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The State of UK Rail - some personal experiences

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On 14/09/2019 at 12:31, 17A said:

Keighley to Skipton, a fast and frequent service. Skipton never been to before and keeping in with the theme of Keighley colour scheme well done Northern.

Skipton to Hellifield, starting to get into the dark depths of the Yorkshire dales now. I didn't know what to expect at Hellifeild, it's certainly out in the sticks but reminded of North Norfolk with what was waiting in the other platform.....

Hellifield to Carlisle, oh this is what has been on my bucket list for every since I've found out about this line. Wait pays off @Pandora . Something that bugs me about this line, with all the hype about the Settle and Carlisle why isn't a more regular service being run?

 

 

Quite simply not enough people live in that part of the world to justify it and if you want to travel from West Yorkshire to Scotland it's almost guaranteed to be faster to go via the ECML or WCML.

 

As a resident of those parts I'd love to see an improved service but sInce the Carlisle to Leeds service doesn't typically fill up until Skipton or Keighley it's unlikely and I'd also prefer them to spend money on improving Bradford to Leeds first as people have to be prevented from boarding the train during rush hour!

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1 hour ago, Aire Head said:

 

Quite simply not enough people live in that part of the world to justify it and if you want to travel from West Yorkshire to Scotland it's almost guaranteed to be faster to go via the ECML or WCML.

And without changing.

 

To be fair the S&C service only seems sparse because people seem to expect trains every five minutes these days. For the type of journey it'll almost inevitably be used for (i.e. you're not just nipping in to town, and it would never have that great a use as a commuter line) I'd call it adequate, unless the service has been reduced since I was using it from time to time (which was probably 15 years ago or more admittedly, but if anything I'd have thought that there would be more services now).

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2 minutes ago, Reorte said:

And without changing.

 

To be fair the S&C service only seems sparse because people seem to expect trains every five minutes these days. For the type of journey it'll almost inevitably be used for (i.e. you're not just nipping in to town, and it would never have that great a use as a commuter line) I'd call it adequate, unless the service has been reduced since I was using it from time to time (which was probably 15 years ago or more admittedly, but if anything I'd have thought that there would be more services now).

The service is frequent enough, I certainly know from my experience of doing a lot of walking around Horton that there seems a steady procession of train throughout the day. My only gripe being that one is never at the right time for me :mocking_mini:

 

Definitely largely useless as a commuter route due to the nature of its engineering.

 

Also significantly any chance of more services or for bigger more exciting trains is largely prevented due to congestion at Leeds which is the only area I could see there being any particular demand from.

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23 minutes ago, Aire Head said:

Also significantly any chance of more services or for bigger more exciting trains is largely prevented due to congestion at Leeds which is the only area I could see there being any particular demand from.

And the demand from the Leeds end will mostly be between Leeds and Skipton, already served by a much more intensive service than from Skipton northwards.

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9 minutes ago, Reorte said:

And the demand from the Leeds end will mostly be between Leeds and Skipton, already served by a much more intensive service than from Skipton northwards.

The only other potential area would be Bradford, the suburbs of which are already covered by the Leeds Services and also the Bradford services. I couldn't really see any demand for a Bradford to Carlisle or Scotland service. The one train to London from Forster Square is never busy till it gets to Leeds, likewise with the Skipton London service. 

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My persoanl recommendations:

 

1) From Todmorden go to  Hebden Bridge and enjoy the 1930s / 1940s look of the  station, and then relax in the cosy cafe in the  former parcels office on the platform for breakfast/lunch tea & bacon sandwiches etc..

 

2) Sowerby Bridge,  the pub in the former Goods Office is run by a railway enthusiast, decor includes railway ephemera, and attracts fellow enthusiasts. A venue for  Slide shows / talks  if you are lucky.

 

3 Marsden,  leave station and walk along canal towpath to the Standedge Tunnel,  the canal visitor centre and cafe are recommended and relax watching trains into and out of the tunnel with the impressive aqueduct over the line. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standedge_Tunnels

Edited by Pandora
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20 hours ago, Pandora said:

My persoanl recommendations:

 

1) From Todmorden go to  Hebden Bridge and enjoy the 1930s / 1940s look of the  station, and then relax in the cosy cafe in the  former parcels office on the platform for breakfast/lunch tea & bacon sandwiches etc..

 

2) Sowerby Bridge,  the pub in the former Goods Office is run by a railway enthusiast, decor includes railway ephemera, and attracts fellow enthusiasts. A venue for  Slide shows / talks  if you are lucky.

