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Train failing to stop at Conwy 'due to social distancing'

mrd269697

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Was waiting on the 1622 departure towards Birmingham International. For some reason, due to short platform length, only ‘limited services’ are stopping at the station - it’s long enough for 2 carriages so don’t understand that but hey ho. Anyway the 1622 is advertised on the electronic display board to stop here, on request. 15 other people were there.

train flew through. Called customer relations and apparently as it’s 4 cars it can’t stop due to ‘social distancing’ - as I said the platform is long enough for 2 cars so can’t understand that. Trains stop at tiny halts with platforms barely one coach long and just open one or two doors. Apparently only 2 car trains will stop, but how are ordinary passenger supposed to know? Also absolutely no information that the train would not stop.
Woman on the phone was very helpful and apologetic, not her fault at all.

Whilst not an issue for me to walk to Llandudno Junction (which I am currently doing), it is for people who may have mobility issues.
Dreadfully handled by TFW.
 
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_toommm_

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TFW currently have a policy that stations that require just the local door opening won’t be served due to social distancing requirements. In the case of Conwy, it can fit two cars with all doors open, but anything longer has to be local door only, meaning they won’t be able to/allowed to stop.
 

Watershed

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Was waiting on the 1622 departure towards Birmingham International. For some reason, due to short platform length, only ‘limited services’ are stopping at the station - it’s long enough for 2 carriages so don’t understand that but hey ho. Anyway the 1622 is advertised on the electronic display board to stop here, on request. 15 other people were there.

train flew through. Called customer relations and apparently as it’s 4 cars it can’t stop due to ‘social distancing’ - as I said the platform is long enough for 2 cars so can’t understand that. Trains stop at tiny halts with platforms barely one coach long and just open one or two doors. Apparently only 2 car trains will stop, but how are ordinary passenger supposed to know? Also absolutely no information that the train would not stop.
Woman on the phone was very helpful and apologetic, not her fault at all.

Whilst not an issue for me to walk to Llandudno Junction (which I am currently doing), it is for people who may have mobility issues.
Dreadfully handled by TFW.
TfW have decided to interpret the Welsh Coronavirus Regulations as meaning they can't stop at stations where local door operations would be required.

Conwy is a particularly salient example of the implications of this policy, as it receives calls in a variety of services with different lengths of trains, and therefore it depends on the length of the unit(s) allocated to the service on the day, as to whether or not services will call there.

'The train being too long' is certainly a novel reason for a multitude of daily cancellations. As far as the customer is concerned, it is undoubtedly rubbish customer service. Particularly given that TfW have stated no intention of providing any alternative transport for affected stations.
 

mrd269697

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Whilst I personally think all stations regardless of platform length should be served (as someone who had to work on the frontline throughout the pandemic on the railway), I could at least understand if they said no trains would stop. My interpretation of the current situation for Conwy is some trains will stop, some won’t, and it’s pure luck for passengers whether it does. Unless you’re in the railway sector or a spotter, not many are going to know in advance whether their train is 2, 3 or 4 cars. And that’s even if there was information saying only 2 car trains would stop. None of this was mentioned anywhere on the station.

And yet a longer train is better for social distancing...
Exactly!
 

Scotrail314209

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I don't understand what makes short platforms in Wales any different from ones on the WHL.

During summer, the Mallaig service runs as 4 car and is local door only at ALL stations between Fort William and Mallaig. They are still being served as usual.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Next one Eastbound from Conwy after 1622 in a mere four hours at 2019?

What I don't quite understand is why the electronic display board at Conwy (as advised by the OP) would still be advertising the train as calling (on request) at 1622, the best part of an hour after it had departed Holyhead at 1525 when surely it would have be known, by then, that it wouldn't.
 

PHILIPE

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Should a train have more than 2 carriages when not scheduled, TFW post an entry on Journey Check to the effect the train will not call. Such instances can occur when a 153 is hooked on to strengthen a 158 service ad hoc or a 3 Car 175 replaces a booked 2 Car one.
 

trainophile

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I returned from Llandudno last Weds on the 1440 MIA and they announced on departure that the train would not be calling at Conwy (it was 4 coaches). Seems ludicrous that they can't ensure that people waiting at the station are made aware. It's not as if they don't have an overhead display board that can presumably be manually programmed to say whatever you want it to.
 

BrianW

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TfW have decided to interpret the Welsh Coronavirus Regulations as meaning they can't stop at stations where local door operations would be required.

Conwy is a particularly salient example of the implications of this policy, as it receives calls in a variety of services with different lengths of trains, and therefore it depends on the length of the unit(s) allocated to the service on the day, as to whether or not services will call there.

