|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/3501
Written by Mojo on Friday, 26th January 2007
Bristol City Council has decided to reinstate the subsidy for the Severn Beach Line after axing it one year ago.
The money will be spent providing a more regular train service between Bristol Temple Meads and Avonmouth.
The council voted to scrap the subsidy in 2006 after First Great Western (FGW) won the contract and agreed to continue to run an hourly service.
Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) petitioned the council for a service running every 30 or 40 minutes.
FOSBR members sent 561 postcards to the council in response to a budget consultation.
The Liberal Democrat-run council will allocate the money for an extra train for a trial period from December 2007 until March 2010.
They will spend
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/3502
Written by Lee on Friday, 26th January 2007
That is the best news I have heard for a long time. Well done!!
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/3510
Written by Graz on Friday, 26th January 2007
Finally, some good news! ;D Thanks for posting!,
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/3516
Written by Lee on Friday, 26th January 2007
Here is a Bristol City Council Press Release on this (link below.)
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/3527
Written by Lee on Saturday, 27th January 2007
Bristol Evening Post & Western Daily Press articles (links below.)
A round - up of related stories can be found in the link below.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6080
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 4th July 2007
[quote author=Mojo link=topic=1219.msg3501#msg3501 date=1169816133]Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) petitioned the council for a service running every 30 or 40 minutes.
"Running the more frequent service for a two to three-year trial period is a great idea - it will provide enough time to increase passenger numbers and show the potential of the line."[/quote]
Source information just received indicates that a decision has been taken that running the more frequent service is NOT
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6090
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 4th July 2007
More on this :
- At the Severn Beach Line Working Group meeting on Tuesday 3 July 2007 , Andrew Griffiths said that First was not able to provide the 40 minute train service between Temple Meads and Avonmouth from December 2007.
- Alison Forster says that it should not be said that the 40 min service was not possible.
- Meeting today (04/07/2007) to see if this decision can be reversed.
- FGW blaming lack of drivers.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6103
Written by Lee on Thursday, 5th July 2007
Western Daily Press Article :
The Severn Beach Working Group convened at Bristol County Council offices , chaired by Keith Walton of the Severnside Community Rail Partnership , and discussed the progression of plans.
But following the meeting fears were raised about whether FGW would be able to find a crew for the extra train to be introduced in December.
An FGW spokesman said: "At this stage there is no definitive timetable."
"The plans are still at the consultative discussion stage, with all of the issues relating to timetable scheduling being discussed."
Keith Walton responded: "There was a statement from First Great Western that it may be difficult to introduce this service by December, but I think the statement was a little bit premature."
"Having discussed this with FGW I am confident and optimistic that it will be achieved."
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6605
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 31st July 2007
FOSBR Press Release :
RAIL CAMPAIGNERS CALL ON BRISTOL COUNCILLORS NOT TO BE RAILROADED BY FIRST GREAT WESTERN
Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) have written to Councillor Mark Bradshaw to lead an all party delegation of Bristol councillors to meet Alison Forster, Managing Director of First Great Western. An improved service for this well used line was promised and committed to by the council and First Great Western. FOSBR is determined that there is no backtracking on the commitments made to commuters and voters. FOSBR say that it is the responsibility of our elected councillors to ensure that the 40 minute weekday service between Temple Meads and Avonmouth is provided from Monday 10 December. More rail users means fewer road users in our gridlocked town.
After the unequivocal commitment on 27 February 2007 by Bristol City Council
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6667
Written by Lee on Friday, 3rd August 2007
From FOSBR :
Email Councillor Mark Bradshaw, Executive Councillor with transport responsibility, urging him to lead an all party delegation of transport spokespeople to meet Alison Forster, Managing Director of First Great Western, to ensure that First Great Western provides the agreed 40 minute service between Temple Meads and Avonmouth from Monday 10 December 2007. The investment for a 3 year trial period was agreed at Bristol City Council Budget meeting on 27 February 2007.
The Party spokespeople are:-
Cllr Mark Bradshaw (Labour) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Dennis Brown (Lib Dem) - email@example.com
Cllr Barbara Lewis (Conservative) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Charlie Bolton (Green Party) - email@example.com
Send copies to:-
Bristol East MP - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bristol North West MP - email@example.com
Bristol West MP - firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Planning, Transport & Sustainable Development - email@example.com
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6680
Written by Lee on Saturday, 4th August 2007
Here are some articles on this (links below.)
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/6764
Written by Lee on Thursday, 9th August 2007
Severn Beach Line (and some Melksham) questions answered in the link below.
"The latest Severn Beach usage figures have not yet been obtained, nor has the Severn Beach Line Development Plan been updated. This is work in progress."
