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Author Topic: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed  (Read 73559 times)
Worcester_Passenger
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« Reply #495 on: July 20, 2023, 18:09:43 »

I seem to remember that, when the Birmingham - Cheltenham route via Kings Norton was closed for engineering work on Sundays, and CrossCountry had to go round via Kidderminster, then their trains would stop at Kidderminster to offer an easy day out on the Severn Valley Railway. Alas, by the time you were going home, they were back on the main line.
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Mark A
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« Reply #496 on: July 31, 2023, 11:49:24 »

Affectionate article on Waterloo Station in 'Country Life' magazine

Includes this: "Fewer people are travelling by train since covid. In 2019, Waterloo welcomed 98 million passengers, but that has now fallen to about 41 million per annum."

I'm wondering if that statistic is current...

Mark

https://www.countrylife.co.uk/news/175-years-of-london-waterloo-the-gateway-to-everything-thats-wonderful-258047
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grahame
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« Reply #497 on: July 31, 2023, 12:41:43 »

Affectionate article on Waterloo Station in 'Country Life' magazine

Includes this: "Fewer people are travelling by train since covid. In 2019, Waterloo welcomed 98 million passengers, but that has now fallen to about 41 million per annum."

I'm wondering if that statistic is current...

Mark

https://www.countrylife.co.uk/news/175-years-of-london-waterloo-the-gateway-to-everything-thats-wonderful-258047

Very interesting to hear the Secretary of State - Mark Harper - talking today about the new importance of leisure traffic and thanking people for encouraging it, but how it's vital for the railways that commuters and business traffic also returns.   

Had it been. person to person talk and not a speech to the masses, I might have asked him how some of the cutting back such as (this thread's topic) helps leisure traffic, and with the changing world whether it's realistic to expect all the "vital" commuters and business traffic back.  PreCovid, I thought nothing of s journey to a business meeting, but these days that's the exception and meetings are done online for th most part.   Is Mark setting objectives that will probably fail?  Does he know that?
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Mark A
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« Reply #498 on: July 31, 2023, 15:09:51 »

Ah, a source for that 41,000,000 figure here - it's 2021-22 hence on the low side. (The page has figures from the previous years too.)

Mark

https://www.railwaydata.co.uk/stations/overview/?TLC=WAT
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Mark A
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« Reply #499 on: September 09, 2023, 11:33:48 »

Just filled in a customer survey for South Western Railway, the survey exploring past / current / future use of their network.

My responses possibly didn't directly expose why I expect income to them from me having dropped to a tenth of what it was pre-covid, to stay at that level through to 2024 - but intriguingly the survey was headed up by a map of their system that included Bristol (though no services) and the pick-list of station names for a 'Home' station included Bath Spa.

From another source I hear that when the Bristol - Waterloo trains were canned, there was internal rumbling within SWR» (South Western Railway - about) as it really wasn't a direction people wanted to take, and those rumblings have not subsided.

Mark
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Timmer
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« Reply #500 on: September 09, 2023, 18:51:21 »

From another source I hear that when the Bristol - Waterloo trains were canned, there was internal rumbling within SWR» (South Western Railway - about) as it really wasn't a direction people wanted to take, and those rumblings have not subsided.
I wouldn’t be surprised that there were rumblings. The service was well used and very successful, sometimes a bit too successful based on past experience.
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grahame
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« Reply #501 on: September 10, 2023, 10:10:05 »

From another source I hear that when the Bristol - Waterloo trains were canned, there was internal rumbling within SWR» (South Western Railway - about) as it really wasn't a direction people wanted to take, and those rumblings have not subsided.
I wouldn’t be surprised that there were rumblings. The service was well used and very successful, sometimes a bit too successful based on past experience.

This would not surprise me either.  The decision to take off the service was a poor one in my view, and I felt at the time and still do that it was more a political one than anything else, with the fact of the case bent to ensure they met the required outcome. No consultation, and little or no input from experts who knew and underststood the flows and service served. It probably has been good in driving people who are travelling to London from Bristol, Bath and West Wilts onto the more expensive routes via Reading.  From an accountants viewpoint, the extra income for the IETs (Intercity Express Train) already running to London probably outweighs the loss of income on the 158 to Waterloo and the saving on staff and fuel for that is probably the icing on the cake.

Here comes the irony.  GWR (Great Western Railway) are now running an extra train every hour from Bristol to Westbury, and quite a few of them beyond - five of them to (and terminating at) Salisbury.  From what I've seen they're a mixture of turbos and 158s. And they question has be be asked where the joined up thinking has gone.   It would make so much sense for these units to provide the strengthener units that are added to the Exeter to Waterloo trains routinely at Salisbury and once again provide a through service.  I expect SWR have noticed this internally!
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Mark A
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« Reply #502 on: September 10, 2023, 13:25:19 »

It probably has been good in driving people who are travelling to London from Bristol, Bath and West Wilts onto the more expensive routes via Reading.

A few, yes, but I suspect that rail has simply lost the majority of the passengers that used the through service, some to car, while others travel less or travel elsewhere. All there to be regained of course, and likely in these changed times to rebuild above 100% of what it was.

