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Author Topic: Canary Wharf  (Read 914 times)
froome
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« on: June 06, 2022, 06:39:56 pm »

As I've just said on another thread, I travelled from Paddington to Canary Wharf at the weekend. It was part of a journey I was making from Bath Spa to Greenwich. The National Rail website, which I was using to work out the journey, had my journey as Bath Spa to Paddington, Paddington to Canary Wharf on the Elizabeth Line, and Canary Wharf to Greenwich on Metro.

I was quite surprised to see that the connection time at Canary Wharf was 0 minutes, i.e. the train from Canary Wharf to Greenwich was shown as leaving at the same time as the Elizabeth Line train arrived at Canary Wharf. I assumed this meant that the connection was a train waiting on a platform just across from the platform I would disembark from the Elizabeth Line. As it turned out, nothing could be further from the truth.

As I was carrying luggage and needed to use a lift, I had already had to get use to having to walk long distances at Paddington and taken what felt like several lifts to reach the Elizabeth Line from the main station, which had taken me by surprise, but I managed.

At Canary Wharf I found that the train just across the platform was actually the westbound Elizabeth Line back to Paddington, so not the one I wanted. I looked around for some information, and it appeared that wherever I needed to go (there were no staff to ask so I asked other passengers), I would need to go up in a lift to another platform somewhere. The lift turned out to be at the other end of the platform, so another longish walk.

I then had to walk all the way down the platform I found myself on to find a staff member to ask, and was told that the train I needed didn't actually go from this station at all, but from a completely different station, also called Canary Wharf, which he said was a few minutes walk away, and which involved going through a shopping mall (which itself turned out to be some way off, past a lot of other shops). The signs which I started to follow stopped signing where I was expecting to go, and at one point I seemed to have gone round in circles, before eventually I did find another station called Canary Wharf, which then involved two more lifts and similar long walks to reach a platform. Here I found that the train was going to North Greenwich, which was not the station I wanted, and I returned to the barrier I had been through, and asked the staff member, who said this was the wrong station, and that the one I needed was a few minutes walk away, and pointed vaguely in the direction I needed to go in. I then went back up the two lifts with the consequent long walks between them, and back out onto the road.

At this point, apart from complete despair and exhaustion, I was still expecting to get a Metro as the National Rail website had described it. As I later found out, what I actually needed was the Docklands Light Railway (DLR (Docklands Light Railway)) which the website had not mentioned at all.

Anyway, I ended up going back and forth several times, asking various people, who if they knew, said something like "Oh it's just over there" pointing across a large main road. I eventually worked out that it must be the DLR, and indeed found myself at it, at a completely different station (Heron Quays I believe), 40 (FORTY) minutes after having initially got out at Canary Wharf. I still have no idea where the Canary Wharf station I needed to get to is.

I told a friend when I finally arrived at Greenwich, and they commented that, given how late Crossrail delivery has been, surely at least basic signing could have been put in place. The signing which did exist appears to assume local knowledge, as it proved absolutely useless for the connection I needed to make (and as it happens none mentioned the DLR anyway).

I lost count of the number of lifts I ended up using, and have no idea how far I ended up walking, but I know that if I had mobility problems (I do have, but not yet significant), I would have never made the connection at all before giving up entirely.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2022, 07:42:38 pm »

I have similar problems round Canary Wharf when I am cycling. Because of the continuing building signage gets out of date very quickly and I can end up directed to dead ends, brick walls etc. In my case I assumed that it was because they thought everybody would be using the trains, obviously not!

