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Trains!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Discussion' started by Aurum Noble, 1 July 2012.

  1. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Well, this is interesting... the SVR's Branch Lines e-newsletter is out (read it here -- no login needed) and the thing that really jumped out at me was that there's a tentative target of 1st August for the resumption of public operations. I must admit that's surprised me, and I think "I'll believe it when I see it" is my view at the moment. It'll all depend on the regulations in force by then, of course, but I really hadn't thought there was any chance of reopening until the autumn. I'll keep folks posted, of course. :)

    Also, the SVR's appeal has raised £745,000 -- I'm really rather impressed by that figure!
     
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  2. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Something that occurred to me yesterday: what if the hopes we all have for a reasonably quick vaccine don't come true and we're waiting years? It's clearly unsustainable to run trains virtually empty for years on end. So what would happen to the railways then? I haven't seen any public discussion of this. There may have been some, but if so I've missed it.

    Of course it's relevant to me as I don't have a car and so without trains my life is massively restricted. I'm naturally abiding by the calls to stay off the railways for non-essential journeys, and I'll continue to do that. But what of the future?
     
  3. sten whik

    sten whik Space

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    It will likely be years. They are cutting a lot of corners with potential vaccines by going to human trials as quickly as possible but they can't mass produce potential vaccines so are limited to how many people they can test at a time and they need to test on thousands of people to be sure it works.

    The only likely long term solution I can think of would be to add more carriages per train. I've not really paid much attention but I've heard that the stock of most of the networks were already a few years into a refresh which would result in a lot more carriages anyway? Incidentally I see @rdlover777 's efforts stretches to the wiki articles on the newer stock :D
     
  4. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    I don't really want to comment on the first point too much as I think that'd be getting off-topic here. (If anyone wants to discuss the virus and its effects, the "In the News" section is probably the right place.)

    But on the railways specifically... a lot of trains are currently running about 90% empty. Many companies are already running the longest trains the infrastructure can support (WMR are) and so there's little scope for lengthening further. It works at the moment, but it's not sustainable. Sooner or later the restrictions will have to be significantly relaxed. That worries me as a relatively vulnerable person (diabetic) who can't return to normal life until I can use trains when I want to. I'm concerned that this should be a debate being had in public and right now, and for the most part it isn't.
     
  5. sten whik

    sten whik Space

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  6. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    The Severn Valley Railway has announced that it will reopen on 1st August:

    https://www.svr.co.uk/SEItem.aspx?a=164

    For now, there will be three trips a day, all running to set itineraries and with pre-booking only. Two from Kidderminster and one from Bridgnorth, all with a break at the Engine House in Highley. You'll have to book a compartment for £75, which will be for up to six people who must all be in the same family group. Bewdley station will have very limited opening, available only for passengers on the ex-Bridgnorth train to have a short break, and the smaller stations will be closed entirely.

    I won't personally be travelling on these special services, not least because it's far too expensive for an individual traveller. But I am really looking forward to hearing a steam whistle for the first time since March, and maybe seeing a steam train from some suitable spot not too close. (In a public place, I mean. The stations will be closed to non-passengers.)

    Actually, I haven't seen any train since March, and WMR still isn't okay with leisure travel, so if that doesn't change soon the SVR may get the honour of being the first railway I see active for (by then) four and a half months!
     
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  7. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    I feel a bit sorry for TfW Rail's Twitter team at the moment. They're a Welsh operator and applying Welsh government travel guidance, which for now at least is still that public transport should be kept for essential journeys. However, TfW also operate many trains and stations in England, where the guidance has been relaxed. So the poor old Twitter staff, who after all don't make the policy but simply explain and assist with it, have to try to convince people that they should avoid using the Crewe-Chester shuttle (100% within England) to "Keep Wales Safe". Perhaps unsurprisingly, they're not entirely succeeding...

    It occurs to me that if this was law and not guidance, it would all be a lot clearer. Maybe not better, but clearer. You can see this with face coverings: on TfW services in England they are mandatory (unless you're exempt), on GWR services in Wales they're not. That will change once Wales makes them compulsory in a week or so. But it still won't solve the problem of Hereford station being covered in messages issued by a government with no jurisdiction over Hereford! Like I say, I feel a bit sorry for the people on the ground who have to explain this stuff. Be kind to them. As I say, they don't make policy.
     
