Stretching the truth?

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yorkie

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/4290344.stm

Pupils 'sitting in luggage racks'

A Cornish school head has attacked "dangerous" overcrowding on a commuter train carrying children to school.
Schoolchildren are being forced to stand on the two-carriage train and sit in luggage racks on the morning service from Bodmin and St Austell.

Paul Smith, head of Truro School, says pupils regularly arrive late as a result of the train being late and his pupils' studies are suffering.

Wessex Trains said it had no spare train carriages.

Mr Smith, who has complained to Wessex Trains in the past, said: "Twenty five pupils arrived late this morning.

"The train authorities have been told that the train is not big enough. It's dangerous when they are crammed in and you would have thought that Wessex Trains would be addressing this problem because of the safety issue."
Good point, but it's still more dangerous to use road transport, so they need to get a sense of perspective.

Sixth-former Andrew Sampson, said the train was so overcrowded on Wednesday that the ticket inspector could not pass down the carriages.

That meant pupils who had not had their tickets checked on the train had to wait for them to be checked at Truro, and that meant they missed the connecting school bus.
Well that is ridiculous. Integrated transport? I think not. But it's unfair to entirely blame the train company, what about the bus operator? it's difficult to comment without knowing the facts though: was the bus asked to wait? If so, and the driver refused, then that is scandalous IMO.
Fellow pupil Adam Hadley, who pays £25 a week for his ticket from Bodmin, said: "This morning 10 people were standing at Lostwithiel, at least 70 at Par and more than 100 at St Austell.

"It's worse than the London Underground. Some people were having to sit in the luggage racks. If there was even a slight collision the consequences would be horrendous."

He said that pupils had written to Wessex Trains four weeks ago complaining about the overcrowding, but had received no reply.

Wessex Trains Business Manager Andrew Griffiths said the company had no spare carriages.
Interesting choice of wording. In fact, it's a load of rubbish. Wessex owns NO carriages, they LEASE them. Is Mr Griffiiths saying that additional carriages cannot be leased? If so, then quite simply he is LYING, as there are a couple of top n tail Class 31 + Mk2 sets currently available for hire. Wessex currently don't require them, apparently.

Please note, I am not saying that the service in question should be Class 31 hauled. The LHCS trains could be depoloyed on suitable services (e.g. Bristol to Brighton as happened last year), this then releases Class 158 units to strengthen trains elsewhere, by whichever methods are appropriate (e.g. 2x2 car trains replacing 3 car trains which in turn replace 2 car, or even re-forming sets as TPE have done, there are many options available).
"We make the best possible use of every train. There is nothing in the sidings.
True if you count trains that are available to lease, but simply not leased, as not being in sidings. It's a case of them choosing the words that suit them.
"There are about a dozen services where people have to stand and when we get hold of extra railway stock we shall prioritise it to those most in need.

"In the slightly longer term I hope we shall be able to create more space on the train."

He added: "It's not good when people cannot get a seat and we would like everyone to travel in comfort."
True, but you can't have everyone travelling in comfort. But, to be fair the request isn't for everyone to have a seat but for potentially dangerous levels of overcrowding to be reduced.
 
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bunnahabhain

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I was told by an old BR Ticket Inspector/Guard who used to work the HST's from Sheffield to London, that he regularly found people sat up ontop of the luggage racks hiding from him, and if they stayed still and quite it was very easy to mistake them as a peice of luggage or clothing.

Not really related but I thaught it was interesting nonetheless.
 

Mojo

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I think until Network Rail makes the access charges cheaper for Locomotive-hauled trains, resolving the causes of crowding will become a lot more common.
National Express says that they will sort out crowding in their GW franchise bid, but since 'one' I don't trust them anymore.

BBC News said:
Stagecoach, which is bidding as Brunel Trains, said it will make a "multi-million pound investment in trains, depots and stations".
Which means that they'll be out straight away!
Actually, seeing what Stagecoach have promised (http://www.stagecoachplc.com/scg/media/press/pr2005/2005-09-26/), I am actually favouring them over First, the only concern I have is their high fares, which they are notorious for in their Bus operation, not forgetting the high open fares on Virgin. All they have to do now is get rid of the bigot at the top and maybe I might start to respect the company.
 

Tom C

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Well that is ridiculous. Integrated transport? I think not. But it's unfair to entirely blame the train company, what about the bus operator? it's difficult to comment without knowing the facts though: was the bus asked to wait? If so, and the driver refused, then that is scandalous IMO.
As I former bus driver I can add my two cents to this.

Firstly I very much doubt that the school bus is actually a CONNECTING service from a train. The school bus leaves from Truro Station and it leaves at a certain time, if you are not in time for a train it will leave and buses are the same. Remember many smaller companies use school buses on local routes after school runs and larger companies will use drivers on normal routes after school runs so they have to keep to a schedule in the same way that a train has to otherwise the next journey will run late.

