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Author Topic: 10 years on - what for the next ten years?  (Read 1353 times)
grahame
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« on: January 06, 2023, 15:29:48 »

We're coming up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our improved train service in Melksham at the end of this year.  So that's the first decade - how should we start the next decade?  See http://grahamellis.uk/blog735.html#mkm2013 for my suggestions.

Edit- Red Squirrel - typo !0 -> 10
« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 14:29:18 by Red Squirrel » Logged

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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2023, 17:02:20 »

Just a minor point in the blog - I think it was the 8th December 2013 rather than the 15th.  At least that is the date on my photos from the day.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2023, 17:31:10 »

Just a minor point in the blog - I think it was the 8th December 2013 rather than the 15th.  At least that is the date on my photos from the day.

Oops - likely was ... I will check and correct it ...
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2023, 10:30:25 »

The service record for the first five weeks of the new timetable has been appalling.  For public record, here is an attempt to flag this up and see if there's any way a solution can be triggered.   The letter has been copied to appropriate stakeholders.



Dear Jxxx and Jxx

In writing to inform folks locally to where I live in Melksham who are concerned at reports of train disruption, I have looked back at your recent record. It's poor - to the extent that the train service is not fit for purpose due to reliability issues.

Of 536 trains scheduled in the first five weeks of the new GWR (Great Western Railway) published timetable from 11th December 2022, only 299 trains ran. On only 5 out of 35 days did every scheduled train run. On 28 days there were cancellations, sometimes of the entire service. Two days (25.12 and 26.12) there were no trains timetabled in the first place.

In most cases, if a single train at Melksham is cancelled it's two hours or longer before another leaves in the same direction. And if any train is cancelled without there being another within the following 40 minutes or so, passengers are severely inconvenienced and put off from using your services because they cannot trust you will get them where they are going.

This is not a new issue, and whilst disruption is not limited to Melksham, it's a lot worse here and on this line than (to my knowledge) than on any other GWR service. The time for apologies, excuses, expressions of hope, and over-optimistic promises is past. What are you doing to actually fix the problems which have been going on in various forms for a long time? How can we as a community help you fix the problems rather than just being a depressing, complaining, annoying nag?

I have a suggestion. The next timetable change is due in May 2023. Why not replace the complex service which still includes some historic peculiarities and has multiple trains and multiple crews on the line at some times of day with a simple shuttle train, on two staff shifts during each day, and with suitable personal needs breaks during each shift? Same times every day of the week ... first draft:
First shift
from Westbury at 05:17, 07:17, 09:17 and 11:47
from Swindon at 06:07, 08:14, 10:14 and 12:44
Second shift
from Westbury at 14:17, 16:47, 19:22 and 21:47
from Swindon at 15:14, 17:44, 20:14 and 22:44
That may look radical - but many services and key timed ones are remarkably close to current ones, and know gaps filled. May 2023 is close by traditional industry standards, but your timetabling team has proven themselves very capable of short term planning in recent years, so I know you could achieve this sort of thing if you’re so minded and enabled.

Hoping to start a conversation here, Jxxx and Jxx, to look forward to the future. Full breakdown of current failures available if you need it. Also (and it's positive) of the business case and timing logic for each individual train in the suggested timetable from May. So I am copying this personal conversation starter not only to those who are concerned at the current situation, but also to those who can help for the future.  And you know it needs sorting out!

Graham
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ChrisB
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2023, 10:50:10 »

Just bear in mind that they will need to get this past the DfT» (Department for Transport - about), so make sure your MP (Member of Parliament) Is in full support & he knows that the request is likely to be forthcoming!
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2023, 10:56:34 »

Just bear in mind that they will need to get this past the DfT» (Department for Transport - about), so make sure your MP (Member of Parliament) Is in full support & he knows that the request is likely to be forthcoming!

Indeed - "and enabled" in my letter, and steps in place to help the enabling process if needed.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2023, 11:04:04 »

I think keeping drivers, TM(resolve)’s and trains together for as much as possible is far preferable than the current arrangements for a lot of diagrams where small efficiencies are gained from chopping and changing but it causes havoc when things start to go wrong.

One thing I will say it that some routes have agreed maximums per shift - to reduce the chance of mistakes due to repetition.  I don’t know if Westbury<>Swindon has such a maximum, but there’s a chance that it could make the above suggestion unworkable.
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To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2023, 11:19:24 »

Indeed: Reading - Basingstoke being one, for example
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2023, 11:51:57 »

I think keeping drivers, TM(resolve)’s and trains together for as much as possible is far preferable than the current arrangements for a lot of diagrams where small efficiencies are gained from chopping and changing but it causes havoc when things start to go wrong.

One thing I will say it that some routes have agreed maximums per shift - to reduce the chance of mistakes due to repetition.  I don’t know if Westbury<>Swindon has such a maximum, but there’s a chance that it could make the above suggestion unworkable.

Indeed: Reading - Basingstoke being one, for example

The very sort of useful feedback - thank you. 

* If the overall rail service was reliable, then complex diagrams to be a little bit more efficient make sense.  But the service is not reliable and I would suggest it's too complex for its own good except on days where everything is running right - and that has been just one day a week ...

* Reading <-> Basingstoke is a cycle that takes an hour ... Swindon <-> Westbury takes two hours. I wonder where the boredom from repetition line is drawn.   I await further comment, but there are various tweaks to that draft available. I have intentionally not added lots of detail, leaving that until I learn a bit more and letting the experts advise.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2023, 12:16:29 »

I believe it is a max of 3 or 4 round-trips to Basingstoke then they have to go elsewhere, but I might be overstating that number.
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