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Author Topic: Adventures - Melksham to Brighton - 23.5.2022  (Read 504 times)
grahame
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« on: May 25, 2022, 01:46:13 pm »

On Monday (23rd May 2022), I travelled from Melksham to Brighton.  Intent was to go all the way there and back by train.  But as is all too common these days, getting the train from and to Melksham failed in both directions. 

Outbound

I planned to leave Melksham on the 09:10 train on Monday morning, changing at Westbury and Cosham, to arrive Brighton 13:20.  But at 08:02, JourneyCheck told me that the train was diverted and would not be calling at Melksham.  Nothing stated abou alternative arrangements, so I called National Rail Enquiries.  After a five minute conversation, the enquiry clerk said he would call the train operator and get back with me; he took my name and number and promised a call back "very soon" to let me know.  I let him know (a) I had to leave in 20 minutes to walk to the station, and I had tickets to pick up there.

No phone call back ... and just after 08:30 I left to walk to the alternative bus instead; no acceptance of my train ticket on there (and that would be even supposing I had my ticket by that time) so an extra cost - just £2.70 but perhaps I should claim back from GWR (Great Western Railway) on principle?

Into Trowbridge, Trinity Church - knowing the area, got off around 100 yards from the station.  Ticket machine out of order, but ticket office open and lady there looked up and issued my tickets. 

Postscript. It turned out that the cancelled-at-Melksham train was restored, running late. I could have made the connection easily. But no call back from National Rail, and in any case the re-instatement might have been after I had committed to the bus.

Inbound

16:30 from Brighton, with multiple changes along the way, would have seen me arrive into Melksham on the final train at 21:09.

However, the 16:30 Brighton to Southampton was diverted at short notice to Bognor Regis, and passengers for Chichester and beyond turfed out at Barnham.  Southern's train manager initially assured me I would make my connection at Southampton, but on gently pressing him admitted I wouldn't ... and so it turned out.

I phoned home and got picked up at Trowbridge at about 20 past eight - after the last train to Melksham had left, and long after the last bus.

Postscript. Trains in and out of Brighton along the coast very busy indeed, and the missing 17:02 GWR service to Trowbridge a real pain; could have really done with it!
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brooklea
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2022, 01:56:19 pm »

I’m intrigued by your planned return journey; via Reading presumably to get the 20:45 from Swindon?

It’s unfortunate you weren’t doing the journey yesterday, when the 20:06 from Westbury to Cheltenham was a guaranteed connection off the 18:24 from Portsmouth Harbour, as the train to form the Cheltenham was split off the rear of the Portsmouth - Cardiff train due to a train failure earlier in the day. But then yesterday of course, the 16:30 from Brighton ran through to Southampton as booked!
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2022, 05:16:12 pm »

I’m intrigued by your planned return journey; via Reading presumably to get the 20:45 from Swindon?

It’s unfortunate you weren’t doing the journey yesterday, when the 20:06 from Westbury to Cheltenham was a guaranteed connection off the 18:24 from Portsmouth Harbour, as the train to form the Cheltenham was split off the rear of the Portsmouth - Cardiff train due to a train failure earlier in the day. But then yesterday of course, the 16:30 from Brighton ran through to Southampton as booked!

Yes - planned return was the "long way round" from Southampton.

It would make sense if the 18:24 ex PMH routinely divided at WSB» (Westbury - next trains), with CDF» (Cardiff - next trains) and CMN portions ... 5 cars not needed that late at night - or does it become a key late evening service on return from CDF?
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brooklea
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2022, 05:41:23 pm »

It would make sense if the 18:24 ex PMH routinely divided at WSB» (Westbury - next trains), with CDF» (Cardiff - next trains) and CMN portions ... 5 cars not needed that late at night - or does it become a key late evening service on return from CDF?

Well it was deemed worthy of having another two carriages attached at Bristol to make it back up to 4 cars; something to do with a certain Mr Sheeran performing in Cardiff I believe  Wink
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2022, 07:32:24 pm »

It’s unfortunate you weren’t doing the journey yesterday, when the 20:06 from Westbury to Cheltenham was a guaranteed connection off the 18:24 from Portsmouth Harbour, as the train to form the Cheltenham was split off the rear of the Portsmouth - Cardiff train due to a train failure earlier in the day. But then yesterday of course, the 16:30 from Brighton ran through to Southampton as booked!

The Cheltenham Spa train via Melksham is booked to leave Westbury at 20:06 and the wanna-connect from Portsmouth arrives there at 20:10. Classic!

Yesterday, that delayed 20:06 didn't set off until 20:23 - 17 minutes late - and it was still two minutes late when it reach Cheltenham Spa.  I'm sure there's a very good reason it couldn't be timetabled to leave Westbury at 20:16.
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