"There is no immediate prospect of a Clifton Down turnback service due to lack of funding from Bristol City Council as they are focusing on Avonmouth. The problem from our end lies in the fact that the services they have elected to focus on will be at a lesser frequency than if we could run some services only as far as Clifton. Therefore, at present, the proposal for a Clifton Down turnback signal has been dropped and can only proceed if Bristol City Council wish to fund it."
"Finally, the new fare structure was discussed with the Severn Beach Line Working Group at two seperate LWG mettings several months apart and both times received universal support."
"I personally think that the Avonmouth service is do-able, although not the best use of resources. Pathing may be an issue later but for now, sufficient afre available to make it worthwhile."
"I would think that the 40 minute frequency service will indeed be the case from December. I also think that it may well call for the line enhancement you mention. Personally, I would like to see every section of mainline with 4 tracks. True branch lines maybe not so much but I don't see a case for not enhancing the line, especially if more services all along Severn Beach are implemented as well as the enhanced Avonmouth service."
Melksham / Trans Wilts
"The Sunday service does require investment but it is now somehting that First are in a position to deal with internally, rather than last year, when they weren't. It hs also been projected that in the current environment, returns will outweigh the initial expenditure. This was not the case last year."
"I believe that FGW were looking to free up the stock from the three stoppers as South West Trains have projected a 10 service per hour (probably meant to read 10 service per day , each way - Lee) stopping pattern at most stations according to their last figures. I am not aware of the status of this but, based on the lack of a promised enhancement for Melksham, I would also assume that this hs fallen through."
"With the December train paths, you are quite correct. We have to get in there early to get any guarentees."
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7490
Written by Lee on Saturday, 8th September 2007
Initial reports out of an FGW board meeting held on 06/09/2007 , suggest that the promised improved Severn Beach line service will NOT be in the December 2007 timetable.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7524
Written by Lee on Monday, 10th September 2007
Monday - Friday December 2007 Timetable :
Trains leave Bristol Temple Meads for Avonmouth at 0531 (SB) , 0609 , 0645 (SB) , 0809 (SB) , 0849 (SB) , 0949 , 1049 , 1149 , 1249 , 1349 , 1449 , 1549 , 1649 , 1749 (SB) , 1918 (SB) & 2145 (SB). Services from 1049 - 1649 have bus connection to Severn Beach.
Trains leave Avonmouth for Bristol Temple Meads at 0619 (SB) , 0646 , 0733 (SB) , 0818 , 0917 (SB) , 0946 (SB) , 1018 , 1118 , 1218 , 1318 , 1418 , 1518 , 1618 , 1718 , 1846 (SB) , 2145 (SB). The 0818 and services from 1118 - 1718 have bus connection from Severn Beach.
SB = Trains starts from / continues to Severn Beach.
No 40 minute frequency service.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7526
Written by Lee on Monday, 10th September 2007
The off - peak service to Bedminster & Parson Street is to be reduced to 2 - hourly from December 2007 , which in turn means a lowering (to a lesser degree) of frequency to other stations on that route.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7527
Written by Lee on Monday, 10th September 2007
Bedminster times from December 2007 :
Towards Bristol :
0706 , 0741 , 0804 , 0841 , 0911 , 0943 , 1011 , 1041 , 1241 , 1441 , 1541 , 1641 , 1810 , 1912 , 2133 , 2351.
Towards Nailsea & Backwell :
0654 , 0754 , 0828 , 0928 , 1028 , 1128 , 1228 , 1328 , 1428 , 1528 , 1556 , 1628 , 1656 , 1729 , 1756 , 1829 , 1859 , 1959 , 2059 , 2159 , 2309.
So its actually more a couple of 2 - hourly gaps towards Bristol. More peak services though. Several services extended to Bristol Parkway as well.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7545
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 11th September 2007
From my inbox :
You may be interested to note that the Severn Beach line is listed twice as an agenda item for tomorrow's Bristol City Council meeting. Charlie Bolton (Green, Southville) and Barbara Lewis (Conservative, Brislington East) are asking questions titled "Severn Beach Line" and "Severn Beach Line - 40 minute service". Also Cllr Dennis Brown is to ask Cllr Mark Bradshaw about "unconventional transport"!
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7570
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 12th September 2007
Report from the Bristol City Council meeting :
"Only partially improved service from December. FGW having rolling stock and staffing issues - 40 min service on Severn Beach line starting May 2008.
Station upgrades to take place before then."
Bristol City Council Press Release :
++ Improved Severn Beach Line service from May 2008 ++
A new and improved train service will operate on the Severn Beach Line from May next year, thanks to a partnership between Bristol City Council and First Great Western.
This will provide travellers with three trains every two hours on weekdays and Saturdays - an improvement on the current hourly service.
For the first time, there will also be an hourly service on Sundays too.
The new timetable will run from May 2008, when the additional trains needed to run the improved timetable become available to First Great Western.
