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Author Topic: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed  (Read 28543 times)
Mark A
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« Reply #180 on: September 25, 2021, 10:38:11 am »

Since the Secretary of State for Transport dug in on the decision to scrap them, I put a spade in the ground too and put together a quick web resource on the Bristol to Waterloo trains, the decision to axe them, and the need to reverse the decision and take a more positive approach. Here's a link:

http://www.twotunnels.org.uk/waterloo/index.html

Not all my own work, as there's already been help from others, including from this forum, so, hat-tip.

Now, I'm collecting quotes for the site from people who use these trains - if you can help with a quote, please send it to the email address on the site. Thanks in anticipation. we have a few, but could do with a library of 'em.

Mark
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grahame
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« Reply #181 on: September 28, 2021, 03:17:20 pm »

From the Secratary of State for Transport to the Andrew Murrison, MP (Member of Parliament) covering Trowbridge, Westbury Dilton Marsh and Warminster stations, in answer to a message forwarded by the chair of the West Wilts Rail User Group:

Quote
From: Department for Transport
From the Secretary of State The Rt Hon Grant Shapps
Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR
Tel: 0300 330 3000 E-Mail: grant.shapps@dft.gov.uk Web site: www.gov.uk/dft Our Ref: MC/367119 Your Ref: AM/JCP/09/270821 (AM23393)

17 September 2021

To: Rt Hon Andrew Murrison MP House of Commons London SW1A OAA

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your letter of 27 August, enclosing correspondence from your constituent, Richard Cowell, of [address], on behalf of the West Wiltshire Rail Users Group [of which Richard is chair] , about withdrawal of South Western Railway services between Bristol Temple Meads and London Waterloo.

South Western Railway, like all train operators, has been heavily subsidised since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the railway open for key workers. While customers are returning to the railway, current forecasts do not expect them to return to pre-pandemic levels for some time. The overall passenger demand forecast expects a return to 76 per cent of passengers, compared to pre-COVID levels. As a result, South Western Railway and other train operators are looking for opportunities to improve efficiency and the value of the railway to the taxpayer.
While I acknowledge the attractiveness of the through service to Waterloo to passengers, there are increasing capacity issues elsewhere on the West of England line, especially beyond Salisbury, as leisure demand grows. Consequently, the industry is looking to ensure that it can maximise the use of the South Western Railway diesel fleet on the core Exeter route, to ensure that customers can have better journeys. This has led to the decision to withdraw services between London Waterloo and Bristol in December 2021.

Only three stations on the line will lose direct services to London; Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge and Oldfield Park, while all others stations will either have direct services to London Waterloo, using South Western Railway services, or to London Paddington with Great Western Railway services.

You may be aware that South Western Railway and Network Rail are also jointly consulting on the specification for the December 2022 timetable which will provide 93 per cent of the pre-Covid service level. This follows years of responding to additional passenger demand by increasing the number of services on the network. This new timetable is seen as an opportunity to match service-levels to expected demand, while improving the reliability of services and maximising value to the taxpayer. The new specification will act as the base timetable from which services can adapt in response to future changes in demand.

Your constituent is correct that Great Western Railway currently runs an hourly service between Bristol and Salisbury every day, which enables stations on the line to connect to South Western Railway's hourly service to London Waterloo from Salisbury. All stations will have services connecting directly into the Great Western Railway services from Bristol and Bath into London Paddington, which run twice per hour throughout the day.

These proposals will allow South Western Railway and Great Western Railway to consider how to provide attractive connections at Salisbury, whilst recognising the constraints of operating a reliable railway through many complex junctions on both routes, and the single line sections west of Salisbury. While it is regrettable that customers from Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge and Oldfield Park will now have to change trains at Westbury, Salisbury or Bath Spa to get to London this decision will remove duplication of services and improve overall value to the taxpayer.

