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Author Topic: August 26th Farcical Situation  (Read 4202 times)
martyjon
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« on: August 26, 2007, 09:11:32 pm »

This is the text of an email from posted on a gen site ;-

17.30 PNZ to PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) sits EXD (Exeter St Davidsnext trains ), no driver. 16.12 NQY (Newquay (Station)) to PAD delayed EXD finding driver. Looe branch caped, air leak. Go by road!

Go to Heart of Wessex line threads for another classic today.


Updated 21:40 ;-

According to Nationalrail.co.uk site Newquay - Paddington service recorded as on time at Newton Abbot departed Exester SD 18 minutes late. The Penzance - Paddington service shown as departing Newton Abbot 2 minutes late, due to depart Exeter SD at 20:19 is showing on time at 21:40 with the asterisk, We were expecting the monitoring point at Exeter St Davids to report on this train at 20:20. This report has not been received.

So that could possibly only mean one thing, The Penzance - Paddington service has been terminated at Exeter SD and the passengers transferred to the Newquay - Paddington service to interupt and continue their journeys. I just hope there was enough seats for passengers from Penzance and stations from there to Newton Abbot and beyond Exeter to Paddington holding seat reservations on the terminated train to be able to sit down on the service from Newquay.


Further update from same gen site ;-

20:19 EXD to PAD caped with 21:22 EXD to EXM joining the club.


20:19 as I suspected and mentioned above so I'l give a plug, although not on right thread. that my planned journey had to revised today because the Cheltenham - Taunton service I had hoped to join at Yate was cancelled too.




« Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 09:58:40 pm by martyjon » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2007, 09:30:10 pm »

This is the text of an email from posted on a gen site ;-

17.30 PNZ to PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) sits EXD (Exeter St Davidsnext trains ), no driver. 16.12 NQY (Newquay (Station)) to PAD delayed EXD finding driver. Looe branch caped, air leak. Go by road!

Go to Heart of Wessex line threads for another classic today.

I can't help wondering at times if this is worse (in general) than it used to be in "The Good Old Days", or just the same .... with the power of the internet and communications allowing us to learn of trouble spots far and wide.  I can recall commuting to school by train - another part of the country and another era - from Petts Wood to Sydenham Hill in the North West Kent / South London 'burbs.   And I knew that if Petts Wood services were "out" to use St Mary Cray, and if Sydenham Hill was out then Gypsy Hill was a viable and interesting alternative.



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John R
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2007, 10:28:50 pm »

Very diplomatically put! I have also thought that the service put out by FGW (First Great Western) in highlighting operational problems on its website, together with other available sources, can be used for the wrong purpose (which is to inform passengers). Across a fairly wide franchise there are bound to be glitches somewhere every day, and whilst I think we all know there are far too many, I'm not sure what purpose it serves in highlighting each and every one of them. I would much rather we used higher level stats (such as the Passenger Charter Performance Figures available on the FGW website) together with specific issues of concern, such as overcrowding, rather than detail every day's operational problems.         
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martyjon
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2007, 08:13:17 am »

John Roberts - from the tone of yout post I have a suspicion you may be a FGW (First Great Western) fan or employee.

It is no fun for customers when a train is cancelled, as some are on a regular basis, and have to make excuses to employers why they are late again, the sam old excuse comes to mind.

Take the services from Frome or Warminster to Bristol in the mornings.

If one of these services is cancelled passengers are squeezed onto following services and results in overcrowding and some of the overcrowding is chronic. Passengers from Westbury, Trowbridge, Bradford-0n-Avon, Avoncliff and Freshford could be left on platforms because theres no room on the train, the train loses passengers at Bath but others travelling to Bristol join the service and the passengers at Oldfield Park ang Keynsham then have a guessing game on whether they will get on the next service to the cancelled one. Then these passengers are also at the mercy of a Bristol bound service from London which may be running late and therefore a special stop order will not be issued for additional stops at Oldfield Park and Keynsham.

I have met a junior doctor who had recently returned to work after maternity leave and lived in Bath. To continue her training she had to travel to Exeter from Bath daily and was regularly delayed on FGW services so that she was not arriving in time for the morning patient round.

Take another case last week, a driver failed a train at Gloucester which was due to run to Taunton, he was told to take the train to Bristol where a set swop would be arranged. The train gave up the ghost at Cam and Dursley and caused the next train to Taunton to be cancelled so that the unit could be sent to rescue the failed unit. Thus passengers at my local station were inconvenienced with no services for at least two hours in the morning peak.

Believe me my friend it is the operational problems that cause the overcrowding and havent you heard of the saying, there are statistics and statistics and damn lies.

Take the case of a train late at Swindon by 12 minutes and a passenger misses their connecting AND ONLY train to Melksham. That train may arrive at its destination just 6 minutes late having pulled back 6 minutes recovery time, that London service is not deemed to be late. Try telling that to the Melksham passenger.

Statistics, mate, take them with a pinch of salt.

 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 08:16:33 am by martyjon » Logged
John R
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2007, 08:25:42 pm »

No, I'm not an employee or a fan of FGW (First Great Western). (I can't imagine why anyone not an employee of FGW would count themselves a fan!) Indeed the only financial interest I have in the railways is the ^607 I pay for my annual season ticket from Nailsea to Bristol. And as a result I have my fair share of grotty journeys, although I would accept that our service is not half as bad as on some other lines, such as the Westbury line.

