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Author Topic: Helping to keep trains on schedule when timetables tighten up in December 2019  (Read 4447 times)
grahame
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« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2019, 07:05:19 am »

Input from Melksham Rail User Group

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1. Please consider adding extra name boards so that passengers on the train are more quickly clear that they are at Melksham. At present, there are just two name boards - both on the original (single carriage) platform section, one of which is of limited visibility from the train at certain angles as it's masked by a notice board. It is not unusual for passengers on the train to be asking around "is this Melksham?" and we have had incidents where people have got off the train thinking they are in Trowbridge.

2. Two carriage trains travelling towards Chippenham pull right forward on the new platform section, away from the waiting shelter, ticket machine, and station gate (outside which smokers wait). Passengers who are not regular users, smokers, and all passengers in the wet take a noticeable time to move up to the train when it arrives. Please consider adding a 2 carriage stopping point for northbound trains such that they stop alongside the areas where passengers naturally wait.

3. Please consider the installation of a departure display board that's visible along the platform and in all light conditions. A three line display (of the sort seen at Chippenham) would be good. Or a more recent models showing a graphic of the train, loading and where each section is (example installation - Didcot) would be excellent. This would help people wait along the platform rather than in a clump around the current display.

Dwell time at Melksham??  Yes - reducing it could help.  The single line is already very busy and saving even a few seconds here and there will help not only with the single line itself, but also help to reduce trains waiting / blocking the mainlines while they wait at both ends.

There's customer benefit here too:

* we've had several incidents of people getting off the train at Melksham believing themselves to be at Chippenham or Trowbridge.  Having a sign that says "Melksham" they can see as the look out from / step off the train could help.

* in wet weather, most passengers prefer to wait under cover and dash across to the train when it stops. We could do with the train stopping near the cover, not right up the exposed new end of the platform.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 10:23:58 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2019, 10:37:16 am »

* in wet weather, most passengers prefer to wait under cover and dash across to the train when it stops. We could do with the train stopping near the cover, not right up the exposed new end of the platform.

In strikes me that there are quite a few stations like this, and this may just be confirmation bias, but resignalling projects that end up moving the stop markers tend not to consider how the changes affect passengers (a great example is the changes that were made at Temple Meads as part of last years resignalling where for some of the platforms the stopping zone for the shorter DMU's seem to be much further from the subway than what they used to be).
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« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2019, 11:08:07 am »

Often done to reduce the risk of stop short incidents with longer trains.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2019, 04:09:58 pm »

Often done to reduce the risk of stop short incidents with longer trains.

So are you suggesting that drivers are incapable of stopping a train in a platform unless its got "car stop" signs?

How did they manage in engine and coaches days when an express train could typically load to anything between 8 and 12?
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martyjon
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« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2019, 04:32:02 pm »

Often done to reduce the risk of stop short incidents with longer trains.

So are you suggesting that drivers are incapable of stopping a train in a platform unless its got "car stop" signs?

How did they manage in engine and coaches days when an express train could typically load to anything between 8 and 12?

In steam days it was the water column that was the train stop where a water column was present otherwise it was the BIG station name board, the beginning of the platform ramp or the 'PASSENGERS MUST CROSS THE LINE BY THE FOOTBRIDGE' cast iron plate. Oh, don't you remember the board crossings where mums pushed their babies in their prams escorted by a member of station staff across the running lines ?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2019, 04:36:12 pm »

I had an interesting and informative example today, using the 1240 Gloucester to Frome between Oldfield Park and Bath.

The train display at Oldfield Park (and that in itself is something new) announced the train on time at 1403 when I arrived at about 1355. After the train left Keynsham it was reporting 1 minute late.

The train arrived and sat there for what seemed to be an inordinate length of time but was probably around 20 seconds - certainly not less. When we arrived at Bath there was another lengthy delay before the doors opened. Here I noticed that we had a crew of four - driver, RPO, train manager and what appeared to be a trainee TM having some on the job training. After being given RA by the dispatch staff the train sat there for a bit longer and eventually got away 1.5m down.

When I got home I checked what happened subsequently on RTT. 4.75 down by BOA, same at Trowbridge, a minute knocked off the 3 min booked at Westbury so now down to 3 late, but probably missed its path at Clink Road because it passed there 14 late, and was 13 late arriving st Frome.

http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/C21495/2019/07/23/advanced

From what I witnessed at OLF and Bath I suspect that most if not all of the delay was caused by not opening the doors quickly enough.

