Monday, 19 October 2015

Is It a Tram? Is It a Tram-Train (4)

  for episodes 1, 2 and 3, click  
 on the "blog archive" list below 
It Really is a Train!
SNCF timetables are a challenge to UK readers. In simple terms ALL days are shown in one table with the extract above showing:-

Monday to Friday
Monday to Saturday
Not Saturday
Monday to Thursday

Also available is a "Sunday and Feast Days" heading (equivalent to UK's Bank Holidays). The numbers (3, 1 and 4) refer to specific notes at the foot of the table.

There are three types of travel

TER - Regional Railways
INTERCITÉ - longer distance
coach travel by TER. 
And then there are the little diamonds which simply mean that you may use you second class ticket in the first class section of the train (if there is one). It all makes most (?) UK train timetables seem very straightfroward!

But many of these "joys and delights" can be seen in the timetables for the West Lyon tram-train that really isn't.
In the case of the Lozanne tram line we don't yet have trams, merely a connecting service of diesel units from Tassin. Although the connecting trams arrive there at xx22, trains leave at various minutes past each hour, roughly at xx30. In practice
Hourly it ain't. Fixed interval it ain't. Tram it most definitely ain't!

The other two branches are better.

Brignais is hourly with extras at peak times ...
... but note the TWO HOUR gap between 0907 and 1107!

The service to L'Arbresle is (nearly always!) every 15 minutes at peak with a half hourly extension to Sain Bel dropping to half hourly/hourly in the middle of the day.
This latter service comes closest to a real tram route. But watch out! Every so often, between the peaks, journeys are missed out, breaking the pattern; for example departures are only hourly at 0912, 1012 and 1112.

Here's the map again for reference.
And talking of troublesome timetables, lorry driving Dave wanted to take a bus ride on service 142 from L'Arbresle to Avieze.
David rang fbb (he was in L'Arbresle; fbb in Seaton!) to find out which bus to catch. But his initial reading of the timetable in the frame was beset with comprehension problems. There were FOUR levels of service.
LMMeJV equates to Monday to Friday. SV means Schooldays and School Holidays. But beware or panel number 4!
Now this "S" doesn't mean "schooldays"; how silly of you to think it meant the same as the other "S". This time it means Saturdays only. The dash means "all year round".
A ditto dash and Sundays and Feast Days only. Then comes panel 4.
Hey, it's Monday to Friday again. But "E" means "en période estival" which equates to a reduced service during the summer holiday period. (fbb had never come across the word "estival" before!)

Anyway, by the time David had rung fbb for assistance he had missed that last Sunday bus!
No wonder.

Perhaps UK timetables are not so bad after all. But don't tell that to South Yorkshire PTE!

Picture of Interim Director General David Young
Courtesy of the PTE Press Office

 Next bus blog : Tuesday 20th October 

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