Railway in Cheshire unable to cope with extra traffic caused by council subsidy bus cuts

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jcollins, 5 Dec 2018.

  1. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    There used to be subsided bus services from St Nicholas High to Lostock Gralam, Knutsford and Mobberley and from Hartford C of E High to Lostock Gralam, now there aren't and almost everyone gets on the train but the train can't cope. This also isn't a new problem - it existed under the old franchise.

    Northern do manage to put two 'Travel Safe Officers' at Greenbank in the afternoon who stop pupils getting too close to the edge of the platform and remove people from trains when they are so full the doors can't close. However, 2 extra carriages would be much better.

    https://www.northwichguardian.co.uk...pils-after-overcrowding-at-greenbank-station/
     
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  3. Confused52

    Confused52 Member

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    So why haven't the heads organised commercial school buses?
     
  4. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    They have but local coach companies charge a small fortune for tickets (at adult rate) so they are only used by those who don't live close to a station as pupils can travel at child rates on trains.
     
    Last edited: 5 Dec 2018
  5. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    The railway has a responsibility to ensure all paying customers are carried too. Providing they don't break a bylaw.
     
  6. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    No railway company is going to lay on extra carriages for a few kids.

    The problem is very simple: get the local authority to subsidise the bus service.
     
  7. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Yes We could reallocate the considerable amount of taxpayers money used to subsidise Northern to fund that bus service.
     
  8. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    Utterly tangential, but:
    The term used to be Special Needs. Then it was changed to Special Educational Needs (SEN), and it remains thus in Wales. When did England feel the need to tag a 'D' on the end?
     
  9. Smidster

    Smidster Member

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    And where are you going to get that money from? Local Authorities funding has been cut to the bone in recent years so there is very unlikely to be the funding available.

    And why shouldn't the Train Company have a responsibility here? In pretty much every other industry you respond to demand - Especially when that demand is consistent and predictable
     
  10. northernchris

    northernchris Member

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    I agree that 2 extra carriages would be better, but where would they come from? Given Northern's acute shortage of units it would mean taking 2 carriages off another service, are you aware of any services which could afford to lose these in the area?
     
  11. Jack Hay

    Jack Hay Member

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    From May 2019 there will be two trains an hour (each way) at Greenbank station, a near doubling of the train service, which may solve the overcrowding problem. At least it should for students traveling to Northwich, Knutsford, Hale or Altrincham, given that one of the trains is likely to be limited stop. It's still a problem in the meantime, I agree, and particularly acute given that the two trains an hour timetable should have started in December 2017.
     
  12. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    It isn’t ‘a few kids’. The overcrowding is dangerous.
    I’m trying very hard not to be too sarcastic. I’ll instead assume you are blissfully unaware and link to this instead.
     
  13. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    Disabled. It is a bit superfluous as if you are disabled you probably have special needs.
     
  14. philthetube

    philthetube Established Member

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    Not sure why the train company has a responsibility and not the bus operators?

    Easily solved, cancel the train, then the schools, council have to do something.
     
  15. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member

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    Because the children (or rather their parents) have paid for train tickets, and not paid for bus tickets. This point has been made, several times.
     
  16. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    D is for disabilities. The transport rules are the same and combined in legislation which is apparently applicable in England and Wales:
    https://www.gov.uk/apply-school-transport-for-child-with-special-educational-needs-sen
     
  17. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    Thanks. The transport provisions are indeed equivalent (to my knowledge).

    To answer my own question, it appears England introduced the new acronym in 2014: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25 .

    In Wales, the term ALN (additionl learning needs) was being used by then, but SEN was considered to be a distinct subset of ALN (alongside learning difficulties or disabilities). An overhaul of ALN is now in process in Wales, so that the term SEN will no longer be used within a year or so: https://beta.gov.wales/sites/defaul...ing-needs-aln-transformation-programme-v2.pdf
     
  18. whhistle

    whhistle Established Member

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    And I'm sure they will.
    Just on the next train instead.
     
  19. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    The service had 4 carriages until Northern decided to make it 2 so that could run the half-hourly off-peak service to Buxton.
     
  20. whhistle

    whhistle Established Member

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    I hate the term "special" being used for someone who is disabled :/
    Why not "extra" or "additional"? - two words which are more descriptive.
     
  21. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Indeed we're talking about over 200 kids on a train with 120-130 seats which already has a fair few passengers on board when it arrives plus 20 or so adult passengers waiting to board. The service is also part of the same diagram as the c.07:00 Chester to Manchester which also needs more capacity.

    Someone mentioned cancel the train - then the problem transfers to the service 60 minutes later which has college pupils and commuters who do early shifts, ending around 4pm, instead.
     
  22. Eccles1983

    Eccles1983 On Moderation

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    One easy fix - don't stop at greenbank.

    Or withdraw the offer it does for schoolkids tickets it runs on that line.

    Harsh, but will stop the "dangerous" overcrowding.
     
  23. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    We had a bus which overcrowded at school time, so we retimed it a few minutes earlier, some ran for it, others waited for the next, it just helped spread the demand though!
     
  24. Meole

    Meole Member

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    Manchester to Cardiff gets massively overcrowded from Ludlow to Hereford in term time due to school kids attending a preference school, you cannot alter the set formation just for that, a local service is not a feasible option nor is an extra train, its just life.
     
  25. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Problem here is it's currently an hourly service, so the schools would likely tweak their starting and finishing times to avoid having large number of their pupils hanging around at a station for a long time. In fact both St Nicholas High and Knutsford Academy have already done that so their times tie in with the current train times.

    I also don't think the solution you suggest would work everywhere. If a significant number of pupils jump on 20 seconds before the bus is due to leave the departure can be delayed while the driver issues/checks tickets.
     
  26. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    On a service of that distance no you can't but it doesn't mean that what you say can't be used as further justification for lengthening the Manchester to Cardiff trains, given overcrowding happens on a number of different services in a number of different places. It also doesn't mean an additional Shrewsbury-Hereford service can't be introduced, especially in the afternoon when the school pupils will likely be travelling before the official evening peak.
     
    Last edited: 6 Dec 2018
  27. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    It's a problem in a few places. Newark to Lincoln is one. The schools/colleges withdrew the road transport for their pupils so they moved on to using the trains, which had no further capacity added to manage the matter. Consequently the 2 trains that arrive into Lincoln at around 8am are very busy, one formed of 2 cars and formed of a single car.
     
  28. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    On some Fridays SWR changes the 14:47 Salisbury - Waterloo service to start at Sherborne to cover for the extra load when the boarding school finishes for the term and all the kids head home with luggage to stop the service before & after from Exeter getting extra busy with the luggage.

    The 15:44 Yeovil - Waterloo service also suffers a bit with overcrowding from Salisbury with the school kids heading home from the various schools in Salisbury (along with the random Russian tourist) as that is the first service from Salisbury which calls at the villages
     
  29. Confused52

    Confused52 Member

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    Is the root cause of this problem perhaps the 50% discount on the child season ticket price that the geniuses at Northern have offered at the same time as having rolling stock shortages? Effectively increasing demand from those with discretion over how their kids travel. The SEN kids will travel free and have no choice because their pass will dictate how they travel.
     
  30. agbrs_Jack

    agbrs_Jack Member

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    Congleton based here and our trains are also crowded, but evening is much worse as Northern removed our only additional peak service in May. (Should improve in May as well as our abysmal Sunday service but not holding my breath.)
    Can confirm that Cheshire East Council are useless, they very rarely get involved in anything rail based.
     
  31. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Eh? Child tickets are always 50% of the adult fare, seasons included.
     

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