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Author Topic: Into the next decade - train service - what might the next step look like?  (Read 307 times)
grahame
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« on: December 10, 2023, 04:19:46 »

We have achieved so much on the TransWilts line from Swindon to Westbury and looking back on Friday it was the opportunity to reflect on those achievements.  It's also the opportunity to look ahead - and listed at http://grahamellis.uk/lib/tenyearson.pdf are:
* An appropriate train service - hourly rather than thin and infrequent
* Far better service reliability and better connections.
* Improved total journey connections - regular buses to and from the station
* Better cycling and walking access to stations such as a northern entrance at Melksham r
* Housing, business and leisure facilities growing near the station.
* Electrification of the line for heavy freight and passenger use,
* A friendly face at the station with an encouragement to use the service

Let me prioritise - short term reliability is vital.  It has not been good this year, bad in the last month and awful in the last week. People are giving up and taking to alternatives and once they invest in tre transfer they will take years to win back. In my view, the rail industry has failed to resolve its industrial relations and that has cost us, and GWR (Great Western Railway) was perhaps brave but unwise in trying to maintain all services during the action short of strike last week. Hindsight is marvellous; they would have been better to run five round trips reliably - Melksham times 07:21 and 10:02 northbound and 15:39, 18:03 and 20:32 southbound and corresponding matching services.

In the medium term, I am so much struck by the frequent people I talk to for whom the service is too thin.  And I note the work done by the Go-op people in looking for other paths. For sure, the objective has to be a clockface hourly service, but an extra 5 serviced each way per day - a rise of just under 60% rather than the 100% of an hourly train - would work once the industry sorts out its reliability problem, and would meet virtually all of those requests I see almost every day ... 

I have taken mid-line (Melksham) times in my example as it helps my simple mind sort out the single line - a gap of 20 minutes mandated between Melksham calls, and long enough between the new calls for the extra unit to bounce back at either Swindon or Westbury, with a bit of "mush" in there to avoid other trains.

Monday to Friday

Northbound now: 07:21 08:02 10:02 12:33 14:35 16:39 18:53 20:22 21:32
becomes: +06:00 07:21 08:02 +08:50 10:02 +11:11 12:33 14:35 +15:19 16:39 +17:43 18:53 20:22 21:32

Southbound now: 06:36 09:10 11:31 13:40 15:39 18:03 19:09 20:39 22:55
becomes: 06:36 +07:41 09:10 +10:22 11:31 +12:53 13:40 15:39 +16:59 18:03 +18:33 19:09 20:39 22:55

Saturday

Northbound: 08:02 10:08 12:33 14:35 16:39 18:51 20:25
+06:41 08:02 +08:50 10:08 12:33 14:35 +15:20 16:39 +17:45 18:51 20:25 +21:55

Southbound: 09:10 11:31 13:39 15:39 18:01 20:09 21:35
+07:40 09:10 +10:28 11:31 13:39 15:39 +17:03 18:01 +19:09 20:09 21:35 +22:55

Sunday

Northbound: 08:36 11:02 12:57 15:03 17:09 19:06 20:54
+07:06 08:36 +10:02 11:02 12:57 15:03 +15:51 17:09 +18:29 19:06 20:54 +21:32

Southbound: 09:37 12:07 14:00 16:09 18:09 20:09 21:59
+08:06 09:37 +11:22 12:07 14:00 16:09 +17:29 18:09 +19:29 20:09 21:59 +22:55

I have resisted all temptation to move any existing trains in this first iteration, and I have put many new trains at around that 20 minute separation to leave a freight path too.  I have also resisted the temptation to add more trains in the middle of the day so that the freight can get through.
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