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Author Topic: 2023 - Train update and amendment log - Swindon <-> Westbury  (Read 67630 times)
grahame
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« Reply #795 on: December 11, 2023, 20:47:32 »

This is rather better than past form ....

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In response we've a road transport contingency to operate Westbury - Trowbridge - Melksham - Chippenham - Swindon (in both directions). The vehicles have been requested to marry up with the train times. They've now been confirmed. To be clear this is intended for Melksham customers only. Customers for other stations are advised that you have rail alternatives at your disposal. Please speak with station staff for further information or trigger an available help-point located on platform level.

But a long way from the service that should be provided.
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grahame
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« Reply #796 on: December 12, 2023, 12:35:57 »

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16:23 Westbury to Swindon due 17:08
17:36 Swindon to Westbury due 18:20

17:36 Swindon to Westbury due 18:20 will be cancelled.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.

What the **** - no strikes, no industrial action, no widespread cancellations elsewhere - there are times I feel that we in Melksham are treated as second class citizens when it comes to running our train service.    Then there are time like this that I feel more third class than second.

With last Friday's party out the way, do the powers that be feel that they can relax again as we won't be in the limelight again for a while?    One of the local county team wrote to me after Friday "rail connectivity is very much part of our Local Plan for Wiltshire and I will be working hard to make the case for further developments over the coming years across the County" which is great, but we must make sure that what we have at the moment is working properly, and I see in that letter no commitment to do that. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2023, 12:41:28 by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #797 on: December 12, 2023, 13:08:41 »

Could well be someone has gone sick at short(ish) notice?  First part of the diagram (that bit) now uncovered, hence the cancellation.  Then the remainder of that diagram - a trip to Cardiff and back and associated shunts - covered by no less than four different drivers doing bits and pieces.
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« Reply #798 on: December 12, 2023, 13:16:14 »

Could well be someone has gone sick at short(ish) notice?  First part of the diagram (that bit) now uncovered, hence the cancellation.  Then the remainder of that diagram - a trip to Cardiff and back and associated shunts - covered by no less than four different drivers doing bits and pieces.

Maybe ... and if the service was typically reliable it would be far easier to forgive.   But where there are cancellations every day, "short notice" isn't an easy sell, and if GWR (Great Western Railway) are one driver short at the last, why choose the diagram where the following train isn't for over 2 hours (northbound) and over an hour (southbound).
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grahame
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« Reply #799 on: December 12, 2023, 13:37:57 »

Rather an illustration that a single train might be more efficient ...

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Additional Information
Road transport in operation on this route:
1 X MPV departing Westbury for Melksham only at 16:25.
1 X MPV departing Melksham for Chippenham and Swindon at 16:40.
1 X MPV departing Swindon for Melksham only at 17:40.
1 X MPV departing Melksham for Trowbridge and Westbury at 18:05.

Chippenham to Melksham for the 17:53 train - or is that wait for the 7 O'Clock?
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« Reply #800 on: December 12, 2023, 14:03:38 »

...and if GWR (Great Western Railway) are one driver short at the last, why choose the diagram where the following train isn't for over 2 hours (northbound) and over an hour (southbound).

I don't have the time to delve too much into that, and I'm not a resources manager (I can't think of a much worse job the way things are now set up tbh), but there seems to be too many of the 'West' area jobs covered by multiple drivers/guards these days.  And, as mentioned before, so much chopping and changing crews around on a given train generally. 

It makes 'stepping up' crews from other train at short notice even harder.
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« Reply #801 on: December 12, 2023, 14:25:03 »

I'm off to Swindon from Templecombe this evening. Going via Reading rather than Westbury for three reasons.

- At my chosen departure time there would be a lengthy connection wait at Westbury for a TransWilts train.
- Said TransWilts train may not run.
- Avoiding circulating through Bath in the evening peak.

- Okay. Four reasons. I can grab a beer in The Three Guineas at Reading.
- Okay. Five reasons. If either the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) or GWR (Great Western Railway) networks fall down I'd rather be stuck in Basingstoke or Reading than Westbury.

All that is worth the extra £8 or so for the ticket valid via Reading. Welcome to rail journey planning in 2023. So many more variables have to be accounted for due to the woeful state of the railways.
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« Reply #802 on: December 12, 2023, 16:22:07 »

...and if GWR (Great Western Railway) are one driver short at the last, why choose the diagram where the following train isn't for over 2 hours (northbound) and over an hour (southbound).

I don't have the time to delve too much into that, and I'm not a resources manager ...