It has crossed my mind before that, in 56 years of consciously using London Underground (ie. doing it by myself and not having parents around to do things for me), I have never known a train arrive at a station and the doors not opening immediately the train has come to rest. (You sometimes have to wait for them to close the bloody things at Edgware Road, but that's another matter...)

Why does it take so long to release the doors on the Big Railway, when LT appear to have sussed out that dwell times are affected adversely if you don't open them pronto?

(Rant nearly over - I shall now go and find Graham's "Weymouth Blockade" thread and grump a bit more over there. Perhaps its the heat...  Smiley )

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« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2019, 04:47:53 pm »

Often done to reduce the risk of stop short incidents with longer trains.

So are you suggesting that drivers are incapable of stopping a train in a platform unless its got "car stop" signs?

How did they manage in engine and coaches days when an express train could typically load to anything between 8 and 12?

Not incapable, just that if you have (for example) one stop car marker for 2/3/4 carriages and another for 5/6 carriages, then if the driver rarely drives 5/6 car trains they are more likely to make a mistake and stop at the 2/3/4 car marker.  That was the scenario at Burnham, where there were several stop short incidents over a period of a few years.  That risk was eliminated by making an 'S' car board for all trains at the end of the platform.  If the train was formed of two carriages that then meant a long walk back.  Fortunately there are very few trains of that length now.

I'm guessing a similar decision has been made at Melksham, and with a variety of train lengths now calling at the extended platform, they've decided to just provide the one stopping point at the end of the platform to eliminate any stop short risk?

In the olden days (actually not that olden as it was happening until the early 90s on what are now GWR's routes), little regard to the safety of passengers was taken, with it being considered perfectly fine to stop a 9-carriage train at a 2-carriage platform with the doors of the whole train being able to be opened at any time before, during, or after the station stop.  If someone fell out of the back then it was up to the guard to spot them.  If a driver stopped short then they didn't even bother to report it as long as no harm was done.

No doubt the modern way is much safer, but sometimes at the expense of passenger convenience.
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« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2019, 08:19:06 pm »

Newport P4 has an oddly positioned 2/3 car stop.  3 carriage trains (and quite a lot of them are, that use that platform) have their rear carriage on the section of platform with no shelter, and it's also the most curved bit which makes train dispatch more difficult for the conductor.  There are 4-6 and 8-10 car stops much further down the platform.
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« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2019, 08:28:51 pm »

Some decisions on stop boards may seem strange, and there are definitely some improvements that can be made. 

Additional considerations that might not seem obvious include sighting of the signal, ease of dispatch, location of track equipment (TPWS grids and AWS magnets) not just in the direction the train is heading but also at the other end of the train if a reversing movement is either likely or possible.
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« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2019, 08:41:42 pm »

Quote from: IndustryInsider
Often done to reduce the risk of stop short incidents with longer trains.

...

Not incapable, just that if you have (for example) one stop car marker for 2/3/4 carriages and another for 5/6 carriages, then if the driver rarely drives 5/6 car trains they are more likely to make a mistake and stop at the 2/3/4 car marker.  That was the scenario at Burnham, where there were several stop short incidents over a period of a few years.  That risk was eliminated by making an 'S' car board for all trains at the end of the platform.  If the train was formed of two carriages that then meant a long walk back.  Fortunately there are very few trains of that length now.

I can accept that people make mistakes (and indeed if you could upload photos direct to this forum I'd upload one of mine taken from by the car stop at Didcot platform 3 where a notice reads: "Driver - are you stopping at Radley?"). However, a driver knoing how many coaches he's got behind him is surely one of the basic functions of railway operations. Are we taking recruits from the street and training them for 18-odd months without teaching them to know what they've got behind them before they start off?

Quote from: IndustryInsider
In the olden days (actually not that olden as it was happening until the early 90s on what are now GWR's routes), little regard to the safety of passengers was taken, with it being considered perfectly fine to stop a 9-carriage train at a 2-carriage platform with the doors of the whole train being able to be opened at any time before, during, or after the station stop.  If someone fell out of the back then it was up to the guard to spot them.  If a driver stopped short then they didn't even bother to report it as long as no harm was done.

I think that your remarks do a great disservice, to put it mildly, to the generations of railwaymen that went before you. Try walking in to the retired railway staff meeting (1st Wednesday of the month, lunchtime, at the Knights Templar on the site of Bristol Goods) and telling them what little regard they had for the safety of passengers in their day, and tell us all how you got on!

