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GWR in Brighton


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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, KeithMacdonald said:

 

 

How long had GWR been running a service to Brighton?

Was that just a recent thing?

Did the pre-nationalisation GWR do such a thing?

 

 

 

The current GWR inherited it the twice daily Brighton - Cardiff service from the Wessex trains franchise when the DfT merged them with the InterCity GWR operation a decade or so ago.

 

The Wessex Trains franchise inherited them from the Wales & West Franchise (split to provide a dedicated Welsh franchise upon Devolution).

 

Wales and West franchise inherited them from Regional Railways business sector it was created out of upon privatisation.

 

British Rail inherited them from the Southern & GWR railways who inherited them from....

 

In other words its been an extremely long lived service which was appreciated by those looking to head west with luggage who wished to avoid changing etc - but that cuts very little ice with a cuts obsessed DfT on the lookout for what it perceives as 'unnecessary duplication'

Edited by phil-b259
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7 hours ago, KeithMacdonald said:

Just found this on YouTube.

My questions :

How long had GWR been running a service to Brighton?

Was that just a recent thing?

Did the pre-nationalisation GWR do such a thing?

 

 


One of my first memories of train travel was of waiting at Southampton Central for our connecting Brighton -Cardiff service on a return holiday journey from Bournemouth. It arrived consisting of a rake of freshly painted chocolate and cream Colletts behind black Schools 933 . Date August 1948.

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Presumably in steam days there was a change of locomotive between Southern and Western at Salisbury? Going further back, if this service originated before the grouping, there would have been a further change between Brighton and South Western, but where?

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13 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

Presumably in steam days there was a change of locomotive between Southern and Western at Salisbury? Going further back, if this service originated before the grouping, there would have been a further change between Brighton and South Western, but where?

For trains visiting Portsmouth, at the Low-Level, I should think, while Havant comes to mind for services across the top? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Compound2632 said:

Presumably in steam days there was a change of locomotive between Southern and Western at Salisbury? Going further back, if this service originated before the grouping, there would have been a further change between Brighton and South Western, but where?

 
In BR steam days,yes the change was at Salisbury. Brighton ( 75 A ) had a small allocation of Bulleid Light Pacifics to cover these and the corresponding Plymouth ( a working with RN personnel in mind ) service . For the latter,the Brighton Pacific was exchanged for an Exmouth Jct. one also at Salisbury for the run to Plymouth.

Edited by Ian Hargrave
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2 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

For trains visiting Portsmouth, at the Low-Level, I should think, while Havant comes to mind for services across the top? 

A 1929 public TT shows Portsmouth and Southsea as the calling point in Portsmouth so inevitably it would have been at the Low Level.  Both trains in each direction are shown as calling there.   Interestingly in that year (and presumably others?) the 12.20 ex Cardiff conveyed a restaurant car which returned on the 11.00 from Brighton the next day but the public book obviously gives no indication if it was a GWR or SR car.

 

I can't find any Cardiff - Brighton trains in a relevant May 1911 Service TT but it's quite possible that they might only have run in the high summer period.

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10 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

that cuts very little ice with a cuts obsessed DfT on the lookout for what it perceives as 'unnecessary duplication'

 

I concur, and now I'm going to drift my own thread! 😀

 

It makes me wonder if that the "Ghost of Beeching" roaming the corridors of the DfT?

 

Also, wondering if the DfT (Railways section) has learnt nothing from the aviation travel industry. The most successful operators there recognised long ago that the mega-hub airports (like Heathrow) were reaching saturation and costs were climbing at a disproportionate rate (-v- revenue). For railways, "mega-hub" means big London termini, also reaching saturation (pre Covid).

 

The aviation travel industry did change and adapt, by focusing more on smaller regional airports that had spare capacity. Which is why the A380 (very good though it is in its intended role) has limited demand, there just aren't enough mega-hub routes available. For railways, change and adapt would mean routes that avoid London, and put some contigency, flexibility and resilience into the system.

