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Author Topic: Some thoughts on getting around ...  (Read 1307 times)
grahame
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« on: September 04, 2022, 05:45:55 am »

05:30 - Sunday 4th September 2022

Our household is awake - at 05:30 on a Sunday morning.  At least one of our guests is getting up, headed out by bicycle to her job two miles away near the site of Semington Halt, and I'm headed out by car in about 20 minutes to collect another guest who started on nights last night in a workplace just a few yards from the site of Lacock Halt.

As I drove our guest out to his work at 20:00 last night, it struck me how I had become Dad's Taxi, how inefficent Dad's Taxi is (6 person journeys and 4 vehicle journeys, versus 2 and 2 self-drive or 2 and no extra by public transport) and how much we have lost over the years.  When I wrote up my blog about Lacock Halt in 2014 - http://www.wellho.net/mouth/4250_Lacock-Halt-former-TransWilts-Station.html - there were five buses a day passing the site, but now they are gone too.   Perhaps global warming is our own backward step even loclly with pickup runs like mine, and the electic car I am using simply transfers the energy sourcing from fossil fuel burned locally to another.

I hear a cockerell crowing (yes, really, here in Melksham) and I had better change out of night attire and get on the road.  I will be back to look forward.



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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2022, 08:50:09 am »

06:30

Back home - and it's amazing how much activity there was out and about even before dawn. 

I have done lifts to / from the Semington Halt factories for the past month of two, and am amazed at the number of places down there with an 06:00 start.  Cars, cycles, people walking.  Not many pick ups / drop offs and I would suggest that's because of the inefficiency of it on a continuous basis; the employees are not children so it hasn't the shape of the school run.

At Lacock Halt this morning, a hive of activity as I collected off the night hift.  Lots of cars driving out, and a coach to bus people - to Chippenham, I understand.  Again, few if any other pick up lifts, though no idea of drop offs.  I did stop at the bus stop I blogged about in 2014; the timetable panel is village information, a second panel is just a frame - and there's still a bus stop flag forlornly there many years after the last bus ran.  Also seeing loads of people arriving at the car boot sale that was starting up.

Truly there is activity around even when most of our members may be asleep - a 24 hour, 7 day economy in parts, and much fed by individuals in individual vehicles with internal combustion engines, and the inefficient, damaging and increasingly expensive side of that.

So - how can the environmental impact of this travel to work be improved, and at the same time the quality of life and journey for the individuals involved? 

On Mondays to Fridays, a passenger train passes the site of Lacock Halt at 05:40 northbound and 06:30 southbound and if it stopped that would be an ideal commute onto the day shift and off the night shift - but I don't see it happening.  There is a bus at 06:40 from the main road (about half a mile away) into Melksham - but Monday to Friday only - first Saturday bus 08:10 and nothing on Sunday. Last bus the other way (to get ready for night shift) would get him to work 2 hours early! Talk of restoring the evening and Sunday service on x34 is indefinitely delayed but it's something I would say has a serious chance and shorter than in the long term too.

Realistically, Semington Halt won't re-open either - it would need a whole line rebuilding. Again it's on that x34 bus route - but daytime shift starts of 2 p.m., 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. would involve an arrival (Monday to Friday times) 13:30 (excellent), 18:10 (awful) and 18:10 again with a 12 hour wait (silly). But this is where there is volume, and learning from that Lacock to Chippenham bus, an opportunity here - merging an all day, every day town bus service with sponsored extensions covering business and factory areas, residential areas, Town Centre, train and intertown bus connections and supermarkets. And the elements on this one may just be starting to add up.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2022, 02:35:15 pm »

The difficulty in looking at this in terms of Lacock Halt and the frequency of the X34 bus may only address part of the issue. There is no guarantee that all employees want to get to or from Melksham or Chippenham, or indeed even a majority of them.

Lacock is a predominantly rural area; Semington is on the southern edge of the urban area of Melksham. Employees may well be coming from Calne or Devizes or Trowbridge or Bradford on Avon or Corsham, or anywhere in between as well as perhaps places further away. Some of those journeys would be nigh on impossible to carry out with public transport.

One of the employers in Lacock, Stonegate Farms, provide their own staff transport, and I wonder whether this might be more appropriate in these cases.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2022, 03:00:45 pm »

The difficulty in looking at this in terms of Lacock Halt and the frequency of the X34 bus may only address part of the issue. ...

Indeed, and I don't think the solution, realistically, lies in either Lacock Halt or a significant change to the x34 just for the purpose.  With x34 "all day, every day" - and that was in the plans and quite recent too  Wink - a corollary could be to pick up some egg traffic.  Our solution, though, first shift, was to run "Dad's Taxi".   As our guest can drive, he is now insured to drive our car for a few weeks, and lost to public transport; he has a dream of saving and buying his own UK (United Kingdom) car and with a multi-income household, that's feasible.

The Semington question is a different one ...
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broadgage
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2022, 02:03:13 am »

Would an electrically assisted cycle be worth considering?
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2022, 06:25:40 am »

Would an electrically assisted cycle be worth considering?

Yes.  Has been considered.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2022, 08:47:44 am »

One of the employers in Lacock, Stonegate Farms, provide their own staff transport, and I wonder whether this might be more appropriate in these cases.

Lots of buses run up the Gloucester Road A38 in Bristol to Aztec West but Amazon still find it worthwhile having their own staff transport buses. I've seen Dyson do the same, closer to Grahame's area.
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