GWR Dec 19 timetable

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by nickw1, 9 Apr 2019.

  1. irish_rail

    irish_rail Established Member

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    Not so easy if coming from further afield than reading. Total regressive step. Just to give bristol more trains , everyone else has to suffer. I'm still convinced December will be an unmitigated disaster.
     
  2. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    I can see what GWR have done with the North Cotswold routes in the afternoon / evening peak - there's still fast GWR services from Reading to Oxford from the 16/12/19 (searched for this date to give me an idea) but a little less direct services.

    I think GWR must have had issues with overcrowding and leaving people behind on the current London to the North Cotswolds services so have prioritised these so that they can provide more seats.

    Hopefully, unless there's a fault or maintenance requirement, that practically all IET services out of London in the rush hour will be 9 and 10-car!

    Unless there's quieter peak time services that can afford to be 5-car worked of course. In the GW franchise book online a few years ago, they said they'd make sure no train in the peak hours (IET services) will be shorter than a 9-car. A bit confusion I think.

    At least on the North Cotswolds routes there'll be no more 2 or 3-car Turbo trains, which if I'm honest when working alongside Adelantes and HST's didn't make the 165's and 166's particularly enjoyable when a Turbo substituted for a 125mph train.
     
  3. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    The key issue is not about GWR fasts from Reading to Oxford - people who are just making that trip usually head for whatever the first direct train leaving Reading is, which tends to be XC, as those leave and arrive a few minutes ahead of the GWR ones - it is about the people who are going to places on the Cotswold Line beyond Oxford.

    At the moment there are six trains leaving Reading between 16.23 and 19.53 that continue beyond Oxford (one terminates at Moreton-in-Marsh, all the rest continue to Great Malvern or Hereford). From December that goes down to three trains, leaving at 16.18, 17.59 and 20.18.

    Removing half the service is not my idea of 'a little less'. Especially when the alternative being offered is an indirect journey requiring use of XC trains to Oxford that are already busy enough with people heading for Birmingham and beyond (plus all the existing local passengers for Oxford and Banbury).

    As someone who does travel between the Cotswold Line and Reading on a regular basis, I can assure you that there is a well-developed flow of commuter traffic (never mind anyone going to or from all the other places on the GWR, SWR and XC networks served by connecting trains at Reading, or heading to and from Gatwick or Heathrow airports).

    Reading is a key commuter destination in its own right these days. There are thousands of square feet of office space a stone's throw from the station, with more on the way, and major businesses like Microsoft's UK headquarters a short shuttle bus ride away at Thames Valley Park. The new Reading Green Park station is being built to serve another major business park.

    Your remarks simply reflect the fetishistion of London traffic at the expense of everywhere else that also appears to have swayed the thinking of people at GWR and Network Rail* when they came up with this timetable.

    *As I said above, the draft timetables sent out previously by GWR contained not a hint of what has been done to the afternoon peak Reading calls, so I can only assume the push for all this non-stop running to Oxford has come from Network Rail to make their life easier. It represents a reversal of the structure of the timetable since 2006, which still applies in the mornings, when there will be an excellent direct service available to anyone commuting into Reading from west of Oxford, with every single train towards London calling there.

    Overloaded trains are rather less of an issue since the arrival of IETs and 387s has boosted seating capacity in the Thames Valley and beyond. There is no confusion about what rolling stock will be used at certain times of the day, with nine-car IETs (and, I gather, a 2x5 on the first train from Worcester to London from December) booked for all Cotswold Line services into and out of London in the weekday peaks.

    There will still be two-car Turbos on the Cotswold Line, as the two peak trains serving the Oxfordshire halts will be worked by them - with the afternoon service (even when truncated to run from Didcot to Moreton-in-Marsh only) likely to be overcrowded all the time as a result, due to the sheer number of people now travelling in and out of Oxford from Hanborough and Charlbury. And some people will no doubt want to connect out of the 16.20 from Paddington to Oxford as well - whether from London or Reading.

    No, it's not simple. The two draft Cotswold timetables circulated previously to user groups by GWR included Reading calls (and presumably also made provision for the Didcot and Bristol trains).