 

3 Marsden,  leave station and walk along canal towpath to the Standedge Tunnel,  the canal visitor centre and cafe are recommended and relax watching trains into and out of the tunnel with the impressive aqueduct over the line. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standedge_Tunnels

Thank-you Pandora, a visit back to the likes Todmorden and Knaresborough and surrounding area will be on the cards. I think as long as I left wanting more than the Yorkshire tourist board are going to be very happy.      

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Friday 13th...…. what could go wrong when traveling by train?

 

A beautiful morning to start todays leg of the journey from Todmorden to Edale.

I did have several plans of where I wanted to head during today, one of them was Llandudno another Blackpool or Colne and Clitheroe branches respectively. First I headed for Blackburn, looking at connection times my best bet would be heading for Preston then take it from there. The Blackpool service was well loaded for the time of day at 11:20. I was Incredibly surprised how busy Preston station was, take note this was the first time that morning where I had my ticket checked by a human barrier ( revenue protection guys)

 

Looking at my options and it didn't cross my mind that Windermere wasn't a million miles away and gives me a chance to go on part of the west coast mainline for the first time. Following my theory of the quiet coach having empty seats came up top trumps. Upon arrival at Oxenholme Lake District a very smart looking class 195 was waiting, what a bit of kit.

A very enjoyable ride up to Windermere and with the returning train then headed for Manchester Airport, perfect get off at Manchester Piccadilly then for Buxton. Well Friday 13th was going to deliver something one way or another.

All was going well until after Oxenholme when someone had from what I could see locked themselves in the toilet, this meant a we were held at Lancaster for those that wanted to use the loo. Okay no problem yet still a few minutes down, nothing to worry about. Upon arriving back into Preston the service terminates at Preston...… okay I like a challenge.

Everyone from our train told to head to platform 2 for the next train to Manchester Airport.... Next train arrives but is going to Hazel Grove, I've never seen such madness from folks rushing to get on the next train. I think it was down to the way the information was delivered to passengers on our train and how it was given over the station announcements. The fun doesn't stop here for Friday 13th.....

Jumping on board for the train to Hazel Grove, 2 announcements came from the guard 'Passengers please note that this service will no longer be calling at Leyland ,Buckshaw Parkway ,Chorley ,Horwich Parkway ,Lostock, Bolton ,Salford Crescent, Deansgate. Passengers wishing to travel to these station please get off at Preston'

Quite a few didn't here this memo, so thundering through the likes of Chorley gave a few looks of 'oh there goes my station'.

See I'm inclined to believe that someone locking themselves in the toilet on another train results in one termination and a semi express service to Hazel Grove?

 

When getting to Manchester Piccadilly apparently signals have been playing hard to get.  

I cut short my Buxton jolly as I knew something would go wrong but also giving myself time to get to Edale then the walk from the station to my digs. I can remember from our family days out using the Derbyshire Wayfare ticket that New Mills as 2 stations. So on board the Buxton train as far as New Mills Newtown then walk to New Mills Central, perfect timing and in Edale station before the sun goes down.

 

The number of times my ticket was checked on Friday.... twice, sadly this is a running theme all through the week.

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Saturday 14th September, another beautiful and by far my longest stint today. Edale to Penzance 

 

Today wasn't to get the quickest way down to get to Penzance, but to enjoy the ride. Which sounds cliché but it's what I've been doing all week so far.

 

9:33 from Edale to Sheffield, the walkers are out in force but like them I have a soft spot for the Hope valley as well. The tell tail signs of race day looms.

My plans of going to do a branch line of sorts has back fired over the week and today was no exceptions on my list was, Derwent Valley line, the Looe valley line, Tarka Line. Maybe when I have more time.

 

Sheffield to Birmingham, via Nottingham. Since the 10:29 EMR didn't want to open it's door to anyone, however in comes the Norwich service. A nice little jolly to Nottingham busy service with only 2 carriages. Changed for the Cross Country Birmingham service, oh boy did this train get very busy quickly but the WiFi worked..... just. But take note again no one had checked my ticket since leaving Edale and now in Birmingham New Street and what a difference. Last time I changed trains at Birmingham new street I remember paying 20p for a wee, it's a worlds away from the likes of Hellifield and Edale.