Central locking was unheard until about 30 or so years ago (and the railways have been around now for nearly 200 years). Very few peoplw fell off trains, and if they did they probably improved the gene pool anyway, because anyone with an IQ of more than 2 can suss out that opening the door on a fast moving train is a bit of an unwise thing to do. But then we got the Compensation Culture where it's always somebody else's fault, so now if someone falls off a train its the railways fault for not locking them in. Or when someone gets killed on a level crossing doing a zig zag its the railways fault for letting them do it. This sort of thing is not "health & safety" in its truest sense; it's back covering to keep the insurers happy.

Quote from: IndustryInsider
No doubt the modern way is much safer, but sometimes at the expense of passenger convenience.

This thread is entitled: "Helping to keep trains on schedule when timetables tighten up in December 2019" and finds its origin in GWR asking for suggestions to reduce dwell times in stations. Your replies appear not to address this at all, but to put forward excuses for maintaining the status quo.

If you make passengers walk around platforms to get on a train, you will increase dwell times. Just stand on Temple Meads platform 9 when a 9 or 10-car IET is on a through service to the west, see it stop what appears to be half way to Bedminster, then watch the passengers walk down the platform to get on. Try coming up the stairs to platforms 5 to 8 and see the passengers generally milling about within a few feet of the stairwell. Then watch a northbound 4-car XC train come in and stop half way to Dr Days and then watch the passengers walk half way to Dr Days after it. Whilst you are doing that keep an eye on the seconds ticking by on the clock, and also make a note of the fact that the opther half of the platform, the one with the differet number, is not being used by anything else whilst all this malarkey is going on.

Then tell me again that all this is being done with the safety of the public at its centre, unlike how it was in the bad old days.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2019, 09:53:09 pm »

I can accept that people make mistakes (and indeed if you could upload photos direct to this forum I'd upload one of mine taken from by the car stop at Didcot platform 3 where a notice reads: "Driver - are you stopping at Radley?"). However, a driver knoing how many coaches he's got behind him is surely one of the basic functions of railway operations. Are we taking recruits from the street and training them for 18-odd months without teaching them to know what they've got behind them before they start off?

I think we had something like three stop shorts at Burnham within two years which led to the change there.  On each of those occasions nobody was injured, however I remember a blind passenger falling from a train at Reading many years before when a train wasn't accommodated on the platform and injured as a result, so the risk is there and proven to potentially lead to problems.

A driver might make over 150000 station stops during their career, so the occasional mistake is inevitable.  I don't think it's sensible to have risk where it can be easily and sensibly be eliminated, but a sensible compromise has to be reached and (as my follow up post stated), there are definitely improvements that can be made - possibly at Melksham, as I haven't been to the station since it had its platform lengthened.

I think that your remarks do a great disservice, to put it mildly, to the generations of railwaymen that went before you. Try walking in to the retired railway staff meeting (1st Wednesday of the month, lunchtime, at the Knights Templar on the site of Bristol Goods) and telling them what little regard they had for the safety of passengers in their day, and tell us all how you got on!

Central locking was unheard until about 30 or so years ago (and the railways have been around now for nearly 200 years). Very few peoplw fell off trains, and if they did they probably improved the gene pool anyway, because anyone with an IQ of more than 2 can suss out that opening the door on a fast moving train is a bit of an unwise thing to do. But then we got the Compensation Culture where it's always somebody else's fault, so now if someone falls off a train its the railways fault for not locking them in. Or when someone gets killed on a level crossing doing a zig zag its the railways fault for letting them do it. This sort of thing is not "health & safety" in its truest sense; it's back covering to keep the insurers happy.

I was not suggesting that staff had little regard for safety, and certainly want to clarify what I meant if that's how it came across.  I was suggesting that the safety culture was completely different to today.  I have worked on the railways since the 1980s so have seen it change first hand.  Be that by eliminating trains without central door locking (which, by the way, have existed for a lot longer than 30 years - Class 303s were introduced 60 years ago for example), or the investigation and reporting procedure for incidents such as stop short, overruns, wrong side door release.

As a youth I was on two trains where the door has opened at speed, by which I mean over 50mph.  Once by kids playing about on a first generation DMU with door handles on the inside of the carriage, and another time when the door was on the latch on an InterCity departure from Coventry, unbeknown to me stood in the vestibule, and another train passed it at speed.  Along with our blind passenger, that could have caught out people without learning difficulties, and of course we should have a duty to protect those that do have learning difficulties - whatever it might do to the 'gene pool'.