    Is it so hard to grasp that the only part of the the day that the Cotswold Line trains will not call at Reading is the late afternoon and early evening peak? You know, one of the busiest periods of the day, when the inadequate passenger-carrying capacity of the XC trains touted as the alternative way to get to Oxford is even more inadequate than the rest of the time.

    Not many people would regard losing a direct journey in exchange for the likelihood of having to stand in a smelly Voyager vestibule for 20 minutes, then change on to a train that has run through the station they got on at, as a 'minor inconvenience'.

    The journey time saving between London and Oxford achieved by not calling at Reading will be a whole, er, three or four minutes. Which won't make a fundamental difference to anyone's life.

    And what do we find when the peak trains get past Oxford?

    The 16.58 from Paddington (no Reading call) will reach Moreton-in-Marsh in 1 hour 22 minutes.
    The 17.34 from Paddington (calls at Reading) will reach Moreton-in-Marsh in 1hr 23 mins.
    The 17.58 from from Paddington (no Reading call) will reach Moreton-in-Marsh in 1hr 27 mins.
    The 18.58 (no Reading call) gets the gold medal for a 1hr 20min run from London.

    Not much of a trade-off for the clear and obvious impact on passengers from Reading, or the serious hit to connectivity that will also result from this.
     
    Last edited: 7 Oct 2019
  4. Flinn Reed

    Flinn Reed Member

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    What will be the frequency of the new services from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads via Bristol Parkway?

    I think the original plan was half hourly, to give 4tph between London and Bristol? However these original plans for GWR's extended franchise did not include superfast services to other destinations.
     
  5. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    The Bristol service will be 3tph in the peaks (all running via Chippenham and Bath) and 4tph off-peak (once the full off-peak service is operating, as only some of the two extra off-peak trains per hour that will run via Parkway will be operating from December).
     
  6. Flinn Reed

    Flinn Reed Member

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    When will the full timetable changes be in place?
     
  7. GW43125

    GW43125 Established Member

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    It would be minor if there were the capacity on the Reading-Oxford corridor. The alternative is a 4- or 5-car voyager, many of which are already very well loaded with people travelling much further afield-I personally can't see XC coping.
     
  8. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    They have been since September 22nd apart from anything that urgently crops up or Empty Stock movements.
     
  9. CharlesR

    CharlesR Member

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    Bristol won’t be 4tph all the time for a short while due to a shortage of Drivers. Expecting full 4tph to be in effect from March.
     
  10. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    What is your source for this please? From my understanding the decision was taken in order to allow the overall new timetable pattern to bed-in before pushing the frequency right up, effectively allowing ‘spare’ paths into Paddington for service recovery purposes, etc.
     
  11. CharlesR

    CharlesR Member

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    A Network Rail Route Control Manager on a Facebook group.
     
  12. irish_rail

    irish_rail Established Member

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    Forgive my sinacism but I believe the real reason for the staggered start is it will make less of a media headline when it all goes wrong. This way will avoid being on the national news come December 15th when the great new timetable falls apart. By slowly introducing it I guess they hope the media won't notice things turning ugly ala northern rail / southern rail etc.
     
  13. Clarence Yard

    Clarence Yard Member

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    That’s exactly why it is being done - neither the DfT nor NR want another May 2018 on their hands. That is why the DfT agreed (on a NR recommendation) to postpone most of the fast Bristol’s coming in in December. They are scared stiff that it will all go wrong.

    Of course, the delay is the reason GWR have been playing the train crew recruitment and training at a slightly slower pace. No point in doing a Crossrail and have people sitting around doing nothing. If the DfT did decide they now want to put it all in at once in December, then GWR probably now wouldn’t have the staff to do it, which is exactly what NR have picked up on.
     
  14. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    Cynicism is one thing, however I almost get the feeling some people are hoping for a debacle.
     
  15. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Standard practice for all major timetable recasts, particularly since Operation Princess that involve significantly reworked and more intensive service patterns.

    Dec 2008 on the WCML did it, and Thameslink did it for May 2018 (actually a very successful timetable structure once the crew issues had gone away).

    Phasing in like this is nothing to do with being 'scared' of it going wrong...it's just a sensible thing to do until familiarity with the new operation is built up.
     
