How to get better services ? (Yeovil-Taunton)

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Pen Mill

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Background :- Historians will know that the direct line between the 2 largest population centres in Somerset was severed by Dr B. and crew in the 60s.
The track bed has now formed a large part of the main trunk road between the towns , fine , I don't have a problem there.

There exists a very good alternative between the 2 towns involving a change at Castle Cary but there is obviously no co-ordination such that the YVP-TAU is seen as anything but a by-product.

The alternative relies entirely on 2 independent routes ( both FGW) but the timings are purely co-incidental and vary wildly.
The trains involved are HST services from London via the B&H and the Weymouth-Gloucester etc. all shacks.


The road journey takes 45 to 50 minutes.
The current options of which there are 7 or 8 daily , are as follows :-

From....... To.. Depart,Arrive,Transit
Taunton YVP 06:17,07:29,01:12
Taunton YVP 09:21 ,10:12,00:51
Taunton YVP 12:24 ,13:19,00:55
Taunton YVP 15:30 ,16:22,00:52
Taunton YVP 15:51 ,18:20,02:29
Taunton YVP 18:31 ,19:19,00:48
Taunton YVP 20:25 ,22:19,01:54
Minimum time = 48 mins , max = 2h29mins.
4 maybe 5 of the timings are acceptable.


From To Depart Arrive Transit
YVP Taunton 06:20 ,08:41,02:21
YVP Taunton 07:30 ,09:01,01:31
YVP Taunton 09:41 ,10:53,01:12
YVP Taunton 12:05 ,13:01,00:56
YVP Taunton 14:08 ,16:15,02:07
YVP Taunton 15:56 ,17:03,01:07
YVP Taunton 18:23 ,19:40,01:17
YVP Taunton 21:06 ,21:48,00:42
Minimum time = 42 mins , max = 2h21mins.
3 to 5 of the timings are acceptable.

The road times can be matched by this service which is my main point.

I would like to put a question to FGW to ask if the actual route can be given more prominence and thus made into a good option for travel to & from the North/Wales.

To whom would you address such a request ?
 
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Greenback

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The railway can't serve every possible flow well. There has to eb a choice made as to which towns and cities cna be well connected to each other. In the case of Yeovil and Taunton, the timetable is base don serving other markets that provide more custom.

It's difficult to see how better connectiosn can be easily provided, given the constraints in operating the services between Castle Cary and Yeovil Pen Mill, and the need to provide good connections in the London direction.
 

David10

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First Bus's route 54 connects the 2, operating hourly with a journey time of 70-80 minutes so not as if there isn't a public transport alternative. Reality is that the Weymouth line nor Castle Cary can justify a more frequent service. As stated alot of it comes down to pathing on other parts of the network.
 

bignosemac

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The two largest population centres in Somerset are Bath and Weston-super-Mare. ;)

Taunton and Yeovil are only largest in the smaller non-metropolitan county council area.
 

Pen Mill

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First off , all I asked for was who to write to. It amazes me how often the punchline is missed.

so not as if there isn't a public transport alternative. .
I don't recall saying that.
There are several journeys YPV-CLC-TAU which take under an hour , my point is that they are not consistent.

70-80 minutes is not acceptable , might as well drive in 45.

To say that the Weymouth line is a backwater is a little ill-informed when Go-op were proposing an open access service from YeoviltoOxford & Birmingahm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go-Op_(train_operating_company)
I know that seeingis believeing but someone thought it was a good idea at the time.

What's getting me here is that there is a viable alternative that if pushed slightly up the heirarchy could work.
It would make journey times Northbound to Bristol and beyond (for me naturally) that much quicker than meandering through Bradford-on-Avon stopping at all shacks.
 

David10

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First off , all I asked for was who to write to. It amazes me how often the punchline is missed.
The DfT ran a public consultation 6-12 months ago when the Great Western franchise structure was being put together but this has now closed. Your best bet would be to contact Passenger Focus.