 

For system designers, contigency and resilience is a Good Thing. But bean counters and "central planners" hate it, because they see it as a cost up front for something that might happen in the future. But when the unexpected happens, it's the operators (operating the routes permitted by DfT) wot gets the blame.

 

FWIW, I've had exactly the same experience designing and building computer systems, where the budget-holders fixate on "Minimum Viable Product".

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12 minutes ago, KeithMacdonald said:

 

I concur, and now I'm going to drift my own thread! 😀

 

It makes me wonder if that the "Ghost of Beeching" roaming the corridors of the DfT?

 

Also, wondering if the DfT (Railways section) has learnt nothing from the aviation travel industry. The most successful operators there recognised long ago that the mega-hub airports (like Heathrow) were reaching saturation and costs were climbing at a disproportionate rate (-v- revenue). For railways, "mega-hub" means big London termini, also reaching saturation (pre Covid).

 

The aviation travel industry did change and adapt, by focusing more on smaller regional airports that had spare capacity. Which is why the A380 (very good though it is in its intended role) has limited demand, there just aren't enough mega-hub routes available. For railways, change and adapt would mean routes that avoid London, and put some contigency, flexibility and resilience into the system.

 

For system designers, contigency and resilience is a Good Thing. But bean counters and "central planners" hate it, because they see it as a cost up front for something that might happen in the future. But when the unexpected happens, it's the operators (operating the routes permitted by DfT) wot gets the blame.

 

FWIW, I've had exactly the same experience designing and building computer systems, where the budget-holders fixate on "Minimum Viable Product".

Andrew Gilligan has been named by one national 'paper as being involved but what on earth he knows about the railway industry I haven't got a clue (and I suspect he hasn't either but he reportedly has the ear of various senior politicians).

 

One unintended consequence of doing things like this is that Govt - as so often - shoots itself in the foot because taking off trains reduces what the operators will pay to NR for access.  So effectively NR's overhead cost per train mile run will increase.  The really pertinent question is also just how much will be saved?  Clearly in this case there will be a saving on the fuel bill and any mileage related maintenance costs for the trains involved and a saving in what the operator is paying NR but sudden slashes like this rarely achieve any staff savings - although they might come at the next major service change.

 

In fact it reminds me of the cock-eyed way the 'inter city' part of SNCF works where they take off a train if it is not achieving a particular load factor.  The fact that doing that can, and does, not save any money on operating costs (and on occasions can even increase operating costs) shows just how such a naive approach can work. 

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Posted (edited)

Up until 2007, South West Trains used to run a Brighton - Salisbury or Paignton service with 159s & also Brighton - Eastleigh with 450s (when the aforementioned didn't run). Much duplication with Great Western/Southern along the South Coast.

So there were five companies who operated to Brighton in the mid-late 2000s (Southern, First C*r*apital Connect, FGW, SWT, Virgin). 

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It's not just the civil servants in the DafT that know little about how railways work, the ministers are as bad.  In the past 30 or so years at least there has only been one SoS who exhibited a reasonable knowledge of the industry and its history.  

 

He didn't last long, the senior civil servants in the department took fright and got him moved on pronto.  You can imagine an episode of Yes, Minister,  Sir Humphrey meets the head of the Civil Service in a gentlemen's club and complains his minister knows too much and arrangements are made to move him.  

 

Sadly this applies across government not just the DafT and irrespective of what party is in power.

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For the last departure at 17:00 on Friday the normally full and standing from Brighton two or three car was boosted to a five car complete with headboard, still full and bursting all the way...

 

But the DfT says the service isn't needed.  I would love to know how they calculate their passenger figures!!

 

I don't fancy working the following Pompey 313 at 17:02, it was bad enough being full and standing when the GW service ran, God knows what it will be like now...

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48 minutes ago, Mike_Walker said:

... there has only been one SoS who exhibited a reasonable knowledge of the industry and its history. ...

 

Please can you give us a hint...? 😉

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5 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

A 1929 public TT shows Portsmouth and Southsea as the calling point in Portsmouth so inevitably it would have been at the Low Level.  Both trains in each direction are shown as calling there.   Interestingly in that year (and presumably others?) the 12.20 ex Cardiff conveyed a restaurant car which returned on the 11.00 from Brighton the next day but the public book obviously gives no indication if it was a GWR or SR car.

