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Question: What is your the maximum reasonable wait for a connecting service on a regional journey?  (Voting closed: October 26, 2021, 12:03:49 pm)
15 minutes - 11 (26.2%)
30 minutes - 24 (57.1%)
45 minutes - 4 (9.5%)
60 minutes - 1 (2.4%)
Over an hour is reasonable - 0 (0%)
I'll never make a journey that requires a change if I can help to - 1 (2.4%)
Other (please post) - 1 (2.4%)
Total Voters: 42

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Author Topic: What is a reasonable connection?  (Read 1624 times)
grahame
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« on: October 21, 2021, 12:00:51 pm »

I noted

... I can get a slightly cheaper Advance single ticket to Heathrow on it, but that comes with a 59 minute connection (honest !) at Reading ...

and that echos concerns expressed to SWR» (South Western Railway - about) / DfT» (Department for Transport - about) last night about connection times of 49 minutes (eastbound) and 59 minutes (westbound) at Salisbury on through journeys from the Bristol axis to the Waterloo Axis

In answering the question:

1. I am looking at middle distance journeys - not how long is reasonable wait at Oxford Circus changing from Bakerloo to Cental lines, nor how long is reasonable in King's Cross for the Inverness train.

2. I am asking how long is reasonable - not how long you will wait if you have no choice!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2021, 12:12:00 pm »

Depends on the complexity of the connection!

A cross-platform might be a max of 15mins, a change at Leeds from high numbered platform to low (or vice-versa) which will take anyone with luggage at least 10mins (possibly longer if you don’t know the station layout) would be double that!

Also, I prefer a slightly longer connection time as your incoming train might be late & I’d rather wait an extra 10mins or so to pretty much guarantee my connection that have a minimum station connection time and have to wait for the next train!
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2021, 01:04:52 pm »

It sounds to me, ChrisB, that your maximum time is 30 minutes. For some specific changes, you might feel that anything in excess of 15 minutes is stretching it - Bourne End in the "peaks" between the Donkey train and the Maidenhead service, for example.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2021, 01:22:16 pm »

I selected 30 minutes for the simple reason that, when I have required a change on a middle-distance journey, the first leg has invariably arrived several minutes late.

In an ideal world where every train runs perfectly to time, then 15 minutes is my absolute maximum.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2021, 01:55:35 pm »

I have ground this axe before on this forum.......

There's an element of "it depends", but for most services I would guess that the "authorities" (TOCs (Train Operating Company)/ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about)/DfT» (Department for Transport - about)/GBR (Great British Railways)) must know from ticket sales and passenger numbers where the main flows of changing passengers are, or what would be good services to match as designated onward travel trains (for example, the trains at Reading between which many passengers change, or might if convenient connections were available). For these 15 minutes ought to be a target maximum connection time.

Service requirements in operating agreements (or whatever they are called under the new regime) and timetable setting ought to be based on the main interchange stations on the network to achieve this not (as I saw on the franchise specification for GW (Great Western) when suffering the awful service in 2006) just specifying departure times from Paddington. That's the one station where onward connections really is not a consideration, unlike Reading, Oxford, Swindon, Temple Meads, Parkway, Cardiff, Exeter St Davids or Westbury, to name just a few.
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Mark A
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2021, 02:17:57 pm »

Found out the hard way, and more than once, that the system sets up wind-up non-connections at Chippenham.

i.e a train from Melksham, having gained the GWML (Great Western Main Line), dawdles up from Thingy, stops at the up side of the island platform, giving passengers at its doors a view of the nearby down IEP (Intercity Express Program / Project.) at a stand with its doors open.

Then, a pause.

Once the IEP's doors are seen to be closing, the Melksham train's doors open to release would-be onward travellers, who have enough time to walk across and admire the somewhat patchy matt appearance of the IEP and the strangely spotless area around the carriage lifting points before both trains depart. Thankfully it's a half hour service, so, not faced with the 59 minute wait typical for S****bury.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2021, 02:50:51 pm »

Found out the hard way, and more than once, that the system sets up wind-up non-connections at Chippenham.

i.e a train from Melksham, having gained the GWML (Great Western Main Line), dawdles up from Thingy, stops at the up side of the island platform, giving passengers at its doors a view of the nearby down IEP (Intercity Express Program / Project.) at a stand with its doors open.

Then, a pause.

Once the IEP's doors are seen to be closing, the Melksham train's doors open to release would-be onward travellers, who have enough time to walk across and admire the somewhat patchy matt appearance of the IEP and the strangely spotless area around the carriage lifting points before both trains depart. Thankfully it's a half hour service, so, not faced with the 59 minute wait typical for S****bury.

Hasn't happened to me at Chippenham since last Sunday ... the other regular one is at Swindon where a delayed train from Cheltenham Spa or from South Wales pulls in, and the IET (Intercity Express Train) doors only open as the TransWilts train is dispatched - and that's a much longer wait.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2021, 02:56:19 pm »

I have ground this axe before on this forum.......

