Passenger "Mutiny" Due To Missed Stop At Swindon

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duncanp

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Saw this in The Telegraph this morning.

Whilst it is inconvenient if the train misses a scheduled stop, ultimately pulling the emergency alarm caused more disruption, including terminating the affected train at Reading, thus inconveniencing everyone who wanted to go to Paddington.

So I hope those who wanted to get off at Swindon were pleased with themselves.

On the other hand, the fact that the train was "..dangerously overcrowded..." is a sign that passenger volumes are starting to recover after COVID-19.


Passenger 'mutiny' forces packed train to reverse​

Travellers caused the train to stop after it failed to stop at Swindon

Rail passengers launched a "mutiny" on Sunday night and forced a train to reverse course after their service failed to stop at a scheduled station .

Travellers on the packed 2.19pm high-speed Great Western Railway (GWR) service from Penzance protested after it failed to stop at Swindon on the way to Paddington.

At least six emergency alarms sounded just after the train had passed Swindon, according to reports. The train was forced to stop before eventually turning back and letting off those who had missed their station.

The incident caused widespread disruption on the network and led to the "dangerously overcrowded" train finally terminating at Reading more than two hours after it was meant to arrive at London Paddington. Travellers on board called the experience a "nightmare".

"Swindon united against GWR in a mutiny," said one passenger, who wanted to remain anonymous.

"No one knows the reason why the train did not stop at Swindon, when it was part of the stops and people wanted to get off. Eventually, they did concede a win to the Swindon people and the train went back there."

Susannah Butter, a journalist who was on the train, said: "We were stopped outside Swindon for nearly an hour because passenger alarms kept being pulled all the way down the train and they stopped the wheels from working.

"I'm not sure if it was a protest or just people causing trouble (or just someone who really wanted to go to Swindon). The train is absolutely packed."

Ms Butter said her carriage was "very crowded", adding: "They kicked us all off at Reading, where the escalator is broken and all the trains [to London] are late." Other passengers said on social media the train was "too busy" to move down the carriages to reach staff and ask for information but claimed there was a "great community spirit" as many joked about the delays.

Many passengers complained on social media. One said on Twitter: "We are being told not to panic and people keep pulling the passenger alarms. The train is dangerously overcrowded."

Another said: "According to the information provided by the driver of the train, several alarms have been pulled repeatedly for no reason, and if it happens again we'll all be punished with a cancelled service and let off at Swindon."

GWR had told passengers the train would arrive into London Paddington at 9.25pm. However, all passengers were eventually told to alight at Reading and the train did not continue.

GWR confirmed that a communication alarm had been activated and apologised to passengers, saying the train had been due to arrive into Paddington at 9.25pm.
 
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duncanp

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Was the train scheduled to stop at Swindon? RTT suggests not

I wonder whether an announcement was made, erroneously, that the train was going to stop at Swindon, which caused people who wanted Swindon to board the train.

Or maybe an extra stop was inserted at Swindon by GWR control, for some reason, and either the message didn't get through to the driver, or the sriver simply forgot.
 

alistairlees

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I think this might have been the 16.18 Penzance to Paddington, which did have a scheduled stop at Swindon.
 

The Planner

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I wonder whether an announcement was made, erroneously, that the train was going to stop at Swindon, which caused people who wanted Swindon to board the train.

Or maybe an extra stop was inserted at Swindon by GWR control, for some reason, and either the message didn't get through to the driver, or the sriver simply forgot.
Well if the signaller didn't put him on the Up Relief then there wasn't a lot they could do anyway!
I think this might have been the 16.18 Penzance to Paddington, which did have a scheduled stop at Swindon.
No, it was clearly 1A58
 

Sm5

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I think theres a bigger picture here…

1A27/28/29 were all cancelled, and represent a gap of service east bound from Bristol between 1720 and 1924.

This service arrived at bristol 1820..p7 (regular London bound platform).

So no doubt everyone and his dog piled on at Bristol, making it overcrowded.
I suspect passengers treated this as the canceled 1830 1A29, and those from the 1730 (1A27) and 1800 (1A28) joined them, expecting that Swindon stop.

There was a gap of service 3 hours at Swindon from Bristol (1742/1A26) to (2049/1A32) as GWR were turning back services to London here.

It looks like things were a mess yesterday and attempts to return a normal service forgot to include passengers in that plan… there was a 3 hour gap later that night between Swindon and Bristol too. Frustrating for the driver too no doubt.
 
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ChrisHogan

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Well if the signaller didn't put him on the Up Relief then there wasn't a lot they could do anyway!