'The train being too long' is certainly a novel reason for a multitude of daily cancellations. As far as the customer is concerned, it is undoubtedly rubbish customer service. Particularly given that TfW have stated no intention of providing any alternative transport for affected stations.
'Customer service'- treat them with disregard if not disdain? How is the putative passenger to know this, esp as the display is saying what they were expecting to see. Also not good for the driver to have to just 'fly past'. Is it not possible, or not someone's job, to change the display at least; better still to enable people to adapt plans ahead of time. If I were expecting to take that train to change somewhere for an ongoing train and/or to make an appointment I'd be fuming, even if it's valid to blame the government.
I don't understand what makes short platforms in Wales any different from ones on the WHL.

During summer, the Mallaig service runs as 4 car and is local door only at ALL stations between Fort William and Mallaig. They are still being served as usual.
One is Scotland and Scotrail; the other is Wales and TFW- that's devolution, which folk voted for.
 

Darandio

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This nonsense needs to stop. It's nothing more than another example of Covid related crap customer service, that is all. There is no need.
 

Class320

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TFW currently have a policy that stations that require just the local door opening won’t be served due to social distancing requirements. In the case of Conwy, it can fit two cars with all doors open, but anything longer has to be local door only, meaning they won’t be able to/allowed to stop.

People can get on and off buses that have a single door so there is no reason whatsoever it can't be done with a train. It just smacks of the train operator using Social Distancing as an excuse to cut services.
 

py_megapixel

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TfW's solution (or lack thereof) to this is utterly pathetic.
Can't they just release the door, then step through the gangway into the next vestibule while passengers alight, then come back and close it again?
 

Watershed

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The irony is that 153s and 158s operations inherently involve the same sorts of risks as Local Door Operations (there is no separate crew door, as on 150s and 175s, so the guard must step into the vestibule to open the door).

Whilst I have seen some such TfW units with the relevant vestibules and doors marked 'out of use', this is far from ubiquitous.

All I can say is, TfW are doing themselves no favours by continuing in this way, making no apparent effort to once again serve the relevant stations, or at least providing alternative transport in the interim. Some stations haven't had any trains for nearly a year now.
 

156478

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TfW's solution (or lack thereof) to this is utterly pathetic.
Can't they just release the door, then step through the gangway into the next vestibule while passengers alight, then come back and close it again?
That is exactly the solution I had, but sadly this kind of common sense does not work on the railway.
 

mrd269697

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TfW's solution (or lack thereof) to this is utterly pathetic.
Can't they just release the door, then step through the gangway into the next vestibule while passengers alight, then come back and close it again?
Common sense. No place for that here!

I was saying to my colleagues in work before, I work for a toc that’s had a long standing dispute over a second person on the train, (which I support hands down) that being stuck in your cab for the best part of 15 months is not doing the prospects of justifiying your job any favours!

glad people on here seem to (generally) agree that the lack of care from tfw and their policies of cutting services are pathetic at best

The irony is that 153s and 158s operations inherently involve the same sorts of risks as Local Door Operations (there is no separate crew door, as on 150s and 175s, so the guard must step into the vestibule to open the door).

Whilst I have seen some such TfW units with the relevant vestibules and doors marked 'out of use', this is far from ubiquitous.

All I can say is, TfW are doing themselves no favours by continuing in this way, making no apparent effort to once again serve the relevant stations, or at least providing alternative transport in the interim. Some stations haven't had any trains for nearly a year now.
It’s actually quite disgraceful some stations have not been served for an entire year. Llanfairpwll has 3000 residents. Railway station effectively closed since last July. Conwy effectively closed (or sit and hope a train stops) since last July. And that’s a town of over 4,000 people and a tourist hotspot! And no information of when they’ll be served again.
 
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duncanp

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All I can say is, TfW are doing themselves no favours by continuing in this way, making no apparent effort to once again serve the relevant stations, or at least providing alternative transport in the interim. Some stations haven't had any trains for nearly a year now.

This also affects some stations in England served exclusively by Transport for Wales, such as Hopton Heath and Bucknell.

If you put Shrewsbury to Hopton Heath into National Rail enquiries, it comes up with "This journey is not available", and if you try and buy a ticket on one of the booking sites, it just says "No tickets are available".

What are people who would like to use these stations supposed to do?

Do TfW provide taxis or replacement buses from the nearest alternative station where they condescend to stop?
 

Tramfan

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It seems to have been something of a lottery as to the type of train that could turn up on any given service when I've been using TFW recently, anything from a 158, 2x158s, 2x150s, 150+158, 153+158, etc. which doesn't help this situation.

There have also been a number of cancellations due to Traincrew shortages, although this is clearly affecting more than just this area of line
 

PHILIPE

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It seems to have been something of a lottery as to the type of train that could turn up on any given service when I've been using TFW recently, anything from a 158, 2x158s, 2x150s, 150+158, 153+158, etc. which doesn't help this situation.

