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Author Topic: First trip by train in four months  (Read 1822 times)
grahame
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« on: July 14, 2020, 06:53:57 am »

... just back

05:33 Melksham to Chippenham
walk in the park
06:27 Chippenham to Melksham

... report and photos to follow
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 08:38:40 am »

... report and photos to follow

Part 1 ...

When I got off the train at Melksham in the evening of 14th March 2020, little did I realise that I would not travel on a train again until 05:33 on 14th July - four months later.  In that time the world has changed with the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, and (worldwide) we are in a patchy state with cases still growing in parts of the USA and many other counties, but with mainline Europe having largely recovered and the UK, from the worst per-capita death rate in the world, following a few weeks behind.


My final train - the 19:36 from Swindon to Westbury on 14th March

So much has changed.  We are on the way back, but in a different world, with measures in place to keep up safe as we go about our lives after a period of lockdown. Safety - for staff and for passengers - is paramount to the transport industry, but at the same time, people want to get out again, and the message of "drive your private car is you can" endangers us in replacing the Coronavirus problem (which has killed 40,000 in the UK) with system which discourages clean air, climate friendly, zero carbon agenda.  And remember that some 40,000 people have been dying prematurely EVERY YEAR in the UK because of air quality problems.  We need public transport back, running, getting a subdtantial and more people around.

Publc transport is not the entire solution to clean air.  We should, absolutely, be encouraging walking and cycling.  We should be working that much more from home; reducing travel requirements overall.  We should be socially re-organising our days and years so we've no longer got the deep peaks and troughs of use inherited from the day of the candle, and from the years when children were out of school at certain times of the year so they could help with the harvest.

The clean air of no carbon traffic has done wonders for our city and town centres; there is bound to be some kickback as the economy recovers - public mass transit will never reach all places at all times. But good public mass transit in necessary for the foreseeable future as we have nothing more sustainable for the big numbers.

Hmm ... I set off to write up my first trip out.   And I seem to have climed into a pulpit and started lecturing.

We need to get back to travelling and using healthy, sustainble ways. To follow - next post - my first trip.  Made so that I can learn and tell people who ask me or who read my posts.



My first train - the 05:33 from Melksham to Chippenham on 14th July
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 10:03:51 am »

I woke before dawn - quite remarkable at this time of year, this far north - 04:30. Planning to catch the 05:33 train from Melksham, a 25 minute walk; having been locked down in Melksham for four months, I was a little sluggish in getting going and left myself slightly sort of time ... took the car (yes, it is electric) to the station and, perhaps for the last time, parked there for free.    A saving of just 10 minutes is so valuable when running a bit late, and the gap of 139 minutes (yes, 2 hours and 19 minutes) to the next train would throw out the whole day if the 05:33 is missed.

So early in the morning, I'm not surprised to have been the only one in the car park ...



... and the only one getting on the train, though two passengers got off. There was one other person in my carriage, and in view of the rules and regs I decided not to walk through the train to count. I did look into the next carriage and couldn't see anyone. 2 got off at Chippenham, and none on for the journey onward to Swindon. Best estimate 6/3

Return trip stats - the 06:27 Chippenham to Melksham

3 got off at Chippenham, and 6 joined.  There were six in my carriage, 5 in the next and let's guess 5 in the front one. 2 got off and 4 got on at Melksham, so that makes it 20/6 using the old stats (people using train for any journey on the Chippenham / Trowbridge section, / , people using the train to / from Melksham).

Only 20, yes ... yet remarkably good.  This 06:12 off Swindon was the "lemon" prior to 2013, and at that point when we were looking for an average of 20 users on the Chippenham - Trowbridge section, we smiled and pointed out that this one would be one of the ones that was below average.  So - coming out of Coronavirus, Tuesday morning of no merit, people not yet being encouraged onto the train, and we're not doing too bad!!

Still just the one car parked ... but then still not 7 a.m.!



More posts to follow ...  20 mins to next appt.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 10:43:59 am by Red Squirrel » Logged

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CyclingSid
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 07:07:39 am »

Didn't stay to sample the delights of Chippenham? Mind you it is that long since I have been to Chippenham I can't remember what they were.

I have done two trips now. Didcot - Oxford described elsewhere. Winchester last Saturday, appear to be more passengers on SWR, especially on return. Winchester seemed empty, more so without Saturday street market. Hourly trains meant a total of hour and half spent on Basingstoke station.

My thoughts now are go while you can, with care. With the sudden upsurge in cases in California (somewhere that was doing well until easing lockdown) and the report from the Academy of Medical Sciences https://acmedsci.ac.uk/more/news/prepare-now-for-a-winter-covid-19-peak-warns-academy-of-medical-sciences I wonder how long before restrictions return.

Get your flu jab!
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 07:45:01 am »

Didn't stay to sample the delights of Chippenham? Mind you it is that long since I have been to Chippenham I can't remember what they were.

I took a walk around ... got so busy later in the day, though, that I didn't do a writeup.  Some pics:











Further railway pictures to follow too.  The day was spent building a reservoir of material ...
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 07:26:56 pm »

Get your flu jab!

Thanks for the reminder. I wonder how that will work this year. Have doctors surgeries re-opened yet? Will pharmacists continue to give flu jabs as they have in previous years?
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 08:03:09 pm »

From yesterday morning ... 10 pictures in 10 minutes, the 05:33 Melksham to Chippenham.  Hard to find anyone to keep 2 (or even 4) metres from, but is was early.





















Still more posts to come - how the stations look at Melksham and at Chippenham.

P.S. Please may we keep the 158  Grin Grin
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2020, 07:00:58 am »

Quote
Quote from: CyclingSid on July 15, 2020, 07:07:39 am
Get your flu jab!

Thanks for the reminder. I wonder how that will work this year. Have doctors surgeries re-opened yet? Will pharmacists continue to give flu jabs as they have in previous years?

Eligibility for 2020/21 flu season https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53515078

Quote
Who will be offered the flu vaccine?

    people who were required to shield from coronavirus and anyone they live with
    people with some medical conditions including diabetes, heart failure and asthma
    pregnant women
    pre-school children over the age of two
    all primary school children, as last year, and, for the first time, Year 7 pupils
    initially all people over 65, before the programme is extended to the over-50s

Which probably covers most of us.
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