No, it was clearly 1A58
Train was routed through Platform 3 at Swindon so clearly NR was expecting it to stop. The version the driver worked to was the same as version posted by GWR on JourneyCheck (additional call at Bath Spa only).
 

Mag_seven

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I think theres a bigger picture here…

1A27/28/29 were all cancelled, and represent a gap of service east bound from Bristol between 1720 and 1924.

This service arrived at bristol 1820..p7 (regular London bound platform).

So no doubt everyone and his dog piled on at Bristol, making it overcrowded.
I suspect passengers treated this as the canceled 1830 1A29, and those from the 1730 (1A27) and 1800 (1A28) joined them, expecting that Swindon stop.

I think there were some special stop orders added in to some of those diverted services so either the order didn't get communicated to the driver or staff communicated to the passengers that a stop order had been added but in fact it wasn't. Either way it just shows what a complete disaster area GWR is on a Sunday with this ongoing train crew shortage issue.
 

cambsy

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If the service was booked non stop from Taunton to Reading, with crew change at Bristol, though it perfectly feasible do Taunton to reading non stop via Bristol, then why didnt the TM ‘s just open the local door and not the whole train, causing it to be over crowded, and presumed by Bristol passengers to be stopping at Swindon? .
 

duncanp

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I think there were some special stop orders added in to some of those diverted services so either the order didn't get communicated to the driver or staff communicated to the passengers that a stop order had been added but in fact it wasn't. Either way it just shows what a complete disaster area GWR is on a Sunday with this ongoing train crew shortage issue.

Whilst you can appreciate the fact that there is a staff shortage, there is no excuse for poor communication like this, where you tell the passengers one thing (eg "..this train will call additionally at Swindon..") and then forget to tell the driver.
 

QueensCurve

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Saw this in The Telegraph this morning.

Whilst it is inconvenient if the train misses a scheduled stop, ultimately pulling the emergency alarm caused more disruption, including terminating the affected train at Reading, thus inconveniencing everyone who wanted to go to Paddington.

So I hope those who wanted to get off at Swindon were pleased with themselves.

On the other hand, the fact that the train was "..dangerously overcrowded..." is a sign that passenger volumes are starting to recover after COVID-19.

Nowadays the Telegraph is no more a source of truth than the Daily Expreß.
 

Taunton

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Either way it just shows what a complete disaster area GWR is on a Sunday with this ongoing train crew shortage issue.
As with many other TOCs, mainstream management is around only 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, otherwise it's left to minimalist control and other staff to carry out some simplistic orders, but told to show no initiative, like once it was realised the stop at Swindon had been missed, stop it at Didcot. It's notable just how many, in fact virtually all, of these gross passenger-unfriendly events happen in the evening or on Sundays.
 

Sm5

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If the service was booked non stop from Taunton to Reading, with crew change at Bristol, though it perfectly feasible do Taunton to reading non stop via Bristol, then why didnt the TM ‘s just open the local door and not the whole train, causing it to be over crowded, and presumed by Bristol passengers to be stopping at Swindon? .
I was wondering that, but then also you have a london bound train arrive with passengers at a London bound platform full of east bound travellers who have just seen 3 trains canceled and dont yet know about a 4th..
i could imagine the situation becoming pretty tense, (obviously it was judging by the swindon reaction), being especially more if it went without them.

somewhere here communication brokedown, and after Swindon passengers restablished it themselves.
 
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AlterEgo

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I think there were some special stop orders added in to some of those diverted services so either the order didn't get communicated to the driver or staff communicated to the passengers that a stop order had been added but in fact it wasn't. Either way it just shows what a complete disaster area GWR is on a Sunday with this ongoing train crew shortage issue.
Seems the most likely result. What a disaster though.
 

pdeaves

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It appears that additional stops were added and some removed, not all at the same time. The resulting confusion all round would have been difficult to follow.
 

cambsy

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Looking at RTT, all the diverted trains were due to stop at Bristol for staffing reasons, so why couldn’t the diverted trains do what they used to do, and run non stop through Bristol? Which would have avoided the Swindon fiasco and stopped the severe overcrowding, the train crews can do Taunton to reading via Bristol non stop in roster hours etc, so why stop?.
 

Crossover

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As an aside:
"Susannah Butter, a journalist who was on the train, said: "We were stopped outside Swindon for nearly an hour because passenger alarms kept being pulled all the way down the train and they stopped the wheels from working."

My bold - and we wonder why journalism is so bad :lol:
 

AlterEgo

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As an aside:
"Susannah Butter, a journalist who was on the train, said: "We were stopped outside Swindon for nearly an hour because passenger alarms kept being pulled all the way down the train and they stopped the wheels from working."

My bold - and we wonder why journalism is so bad :lol:
Sounds like a reiteration of the explanation that would be given over the PA to me.
 