 

It has to be said the ticket barriers at Birmingham New street or Moor Street didn't like my ticket. Having heard and seen quite alot about Birmingham Moor street station I decided to take my next train from there (rather than going via Bristol which is what I'll be doing on the 15th September). I think it's a wonderful station to be at with the likes of Skipton and Hellifield there are some TOC (more community groups than anything else) that are very sympathetic to the look of their station.

 

Moor Street to Leamington Spa, Chiltern Railway's have a good system in place, again Wifi on the trains very good, clean and not busy compared to my train from Nottingham.

Leamington Spa to Banbury, same again as the last.

Banbury to Oxford, I guess since I last used this stretch that Chiltern Railway's have increased the service between these 2 stations. As I thought only GWR and Cross Country ran the service between Banbury and Oxford.

Oxford to Reading, This is where I get a first ride on the new class 800, it's a thumbs up from me. I think I understand what folks mean by iron board seat now. Good lord the journey was quick between Oxford and Reading.

Reading station, I can't compare to how it use to look. It's a fine line between bringing a station / track re-modelling into the 21st century like Reading or Derby compared to the likes of Birmingham Moor Street where the old ties in nicely with the new, on all accounts a revamp is never a bad thing. 

 

Reading to Plymouth,  Another class 800 overall very nice. Signal problems outside of Castle Gary station didn't help much to my long stint to Penzance. My connection at Plymouth was down by 7 minutes following my train previously.

Plymouth to Penzance, I seem to have forgotten how far Penzance was. I remember my grandad telling me when he did a rover ticket and getting to Plymouth saw it was a another 2 hours to Penzance, he turned around and went back to Exeter. Not quite sure what that says but there we go.

So leaving Edale at 9:33 and getting into Penzance at 21:45 on Saturday evening.   

     

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When the wheels come off the rail service nowadays, there seems to be very little leeway for advancing the progress of passengers customers journeys...

 

I decided that as the fare to Chirk for the Dapol Open Day, including Senior Citizen Card discount, was less than the car fuel/wear&tear/etc, cost that I would travel by rail this year. All was well until I boarded at Birmingham New Street the 09.25 to Holyhead service, which then proceeded nowhere, due to, the announcement said, a 'Track Circuit fault'. At 10am we were informed the train was cancelled and could we please get off.

 

Upstairs again, everything between Birmingham and Wolverhampton was being re-routed to avoid the normal route, except those trains going via Shrewsbury, on which there appeared to be a blanket cancellation. Having tried to get information from the obvious railway staff and got nothing apart from it'll all be on the display boards, I eventually spotted a man in a suit talking to a NR staff member and asked what my options were. I was informed that the services onward from Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury and beyond were operating, so if I could get myself to Wolverhampton I could continue from there.

 

Having previously been informed on two occasions that day that my ticket was not valid on West Midlands services I did a bit of lateral thinking and went to Wolverhampton by the tram service and there was directed to a West Midlands service to Shrewsbury - by which time a bit of sanity had obviously been brought to the situation and my ticket would be accepted. BTW, at Wolverhampton the delays were being attributed to a 'broken rail'.

 

I arrived at Chirk more than three hours after my scheduled arrival time, and after a brisk walk managed to spend about 50 minutes there, before having to walk back for my return journey, which was a lot easier, apart from a few minutes' delay, until the approach to Temple Meads, when we got stuck behind a 'slow moving freight train'. Connection missed at Temple Meads, delay at arriving at my home station was about 35 minutes.

 

The Delay Repay site got a bit of a bashing this morning...

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On 23/09/2019 at 14:12, talisman56 said:

When the wheels come off the rail service nowadays, there seems to be very little leeway for advancing the progress of passengers customers journeys...

 

I decided that as the fare to Chirk for the Dapol Open Day, including Senior Citizen Card discount, was less than the car fuel/wear&tear/etc, cost that I would travel by rail this year. All was well until I boarded at Birmingham New Street the 09.25 to Holyhead service, which then proceeded nowhere, due to, the announcement said, a 'Track Circuit fault'. At 10am we were informed the train was cancelled and could we please get off.

 

Upstairs again, everything between Birmingham and Wolverhampton was being re-routed to avoid the normal route, except those trains going via Shrewsbury, on which there appeared to be a blanket cancellation. Having tried to get information from the obvious railway staff and got nothing apart from it'll all be on the display boards, I eventually spotted a man in a suit talking to a NR staff member and asked what my options were. I was informed that the services onward from Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury and beyond were operating, so if I could get myself to Wolverhampton I could continue from there.

