Well, here it is. The first day of the NEw FGW timetable. Its aim is to improve punctuality, which is what we commuters apparently want. This is true, but we would also like some trains: the new timetable has reduced the number of trains I can catch to work. Crazy, eh?
oh well, I am sure it will be fine. Fewer trains must mean that they will turn up on time so that the 3 trains (and thus 2 connections) I have to make to travel the 70 miles from Bath to Oxford will work. (It used to be only 2 trains and 1 connection, but for some reason trains don't stop at Didcot as often.)
So, I am going for the 0642 train today. It is 12 mins earlier than the train that I caught under the old timetable and it will get me to Oxford 5 mins later, but at least it will get me to work before 0830. Or will it?
It wasn't a good start to the new timetable. The 0642 did not arrive until 0700 'due to technical problems', so there go the connections I needed to make at Swindon and Didcot. I'll be 30 mins late for work.
In the end I caught the 0707, which did stop at Didcot, although I did have to wait for 25 mins at Didcot and it did get me into work 30 mins late.
The best bit of the journey was listening to the confused train manager apologising to the very annoyed '0712' commuters that 'the printed timetable does not reflect the running times ' and 'I've been speaking to some people in Swindon and they say that the timetable is being reprinted, in the meantime ...[long pause]... turn up 5 mins before you usually do'.
It seems that the wrong version of the timetable was sent to the printers and the timetable that FGW had been proudly announcing to us for the past 2 weeks was, in fact, incorrect. The 0712 does not exist anymore, but the 0707 does.
Anyway, I arrived into Didcot at 0807 and had to wait in a drafty waiting area (of course it was packed), listening to the scraping sliding doors, until 0825.
The journey home was OK. I left 8 mins later than I did under the old timetable, but having to wait at Didcot for 35 mins for my connection, I arrived at home 30 mins later than under the old timetable.
Getting to work punctuality: 0%
Getting home punctuality: 100%
FGW alerts (not a good start):
Services cancelled: 0702 BRI-Southhampton, 0604 BRI-Weymouth, 0630 CDF-P'smouth, 0617 Westbury-PAD.
1602 Cheltenham-Taunton will start from BTM. No other problems. (Unless you are travelling from Taunton and it's then a bloody bit problem.)
DT: 'what a shambles! I arrived in Bath yesterday half an hour late! Today almost missed both connections by a few minutes! What about you? One positive thing was advised at Swindon priority was our train coming in which is why it waited'