The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) from Canary Wharf to Greenwich is a reasonable journey, except that I don't tend to go from Canary Wharf. Another case of the old directions story, if you are going to "A" I wouldn't start from here, which is not very helpful (although I have caught myself doing it on the odd occasion).
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stuving
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2022, 07:51:19 pm »

At least being at the "wrong" DLR (Docklands Light Railway) station is only a small deal. Heron Quays, Canary Wharf, and West India Quay are ridiculously close to each other - 500 m for all three. It would probably make more sense to choose which is best by how easy it is to signpost and then to find. And I think (depending on what's been built where recently) that WIQ is closest, and visible from the EL station (upstairs, obviously).
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froome
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2022, 07:59:27 pm »

I have similar problems round Canary Wharf when I am cycling. Because of the continuing building signage gets out of date very quickly and I can end up directed to dead ends, brick walls etc. In my case I assumed that it was because they thought everybody would be using the trains, obviously not!

The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) from Canary Wharf to Greenwich is a reasonable journey, except that I don't tend to go from Canary Wharf. Another case of the old directions story, if you are going to "A" I wouldn't start from here, which is not very helpful (although I have caught myself doing it on the odd occasion).

I may well have met some of those dead ends on my journey! Yes, outside of the station I can see that signing may get out of date (in fact it was mostly non existent), but inside the station it should at least be reasonably simple to sign towards connecting stations, which is not the case.
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froome
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2022, 09:25:05 pm »

If anyone here can answer my queries about the National Rail website, I would find that especially useful:

a) Why does their website refer to the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) line as Metro, rather than call it what it is, the DLR?

b) Why does it show the connecting time as being 0 minutes? (which as I said, appears to suggest it is a connecting train on the same platform awaiting the Elizabeth Line train).
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Hafren
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2022, 09:46:09 pm »

Unless anyone has a better answer, my gut feeling is that this is just a lack of more complete data in the database.

I wonder if the new EL stations haven't had minimum connection times entered, and therefore it thinks 0 is acceptable. I've tried to find other examples; the best I can find is a 3 minute connection at Farringdon, which is probably a bit tight (might be fine for Thameslink <> sub-surface though). I've tried to force journeys with connections from Tottenham Court Road to see what it gives there, but it keeps sending me down the Bakerloo line.

Similarly, perhaps there just isn't a 'DLR (Docklands Light Railway)' code in the database, but there's a generic 'Metro' code to cover any connection that isn't train, tube etc. I've fiddled with the planner found journeys to Edinburgh Airport (bus/tram) also come up as 'METRO'. This could be confusing in London though, where there are so many different brands of light rail, so passengers really need to know what they are looking for; if it's a city with just one 'metro' service it's easier to understand.
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2022, 11:11:15 pm »

The OJP (Online Journey Planner) is able to show a leg of a journey with an Underground roundel and the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) logo together, or the DLR logo alone. So it should be able to cope here, and not coding it right is the likely answer. Note that for a TfL» (Transport for London - about) leg, each step is usually listed, line by line, in text underneath; in this case that is missing.

As to why it has a METRO logo at all, it's defined in the data feeds as "‘Metro’ is any tram, subway or light rail system other than the London Underground". So its main use should be outside London, except I note that OJP does not recognise Tyneside metro stations. I suppose it might be a default setting, used if nothing more specific is put in. The data feeds also define "‘Tube’ is any London Underground link on which tickets with the Cross-London marker are valid". So in that sense, DLR counts as "Tube" even if it has its own logo.

Did you notice that the box displayed by hovering the mouse of the number of changes shows a pictorial icon for the leg instead of the word METRO? The two do correspond: for DLR and tube links the logos are shown here.

So I think that both that, and the instant translocation between platforms, are best explained by not setting up the relevant data for OJP to use. Note that these legs only ever get an overall time allowance, and I don't think that comes from the NR» (Network Rail - home page) data feeds. In fact I don't think the data feeds know about non-NR station being valid destinations. That implies that they must be added to the OJP from some other source, perhaps partly from TfL?

