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Author Topic: On the Salisbury accident & the campaign to retain Bristol to Waterloo services  (Read 2791 times)
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« on: November 02, 2021, 08:37:35 am »

I spent most of yesterday on the aftermath of the Sunday evening train collision near Salisbury.

There has been a great deal of interest in what went wrong, and speculation as to what it might have been. This has not been helped by initial official report talking of the first train hitting an obstruction, and then later reports saying there is no evidence of an obstruction.  Radio and TV interviews (regional and national) to explain things like the layout of the tracks, to explain rail accident investigation, to re-assure the audience of rail safety took some of my time, as did advising those who need to travel this week.

Online comment and moderation also cut into my time - lots of deeply personal stuff from members. We have an out of the ordinary situation which requires far more input from the online team, and the usual ability to act and speak on "autopilot" was displaced with a need to craft every action. On top of those activities, I needed to keep up to date with the developing news so that I in turn could inform and act as appropriate - for example handling an offer to go to Salisbury to be recorded on site, which I turned down.

Mt first thoughts go to those affected - to the injured especially, whether physically or emotionally and to their friends and families.

Which rather left other things planned for the day put off to one side, and that includes my role in the campaign to retain the popular Bristol Temple Meads to London (Waterloo) train services which, ironically, pass through that tunnel in Salisbury - the last one just three quarters of an hour before the collision, at 17:37.  And I probably won't be more than "lightly" back on that topic today with all parties still shocked, and dealing with aftermaths be it the Unions, the train companies or the Department for Transport. The Competition and Mergers Authority is probably far enough removed from "rail" in general to be followed up today.

Someone asked me "will this affect the campaign". It may. As campaigners, we already feel that the Department for Transport, South Western Railway and the wider First Group have been less that open and honest with us. Secret decisions taken in the Spring, circumventing usual consultations and even their own watchdog, and only revealed 20 minutes before an extended (40 day) deadline under Freedom of information disclosed an unsavoury arranging between GWR (Great Western Railway) (100% First owned), SWR» (South Western Railway - about) (70% First owned) and the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) that came to light long after the normal channels and timescales for change deadlines had passed.  Late last month, SWR offered us a meeting in the week of 8th November - another two weeks away - but then when we gave a cautious green light said they would need to delay by a further two weeks and we have to wonder if that as the plan all along - kicking us into the long grass with the intention of letting the clock run out?

It was Department for Transport spin doctor Jo Moore who sent an e-mail as New York's twin towers burned, suggesting that 11 September was a good day to "bury" bad news. And one has to wonder, with the tactics adopted so far this time around and the distrust generated if there could be similar tactics.  Could the two trains taken out of service be used as a "not enough stock" excuse for the trains never to return (quietly ignoring spare stock not in use because fewer Salisbury - Waterloo trains are running anyway, and class 15xs mothballed too?). Could the ructions thrown into the SWR and GWR system be used an excuse to push out the 8th - or 22nd - November meeting still further until, "oops", the trains have gone anyway?

Against this background, today, even though it's less that 48 hours since the collision, I'm writing this post and remind readers to keep spreading the word, and keep signing the petition - now up to 4,972 signatures of which 1,231 are in the constituency that include Trowbridge, 1,211 in the constituency that include Bradford-on-Avon, 361 in the constituency that includes Oldfield Park and 259 in the constituency that includes Keynsham - all of which lose all their through trains from London next month (OK - there will remain a single train at 06:20 from Paddington to Keynsham on Mondays to Fridays).

I am also taking a punt that none of those on the train at Salisbury would want services through there lost as a result of the accident - it would be a most unfortunate epitaph, unless clear safety reasons emerge.

Petition at . Links to much more information at .
« Last Edit: November 02, 2021, 09:22:16 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2021, 09:43:22 am »

...Radio and TV interviews (regional and national) to explain things like the layout of the tracks, to explain rail accident investigation,...

It came as no surprise, to me at least, that 14 hours after the accident - plenty of fact checking time - a correspondent from the Salisbury Journal was still telling radio/TV listeners/viewers that the first train derailed and was then hit by the second one coming from the opposite direction. And numerous media outlets seemed not to be aware of the RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch), saying that 'the police' - whether Wiltshire Constabulary or the BTP (British Transport Police) was not specified - were carrying out an investigation.
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2021, 11:18:15 am »

The petition has just reached 5000 signatures  Smiley

Vous devez ĂȘtre impitoyable, parce que ces gens sont des salauds -
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