Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Adelante's - 2449/5500
Written by Steve Bray on Sunday, 3rd June 2007

Yesterday I travelled from Reading to Great Malvern and back. According to FGW's timetable, these services are meant to be operated by Adelante's.  Yesterday, both journeys were on Turbos. The train I caught in the morning was full and standing at Reading (possibly exacerpated by the 1010 Virgin train from Reading to the north being cancelled, so carrying a few extra passengers to Oxford), and also a number of passengers travelling to Hereford for the Hay Festival. All the other trains I passed on the Cotswold Line were similarly operated by Turbo's - so where are the Adelante's? More technical problems?

The Turbo's can keep pretty well to the Adelante's schedules, but then passengers holding seat reservations are let down; there's no refreshment trolley (less revenue?) and no a/c (or a/c that's pretty lousy).

Also, the 3 car turbos are not allowed to call at Shipton station (when an Adelante can), so passengers here have a loss of trains.

Recent Saturday journeys I've made on the Cotswold Line have also been operated by Turbo's instead of Adelantes, and its amazing how rarely one sees the train conductor. Yesterday, there was no sight of him/her from Reading to Great Malvern - maybe they are fed up of getting flak from passengers about the wrong kind of train being provided...


Re: Adelante's - 2449/5505
Written by whistleblower on Sunday, 3rd June 2007

A lot of the Turbo services out of Reading are DOO (Driver Only) but I'm not sure which routes.  It might explain why you didn't see a conductor.  I know conductors are always on the Gatwick route and they work pretty hard on that.  They're not shy!

Re: Adelante's - 2449/5555
Written by Gwr2006 on Wednesday, 6th June 2007

This probably has something to do with FGW needing to train their conductors on using the new refurbished HSTs that will take over all high speed workings from December. As a result there must be less traincrew available to work on Adelantes at weekends. In fact, I think many weekend Adelante workings have been replaced by Turbos for a few months whilst staff go through their training.

At least a train is better than no train at all, and we are not seeing mass cancellations just because the type of train is different. Of course, Turbos operate as DOO and do not need a conductor which may explain why you have not seen any.

Re: Adelante's - 2449/5981
Written by Industry Insider on Friday, 29th June 2007

Turbos only operate as DOO between Paddington and Oxford on through journeys from/to the Cotswold Line. They HAVE to have a conductor between Oxford and Hereford. Adelates are being replaced by Turbos for a couple of reasons (all of which are FGW's fault);

1) Adelante reliability (they don't like hot weather AT ALL!)
2) Shortage of conductors due to not having enough of them to cover the service, especially at the weekend (not due to training - a pay dispute is currently stopping them from 'learning' HST's). The fact Turbos can operate DOO between Paddington and Oxford means that Conductors based at Reading can be used on other services that need a Conductor (i.e. Reading-Gatwick/Basingstoke).

On a seperate note, 3-car Turbos CAN call at Shipton in the 'down' direction (from London), but unfortunately are not allowed to in the 'up' direction. It's extremely silly as the Conductor/Driver can open one set of doors per carriage quite easily by using an external switch, and for the number of passengers that use Shipton that would be quite adequate. However, I expect it contravenes their 'safety case' or some similar beaurocratic bullcrap!

Re: Adelante's - 2449/5985
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 29th June 2007

I think I may be beginning to understand why I once saw a travel alert telling me that a train would not be calling at Shipton on its way to London because of overcrowding and safety issue.

Re: Adelante's - 2449/5986
Written by Sion Bretton on Friday, 29th June 2007

What is going to happen to these Turbos.
We love to have them on routes here in West Wiltshire.  ;D

Could they run Salisbury to Bristol TM, Westbury to Bristol TM
Frome to Swindon via Melksham.

We know they did run Bristol TM to Oxford. See if they ran again with both Corsham  and Wootton Bassett stations were reopened (yes I know they have to be built).

Re: Adelante's - 2449/5988
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 29th June 2007

[quote author=Sion B link=topic=2449.msg5986#msg5986 date=1183132051]
What is going to happen to these Turbos.
We love to have them on routes here in West Wiltshire.

Re: Adelante's - 2449/6042
Written by Industry Insider on Monday, 2nd July 2007

Yeah, the Turbos have a quite restricted route availability and many places in the west of England are no-go areas for them.

There's a lot of rumours about what will happen to the Adelantes. It was stated that it was unlikely that they would be retained beyond Dec 2007 when the refreshed HST's should all be ready (slowly slipping behind on that deadline, too!), though as far as I know FGW have never categorically stated that they won't lease them beyond that date (either due to being clever, or due to not having a clue what they are doing!). Certain people have suggested a 6-month extention, other that FGW will keep them for much longer by either buying/leasing them.

Personally I think they are ideal trains for the Oxford-London half hourly fast service, as they would be on the Bedwyn-Paddington hourlys too, as well as certain through services from London to the Cotswolds and Cheltenham. Certainly enough work to keep a 14-strong fleet busy. Using HST's (whether with 7or 8 carriages) on these services will result in plenty of Mr. Darlings 'fresh air' in the carriages, wheraes using Turbos will mean a sub-standard quality of journey for passengers.

I know that Adelantes have not been jumped on by any other TOC due to their leasing and maintenance costs. I would be interested to see whether it is cheaper to run one on an average off-peak Oxford-London train than it would be to run a HST.

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

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