RSS

Tag Archives: London Midland

Train Companies on JourneyCheck

Today has turned out to be a disruptive day to be travelling. Flooding has been the main problem and tomorrow is said to bring its share of problems too. With that in mind, I decided to see if I could find which train companies used JourneyCheck as a place to look for live travel information. The list is below, with links to the actual JourneyCheck websites, and you’ll see that not every train company has one.

The websites of course are only good as the information that’s entered into them. Regarding the Northern Rail one, I have seen complaints about the train formation information (number of carriages, mainly) not being as good as it could be. Otherwise, they could have their use on days like today when you need more information than can be provided by a Twitter feed. If you use an RSS feed reader such as Google Reader, then they could be even more useful again. After all, with engineering works and station problems listed along with train running information, these look like good places to be looking while on the move.

 
Leave a comment

Posted on November 21, 2012 in Incidents, Timetables, Trains

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An eventful evening

Snow arrived today as promised and travel disruption ensued. At the time of writing, Arriva Yorkshire and Nottingham City Transport are operating no bus services at all rail and disruption is hitting both the East Coast Mainline along with services around Bolton and Blackburn. More generally, bus services are experiencing difficulties across the north of England and into the English midlands so it’s best to check with your operator to make sure that your service is operating.

Twitter has been a good place to see what’s happening and those of us who are on there need to watch our daily limit of 1000 updates (20 per half hour, it seems) too. Even transport operators such as Virgin Trains and London Midland have been known to hit these limits on days like yesterday when severe disruption was caused by a derailment near Bletchley. For these eventualities, they have been known to open more accounts so you wonder what the limit achieves.

More roads than those used by buses get affected too and the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton and the A54 between the latter and Buxton are closed tonight. It is an open question as to whether Bowers’ service 58 between Macclesfield and Buxton will operate tomorrow given that it was off the road last Saturday. Today, it kept going until at least 15:00 since I spotted one on the Cat and Fiddle Inn’s webcam.

Whatever you do tonight, I hope that you stay safe. Tomorrow could be interesting as well though we are promised milder weather as the new week wears on. It seems that Ireland has been unaffected by wintry weather apart from disruption to U.K. flights. That really drives home how regional how weather can be.

 
Leave a comment

Posted on February 4, 2012 in Buses, Incidents, Timetables, Trains

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More ways of delaying trains

On Saturday, I embarked on a trip to Wales and I happened to have the misfortune to travel when there were problems with a set of signals in the Trent valley. That meant that a connection from Stoke-on-Trent to Crewe was late because it was a London Midland service from London to Crewe. That meant that my planned journey from Macclesfield to Bangor no longer was possible.

The 13:13 London Midland service turned up after the 13:34 East Midlands service from Derby so I was travelling on that instead. The result was that the 13:49 Virgin train to Chester left without me even with its being delayed too. It was the 14:23 Arriva Trains Wales service that got me there where I caught a train to Llandudno Junction from where I took another to Bangor, where I arrived at 16:35 and not at 15:28 as I had hoped. Even so, no serious damage was done to my plans and I enjoyed a lovely sunny evening regardless.

That last outbound train spent longer in Conwy than expected. A train conductor had not warned cyclists that they needed to be at the centre of the train to disembark. The result was that the rest of us were left waiting while the cyclists realised where they needed to be and made their way there. Only for having the man staffing the refreshments trolley in our carriage, quite a few of us would been ignorant of what was going on. It was another example of a day when trains were in no hurry.

On the return journey the next day, there was only one delay and that was due to train coupling in Llandudno Junction. The sunny weather had lured a fair few folk to the north Wales coast so Arriva Trains Wales were making sure at least one of their services was long enough to convey all who came to catch it, something from which other operators would do well to learn. Six minutes may have been lost but that was no perturbation to my journey home because there was enough slack to cope with it. My arrival time in Macclesfield didn’t have to change like that in Bangor the day before.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Double-edged Sword?

One thing that we’re never told about those magical white Christmases that we’re often sold is that there’s a darker side to them too. Just ask anyone trying to fly before Christmas this year and they may have a thing to say about the weather that we saw.

What visited Heathrow and Gatwick on the last Saturday before Christmas Day caused enough disruption but it was the repeated showerings of snow that caused havoc at Dublin’s airport. All that was needed was a single hefty shower and runaways were shut for several hours. The result was many panicky travellers with some booking ferry crossings as a backup plan.

Rail travel became tricky as points suffered in the cold weather with many needing defrosting. It didn’t matter whether it was Euston station or Heuston station in Dublin because delays and cancellations were made more likely; London saw more cancellations than Dublin, it has to be said. Then, London Midland train passengers were to discover how it felt to be crammed into a smaller than usual train because two couldn’t be joined together due to frozen couplers. Special timetables with lower service frequencies saw introduction in Wales, Merseyside and Scotland because of the conditions.

Buses in the south of England saw enough disruption to set Twitter alight with a multitude of status updates. That wasn’t all because the same comments applied to Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Wales. Seeing the flurries of updates was enough to remind me of the action of snow blizzards.

All of the above information provision was heartening to see but not everyone was as good at keeping passengers up to date. For instance, I spent several hours in a plane, diverted from Dublin, sat on the tarmac in Shannon and the lack of speed in making anything happen was enough to try your patience. Decisiveness and responsiveness weren’t characteristics of the experience and it didn’t help that the I had to return to a snowy Dublin when my final destination wouldn’t have been far from Shannon anyway; it was nearer than Dublin anyway. If buses and trains did this type of thing, you could foresee uproar…

All in all, the whole experience makes me appreciate the service offered by bus and train operators all the more and neither Dublin Bus or Irish Rail left me down on the day in question anyway. My observations and experiences of what the snow did this year have me wondered why I have been pondering outings to savour the snowy hills of Scotland and Wales during a spell of cold weather. It’s no wonder that I have been sticking to enjoying what’s close at hand when snow visits.

This is our second really cold winter in a row and my only hope is that lessons are being learnt. One climate scientist has suggested we are in a run of a few of these so we all needed to be doing some learning, myself included. With regards to dreams of white Christmases, we need to live in the real world and that’s even when somewhat surreal weather comes our way like it has done this year. Let’s hope that everyone stays safe and that the stranded get to their intended destinations as soon as possible.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

U.K. Train Companies on Twitter

When snow came down on us, the frailities of the U.K.’s transport information provision systems was apparent for all to see. It was that which showed the best side of microblogging services like Twitter. In that vein, here are the Twitter areas occupied by the train companies forming part of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) that itself runs National Rail Enquiries. It we get more snow during this big freeze, then these would be the places to turn for train running information.

 
Leave a comment

Posted on January 8, 2010 in Journeys, Timetables, Trains

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,