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Author Topic: Why are user and friend's groups concentrated at smaller stations?  (Read 690 times)
grahame
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« on: September 16, 2017, 02:51:09 pm »

Why are user and friend's groups concentrated at smaller stations?    Here's a discussion piece from earlier / posted via Facebook.



It's always struck me as perverse that the smaller a railway station, the greater community support - both unofficial and official is for it. But then government strategy through Community Rail Partnerships through ACoRP is "Putting new life into local lines".

The TransWilts Community Rail Partnership was rooted in Melksham.  A town with some 28,343 residents in its community area, it had a station with a single carriage length platform, two trains each way per day, and realistically around 3,000 passenger journeys per year though distorted ticketing figures suggested more.  And Wiltshire Council, Great Western Railway, the Department for Transport and we the community have made good progress in turning a wasted facility into something much busier, much more cost effective, and something much better for the community's residents and its economy. The two trains each way per day are now 9 during the week (4.5 times what it was), passenger numbers are a genuine 60,000 journeys per year (20 times what it was) and we're now finding that we need to have even more capacity added as people are being put off at being jam packed into the trains - "full and standing" on a daily basis.

Thus far, we haven't interacted much with the Chippenham community. The town is larger than Melksham - population 45,337 in the community area, a station with two much longer platforms and two trains each way per hour (not per day!), journey numbers around 1.8 million per annum.   Trains are well used, station is buzzing much of the day.   Ironically, the train that's most crowded from Chippenham (over 100 passengers per carriage) is the 17:53 via Melksham - one of the new trains won with CRP assistance - but that's a story for another day.

Chippenham has no "Chippenham Rail User Group" to feed back to GWR, and no "Station Friends". As part of the TransWilts Community Rail "designation" we should have user group / friend feedback from each designated station - and in order to achieve that, we're having an inaugural meeting next Thursday - 21st September 2017 - at the Central Methodist Church Hall from 17:00 (informal) or 19:00 (formal). We're not only required to set this up - we WANT to do so.  Feedback thus far from Chippenham has been disproportionately low (yes, I could give a long explanation) and that's something for us to steer in the right direction; I doubt whether we'll have equal interest per passenger at Chippenham for many a year, but we might per head of population.

The user group launch leaflet is at http://www.twcrp.org.uk/chrug_launch.pdf and the draft agenda at http://www.twcrp.org.uk/chrug_agenda.pdf . Please come along, please share, please ask any questions.   Outcomes are intentionally vague - this is for Chippenham passengers to inform us, and not for us to tell Chippenham passengers how to respond!



I spent a very interesting 4 hours at Chippenham Station yesterday afternoon encouraging train users to come along next Thursday ... and feel I gained some insight as to the background of why there's no active user group.   In some ways very odd for TransWilts to be setting this up for the whole station passenger flow, seeing as the TransWilts line accounts for less that 20% or departures, or (if you want it even more dramatic) around 3% of departing carriages.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 06:02:10 pm by grahame » Logged

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eightf48544
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 11:42:30 am »

Why are user and friend's groups concentrated at smaller stations?    Here's a discussion piece from earlier / posted via Facebook.



Thus far, we haven't interacted much with the Chippenham community. The town is larger than Melksham - population 45,337 in the community area, a station with two much longer platforms and two trains each way per hour (not per day!), journey numbers around 1.8 million per annum.   Trains are well used, station is buzzing much of the day.   Ironically, the train that's most crowded from Chippenham (over 100 passengers per carriage) is the 17:53 via Melksham - one of the new trains won with CRP assistance - but that's a story for another day.

I think you've answered your own question. One would hope  that neither the DfT nor the current TOC would willingly sacrifice 1.8 million journeys a year by providing an inferior service as an economy measure. Whereas lesser used stations or services are easy to cut if it means more journeys on another busier route.

This is especially true in the current climate with the shortage of both rolling stock and line capacity, resources are going to be committed to the  main lines.

Thus hopefully stations like Chippenham will continue to get a satisfactory service and, therefore, don't appear to need a User Group for the majority of users. 

Edit to fix quoting - grahame
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 12:10:36 pm by grahame » Logged
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