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Author Topic: Journey Melksham to Southampton, 13th April 2022  (Read 853 times)
grahame
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« on: April 13, 2022, 05:41:31 pm »

Journey Melksham to Southampton, 13th April 2022.

With luggage, a friend drove us to Melksham Station in good time for the 11:31 To Westbury. 

The station car park seemed to be in use for the periodic game of "Chinese Containers" - dropping off a new container at the tyre business to take old tyres away and picking up the previous one, with the complication that you only have one truck and only one space where a container can be offloaded. But (we knew where the station was) we found the short stay car area behind a container and picked our way back past the rear of it to the platform.

Train arrived a couple of minutes early, 2 car 158, handful of people got on and the train was pleasantly busy.  Helpful train manager, checking that we knew where we were going and suggested a Trowbridge change - "same platform".  Actually we opted for Westbury - chance to pick up a coffee there in the 15 minute change, more to see, and the safety net of staff around in case of issues.

A good run to Trowbridge - plenty of people off and a few on there, and so to Westbury. Lifts (luggage, etc) across from Platform 2 to 1 - crowded for the departures to Exeter and Portsmouth, but the Exeter was delayed and the Portsmouth ran in first in good time to complete station duties before it left.  A 5 car 16x, comfortably busy.  No call at Dilton Marsh, passed at a sedate pace, and then an extended stop in Warminster; I suspect we were running ahead again and waiting time.  There would be time in this hourly schedule for all trains to call at Dilton Marsh - note I am not saying "on request" or "if needed" because if it were hourly there would always be passengers!

No station there yet - but we made a stop at "Wilton Junction for Stonehenge". No proof, but I suspect that the Exter to London service was passing ahead of us; indeed I saw that train pulling out of Salisbury from Platform 2 as we pulled into platform 3. What a crazy none-connection between two hourly services. We've suggested to SWR» (South Western Railway - about) and GWR (Great Western Railway) that they tweak these trains to connect, but all that seems to happen is that we see a wringing of hands in despair telling us they can't.  Anyone headed off Cardiff -> Portsmouth to London has a wait of virtually an hour.

As we approached Salibsury Tunnel, the train headed the other way (Portsmouth -> Cardiff) went past us, and Lisa and I looked out for the London to Exeter train just behind. And, sure just as we expected it was waiting at the signal beyond Tunnel Junction while we crossed its path.  Just like in the other directio, Passengers from London changing at Salibury for Warminster and beyond had the joy of being held back to let the train they wanted to connect into go ahead. Once again What a crazy none-connection between two hourly services. We've suggested to SWR and GWR that they tweak these trains to connect, but all that seems to happen is that we see a wringing of hands in despair telling us they can't.  Anyone headed off London -> Exeter to West Wilts has a wait of virtually an hour. 

And so to Southampton.  Just three narrow gates open to let passengers out on the London side - a red cross on the one wide gate. People struggling through with Luggage, and indeed Lisa got stuck when the gate closed between her stuff pushed ahead and herself and the gateline chap had to come over to release her.  I did point out that it would have been better had the wide gate been available, and he informed me it had been showing green - I'm sure he was right ;-) and all the people with luggage struggling with the narrow gates were wrong in thinking it was red.

11:30 MKM» (Melksham (Station code) - next trains) ... 13:00 SOU ... neat, much better than alternatives ... we'll do the reverse when we're back.

And so ... taxi to the Mayflower Terminal, and further reports to follow.  Just checking now to see if there's still catering available on this piece of transport.

A word needs to be added that - with the single exception of Gatelinebloke Southampton, all staff we met were excellently helpful and attentive to the fact we had considerable luggage and one in our party who's clearly of limited mobility at present.
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2022, 10:30:46 pm »

Bon voyage!
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#NotMyKing
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2022, 08:53:17 pm »

And so to Southampton.  Just three narrow gates open to let passengers out on the London side - a red cross on the one wide gate. People struggling through with Luggage, and indeed Lisa got stuck when the gate closed between her stuff pushed ahead and herself and the gateline chap had to come over to release her.  I did point out that it would have been better had the wide gate been available, and he informed me it had been showing green - I'm sure he was right ;-) and all the people with luggage struggling with the narrow gates were wrong in thinking it was red.

Some of the wide gates that I've seen seem to alternate automatically between in and out. They seem to switch to the other direction every 10-20 seconds.
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