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 10/12/23 - Winter Timetable starts
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Author Topic: A Sunday trip to Weymouth  (Read 1414 times)
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« on: October 22, 2023, 09:30:04 pm »

As we head to winter and other changes - "anywhere you would like to go" and so we were off to Weymouth for the day.

The rail story to follow tomorrow

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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2023, 12:25:16 pm »

The rail story to follow tomorrow

Part 1

In one way, an excellent day trip from Melksham to Weymouth yesterday - but in another ways a sad illustration of what's wrong with public transport for such a trip.

At the planning stage, we decided to drive to Westbury and park there. No train early enough from Melksham to connect into the 09:04 from Westbury, and with the first train in the other direction through Melksham replaced by a bus, I was dubious about the connection 10:00/10:17 - quite apart from the loss of an hour's daylight in Weymouth. More on connections later

Paying for the trip / getting the right ticket

Parked fine and paid at the ticket machine.  "Card Only" - not a problem for us, but noted.  Had to re-enter registration twice - thought I had pressed "U" in the registration the first time - turned out I had "V" correct, but the font face made it look otherwise.

Tickets ... ticket office closed. Ticket machine not offering what we wanted. Bright yellow threatening "Penaly Fare" notice. Ticket office not only closed but advertising reduced further hours until further notice, and I have to wonder if "Further Notice" is never ... extra advice on ticket machine suggested that using the A to Z would access all the fares available for the journey. Wrong, it wouldn't have done, bu whats the harm in adding those brave words even if they're not actually right?

Advise was "for anything else, buy online or speak to a member of staff". There was a single chap wearing a GWR (Great Western Railway) tabard in the subway, but he wandered off before we reached him. Surprisigly (and what a delight!) the buffet was open and we grabbed tea, coffee and flapjack. I didn't ask if the staff member there could sell us our tickets too.

A 2 car 158 standing in platform 3, towards the country end. Signalled off in good time, and the train crew appear just as it was about due to leave and all six passengers climbed on.  Journey story to follow - I'll keep this post to tickets ... to conclude

Train Manager happily sold us what we wanted - obviously (!) a group save off peak day return for three people from Melksham to Weymouth via Yeovil Pen Mill.  £14.15 a head. Very long roll of paper!

There MAY be some logic in not having a human being is an office at the station entrance to sell tickets and provide information at all times, but before that becomes a standard, it needs to be obvious, straightforward and not threatening for everyone to get the ticket they want for every journey they make.  My example above illustrates the sort of issues that confronted me prior to just one journey.

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2023, 01:03:27 pm »

Part 2

Journey to Weymouth, 09:04 WSB» (Westbury - next trains) -> WEY, 22.10.2023

Class 158, a real pleasure. Just six passengers on board from Westbury, but we started picking up substantially more at Frome, Bruton, Castle Cary ... perhaps 40 on board after Maiden Newton. Excellent journey, lovely sunny day. Thornford and Chetnole were missed out, but we did stop to pick someone up at Yetminster.  I think I heard wheel slip as we restarted; it's certainly notable on this line that the train is slow and pulling hard until just past the summit tunnel, then careers down the other side.  Only slightest issues on the 158 was the power points not working, and the windows could have done with an outside clean.

Check (signals??) around Upwey Wishing Well, but never the less pretty well on time into Weymouth. In spite of low numbers, platform crowded; the wheelchair ramp was put out both to let someone off and someone on for the return trip, and there were quiet a few people on the platform with sutcases waiting to board the returning train (which was running all the way through to Swindon). Looked like they were spread out along the platform as we pulled in - they then clumped when they realised we were just a 2 car train even though the platform will take 5.

We knew to use the loo before we got to Weymouth - even with the smallish passenger count, there was a queue!  And the people with me - although just 3rd (and 1st) visits to Weymouth automatically went out of the side gate at the station there.

See thread top from some lovely pictures from our day - Beach, Fish and Chips, Harbour, Nothe Fort, and Newton's Cove, before back via the Harbourside and Town Centre and a brief stop on the prom at an ice cream stall!  Back to the station for the 16:25 home.

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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2023, 04:53:48 pm »

Part 3 - 16:25 WEY -> WSB» (Westbury - next trains), Sunday, 22nd October 2023

Short, late train - thank goodness we didn't take a connection!

Arrived into Weymouth Station at about 16:10 - oh dear, "Expected 16:50" on the display. Lots of people waiting on platform 1. Occasional automated announcements from SWR» (South Western Railway - about), but though I listened, nothing as to why our train was late.  A check on Real Time Trains told me that the train to form he service was arriving from Swindon, due at 15:57 but had go held up on the way. It eventually arrived at around 16:45 - just a 2 car 158 again; quite a few people off, crowds on. Not really adequate for a lovely Sunday afternoon - people sitting in the luggage rack, and standing too, thugh thre were seats in use for some people's luggage.  And so we set off at 16:55 - a little after even the expected time, but a 10 minute turn around with the crowds was good.

Seven minute stop at Yeovil - passing another train perhaps, though I was asleep so can't be sure. Awake again for Castle Cary - still standing; we were dropping off people but picking up as well.  Held in the Frome loop waiting to get back on the main line - "awaiting a late running express passing on the main line" ... and we eventually got into Westbury at 18:31 - 35 minutes late. Train Manager apologising for the missed connection to Bath Spa, and advising that the next service would be at 19:15.  Pity Bristol passenger who would have been an hour late and then had a bus - new arrival there 20:35 if the bus was on time (contrast - Sunday timetable is 16:08 from Weymouth, direct train to Bristol at 18:29).

Platform at Westbury "heaving" - at 18:00 arrival from Bath headed for Portsmouth Harbour had expired in Platform 2. Not a great day to be connecting - wise choice to park and ride. We pushed our way to the stairs and left the station.  Thank goodness for our "defensive planning".


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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2023, 07:20:35 am »

Yes, it can be difficult for those passengers without some basic understanding of how the railways work. GWR (Great Western Railway), SWR» (South Western Railway - about), Southern and Cross Country all have their individual quirks, both trains and stations, which you eventually pick up and are useful when things start to fall apart on a journey.
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