Cancellation of Corfe Castle train

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Class 159007, 6 Jul 2019.

  1. Class 159007

    Class 159007 New Member

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    Today the London Waterloo to Corfe Castle train departed 06.35 from Waterloo and arrived at Salisbury 08.10,but according to the National Rail app it was cancelled for the remainder of the journey west of Salisbury owing to 'a shortage of train crew'.
    This would have meant passengers wanting to get to Corfe Castle would have changed at Salisbury for Southampton Central,then Southampton Central to Wareham before taking a bus from Wareham to Corfe Castle or Swanage.
    It is the third time this train has not reached its advertised destination.
    The May 25th train was terminated at Yeovil Junction whilst the June 8th service was cancelled due to the RMT strike action.
    With such cancellations Swanage Railway are bound to lose out on additional visitors,particluarly those from north Dorset and south Somerset wanting to visit the Purbecks without having to drive there or use the Dorchester South services to Wareham and the bus to Corfe Castle.
    Rostering of train crew must be guaranteed so that the service can operate without any issues of guard or driver availability.
    It is a matter of concern for potential passenger numbers who may decide to take the more direct London Waterloo-Weymouth services if departing from stations east of Salisbury or changing at Salisbury for Southampton Central if travelling from Gillingham (Dorset),Tisbury or Andover.
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I am not sure that can be "guaranteed"
    Sorry I don't understand this.
     
  4. nanstallon

    nanstallon Member

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    It is sad that the Corfe Castle initiative is being strangled by the RMT some days, and by inept management on other days.
     
  5. Clayton

    Clayton Member

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    I guess their day out was ruined. Very unprofessional from the train company when fares are so high. But why did this leisure train start so early?
     
  6. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    It is limited by the available paths on the single line south of Yeovil Pen Mill. The Corfe Castle service is an extension of a (now all-year) Waterloo-Weymouth via Salisbury and Yeovil working, which itself was only launched a few years ago as SWT’s attempt to compete with the GWR ‘Weymouth Wizard’ summer train.
     
  7. Class 159007

    Class 159007 New Member

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    By guaranteed this means the service being able to run all the way to Corfe Castle on the advertised Saturdays rather than being terminated at Salisbury or Yeovil Junction.
     
  8. pompeyfan

    pompeyfan Established Member

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    If the drivers are phoning in sick last minute, or are on long term sick, the only other thing the company can do is roster more crew. I suspect route knowledge is also a limiting factor.
     
  9. farci

    farci Member

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    In my business a contract is enforceable subject to 'force majeure'.Correct a railway supporter if I am wrong, but a train runs over the network under a contract with NR. It is also expensive
     
  10. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    You can't actually guarantee having staff available. In the real world, there are plenty of things that can stop someone getting into work - from last minute sickness to the car breaking down, amongst other things - making guarantees of staffing impossible.

    Should cancellations due to crew shortages be rarer? Yes.
    Can they be avoided altogether? No.
     
  11. Clayton

    Clayton Member

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    The railway seems too vulnerable to the ‘single point of failure’ - if a driver is sick or a preceding train breaks down there’s no way to stop everything grinding to a halt. This is particularly damaging for an infrequent train like this that people are basing all their plans around. Never going to be totally preventable but has probably got worse with privatisation and the fragmentation of the network.
     
  12. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    The simplest thing for SWR would be to just not run it.. so it's a case of be careful what you wish for I think.
     
  13. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    If there is a limited number of available staff, then priority is going to be given to franchised timetabled services.

    Cancelling a Waterloo to Weymouth roundtrip to allow a guard/driver to be moved to running a Saturday day trip train to corfe isn't going to go down well with the people finding their day out in London is delayed.

    While it would be nice to have through services to Swanage form London etc. Swanage railway have made clear they want to run Swanage to Wareham trains and had £500,000 of taxpayer contribution from Dorset county council to achieve that aim.

    However,the scheme is about three years overdue due to the longest rebuild of 2 X 2 car DMUs

    I do agree that it is frustrating for people who have planned and booked to go to corfe to have it cancelled at the last minute.
     
  14. Dren Ahmeti

    Dren Ahmeti Member

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    Whoever’s blaming the RMT/management/whoever they can rustle up, is appalling.

