NLL news (April 05)

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Sprinter

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Might as well give the bad news first....

Engineering work on Gospel Oak- Barking
The GOBLIN will have NO WEEKEND TRAIN SERVICES from April 1st/2nd until May 20th/21st inclusive.

There will also be no train service on Bank Holiday Monday (May 1st). Replacement buses will operate on Saturdays and on May 1st, but not on Sundays, due to the rather arcane franchising arrangements whereby providing a Sunday service is only a contractual obligation in the summer.

The only exception to the total weekend shutdown is over Easter, when on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday a train service will run between Gospel Oak and South Tottenham. On those days replacement buses will cover the South Tottenham-Barking section. No trains or buses will run on Easter Sunday.

It's a real blow that our weekend service will be knocked out for so many weeks, especially when reliability had been getting really good and people were getting confident about the service again, but engineering work has to be done sometime. Oh, and buses replace trains between Willesden and Richmond on April 1st and 2nd, and between South Acton and Richmond on April 3rd to 9th inclusive!

Cycle ban- views wanted
Silverlink have reopened the consultation on the issue of peak-time cycle restrictions. The main options are basically as follows:

· A ban on bikes on rush-hour trains between particular times
· A ban on specific busy trains only
· Bans covering either the whole route or just a part of it
· No ban at all

Our Executive Committee's initial feeling is that any ban should only apply to any specific trains which are particularly crowded (e.g. the 08 08 from Barking), to keep restrictions to the minimum necessary. What do you think? Please post your views here and I will pass them on.

Performance & Reliability
Performance & reliability figures have continued to improve, and are currently the best for many years. This is very good news which everyone will welcome - especially those who remember the days when you had to set out to catch the train before the one you really wanted, just to be reasonably sure of reaching your destination.

Well done, Silverlink - keep up the good work! Now that reliability is so much better, they are instigating improved train-cleaning regimes, including a periodic heavy clean for all train units and renewing seat covers. Water restrictions permitting, these measures should greatly improve the appearance of our trains, which had been looking very tired and tatty.

Many Caught In Penalty Fares Net
The first month of Silverlink's Penalty Fares system saw around 3500 Penalty notices issued to people travelling without tickets. Part of the procedure involves checking people's identity and details, as a result of which a number of people were caught who were wanted for other crimes - including one for rape and one for murder. This bears out the theory that people who fare-dodge have often committed other offences too.

Despite the bright yellow penalty fares posters being put up at GOBLIN stations, this line is NOT part of the PF scheme, but passengers without tickets should buy one from the on-train conductor if possible. If not, anyone going beyond Barking or Gospel Oak (or changing onto the Tube at Blackhorse Road) should buy one there or they risk getting a PF on the next leg of their journey.

Next Meeting
Our next open meeting is on Tuesday May 9th, 7 15 pm at Barking Town Hall. We are delighted that Hugh Chaplain of Transport for London has accepted our invitation to attend as guest speaker; an excellent opportunity to hear more about TfL's plans for the line and the new franchise, also to feed in ideas and ask questions. All welcome!
 
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Techniquest

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Regarding the ban on cycles, specific trains such as the 0808 should definately be done. Although this would require good measurements of how busy the busy trains are. I am, however, aware that the NLL is definately busy on trains you wouldn't normally consider being in peak hours, having personally experienced some rather busy trains on the line myself. Never done the 0808 off Barking though, so I can't comment there.

To do a ban on specific trains is probably a lot easier than between certain areas only. ATF have tried such an idea, and it's worked out very strangely. I don't have the leaflet to explain how odd it is, but you can board a train with a bike at any time on one section, have it banned on the next few stops, then have it allowed again on the next few stops after that! I'll see if I can find some proper examples soon.

Admittedly, I hardly ever use the NLL, only when I'm in London which isn't terribly often and not every time then. Hence I hardly see people with cycles on the NLL, although if they're considering various types of bans it must be a common problem. What I propose is the following:

- Ban on cycles on the busy trains, most notably the 0808 off Barking, but allow them on the relief service (0823 IIRC off Barking). Ensure posters explaining which trains have bans imposed on cycles are at stations, include it in announcements at the major stations too as an additional reminder. Possibly introduce leaflets at the major stations such as Barking to alert passengers with cycles of the changes a couple of weeks before the bans begin so they can plan accordingly. Whatever Silverlink do they should ensure passengers are warned in advance of the ban IMO. The busiest sections of the NLL could possibly have a ban on all trains between 1630 and 1830, but allowing the passengers who have boarded a train on that section before reaching it (eg, if they got on at North Woolwich and were going to Gospel Oak with their cycle they would be exempt. Passengers joining at Stratford would not be allowed to board with a cycle though) to travel. Otherwise you could possibly introduce an extra fare for cycles (could be anything from £1 - £2.50) on each single journey during the busiest times.

Those are my ideas, which I've literally just thrown down off my head onto here. Comments on the viability of anything above are welcomed.

As for the deep clean of SL stock, this is good news. I wouldn't have thought there would be a water restriction now though, what with the heavy amounts of rain received across the country over the past few days? The dams up this way should be much fuller now, indeed the rivers are and some have burst their banks!

That's my views for the time being. I may follow them up with additional thoughts at a later time/date, but the above should have summarised my ideas and thoughts quite well.

Regards,
WSXFan.
 
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