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  • WWRUG - Dan Okey in Trowbridge: November 29, 2023
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Author Topic: 29th November 2023 - a GWR Senior Manager at WWRUG, Trowbridge  (Read 1861 times)
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« on: November 17, 2023, 06:04:54 am »

The November newsletter from WWRUG» (West Wiltshire Rail Users Group - about) is at the printers and being distributed to members over the weekend - eight pages packed with news including Travel Cards, Ticket Offices, 10 years on at Melksham, Dilton Marsh, DfT» (Department for Transport - about) v TREASURY v PM's OFFICE - what lessons for Wilthshire, timetable changes in December, trip report to Severn Beach, etc

Come along on 29th November - meeting room is less than 100 yards from Trowbridge Station.  And we finish in time for you to return home

21:18 to
Bradford-on-Avon, Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads and major stations to Cardiff

21:22 to
Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon

21:31 to
Westbury, Frome and all stations to Weymouth

21:58 to
Westbury, Dilton Marsh, Warminster, Salisbury and major stations to Portsmouth

« Last Edit: November 24, 2023, 04:48:13 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2023, 10:48:26 am »

Delighted to have welcomed Dan last night - though he was not given an easy ride (and if he and GWR (Great Western Railway) are reading this, I'm going to offer an element, but only an element, of apology).   Trains and from the meeting were disrupted, with apologies received from some members who were stuck and other arriving only half way though.  Pretty disastrous for home going too.

A rail use group looks to rail users (duh - it's in the name) and I was delighted that last night we welcomed some newcomers. And they were asking the natural questions of the train service provider of "why don't you add a couple of carriages on ..." with examples of services that need strengthening, and talk of people passing out on overcrowded trains.   There were also some tough questions on ticket sales - "how do you expect ticket sales at a ticket office counter to be anything but very low when the ticket office counter if closed for days on end"?  And on service reliability where a host of questions arose; the railways are a service, and that's what people want to use reliabily; if a train's not available it doesn't matter whether it's GWR, NR» (Network Rail - home page), RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers), ASLEF» (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen - about), DfT» (Department for Transport - about), ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) or some other body or combination of bodies that's failed to provide.

Community Rail Work and improvements are important and welcome, but there's a feeling that the basics need to be gotten right.  All very well providing for hard to reach groups, and doing things like encouraging new users from younger age groups, but the feeling on talk of such large investments when people can't get onto trains because of overcrowding, or because they're not running, was much more on people's minds.  But let's face it, we have trains designed for an era of flows that are gone - the commuter and business traveller - trying to service a newly bouyant leisure market.  We have an industry where long term planning is key, operating on 3 year contracts and one year plans, and where we await a potential new legal framework. And we have a fare system - both variety and how tickets are sold - that is overcomplex and perverse, with frightening signage that warns the innocent passenger if (s)he gets it wrong, there's potentially a penalty to pay.

OK - really good to have Dan along and explain - some - of the concerns.  There is far more of a customer education job, and far, far more of a railway reform agenda that's needed than Dan could do or explain in an hour or so.   The big frustration, though, is that groups like WWRUG» (West Wiltshire Rail Users Group - about) and Community Rail Partnerships are pretty powerless to help. "What can we do to help?" we ask and the answer is "not a lot".   We promoted last night's meeting, timed to work with direct trains across our area. And even making a short journey failed for so many ...


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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2023, 11:39:04 pm »

Failing to provide the advertised service to/from a public meeting to which a senior member of railway management was invited is a pretty spectacular own goal.
I see little hope of near or even medium term improvement, I am sorry to say. The current emphasis is on REDUCING fleet size and capacity, not on adding capacity to overcrowded services.

Most people would now admit the IET (Intercity Express Train) project has been a failure. A great deal of money has been spent to achieve shorter trains with worse facilities, reduced comfort, and not able to cope with the conditions at Dawlish.
Full length HSTs (High Speed Train) have been withdrawn, prematurely many would argue.
The shortened HSTs are being withdrawn.
And the tri-mode trains have been an even greater failure.

All this affects not only routes served with the above, but contributes to a GWR (Great Western Railway) wide shortage of rolling stock.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2023, 04:02:45 am by broadgage » Logged

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.
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2023, 08:03:29 am »

Failing to provide the advertised service to/from a public meeting to which a senior member of railway management was invited is a pretty spectacular own goal.

Maybe - and yet there are so many own goals it just washes over.   

Wednesday's problems were caused as I understand it by level crossing problems between Warminster and Salisbury, with a need have additional staff (on trains and/or on the ground?) to get trains past, and as far as I can gather a lack of that extra staff availability.    Those of us who are reasonably well informed know that it was a problem with roots beyond GWR (Great Western Railway) (Network Rail infrastucure) but it was an excellent reminder from newcomers that the gloriously complex mess of organisations involved.

I see little hope of near or even medium term improvement, I am sorry to say.

Indeed in the near term.   There is a need for the wider community to look at the long term (strategy) to provide for a proper environment in which the short term and medium term issues can be fixed.  That sound very generalised; to be more specific, much of it is to work will all political parties to have policies in their headlines which will encouraged them in the right direction in 2024, 2025, 2026 and beyond.

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