    I actually have the 25th’s TRUST report, as I was on it that day, and the efforts made on that day (with huge disruption in the Clapham area) to make sure it ran were pretty expansive.
    The driver for Salisbury-Weymouth was not available (oops, scheduling!) so they used the spare driver(s) at Salisbury Depot and ran it to Yeovil Junction, then the Guard and other staff on board contacted Control to make sure they reversed us to Yeovil Pen Mill, where we were able to connect onto 2O70.

    One half of 1L11 then stabled at Yeovil Junction, until it formed 2O01 to Weymouth when the next driver was available, whereas the other half went back to Salisbury.

    We made our way to Wareham, where we were advised by CL (SWR management) that we could get on the bus to Swanage if we wanted; some of went down there via Norden on the train, some of the others stayed at the pub in Wareham!

    Southampton’s DRM (Driver Resourve Manager) asked whether the unit could run via So’ton (so via Romsey) but this couldn’t happen, as we’d already been sent to Yeovil, but in the end, one unit ran via Pen Mill and one ran via Romsey and met somewhere along the line.

    It then formed the outward working of 1L66 and was cancelled at Basingstoke due to signalling issues in the Clapham area.

    1L66 waiting time at Weymouth, after a driver change.
    [​IMG]

    1L66’s inbound to Corfe Castle, approaching with a Swanage driver conducting and a Swanage guard on board! (Both left during the dwell at Wareham)
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Flying Snail

    Flying Snail Member

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    So "don't complain about us cancelling your train or we will cancel it", pathetic.

    I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a very limited service such as this to get priority when shortages mean cancellations have to be made.
     
  16. Timrud

    Timrud Member

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    This service sounds to much of a hassle to run, other key services must be a priority.
     
  17. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    The priority should be for the 'bread and butter' franchise services to be run. This Corfe Castle train is an unnecessary complication, virtually a cheap railtour for enthusiasts. Elsewhere in this forum there are calls for much less complicated services to be binned on the basis of unreliability.
     
  18. underbank

    underbank Member

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    On a macro scale, given the importance of the tourism/leisure industry to the UK, I think the rail industry needs to respect that industry. As we've seen with the decline of our manufacturing industry, some industries are very easy to lift and relocate, i.e. to cheaper Eastern countries. They can't do that with our tourist industry. On a country wide level, the railway industry is heavily subsidised so I think it's perfectly reasonable that an appropriate level of importance is given to rural and tourist services.
     
  19. Colin Morgan

    Colin Morgan New Member

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    Running the train as far as Weymouth is a franchise requirement and a response to local demands to increase services to Weymouth for leisure travellers. There is also for services from North Dorset and from Devon by providing connections from the Salisbury - Exeter line. This service is a small step in that direction requiring minimal additional resources.
    The additional journey between Weymouth and Corfe Castle is additional to the timetable required by the franchise but it also conforms to the franchise requirement to cooperate with Community Rail Partnerships. SWR's cooperation with the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership has already won one award and is likely to win more.
    If you follow SWR's website, you will see that cancelling one or more trains a day due to staff being unavailable is a frequent occurrence. Cancellation of this service sticks out because it is very limited. But the real problem is that franchising has proven a poor business model for ensuring TOCs have the resources to respond to changes in circumstances at the same time as meeting changes in demand.
     
  20. Chris999999

    Chris999999 Member

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    Well yes it must be affecting visitor numbers, but Swanage Railway can hardly complain about this because they have repeatedly failed to run their own services to Wareham.
     
  21. 83G/84D

    83G/84D Established Member

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    On a similar subject I have tried to catch Northern Rail’s one daily service to Heysham on two occasions to find the train cancelled due to no guard yet other services on the days concerned have run. Does this particular service require a guard with competency to work the line, a ground frame or such like?

    Might explain why the train doesn’t run every day.
     
  22. HamworthyGoods

    HamworthyGoods Member

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    The service is not a franchise requirement between Salisbury and Weymouth however is run as a commercial proposition.

    You will not find it in the linked train service requirement. Indeed Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Pen Mill section of route is classed as an experimental service.

    https://assets.publishing.service.g...n-railways-2017-train-service-requirement.zip
     
  23. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    Presumably that would include franchise-specified services to popular tourist destinations such as Bournemouth, Weymouth, Salisbury, etc. and rural stations in between?
     