A Cornish school head has attacked "dangerous" overcrowding on a commuter train carrying children to school.
Schoolchildren are being forced to stand on the two-carriage train and sit in luggage racks on the morning service from Bodmin and St Austell.
That is not acceptable, there should be extra capacity during peak hours in order to get people to work/school plus it will make people want to use the train rather than travel by car. Buses are not great anywhere outside of London or Birmingham so to travel 7 miles in Cornwall may only be possible by train or car and who wants to travel in conditions like that. Mk2 & Mk3 coaches are sitting around in yards rusting away when they could be used to provide extra capacity in places like Cornwall, Wales,the Midlands and no doubt all across the country and they could find uses for the 60's which are wasting away in a shed somewhere.
 

jdjonnay

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Rubbish, there's loads of standing room and its about 15 minutes from Bodmin to St. Austell. The kids are little brats and will climb into the luggage racks, despite being told not to. Wessex are in a no win situation, they cant kick them off or they'll get bad publicity, and they can't strengthen the train because at the moment they have a VERY poor unit availability down here. Most days there isn't a spare unit between exeter and Penzance.

Jon
 

jd

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Tom C said:
Buses are not great anywhere outside of London or Birmingham..
And what makes you say buses are great in Birmingham? I've been late for school twice in the last fortnight because buses have simply not turned up, and my bus is at least 5 minutes late nearly every day.

As for the 50, which *claims* to be every 3-4 mins peak, is more like 5-10mins, and every now and then there are gaps of up to 20 mins in the service. TWM really need to sort themselves out TBH.
 

Tom C

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And what makes you say buses are great in Birmingham? I've been late for school twice in the last fortnight because buses have simply not turned up, and my bus is at least 5 minutes late nearly every day.

As for the 50, which *claims* to be every 3-4 mins peak, is more like 5-10mins, and every now and then there are gaps of up to 20 mins in the service. TWM really need to sort themselves out TBH.
Thats much better than what you get in rural parts, London Buses are no better. When I was going to school I used to be late now and again because buses didn't turn up but that is far better than having two or three buses a day!
 

jd

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Yeah, but I would have thought that those buses actually turn up? Anyway, what do you want in a rural community? 5 min frequency? Wythall, just south of Birmingham (about 20 mins drive from city centre), has only 4 buses a day!
 

Tom C

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Just because a town of village isn't in a Metropolis doesn't mean there arn't people who want to get about.

Yeah, but I would have thought that those buses actually turn up? Anyway, what do you want in a rural community? 5 min frequency? Wythall, just south of Birmingham (about 20 mins drive from city centre), has only 4 buses a day!
I am sure people in rural communites will be able to answer that. 4 buses a day is LOADS, there are plenty of villages around the country that get a bus a week let alone 4 buses a day. What people want in a rural community is something more than a token service, one bus a week or even on bus a day is pathetic.
 

Mojo

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If they are underused (like most limited bus services are), then it would be more cost-effective for the local authority to subsdidise a taxi service, not alone being better for the environment.
 

AlexS

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Must admit, I can't complain about our bus service.

TWM gives our village a bus every 10 minutes to Wolverhampton, throughout the day, which I think is great.

With train overcrowding, Wessex have probably the most limited fleet in the country, and being so rural, getting replacement units isn't practical. They are already two units down after two of their 143s were gutted, and there has never been much to spare unitwise there anyway.

The Class 31s are probably a little uneconomical in terms of out of summer loadings.

And if there was an accident on the train with people sitting in racks and so on, it's probably reasonably likely serious injuries would result. That said, I have seen more than 10 people at once sitting in the Voyager crumple zones, so hey.
 

yorkie

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It got worse...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/4297494.stm

Rail passengers have reacted angrily after claiming a Wessex Train service left them standing at a platform on Friday morning.
Commuters, including school children, said they were told they could not get on the train because it was full.


The furious passengers said they were left waiting at St Austell for about an hour and a half for the next service.

Wessex Trains said it is prepared to discuss the problem, but there is nothing it can do.

Henry Robinson from Truro School did not get to lessons until 1040 BST and called it a "ridiculous situation".

He told BBC News: "There was anger and general shock and it was just not what you expected.

"I asked the people and was told 'because of the recent publicity we've been forced to follow protocol and only have so many people on the train'.

"The question you've got to ask them is why haven't they been following protocol before?"

'Unacceptable' situation

Earlier this week the train operator was criticised by a Cornish head teacher because of "dangerous overcrowding".

Schoolchildren said they were being forced to stand on the two-carriage train and sit in luggage racks on the Wessex service.

Paul Smith, head teacher of Truro School, said pupils were regularly arriving late and studies could be affected.

Matthew Taylor, the Truro and St Austell MP, said it was "utterly unacceptable" and he intends to take matters further.

Andrew Griffiths, the business manager of Wessex Trains, said the company would address the situation in April, but it could do nothing until then.

He said: "We have essentially been taken somewhat unawares by the extra large numbers of people wanting to travel into Truro.

"It has always been a busy train and it does get busier when the schools go back."
 

Techniquest

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Why not have a 37/4-hauled, 4-car MK2 train or two for the busiest trains? They'd have NO problem storming the Cornish banks! That said, the train would be half-full of 37 bashers...Plenty of carriage stock and locos around though, wouldn't be hard to put some on.

Re: Rural buses, when I'm at home, we have (apart from peak-times in the morning, when there's two in an hour to cope with demand) a bus an hour to Hereford on the 461. Not damn bad. Serves a lot of otherwise stranded passengers, as a lot of people don't drive on the route. Considering how rural parts of the route are, it's awesome service. Solos, Spectras, mmm. Just a pity it's £2.90 single (no return fares) each way between Hereford and Kington. I have no idea what the fare to Llandrindod would be, probably £2.50 single. Will find out one day.
 
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