Sm5

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Looking at RTT, all the diverted trains were due to stop at Bristol for staffing reasons, so why couldn’t the diverted trains do what they used to do, and run non stop through Bristol? Which would have avoided the Swindon fiasco and stopped the severe overcrowding, the train crews can do Taunton to reading via Bristol non stop in roster hours etc, so why stop?.
Actually not stopping at Bristol would make it worse, as 3 trains had been canceled already… those passengers were not spectators, they were going somewhere.. what they were lacking was a vehicle to get in…

All it would do is move them to the next train whilst increasing the volume of waiting passengers… in otherwords the Penzance would have been alright jack.. but not the 1924 Paddington (or 2000 for Swindon), which would now consist of some passengers waiting since 1720 on the platform.

letting them on was the right thing to do, not letting them off was the problem imho.
 
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BrianW

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As with many other TOCs, mainstream management is around only 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, otherwise it's left to minimalist control and other staff to carry out some simplistic orders, but told to show no initiative, like once it was realised the stop at Swindon had been missed, stop it at Didcot. It's notable just how many, in fact virtually all, of these gross passenger-unfriendly events happen in the evening or on Sundays.
Not only 'the railways' either. A lot of organisations have problems between 9-5 M-F and 24/7. Circadian rhythms, family life/ unsocial hours, 'tradition', concentration, overtime, overwork, shiftwork etc are all factors.
'Initiative' is difficult, with risk of errors and blame; safer to have a rulebook to work to.
This 'incident' also raises the value or otherwise of the 'communication cord'- will someone (several??) be prosecuted for misuse? They ('straw men') should pay compensation? A lot of delay-repay?
 

Bluejays

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Some of those services were a right mess yesterday. Showing a different stopping pattern depending on what app you used. Really not sure what was going on
 

duncanp

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As with many other TOCs, mainstream management is around only 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, otherwise it's left to minimalist control and other staff to carry out some simplistic orders

It is not just TOCs where "..mainstream management..." is only around 9 - 5 Monday to Friday.

I used to work in I.T Support, and one of our clients was Network Rail. We were only at work Monday - Friday, despite the fact that Network Rail is a seven day a week organisation. (allegedly)

So if a crucial piece of I.T. infrastructure or software went down "..out of hours..." it could be reported, but unless it was critical nothing would get done about it until the next working day.
 

Tomnick

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As with many other TOCs, mainstream management is around only 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, otherwise it's left to minimalist control and other staff to carry out some simplistic orders, but told to show no initiative, like once it was realised the stop at Swindon had been missed, stop it at Didcot. It's notable just how many, in fact virtually all, of these gross passenger-unfriendly events happen in the evening or on Sundays.
Nonsense. Controllers, not "mainstream management" make the decisions, whether it's midday on a Monday or late on a Saturday evening.
Looking at RTT, all the diverted trains were due to stop at Bristol for staffing reasons, so why couldn’t the diverted trains do what they used to do, and run non stop through Bristol? Which would have avoided the Swindon fiasco and stopped the severe overcrowding, the train crews can do Taunton to reading via Bristol non stop in roster hours etc, so why stop?.
It might be possible to do it without relief at Bristol in theory, but it might not be the most efficient way of diagramming.
 

Sm5

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This 'incident' also raises the value or otherwise of the 'communication cord'- will someone (several??) be prosecuted for misuse? They ('straw men') should pay compensation? A lot of delay-repay?
little chance, imho.

if your on a train and its supposed to stop at the station, but goes whizzing through, without any prior communication then it is a legitimate action of the passenger to raise this as an emergency…, as a passenger youve no idea whats going on up front, nor are passengers required to have assumed knowledge of the operation of a railway.
There has been several cases where actions inside the train have prevented a dangerous outcome. Indeed if the guard/train manager expected the train to stop, then it should be their action too… maybe it was, we dont know.

We dont know what passengers were communicated, but the joint actions suggested by several passengers in different carriages of the train suggests like minded thinking… either that or it was an extinction rebellion style coordinated disruption.. but reading the paper it doesnt suggest that was a possibility. Also incontext was Chippenham.. was this also offered as a stop but missed..”two missed stations“ would certainly be alarming.

given the context of events, the action sounds reasonable. However, if it occured several times further after the first stop, and impeded events after communication and response, then it might have grounds for malicious behaviour worth investigating.

This whole sequence of events unfolding at Bristol was not of the passengers making, and so blaming the passenger isnt a rational approach, they werent preempting events but reacting to them.

imho..
 
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HowardGWR

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The article states that the train reversed to Swindon. Is there any RTT evidence for that?
 
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