MPs and Stakeholders were informed directly about the withdrawal of the Bristol services to London Waterloo in advance of the South Western Railway December 2022 timetable consultation at the end of July. Key stakeholders, including Transport Focus, MPs and other elected representatives, passenger and accessibility groups, and business and transport sectors, will be consulted by South Western Railway as part of the December 2022 timetable consultation.
Yours ever,

Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT
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« Reply #182 on: September 28, 2021, 03:43:42 pm »

From the Secratary of State for Transport to the Andrew Murrison, MP (Member of Parliament) covering Trowbridge, Westbury Dilton Marsh and Warminster stations, in answer to a message forwarded by the chair of the West Wilts Rail User Group:

Quote
From: Department for Transport
From the Secretary of State The Rt Hon Grant Shapps
Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR
Tel: 0300 330 3000 E-Mail: grant.shapps@dft.gov.uk Web site: www.gov.uk/dft Our Ref: MC/367119 Your Ref: AM/JCP/09/270821 (AM23393)

17 September 2021

To: Rt Hon Andrew Murrison MP House of Commons London SW1A OAA

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your letter of 27 August, enclosing correspondence from your constituent, Richard Cowell, of [address], on behalf of the West Wiltshire Rail Users Group [of which Richard is chair] , about withdrawal of South Western Railway services between Bristol Temple Meads and London Waterloo.

South Western Railway, like all train operators, has been heavily subsidised since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the railway open for key workers. While customers are returning to the railway, current forecasts do not expect them to return to pre-pandemic levels for some time. The overall passenger demand forecast expects a return to 76 per cent of passengers, compared to pre-COVID levels. As a result, South Western Railway and other train operators are looking for opportunities to improve efficiency and the value of the railway to the taxpayer.
While I acknowledge the attractiveness of the through service to Waterloo to passengers, there are increasing capacity issues elsewhere on the West of England line, especially beyond Salisbury, as leisure demand grows. Consequently, the industry is looking to ensure that it can maximise the use of the South Western Railway diesel fleet on the core Exeter route, to ensure that customers can have better journeys. This has led to the decision to withdraw services between London Waterloo and Bristol in December 2021.

Only three stations on the line will lose direct services to London; Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge and Oldfield Park, while all others stations will either have direct services to London Waterloo, using South Western Railway services, or to London Paddington with Great Western Railway services.

You may be aware that South Western Railway and Network Rail are also jointly consulting on the specification for the December 2022 timetable which will provide 93 per cent of the pre-Covid service level. This follows years of responding to additional passenger demand by increasing the number of services on the network. This new timetable is seen as an opportunity to match service-levels to expected demand, while improving the reliability of services and maximising value to the taxpayer. The new specification will act as the base timetable from which services can adapt in response to future changes in demand.

Your constituent is correct that Great Western Railway currently runs an hourly service between Bristol and Salisbury every day, which enables stations on the line to connect to South Western Railway's hourly service to London Waterloo from Salisbury. All stations will have services connecting directly into the Great Western Railway services from Bristol and Bath into London Paddington, which run twice per hour throughout the day.

These proposals will allow South Western Railway and Great Western Railway to consider how to provide attractive connections at Salisbury, whilst recognising the constraints of operating a reliable railway through many complex junctions on both routes, and the single line sections west of Salisbury. While it is regrettable that customers from Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge and Oldfield Park will now have to change trains at Westbury, Salisbury or Bath Spa to get to London this decision will remove duplication of services and improve overall value to the taxpayer.

MPs and Stakeholders were informed directly about the withdrawal of the Bristol services to London Waterloo in advance of the South Western Railway December 2022 timetable consultation at the end of July. Key stakeholders, including Transport Focus, MPs and other elected representatives, passenger and accessibility groups, and business and transport sectors, will be consulted by South Western Railway as part of the December 2022 timetable consultation.
Yours ever,

Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT

It really is like banging your head against a brick wall, isn't it?
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grahame
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« Reply #183 on: September 28, 2021, 03:48:11 pm »

It really is like banging your head against a brick wall, isn't it?

