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Author Topic: Looking to the future - Portsmouth to Cardiff  (Read 2273 times)
grahame
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« on: October 22, 2022, 07:35:04 am »

Split off from http://www.passenger.chat/26576 which started off as a thread about Dilton Marsh but has grown into a discussion on the awful shortfalls on the Cardiff to Portsmouth trains.

For today (from 09:23 from Portsmouth, hourly train service lengths to Cardiff

3-3-3-3-5-2-3-3 = 25 carriages; 40 needed for 5 car service

The continued presence of lots of turbos between Reading and various places from there such as Basingstoke, Gatwick and some Oxford, London and Berks and Hants services means, as I understand it, continued unfinished business on the Wessex Main Line ... good to hear Mark Hopwood yesterday considering that the current state of play on this line remains "unfinished business" and indeed that (as I understand it) he will still consider it "unfinished" even if all the trains go up to five carriages.

Mark was talking about future direction - enhancing the service into an hourly express from Cardiff to Portsmouth, and updating the patchwork of other services into an hourly Bristol to Southampton service calling at (? all) intermediate stations, with an extra MetroWest service Bristol to Westbury each hour.  He was also talking of "Operation Churchward", replacing the second generation DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit) across the patch with new trains capable of running on the various electric sources along the way, jumping short gaps with batteries, and only burning fossil fuel as a last resort.

Will this happen?  Knowing Mark, if anyone could achieve it, he could. BUT the $64000 question is "who's going to pay for it?". With revenues so much down, the country short of money, a government who don't see the railways (or climate) as a priority, and appalling reliability issues due to industrial relations and infrastructure problems, it's a brave vision, Mark, and I hope you can achieve it, but I'm not going to bet on it.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2022, 07:42:49 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2022, 11:40:35 am »

Had a trip from Southampton to Westbury on one last week - the 18:10 from Southampton.  Was a bit worried when I saw it was a three car, how many people were on the platform waiting, but I easily got a bay of two in the last carriage which was only half full at the most.

First trip on a GWR (Great Western Railway) Class 158 in a while and a reminder that the interiors are lovely and the seats great, but that is really spoiled by the appalling leg room in the airline seats.  Oh, and the ridiculously large internal CIS (Customer Information System) displays look awful in darkness.

Something like "Operation Churchward" will have to happen at some point of course, as late 80s and early 90s DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit) will need to be replaced within 5-10 years, 15 at the very latest.  Good that new trains are being talked about, albeit vaguely, as perhaps the continuing saga of the 769s is starting to hit home! 

On the flip side, new designs of trains are often delayed as well of course.  The IET (Intercity Express Train) introduction was relatively smooth, but others are very slow to be accepted, Class 701s especially.  Stadler Flirts remain the most impressive type of regional train I've seen, and the Class 756s being built for Wales are tri-mode.  Types already introduced generally get introduced elsewhere with far fewer headaches, so perhaps an order within the next year or two will follow?  Though I'm probably dreaming given the current troubles!
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2022, 03:07:59 pm »

Had a trip from Southampton to Westbury on one last week - the 18:10 from Southampton.  Was a bit worried when I saw it was a three car, how many people were on the platform waiting, but I easily got a bay of two in the last carriage which was only half full at the most.

I was on that train on Thursday - can't have been the same day because it was a four car 158 consist that day.  Yes, there was plenty of space when I joined it at around 18:30 a bit later on its route - but how it would have been an hour earlier when it set off from Portsmouth, I don't know - and services have to be "sized" for the busiest part of their diagram.
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JayMac
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2022, 12:08:50 pm »

Just one 5 car diagram on the PMH-CDF» (Cardiff - next trains) services today.

From Portsmouth between 0601 and 1923:

5-3-2-4-2-3-3-3-5-3-2-4-2-3

44 carriages. 70 needed for full 5 car service. 2 car services totally unacceptable.

I was due to board the 2 car 1110 GWR (Great Western Railway) from Southampton to Salisbury, but I took one look at the number of passengers waiting and decided to wait for the following SWR» (South Western Railway - about) 'Romsey 6' service. There were around 8 other folk who didn't board that 1110 at Southampton. One irate couple were only slightly mollified when station staff sorted authorisation for them to travel with XC (Cross Country Trains (franchise)) to Reading then on to Cardiff.

As for the lack of rolling stock. Yeah I know. Reasons. Roll Eyes
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2022, 01:20:34 pm »

Just one 5 car diagram on the PMH-CDF» (Cardiff - next trains) services today.

From Portsmouth between 0601 and 1923:

5-3-2-4-2-3-3-3-5-3-2-4-2-3

44 carriages. 70 needed for full 5 car service. 2 car services totally unacceptable.

Some of those repeated - I make ing 25 carriages available out of 40 needed.

Quote
As for the lack of rolling stock. Yeah I know. Reasons. Roll Eyes

Ah yes - a lack of OHLE from Patchway to Portsmouth meant that class 332 could not be cascaded when withdrawn from services from Paddington in 2020.
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2022, 01:35:27 pm »

Some of those repeated - I make ing 25 carriages available out of 40 needed.