To say that the Weymouth line is a backwater is a little ill-informed when Go-op were proposing an open access service from YeoviltoOxford & Birmingahm
They have been kicking around for a while with little action, so maybe the case isn't as strong as made out. Not saying Weymouth is a backwater, but I doubt loadings (Summer Saturdays excepted) justify more than the current level of service.

It would make journey times Northbound to Bristol and beyond (for me naturally) that much quicker than meandering through Bradford-on-Avon stopping at all shacks.
So the Yeovil - Bristol via Westbury service takes 90-100 minutes. If you went via Taunton you would have 3 journeys of 15+20+35 = 70 minutes. Allowing 10 minutes connection at Castle Cary and Taunton it is still going to take 90, so pretty much the same.
 

Pen Mill

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The DfT ran a public consultation 6-12 months ago when the Great Western franchise structure was being put together but this has now closed. Your best bet would be to contact Passenger Focus.

They have been kicking around for a while with little action, so maybe the case isn't as strong as made out. Not saying Weymouth is a backwater, but I doubt loadings (Summer Saturdays excepted) justify more than the current level of service.

So the Yeovil - Bristol via Westbury service takes 90-100 minutes. If you went via Taunton you would have 3 journeys of 15+20+35 = 70 minutes. Allowing 10 minutes connection at Castle Cary and Taunton it is still going to take 90, so pretty much the same.

Ok fair comments , I resign !


Hang on , if you look at the road traffic between the 2 towns , there's still a hefty argument for a better rail connection .
After all , Beeching took the track up and Marples put the road down ! and what was valid then is more than likely not now.

EDIT
I knew I wasn;t seeing things with the North routing thing.
If I look at trains from Birmingham to Yeovil , the 13:12 ex New Street is routed Taunton , Castle Cary because the connection for the Weymouth is too tight at Bristol.
 
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Greenback

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If you only wanted a simple answer to a simple question, you should have left out all the detail about the timings ;)
 

swt_passenger

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To say that the Weymouth line is a backwater is a little ill-informed when Go-op were proposing an open access service from YeoviltoOxford & Birmingahm

Part of the definition of open access operations is that they are nearly always associated with 'railway backwaters' though...
 

Pen Mill

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If you only wanted a simple answer to a simple question, you should have left out all the detail about the timings ;)
Fair comment.
I was trying to give some background to get pointed in a better direction.

The mixture of responses prompted me to look around and I found this on Somerset County Councils "Future Transport Plans" statement.

RAIL :We will work in partnership with the rail industry and other stakeholders to encourage more people to travel by train. We will support better services, facilities,integration and improvements in the way people see train travel.

I know we are in a rural hellhole here and we have to pay our tax subsidies to make sure everybody gets to London on time but it doesn't stop us wanting to see planners using a bit of creative timetabling to solve a problem which is not beyond the wit of man.
EG , there is one middle of the day non-connection which misses by a whole 6 minutes despite the Weymouth having stabled for over an hour. This could be made into a sub-one hour journey and therefore be viable. It's just not being highlighted , I'd say.
 
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Greenback

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Fair comment.
I was trying to give some background to get pointed in a better direction.

The mixture of responses prompted me to look around and I found this on Somerset County Councils "Future Transport Plans" statement.

RAIL :We will work in partnership with the rail industry and other stakeholders to encourage more people to travel by train. We will support better services, facilities,integration and improvements in the way people see train travel.

I know we are in a rural hellhole here and we have to pay our tax subsidies to make sure everybody gets to London on time but it doesn't stop us wanting to see planners using a bit of creative timetabling to solve a problem which is not beyond the wit of man.
EG , there is one middle of the day non-connection which misses by a whole 6 minutes despite the Weymouth having stabled for over an hour. This could be made into a sub-one hour journey and therefore be viable. It's just not being highlighted , I'd say.

I think the key to achieving any service improvements anywhere, is to provide constructive suggestions such as the example you have used, and then hopefully this will be considered by the planners.

Hopefully, the very least you will achieve is an explanation as to why what seem to be simple adjustments can't be made.
 