In this case, Greenwich is an NR station, so it must be a valid destination anyway. But your trip didn't use it as such - you didn't take an NR train to or from it - so it might as well have been only a DLR station. And if you move the destination one stop along, to Deptford Bridge, you'd expect the same routes to come up, wouldn't you? But no - it avoids using Canary Wharf, and comes up with various oddities instead: change at Farringdon onto Thameslink to Greenwich, or at Whitechapel onto Overground for one stop and then DLR (but there's no single fare for that)!

So that change at Canary Wharf didn't just confuse you, it has baffled the OJP's minders!
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stuving
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2022, 12:02:55 am »

Someone has been feeding that poor little OJP (Online Journey Planner) a load of tripe for data.

If I ask it to go to Deptford Bridge, via Canary Wharf (EL), it says to get off there and back onto an EL train and change a Whitechapel.

If I ask it to go to Mudchute, a couple of DLR (Docklands Light Railway) stations short of Greenwich, it say go to Canary Wharf  - not by EL, but Bakerloo and Jubilee lines! Then it says to walk to Heron Quays to get the DLR, which should take "approximately 4 minutes".

The data feeds include what are called "fixed links", with predefined durations, and each with a single mode label (such as "tube"). (At least, that was so in 2018, the most recent I have data for.) It looks as if the OJP uses something similar but a bit more sophisticated for TfL» (Transport for London - about) links, which can cope with more than one of those labels. But some of those modes used in TfL links are also NR» (Network Rail - home page) lines: Overground, Thameslink, and Elizabeth Line, but each is a bit different from the others. That will alter how the OJP treats them, and what data is provided in the feeds.

Canary Wharf (EL) is even odder in that it involves a walk, either to Canary Wharf (DLR) or one of the neighbouring DLR stations. And the Fixed Links data for changes there are obviously not complete, and what's there is not correct.

It would be a good idea to ask/complain to NR about this - they do take that seriously. However, in this case it's hard to see how to describe the problem simply and clearly enough.
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GBM
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2022, 07:14:21 am »

Wow stuving; what a valiant effort you undertook at THAT hour of the night as well!

A lovely piece of detective work, and thank you for such a clear report.

No consolation at all to the travelling public who use the planner (as I have done previously).
Thank you froome for highlighting this in the first place, and what a journey you weren't expecting to be doing!
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froome
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2022, 10:19:04 am »

The OJP (Online Journey Planner) is able to show a leg of a journey with an Underground roundel and the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) logo together, or the DLR logo alone. So it should be able to cope here, and not coding it right is the likely answer. Note that for a TfL» (Transport for London - about) leg, each step is usually listed, line by line, in text underneath; in this case that is missing.

As to why it has a METRO logo at all, it's defined in the data feeds as "‘Metro’ is any tram, subway or light rail system other than the London Underground". So its main use should be outside London, except I note that OJP does not recognise Tyneside metro stations. I suppose it might be a default setting, used if nothing more specific is put in. The data feeds also define "‘Tube’ is any London Underground link on which tickets with the Cross-London marker are valid". So in that sense, DLR counts as "Tube" even if it has its own logo.

Did you notice that the box displayed by hovering the mouse of the number of changes shows a pictorial icon for the leg instead of the word METRO? The two do correspond: for DLR and tube links the logos are shown here.

So I think that both that, and the instant translocation between platforms, are best explained by not setting up the relevant data for OJP to use. Note that these legs only ever get an overall time allowance, and I don't think that comes from the NR» (Network Rail - home page) data feeds. In fact I don't think the data feeds know about non-NR station being valid destinations. That implies that they must be added to the OJP from some other source, perhaps partly from TfL?

In this case, Greenwich is an NR station, so it must be a valid destination anyway. But your trip didn't use it as such - you didn't take an NR train to or from it - so it might as well have been only a DLR station. And if you move the destination one stop along, to Deptford Bridge, you'd expect the same routes to come up, wouldn't you? But no - it avoids using Canary Wharf, and comes up with various oddities instead: change at Farringdon onto Thameslink to Greenwich, or at Whitechapel onto Overground for one stop and then DLR (but there's no single fare for that)!

