It has come to our attention that from December 2019 Pilning’s afternoon service will depart at 14:34, instead of the current 15:34.
We note that this will severely affect the service – Pilning passengers will have 59 minutes less time in Bristol Temple Meads, 51 minutes less in Weston-super-Mare, 99 less in Gloucester, 80 less in Cheltenham, 58 less in Bath, 64 less in Cardiff and 65 less in Newport.
We immediately lodged an objection and demanded an explanation. GWR replied that the change is necessary because the 15:34 will be operated by one of their new Class 800 Intercity Express Trains (IETs), and that these could not call at Pilning. We challenged this, because these trains are equipped with Selective Door Opening (SDO) for the SPECIFIC PURPOSE of enabling them to call at stations with shorter platforms such as ours. So why can’t they stop here? Well, they could, very easily – but GWR haven’t bothered to include Pilning in the onboard computer program controlling the SDO system.
In a clear case of discrimination against Pilning users, they’d rather inconvenience us even more than make a simple adjustment allowing the 15:34 to continue to stop here. We are not accepting this – we have referred our grievance to the Rail Ombudsman and have demanded a rethink for the next timetable change in May 2020. We have also put out a press release which you can read HERE. Watch this space for further updates!