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  8. Zenfox

    Zenfox SE Train Pone

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    Been thinking about this for a while and feel like sharing what in is like to be on the inside during these weird times. At the start it was not easy thanks to the essential journeys line. Many people from kids to NHS staff would travel without a ticket and give us grief or sometimes demand free travel. On top of all that we didn't get PPE until the 8th of June so during the peak we had nothing but we still went in a did our jobs for little to no thanks.The protests over the last month added to the mix with much abuse and even a flash bomb thrown into Waterloo station causing us to lock down our station and don't even start me with the face mask rule.

    Getting a way from all that working less hours and with social distancing in place was pretty easy to get use to as at the start we was put on part time or working when needed. From the 8th of June we went back to a full roster and even with full staff levels we can keep social distancing pretty easy. At the moment as things have opened passengers can keep apart as we have 12 coach platforms.

    As you can see it's not been all that great and I've left off many other things for one reason or another but as things are opening up and that may I ask for what myself and many others on the rails did not be forgotten.
     
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  9. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    The SVR has been running test trains this week. I haven't seen any but I have heard some whistling, a sound I've missed since March. The good news is that a review of the test services has concluded that public operations can start as hoped on Saturday 1st August. :) The loco roster has now been released: nos. 75069, 7714 and 2857 will have the honour of running the opening week's services, though I don't know which one will be the first out of Kidderminster Town on Saturday.
     
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  10. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    Glad that you get to hear the whistles again :). Are you perhaps planning a trip to find a spot where you can watch them?

    I'm considering a trip to Loughborough on Saturday, as the GCR is running again as of last weekend. Unfortunately I can't actually take a trip, as they're not taking passengers from Loughborough Central station due to their cleaning regime. But I might be able to see some departures from the road overbridge.
     
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  11. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    I do intend to go and have a look at some point soonish, yes, if I can find a reasonable place to go that isn't crowded. Unfortunately what used to be a handy and quiet spot has gone as new development has blocked the view, but there are some others. We'll see how it goes. :)

    Good luck with the GCR if you do go down to Loughborough! Actually travelling on trains will have to wait for me as well, though in my case it's because the SVR isn't doing simple return trips but only full-day itineraries for the first few weeks at least, and they're expensive.
     
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  12. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    I've got my train booked on the EMR app for tomorrow. A 20 minute journey to Loughborough with no intermediate stops. The app says the train won't be busy at my chosen time as well. And I'm glad there's the flexibility of an open return option.

    Witherslack Hall is currently rostered for the passenger services tomorrow. It was meant to be the standard 2MT 78018, but I don't mind the change too much!

    I won't hang around very long, partly because I'll only be able to use the loos at the mainline stations.
     
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  13. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    That's definitely not a loco swap I would object to! :D

    I managed to get to see a couple of the first public day's trains on the SVR on Saturday. Only from alongside Bewdley Viaduct on the main road so the angles aren't great. I'll post the snaps here tomorrow.

    I've noticed today quite a few LNWR Liverpool-Birmingham-Euston trains showing up as red on their "traffic light" system, ie train at social distancing capacity and boarding may be refused. Not sure whether that's mainly a weekend thing or a summer holidays thing. It doesn't seem to be affecting the WMR locals around Kidderminster, thankfully.
     
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  14. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Here we are -- revenue-earning steam trains are running on the SVR again! :D Saturday was the first day of public operations since March, and I was fortunate to be able to see a couple from the pavement along the main road below Bewdley Viaduct. Not the greatest vantage point in the world, but far better than the no vantage point I've had for some months now!

