Severnside Community Rail Partnership has undertaken various research projects aimed, in particular, at better understanding the needs of local train passengers so that decisions by train operators are taken against a more informed background. Recent work has included:-
For a number of years the Partnership undertook annual one-day counts of passengers on the Severn Beach line. These mostly relied on volunteer enumerators, supplemented by local authority staff to cover the morning peak. located by every door on all trains throughout the day. Every passenger getting on and off every train at every stations was recorded and this one day snapshot formed the most comprehensive and reliable picture of use of the line. With the considerable growth in the number of passengers using the line and withdrawal of the local authority staff because of resource constraints, the Partnership was unable to undertake the counts in 2016 and 2017. We hope to resume a count in Spring 2018.
Sunday services on the Severn Beach line
This research looked the use of the Severn Beach line on Sundays, and whether extending the operating hours later in the evening, and operating the enhanced Summer timetable (when all services run to Severn Beach instead of most terminating at Avonmouth) would generate a worthwhile number of passengers. GWR is now intending the operate the Summer pattern of services from Easter 2018.
Use of the Severn Beach line by passengers working in the Avonmouth-Severn Beach Enterprise Area.
This research looked at issues faced by employees commuting by train, and studies their views and those of a sample of main employers. The train service will be considerably improved in 2019/20 as part of MetroWest. In the meanwhile GWR have agreed to alter the time of a late evening train to better fit shift patterns.
Carriage of cycles on trains, particularly at peak periods.
Most train operators bar cycles from the busiest peak trains, but there are no restrictions in the West of England. The study researched the issues that would arise if cycles were barred – and whether there would be any real benefit for other passengers, and if this would improve train performance which was suspected of being adversely affected by the loading/unloading of cycles on busy trains. As a result of the research, GWR decided not to place any further restrictions on carriage of cycles in the peak. Newer trains being introduced on all the local services in the West of England are more spacious and have more carriages the reducing any cycle “problem”.