Page updated on: 10/11/17 at 19:06

November 10th 2017 - 2018 Working Timetables

The end of this year’s season is fast approaching and Santa Services almost upon us, therefore it means the 2018 Working Timetables (described as WTT hereafter) are also approaching fruition.

This year we approached the WTT by emailing out a consultation document available for all staff to provide responses and feedback as to what they would like to see in the future, how well various timetables have or have not worked in the past as well as how other key features of timetables such as standard times and frequency of trains have worked. The feedback we received was wide and varied as we expected it would be, and while it was quite clear we would never be able to please everyone there were several areas that stood out as issues to all. Leading the way here was the turnaround time at Kidderminster, 22 minutes was the standard Kidderminster turnaround on every timetable in 2017, for more reasons than just the fact it was tight for the crews to run round in, it has not been successful. This was one of the key issues to address. Other areas that received multiple complaints were the 11 minute dwell time on pretty much all ‘Up’ trains at Bewdley which featured on all timetables. While it is a fact if you run the line to capacity there will be bigger gaps than we would like at various stations the 2018 timetables should alleviate this as best as possible.

For the forthcoming year there will be only two main timetable versions in the public leaflet, the ‘A’ and the ‘B’. The ‘A’ will be the backbone midweek timetable that also operates on most Sundays throughout the year except Bank Holiday weekends. It will also be the timetable that operates on weekends out of the main season when ‘footfall’ does not warrant a busier Saturday timetable. Table A sees three public passenger trains in operation each day, on some days the S2 diagram (11.35 Kidderminster departure for two trips) will be diesel hauled, this will mainly be out of school holiday weekdays and lower season weekend dates. Throughout midweek operation of Table A only one additional train will be permitted, either a Footplate Experience or Charter of varying descriptions. This is to safeguard the smooth running of the timetable by not ‘overcrowding’ the timetable one day but then have a standard service the next rather than spacing out the additional traffic over a week. We have had weeks this year with an FE and Charter on Monday and Wednesday and nothing the rest of the week rather than spread out over time. It also means there will be less of a drain on our locomotive and staff resources as they will also become more evenly spaced. On a Sunday through the summer Table A will also operate with the addition of a dining train for one round trip, this will not be an advertised passenger train and as such will run as a short formation, allowing the use of our smaller locomotives which see restricted summer use normally due to set loadings. This will also solve the issues of both the Venturer & Limited being at Bridgnorth at the same time that occurred this year with both requiring Platform 1, as the Limited will now be able to use Platform 2 without issue. On Sundays the option also exists to run a Footplate Experience course (normally diesel) which has a large layover at Kidderminster to allow a TMD depot tour.

Table B is a new timetable developed for this year by Chris Thomas, it will run primarily on Saturdays but will also feature on Bank Holiday weekend Sunday and Mondays. For many years the Saturday timetable has seen a 23 minute turnaround at Kidderminster, although this has been the only day to feature it. With such issues raised this year with said turnaround the idea is being trialled to attempt to move away from this even on our busier public days. This will see crossings varied from Bewdley and with them taking place instead at Kidderminster in the ‘Loop’ and ‘Main’. Turnarounds at Kidderminster therefore now sit at just over 35 minutes on each trip on this table only. A major change is the FE timings moving much later on this timetable, benefits however include less early starts for signalmen at the South end of the line, something that was a regular occurrence in this year’s timetable. That of course means these trains finish later, after the last public service, but as table B is normally operating on Saturdays it runs into an evening service of Diner and/or DMU so a mutual swap time can be arranged for the evening signalman to come on duty. We hope this will help the lengths of day at South end boxes which has been flagged up to us this year.

Several other changes appear generally across the timetables this year, these include a difference in some publicly advertised times to working ones. Trains can of course depart at the public time if signalling and station work allows. It is planned so that we can increase punctuality of services next year. Many will recognise the new Table A is based upon the tried and trusted midweek B timetable from 2015/2016, with more time allowed in areas that had caused issues in the past. We hope that by reducing to 2 main public timetables confusion will be reduced and as such this year the ‘WTT booklet’ will include 9 WTT’s in total, this is compared to 18 of last year. There will be 6 ‘A’ variants and 3 ‘B’ variants.

As I mentioned earlier we have tried, where possible, to include suggestions received, we cannot include them all but hopefully these timetables will sit well with most of our staff. The timetables have generally been well received by the checking team and Heads of Departments. I also need to make a mention to all of these people who have took the time to go through them in great detail and point out our typo’s and timing errors!

The Operations team are now in the final stages of preparing the 2018 Working Timetable for Issue, the booklet is in final draft and will need checking diligently before it is passed to the printers. While work takes place to get the booklets made SVR Online will see the electronic versions uploaded which all staff using the office 365 system will be able to view.