Pen Mill

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I think the key to achieving any service improvements anywhere, is to provide constructive suggestions such as the example you have used, and then hopefully this will be considered by the planners.

Hopefully, the very least you will achieve is an explanation as to why what seem to be simple adjustments can't be made.

Cheers
I like to use rail as much as I can so I'll say my bit where it doesn't quite fit the bill.
It's not as though this one's a total whitewash as there are about 4 services per day each way which have reasonable timings, I just feel it can be improved so I've said my piece !
 

Tiny Tim

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So there's the answer! Set up your own open access company and run direct services between Yeovil and Taunton. Of course, it may not be profitable.
 

72C

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The two largest population centres in Somerset are Bath and Weston-super-Mare. ;)

Taunton and Yeovil are only largest in the smaller non-metropolitan county council area.

Not sure this correct. Bath and Weston are located in Bath and North East Somerset. Nolonger regarded as part of Somerset IMHO
 

72C

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You might want to check that. Weston is seen as part of the Somerset but is administered by BANES.
 
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You might want to check that. Weston is seen as part of the Somerset but is administered by BANES.


Weston Super Mare is part of North Somerset Council, not Bath & NES.

If you look on Wikipedia it clearly states the boundary of Bath & NES being places like Radstock and Keynsham. Wikipedia also states that Weston Super Mare is part of a North Somerset.
 

WelshBluebird

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Not sure this correct. Bath and Weston are located in Bath and North East Somerset. Nolonger regarded as part of Somerset IMHO

You might want to check that. Weston is seen as part of the Somerset but is administered by BANES.

Sure you are not getting confused between Weston Super Mare and Weston? (Weston is pretty much a suburb of Bath, whereas WSM is the seaside resort we all know about).
 

gwr4090

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Not directly responding to the OP's issue, but I note that bidders for the next Great Western franchise are being asked to produce costed option to increase the Westbury-Weymouth service to hourly instead of roughly two-hourly at present. This will probably require some infrastructure enhancement, but it could make Yeovil-Taunton a little easier.

David
 

Pen Mill

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Not directly responding to the OP's issue, but I note that bidders for the next Great Western franchise are being asked to produce costed option to increase the Westbury-Weymouth service to hourly instead of roughly two-hourly at present. This will probably require some infrastructure enhancement, but it could make Yeovil-Taunton a little easier.

David
Not directly related but a nice find anyway , that would make a serious difference to options for travelling Northbound and give much better connection potential with the half-hourly XC services (Scottish & Manchesters) at Bristol given the increased number of Bristol options through Westbury.

Frankly , I would use that more than the Tauntons !
 

Greenback

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I do feel that a less than hourly frequency is a serious disincentive to travelling by rail. The thought of a near two hour wait for a connecting train must put many people off rail.

(I'm not talking about lines with three or four trains a day here, by the way.)
 

calc7

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I do feel that a less than hourly frequency is a serious disincentive to travelling by rail. The thought of a near two hour wait for a connecting train must put many people off rail.

(I'm not talking about lines with three or four trains a day here, by the way.)

TBH even hourly is fairly poor. Especially where the connections are tight or non-existent.
 

bignosemac

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Not sure this correct. Bath and Weston are located in Bath and North East Somerset. Nolonger regarded as part of Somerset IMHO

I'm a Zummerzet lad (Tauntonian) currently exiled in Bristol. I was correct, but perhaps not specific enough.

Bath and Weston-super-Mare are in the largest centres of population in the ceremonial and historical county of Somerset.

Taunton and Yeovil are the largest centres of population in the Somerset County Coucil area.
 

All Line Rover

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TBH even hourly is fairly poor. Especially where the connections are tight or non-existent.

I have an "hourly" service (sort of) on my local line. During midday it's a pain with two services every two hours being spaced just 15 minutes apart, but in the mornings and evenings the (truly) hourly service is more than sufficient.
 

Pen Mill

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I do feel that a less than hourly frequency is a serious disincentive to travelling by rail. The thought of a near two hour wait for a connecting train must put many people off rail.