  16. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    Hello there. If anyone's good on advance scheduled allocations, what is GWR likely to allocate to the 2-hourly services and from London Paddington and Exeter St. David's that are semi-fast services?

    For instance, maybe tomorrow or later in the week, I'll hopefully book a First Class Advance Single for the 17:51 from Exeter St. David's to Reading on the 02/01/20.

    I ask just incase I'm given say Coach K.
     
  17. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    I believe they are mostly 5-car IETs but you'll probably get the odd 9 car depending on the diagrams.
     
  18. irish_rail

    irish_rail Established Member

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    Perhaps a debacle would be a good thing if in the longer run it leads to a genuine improvement of services on the wofe line, plus reintroducing Reading stops on evening Cotswold services.
    I stand by my comments that 2 minute headways leaving Paddington cannot work - I have timed 2 minutes after the xx.00 bristol trains depart Paddington and after 2 minutes i can still see it's tail lights in distance. Apparently we are being told to "just drive really fast from december". If true, then shocking that network rail would come out with something so ridiculous in our safety conscious age.
     
  19. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    I've just looked at realtime trains for the 16/12/19 to give me an idea on the layover times of trains arriving at Bristol Temple Meads, terminating there, from London Paddington and it looks like its roughly 20-25 minutes.

    If that's the case then that's gonna add a bit more pressure - personally I'd prefer the layover of my thoughts of 50-55 minutes as if it's cold you can board the train in loads of time, you can get to your seat earlier and it means more time for the IET's to be cleaned too. In this case it's less time if the layover time is now 20-25 minutes. Not particularly sensible in my view.
     
  20. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    I'll soon know once I know which First Class coach I'm booked into.
     
  21. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    I understand the reason for this instruction, however if that is the literal wording then it's not being conveyed particularly well.

    Currently everything is timed along the Thames Valley for HSTs, and the IETs are noticeably beating the sectional times; therefore drivers are not consistently running at 125mph linespeed as it just results in catching the previous train up and hitting double yellows. I was recently on a train which coasted from Maidenhead to Reading and still arrived a couple of minutes early. This driving environment has now existed for well over a year, so I can imagine there are concerns that the Dec 19 timetable - which happens overnight, not gradually - might catch some drivers out. What better way to cause unnecessary debacle than extended coasting below linespeed on the mistaken belief that there's plenty of time, like there was the previous week? So it's more 'don't go slow', than 'drive really fast.'
     
  22. CharlesR

    CharlesR Member

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    Today GWR attempted a speed run with a (9 car) class 802 between Cheltenham and London (with a stop at Gloucester to reverse and Swindon for 10 minutes.)

    https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/V03278/2019/10/08

    Gloucester-Swindon: 26 minutes
    Swindon-Paddington: 45 minutes.

    Minus the stop at Swindon the run would have taken 1 hour 35 minutes. Also not the train arrived at Gloucester platform 1 which since the engineering works can now accommodate 9 car IETs.
     
  23. irish_rail

    irish_rail Established Member

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    But this is my point. Driver of the xx04 to Plymouth isn't going to thrash it out of padd as he knows he will catch up the xx02 bristol immediately. This then causes a knock on delay to whatever is behind the Plymouth. I just don't see it working.
     
  24. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    Beyond Ladbroke Grove he won’t. A signal check in the distance at 40mph isn’t the end of the world, but beyond the 100mph board at Acton ML the one in front will be gone.

    And I guess that’s kind of my point. Your perception as a driver is based on the characteristics of the current timetable and how trains don’t exactly motor away from restrictions. The Bristol currently has no incentive to hurry because the xx50 Oxford is probably a Turbo and calls at Slough, so he’ll see two yellows at Iver.

    Incidentally I agree the 2-min headway is a shade tight on the Padd-Ladbroke section. Beyond there, the signal reset to green (125mph) time is below 85 seconds in places, consistently under 100 seconds. Ideally successive departures from Padd should alternate between Lines 1 and 2, merging at Ladbroke Grove. I guess this isn’t possible all the time if Line 1 is hosting a North Pole ECS working.
     
