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Author Topic: Regular HST service via Westbury avoiding line from May 2011  (Read 14743 times)
grahame
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« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2011, 10:25:19 am »

0520 Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington.  Calling Bradford On Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury, Pewsey, Hungerford, Newbury, Thatcham, Theale, Reading, LONDON PADDINGTON.   Arrive London 0753.

Travelled on this from B-o-A this morning ...

05:44 Bradford-on-Avon to Paddington ... very quiet on arrival @ B-0-A
+ 4 passengers B-o-A;  + 3 passengers Trowbridge. 
By the time we left Reading, we were "nearly every seat taken".

I'm delighted to see this train running in passenger service from BOA and TRO even though the numbers on this very new service are initially not very high.  It's not just a question of selling seats from B-o-A to Westbury; if it wasn't for this service I would have driven much further in, perhaps leaving an empty seat generating no revenue all the way to Paddington.



Can't recall it happening to me before (but the Reading is not on a regular route if mine) ... our London-bound HST called at Platform 4 / normally the main westbound platform.   Notes that the next train from there was a Bristol, that was waiting outside as we left.
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bobm
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« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2011, 11:11:14 pm »

I have experienced it before with trains off the Berks & Hants routed into Platform 4. I think it happens when Platform 5 and 8 are busy. (usually a XC changing ends on Cool. It seems to be quicker all round to use 4 and thus prevent the B&H service waiting for a gap to crossover to reach either 5 or 8.
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XPT
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« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2011, 11:30:04 am »

I was going to ask if anyone knew if many passengers travelling to Bath and Bristol were using the 1706 service by now, given the low ^10 advance single fares available.  However I would guess still not many atall now, as it seems those bargain fares on this service have now sadly been scrapped.  I was looking at returning from London around 5pm on a weekday in October but the fare is ^33.50 on the 1706 service. And of course more expensive still on the other "normal" services.  Beyond the prices I'm willing to pay for a journey of this distance.  Oh well, guess it will have to be National Express coach then(for just ^5.50!)

A shame those bargain ^10 advance fares on this service have been scrapped. I wonder why?

« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 12:12:01 pm by XPT » Logged
inspector_blakey
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« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2011, 07:55:06 pm »

You're right, it's absolutely scandalous that ridiculously cheap ^10.00 advance fares aren't available on a train leaving Paddington at the height of the rush-hour on a weekday. Whatever next? I really don't see how you can complain about a fare of ^33.50 for a journey of that length right in the middle of the peak being unreasonable, because it seems like extremely good value to me.

I suspect you're looking at this inside-out and the cheap fares may not be available because it's perfectly possible for FGW to fill the train with people paying for more expensive tickets. Why would you want to cause overcrowding if it's already busy?
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XPT
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« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2011, 10:08:38 pm »

Noooo! I never said it's absolutely scandalous that ^10 advance single London-Bristol fares aren't available on peak time rush hour services. It was a very pleasant surprise(though I did think there was a slim chance such fares would be available anyway) that these bargain fares were originally available on the 1706 service when it was introduced back in late May.  It was good whilst it lasted anyway, and I did wonder how long they would retain these ^10 fares on this service.  I was going to email FGW to thank them for such excellent priced fares to be available on a peak time service, but never got round to it.  I'm not really complaining that those fares have been scrapped, but saying simply that it is a shame they have been scrapped. 

Yes I can understand the reasons why train fares are much more expensive at peak times.  But I would personally disagree that ^33.50 for a London-Bristol single is extremely good value, even at peak time.  And many people would also to be honest. When I plan any journeys I have my limits as to how much I'm prepared for train fares in relation to the distance involved.  If I decide it is too expensive I make alternate arrangements.  In this case I need to travel London-Bristol around 5pm on a weekday.  Train is too expensive, so I'll happily settle and get National Express coach for just ^5.50. There is no competition there, a saving of ^28.  It's either that or have the inconveniece of hanging around waiting till 7:30pm for a ^22 single fare, or till 8pm for a ^12.50 single fare.  Coach it is, absolutely no competition.  Incidentally the most I would be prepared to pay for a London-Bristol single would be around ^22.

There are some people who  think absolutely nothing of paying say ^78 or even considerably more(i.e. ^174.50!!!) for a Bristol-London return train fare and even consider these fares to be good value! But to other people such fares will be deemed as just far too expensive, and they will look at travelling by alternative means instead. Either they can't afford such fares, or they are sensible with their money and wouldn't want to blow so much money on train fares where it would be much better spent put towards something else instead, i.e. a holiday.

