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Author Topic: Unmanned gatelines  (Read 1915 times)
Robin Summerhill
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« on: June 13, 2019, 11:17:30 pm »

Earlier this evening I arrived at Chippenham at around 1913 on the 1800 ex-PAD with my all line rail rover, a ticket that I have yet to find operates any Gatelines anywhere in the country. I attempted to leave the station via the new footbridge and found the gates in operation. As usual I then pressed the “assistance” button.

Nobody answered.

After a few seconds of apparently pre-recorded announcements I was told that “all of our staff are busy at the moment and will you will be helped as soon as possible” (or something similar). After waiting for a minute or so I pressed the assistance button again and nothing happened.  Another passenger saw what was going on and suggested that I nip quickly through the disabled gate with him, and I did so.

I am under the impression that the rules state that if the Gatelines cannot be manned for any reason they should remain open. Staff being “busy” on other duties means that they are unavailable to man the Gateline, so as I see it they should have been opened at the time.

I accept that all I had to do was walk to my car in the car park but, at 1913 in Chippenham, what few buses are still running are few and far between. I would certainly have a lot more to say if I had been stuck behind that damn Gateline, being apologised to that “all of our staff were busy,” whilst watching my X31 or 55 bus depart from the station approach with a wait for up to 2 hours (for the X31) for the next one.

This will not do.

I shall be making a formal complaint to GWR over this incident when I get the chance, but first I’ve got to get my money’s worth out of an all line rover for the next 8 days, so I thought I’d bring the matter up here  Smiley

Does anyone else have any views on this, especially Mark Hopwood if he monitors the site frequently?
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2019, 11:44:18 pm »

I have found on all bar one occasions that the gatelines have been staffed, or there has been someone on the end of the button straight away.  That one exception (I went off to find someone to let me through) was also at Chippenham.

Tomorrow is the GWR Community Rail Conference in Bristol.  I will check what should happen with someone who knows - I'm sure there will be someone here who does.   Any more reports on this thread by 09:00 tomorrow please if there is other data to consider.

P.S.  I found that my North East rover failed on all gate lines too - EXCEPT Darlington, where it let me through.  If you are leaving the station in Darlington and the gates are actually in use, do let me know if your ticket works!
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2019, 07:00:37 am »

I was led to believe that manning gateline is a Health and Safety issue. If there are no staff there they have to be open, in case of fire if nothing else.
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bobm
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2019, 07:16:35 am »

I found my ALRs never worked a gateline - indeed I was advised on here not to try to avoid the risk of it being swallowed up and needing rescuing. 
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2019, 08:36:53 am »

I was led to believe that manning gateline is a Health and Safety issue. If there are no staff there they have to be open, in case of fire if nothing else.
Presumably there is a fire alarm that can be activated by passengers in case of fire or other emergencies? That would probably ensure that either staff would suddenly be able to attend the gateline, or that the fire brigade would come with cutting equipment to saw off the gates and release the passengers.
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broadgage
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2019, 08:43:24 am »

I have had a similar issue at Taunton, down side.
On one occasion I was told to use the exit on the London bound side, a lengthy detour and IMHO unreasonable with luggage.

I pointed out that the gates should be open if not manned and was told that this only applies to underground stations.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 09:32:42 am »

You do get quite a few stations where gatelines are unstaffed.  Beaconsfield, High Wycombe on Chiltern and Hassocks on Southern spring to mind.  If a station is large enough to have a fire alarm system then it is usually linked to the gates.
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johoare
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2019, 01:37:14 pm »

You do get quite a few stations where gatelines are unstaffed.  Beaconsfield, High Wycombe on Chiltern and Hassocks on Southern spring to mind.  If a station is large enough to have a fire alarm system then it is usually linked to the gates.
At Wycombe at the main entrance there is usually someone in the ticket office and if not I've never found a time when the luggage gate isn't unlocked if you try opening it if your ticket doesn't work (which happens more times than it should there!)
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2019, 02:12:56 pm »

Yes, I was referring to the other gateline on the London platform.  As you say though, the luggage gate is usually unlocked (though you might not realise that).
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2019, 04:25:11 pm »

I've also been led to believe though I can't say for sure that gateline barriers should be open if they are not staffed. FWIW every time I've been to Chippenham, they've been open and unstaffed.
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Day return to Infinity, please.
grahame
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2019, 06:52:55 pm »

Checked today with GWR team.  If gates are in use (rather than open) they should either be staffed or with a call point which is answered as a priority. No one should have to wait because "staff are busy", or have to go off and use another exit / go find someone.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2019, 09:01:41 pm »

Quote from: grahame
Checked today with GWR team.  If gates are in use (rather than open) they should either be staffed or with a call point which is answered as a priority. No one should have to wait because "staff are busy", or have to go off and use another exit / go find someone.

