Saturday, 28 May 2016

Travelling via Bristol Parkway This Weekend (1)

Really good advice:-


 and DON'T even try looking 
 for a TIMETABLE ... 

... because nobody is going to publish one. There isn't really much point in going to the train company web sites either. But you are welcome to try.

Cross Country services from the West Country via Birmingham are affected. At first glance the web site says nothing. There is a warning about disruption ...

Detailed information about planned track improvement work between Leamington Spa, Banbury and Oxford.

... but that is well into the future.

From 30 July to 14 August.

The main features of the site would suggest that all is hunky and dory. There is the obligatory Journey Planner ...
... and fares offers ...
... but nothing else that is in any way obvious.

Ploughing through numerous clicks, we can (eventually!) get to this:-
Timetables are available as PDF pages from the printed books.
These are just about OK for "normal" operation, but their equivalent for the weekend's disruption are simply not available. And even under normality you have to flick from page to page because all 32 notes are listed together at the back ...
... rather than being at the foot of the table to which they apply.

You might think that Great Western Railway might do better as they are "lead operator" in the Bristol area.

But no. fbb can ...
... earn bonus points ...
... and find out all about the Bakerloo Line closure.
Actually the line is NOT closed, just Paddington Bakerloo station.

But there is nothing about this weekend's disruption in the main page of the site. But, right at the bottom ...
... we can start the click-fest.

From 28 to 30 May, and from 27 to 29 August the railway between Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction and Filton Abbey Wood will be closed while Network Rail carry out major signal improvements.
During this time, there will be an amended timetable and buses will replace trains on some routes.
Visit the Filton improvement page for more information

The tone changes a bit when you visit "the Filton improvements page".

From Saturday 28 to Monday 30 May, the railway between Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Gloucester and Severn Tunnel Junction will be closed with many services being amended or replaced by buses. These alterations to our normal service apply over the August Bank Holiday too - from Saturday 27 to Monday 29 August.

There then follows a huge list which we will look at tomorrow. For the time being here are the services that WILL NOT be  amended or altered.

Bristol - London Paddington
Bristol - Weston-super-Mare/Taunton (local service)
Bristol - Weymouth
Bristol - Portsmouth

Nothing else escapes the curse of Filton resignalling!
The so-called "Filton Diamond" of railway routes.

 Next Filton blog : Sunday 29th May 


  1. I would suggest that you are making life too difficult for yourself, FBB, by trying to start in the middle. Many people wanting to make a rail journey are not necessarily aware of the route a train will take, nor who the TOC is. They would start at the National Rail Enquiries site.

    Putting in, for example, Cardiff to Paddington tomorrow, 29th May, this will show them there are through trains operating on which they can make their journey. They may not be happy about the fact that only Standard Open fares are being offered, but that is nothing to do with the timetable.

    Another journey might be from Birmingham to Exeter. Again, this will show them that there are through trains available.

    For those passengers there is no need to concern themselves that their train will not operate via Bristol Parkway. Indeed, quite a number may well not be aware that it would have done normally.

    Those who read Public Transport Experience will doubtless have a much higher than normal level of knowledge about what should normally happen. However, there is a danger of not seeing the wood for the trees. We know how to read timetables, understand the difference between GWR and Cross Country. However, for most travellers they wish to make a journey from A to B, and they are not concerned whether their train may not call at C on the way.

  2. Daddysgadgets is spot on - you seem (once again) to be trying to find fault for fault findings sake. It seems that as you know there's engineering works you've then set out to find out where information about that works can't be found, and then complained you couldn't find it!

    The national rail enquiries page is the first point of call for most 'normal' folk who want to look for railway information. They don't want to see timetables for journeys they don't want to make. Plan a journey and you get information about planned disruptions to your journey. There's even a big box immediately below the journey planner titled Spring Bank Holiday Check Your Journey Plans that gives information about the closure and diversions in question.

    It's easy to find the information, unless your mandate is to deliberately set out to not find it and then post another righteous post about not finding information.

  3. Having visited the Cross Country and GWR websites FBB's complaint seems even more self-created given that both have options right at the top of the respective pages for 'Travel updates & information' (Cross Country) or 'Check your journey' (GWR) - hardly the hyperbolic click fest FBB describes.

  4. Accepted response. BUT, The point I make is that a major disruption to travel over this weekend is belittled by the company web sites when it should be a headline.

    Of course we can use the journey planners -0 assuming they are accurate and up-to-date (which is not always the case), or we can telephone.

    But I (and many others) feel a stringer sense of comfort and confidence if we can SEE what is happening - and that means having access to timetables.

    Compare GWR's lack of headlines for Filton with a pretty coloured panel for the less disruptive closure of the Bakerloo line station.

    GWR doesn't really want you to know how tough it will be. It wants you to buy tickets, and then find out!

    Inexperienced traveller may go to the web site, but they may NOT find the problem until it's too late.

  5. stronger NOT stringer. I must learn to tpye

  6. Andrew Kleissner28 May 2016 at 09:23

    Other operators do it differently. For instance Abellio Greater Anglia not only give you a lengthy page of general information about the disruption, but also a complete timetable for each day: And it's easily findable on their website.

  7. Actually, given the number of GWR passengers who use Paddington, the Bakerloo line closure IS more disruptive to more people than this weekend's shenanigans. For many journeys, the better alternative is to head for the H&C station, which can be accessed from the footbridge halfway down the platforms at Paddington. Exiting via the bufferstops adds about 400m to the distance to be walked.

  8. Slightly off-piste but Suffolk County Council have just sent out an April/May distribution of their timetable booklets with a letter saying it will be the last - and some are already out of print (stock).

    They advise people to visit their website from which timetables can be downloaded.

    Also on other news pages items from Oxfordshire about service cuts by Thames Travel due to County Council budget cuts. News awaited from Stagecoach on how they will react.

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