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Author Topic: Westbury - Trowbridge - Melksham - Chippenham - Swindon, late December 2020  (Read 648 times)
grahame
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« on: December 29, 2020, 01:38:07 pm »

Statement I have put together to explain what's going on for the MRUG Facebook page

Update - 30th December 2020 - added in this purple text at top of page:

Trains replaced by buses at Melksham today and probably tomorrow.  This is a late change due to rail staff unavailable due to isolation or positive tests (and we hope none is seriosuesly ill and wish them quick recovery of they are).

From GWR: "Morning, Replacement road transport is in place between Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury in both directions. The buses should run near to the train times. Will be a bit longer as it's by road.  - Celia"

There has not been the opportunity to add the buses and tracking of their times into data feeds - if you are catching the bus, the help point at the station will allow you to get an update from National Rail.

Please - ONLY TRAVEL IF YOU NEED TO at present; stay local if you can.




Train services from Swindon to Westbury via Melksham went into meltdown yesterday (28.12.20). The two track main railway through Bradford-on-Avon (the next line across) has been closed due to flooding, and GWR are cancelling most of the trains that normally use it, with the remaining few being diverted onto the single line through Melksham and then reversing them at Chippenham to get back on the right line.  All of which takes time, and means there is no space left for our normal trains, which have been cancelled all day today (29.12.20)

GWR tell us that they are providing rail replacement buses - please keep an eye our for them on http://melksh.am/trains as they will run at different times to the normal trains (buses take twice as long for the journey).

We have asked GWR is they can stop diverted trains that are passing through Melksham anyway but they tell us "Unfortunately, we are not able to call these trains at Melksham due to the difference between platform and train lengths" - an odd reason as almost all of these trains are shorter than the platform, and there is a history (including recent) of longer trains calling. In practice, stopping these trains would add to the time they take on what is a congested single line today, and that is another reason it's hard for them to call.  Further, GWR are not exempt from coronavirus and its effects, and have a number of staff unable to work at present - both having it, and isolating because of contacts. And because of that they are also letting us know that service are cancelled on our line due to staff shortage.

In view of the current virus and tier system, please consider whether your journey is really necessary anyway - stay local if you can. Whilst Wiltshire is in tier 2, Swindon is in the more restricted tier 3 and onwards to London they are in near-lockdown tier 4. All things considered, a very good day to stay at home.

And ... perhaps also a very good WEEK to stay at home.  An inspection is due on the flooded line through Bradford-on-Avon late this afternoon, but it's far from clear when it will re-open.  Road replacement transport should at least do better as GWR have had time to plan it over the next couple of days, but it's likely that isolating staff won't be back for a few days. In recent years, staff shortages on the railway have been commonplace, as the industry maintains only a meagre buffer of the specialists it needs in times of duress; experience suggests that it'll be early in the New Year before we're properly back on track. In some ways, the Christmas break coupled with the lack of travel make this a good time to have a bad (or no) service.

Let's wish all the GWR staff who are ill or isolating a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Let's also look forward to getting the other items sorted out, and to busy trains to happy destinations when we're out again late next spring and next summer.

Updates via Facebook, via twitter, via http://melksh.am/trains and http://www.mrug.org.uk and http://gwr.passenger.chat .
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 08:01:04 am by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2020, 02:51:43 pm »

National Rail Press Release - https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/263103.aspx

Quote
Incident created - 29/12/2020 11:13
Last updated - 29/12/2020 11:38



Great Western Railway

Description

A shortage of train crew has resulted in train service being suspended between Swindon and Westbury via Melksham. This is expected to continue until at least the end of the day on Thursday 31 December.

How will this affect the train service?

Trains are unable to run between Swindon and Westbury via Melksham.

Due to flooding in the Freshford area, GWR are diverting a limited number of train services between Bath Spa and Westbury via Melksham. Unfortunately, trains are not able to call at Melksham due to the difference between platform and train lengths.

Alternative travel options:

Replacement road transport is operating between Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury.
You are advised to wait for road transport in the designated replacement road transport areas and that buses will run later that than the advertised train times due to line of route and additional time required for loading and unloading.

If you are travelling from Westbury to Chippenham and Swindon

You are advised to travel by train via Bath Spa, to connect with train services to Chippenham, Swindon and London Paddington.

If you are travelling from Swindon or Chippenham to Westbury

You are advised to use replacement road transport from Chippenham to Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury.
Some GWR train services will divert and stop at Chippenham, calling at Trowbridge and Westbury. Where these train services are available, they will be quicker than the replacement road transport.

