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Author Topic: Worcester to Taunton  (Read 2453 times)
bleeder4
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« on: February 03, 2020, 10:20:53 pm »

I noticed today that GWR have started operating a single direct train on weekdays from Worcester Shrub Hill to Taunton, leaving Worcester at 0520 each morning. Was that service introduced in the most recent timetable change? I don't ever recall seeing it in the schedule before. I'm wondering how busy it is, it seems a bit early in the morning. There also doesn't seem to be one going back the other way, so whilst you can get from Worcester to Taunton without changing, you have to change on the way back!
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JontyMort
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 11:07:03 pm »

I noticed today that GWR have started operating a single direct train on weekdays from Worcester Shrub Hill to Taunton, leaving Worcester at 0520 each morning. Was that service introduced in the most recent timetable change? I don't ever recall seeing it in the schedule before. I'm wondering how busy it is, it seems a bit early in the morning. There also doesn't seem to be one going back the other way, so whilst you can get from Worcester to Taunton without changing, you have to change on the way back!

The compensation on the way back is that - assuming you get the right train at Taunton - it will still be quicker overall, because the Taunton-Cheltenham leg is by XC. Things are also better now northbound, because more trains start back at Exeter. The trains that make decent connections at Cheltenham are the 1500, 1700, and 1900 from Temple Meads. In the old timetable, an extra half hour was built in, because the Taunton trains were xx30 (though at least that saved worrying about getting past Gloucester in time).

The northbound Cheltenham roulette is one reason for wanting Worcestershire Parkway to open, because at least if you can get there it’s within bus or taxi range.

To answer the OP’s question, I think there always a very early train to the south, though I never used it, and it didn’t go to Taunton. There have in the past been through trains to various places  (153 Worcester to Southampton, anyone, bring your own coffee).

The morning train of choice towards Bristol was the 0649, which connected well at Cheltenham into the 0723 (0642 from New Street). The replacement 0708 doesn’t connect well at Cheltenham - in fact you may as well stay on the stopper all the way to Bristol.

Worcester to Bristol is hardly the most eccentric journey you might want to make, but it’s a mess.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2020, 06:01:29 am »

I noticed today that GWR have started operating a single direct train on weekdays from Worcester Shrub Hill to Taunton, leaving Worcester at 0520 each morning. Was that service introduced in the most recent timetable change? I don't ever recall seeing it in the schedule before. I'm wondering how busy it is, it seems a bit early in the morning. There also doesn't seem to be one going back the other way, so whilst you can get from Worcester to Taunton without changing, you have to change on the way back!

Breaking up a journey with a change of trains typically looses you around 40% of the passengers who would otherwise make that journey.  "Though trains good, changes bad" reminds me of Animal Farm - "Four legs good, two legs bad". However, there are flows which are naturally broad where it's 40% of a lot, and thin flows where it's 40% of not very much in the first place.

"What happens to trains from Worcester when they get to Temple Meads" was a very interesting question being asked last time the GWR franchise was up for consideration ... to the extent that competitors were said to be watching the stopper from Worcester / Cheltenham / Gloucester calling to get an idea of how many remained on board to(wards) Bath, Trowbridge, Westbury and sometimes Yeovil and Weymouth.  Of course, if you send it that way, you can't also send it to Weston and Taunton.

I wouldn't have expected Worcester to Taunton to be a heavy flow - though you get Worcester to Weston-super-mare as a bonus.  "Operational Convenience" I would suggest.  Similar thing for the new Oxford to Basingstoke through train; Oxford to Gatwick would be worthwhile - especially if it joined the remaining Oxford - Reading services to Reading - Gatwick semifasts.  Swindon to Southampton another interesting case - two through services a day across Westbury, yet only connections coming back.   With everything joined up, a good saleable market with Swindon - Salisbury, Chippenham - Warminster, Melksham - Southampton and many other new though journeys - a total of 64 new through flows if you link up the Swindon - Westbury, Westbury - Warmister and Salisbury - Romsey via Easteigh services.  Granted that some (such as Melksham to Mottisfont) aren't going to be noticeable in First's Annual Accounts, but every little helps.
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bleeder4
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2020, 12:34:39 pm »

Many thanks for the replies. Incidentally, that DMU service to Southampton you mentioned still runs, along with others to Weymouth and Brighton. It's surprising how many people here in Worcester I speak to that have no idea we have direct trains to the south coast! I got the one to Southampton last time I went to the Isle of Wight. £40 for a Rail/Sail ticket Worcester to Cowes, including direct train to Southampton, bus to the docks, and catamaran to the island. Had to split the ticket at Bristol mind you, otherwise it would have been £70!
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2020, 05:03:57 pm »

I wouldn't have expected Worcester to Taunton to be a heavy flow - though you get Worcester to Weston-super-mare as a bonus. 
You also get Worcester to Gloucester (if it goes that way), Gloucester to Bristol, and Bristol to WsM and Taunton, all of which seem likely to be heavier. True, those are all fairly well served anyway, but if you can get them all into one, why not?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2020, 02:47:12 pm »

The northbound Cheltenham roulette is one reason for wanting Worcestershire Parkway to open, because at least if you can get there it’s within bus or taxi range.

The mainline XCs aren't going to stop at Worcestershire Parkway - only the Cardiff-Nottinghams....
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JontyMort
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2020, 03:07:28 pm »

The northbound Cheltenham roulette is one reason for wanting Worcestershire Parkway to open, because at least if you can get there it’s within bus or taxi range.

The mainline XCs aren't going to stop at Worcestershire Parkway - only the Cardiff-Nottinghams....

I know that. But at present if the XC from Bristol is delayed, so that they let the Worcester stopper out of Gloucester first, or if the Worcester stopper is cancelled - either of which happens more often than is desirable - then at least Worcester pax will not be stuck at Cheltenham. They will have the option of getting the next Nottingham train to Worcestershire Parkway.

Getting Mrs M out to Parkway is going to be much easier than to Cheltenham!
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