(I'm not talking about lines with three or four trains a day here, by the way.)
I'm happy with an hourly service on the Exeter-Waterloo line which I use a few times a month and would be delirious with an hourly on the Weymouth-Bristol service.
My criterion is simple :- can I plan around it , answer ,for me on the Exeter-Waterloo line (leisure user) yes.
Could I plan around it if I were a commuter ? certainly on the peak services on the WoEML eg : YVJ to Salisbury & Waterloo 06:53,07:22,07:53:08:29 IE roughly 1/2 hourly then hourly through the day.

The Weymouth-Bristol is a non-starter though at the moment , A 7:30 then nothing till 09:41 ; same in the down direction ,one peak service only.

Good old magnetic London strikes again !:D
 

Greenback

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TBH even hourly is fairly poor. Especially where the connections are tight or non-existent.

Yes, I agree. Although i think there has to be a trade off somewhere as not all line swill justify a better than hourly service.

I have an "hourly" service (sort of) on my local line. During midday it's a pain with two services every two hours being spaced just 15 minutes apart, but in the mornings and evenings the (truly) hourly service is more than sufficient.

Different lines and routes will have different demands, often at different times of the day. But a service of two trains over two hours, but only running fifteen minutes apart must be extremely frustrating for users, while doing very little to attract new users.

In fairness though, there may be operational reasons that are very hard to resolve, such as where a busy main line route takes up most of the paths.
 

tbtc

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TBH even hourly is fairly poor. Especially where the connections are tight or non-existent.

It depends - on a route like the Weymouth one to Bristol, an hourly service would be the best I can remember it ever having.

The important thing for me is a regular timetable - even if infrequent as long as its a reliable "every two hours" then people can rely on it a lot more than a mixture of "one and a half hour" and "two and a half hour" gaps.
 

Greenback

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It depends - on a route like the Weymouth one to Bristol, an hourly service would be the best I can remember it ever having.

The important thing for me is a regular timetable - even if infrequent as long as its a reliable "every two hours" then people can rely on it a lot more than a mixture of "one and a half hour" and "two and a half hour" gaps.

The point being made here is how a two hourly service acts as a deterrent to using rail when you have a choice of transport modes.

My personal opinion is that if I wanted to go to Cardiff, and there was only a two hourly service, I'd be worried about missing a train back by a couple of mintues and then having to wait for almost two hours. I'd probably consider driving in those circumstances, particularly if I was going to an event where the ned time was unpredicatble.

When considering journey options, too much emphasis is placed on speed in relation to other factors such as frequency, comfort, reliability and convenience. Again, just my opinion!
 

The Ham

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I do feel that a less than hourly frequency is a serious disincentive to travelling by rail. The thought of a near two hour wait for a connecting train must put many people off rail.

(I'm not talking about lines with three or four trains a day here, by the way.)

In the largish village (population of about 8,000) where I live there is a train service which runs every twice an hour and a bus service that runs hourly and only during the day (both linking to a nearby town). Guess what, no one uses the bus service, even though people from the next village over, which has no train service, could use it (whether to get to the train station or the town).

I know of various people who work in that vilalge who have learnt to drive, brought a car and now drive to work becuase they couldn't rely on the bus getting them to work. (I know trains tend to be more reliable than buses, but the argument still stands). Conversly when a service is improved a little, passenger numbers do tend to improve.

Having said that, the "improvements" have to meet the needs of people. For instance when the bus to my village ran a half hourly service half the services only ran between the far edge of the vilalge, the village and the Town and not to the nearby villages. This meant that the people from the far side of the village still only had an hourly bus service to the vilalge centre and town so didn't use the bus for that and the outlining villages, which would have benefited most from the extra service, still had a rubish bus service. This meant that when the developer funding for the bus finished, so did the "improved" bus service.
 

Tiny Tim

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Experiments in public transport (in Milton Keynes, I think) revealed that the maximum interval that 'the public' want is 20 minutes. Not very practical for trains on a route such as Taunton-Yeovil, but patronage increases drastically on services where there are such regular journeys available.
 
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