Interesting.

I had some spare time today because my planned trip with the rail rover went belly-up (more of which later), so I brought up the matter with the dispatch staff at Chippenham. I was told after they fumbled with paperwork for a bit that three members of staff were supposed to be on the gate at Chippenham at 1915 last night, so theoretically what happened should not have happened.

He put forward the theory that staff were all busy with other people’s queries at the time which is why I had to wait. This is nearly plausible but it poses as many questions as it answers:

There are now three gated entrances to Chippenham station; the main entrance, the north side entrance and the gates to the new footbridge. The two “remote” gates have a help point on each side so there are four remote help points in total. How many cameras can be monitored at once in the event of multiple help point requests? (I’ll see what I can find out on that if nobody on here already knows)

Given that GWR are now aware that as many people access the station from the north side as the south side, and yet more to and from either side may use the new footbridge entrance because of proximity to lifts, why do all the staff routinely mingle at the north side entrance nattering to each other except in the morning peak, when logic suggests that at least 50% of the help point queries are going to come from the north side or the footbridge?

As regards the rail rover, today was planned with a late start (0956) and a late finish (2159) so that I could cover a section of “virgin track” in Leicestershire. The plan was to use the 1625 Derby to Kettering via Melton Mowbray. I didn’t find out that that was where the landslip and flooding occurred yesterday until 0830 this morning, and by then it was too late for me to substitute one of the other planned trips which all start between 0726 and 0825. I therefore ended up making up an itinerary on the hoof, idly riding aroubd on trains simple because I had a ticket to do so and wanted ny money's worth! This finally involved Chippenham-Paddington-Cardiff-Gloucester-Bristol-Chippenham, but even that knocked up 358 miles! I see they've knocked the bus station down since I was last in Cardiff...

I hope to get back on track with Stoke-Uttoxeter-Derby tomorrow!


PS - after spending most of today in IETs, can I suggest that when they withdraw the Pacers they have the upholstery out and put it in the 800s? Far more chance of a bruised backside in an 800 than in a 143...

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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2019, 12:33:22 pm »

Quote from: bobm
I found my ALRs never worked a gateline - indeed I was advised on here not to try to avoid the risk of it being swallowed up and needing rescuing. 

Of course if you are told by a member of staff to put it through the gateline then at least there would be someone there to take any necessary action. They have tended to exasperate me because when they get rejected it proves (to my mind at least) that their training in these matters is lacking. Having said that, it does appear that staff might be exasperated themselves when they get shown tickets before people even attempt to put them through the gatelines as , it appears from observation, quite a few people do.

Or that is what I thought until Thursday 13th June when I landed with my rail rover at Ipswich. The guy on the gate told me to put it through, so I sighed and waited for the inevitable outcome so I could say "I told you so" or words to that effect.

But the expected outcome never came. The gateline accepted my ticket and opened!

This was only an "out for a fag break" stop, and the gatelines were open anyway when I went back in, so I couldn't test it again.

As circumstances dictated (more by accident than design but that's another story) I was back in Ipswich on Monday 17th June. The same guy was on the gate, so I reminded him of what happened last Thursday and put the ticket in again. Once again the gateline accepted it.

This was a longer stay in Ipswich, and about an hour later I came back to the station with the same guy on the gateline. I put my ticket in again and this time it rejected it.

So the moral of this story appears to be that if you want to see a gateline let you out with an all line rover, go to Ipswich. Don't plan to come back again though... Wink
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eXPassenger
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2019, 07:28:18 pm »

But did the guy have a simple foot switch to instruct the gateline to accept the ticket?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2019, 08:04:21 pm »

Quote from: eXPassenger
But did the guy have a simple foot switch to instruct the gateline to accept the ticket?

Well if he did he must have forgotten he had it when I tried to get back in  Grin
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