There have also been a number of cancellations due to Traincrew shortages, although this is clearly affecting more than just this area of line

And 175s
 

miami

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TFW is a government owned nationalised service isn't it? Model for the future?
 

Watershed

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This also affects some stations in England served exclusively by Transport for Wales, such as Hopton Heath and Bucknell.

If you put Shrewsbury to Hopton Heath into National Rail enquiries, it comes up with "This journey is not available", and if you try and buy a ticket on one of the booking sites, it just says "No tickets are available".
This is particularly inexcusable since TfW claim it is a set of Welsh Regulations preventing them from stopping at stations in England, on a train crewed with traincrew based in England (Shrewsbury). Quite how the Welsh Regulations supposedly have jurisdiction covering such situations is beyond me.

What are people who would like to use these stations supposed to do?
Ostensibly TfW would like them to use the nearest station they're serving. Of course, there will be numerous journeys people want to make that are just one or two stops, where that message effectively becomes "don't bother trying to go by train".

Do TfW provide taxis or replacement buses from the nearest alternative station where they condescend to stop?
I don't think so.
 
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Clayton

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What a ridiculous customer service fail! And the reason doesn’t make any sense. I very much hope the company arranged taxis and refunded fares for everyone.
 

Watershed

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Make it DOO only. Problem solved.

Staff and unions need to be careful what they wish for.
It would probably be quicker and cheaper to modify the trains in question to enable Selective Door Operation (SDO), which would enable trains to call at all but the shortest platforms (I believe Sugar Loaf and Gilfach Fargoed may be the only two examples shorter than 23m).
 

krus_aragon

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I returned from Llandudno last Weds on the 1440 MIA and they announced on departure that the train would not be calling at Conwy (it was 4 coaches). Seems ludicrous that they can't ensure that people waiting at the station are made aware. It's not as if they don't have an overhead display board that can presumably be manually programmed to say whatever you want it to.
I wouldn't have expected any trains from Llandudno to Manchester Airport to call at Conwy: it'd require two reversals to do so.

Did you perhaps board elsewhere?
 

duncanp

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This is particularly hilarious since TfW claim it is a set of Welsh Regulations preventing them from stopping at stations in England, on a train crewed with traincrew based in England (Shrewsbury). Quite how the Welsh Regulations supposedly have jurisdiction covering such situations is beyond me.


Ostensibly TfW would like them to use the nearest station they're serving. Of course, there will be numerous journeys people want to make that are just one or two stops, where that message effectively becomes "don't bother trying to go by train".


I don't think so.

There really needs to be a proper assessment of the health and safety risks of stopping at these stations, and mitigating measures put in place to counteract any risk there might be to either train staff or passengers.

After all, if other train companies can use selective door opening, such as previously mentioned on the Fort William to Mallaig line, or places such as Bilbrook on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line, why can't Transport for Wales?

It is not as if Transport for Wales give a monkeys about social distancing aboard their trains. On a very hot day at the end of July last year I was waiting at Shrewsbury for the 09:30 to Aberystwyth, intending to go one stop to Welshpool. Practically every teenager in Shropshire was on the platform, intending to go for a day trip to various destinations on the Welsh coast. When the train arrived, everyone piled on, all seats were taken, and there were people standing in the gangways. No attempt was made at enforcing the social distancing regulations which were allegedly in force at the time.
 

RHolmes

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TfW's solution (or lack thereof) to this is utterly pathetic.
Can't they just release the door, then step through the gangway into the next vestibule while passengers alight, then come back and close it again?

That is exactly the solution I had, but sadly this kind of common sense does not work on the railway.

Common sense is that the guard should be on the outside of the train during boarding not inside.

They’re job is to monitor the platform interface and boarding, particularly so when only a local door is used (as passengers will attempt to use all locked doors and panic when they don’t open)

However I don’t disagree that the practice is odd, at my TOC that would involve keeping the rear unit locked out completely until all stations could be served if SDO was not possible
 

LowLevel

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Common sense is that the guard should be on the outside of the train during boarding not inside.

They’re job is to monitor the platform interface and boarding, particularly so when only a local door is used (as passengers will attempt to use all locked doors and panic when they don’t open)

However I don’t disagree that the practice is odd, at my TOC that would involve keeping the rear unit locked out completely until all stations could be served if SDO was not possible

I believe the full name for the method of operation is "Long Train/Short Platform Local Door Operation" - at my own TOC it is used so regularly (including through the pandemic) it is nothing remarkable.

It is a pain though to manage on busier services - having to do Local door operation on a 6 car interregional train or busy seaside service is a bloody nightmare.
 

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