Totally understood and thank you for explaining / commenting thus far.   And please excuse the frustration.
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« Reply #803 on: December 13, 2023, 09:49:18 »

If train cancellations and delays were consistent - always the same train, always caused for the same reason, they might be easier to analyse and fix.  But one of the difficulties I find in looking at the data and thinking how that takes us forward.    Here is recent history from recent train times, Swindon to Melksham:



* The CANC/NR» (Network Rail - home page) boxes are what are admitted to being lost in official stat
* The greyed out area are where there should have been trains but they were cancelled earlier on
* The yellow highlights are trains that were flagged up as cancelled but then ran after all

I have looked at a similar recent trains time diagram for Bath to Bradford-on-Avon and it is a very similar patchy picture - with the massive difference being that each cancellation in the sample I took was followed by another train that actually ran within around half an hour - exception on 7th December.
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« Reply #804 on: December 13, 2023, 11:39:12 »

If train cancellations and delays were consistent - always the same train, always caused for the same reason, they might be easier to analyse and fix. 

Grahame, I think (and I dare say you would agree) that this is far too short a timeframe to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Nevertheless, even over this period, the 18:44 from Swindon stands out to me as being especially unreliable. It would be interesting to look back over a longer period (12 months) at this particular train, and the 20:06 from Westbury to Cheltenham.

I suspect you might find a deterioration in reliability since May 2023 when I understand a decision was implemented to change the crewing arrangements for this pair of trains, with associated implications for the type of train to be used.
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« Reply #805 on: December 13, 2023, 13:17:44 »

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17:50 Gloucester to Salisbury due 20:06 will be terminated at Swindon.
It will no longer call at Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury, Dilton Marsh, Warminster and Salisbury.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.

20:06 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 22:05 will be started from Swindon.
It will no longer call at Westbury, Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.
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« Reply #806 on: December 13, 2023, 19:48:32 »

If train cancellations and delays were consistent - always the same train, always caused for the same reason, they might be easier to analyse and fix. 

Grahame, I think (and I dare say you would agree) that this is far too short a timeframe to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Nevertheless, even over this period, the 18:44 from Swindon stands out to me as being especially unreliable. It would be interesting to look back over a longer period (12 months) at this particular train, and the 20:06 from Westbury to Cheltenham.

I suspect you might find a deterioration in reliability since May 2023 when I understand a decision was implemented to change the crewing arrangements for this pair of trains, with associated implications for the type of train to be used.

I am totally in agreement (that data needs to be looked at over a longer time scale) - and the longest offered to me by recent time trains is six months.





23 cancellations out of 127 scheduled on the 18:44 from Swindon.  I suspect that should be out of 130, but three days lost a few days ahead because of anticipated industrial action.

But yet the whole picture needs to be looked at, not just the worst train.  The busiest southbound train of the day is the 17:36 and it's my understanding that GWR (Great Western Railway) prioritise its operation.  Never the less, 10 cancellations out of 129 - at 8% cancellation rate - is 4 times what the average should be, over six months - and a failure once a fortnight to provide a train home.

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grahame
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« Reply #807 on: December 13, 2023, 20:29:16 »

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Delays to services between Chippenham and Swindon
Following a fault on a train in front of this one between Chippenham and Swindon the line towards Swindon has now reopened.
Train services running through these stations are returning to normal. Disruption is expected until 21:30 13/12.
Customer Advice
A Freight Train in front has broken down, a fitter is en-route to assist.

Quote
20:13 Swindon to Westbury due 20:58

20:13 Swindon to Westbury due 20:58 will be cancelled.
This is due to a fault on a train in front of this one.
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« Reply #808 on: December 14, 2023, 04:59:50 »

20:06 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 22:05

20:06 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 22:05 will be cancelled.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.
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grahame
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« Reply #809 on: December 14, 2023, 09:57:28 »

Another day and another cancellation already logged.

Are we being reasonable in looking for a more reliable service from Swindon to Westbury?  I believe we are.   What could be achieved, even by the current team?   Let's not look for something beyond what they have achieved elsewhere - let's compare to what we know can be done.

We have often compared Melksham to Newquay - towns with similar populations, and with a similar train service of a single shuttle train every couple of hours or so.    Here is the recent report, and the last six months that you can compare upthread.

Worst loss - 7 times in six months for Newquay, 22 times in six months for Melksham.  Yep, I would be happy if I can come back to this thread at the next timetable change at the start of June and see that Melksham has been raised to the Newquay standard that GWR (Great Western Railway) have achieved at Newquay.




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