    The first train of the day, a northbound service out of Kidderminster Town, was hauled by no. 2857, but I didn't catch that one. Instead you get the second northbound service, hauled by GWR Pannier Tank no. 7714; and the first southbound service, hauled by BR Standard 4 no. 75069. Photos aren't the greatest quality as they were taken on my phone and not under ideal conditions, but I hope they give a flavour. :)

    7714 - 2020-08-01.jpg
    75069 - 2020-08-01.jpg
     
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  15. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    This Saturday just gone, I had my first train journey in over 4 months. Since the government guidelines now allow non-essential journeys, and operating companies are more welcoming, I thought it was about time to give it a try. The ability to leave town gives me a good mental boost and sense of freedom, even if I won't be doing it often.

    I had a good reason to travel too; the Great Central Railway in Loughborough has recently reopened. This would be my first view of steam since I was last there in January for the Winter Gala. During weekends this summer they're running pre-booked services from Quorn station to Leicester and back (with no-one leaving their compartment). However there are no passengers at Loughborough Central station. This is because the carriages are being cleaned there between services while the engine runs round. My aim was simply to observe the train arrive and depart from outside.

    I booked my mainline trip on the East Midlands Railway (EMR) mobile app, which was pretty straightforward. Walking into the station at Derby was a slightly eerie experience. Using the code on my phone screen, I was able to get through the barriers contactlessly. The platform was busier than I'd have liked, and although the majority of people were wearing masks, a fair few weren't. I put mine on before entering the station, and kept it on until I exited Loughborough. I also had a mini bottle of sanitiser to use before and after.

    Unfortunately my experience getting on the London-bound train wasn't good. There was little-to-no social distancing; barely any different to boarding practice in normal times. I definitely got the sense that most passengers around me had been travelling by train a fair bit recently. I got a row of seats to myself at the end of a carriage next to the luggage rack, but the row in front of me was also occupied.

    Fortunately, my return journey from Loughborough later was a lot better. A quieter platform, and I opted to stand in the empty vestibule of the class 222 for the 20-minutes back to Derby. Overall though, the experience wasn't very relaxing. I don't have any plans to travel again for a fair while.

    Rainbow Dash also tagged along for the ride. :p

    [​IMG]

    Thankfully, my visit to the GCR went very well :). I planned my arrival time to make sure I caught the departure from Loughborough Central. Walking at a reasonable pace from the mainline station, I also got there just in time to see the Hall class arrive from Quorn about 11:10. I recorded the main action on my phone camera from the local road bridges, and also shot some 'B-roll' of the station afterwards. I was done by midday, and headed back to the mainline station where I had a 30 minute wait for the train home.

    You can see my efforts below. I'm quite happy with how it turned out:



    Thanks for posting those! It's actually quite a striking angle you've captured of the pannier at there.
     
  16. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    That's a shame -- the outward journey in particular. It does seem from the bits and pieces I've seen of LNWR services that London-bound trains are the worst on average for this, though I suppose that's not surprising. LNWR doesn't have any kind of reservation system, which is an extra problem and a major reason I have no intention of travelling on the Liverpool-New Street-Euston line for the foreseeable future. I have considered going to Birmingham, but I don't really feel comfortable about the idea at the moment.

    I think I'll be confining myself to the Stourbridge-Kidderminster-Worcester line -- partly because I know it so well and therefore know exactly what loadings at specific points may mean overcrowding later, and partly because I would have emergency options -- bus or taxi -- that though expensive would be affordable in a way eg a taxi from Liverpool would not!
    This, on the other hand, is much more enjoyable reading! Thank you for posting that video. Really nice to see the Hall of course (not that I have a GWR bias or anything... :p ) but it also brings back some nice memories of that road bridge from what now seems the very distant days of January! One of the great things about a video is the addition of a soundtrack, and the Hall approaching at around the 3 minute mark is making a wonderful sound. :D
     
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  17. Zenfox

    Zenfox SE Train Pone

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  18. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    I imagined the "chasing the endangered Class 86s" bit in a David Attenborough voice there. :p Thank you for posting!
     
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  19. Zenfox

    Zenfox SE Train Pone

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    I now can't unsee this :p

    Mange to get on the lower half of the MML for some HSTs who been given one more year to 2021
    As my friends know I do like this train :p

    Link: https://wrrailwayphotography.zenfolio.com/p613938948
     
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