 

Having previously been informed on two occasions that day that my ticket was not valid on West Midlands services I did a bit of lateral thinking and went to Wolverhampton by the tram service and there was directed to a West Midlands service to Shrewsbury - by which time a bit of sanity had obviously been brought to the situation and my ticket would be accepted. BTW, at Wolverhampton the delays were being attributed to a 'broken rail'.

 

I arrived at Chirk more than three hours after my scheduled arrival time, and after a brisk walk managed to spend about 50 minutes there, before having to walk back for my return journey, which was a lot easier, apart from a few minutes' delay, until the approach to Temple Meads, when we got stuck behind a 'slow moving freight train'. Connection missed at Temple Meads, delay at arriving at my home station was about 35 minutes.

 

The Delay Repay site got a bit of a bashing this morning...

Having travelled a large part of the country for the week, I am surprised by how many posters both at stations and trains about delay repay schemes. On the one hand it's good TOC are now publicising these facility to the customers, because I'm sure only 10 years ago there very little mention about delay repay schemes. On the other hand quite a few TOC have a different approach delay repay, as East Midlands Railway has now introduced 15 minutes fresh hold compared to the likes of the LNER who have a 30 minutes fresh hold.

 

Looking on the TOC websites brings up some very interesting results with how they go about delay repay schemes.

 

Working from Top to bottom:

East Midlands Railway

LNER

Northern

Trans Pennine Express  

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The procedure is quite straightforward, on the face of it. Implementing it seems to be a different matter. 

 

My daughter and and her partner claimed from ECML and received first class returns to Scotland in settlement of numerous claims relating to delayed trips between Peterborough and London. No complaints there. 

 

I made a claim relating to a fairly hideous trip from Hartlepool. A preceding train apparently struck a bridge, and the whole system dissolved into chaos East of the ECML. I arrived home three hours late, via a roundabout route amid much controversy and displays of ill temper from people trying to make the same journey... I’ve never received any reimbursement. 

 

XC have never replied to my claim relating to my journey from Stafford to Plymouth during the storm earlier this year...

 

 

 

 

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Good heavens, I never finished off my 7th day all line rail rover experience. Better late than never.

Sunday 15th September.

 

I have in the past been caught out travelling by train on Sundays. Sadly, there hasn't been any other choice and covering the amount of ground from Penzance back to Gunton could be anything than straight forward. The plan to catch the ex-09:30 from Penzance, check times once at Exeter maybe head for London or stick with the XC to Derby. In the end I'd had done London once this week and that is enough. Having made base camp on the XC and the added bonus of an unreserved seat to Morpeth I'd make haste for Derby. For my trusty steed to arrive on time into Derby and then change for the Nottingham service would require a shy of a miracle, as the ex-09:30 arrived into Derby at 15:39 and the ex-12:45 Cardiff - Nottingham departed Derby at 15:39, nothing like cutting it fine. 

 

When I have been caught out travelling on Sundays. Llwyngwril to Ambergate is one journey I remember, because the volcano in Iceland had grounded all flights. On getting into Machynlleth it's announced a freight trains had de-railed outside Wolverhampton, my connection at Birmingham is off the cards. However, another announcement came over saying this service will be heading for Crewe. To coin the phrase 'I want to go to Birmingham, but ended up in Crewe'. I couldn't tell you how happy I was to see a dog box / flying brick in the bay platform at Crewe for Derby, as this was the first time, I'd been to Crewe at all. Getting safely back into Ambergate my parents none the wiser.

 

Making a connection at any station, any time of the week can be very unforgiving by a sheer miracle luck might be on your side. Coming back to my all line rail rover experience I find myself arriving into Derby where it was make or break, how on earth did my 6 hour and 9 minute journey managed to get into Derby early I'll never know. By and large I was a little over half way once at Derby for my train back to Gunton. When arriving into Nottingham I came up with a theory if I could say ahead of the Norwich train otherwise, I'd be waiting in Nottingham for roughly 45 minutes. So, jumped on the Skegness service to Grantham then try and catch to Peterborough and so on and so on, getting far as Grantham missed the Peterborough train, well now I have to wait for the Norwich train. Well 30 minutes later enter center stage right ex 13:52 Liverpool Lime Street, strange to think when I was between Bristol Parkway and Cheltenham Spa earlier that afternoon my Norwich train had just set off.

 

I could sit back and relax now that I was on the home straight to a point. Upon arrival back into Norwich my connection to Gunton wasn't for another hour, so I caught the train to Sheringham which didn't call at the intermediate stations but I squeezed out a little more of my rail rover ticket. Finally getting back into Gunton station at 22:05 having left Penzance at 09:30 that morning. I think I can say I've had my fill on train travel to last me a few months.