Thanks to all for their continued support during this year and in looking forward to 2018. Your support and feedback is very important so during 2018 please do email on: response@svrlive.com with comment.

Matt Robinson Operations Team

Late running

Over the summer, the Railway has been subject to a number of delays due to late running. It has been noted there is an increasing trend in Passenger complaints, particularly about missed connections with other transport providers, especially at Kidderminster. For many of our passengers, a trip on the SVR is only part of their visitor experience, and they often want to connect with other services to continue
their visit to other attractions.
The Railway needs to rebuild its reputation for the punctuality of its services. Whilst there are always days where late running occurs because of an out of turn event, a lineside fire or equipment/loco failure we should still strive to regain time whenever possible.
We have taken a number of steps to try to reduce the occasions of late running by the introduction of a new timetable in 2018. Please refer to NBI-H-461 and youwill see that the Working Timetables for 2018 now reduces the number of Charters to one charter per day and also has better improved turnaround times at Kidderminster.
When delays leading to late running occur, the reduction can only be achieved with your help, and Signalmen, Guards, Drivers, Firemen and Station Staff each have a part to play in this in both the prevention and reduction of late running by ensuring every train has an On-time departure. From February 2018 the Operations Department will be releasing Delay Reports to Operational staff to increase awareness of late running, the reasons why and what is being done to reduce the occurrence of it. This will also be reported to the Board on a Monthly
basis.
With a robust timetable in 2018 we all have a part to play in keeping time, making up time where possible and maintaining a reliable and robust service through the year. Signalman, Guard, Driver, Fireman or Platform Staff please do assist in both reporting late running and acting efficiently to reduce instances of it whenever possible. We also need to keep our Passengers informed whenever a train is
significantly delayed to ensure they know what the implications are for their personal journeys and connections. The DO must be informed whenever a delay of 10 Minutes or more happens It is important for the reputation of the Railway and the continued good will from
our Passengers that we seek to minimise or reduce all late running
Nick Ralls General Manager

February 17th 2017- 2017 Working Timetables

The 2017 working timetables have been created after receiving feedback from around the railway and taking in to consideration any issues arising with the 2016 WTTs. These have been presented to the board and agreed.

 

The main principles

We will avoid, where possible, operating both and FE and Private Charter on the same day. During 2016 this proved to be the cause a number of operational issues and late running. However, on the occasions this will happen, we are confident the standard approach to the WTT will assist in the efficient and punctual operation of the railway.

The timetables are based on one master timetable with variants of that created to accommodate additional trains such as Footplate Experience and Private Charters.

All trains whether it be a service train, diner or charter have been pathed to standard timings and have additional dwell time at stations built in to assist in making up time if the service runs late.

During the quieter months the stock diagramming has been designed to accommodate more use of smaller locomotives (7714 and 1501) to work the trains from the south end of the railway. It has been agreed with MPD that the maximum length trains for these locomotives will be:

 

One area of feedback received was that having a number of different WTTs on one timetable (such as the variants dependent if FEs were operating or not) created confusion. In order to address this the Working Timetables now have a number of variants dependant on what additional services are running. A specific WTT letter and number has been given to the (e.g. WTT A1 is a standard Mid-week, WTT A2 is Mid-week plus FE).

To try and create a regular pattern of departure times from Kidderminster the ‘turn around’ times have been reduced. This is owing to the fact many of our passengers join the SVR at Kidderminster in order to visit the rest of the line and this is reflected in the lay over period at Bridgnorth allowing passengers the chance to alight, explore the station and surrounding attractions.

 

Short turn round at Kidderminster

With shortening the run round time at Kidderminster, concerns have been raised in regard to the servicing of stock from Bridgnorth. In order to assist this process the watering facilities in Platform 1 at Kidderminster will be upgraded. Discussions will also take place with HoDs to provide other assistance to train and footplate crew on the day to help them achieve the turn round.

Dining trains

The Severn Valley Limited set (known as set S) has now been reduced to 4 coaches in order to allow the railway to operate smaller locomotives such as 813 during the week. On a Sunday the ‘Limited’ will have 2 additional vehicles added to the train to allow 3 coaches for standard passenger accommodation. Feedback received was that having passenger accommodation on the limited would assist in reducing the gap in the passenger service. Also where possible the set will run as 6 coach length train, again in order to assist the use of smaller motive power such as 7714 and 1501.

 

With the potential increased use of Kidderminster station and yard areas the WTT has been created so that on a standard service the station can be operated with one platform.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Steven Chapple Operations Manager

© 2015-2019 Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) plc