New Timetable Starts Badly

Well, the new timetable has been in place for less than two days now, and it’s not been an auspicious start.

Sunday 20th saw multiple cancellations of trains serving Marsden and Slaithwaite, including a three hour gap in the service at Marsden.

One of the supposed advantages of TPE taking over the services was that adapting to disruption was supposed to become a whole lot easier. SMART was led to believe that in the event of a cancellation it’s more likely that an express will make additional stops, rather than passengers being abandoned or left to try to work out where when and if a replacement bus might appear. You can guess what happened – yes, it was a replacement bus taking four times as long as the train.

Then later on in the evening one of TPEs delayed trains missed out Mossley and Slaithwaite in order to make up time.

SMART will be looking for explanations as to why what happened was the opposite of what we had been led to expect.

Difficult to know where to start so far as Monday 21st is concerned, not least because any of the more determined commuters who finally made it as far as Manchester still have to get home this evening. The morning commute towards Leeds appears to have more-or-less worked, with only minor delays. Not so towards Manchester. Some of the Stalybridge to Victoria connecting services were cancelled, and some connections missed at Stalybridge because of delays.

Two of our trains only made it as far as Stalybridge before being terminated, because what passengers want most of all is to be stranded six miles short of their destination.

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Tell Us How You Are Affected By The Timetable Changes

The new train timetable will start this coming Sunday, 20th May. Basically, everything changes. Timings, rolling stock, where the trains go to, everything.
 
The new timetables can be found on the websites of Northern Rail and TPE. One thing to be aware of is that almost all Manchester-bound trains will use platform 2 at Marsden, not platform 3.
 
But that’s not what this posting is about.
 
SMART has been discussing the proposed timetable with the train companies, TfGM and WYCA for several months, and whilst we managed to get some minor improvements from what was originally proposed, there are still many aspects of the changes which are profoundly unsatisfactory.
We are continuing to talk to the train companies, and as soon as next Wednesday we have a meeting where the December 2018 timetable will be on the agenda. People in senior positions within the railway industry are prepared to take time to talk with us, which is a fairly good indication that they recognise that we are raising issues which need fixing.
 
So what we want is information. Lots of it.
 
We want to know how your travel plans are changed by the new timetable. So if it involves and earlier start and a later finish, or switching to a different mode of transport, or changing your working hours or workplace, we want to know. If it involves incurring additional expense (e.g. childcare costs), we want to know. If overcrowding becomes more of an issue, we want to know.
 
We don’t just want to know about the bad stuff. If the changes make your travel arrangements easier or allow you to save money or allow you to make use of travel opportunities which previously didn’t exist, we want to know that, too.
 
Whilst we are able to make some predictions as to which bits will make travel easier and which bits will make travel more difficult, there’s no substitute for evidence. We want to identify the good bits of the new timetable and keep those, whilst also identifying what is unsatisfactory and needs fixing.
 
So please, over the next few months, keep telling us how the new timetable works (or doesn’t) for you. This can either be done on the SMART facebook group, or if you don’t want your comments to be on a public forum, by facebook message or (once we can get our e-mail fixed), to info[at]smart-rail.co.uk.
NOTE: if commenting, please do so in response to this posting, not any others. We have a very effective, perhaps over-zealous, spam trap, which filters out most of the adverts for performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals and designer clothing, but which also can catch some legitimate comments. If it’s all on this one post, it’s easier to go through the spam and pick up which comments are legitimate.
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New Timetable Information, effective from 20th May

The timetable changes taking place on 20th May 2018 are the biggest change in a generation.
Whether they are an improvement for you or a deterioration (we suspect more of the latter than the former), for everyone they will be different.
Print versions of TPE’s timetables now available at Stalybridge & Huddersfield stations, print version of Northern’s timetables not available until 1st June.
Also bear in mind that at Marsden almost all Manchester-bound trains (except for the first morning train on weekdays) will call at platform 2, not platform 3, so allow that little bit of extra time to get there.
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Public meeting about timetable changes, 16th May, Mossley

Public meeting, arranged jointly by Friends of Mossley Station and Greenfield Rail Action Group, to be held at 7.30 on Wednesday 16th May, at George Lawton Hall, Stamford Street, Mossley OL5 0HR.

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