I have suggested before that perhaps we have gone too far - in other words I agree with your compensation culture argument to a point - but there is no doubt that the steady elimination of risk through work practices and better technology have helped to reduce the number of incidents, and therefore travelling by rail is much safer than ever.  Regardless of how intelligent you are.

This thread is entitled: "Helping to keep trains on schedule when timetables tighten up in December 2019" and finds its origin in GWR asking for suggestions to reduce dwell times in stations. Your replies appear not to address this at all, but to put forward excuses for maintaining the status quo.

If you make passengers walk around platforms to get on a train, you will increase dwell times. Just stand on Temple Meads platform 9 when a 9 or 10-car IET is on a through service to the west, see it stop what appears to be half way to Bedminster, then watch the passengers walk down the platform to get on. Try coming up the stairs to platforms 5 to 8 and see the passengers generally milling about within a few feet of the stairwell. Then watch a northbound 4-car XC train come in and stop half way to Dr Days and then watch the passengers walk half way to Dr Days after it. Whilst you are doing that keep an eye on the seconds ticking by on the clock, and also make a note of the fact that the opther half of the platform, the one with the differet number, is not being used by anything else whilst all this malarkey is going on.

Then tell me again that all this is being done with the safety of the public at its centre, unlike how it was in the bad old days.  Roll Eyes

Not my intention to come across as making excuses to retain the status quo, simply to help explain why some of the decisions come about which might not be clear or obvious to the average reader of the forum.  That's the main reason for me being here and, as far as I know, is still encouraged?

Hopefully the zonal system will help get passengers waiting at the right part of the platform, at places like Bristol Temple Meads especially, where platform sharing will of course become more and more common in the coming years.  Though perhaps it should be looked at again in the case of XC services and other shorter trains?  I don't visit there often enough to have an opinion.
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2019, 10:04:58 pm »

Input from Melksham Rail User Group

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1. Please consider adding extra name boards so that passengers on the train are more quickly clear that they are at Melksham. At present, there are just two name boards - both on the original (single carriage) platform section, one of which is of limited visibility from the train at certain angles as it's masked by a notice board. It is not unusual for passengers on the train to be asking around "is this Melksham?" and we have had incidents where people have got off the train thinking they are in Trowbridge...........

* we've had several incidents of people getting off the train at Melksham believing themselves to be at Chippenham or Trowbridge.  Having a sign that says "Melksham" they can see as the look out from / step off the train could help.

Agreed. I've been on several train journeys in the last year or so where the train is pulling in and stopped and yet I still don't know what station it is due to a lack of signage. Luckily the audio visual on board announcements tell me this isn't my stop.
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« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2019, 10:08:35 pm »

The argument of "single stopping point at Melksham in case the driver forgets how many he has on" would carry more weight if the very same "unit" trains and drivers routinely stopped forward at Trowbridge and Westbury irrespective of number of carriages

Edit to add ... on sleeping on it, that reads as a very glib answer to a very thorough review from Industry Insider.   I do also wonder if we have "gone too far" ... and I look at the risk of stopping short and wonder if the effects are mitigated by checks by the train manager before he opens the doors.

Also noting that at Melksham the new platform section where the 2 car train now stops is narrower than the main section and there's more of a crowding issues / more people having to walk along closer to the train that would be the case if it stopped near the station entrance and shelter.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 06:10:41 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2019, 08:42:26 am »

Newport P4 has an oddly positioned 2/3 car stop.  3 carriage trains (and quite a lot of them are, that use that platform) have their rear carriage on the section of platform with no shelter, and it's also the most curved bit which makes train dispatch more difficult for the conductor.  There are 4-6 and 8-10 car stops much further down the platform.

I'm sure someone perverse went around South Wales putting the car stop markers in the most inappropriate places possible. The 2-car stop marker on platform 3 at Cardiff Queen Street ensures that the train is sufficiently onto the narrow part of the platform by the cafe that the waiting hordes funnelling in from the wide bit of the platform block anyone getting off from getting to the stairs. It would clearly have been too obvious to put the 2-car marker level with the cafe entrance; there's even a wall there to mount it on...
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« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2019, 09:05:00 am »

Dawlish is another station where the station building and canopy are at the back end of the Up platform and the regular 2-3 coach units stop at the front end. Station staff are always requesting pax to 'move up the platform' as the train approaches.
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