August 02, 2015
The Weymouth Wizard is running every Saturday in August from Swindon and Chippenham to Weymouth, with good connections from Pewsey, Kemble, Stroud and Gloucester. I went yesterday - great trip; rather nice train, half full so plenty of space for more. And there's so much to so in Weymouth - I watched people doing all sorts of things and took some pictures to help in the marketing.
Admiring old buildings
Amazing at the local artwork
Arriving at your destination
Being rowed in a boat
Breaking quietly from all the other activities
Burying your friend
Catching the Sun
Checking your messages
Chuckling as you watch others hunting for a parking space
Clicking pictures like this one
Climbing the steps
Crabbing in the harbour
Deciding what to do!!
Digging in the sand
Dreaming of buying a "fixer upper"
Eating fresh traditional Fish and Chips
Enjoying the Jurassic Coast
Exercising the dog (and the family)
Explaining what a shop sells to the children
Fearing the spider - for just a moment
Gazing at shops in the Old Brewery
Gorping at the birds
Having a beer at the town's oldest pub
Hearing (perhaps) about your future
Hiring a scooter to get around
Imagining how the Fort was many years ago
Journeying on a land train
Keeping an eye on the time
Leaning on the railings
Learning about the town's history
Leaving the train at the end of the day
Licking an ice cream
Looking out to sea
Observing at the Nature Reserve
Paddleboating and doing other things on the water
Planning your journey home
Playing "what if" at the Marina
Relaxing in the park
Riding the gallopers
Saving car parking charges
Seeing the craft workshops
Shouting in support of Mr Punch
Sitting in the sun with a pint
Spending family time in the open air
Taking in the view
Walking the old railway line trail
Watching the world go by
Wondering at some people's taste (or perhaps it's yours?)
Working out the best way up
July 31, 2015
The Weymouth Wizard - Saturdays in August from Wiltshire
The summer Saturday train service from Bristol and Bath to Weymouth has been strengthend over the past many years by an extra service, often run using extra stock that's not normally seen there, and the "Bucket and Spade special" has been popular and necessary to relieve overcrowding on the normally-short service trains. That's not to say it's always busy - far from it on "shoulder" weekends and weekends of poor weather.
Last year, the train was run with an "HST" - High Speed Train, and it's the same this year - excpet that for the five potentially busiest Saturdays, the line's shut for major engineering works near Bath, calls at Bath Spa station and Bradford-on-Avon cannot be made, and the train is diverted via Swindon aand Chippenham, calling at those two stations (but missing Melksham, a town twice the size of Bradford-on-Avon) and travelling via the TransWilts line. Running the "Weymouth Wizard" even with the engineering works going on has been almost a point of honour for First Great Western, and we've been thrown a cross between an a challenge and an opportunity to help get "bums on seats".
Fortunately, the product is an excellent one. 08:59 from Swindon, 09:14 from Chppenham to Weymouth at 11:45, returning at 17:38 and back home at around 8 p.m. All for 16.90 per adult or 8.45 per child. And Weymouth is an iconic and attractive destination.
First Great Western have the tools to reach their regular customers, and indeed have being doing so. Online journey planners offer the service, and posters are up at stations. But that doesn't reach the people who don't often use the train or have never done so. And that's where the Community Rail Partnership has stepped in, with some additional marketing - we've let the press and local radio know, and we've used selected social media too. Since tickets can be bought on the day, we can only take an educated guess at how we've done until tomorrow, and I'll be on the train to see what I can learn to help me tune the next 4 weeks.
Facebook advert for Melksham:
Facebook advert for Pewsey and Marlborough:
Facebook advert for Swindon and Chippenham;
First Great Western - at station advert
As there's a big "don't know" as to how we'll do tomorrow, I'll leave a follow up of that until after the event rather than sharing my guesses to day. I can promise a fun and different day tomorrow, and I look forward to catching up with at least some old friends.