There's an element of "it depends", but for most services I would guess that the "authorities" (TOCs (Train Operating Company)/ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about)/DfT» (Department for Transport - about)/GBR (Great British Railways)) must know from ticket sales and passenger numbers where the main flows of changing passengers are, or what would be good services to match as designated onward travel trains (for example, the trains at Reading between which many passengers change, or might if convenient connections were available). For these 15 minutes ought to be a target maximum connection time.

Service requirements in operating agreements (or whatever they are called under the new regime) and timetable setting ought to be based on the main interchange stations on the network to achieve this not (as I saw on the franchise specification for GW (Great Western) when suffering the awful service in 2006) just specifying departure times from Paddington. That's the one station where onward connections really is not a consideration, unlike Reading, Oxford, Swindon, Temple Meads, Parkway, Cardiff, Exeter St Davids or Westbury, to name just a few.

Every interchange station on the network has a 'minimum connection time' allocated and this is used by all journey planning systems when presenting potential journeys. This can vary between 5 minutes and 20 minutes depending on the size and complexity of the interchange station. In addition, ticket office planning systems allow the operator to specify a minimum connection time should the customer request it.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2021, 03:30:03 pm »

Also, I doubt it’s possible to achieve a 15 minute connection at Reading from any arriving train into a train going to all & any other direct destination - there are simply too many destinations out of RDG(resolve).
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Marlburian
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2021, 04:07:39 pm »

I opted for 30 minutes as a maximum (though 15 minutes would be ideal). Can depend on the station and its facilities. In the Old Normal there were a few shops, including a newsagents, on the Deck at Reading (a contrast to my commuting days of 1982-95). And time was when one could have a drink in the Three Guineas, keep an eye of the departure boards inside the pub and walk straight out onto Platform 4 (that was before the door was locked.)

A friend has just spent a year in a rented house in Normandy (in Surrey), and I did check out trains from Reading to Wanborough. Usually it seemed I would have had a choice of changing at the very basic Ash - or Guildford, which IIRC (if I recall/remember/read correctly) has nothing much to amuse inside the gates but does have a couple of small shops just outside them.

I've used Ash only once, about seven years ago, and I suspect that it may not staffed through all the day, meaning the waiting-rooms may be locked ...

(My friend has now moved a bit closer to me, to near Winchfield, meaning a change at Basingstoke - not much on the platforms there.)

At least at the busier stations one can watch the world and trains go by.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2021, 05:05:25 pm »

Also, I doubt it’s possible to achieve a 15 minute connection at Reading from any arriving train into a train going to all & any other direct destination - there are simply too many destinations out of RDG(resolve).

That depends upon whether you know Reading station. I have managed a 5 minute connection from a Paddington-bound express arriving on P12 to a Basingstoke train on P1 whilst carrying a small case and also a 10 minute connection from P12 to a Gatwick-bound train on P5 (travelling with my wife) and neither of us could be considered 'fit'.

I agree that the adhoc traveller (eg somebody travelling from the Westcountry to Gatwick) who has never been through Reading before may have a challenge.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2021, 05:18:39 pm »

What I meant is that I doubt a train to every destination from Reading can be timetabled within 15 minutes of arrival from every train. Thus achieving a 15 minute connection is impossible from anywhere to anywhere else
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Reading General
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2021, 06:17:43 pm »

Which is probably why Reading (General) is built in the way it is and a good job too. Bigger picture, National thinking rather than the obvious cater for the London direction needs. Its very similar to stations I’ve changed at in Europe.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2021, 08:59:54 pm »

Quote
What I meant is that I doubt a train to every destination from Reading can be timetabled within 15 minutes of arrival from every train. Thus achieving a 15 minute connection is impossible from anywhere to anywhere else

Point taken where you are connecting between a service or services with hourly (or more than hourly) frequency of stopping at Reading. But many services are (or will soon again be) more than hourly, and as who has spent 20 odd years changing between two of these (Thames Valley from Goring to Reading, North Downs on to Guildford and back in reverse) it has been a source of constant disgruntlement that many journeys (especially on the homeward journey) involve North Downs trains arriving a minute or two after the Goring train has gone, one made worse by the uneven spacing of trains in the evening which often manages to put a 35 or 36 minutes gap between services on the homeward leg. I appreciate these are first world problems to many of you who would be grateful to have a reliable hourly service, but these are both busy commuter lines. 30 minutes stuck at Reading when you want to get home to your family and have your evening meal as a regular feature of doing the right thing by taking public transport to work grates!

To go back to my earlier post, an analysis of which services are often combined by passengers who change trains should surely enable the timetablers to give "best matches" for connecting services to help plan timetables where the fequency of services makes my ideal of no more than 15 minutes impossible. And where services are less frequent, such as the Trans Wilts services, all the more important to ensure that their connections at interchanges work well to encourage more use of the less-frequent service. 
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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2021, 02:22:50 pm »

For me a big consideration would be the environment I had to wait in - a station with decent roomy waiting room, toilets and refreshment facilities and maybe some interesting architecture, or a bleak windswept platform with a bus shelter/unofficial urinal.  I'd also be less worried if I was changing onto a train starting at the interchange if I could get on at leisure well before the departure time.
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