairing up trains with similar envelopes will help overall line capacity.  Where that's two freight trains running in convoy, not really an issue. Where it's two express passenger trains just co-inciding for a short while (Bournemouth to Manchester and London to Worcester?) not much of an issue either. But where it's a pair of slower trains / stoppers it's going to result in bunching of calls at places they both stop.

Above written from the comfort of my armchair ... as a bit of an educated guess. Please tell me whether I'm close to guessing the issues!
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Marlburian
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2019, 04:57:18 pm »

I walk in the countryside and sometimes use the train off-peak to get to the start of my route and/or get back home again. I thought that tomorrow I might go by rail from Tilehurst to Twyford, which used to take about 10 minutes. Just checked the new timetable - 24 minutes! And not much better returning - 20 minutes or so.

I thought that this might be peculiar to Saturday, but I checked a Tuesday in January, and the same seems to be the case then - due to the train spending ten to fourteen minutes at Reading Station.

I'll probably change my plans and go the other way, to Goring, or even use the car.

At least were I to stay on the train to Paddington most services seem now not to stop at Southall (which whenever I've used it in the past has always been quite busy), as well as the usual minor stations.

Marlburian
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stuving
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2019, 06:27:13 pm »

At least were I to stay on the train to Paddington most services seem now not to stop at Southall (which whenever I've used it in the past has always been quite busy), as well as the usual minor stations.
Marlburian

That's because these are not the stopping trains, TfL are running those. Mind you, limiting the stops doesn't actually make them quicker, at least not consistently. I think in the past the GWR relief services have sometimes been "faster" and all-stops and sometimes two varieties of skip-stop , as recently.

As to why GWR trains lurk in Reading for ten minutes, it looks rather like someone had two sheets of squared paper and some Sellotape and just couldn't find a way to join them together.
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