  24. joncombe

    joncombe Member

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    I tried to use this service on Saturday. I was travelling from Christchurch and so bought the ticket to Corfe Castle from there - a very resonable £7. Unfortunately the ticket office was closed when I arrived (it should have been open then) so I took the train to Wareham but only realised there the Corfe Castle train was cancelled. There was no replacement bus provided so I paid again for the public bus (route 40).

    I hoped the return might run, but no. I could see from my phone it was cancelled so I opted to take the 15:22 bus from Corfe Castle so as to avoid getting back later (the bus is hourly). So I took this to Wareham and took the next train (I think it was 15:53). However this stopped at Poole and we were advised of a trespasser on the line at Branksome meaning the power had been switched off and the guard didn't know for how long we'd be stuck. So once again I bailed there and took (another) bus from there to Christchurch. It took almost 1 hour 15 minutes. I had no idea the buses there are so slow (it wasn't traffic, just a seemingly indirect route with many many stops), but it was the only route I could see to Christchurch.

    I spent considerably more in bus fares than my original train ticket cost and I was disappointed to just be directed onto that. My understanding is that rail companies are obliged to get you to the destination on your ticket but in practice they just directed you to the public bus (at your own expense). I hope to be able to get at least some of that back from SWR but not sure if because this is a "promo" fare if the usual rules apply (though I don't see why they wouldn't).

    I used it once last year and tried to a second time but it was cancelled on the second occasion due to strike.

    I think it's a good idea but it's a shame reliability seems so poor and that SWR just direct you to the buses if it doesn't run (at your own expense). I'd like to use it again but having only made it 1 out of the 3 times I've tried and all the problems I had yesterday I'm not sure I'll bother with it again.
     
  25. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Off topic, but to answer your query, I believe only Barrow crews sign the line from Morecambe to Heysham.
     
  26. pompeyfan

    pompeyfan Established Member

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    I’m led to believe that customer services/twitter team were informed a replacement coach was running from Wareham to Corfe, free of charge, so they are unlikely to reimburse the public bus ticket.

    I’m surprised that train ticket acceptance was agreed with Yellow buses or More bus, that’s usually their first port of call.

    There’s been an unusually high number of incidents between Poole and New Milton in the past 2 weeks, believe there’s been 2 fatalities, multiple trespass incidents including a man who scaled a GSMR mast which was then turned off to protect him from being fried and was later brought down in a fire service cherry picker.
     
  27. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Yes, but the "tourist" industry in the UK is so much more than just the headline/major tourist destinations like seaside resorts and historic cities. It includes the countryside, museums, cycle-routes, castles, nature reserves, lighthouses, royal family, etc etc, and of course, preserved railways! All in all, estimated to be 10% of the country's GDP and 3.8 million jobs. Personally, I think that's important enough for the railways to give it some respect and not have a default position of cancelling tourism/rural services as the first thought when things go wrong. For commuters, there's usually another train along in 15/30 minutes. For tourist/rural users, a cancellation could ruin their day and cause loss of income to the shops/attractions etc.
     
  28. pompeyfan

    pompeyfan Established Member

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    I’m not defending the company but short notice sickness is short notice. Where do you draw the line with how many spare you have trained on the route.

    If I remember rightly Salisbury crew bring the units down to Weymouth, and Bournemouth take the unit from Weymouth to Corfe and Poole, with managers route conducting the bit from Worgret to Norden. I believe the diesel made it to Weymouth but the onward journey and the shunt into Jersey sidings was knocked on the head.

    Bournemouth depot seem like they’re caught in a real problem, with lots of their work (both driver and guard) being farmed out to Fratton and Waterloo. I’m not sure if they’re under establishment or if there’s lots of short notice sick or a mixture of both but there’s certainly issues down that neck of the woods.
     
  29. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    Should have stayed on the train at Poole, was only delayed 37mins in end. Problem is that wasnt to be known before hand. The gsmr mast incident referenced above closed the line for a few hours , so it always hard to know at what point to bail out and find alternatives.
     
  30. 83G/84D

    83G/84D Established Member

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    Not too far from goongumpas treacle mine!
    Thanks.
     
  31. duffield

    duffield Member

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    Due to circumstances outside their control, which with hindsight might have been avoided - but they took what seemed the reasonable option at the time.
     

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