Apologies. I meant the total number of carriages for the 14 departures from PMH. Not the actual physical rolling stock used for the diagrams. Yes, most sets do more than one round trip. Either way it's still only 62% availability.

And having a 2 car diagram among that lot really isn't on.
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2022, 02:57:18 pm »

And having a 2 car diagram among that lot really isn't on.

Especially on a Friday.  The busiest day of the week.

I saw a 769 on its way from Reading to Oxford ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) on Monday.  It sat down in Kennington Loop for many hours with what looked like techs trying to get it going again!
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2022, 03:49:47 pm »

Just one 5 car diagram on the PMH-CDF» (Cardiff - next trains) services today.

From Portsmouth between 0601 and 1923:

5-3-2-4-2-3-3-3-5-3-2-4-2-3

Update -

5-3-2-4-2-3-3-X-X-3-2-4-2-3

as the 13:23 is cancelled throughout and the 14:23 is starting at Westbury.
The 21:23 (Which expires at Bristol anyway) only starts from Fratton.
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2022, 04:12:23 pm »

Update -

5-3-2-4-2-3-3-X-X-3-2-4-2-3

as the 13:23 is cancelled throughout and the 14:23 is starting at Westbury.
The 21:23 (Which expires at Bristol anyway) only starts from Fratton.

GWR (Great Western Railway) did at least (and it's the very least they're doing) nominally put ticket acceptance with SWR» (South Western Railway - about) in place, allowing for journeys between the south coast and Bath/Bristol/South Wales via Basingstoke and Reading. I say nominally, as its mentioned internally but I can't see mentions on public facing online sources.

No acceptance with XC (Cross Country Trains (franchise)) between Southampton and Reading though, as far as I can tell.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2022, 04:26:20 pm by JayMac » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2022, 08:29:26 pm »

I saw a 769 on its way from Reading to Oxford ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) on Monday.  It sat down in Kennington Loop for many hours with what looked like techs trying to get it going again!

I didn't know there were two (or more) Kennington Loops. The only one I knew about is on the Northern Line.
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2022, 06:36:12 am »

Off Portsmouth Harbour, pattern from 08:23.  3-4-2-3-3-3-3-3 carriages (and starts repeating) - 24 on the service, 40 would be needed for a 5 car service.

Here's a sample of the reports - noting that some aren't even pretenting to be 5 cars in the first place.

Quote
06:28 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 09:53
Facilities on the 06:28 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 09:53.
Will be formed of 2 coaches instead of 4.

Quote
14:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 17:47
Facilities on the 14:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 17:47.
Will be formed of 3 coaches instead of 5.

Quote
16:27 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 19:52
Facilities on the 16:27 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 19:52.
Will be formed of 2 coaches instead of 3.

Not just the "primary" trains - some of the secondary ones too:

Quote
14:55 Weymouth to Gloucester due 18:29
Facilities on the 14:55 Weymouth to Gloucester due 18:29.
Will be formed of 2 coaches instead of 3.

Probably no issue off Weymouth but along the way that becomes the 17:38 off Bristol Temple Meads - peak train - will that be a bit crowded??

So where are the carriages that should be on these services but aren't?  Are they out-of-service (broken down), out-of-service (awaiting routine maintenance), out-of-service (not being paid for, so not running), out-of-service (not enough staff to shunt and couple them), running other services (for example what should be Castle diagrams).
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Mark A
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2022, 12:00:24 pm »

This thread put two things in mind.

* October 2021 and the presentations from DfT» (Department for Transport - about) person, GWR (Great Western Railway) and SWR» (South Western Railway - about) spokespeople with a *lot* of talk of good intentions about strengthening services on this line in place of something *else* the travelling public actually needed, i.e. the soon to be axed Waterloo trains.

* Anecdote: an ordinary Sunday in February 2008 and an attempt to catch a morning train from Bradford on Avon. The two carriages pulled up at the platform completely full and standing, very few were able to board. Photo collage below.

14 years and on that line we still have a railway running old stock that's not suitable for the journey involved and is wildly capacity constrained and concerning formerly popular through services is in retreat.

Mark



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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2022, 02:03:53 pm »

The week before last my wife came back from Portsmouth Harbour to Warminster in a grossly overcrowded 3 car train - displayed as being 5 cars.  Six days later she went down with Covid (after succesfully "shielding" for over 2 years). 2 + 2 = 3.99999 ? ?
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2022, 02:27:04 pm »

So where are the carriages that should be on these services but aren't?  Are they out-of-service (broken down), out-of-service (awaiting routine maintenance), out-of-service (not being paid for, so not running), out-of-service (not enough staff to shunt and couple them), running other services (for example what should be Castle diagrams).

Are they getting them all ‘ship shape and Bristol Bath fashion’ ready for Saturday?  Wink

https://news.gwr.com/news/over-10-000-extra-train-seats-for-this-saturdays-bath-christmas-market
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2022, 02:42:55 pm »

Off topic, but related.
Far too many daily short forms on Cornish services, been going on for years now.
'More trains than normal needing repair'.
Well, bring in many of the laid up stock around the UK (United Kingdom).  Oh wait. we can't, the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) won't pay for that.
Be assured we feel your pain cramped in a reduced 5 car set, but at least you have a train - what more do you want!
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