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Author Topic: Alarming rise in use of on-train alarm systems  (Read 765 times)
grahame
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« on: January 23, 2020, 08:48:58 am »

From the BBC

Quote
More passengers are using emergency alarm systems on trains, causing increasing delays, figures show.

Rail users said crowded trains and a lack of help for disabled people would lead to alarms being triggered.

Delays caused by alarms, some of which can stop trains, rose by a third between 2017 and 2019, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

It said passengers should read onboard instructions, ask staff and "use common sense" before reaching for alarms.
In the year to August 2019 passenger communication, door and emergency alarms were activated on trains more than 8,500 times, causing delays totalling more than 174,000 minutes.

This compared with just over 7,000 activations causing just under 132,000 minutes of delay in the year to August 2017.
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Reading General
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 09:01:50 am »

A friend of mine observed a lady use the alarm at Tilehurst as she was in the last carriage that wasn’t on the platform. She came bounding down the train and as it was about to start moving pulled it and turned to him and said ‘I probably shouldn’t have done that but someone’s picking me up’. People are weird, selfish beings at times. Of course she wandered off without being reprimanded and the driver came along and commented that it happens all the time.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 09:28:58 am »

Not a trend I was aware of. In fact I never really notice where the alarms are now, whereas in the past I do remember them being quite obvious and with very stern warning notices. I wonder if this ties in with the other reported rise in inappropriate calls to the emergency operator? But I also wonder how the advice to "ask staff" ties in with the increasing use of driver-only operation. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2020, 10:06:19 am »

A friend of mine observed a lady use the alarm at Tilehurst as she was in the last carriage that wasn’t on the platform. She came bounding down the train and as it was about to start moving pulled it and turned to him and said ‘I probably shouldn’t have done that but someone’s picking me up’. People are weird, selfish beings at times. Of course she wandered off without being reprimanded and the driver came along and commented that it happens all the time.

People panic and do things which sometimes they immediately know was wrong.  And whilst using the emergency alarm for such an incident is wrong, I'm not surprised it happens.  One of the reasons why leaving it so long between the platform extensions being completed and the SDO being removed can lead to operational issues like the one you describe.  Asking for trouble.

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ChrisB
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2020, 10:07:36 am »

But I also wonder how the advice to "ask staff" ties in with the increasing use of driver-only operation.

Point me to where it's increasing, please?
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 10:15:41 am »

I don't think it's increased at all in recent years anywhere. 

Several TOCs wanted it to be extended with new trains arriving (Northern, Merseyrail), and trains to be either truly DOO, or DCO (Driver Controlled, but with another member of staff on board) with the option of DOO during service disruption, but I think all those have now been resolved in favour of keeping the guard.  The SWR dispute rumbles on but AIUI SWR have agreed to a second person on board, but don't want them controlling the doors, so any true DOO extension is highly unlikely.
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lordgoata
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 01:19:03 pm »

I've only been on one service when its happened (not long after the 387s started service from Reading and someone pulled it just as we left because the train was going the wrong way, if I recall (no, you were on the wrong train!).

But what I do see, a lot, is passengers walking up to the cab doors and banging on them or hanging around like they think its the toilet! Happened just a couple of days ago. I did notice of all the warnings on the door, nothing immediately obvious says its the drivers cab and not to disrupt them - which I'm sure I have seen elsewhere in the past (maybe the turbos?).

Perhaps a huge DRIVER CAB, DO NOT DISTURB or THIS IS NOT A TOILET would help!
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2020, 05:00:10 pm »

The un-railway-savvy (and indeed the railway-savvy such as me) can sometimes be confused, because these days there are many passenger-operated buttons on trains that look the same, but do completely different things.

On two occasions recently I mistakenly pressed an alarm button on a train (neither on GWR stock), one of which occasions was pressing it rather than the unlock button on a tioilet door. They were both red, you see, and my eyesight is - theere is a technical term for it - crap - caused by glaucoma.

Oh for the days when you turned a handle to open a door, locked a toilet door by changing the position of a single bar and, if you wanted to raise an alarm, reached up and pulled a bloody chain.

They don't know the half of it today... Wink
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2020, 05:37:44 pm »

The un-railway-savvy (and indeed the railway-savvy such as me) can sometimes be confused, because these days there are many passenger-operated buttons on trains that look the same, but do completely different things.

On two occasions recently I mistakenly pressed an alarm button on a train (neither on GWR stock), one of which occasions was pressing it rather than the unlock button on a tioilet door. They were both red, you see, and my eyesight is - theere is a technical term for it - crap - caused by glaucoma.

Oh for the days when you turned a handle to open a door, locked a toilet door by changing the position of a single bar and, if you wanted to raise an alarm, reached up and pulled a bloody chain.

They don't know the half of it today... Wink

It's an obvious problem with writing standards for such things - each type of alarm function has its own section, but being readily distinguishable is not itself a thing so doesn't. EN 16584, which deals with this subject (together with EN 16585) suffers from that fault, but does at least have a go:
Quote
The control of the call for aid devices shall
  • be distinct from any other control devices within the wheelchair space/universal
    toilet/wheelchair accessible accommodation in which it is fitted.
  • be coloured differently from any other control devices within the wheelchair space/universal
    toilet/wheelchair accessible accommodation in which it is fitted.
  • contrast with their background
(from EN 16584-2:2015, p 32 of the last draft text)

It also has a pretty picture of two suggested good examples, both of which have a lever for the lock/unlock function and buttons for open/close. But I can't see any explicit statement about different functions' controls being readily associated with their correct functions only. I imagine that part of the trouble with doing that is that you'd like to recommend putting things in the obvious place - but whose obvious?
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Marlburian
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 07:13:35 pm »

I think that it's been remarked before on this forum that some people are reluctant to use on-board toilets because they don't understand how to lock the doors? The first time I resorted to a toilet on a new design of train, I thought that the controls might be next to the door  - in fact, they were the other side of the cubicle, and I had to look around before I spotted them.

Marlburian
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Reading General
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 08:04:46 pm »

Everybody is scared of the big reveal Grin
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2020, 07:11:12 am »

and why can't there be a common standard for door operating buttons. Lets say Open is always the top button. Have been on journeys where every train has them different. Almost got to the point of using the alarm button, until I realised I had been using the Close button to try and leave the train.
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stuving
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2020, 09:40:49 am »

and why can't there be a common standard for door operating buttons. Lets say Open is always the top button. Have been on journeys where every train has them different. Almost got to the point of using the alarm button, until I realised I had been using the Close button to try and leave the train.

Oh, there are standards. Quite a lot of them. I thought button positioning was included in the PRM requirements, but I can't see it in EN16584/16585, nor in any of the design guides. For users in general, now that buttons light up when active, that's the easiest way to know which to use. Of course it does help to know one of them will light up (or not, which is more important), and consistency is still important; it took me ages to twig that on 166s the outside door buttons didn't light up when active though the inside ones did.
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Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2020, 09:54:25 am »

Well, If we're talking button standards it would be really useful if the exit buttons were on both sides of the door. On a crowded train it can be quite frustrating to be on the 'wrong' side and not be able to reach the button through the people who aren't getting off and continue to listen to their music oblivious.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2020, 02:57:49 pm »

and why can't there be a common standard for door operating buttons. Lets say Open is always the top button. Have been on journeys where every train has them different. Almost got to the point of using the alarm button, until I realised I had been using the Close button to try and leave the train.

My two problems with mistakenly pressing the alarm button happened when I had an all-line rail rover, so I was experiencing a multitude of coach types and with differing controls.

I can therefore fully understand where you are coming from.
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