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Author Topic: Transport Focus to GWR on short formed trains and overcrowding  (Read 8153 times)
grahame
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« on: November 24, 2023, 10:09:55 »

From https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/publication/transport-focus-challenges-gwr-over-running-short-trains-and-resulting-crowding/

Quote
Transport Focus challenges GWR (Great Western Railway) over running short trains and resulting crowding

20 November 2023

Transport Focus has written to Great Western Railway asking for assurances about the efforts being made to avoid trains running with fewer carriages than required, which is leading to crowding.

Passengers on GWR’s high speed and West of England services have had to deal with the consequences of short-formed trains for far too long.  We have asked GWR to explain how they will tackle the problem.

You can read our letter below.  We will publish GWR’s response here when received.


Quote
8 November 2023

Anthony.Smith@transportfocus.org.uk 0300 123 0850 www.transportfocus.uk
AS/2023/197
Transport Focus, Albany House,
94-98 Petty France, London SW1H 9EA

Dear Mark
Short-formations and capacity issues

I am writing to raise concerns about the passenger experience as a result of short formations and capacity issues.

Passengers on both high speed and west services have had to deal with the consequences of short-formed trains leading to overcrowding and in some cases cancelled reservations for far too long. We are aware that GWR is pressing Hitachi to improve fleet availability, but there continue to be large numbers of shortened trains. For example, on 10 October 2023 it appeared there were a number of South Wales-London services that have been reduced from nine carriages to five. Similarly, most days see multiple short forming on the South Wales- South Coast route and the local lines in the west country. Details on the performance page of the GWR website suggest that London-South Wales, London-Cotswolds, and South Wales- South Coast are most affected by short-formations. Please would you assure me about the measures you are taking to improve fleet availability and reduce short-formations?

Beyond the everyday experiences of passengers, more granular data has been hard to find in the public domain. It would be helpful to regularly receive information on short formations so we can understand the scale of the issue. I would therefore ask that in future we receive information, by period and route, showing the percentage of booked nine and 10 car services that ran as 5 cars, and for the diesel fleet the percentage of services that were formed of less than the booked number of coaches.
 We are aware that timetable changes are planned for this December intended to relieve overcrowding. This is clearly welcome but does raise a number of questions. Retaining Castle Class rolling stock is positive, but it appears that Cardiff to Penzance passengers will in future need to change trains at Plymouth – which will cause considerable inconvenience for some. Has GWR consulted passengers on this change?

The rise in passenger demand is hugely positive, but if it is to be sustained it is vital that people’s travel experiences are good ones. It really is crucial that GWR resolves its rolling stock issues. My colleague Nina Howe is continuing to work with your team about this, but I felt it appropriate to raise with you personally given its impact on the passenger experience.

I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely
Anthony Smith Chief Executive
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Mark A
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2023, 12:24:15 »

Shouldn't Transport Focus be cutting out the middleman and writing directly to the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) though?

Mark
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2023, 14:42:22 »

Shouldn't Transport Focus be cutting out the middleman and writing directly to the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) though?

Mark

Well now ... Transport Focus says

Quote
Transport Focus is the independent watchdog for transport users. We put the interests of transport users first and aim to get the best deal for passengers and road users. With a strong emphasis on evidence-based campaigning and research, we ensure that we know what is happening on the ground.

If you search, you will also learn

Quote
Transport Focus is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by, but separate from, the Department for Transport


In the days it was called "Passenger Focus", I had some severe misgivings (evidence-based to use their word!) that the organisation was not as independent from its sponsor as it should have been. These days, they have some excellent staff but the structure does not allow that lagging doubt; if I had time I would love to look at their rules of engagement, and I also reflect on their position and to what extent they commented when the customers were screaming that the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) Bristol to Waterloo service should continue, but their sponsor was looking to kill it for reasons that did not make sense to everyone except that sponsor.
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Mark A
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2023, 15:21:54 »

"Working in Partnership with London Travelwatch" too. What's that about?

Mark
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infoman
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2023, 04:51:41 »

A partnership is an expression to flog the responsibility to one of the other parties in the group.

What is wanted is those individuals who stand up at ANY(not necessary rail meetings)

and bang their fists on the table and say this is what we want.
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stuving
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2023, 13:34:30 »

"Working in Partnership with London Travelwatch" too. What's that about?

Mark
The same as London Travelwatch have "Working in partnership with Transport Focus" on their masthead. They split most of the "representing the passengers" function between them geographically, especially for railways.
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Mark A
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2023, 17:32:50 »

Ah, they've a different structure and brief:

London Travelwatch being funded by the London Assembly and is concerned with much of London's public transport, though not floaty things apparently.

Transport Focus (currently having a fling with what I learn is called 'Corporate Memphis' artwork) is funded by the DfT» (Department for Transport - about), and though their brief extends to the likes of motorways they do not seem to be up to criticising the sometimes dodgy standards of maintenance/road markings of motorway service stations - or the curious fact that once you leave the motorway for the environs of a service station you say au revoir to standard road signage practices too.

Mark
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2023, 13:05:29 »

Mark Hopwood has replied to Transport Focus - mirrored ((here))
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2023, 10:21:43 »

That's quite a response. The DfT» (Department for Transport - about) have put the region's rail transport - and the people who work to provide a service to an expanding travel market but with an externally mandated diminishing pool of resources - into an unenviable position. Only a change in culture and approach (from the DfT) will sort this.

Mark
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2023, 11:53:00 »

Mark is quite rightly showing signs of frustration.  Quite simply not enough stock of any type GWR (Great Western Railway) operate (with the exception of the Class 387s, where there is some over provision on quite a lot of trains) is available to effectively guarantee full availability and enough seats for people.
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