At least if you bang your head against a brick wall, you can FEEL something's happening even if it's just to you!
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TonyK
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« Reply #184 on: September 28, 2021, 07:10:17 pm »

It really is like banging your head against a brick wall, isn't it?

At least if you bang your head against a brick wall, you can FEEL something's happening even if it's just to you!

It's also nice when you stop.
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« Reply #185 on: September 28, 2021, 11:40:56 pm »

Heard (rumour or fact?) that a number of units are to be stored to save money. If true, does that mean that the implied increase in the units (for leisure travel) on the core Waterloo-Exeter route will actually occur. Remember that the Honiton/Axminster shuttles are also possible reductions in 2022.
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Lee
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« Reply #186 on: September 29, 2021, 12:51:43 am »

Heard (rumour or fact?) that a number of units are to be stored to save money. If true, does that mean that the implied increase in the units (for leisure travel) on the core Waterloo-Exeter route will actually occur. Remember that the Honiton/Axminster shuttles are also possible reductions in 2022.

One cant help but recall that images of stored Class 153 units and the like at Eastleigh back in 2006/2007 did not end well for the government of the day...
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« Reply #187 on: September 29, 2021, 06:46:52 am »

The "not enough stock to run core services otherwise" could, just conceivably, be valid if 3 car trains between Salisbury and Exeter are increased from 3 to 6 or 9 carriages. Fine, dear, DfT» (Department for Transport - about) - so move the goal posts. Provide more carriages - you have them stored and need to remove your artificial "not enough trains here" limit.  Trains can move - that's there whole purpose.  Grin Grin

Heard (rumour or fact?) that a number of units are to be stored to save money. If true, does that mean that the implied increase in the units (for leisure travel) on the core Waterloo-Exeter route will actually occur. Remember that the Honiton/Axminster shuttles are also possible reductions in 2022.

One cant help but recall that images of stored Class 153 units and the like at Eastleigh back in 2006/2007 did not end well for the government of the day...

According to Wikipedia, there are once again stored class 153 units - eight of them of which five are unallocated as far as I can make out.   From mixed sources: 

Stored, unallocated, At Nemesis Rail, Burton Depot (since January this year) - 153356, 153366, 153374, 153381, 153383. "The company provides full maintenance services, returning passenger and freight stock to service, and completes examinations on locomotives and coaches for various companies." Suggest some may now be at Long Marston (from 29th June 2021) - 153383, 153371, 153381 & 153375 Norton Worcester { 1049 Burton Ot Wetmore Sidings ~ Long Marston } 290621 S Widdowson ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/149822823@N04/51279764480/ )  . Noting that 153316, 153332, 153363 are said to be stored allocated too.

Now - quite a few of the units I have mentioned there became suddenly illegal to use because they have loos in them which are not accessible as from the start of this year.  So they can't simply be formed up into a train or two.  But - hang on - not every loo on a train has to be accessible, and one has to wonder if a bit of shuffling would be feasible - well before 12th December - to replace a couple of 2 x 150 diagrams with 150 + 2 x 153 diagrams, releasing a couple of 150s to cascade a couple of 158s to SWR» (South Western Railway - about) - that's if they really need more stock at Salisbury in order to run services which they have already been running, and planning, for many years.

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Mark A
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« Reply #188 on: October 01, 2021, 11:49:46 am »

Ah. Passenger Focus's response to the 2022 SWR» (South Western Railway - about) timetable consultation: now on a web site near you.

https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/publication/south-western-railway-december-2022-timetable-consultation/

Here's the paragraph that closes the response deals with the Bristol - Waterloo direct services.

Salisbury to Bristol Temple Meads

Following a separate review by the Department for Transport, SWR intends to withdraw its current three daily services from December 2021; they are said to duplicate services offered by GWR (Great Western Railway) and therefore not be good value for the taxpayer. In the absence of any information about the services that GWR will run, it is not possible to fully assess the implications of this proposal. Furthermore, the proposal to withdraw services along key regional routes has upset many people, suggesting they are well used and are relied on by passengers. We believe you should carefully consider deferring this proposal to December 2022, to give time for proper consideration of passenger feedback and how needs can be met in future.

