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Author Topic: Request stops - new technology to stop just in case slow downs.  (Read 1305 times)
grahame
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« on: December 03, 2020, 09:01:34 pm »

From The Scotsman

Quote
Lochluichart could be included in a new technology trial in the Highlands which aims to reduce the cost and time associated with request stop stations.

Passengers waiting to board a train will press a button on the platform, informing the train driver via the signalling system to stop.

Frank Roach, partnership manager at the Highlands and Islands transport partnership (Hitrans), said: ?The rationale for this is to allow trains to pass through at linespeed when no stop is required.?

Could this technology be useful at Chetnole, Yetminster and Thornford to shave a couple of minutes off schedules ... move towards service improvements rather than slow down and speed up three times?   Didn't some requests stops used to have passenger operated semaphore signal?

The idea of Cardiff to Portsmouth trains all calling at Dilton Marsh using this scheme is attractive ... only problem being that the stations would become so busy that every train would be stopping within a year!
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 06:07:14 am »

It's not a new idea though. I have come across a number of examples (I would have to do some research to name them - I'm sure others can leap in here) where prospective passengers changed a signal on the platform to indicate to the driver that there were people wishing to board. I seem to recall one example was a disk and cross-bar signal on the S&DJR.
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bobm
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 09:51:02 am »

A train is not like a bus though and if travelling at line speed needs a suitable distance to come to a controlled stop.

This would mean some educating of passengers to ensure they give sufficient notice - probably ahead of the scheduled calling time and before the train was in view.
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stuving
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 10:20:45 am »

A train is not like a bus though and if travelling at line speed needs a suitable distance to come to a controlled stop.

This would mean some educating of passengers to ensure they give sufficient notice - probably ahead of the scheduled calling time and before the train was in view.

Yes, but:
1. the train can be made to slow a bit approaching the station, and
2. these days I'm sure the box with the button on it can show when the next train is, whether it always stops, and if you can stop it this time - and even whether it is going to stop due to a request on board.
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Phantom
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 11:21:32 am »

Why do I get the image of kids messing around pressing the button, just like road crossings?
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 02:52:15 pm »

Low(wish)tech?

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Passengers waiting to board a train will press a button on the platform, informing the train driver via the signalling system to stop.

Button is on the help point.  Contacts National Rail call centre and the person wanting picking up speaks to the person there and explains the situation. That person calls train company's control who call Network Rail's signalling HQ in Milton Keynes who call the signalling centre who contact the driver via radio.   Do all trains have cab radios these days?  Simples.   

Perhaps a bit indirect in reaching the driver and the request may need to be made longer in advance than is ideal. Also not ideal in accessible for all terms - potential issues for anyone who is deaf or does not speak English.
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jdw.wor
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 04:33:19 pm »

How do you effectively gain any timetable benefit from this when you don?t know how often a train will have to stop. To be sure of keeping to a timetable you will have to presume the train will stop everywhere and that offers nothing.
I know this principle is used in many areas already but, generally, it is on lines with slower lines with slacker timing.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2020, 05:08:28 pm »

How do you effectively gain any timetable benefit from this when you don?t know how often a train will have to stop. To be sure of keeping to a timetable you will have to presume the train will stop everywhere and that offers nothing.
I know this principle is used in many areas already but, generally, it is on lines with slower lines with slacker timing.

The four halts along the Cotswold Line used to be request stops a couple of decades ago, but it became the case that there was virtually always somebody wanting to get off or get on, so they became proper stops.
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eXPassenger
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2020, 05:52:38 pm »

Low(wish)tech?

Quote
Passengers waiting to board a train will press a button on the platform, informing the train driver via the signalling system to stop.

Button is on the help point.  Contacts National Rail call centre and the person wanting picking up speaks to the person there and explains the situation. That person calls train company's control who call Network Rail's signalling HQ in Milton Keynes who call the signalling centre who contact the driver via radio.   Do all trains have cab radios these days?  Simples.   

Perhaps a bit indirect in reaching the driver and the request may need to be made longer in advance than is ideal. Also not ideal in accessible for all terms - potential issues for anyone who is deaf or does not speak English.

That is 5 calls so I imagine a minimum of 5 minutes notice would be required.
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broadgage
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2020, 07:01:22 pm »

5 calls not only suggests about 5 minutes required, but also gives 5 opportunities for the message to be lost, delayed, misrouted, misunderstood or otherwise fail to have the desired result.
"Hello, this is ABC control. Press button one if this call is about an emergency. 2 for our charity work. 3 for our environmental mission statement. 4 to hear about job opportunities with us. 5 for accounts. 6 for anything else."
Caller then presses 6.