This isn't complaining about the peak time train fares.  But merely pointing out that there are people like myself who are only prepared to pay so much for train journeys at times convenient to when they wish to travel. If affordable reasonably priced fares are not available, then they will seek alternative methods of making those journeys.






« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 11:02:10 pm by XPT » Logged
ChrisB
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« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2011, 11:56:25 am »

Yes I can understand the reasons why train fares are much more expensive at peak times.  But I would personally disagree that ^33.50 for a London-Bristol single is extremely good value, even at peak time.  And many people would also to be honest.

My first question to myself (even though I don't drive) is "How much would it cost to drive it? I doubt you could drive it for that amount in fuel in most cars, then you have wear & tear & possibly parking/congestion charge.

I think ^33.50 is reasonable. I don't think ^174.50 is though, that's just stupid.
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XPT
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2018, 02:40:56 pm »

I noticed a while ago when searching for this service again, that it no longer runs.  When and why was this service axed out of interest?
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bobm
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2018, 03:24:37 pm »

It fell foul of one of the rules of the railway.

When it was introduced it was an "experiment" as the only regular passenger service using the track between Westbury East Loop Junction and Hawkeridge Junction.  If the service continued over five years it would become classed as a regular service and if, subsequently, the service was withdrawn the full closure process involving public notices and statutory approval would have to have been gone through.  Therefore it was withdrawn in May 2016.

This does not preclude trains using the route for diversionary purposes during engineering work or other times of disruption, it just cannot be a regular timetabled service.
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grahame
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« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2018, 03:31:19 pm »

I noticed a while ago when searching for this service again, that it no longer runs.  When and why was this service axed out of interest?

Snap, Bobm ... I was writing too.  I got to ...

It was a "trial" service over the line.  As I understand it, had that service continued any longer it would no longer have been regarded as a trial, and a full closure proposal and enquiry would have been needed if it was to be withdrawn subsequently. Passenger numbers were not high; it had proven to be more of an operating convenience to get an HST that was a peak hour extra out to Bedwyn and Pewsey on to the depot in Bristol than something that was generating significant revenue, and the decision makers decided they didn't want a hostage to fortune as and when timetables were recast when the HSTs were replaced.

That's "why" ... for "when" memory is a funny thing.   I'll see what I can find ...

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« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2018, 12:34:27 pm »

Thanks for the info as to why it was axed.  A shame as it was a nice service, even though I only ever used it once myself, just on the inaugural day of service and whilst it was priced at the extremely good value price of 10 single.  And even though I moaned about the price rising to 33 shortly after, that was/is still way cheaper than the normal First Great Western/GWR London-Bristol services at that sort of time of day.  And it was a nice alternate journey via Newbury instead of the usual route.

Interestingly though the similar service in the other direction in the mornings - the 0515 Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington, still survives.  And at what I would call GOOD value at 21 for the cheapest advance single.  I must get a journey on that one one day!
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grahame
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« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2018, 01:15:05 pm »

Interestingly though the similar service in the other direction in the mornings - the 0515 Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington, still survives.  And at what I would call GOOD value at 21 for the cheapest advance single.  I must get a journey on that one one day!

Similar, but not the same; that calls at / reverses at Westbury rather than using the North to East loop.  The evening train - the 17:06 from Paddington - has been extended to Frome - adding Westbury and Frome at the expense of Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon. So (with Frome added) no chance of it reversing and making those two extra calls.
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RA
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« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2018, 02:54:45 am »

The direct service from Paddington to Bristol via Trowbridge was originally introduced as a way to free up a platform at Westbury. Formerly, the train terminated at Westbury before heading to Bristol as empty coaching stock. Unfortunately, this tied up a platform at Westbury during the busy 18:50 to 19:20 period, leading to delays. The train was therefore diverted as an 'experimental' service to run directly to Bristol via the east loop, completely avoiding Westbury.

With the deadline for the 'experimental' service approaching, it was deemed that Westbury generated considerably more traffic for this train than Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon so the train resumed running to Westbury, the volume of traffic to Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon being deemed insufficient to make this service a permanent fixture. Unfortunately, the lesson about having a platform tied up at Westbury at the busy time of day wasn't learnt, so delays started building up again. Finally, it was decided to run the train through to Frome, giving that station an additional through service from London and freeing up a much needed platform at Westbury.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 03:00:43 am by RA » Logged
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