FGW Holding connecting trains

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andykn

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I had to pick up the g/f last night at Bodmin from the last connecting service out of Paddington, the 19.03.

There were problems around Reading and the service was 20 minutes late at Newbury and then somehow managed to lose even more time along the rest of the route. The guard apparently suggested it had taken some persuasion for the (last) connecting FGW train from Plymouth to Penzance to be held.

Surely there are rules and agreements with staff in place to cover these circumstances and shouldn't depend on how pliant the connecting train driver is and how persuasive the late train's guard.

What is the position if the connecting service hadn't waited? Is it "tough" or do FGW have to lay on an alternative.
 
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KA4C

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I had to pick up the g/f last night at Bodmin from the last connecting service out of Paddington, the 19.03.

There were problems around Reading and the service was 20 minutes late at Newbury and then somehow managed to lose even more time along the rest of the route. The guard apparently suggested it had taken some persuasion for the (last) connecting FGW train from Plymouth to Penzance to be held.

Surely there are rules and agreements with staff in place to cover these circumstances and shouldn't depend on how pliant the connecting train driver is and how persuasive the late train's guard.

What is the position if the connecting service hadn't waited? Is it "tough" or do FGW have to lay on an alternative.

It has nothing to do with the driver of the connecting service, decisions to hold a connection are made by FGW control. if the connecting service had left, then taxi's would be laid on for those who missed it
 

GadgetMan

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It's all a numbers game.

The decision on the day depends on a number of factors.

For example; how many passengers want to make the connection?
If its between 1 and 4 (could easily be conveyed in a taxi), then it's not worth delaying the connecting service which will cost the TOC £1000s in fines. Then you have to consider whether delaying the other train will cause more passengers further down the line to miss connections. The cost of delay repay also factors in. Traincrew maybe on a tight 12 hour turn around between shifts, delaying them could cause disruption to services the next day to allow the minimum rest period required by law. If it is the last train of the night on a particular route, Network rail may have a possession scheduled as soon as that train passes a certain point, holding the train would then delay overnight engineering work etc.

I appreciate the above uses some extreme factors, but some/all have to be considered before a train can/will be held.
 

andykn

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Thanks all for your helpful replies, hadn't thought about the overnight possessions.

Apparently the guard had said there were about 30 people needing the connection, I'd expect that would probably be the majority of people using the last Plymouth - Penzance service of the night.
 

TEW

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The last Plymouth-Penzance service is nearly always held for the Paddington service. It has to be a really major delay for it not to be held. It used to be a through service everyday of the week but it was split in May 2009 with the Plymouth-Penzance service becoming a 150 Mondays-Thursdays.
 

David10

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FGW in my experience do try to hold connections and guards are good at relaying information as they receive it from control. Not so relevant for the end of the day, but the turn around time at the other end is also factored in. Services to Looe and Newquay tend to only have a couple of minutes at the terminus and need to depart on time to meet northbound connections.
 

BestWestern

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...And all of this is the 'simple' scenario, with all the trains being run by the same company. Now imagine how much persuasion is needed when your connecting service belongs to a different TOC!? :roll:
 

GadgetMan

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...And all of this is the 'simple' scenario, with all the trains being run by the same company. Now imagine how much persuasion is needed when your connecting service belongs to a different TOC!? :roll:

Surprisingly not a lot more. It has to work both ways, today TOC A needs TOC B to hold a train. Tomorrow TOC B will need TOC A to hold a train. As long as they help each other out as and when required then the system works as best as it ever will.

XC/Virgin/LM and EMT regularly hold late night/last connections for each other as long as the delay isn't excessive and won't have any serious repercussions later on.
 

BestWestern

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Surprisingly not a lot more. It has to work both ways, today TOC A needs TOC B to hold a train. Tomorrow TOC B will need TOC A to hold a train. As long as they help each other out as and when required then the system works as best as it ever will.

XC/Virgin/LM and EMT regularly hold late night/last connections for each other as long as the delay isn't excessive and won't have any serious repercussions later on.

My experience differs rather sadly, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't! :| I have had a request denied by another TOC to hold a late evening train for connecting passengers, and stepped out onto the platform at the station in question just to see their train move off. Not helpful, but there we go.
 

Zoe

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Apparently the guard had said there were about 30 people needing the connection, I'd expect that would probably be the majority of people using the last Plymouth - Penzance service of the night.
The taxis needed for these people would have been quite expensive had the connection not been held. How difficult would it have been to hire a coach at that time?
 

BestWestern

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The taxis needed for these people would have been quite expensive had the connection not been held. How difficult would it have been to hire a coach at that time?

Likely to be very expensive and with a long wait, if it was late night and short notice. Taxis are much easier to obtain, and allow onward passengers to be split according to their destinations where relevant, rather than sending a coach to all the required stops.
 

Zoe

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At the start of the Greater Western franchise the 1903 from Paddington was extended to Penzance all weekdays but for some reason other than on Fridays it has been cut back to Plymouth.
 

David10

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How difficult would it have been to hire a coach at that time?
Potentially quite hard. You need to find a driver who is willing and has enough driving hours available. He then needs to get to the depot, do pre-flight checks etc then drive to the station. If the TOC has a few hours notice may be feasible, but otherwise far easier to make a few calls to local taxi firms.
 

TEW

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At the start of the Greater Western franchise the 1903 from Paddington was extended to Penzance all weekdays but for some reason other than on Fridays it has been cut back to Plymouth.

It was cut back because the usage didn't really justify the use of an HST and a 150 had become available. When XC withdrew the 17:55 Plymouth-Penzance in December 2008 FGW had to replace it with a 150. That meant a 150 finished at Penzance at about 19:55. From May 2009 that 150 worked the 20:16 Penzance-Plymouth and 22:34 Plymouth-Penzance instead of HSTs. Both services are relatively lightly loaded and HSTs are very slow on them, as they call at most stations and often they are unmanned and it is dark, so the dispatch process takes a long time. Using a 150 cuts down on delays. When the 1903 London-Plymouth runs through to Penzance on a Friday it is nearly always about 20 minutes late by St Erth, with huge amounts of slack between St Erth and Penzance.
 
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