Check before you travel:

You can check your journey using the National Rail Enquiries real-time Journey Planner

For helpful advice if you need to travel on a rail replacement service, including accessibility information, please use this page.

You can find the location of your bus replacement by checking station signs or by searching for your station on our station information pages.

Twitter:
If you would like to follow this incident on Twitter, please use #Melksham

Compensation:
You may be entitled to compensation if you experience a delay in completing your journey today. Please keep your train ticket and make a note of your journey, as both will be required to support any claim.

Feedback:
We want to make information better ? tell us how! Fill out this online Disruption Survey.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2020, 02:58:45 pm by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2020, 09:49:50 pm »

Edit (07:00 on 30.12.2020) ... update:

Coming back to qualify my comment somewhat this morning ... there is also an ad-hoc thinning out of some other services which wasn't alerted to customers yesterday.  From a short look, the TransWilts line and Melksham Station still appear to be singles out for far, far harsher treatment than any other line / service / station; "breaking comment" and I stand to be corrected on that / have other members post about similar reductions from around 17 services to one.

From Journey Check ...

Quote
Cancellations to services between Swindon and Westbury
 
Due to a shortage of train crew between Swindon and Westbury the line towards Melksham is disrupted.

Train services running through these stations have been cancelled. Disruption is expected until 23:59 31/12.

This is the only disruption like this ...

Now let's see ... GWR have over 200 trains on their books.  They run over 190 per day.  And they have cancelled  just one of that 190 - that's about 0.5% of services.   Interesting choice of which one they choose - they choose one that strips the entire service off a line, and really shows the people who live along that line where they stand in GWR's pecking order and how little respect GWR have for us.

I understand that GWR are short on crew ... always run a tight ship, and the current coronavirus has pushed that tight ship over the edge.  But, surely, they could find a better way and keep all lines and stations open.

I look at lines with 30 minute services with multiple trains - some have up to 8 trains in their cycle - and wonder if it would be less disruptive to passengers overall for one of those to not be run.  That way, you're putting a small proportion of passengers back by 30 minutes, and not letting down everyone on a line, spectacularly.

Over the years, I have learned that there's so much more to be gained by partnering than protesting things. However, I have also learned that there are times that protests have to be raised even if they risk some partnership operations being more difficult for a while.   

« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 07:06:47 am by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2020, 07:04:54 am »

From Journey Check ...

Quote
Cancellations to services between Swindon and Westbury
 
Due to a shortage of train crew between Swindon and Westbury the line towards Melksham is disrupted.

Train services running through these stations have been cancelled. Disruption is expected until 23:59 31/12.

This is the only disruption like this ...

Now let's see ... GWR have over 200 trains on their books.  They run over 190 per day.  And they have cancelled  just one of that 190 - that's about 0.5% of services.   Interesting choice of which one they choose - they choose one that strips the entire service off a line, and really shows the people who live along that line where they stand in GWR's pecking order and how little respect GWR have for us.

I understand that GWR are short on crew ... always run a tight ship, and the current coronavirus has pushed that tight ship over the edge.  But, surely, they could find a better way and keep all lines and stations open.

I look at lines with 30 minute services with multiple trains - some have up to 8 trains in their cycle - and wonder if it would be less disruptive to passengers overall for one of those to not be run.  That way, you're putting a small proportion of passengers back by 30 minutes, and not letting down everyone on a line, spectacularly.

Over the years, I have learned that there's so much more to be gained by partnering than protesting things. However, I have also learned that there are times that protests have to be raised even if they risk some partnership operations being more difficult for a while.   


Coming back to qualify my comment somewhat this morning ... there is also an ad-hoc thinning out of some other services which wasn't alerted to customers yesterday.  From a short look, the TransWilts line and Melksham Station still appear to be singles out for far, far harsher treatment than any other line / service / station; "breaking comment" and I stand to be corrected on that / have other members post about similar reductions from around 17 services to one.

Edit to add ... this thread is customer advise and I have added the following at the top of the first article, and posted on Facebook.  Tweeting in a coupe of minutes.

Trains replaced by buses at Melksham today (30.12.20) and probably tomorrow.  This is a late change due to rail staff unavailable due to isolation or positive tests (and we hope none is seriosuesly ill and wish them quick recovery of they are).

From GWR: "Morning, Replacement road transport is in place between Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury in both directions. The buses should run near to the train times. Will be a bit longer as it's by road.  - Celia"

There has not been the opportunity to add the buses and tracking of their times into data feeds - if you are catching the bus, the help point at the station will allow you to get an update from National Rail.

Please - ONLY TRAVEL IF YOU NEED TO at present; stay local if you can.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 08:03:49 am by grahame » Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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