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Author Topic: Sunday "Cancellations"  (Read 382 times)
WSW Frome
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« on: February 03, 2021, 03:19:23 pm »

My wife and I have had to use the train to Weymouth on recent Sundays to undertake carer missions for an elderly relative. For the past two Sundays we have attempted to join the 09.07 WSB-WEY at FRO. On both days the data systems show the train as on time until 10 -15 mins prior, then it becomes an unspecified delay. In both cases this was due to unfinished engineering works.

On 24 Jan the train did arrive about 70 mins late but was then turned around at Dorchester with the passengers turfed out and no onward taxis provided. The following train was only about 10 mins behind. On 31 Jan the train went completely AWOL. Other cancellations have also occurred seemingly down to equipment failures.

Now we can understand that these overruns occur but surely Network Rail and Control have plenty of advance indication that this will happen. So why is only 15 mins notice provided when the train could be formerly cancelled or retimed and avoid such inconvenience on a cold Sunday morning. How about a Sunday service - Network Rail?

[Graham et al. have done good analysis of HoW and MetroWest futures and I intend to comment but cannot do so just yet]

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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2021, 07:56:19 am »

As I understand it, there were significant pressures across the whole GWR area (perhaps beyond) from Network Rail and the Department for Transport to end passenger services early on Saturday evenings and open them later on Sundays from last December to allow more time for engineering works in current Covid times. The "official fear" as relayed to me was that Network Rail would not be able to provide a robust / reliable infrastructure (? over the weekend, impinging onto other times) if not allowed longer possession time than normal

One of the messages that was very hard indeed to get into "the system" was that key worker and essential journeys take place every day ... there are still pockets of historic or limited thinking which seem surprised when it's pointed out that carers (for example) - and health service and supply chain workers have to be there seven days a week.

I'm afraid that all I'm offering is background, not solutions. There are industry cost implications in allowing longer for engineering / doing fewer tasks per possession, and in providing "just in case" alternatives should things overrun.  Having said which, a number of things like information systems and better mechanisms to call out taxis should be possible and not cost an arm and a leg.   Unless it has changed of late (and I have no evidence that it has), some of the mechanisms are so inefficient as to be close to useless, and I have to wonder if there's an element of intent in that - making them almost useless might make them almost unused, which means they cost the railways almost nothing in immediate terms, even if the system damages people's journey and confidence in the rail service.

I have attached the recenttraintimes log for Sunday mornings from Frome to Weymouth to this post. One failure is unfortunate, two could just be a co-incidence.  Should it fail again this Sunday, it would be a pretty clear pattern.  None of which forgives the lack of onward transport at Dorchester when the late running was known about well in advance and the need could have been predicted.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 08:49:02 am by grahame » Logged

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