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Author Topic: Cornwall - some things change and others haven't  (Read 2077 times)
grahame
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« on: March 12, 2020, 06:11:10 am »

Early in my career, I was responsible for technical support, then for a while for product sales, in the South West. My managers regarded the further reaches of that territory as a bit of a joke; certainly lots of open countryside, long journeys from Chippenham where lived - 4 hours in the extreme, adding an hour in "shoulder" and 2 hours in peak season. I had some fun justifying my customer call rate which was supposed to be 2 calls a day versus, err, the 0.46 I achieved. It was fun because my bosses could say little as my territory was the only one making its sales target.

Cornwall was a different land.  It was a land where the customer bought the salesman lunch (because he had bothered to travel all the way). It was a land where the customer trusted the salesman, and the salesman returned that trust by selling what was best for the customer, and not best for his commission.  And it was a land where I made friends some of whom - updated - remain Facebook friends to this day.

Revisiting Cornwall yesterday - I was struck (with one sad exception) by how friendly and helpful everyone remains.  I was struck by the survival of rail infrastructure and services maintained as best possible with the old stuff (though my train trip to Newquay has postponed because of a late running connection of London that skip-stopped Par, then my fallback from Liskeard couldn't run because of an infrastructure failure at Coombe Junction).  But I was also struck by the growth of modern housing and business premises close to the railway.

I eventually (!) headed out to Newquay for a silly-short turn around (2 hours and 5 minutes having turned into 5 minutes).  I think I've read of plans for an earlier train to start again and for general traffic in the area, surely that's needed - first train 10:23 from Newquay, 11:12 into Par and connection after noon into Plymouth rules out the line for any regular 9 to 5 work users.

The half hourly service on the mainline seemed running sweetly - once again the clear growth of housing in the county suggests that, surely, this is a sensible move.  And whilst one or two trains I was on were very thinly loaded, the majority seemed to be taking off nicely .. and it is still winter.

The signalling may be old ... the politeness old-fashioned, but there are some things that really look forward to the future.  I finish with three pictures where I was able to capture bus stops (and ones with useful services) in the same shot as the station; makes me rather jealous for Melksham where the buses drive past station approach stopping nowhere near, or Westbury with 4 buses per day from the station stop.





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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2020, 06:57:49 am »

On top of those pictured, St Austell has an excellent bus/train interchange. The Eden project bus we run is timed specifically to connect to trains. The timetable changes with every rail timetable change rather than in sync with every other service!

Redruth has 4 buses an hour each direction on the main Truro to Penzance/st ives bus route, plus hourly backroad services to most outlying villages stopping immediately outside the station door.
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rower40
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2020, 08:38:16 am »

Don't forget the Plymouth CityBus 11A, from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow via Bodmin and Wadebridge.  The down Sleeper calls at Bodmin Parkway at 0619.  The first bus is timed to depart at 0612.  But this morning, the bus was still at the bus stop as the Sleeper left.  So it would appear that pragmatism is still alive and well in holding connections.

I've a meeting this morning in Bodmin, at 1030.  But rather than kicking my heels there for 4 hours, I remained on the Sleeper to Penzance, had a breakfast, and am now on the 0818 back, which will comfortably connect with the 1007 bus.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2020, 10:10:20 am »

One of the problems still to be resolved with the 11A/B bus between Bodmin and Bodmin Parkway is, since the mainline timetable change to half hourly, that the bus from Bodmin arrives at Parkway 2 minutes after the Plymouth bound train has left, thus resulting in a near half hour wait!  I have endured this several times over the past few months.  Its OK in the summer time as there is an excellent cafe located in the former signalbox at Parkway, but in the Winter Parkway can be a very wet and draughty place.  And just to note, that bus stop shelter in the photograph is only one sided and doesn't give much, if any protection from the elements if the wind is blowing from the East!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2020, 10:51:17 am by SandTEngineer » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2020, 11:29:21 am »

I've a meeting this morning in Bodmin, at 1030.  But rather than kicking my heels there for 4 hours, I remained on the Sleeper to Penzance, had a breakfast, and am now on the 0818 back, which will comfortably connect with the 1007 bus.

Just missed you then ... I was looking around the stations (rail and bus) and sea front prior to catching the 08:50 to my next stop, having carefully checked it's not Wednesday.

I can sympathise with the Bodmin problem ... same as my Motherwell problem a couple of months back.  What does one do for several hours ...

Its OK in the summer time as there is an excellent cafe located in the former signalbox at Parkway, but in the Winter Parkway can be a very wet and draughty place. ...

The cafe was open yesterday, and supplied an excellent cut of tea and sandwich, and a fascinating insight from a conversation between a couple of people that I'm sure should not have been in public.
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brcw2
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2020, 12:05:10 pm »

The cafe was open yesterday, and supplied an excellent cut of tea

I do like my tea strong, but possibly not so strong that it's sliceable Smiley
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2020, 02:38:07 pm »

Its OK in the summer time as there is an excellent cafe located in the former signalbox at Parkway, but in the Winter Parkway can be a very wet and draughty place. ...

The cafe was open yesterday, and supplied an excellent cut of tea and sandwich, and a fascinating insight from a conversation between a couple of people that I'm sure should not have been in public.

First mentioned back in 2009 here: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=5133.msg47688#msg47688

Crikey, I hadn't realised how long this excellent and friendly forum had been running (and we have been enjoying Grahames spelling puns!) Cheesy
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Umberleigh
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2020, 06:41:59 pm »

On top of those pictured, St Austell has an excellent bus/train interchange. The Eden project bus we run is timed specifically to connect to trains. The timetable changes with every rail timetable change rather than in sync with every other service!

Redruth has 4 buses an hour each direction on the main Truro to Penzance/st ives bus route, plus hourly backroad services to most outlying villages stopping immediately outside the station door.

I agree, but unfortunately Eden is not included within the PlusBus scheme, and I was charged £7.50 return on the bus (I only £7.70 for a peak time Redruth to Penzance return, a far longer journey)

Something needs to change
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