Mark
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« Reply #503 on: September 11, 2023, 09:52:02 »


Here comes the irony.  GWR (Great Western Railway) are now running an extra train every hour from Bristol to Westbury, and quite a few of them beyond - five of them to (and terminating at) Salisbury.  From what I've seen they're a mixture of turbos and 158s. And they question has be be asked where the joined up thinking has gone.   It would make so much sense for these units to provide the strengthener units that are added to the Exeter to Waterloo trains routinely at Salisbury and once again provide a through service.  I expect SWR» (South Western Railway - about) have noticed this internally!

A couple of extra points about the present "service" on this line.

1. The extra GWR trains you mention (to Salisbury) only run during the "quiet" part of the day - during the morning and evening busy periods you are back to 1 hourly service and the 58 minute wait at Salisbury for a train to Warminster.
2. It would appear that the rolling stock for these additional GWR trains has been obtained by reducing the length of the Cardiff - Portsmouth trains throughout the day.

The so called improvements on this line are very much a smoke and mirrors box ticking exercise !! Lots of extra trains/seats (say GWR) - but at entirely the wrong time of day...................

(I put my daughter on the SWR 1051 to Waterloo at Warminster yesterday - it seemed well populated. I noticed that the GWR service was down to its usually dire state with a later train already showing as cancelled - one of 6 cancellations according to RTT» (Real Time Trains - website) today)
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grahame
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« Reply #504 on: September 11, 2023, 15:06:11 »

1. The extra GWR (Great Western Railway) trains you mention (to Salisbury) only run during the "quiet" part of the day - during the morning and evening busy periods you are back to 1 hourly service and the 58 minute wait at Salisbury for a train to Warminster.

I don't disagree.

When we campaigning for addition services through Melksham, potentially we could have had them during the day a couple of years earlier, but we stuck out for a service to meet the anticipated flow requirement which was a commuter service.

Now - north of Westbury to east of Salisbury is not a commuter flow - or at least to the same extent.   I agree with you that it still remains a horrid wait at certain times - however there's potential there for a handful of the services to be joined up and for the target customer base the tradiitona; peak may not be (so) important.
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« Reply #505 on: October 13, 2023, 15:23:11 »

Improvements to the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) December 2023 timetable at Salisbury mean that most connections to and from Bristol, Bath will be around 20 minutes, both outward and return.

The first walk up off-peak ticketed connection from Bath Spa is going to be the 7:35, offering an arrival into Waterloo at 10:20. Not as user friendly or marketable as the through service that ceased in 2021, but an improvement as the last two years offerings have been a bit dire.

SWR's train up from Westbury at 7:42 has a connection into it from Bristol and Bath Spa - but is at Anytime prices which is a shame as when I've been on it, it was carrying mainly fresh air for a good part of its journey. It would be far more useful to run it up from Bristol and Bath... at 9:07, say. (On the other hand it does sometimes get an allocation of advance fares).

Mark
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grahame
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« Reply #506 on: October 24, 2023, 16:51:59 »

Two years on, my Facebook memories came up with this:



Ironic that with extra (GWR (Great Western Railway)) trains now running to Salisbury, and more Salisbury <-> Basingstoke trains extended to Waterloo from December, the awful connections have become far less awful.  All it needs is stuff terminating from the Bristol direction and stuff terminating from the London direction to carry on as though services.

Perhaps when its all one great GBR (Great British Railways) enterprise, they can provide a joined up service and contract First to run it.  Anyone fancy a word in the ear of Andrew Haines?

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« Reply #507 on: October 25, 2023, 22:14:15 »

With grand union proposing a Cardiff to Edinburgh service wish they'd propose a Carmarthen to London Waterloo service
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Mark A
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« Reply #508 on: December 09, 2023, 12:15:43 »

As Graham mentions upthread, from tomorrow, Bristol to Salisbury trains connect far better with Salisbury to Waterloo services - to the extent that ticketing sites such as National Rail once again offer through tickets on many services that the site previously didn't recognise as connections.

This reinstates a semi-useable train service not only between Bristol and London but the likes of Trowbridge and London - or between the many pairs of intermediate stations, which will be appreciated by a young guy on the train yesterday travelling from Andover to Bristol and who had apparently been given a link to a travel survey as long as your arm along with a substantial bribe for completing it.

The good: some connections at Salisbury are actually less than 20 minutes. Also there's now a useable service from Bristol to London with walk-up anytime return ticket prices from Bath of £66 (railcard) or a walk-up option of £80.80 (full fare, no railcard). Also good, many people find they like Salisbury's class 159 trains - clean windows and interiors, cosy seats and one of the morning connections in particular is a 'Change at Westbury' which works well from the point of view of the quality of the journey.

The less good: a journey which at one point took two hours and ten minutes from Bath (it stopped at major stations save for Salisbury and Westbury, both of which it ran through without stopping) currently takes around 3 hours, no buffet etc and of course the TOCs (Train Operating Company) not being permitted to rebuild the popular through service. Yet...

Overall, such a step change in quality of service that the railway needs to be promoting it. This isn't something that happens very often in Wiltshire and the South West. If it was a new service such as that to Okehampton people would be swooning - and it *is* effectively a new service, especially considering that the evening connections were previously so dire that ticketing web sites either just shrugged or when pressed attempted to sell a meagre provision of advance tickets routed via... Southampton.

Mark
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