The point I was trying to make is that I'm not sure how helpful it is to post every day the latest delays transcribed from the FGW home page. Or to criticise them for getting the tense wrong. Or pointing out that a train booked to terminate at Parkway this week instead of Cardiff is mentioned as an alteration when in fact it's not. And so on. I just don't see that it is helpful, or adds anything to the debate. And if Aunties Glenda and Alison do bother to read this forum now and again (as they should), they will miss the important and reasoned debate and campaigning that we get, for the nitpicking.

You're right. Operationally FGW are lousy, and I suspect their mistakes are amplified by the cost cutting that means there is little slack in staffing or stock when something goes wrong. But let's all concentrate on the important strategic issues, rather than the day to day blips that we get too much of. 
 

 



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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2007, 09:53:29 pm »

The point I was trying to make is that I'm not sure how helpful it is to post every day the latest delays transcribed from the FGW (First Great Western) home page.

Hi, John, and welcome to the forum.   You have an excellent point here and I have been concerned at times with delay / cancellation postings ... and as a moderator I do have the ability to say "enough" if I so choose.  However, they form something of a pattern; one swallow doesn't make a summer, nor one cancellation an unreliable service. But put together they do, and you can't go back to other sites (such as FGW) and put them together to my knowledge.   

Quote
Or to criticise them for getting the tense wrong. Or pointing out that a train booked to terminate at Parkway this week instead of Cardiff is mentioned as an alteration when in fact it's not. And so on. I just don't see that it is helpful, or adds anything to the debate.

I don't personally think that correct grammar and English is going to make a huge difference.  But confusing stories (and I'm confused as to exactly what is being said about Cardiff and Parkway) can confuse the passenger. 

There is a certainly a valuable discussion to be had as to what depth passenger information should be provided. The weather forecasters aren't certain whether it will be wet or dry - they get a percentage change out of their forecasts but rarely start quoting those statistics.  And in the same vein I have yet to see "We are having trouble with one of the 125s in Bristol and there's only a 45% chance that the 07:10 will run" appear in the daily email.

Quote
And if Aunties Glenda and Alison do bother to read this forum now and again (as they should), they will miss the important and reasoned debate and campaigning that we get, for the nitpicking.

You're right. Operationally FGW are lousy, and I suspect their mistakes are amplified by the cost cutting that means there is little slack in staffing or stock when something goes wrong. But let's all concentrate on the important strategic issues, rather than the day to day blips that we get too much of. 

I'm almost agreeing with you ... but it's the day to day blips that make a pattern, and from some of the day to day blips new trends and phemomena can first be spotted.   You'll notice, John, that I largely try and post on more substantive stuff ... you can help make a difference by doing the same.  I suspect we are indeed read in some quite important places - or at least summarised to them.  Call that a guess made with a little evidence  Wink
 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 09:55:00 pm by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2007, 10:22:11 pm »

Believe me my friend it is the operational problems that cause the overcrowding and havent you heard of the saying, there are statistics and statistics and damn lies.

Not quite in that way, but there are targets to be met which distort customer service. It's more financially advantageous in the short term to leave out a few stops and arrive at destination on time than to stop at all places scheduled.  So witness things like the odd none-stop Paddington to Bristol service.  In the medium term, of course, this puts the passengers inconvenienced off using the train next time, but I do recall listening to FGW (First Great Western)'s Managing Director talking in person at about the time they had just won the franchise, where she was telling us that there are plenty more fish in the sea.   

Big subject is customer loss / gain based on experiences ... I know there's a technical term for it but I've forgotten it!

I'm not in the picture on 125s, but I do know that FGW found they have far more maintaiance issues with the 15x units and 14x units than they had anticipated at bid time. And that the are looking to deal with them in the current refurb program.  A lot of the issues / delays can be traced back to this, a lot to crewing issues, and a lot to external issues too.

Quote
Take the case of a train late at Swindon by 12 minutes and a passenger misses their connecting AND ONLY train to Melksham. That train may arrive at its destination just 6 minutes late having pulled back 6 minutes recovery time, that London service is not deemed to be late. Try telling that to the Melksham passenger.

As someone who regularly meet customers off the 19:08 arrival (the ONLY train on Mondays to Fridays with a connection from London), I now always have a mobile phone with me and ensure the customers have the number. It's proven oh-so-useful on too many occasions.    By the way - the theory goes that the 18:42 off Swindon should be HELD awaiting the London train that it's supposed to connect with, as it's the last train of the day ... the issue is more of a problem when
a) The 18:42 is cancelled
b) The connecting train is cancelled
c) The customer misses the train (due to tube problems)
d) The customer falls asleep and ends up headed for Parkway

(a), (b) and (c) - and the London connection being delayed - would be nothing like as serious were there additional trains off Swindon to Westbury.  And in the case of (d) Parkway to Melksham is - well - and interesting journey that offers lots more opportunities for the customer to fall asleep and overshoot; "Stay there and we'll come and get you!" ...
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