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Author Topic: Cruise traffic using local trains causing problems.  (Read 712 times)
grahame
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« on: November 19, 2023, 20:16:39 »

From the Inverness Courier

Quote
Rail passengers on the Far North Line may have to wait years for a solution to overcrowded trains during the height of the cruise ship season, it is feared.

Frustrated passengers called for action this summer after so many cruise ship passengers chose to use the local railway to travel between the port at Invergordon and Inverness that it resulted in some incidents where commuters were forced to wait for a later train because carriages would have been dangerously overcrowded.

At the time ScotRail said it would liaise with the Port of Cromarty Firth to see what measures could be taken to try to avoid a repeat and mitigate the impact of the region's increasingly successful and lucrative cruise ship market.

By contrast, I have read that the Cobh to Cork service picks up few cruise passngers, even though the station is very close to the cruise terminal ....
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eightonedee
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2023, 22:44:17 »

Perhaps ScotRail could liaise with them and put an extra unit on the train when demand seems likely to justify it? I appreciate that "extra units" might be easier said than done, but it is a shame that extra demand for rail services is simply treated as a problem, not an opportunity.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2023, 08:39:35 »

Perhaps ScotRail could liaise with them and put an extra unit on the train when demand seems likely to justify it? I appreciate that "extra units" might be easier said than done, but it is a shame that extra demand for rail services is simply treated as a problem, not an opportunity.

I would agree - HOWEVER - the business is very lumpy - back to the bad old days half a century ago where trains sat in sidings for most of the week and came out for the Friday Only operations.   OK when the trains were built as basically wood and metal constructs that would just roll after a week of scant attention, but impractical operationally and financially in these days of sophisticated rolling stock where each vehicle in real terms costs ten times as much these days (capital and maintenance).

The Kyle line is very popular indeed, has whole coaches reserved for parties between Kyle and Dingwall, etc ... there may be a case for a Scottish Castle (I know they're not called that) diagram being based at Inverness with a program of differing operations through the Spring, Summer and Autumn - Invergordon locals on cruise days (if taking a 158 path, use that unit to strengthen the Kyle service too when there's a ship in), land cruises, etc on other days - excursions from Inverness to Kyle, Wick, Aberdeen and Perth.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2023, 08:51:30 by grahame » Logged

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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2023, 18:33:12 »

Last time I went Salisbury to Portsmouth the 3 car train was full and standing with cruise passengers heading to Southampton, so not a problem unique to those up north
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2023, 06:46:33 »

And I have bored on before about Cross-Country from Reading to Southampton Central. Cruise sailings available months in advance, if they wanted to plan.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2023, 08:04:06 »

Last time I went Salisbury to Portsmouth the 3 car train was full and standing with cruise passengers heading to Southampton, so not a problem unique to those up north

This very discussion with GWR (Great Western Railway) on Tuesday afternoon.   Before IET (Intercity Express Train) timetables came in, there was an 11:01 Westbury to Portsmouth service and an 11:11 Westbury to Southampton with an extra stop at Dilton Marsh.  The question asked was "why" and the answer was the HST (High Speed Train) that called at 11:04 from the West Country, together with the significant flow on cruise departure days when the 11:11 could be full (yeah, I know it was often a 153 so limited capacity).   

It's not only a peaky traffic that differs from day to day, but also people want to leave Southampton before the next lot arrives, so even an enhanced service going down there and then coming back up later in the day is ill-fitted.  Personal advise if you're amongst the 5000 arriving in to Southampton in the morning on Iona is to take your own luggage off and make for the 08:23 which starts from there. 

There are plenty of good (and awkward)  business opportunities for the railways at present - but they are cost rather than balance sheet driven, so not allowed to invest "x" pounds in meeting requirements even if that will generate"10x" income.  Add to that the reputation for unreliability due to strikes, the reputation for fares always being high, and the opportunities that there should be are frankly seen as distractions in a few quarters, or unmeetable frustrations in others.
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TonyK
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2023, 12:57:43 »

I doubt it would be the cruise companies promoting rail traffic. I have been on a few cruises, and know that most companies will miss no chance to dip their hands into your pocket. Excursions and transfers can have substantial additions to the price by local public transport, often with little added benefit. We have caught the train from Rome to the port of Civitavecchia rather than the official transfer (€11 as opposed to nearly £50), rode into Athens from Piraeus on the Metro (€1), spending more time than the guided group we saw being herded around the Acropolis for fifty quid each, and caught the train from Katakolon to Olympia for a fraction of the excursion price, enjoying more time and a lovely ride through stunning scenery. My favourite was in Japan - we were quoted $200 for a taxi from the port at Yokohama to our hotel in Tokyo, or £55 each for the official coach to a bus station some distance away. Google Maps showed a metro station practically on the doorstep. We took the (unadvertised) free shuttle bus to Yokohama station, and spent a little under £3 on a direct ride. It surprises me that more people don't do the same, although Scotland clearly bucks that trend.

Thinking of a local comparison - imagine a cruise ship arriving in Avonmouth. With all due respect, there isn't much there for the tourist. An excursion to see the historic sights of Bristol and Bath would cost a travelling couple north of a hundred, but there is the train for £3 return each. Off to Temple Meads, ferry ride through the docks or train to Bath, a full day out with no hanging around for everyone else, then back in time for pre-embarkation cocktails, canapés and dancing in the local pub in Avonmouth. (OK, cider, crisps and a punch-up).
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