Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Trains and Trams

Now We Know - Only We Don't
Details of Monday to Friday train times during the Waterloo "happenings" have been around for dome weeks. fbb's local line was the lat to appear. As predicted by those that trawl journey planners for the ultimate truth, the service between Exeter, Axminster (for fbb mansions) and Waterloo is largely unaltered.

Trains will take a little longer to get TO Waterloo and, don't get caught out, leave the London terminus a few minutes earlier. Here is the "normal" timetable ...
... with xx20 departures from Waterloo to Exeter and xx50 for the Salisbury "shorts".

And during the blockade?
There is that easily forgettable five minutes earlier. Those who remember that it is ALWAYS twenty past might find the train well on its way to Clapham Jct leaving the frustrated forgetful passenger with a schedule that does not fct properly and an illogical compct to beat the train planners with a huge stick.

But look hat has happened to the Salisbury terminators. Inbound they get as far as Basingstoke, 
... turn sharp left at the end of Platforms 4 and 3 and trundle off the Reading where they terminate. Knowledgeable rail experts will know whether this link is in addition to Great western Railways and Cross Country both of which companies ply the link between Basingstoke and Reading. 

A gander at the GWR timetable suggests that SWT trips are extra, bringing three companies services to that little stretch of line.

But the published Waterloo upheaval timetables are only for Mondays to Fridays.

What about the weekends?

Answer ...

Train services at weekends during August vary from week to week and unfortunately standalone timetables will not be available. We advise you to use online journey planners.

... we are not telling you.

And it isn't "unfortunate", thank you very much. The timetables exist, the trains will be running, the data is all there in the darkest recesses of SWT's cofusers. It is technically trivial to dig it out and send it to a printing machine. But SWT just cannot be bothered.

Very poor indeed.

When will the rail company's realise that there are thousands of us humble mortals (who pay the bills with our fares, incidentally) who like to travel by train because you can just turn up at about ten past any hour (withing reason) and Waterloo and catch a train.

Eleven is the Ninth!
Regular readers will know of fbb's interest in the public transport of Paris. The Eiffel Tower - Yawn! Venus de Milo - armless and harmless!
La Joconde ...
.... that Lisa's just a moaner!

But the expansion of suburban rail, Métro and Tramway is astounding. A short while ago Tramway 11 opened. Here it is on the "Plan RER et Transilien".

It runs from Épinay-sur-Seine in the west, where it connects with part of RER line C ...
... via Épinay Villetaneuse (connection with non-RER suburban services before meeting Tram 8 at Villetaneuse Université. 
Here a spectacular ramp tales passengers over a main road, over "main line" freight tracks to a new Tram 11 stop. Hey, it's not a "stop", it's  proper station.
Tram 11 continues on tracks alongside the "Grande Ceinture" orbital freight route ...
... and still appears dotty on some maps.
It crosses (but does not connect with) Tram 5 ...
... which is one of Paris' "monorail" lines with trams running on rubber tyres but guided by the single rail. Tram 11 is on the viaduct over the top.

After a connection with RER D, the new route curves gently round to its terminus at Le Bourget. There is the tram on its viaduct ...
... with steps and lifts down to the RER line B platforms.

But what is this? Here is a T11 tram and it is not RATP blue like all (most!) the others.
look closely and you will see why. It is not an RATP tram.
It is an S N C F tram. It is a Tram Train. (Sheffield City and Network Rail please note!)

S N C F call it Tram 11 Express whilst the Paris "combined authority" calls it simply T11. And, as it is Paris, there are already plans for extensions a both ends. (click on the map for an enlargement)
Next we need to visit Tram 9 and Tram 10. Only we can't; they have not been built yet. But in three or four years the sequence will be complete.

But there are four more Metro lines on the cards.
2030? fbb would be 86 .... unlikely?

 Next blog - Thursday 3rd August 


  1. Here's a thing . . . . DafT, in all their wisdom (not) decreed that the franchise would change hands in the middle of the Waterloo blockade. Why should Stagecoach provide publicity for First passengers?

    Yes, it's wrong; Yes, it doesn't look at the big picture; No, no-one cares a flying fig for the passengers . . . . so what's new?

    If I was Stagecoach, having bent over backwards to try out new things during the franchise (remember the joint Notwork Rail / SWT control strategy that worked really well but DafT didn't like it because it showed the flaws in our railways elsewhere in the UK?). Stagecoach suggested that the timing of the changeover should be outwith the blockade, but Daft (who are keen to move deadlines when it suits them) decided otherwise because "we couldn't have an outbreak of common sense that wasn't dreamed up at Marsham Street Towers, could we?".

    Remember, when it all goes belly-up in August, that there were alternatives that were discarded by DafT, and that the same staff in posh new uniforms will still be trying to make it all work when they're fearful for their personal futures under the new management.

    Also remember that the winning franchise bid requires brand new trains to be scrapped after two years. Who decides? DafT. Who pays? WE DO!!

    Rant over . . . . sometimes I'm glad I'm staggering towards the end of my life, 'cos I reckon we ain't seen nuffink yet . . . . .

  2. I must remind you that South West Trains DID have the opportunity to extend their existing franchise to April 2019 (back in 2013), but knowing the likely disruption that would be caused during the Waterloo rebuild and that they were likely to get the blame for disruption etc., they opted to retender at the earlier date.

    The rest is history.

    A couple of points about the rebuild:

    At weekends Waterloo is likely to be closed completely with services terminating at Clapham or Woking.

    Also only Salisbury to Waterloo trains can be diverted to Reading as the route between Basingstoke and Reading has no third rail.

  3. The East Midland Mainline timetable booklet omits Sundays (been like it for years), due to engineering works. Sundays are available in a weekend leaflet published on a periodic basis, which often includes recasts of part of Saturdays too. Yes they are published, but they are rarely readily available from railway station displays.

  4. Poor commuters on all ends of the scale... GWR services from Reading are already full and standing into London at peak and SWT services are busy as it is, I guess they are assuming lots of people from Southampton will try get across to Reading and Paddington and this is to slightly relieve the XC and GWR Basingstoke-Reading? Seems like a bright enough idea although impractical for passengers from the smaller stations between Salisbury and Basingstoke!

  5. Good riddance to SWT and Stagecoach. I won't be sorry to see them go, not that I think SWR will be significantly better.