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An interesting experience on Cornwall's railways yesterday! Firstly I was astonished that all the way through the county branches of foliage struck our Class 150 on the mainline whilst travelling from Liskeard to St. Erth. I feel there's been cutting back on the cutting back!. Added to this we had three emergency brakes to a stand mid- section which I hope was a fault, several passengers were distressed but no-one injured! Next as we pulled in to St. Erth the conductor jovially announced that anyone wishing to connect to the 11.17 to St. Ives had just missed their connection! Untrue. Platform staff told us it had broken down on the branch. There were roughly 200 waiting for the 4 car train by now. Luckily for FGW whatever the problem was it must have been fixed because the double 150 arrived to make the 11.48 departure which after Lelant Saltings was dangerously overloaded. It was akin to the tube in London. To my mind this is a disaster waiting to happen. If there is a breakdown in the section with steep cliff one side and dense bramble the other (also scraping the train) several hours in these conditions will mean people will resort to detraining. Nearest rescue loco Bristol? Or is the sleeper loco available? Six car units are a must on this line at peak times and some kind of backup plan for when things go wrong needs to be in place and made known to the general public.It was an unpleasant experience for all concerned. Passenger numbers are growing year on year on our branchlines. Is there an official capacity on any train? If not why not. There are in buildings!

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I don't know why I respond to posts like these as I am safely thousands of miles away!  But what goes on back home concerning the railways, thanks to sites like this, keeps me reasonably up to date and also a lot of questions answered.  There has been a noticeable deterioration in the railways natural habitat which would never have been tolerated in BR's time.  Even secondary and branch lines were taken care of and most yards were reasonably tidy.  Presumably NR, with all due respect to the Cap'n, would obviously spend the cash on the big stuff such as at Dawlish where prompt action was needed.  But as the recent post states, there is an inherent problem with the kind of incidents he mentions especially with the tree tunnels so prevalent around the tracks.  It also ticks off a few passengers as well as thy might as well be in the tube that is mentioned!

 

Brian.

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Unexpected stops with immediate restarts are usually due to the Driver's Safety Device or the vigilance system, both of which aim to ensure that the driver is healthy and alert.  The reason for repeated application is far more likely to be a fault in the equipment rather than the driver being very tired! 

 

Although it happened in Switzerland yesterday, serious accidents such as trains falling off cliff tracks are very rare - there were a couple in Scotland within the past two years due to landslides but no serious injuries (one was a freight train).  If people did detrain, on a single line with one train in operation the risk is fairly low.  If a dead Sprinter was moveable it could be rescued by a similar unit without having to wait for a loco, although anyone on the track would have to be cleared off before this could happen. 

 

On vegetation, it is no doubt very fast-growing at this time of year, and there are also environmental restrictions on the time of year when it can be dealt with. 

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Having spoken with the St.Ives Artistic Railway Travellers (S.T.A.R.T.) the seem to think its a bit of a blank canvas and a bit of a colourful scenario could occur !

 

They're hoping for a nice Brush to run down and clear up the shady areas !

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There is a 57 and 08410 at Long Rock available during the day and procedures are in place for ANY emergency regardless of numbers. The lack of DMUs is a well known thing but will continue until the IEP cascade kicks in. Extra staff are being rosterd for weekends until sep to help on both St Ives and Falmouth branches.

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