  25. irish_rail

    irish_rail Established Member

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    Another issue though is the approach to reading (whilst much improved compared to before the modernisation) , the Plymouth invariably catches up the bristol without a totally clear run into the station. This is with a 3 minute headway. I just think it's all a bit ambitious, but we will see
     
  26. Wychwood93

    Wychwood93 Member

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    You have a very valid point - a random look at the 17th December sees the 1102 to Bristol and the 1104 to Plymouth both allowed a gross 23 minutes to Reading and both with 1 minute for engineering and another 1 for pathing. Platforms 6 and 1 from PAD and platforms 9 and 8 at RDG. The fast line service ahead is the 1050 to Worcester with a Slough stop - plat 3 at PAD and plat 9 at RDG. The fast line service behind is the 1107 to Bedwyn - plat 9 at PAD and 7A at Reading - with a total of 3.5 minutes recovery - 1 for performance, 1 for engineering and 1.5 for pathing. The crux of it all is the 2 minutes between the Bristol and the Plymouth - as a driver, which you are, which is the easiest (speed-wise) platform to enter at Reading - even if 9 is better than 8, it is still tight. There was a mention on another thread (help required here!) re. the aspects on the run in towards Reading. If anyone had access to the SRTs (Sectional running times) it would be quite handy - a comment from somebody here who might perhaps be in the timetabling trade would also be of interest.
     
  27. 43074

    43074 Established Member

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    Well to be planning such long distance services at such short headways is risky from a performance point of view anyway, especially as it applies in both Up and Down directions (e.g. 1L19 1254 from Cardiff Cardiff and 1H36 1323 from Bristol TM are 2 mins headway through Reading towards London).

    Looking at the timetable in the Thames Valley corridor in particular - it looks messy:
    - lots of pathing time to make platforms at Paddington work (up 1Axx Bristol to London services)
    - pathing GWR around Heathrow Express services looks messy (e.g. Up 1Kxx Newbury to London Paddington 387 paths aren't great)
    - less than ideal placing of Slough calls in trains on the fast lines causing eight minutes of 'white space' on the graph behind 2 HEx tph which in turn causes bunching across the rest of the hour (bad for performance)
    - the headways are tight, not only Padd to Reading but Airport Junction to Padd. It's hard to see the timetable working as written in that area: there's a HEx 2 mins behind Penzance and Bristol trains at Airport Jn, which 6 times out of 10 won't be running right time anyway, so will delay the services behind as a matter of routine...

    Get the Thames Valley wrong and GWR doesn't work. That said, the flighting of trains from Paddington in the down evening peak looks impressive, but whether that can be delivered we will only know on December 16th.
     
  28. coppercapped

    coppercapped Established Member

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    Thank you for the detailed description of the situation and analysis.

    I haven't studied the timetable in detail, but could one of the reason for the changes be pathing at Didcot East Junction? This is already somewhat of a neuralgic point with questionable regulation causing trains off the Down Main to the Oxford route to be held for much longer than would seem to be necessary due to (slightly) late running Up trains from the Swindon direction. With the increase in the number of trains these pathing conflicts can only get more frequent as the 'windows of opportunity' for crossing moves get shorter.
     
  29. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    As far as I can see, it has far more to do with creating a big enough hole in the sequence of departures for the xx.50 Class 387s to Didcot (which I referred to on the previous page in post 478) than anything else, making an allowance for their 110mph top speed and then time for them to move from the fast to the relief line at either Maidenhead or Ruscombe - while hopefully not impeding the progress of five IETs leaving Paddington between xx.58 and xx.07.

    Those three peak Class 387 departures at xx.50 occupy what will be the regular departure slot from Paddington of Cotswold Line services for the rest of the day.

    It may be operationally convenient for Network Rail but it is very far from convenient for anyone who wants to travel home from Reading to Cotswold Line stations at that time of the day.
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2019
  30. MarlowDonkey

    MarlowDonkey Member

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    It appears that what GWR give with one hand, they take away with the other. There's a much faster service to the Marlow branch because the GWR Didcot/Reading service has fewer stops following the TFL takeover of much of the stopping service. The downside is that the previously unrestricted use of off peak tickets in the evening peak is no longer available on services non-stop to Maidenhead.
     

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