As well as the improved service beginning in the spring, a major investment programme to transform stations along the route will take place.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7577
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 12th September 2007
Other points to note :
1) In the Physical Environment Scrutiny Commission Severn Beach Line Update , written by Colin Knight , and presented on the 3 April 2007 , it is clearly stated that "Agreement has been reached , in principle , with First Great Western (FGW) to provide an additional train unit to increase service frequency on the Severn Beach Line from the December 2007 timetable change."
The "What has been agreed so far?" section of the same document states "To introduce the higher frequency with the December 2007 timetable change."
If it was done and dusted that far back , how come it isnt included in the December 2007 timetable?
2) The Bristol City Council press release states :
"The new timetable will run from May 2008, when the additional trains needed to run the improved timetable become available to First Great Western."
The only additional trains that are due to become available to First Great Western are 12 Class 142 units. Quote from Alison Forster at the Passenger Focus meeting :
"142s will be used in Devon "NOT Bristol or on Cardiff to Portsmouth"
In other words , the additional train required for the 40 min frequency service will not be allocated to the Bristol area , and will therefore be unavailable for use on the Severn Beach Line.
Alison goes on to say :
"150s will replace 142s from June 2010 - coming from WM franchise"
They wont be much use either , because thats when the BCC funding allocated for the extra train runs out.
3) Andrew Griffiths told Bristol City Council on the 14/12/2006 that "An amended timetable (without infrastructure issues) could in theory be implemented for December 2007 , but we would need to bid for paths by January. In practice December 2008 is more likely."
The exact date that FGW needed to bid for paths by was 18 January 2007.
Quote from David Bishop on 19/01/2007 in his briefing to Barbara Janke , then Bristol City Council leader :
"Possible easier alternative "wins" would be for the council to support running additional Sunday services , or providing capital support for ticketing/CCTV at stations."
On 21/02/2007 , Dennis Brown (then in charge of transport) stated :
"I would also hope that we can make progress on actual station refurbishment , especially in terms of ticketing (shops and machines on the station) , signage and CCTV. I feel these are important aspects of enhancing the service before we introduce the new trains , ie most should be in place before we start. Perhaps this is the point that may take the longest time to deliver and may be one reason why we cannot initiate an enhanced service until 2008."
Councillor Brown adds :
"Clearly we need to manage the PR aspects of this work. I think FOSBR have understood the timescale for initiation , but I suspect they will want to make claims at all stages that it was only their pressure that acheived the result (see their most recent newsletter). Our joint working with FGW needs to be given due credit and requires us to make information public as soon as it is appropriate."
Quotes from the Bristol City Council press release :
"For the first time, there will also be an hourly service on Sundays too."
"As well as the improved service beginning in the spring, a major investment programme to transform stations along the route will take place.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7600
Written by Lee on Thursday, 13th September 2007
Campaigners fighting for an improved service on Bristol's Severn Beach railway say they feel betrayed by a six-month delay in plans to provide more regular trains (link below.)
Julie Boston , spokeswoman for pressure group the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways , said: "We are very, very angry that there is this delay but we will accept May as a starting time because it seems there is no other option. There's no question that it's First Great Western which is stalling."
"We had an enormous campaign with more than 500 people writing to the budget consultation."
"Now for another six months, peak services will continue to be insufficient and people will continue to be under stress and strain because of the lack of trains."
"I think they have betrayed us and the people of Bristol and we urge the council to stand strong and get these trains running by December."
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7669
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 18th September 2007
The situation looked at from different angles (links below.)
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7740
Written by Lee on Friday, 21st September 2007
Extra 2016 & 2240 Avonmouth departures plus a 2034 Bristol Temple Meads departure are now shown in the NRES Journey Planner (link below.)
The gaps at Bedminster & Parson Street have also been filled in.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7758
Written by Lee on Saturday, 22nd September 2007
Letter to Bristol City Council from an FOSBR member :
I live in Henleaze and am a daily commuter between Redland and Temple Meads, and was very much looking forward to the improved service between Avonmouth & Temple Meads from December 2007. It is therefore extremely dissapointing that we have heard this is to be further delayed until May.
Since the council budgeted for this from the start of the year, why did it not enter into discussions with First Great Western earlier? At the Passenger Focus meeting in Bristol earlier this month, Alison Forster claimed they were to get 12 new train units from December, and they'd already recruited new employees.
Why must long suffering passengers wait over a year since the money was first announced?
I would also be interested to know what station improvements that are planned over the next year, will the Council apply to the DfT for Access for All funding to get information screens and automatic announcements on local stations like authorities in the former West Midlands county did?
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7805
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 25th September 2007
Quotes from Andrew Haines (link below.)
"My understanding is that there's now general agreement that it can't be done for December."