Also, in the introduction: "It is noted that SWR plan to implement some of the proposed changes in December 2021."

The issue of the Bristol to Waterloo services tops and tails their response to the timetable consultation and is an excellent test of the effectiveness of Transport Focus's role as a DfT» (Department for Transport - about)-funded watchdog. The outcome of this will be telling and is significant for the entire industry.

Considering the (vanished) morning train at about 08:50 from Bristol. This has not run since the start of the pandemic. Hopefully the decision will now be made to reinstate it for December '21 to allow, as Passenger Focus says, consideration as to how passenger needs can be met in future. The service, if fully reinstated, would then continue to see growth in passenger numbers.
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« Reply #189 on: October 04, 2021, 08:51:25 am »

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« Reply #190 on: October 04, 2021, 01:13:05 pm »

Slight pause (hopefully just a day or two) for me to draw breath, and to put together a good answer to the question "how can I flag up my support if I can't make it to the meeting". I am bearing in mind that the objective here is not to have a meeting but to "save the train" - have it continue on, appropriate (perhaps even more) appropriate for the future.
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« Reply #191 on: October 05, 2021, 09:40:09 am »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
At the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Ms Patel will announce an increase in the maximum sentence for disruption of a motorway and a new criminal offence for interfering with critical national infrastructures such as roads, railways and newspaper printing presses.

Police are also expected to be given wider stop and search powers allowing officers to inspect activists for "lock on" equipment used to prevent them from being moved.

Darn it - that would criminalise getting on a SWR» (South Western Railway - about) train at Oldfield Park or Trowbridge, chaining ourselves to seats and demanding to be taken to Waterloo, where someone would be waiting for us with a key to unlock us.  (Not a serious suggestion in the first place!)
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« Reply #192 on: October 05, 2021, 09:47:00 am »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
At the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Ms Patel will announce an increase in the maximum sentence for disruption of a motorway and a new criminal offence for interfering with critical national infrastructures such as roads, railways and newspaper printing presses.

Police are also expected to be given wider stop and search powers allowing officers to inspect activists for "lock on" equipment used to prevent them from being moved.

Darn it - that would criminalise getting on a SWR» (South Western Railway - about) train at Oldfield Park or Trowbridge, chaining ourselves to seats and demanding to be taken to Waterloo, where someone would be waiting for us with a key to unlock us.  (Not a serious suggestion in the first place!)

Blimey - He was never that militant at Save The Train  Grin
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« Reply #193 on: October 05, 2021, 10:04:41 am »

Letter received from Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, by Chris Irwin, chair of TravelWatch SouthWest in response to a letter of concern on various matters.  I have mirrored the letter at http://www.passenger.chat/sos2twsw_20211004.pdf

Quote
With regards to the decision to withdraw South Western Railway services on the Bristol to Salisbury route, it should be first noted that this decision was made independently of the December 2022 Consultation and will take effect from the December 2021 timetable.

South Western Railway is withdrawing Bristol to Salisbury services to reduce duplication with Great Western Railway services as part of that requirement to look at efficiencies. South Western Railway acknowledge that this will make some through journeys less attractive at certain times of the day. The Department will work with the Great Western Railway to improve connections at Salisbury wherever possible.
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Mark A
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« Reply #194 on: October 06, 2021, 03:37:20 pm »

Service melting away in advance of the December '21 timetable change. The 08:50 train from Bristol to Waterloo on Saturday being the sole survivor of the 6 days a week morning service pre-covid.

https://twitter.com/SW_Help/status/1445751751819227137

We're sorry but due to Covid disrupting our driver training programme, from Saturday we will no longer be running Saturday services between Bristol & Salisbury, and the stopping service from Salisbury to London Waterloo will terminate at Basingstoke.
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