So that change at Canary Wharf didn't just confuse you, it has baffled the OJP's minders!


Many thanks to stuving and also to Hafren for their suggestions.

Regarding the bit in bold - this doesn't happen on my PC - are you accessing it via an app?

If I understand your thoughts clearly, it appears that DLR isn't programmed into the database, so it automatically uses the word Metro to describe it? That seems extraordinary if true. As an ordinary passenger, the word 'metro' suggests to me an underground service, which the DLR certainly isn't on the Isle of Dogs. My first thought had been that it was referring to the Metropolitan line, but it couldn't have been, and then perhaps that it was a brand new service called Metro built to link in with the Elizabeth line (and provide a seamless connection). It didn't show any intermediate stations between Canary Wharf and Greenwich, so I assumed it couldn't have meant the DLR.
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stuving
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2022, 11:17:50 am »

Did you notice that the box displayed by hovering the mouse of the number of changes shows a pictorial icon for the leg instead of the word METRO? The two do correspond: for DLR (Docklands Light Railway) and tube links the logos are shown here.

Many thanks to stuving and also to Hafren for their suggestions.

Regarding the bit in bold - this doesn't happen on my PC - are you accessing it via an app?

If I understand your thoughts clearly, it appears that DLR isn't programmed into the database, so it automatically uses the word Metro to describe it? That seems extraordinary if true. As an ordinary passenger, the word 'metro' suggests to me an underground service, which the DLR certainly isn't on the Isle of Dogs. My first thought had been that it was referring to the Metropolitan line, but it couldn't have been, and then perhaps that it was a brand new service called Metro built to link in with the Elizabeth line (and provide a seamless connection). It didn't show any intermediate stations between Canary Wharf and Greenwich, so I assumed it couldn't have meant the DLR.

I'm using a PC, and FireFox, to access the Journey Planner. There is "view details", a link to the details page, and above that "2 change(s)" with a dotted underline to show it has a "tooltip", and that's what I'm talking about.

What I think is happened is that every pair of NR» (Network Rail - home page) stations that can be linked by Underground or DLR should have a fixed link definition, and some of these are missing or wrong. Greenwich (and lots of other NR stations) were added to Routeing Guide's list of Cross-London entry or exit points just before 24th May. So the OJP (Online Journey Planner) knows you can go from Canary Wharf(EL) to Greenwich with a "Maltese Cross" ticket. But when it looks for the timing information for that link (which should start with a walk to a DLR station) it can't find any, or finds some default set of data.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2022, 01:53:27 pm by stuving » Logged
Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2022, 12:16:38 pm »

On mobile I get a generic TfL» (Transport for London - about) roundel for the Canary to Greenwich leg, which might be DLR (Docklands Light Railway) or Underground – it's only displayed greyscale so it's impossible to say.
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2022, 12:42:34 pm »

Interesting..... I've just tried gwr.com for the same journey and it is suggesting Elizabeth Line to Farringdon and Thameslink to Greenwich, whilst the National Rail journey planner suggests the journey via Canary Wharf instead.
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2022, 01:45:03 pm »

All kinds of routes will be suggested by journey planners including Bakerloo->Jubilee to London Bridge as the journey times are all within a few minutes of each other. The Elizabeth line to Canary Wharf & DLR (Docklands Light Railway) from Canary Wharf is the only totally step free option though.
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2022, 05:18:21 pm »

Interesting..... I've just tried gwr.com for the same journey and it is suggesting Elizabeth Line to Farringdon and Thameslink to Greenwich, whilst the National Rail journey planner suggests the journey via Canary Wharf instead.

As a Greenwich resident (albeit Westcombe Park being my closest station), Farringdon, changing to Thameslink, would be my preferred, and obvious, route, particularly with luggage. However, for this enquiry, Greenwich BR (British Rail(ways)) may well be less convenient for the centre than Cutty Sark on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway).
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