This is well before my period of interest, but in the 1955-56 public timetable there were six trains daily from Swansea/Cardiff to Portsmouth, with one of these going on to Brighton, each taking around 6 to 7 hours to Portsmouth. I would suggest that each of these trains would have been operated by two complete sets, with RCs as necessary, one SR and one WR, alternately, with sets returning the following day. A similar alternation of sets probably happened in 1929, as it would have equalised the rolling stock costs to each company.

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6 hours ago, Mike_Walker said:

there has only been one SoS who exhibited a reasonable knowledge of the industry and its history

 

5 hours ago, C126 said:

Please can you give us a hint...?

 

Does Michael Portillo count? Perhaps not, he was a MoS, not a SoS.

 

Quote

In 1987, Portillo was given his first ministerial post, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security; the following year, he was promoted to Minister of State for Transport. Portillo has stated that he considers "saving the Settle to Carlisle railway" was his greatest achievement

 

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

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11 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

Presumably in steam days there was a change of locomotive between Southern and Western at Salisbury? Going further back, if this service originated before the grouping, there would have been a further change between Brighton and South Western, but where?

 

Thanks for the reminder of changes of loco in Salisbury, I will now give-up a wild hope that GWR steam locos ever reached Brighton.😄

 

Going further back, would the LB&SCR have exchanged with the LSWR, somewhere around Cosham or Havant? or did they have reciprocal running rights?

 

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3 minutes ago, KeithMacdonald said:

Going further back, would the LB&SCR have exchanged with the LSWR, somewhere around Cosham or Havant? or did they have reciprocal running rights?

 

I asked that very question a few posts back and it was answered!

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21 minutes ago, KeithMacdonald said:

Thanks for the reminder of changes of loco in Salisbury, I will now give-up a wild hope that GWR steam locos ever reached Brighton.😄

 

Was the prohibition connected to an LBSCR loading gauge incompatibility?

 

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34 minutes ago, Miss Prism said:

 

Was the prohibition connected to an LBSCR loading gauge incompatibility?

 

 

Possibly.  GWR locos generally were not permitted much east of Southampton.  There was the infamous occasion when a King Class made it to Portsmouth, scraping a few platform edges along the way and the Southern Region authorities impounded it at Fratton.  They were not best pleased....

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3 hours ago, Cwmtwrch said:

This is well before my period of interest, but in the 1955-56 public timetable there were six trains daily from Swansea/Cardiff to Portsmouth, with one of these going on to Brighton, each taking around 6 to 7 hours to Portsmouth. I would suggest that each of these trains would have been operated by two complete sets, with RCs as necessary, one SR and one WR, alternately, with sets returning the following day. A similar alternation of sets probably happened in 1929, as it would have equalised the rolling stock costs to each company.

 
The Brighton service SR set consisted of new build BR green Mk 1 at that time. The journey required infinite patience as in many ways..at least on the WR at any rate….despite its status as an express passenger service with RC….it served in many ways as an all stations stopper.

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14 hours ago, John M Upton said:

 

Possibly.  GWR locos generally were not permitted much east of Southampton.  There was the infamous occasion when a King Class made it to Portsmouth, scraping a few platform edges along the way and the Southern Region authorities impounded it at Fratton.  They were not best pleased....

Apart from Reading - Redhill for certain nominated classes the effective eastern limit of Western engines working over the Southern (as published in the early 1960s) was Basingstoke - Eastleigh - Portsmouth Harbour/Southampton (Terminus or Central)/Bournemouth West - all limited to various classes, e.g 'Castles' were not permitted beyond Basinsingstoke,  All Western classes except (60XX) 47XX, 15XX, and 16XX, were permitted Westbury to Salisbury but no further than there towards either Southampton or Basingstoke.

 

Basivccally all WR steam locos were barred between Salisbury/Yeovil Jcn and Exmouth Jcn

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