"We are helping other customers at present and the average waiting time is 18 minutes. You may prefer to call back at a less busy time, or alternatively visit out website where most enquiries can be dealt with"

I have previously suggested a simple passenger operated push button that lights a warning lamp beside the track. Red, green or yellow lights are effectively ruled out to avoid confusion with ordinary signals.
I have previously suggested a rapid flashing white light.
I doubt that misuse would be a great problem in the remote locations involved.
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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.
grahame
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2020, 07:10:16 pm »

Here are the GWR stations officially designated as "request stops"
32926   UMB   Umberleigh
28130   EXN   Exton
21442   LEL   Lelant
19666   COP   Copplestone
17844   YEO   Yeoford
17286   DMH   Dilton Marsh
14116   MRD   Morchard Road
7884   YET   Yetminster
5844   SAR   St Andrews Road
5782   KGN   Kings Nympton
5684   DOC   Dockyard (Devonport)
4972   BGL   Bugle
3788   ROC   Roche
2844   THO   Thornford
2814   NTC   Newton St Cyres
2720   CNO   Chetnole
2538   MEN   Menheniot
1906   LAP   Lapford
1894   SCR   St Columb Road
1494   LUX   Luxulyan
1382   CAU   Causeland
1330   SDP   Sandplace
1116   SKN   St Keyne Wishing Well Halt
496   PMA   Portsmouth Arms
194   CPN   Chapelton (Devon)
And they represent an interesting bunch.  Perhaps the only commonality is that a significant proportion of trains that are shown in the timetable as (possibly) stopping there would not drop or pick anyone at all up if they actually did all come to a halt and let the doors open.

On a low speed line, in a line section where there's just one of these stations, for the stations towards the top of the list above where virtually everything calls, there's going to be little point in looking to putting in some extra system over and above a hand signal - you won't reliably speed the train up anyway.

Looking at Lochluichart (where we started) - it has a brother at Achanalt and a cousin at Achnashellach each of which has less that 1000 passenger journeys per annum.  The line is laid for good speed (so a significant penalty is incurred in slowing down and speeding up) ans perhaps only 1 train in 20 calls at Lochluichart, 1 in 12 at Achanalt and 1 in 8 at Achnashellach.  By slowing down but not stopping, you are perhaps saving 2 minutes each, and if you didn't have to slow down you could save 4 or 5 minutes instead. Change of making all the calls - unlikely, and the timetable from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh could perhaps have 10 minutes clipped off train timings - especially in the knowledge that even if all three stop are made and the train's a bit late, there's good turn around times at the end anyway.

No accident that I posted in "Heart of Wessex".  Thornford, Chetnole and Yetminster are not as rarely used as Lochluichart, common to stop at one of them or perhaps two.  But all six (three on the way down and 3 on the way back) on a circuit is pretty unlikely, and if you can trim a few minutes off timetable you can get a clock face hourly service, passing at either Dorchester West and Yeovil, or at Maiden Newton and Castle Cary.  Which being clock face lets you extend an hourly Bristol Metro trains all the way to Weymouth.

Of course, with the service up to hourly, would passenger number at the halts grow to the same extent as traffic on the line as a whole, or would the proportion of trains calling be reduced?

On other lines such as the Barnstaple, could you usefully move to an "Any train can stop anywhere" model and allow for - say - 20% of calls to be made in the timings?

5 calls not only suggests about 5 minutes required, but also gives 5 opportunities for the message to be lost, delayed, misrouted, misunderstood or otherwise fail to have the desired result ...

Perhaps my cynicism at the practicality was obscured by how I wrote it up.  Almost as bad as getting a rail replacement taxi at Trowbridge on a Saturday evening ...
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broadgage
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2020, 10:50:22 pm »

From the passengers point of view, this might well be a backward step. Apart from the risk of the complex message chain not working, it seems likely that the passengers would have to arrive at least 5 and perhaps 10 minutes before the advertised time of departure.
So a journey from a request stop has in effect been extended by five or ten minutes.
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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.
MVR S&T
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2020, 11:00:40 pm »

Why not book it through the national rail app, if you have a journey booked the train will stop for you, if you have bought a ticket at the machine, again the train will stop. not realy that hard to link it all up is it, or perhaps it is.
could be rolled out to more major stations, like Brockenhurst and Winchester, where Cross Country no longer stop, also minor stations, like where I am Hinton Admiral, no passenger to set down or pick up, then no stop.
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2020, 08:31:57 am »

Why not book it through the national rail app, if you have a journey booked the train will stop for you, if you have bought a ticket at the machine, again the train will stop. not really that hard to link it all up is it, or perhaps it is.

Oh it could be exceedingly hard.  Look how hard we have struggled - and continue to struggle - to get a fare changed on the front of a TVM from off peak (which is never needed on Melksham to London journeys as we don't have any trains leaving in the shoulder period) to super off peak.   Add to that the issue of people on their return legs on open returns, seasons, rovers, etc.

But ...

Quote
could be rolled out to more major stations, like Brockenhurst and Winchester, where Cross Country no longer stop, also minor stations, like where I am Hinton Admiral, no passenger to set down or pick up, then no stop.

You may have hit another historic facility that could be returned in appropriate places. "Stops on request to pick up passengers for beyond Glasgow on notice to the Station Master before 4 O'Clock" stuff on the Fort William sleeper.

Looking forward to times when long distance travel returns from air to train, and following your cross country example, have a couple of morning Bournemouth to Scotland trains pick up at some of those extra stations on request by (say) 6 a.m. for passengers to Leeds or north thereof.  Southbound - on a couple of afternoon trains, ask the train manager before Birmingham.
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