 

All in all, thank-you for taking your time to read my story

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Edited by 17A
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A few weeks ago, I had to travel from Cardiff to Birmingham and return. It was a Tuesday probably October 29th. I caught the 9.45 Nottingham train which was a two car class 170, I was seated in the rear carriage. All was fine until approaching Gloucester when the engine in the rear car cut out. At Gloucester station, there were attempts to restart the engine  but these failed so the train crew after a lengthy time on their phones to whoever was in charge got back on the train and announced we would carry on, on one engine. So we slowly proceeded north through Cheltenham and Worcestershire losing time all the way of course. At Stoke Works the train had to stop for signals so when we reached Bromsgrove our speed was no more than 50 mph. You can guess what came next, the train stalled on the Lickey about halfway up. So there was then another long pause while decisions were made and we then rolled slowly back to Bromsgrove. Fortunately this is now a 4 platform station so we drew in platform one and on platform 2 was a Voyager which had been following us. We all transferred to the Voyager and this made it to New Street at about 13.15 (should have been 11.45). The person I was supposed to be meeting so there was nothing to do but grab some lunch and catch a train home. So at around 13.40 I went back to the station to catch a train.

 

The departure boards were amazing. Every train was late, Some by well over an hour. Lots of trains were being cancelled but at about 14.10 I managed to get on a Voyager which was going to Bristol TM. This was running 90 minutes late. All went well until Cheltenham when the train was cancelled and we were all turfed out. After around 30 minutes a Cardiff train turned up which got me to Cardiff with no problems. 

 

I then went to platform 8 to catch a train to Eastbrook (Barry line). One turned up on time and we all managed to squeeze on although I didn't get a seat. After 10 minutes of inaction we were told that this train was cancelled due to there being no guard. So we were all turned out onto the platform. The next train was a two coach Pacer. The passengers from two trains tried to squeeze into this. I managed to get on. The trick is to anticipate where the doors will be and stand on the right part of the platform. This was packed to the point of being very uncomfortable and lots of people were left behind. Happily it wasn't cancelled.

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I came across a new one today.

A broken windscreen on a 350 at Euston early this afternoon.

A fitter was called with the intention of putting some film over the damaged screen.

This turned out not to be a success and we were told that the train could not proceed and to wait for a further announcement.

Most people, me included, got off the train and changed platforms with the intention of getting the next scheduled service.

The next train was a fast train so I got home around 15 minutes later than I expected.

Can't fault the staff for doing their best in trying to solve the problem and in keeping the punters informed.

Bernard

 

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Just happened to look back here to see what grew out of the topic I started on my 2018 UK rail trip; it's an impressive 12 pages of issues you guys have raised in little over a year.

 

Best wishes for smoother proceedings in 2020.

 

Colin

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On 06/01/2020 at 11:54, BWsTrains said:

Just happened to look back here to see what grew out of the topic I started on my 2018 UK rail trip; it's an impressive 12 pages of issues you guys have raised in little over a year.

 

Best wishes for smoother proceedings in 2020.

 

Colin

Well, we do have a lot of services running..we are bound to have more delays than Oz or NZ as, by comparison, they have very few main line half hourly services.

 

If you really want to see delays go to India.. the railways there have RailwayTime) which can be more than 24 hours late!

 

 Baz

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Barry O said:

Well, we do have a lot of services running..we are bound to have more delays than Oz or NZ as, by comparison, they have very few main line half hourly services.

 

If you really want to see delays go to India.. the railways there have RailwayTime) which can be more than 24 hours late!

 

 Baz

True Baz,

 

Regarding india, I reread Paul Theroux's delightful "The Great Railway Bazaar" after some 25+ years and he mentions that very thing.. Wonderful book for the railway traveller who's not yet discovered it.

 

My original post was less about delays than issues of old stock and attitudes towards customers, it was others who led it down that path.

 

However I do accept that the few trips here and there which we made are hardly the basis for a fair assessment. My latest comment related to how my observations were subsequently echoed by many others over the following year. Let's hope the new Decade brings better experiences to your rails, there certainly have been lots of exciting new arrivals to travel in.

 

Regards,

 

Colin

 

PS, Interesting aside, my #1 Bridge Partner is a certain Barry O, also known as Baz rather than the more Aussie "Bazza"

 

 

Edited by BWsTrains
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