"I don't think there was ever a commitment for it - we said we would look at it."
See the Bristol City Council document contained in the link below.
It is dated 3 April 2007 , and clearly states that agreement had been reached , in principle , with FGW to provide an additional train unit to increase service frequency on the Severn Beach Line from the December 2007 timetable change.
This is also listed in the 'What has been agreed so far?' section of the same document.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7821
Written by courgettelawn on Wednesday, 26th September 2007
This _is_ good news - WC take note!
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7825
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 26th September 2007
I am going to remain mindful of the Save The Train rules and state that this is only a well - informed rumour (as told to me) :
"It seems that Cllr Brown, (Lib Dem Exec. Transport until May 1) might have been blown off course by the May Election.
On April 11 or 17, (FOSBR has a copy of the document) Colin Knight completed the negotiations with First. Cllr Brown, possibly on the election trail, was too tired to sign it off."
If true then this is one of the reasons that the 40 min frequency service will not operate from December 2007.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7891
Written by Lee on Saturday, 29th September 2007
I believe in following these matters up , so read on :
Yesterday (28/09/2007) I joined FOSBR in delivering flowers , chocolate and 'get well soon' cards to First Great Western Station Manager Mike Holmes at Bristol Temple Meads (Mike , to his great credit , happily chatted away and posed with us for photographs.)
I then gave a short talk which emcompassed the lack of the promised improved service on the Severn Beach line from December 2007 , Gateway To The Future (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=357.msg1034#msg1034) and ended by mentioning other FGW issues (including Melksham / TransWilts) and what I felt needed to be changed.
We then met with Bristol City Council's executive councillor , for transport , Mark Bradshaw. Mark was one of those (like Andrew Haines) who claimed that there was never an agreement to provide the 40 minute frequency Severn Beach Line service from December 2007.
I put the Physical Environment Scrutiny Commission Severn Beach Line Update , written by Colin Knight , presented on the 3 April 2007 , and contained in the link below , to him.
In it , it is clearly stated that "Agreement has been reached , in principle , with First Great Western (FGW) to provide an additional train unit to increase service frequency on the Severn Beach Line from the December 2007 timetable change." The "What has been agreed so far?" section of the same document states "To introduce the higher frequency with the December 2007 timetable change."
Mark was a member of the Physical Environment Scrutiny Commission at the time , and thus would have read the above document.
His response was to say that perhaps there had been a misunderstanding between council officials and First Great Western along the way somewhere.
I was also struck by something else he said :
Bristol City Council's main aspiration for December 2007 , is to ensure that the timetable isnt any worse.
As well as this , he claimed that he knew for sure that FGW had been making serious efforts to source the extra train required. Unfortunately , he was unable to tell us which ROSCOS FGW had been negoiating with , or which class of unit they were after.
However , we did get two firm commitments from him :
1) Bristol City Council will do everything they can to reach a watertight , legally binding agreement with FGW to provide an extra train to allow the 40 minute service to start from May 2008 , with appropriate performance and reliability targets (note - no guarantee that it definately will start from that date.)
2) FOSBR has been invited to advise the council on railway matters , their views will be taken seriously , and not just paid lip service to , as they were in the Severn Beach Line Development Plan (link below.)
Talking of the Severn Beach Line Development Plan , not much progress seems to have been made on its main focus of station improvements. Some train stations in Bristol have been 'virtually abandoned' , according to Campaign For Better Transport (link below.)
Quotes from the First Great Western Coffee Shop Forum :
[quote author=Lee Fletcher link=topic=498.msg1610#msg1610 date=1186566901]From my inbox :
Went to Avonmouth station this evening, it looks very nice and the white boarding on the Bristol platform now looks much nicer. There is also a local area & bus connections map by the station entrance.[/quote]
[quote author=Lee Fletcher link=topic=524.msg1690#msg1690 date=1187008011]The Avonmouth station improvements (click on http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=498.msg1610#msg1610) look good. The "heads in silouette" artwork is very effective , and the hanging flower baskets are a nice touch.[/quote]
Both the local area & bus connections map and the hanging flower baskets have disappeared.
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7927
Written by Lee on Monday, 1st October 2007
An FOSBR summary of the meeting with Mark Bradshaw can be found in the link below.
Quote from FOSBR Chair Peter Gould :
"This is pure Alice in Wonder Land. We have to run hard to keep still, while important documents magically disappear down the back of the filing cabinet."
Re: Council reinstates train subsidy - 1219/7969
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 3rd October 2007
Letter to David Bishop , Head of Planning , Transport & Sustainable Development at Bristol City Council :
Dear Mr Bishop,
In an interview in the Evening Post (21/9/07), Andrew Haines, Managing Director of First Great Western, said
link to index of articles
Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.
Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.
The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.
We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.
-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021
Letter to DfT
Save the train
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