16 Carriage Services on Southern

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JB_B

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Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere..

I took an ill-advised leisure trundle up from Brighton to London on the 'basket-case' line this afternoon. ( Having travelled up for work on Friday I should have known better. )

When we made it East Croydon I was surprised to see that the next train to London Victoria - 1441 (Delayed) - was advertised as 16 cars with a message to passengers for Clapham Junction to travel in the front 12 due to short platforms.

Is 16-car working actually happening now? Would this constrain where it could have gone at at Victoria? I know that the GTR industrial relations debacle means that there's lots of stock out of place but even so I'm guessing that it's maybe more likely a data entry error(?)

( A 4-car ex Reigate (re)materialized so I took that instead and never saw if the train ran. )
 
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D1009

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Might there have been some sort of failure which required assistance from another service?
 

Philip C

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Back in the good old days when the concourse at Victoria was smaller, and trains were allowed to approach to within five minutes walk of the Underground, it was not unknown for trains to arrive at Victoria in long formations. I've experienced a 16 car train myself and heard report of a 20 car mainline train reaching Victoria on the Central side. It all cases I think they were associated with problems brought on by rain freezing to the conductor rail and assistance being provided from the rear.

The 20-car train was reported to me by someone who travelled up from Polegate and occurred sometime in the 1971-76 period. At that time the high numbered platforms were very long and arranged to allow departure from the buffer stop end, even with the country end of platform roads being occupied, and could thus accommodate extra long trains without them fouling the main part of the station throat.

This arrangement had been installed before some 'bright spark' realised that railway stations were better configured as retail facilities!
 

CyrusWuff

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The Timetable Planning Rules give the following lengths for Victoria. Figures in brackets refer to the nominal number of 20m vehicles that can be accommodated:
  • Platform 1 - 270m (13 vehicles)
  • Platform 2 - 359m (17 vehicles)
  • Platform 3 - 188m (9 vehicles)
  • Platform 4 - 203m (10 vehicles)
  • Platform 5 - 247m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 6 - 245m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 7 - 286m (14 vehicles)
  • Platform 8 - 218m (10 vehicles)
  • Platform 9 - 269m (13 vehicles)
  • Platform 10 - 248m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 11 - 248m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 12 - 248m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 13 - 246m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 14 - 247m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 15 - 259m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 16 - 251m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 17 - 247m (12 vehicles)
  • Platform 18 - 254m (12 vehicles) to Signal VC497 / 318m (15 vehicles) to Signal VC499
  • Platform 19 - 253m (12 vehicles) to Signal VC495 / 318m (15 vehicles) to Signal VC493

Note that these are absolute lengths, and different values apply for berthing capacity of each platform!
 
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SpacePhoenix

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There can't be that many platforms on Southern's network that could handle 16 car trains without some sort of SDO being used. There's a clip on youtube that shows I think it was an 8 or 12 car train rescuing what I think was another 12 car train
 

MrPIC

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I've seen (not on Southern), a 4 car failed, an 8 sent to assist, which also failed, so a 12 was sent to assist the whole lot! Was a combination of different stock types too!
 

Deepgreen

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No service trains on the former Southern Region network are currently rostered for anything over 12 cars. Not so long ago, 13 or 14 car trains were not uncommon on boat trains from Victoria (12CEP + MLV +MLV/TLV). The longest I have witnessed was 17 cars when a 13 car boat working had to assist a failed 4VEP south from Orpington. I have a few shots on Flickr which I'll try to find.
 

theironroad

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Without isolating traction motors, 16 cars would exceed the southern region juice capacity which limits to 12 cars.
 

Deepgreen

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Without isolating traction motors, 16 cars would exceed the southern region juice capacity which limits to 12 cars.

Just out of interest, is it actually 12 cars, or would, say, a 13 car rake (e.g. 3x377/3 + 377/4) be workable, aside from any platform length constraints, etc?
 

theironroad

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Just out of interest, is it actually 12 cars, or would, say, a 13 car rake (e.g. 3x377/3 + 377/4) be workable, aside from any platform length constraints, etc?

I'm not sure. During my driver training on Swt, we were told that the maximum 'current limit index' was 12 and a 4 car emu had a cli of 4, hence the max 12 cars.

However, I imagine that is for usual working as I have heard of 16 car ecs movements from a station to a Depot late at night. I guess with no other trains around to draw current then the juice can handle the 16.

That's my limited understanding and your suggestion might well be possible.
 

Taunton

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The old Brighton Side at Victoria had lengthy platforms deliberately designed to hold two trains, due to the limited station width but adequate length available. A centre road and mid-platform crossovers and signals allowed the first train to pull to the buffers, the second stopped short of the crossover. The first departed via the crossover and the centre road, then the second pulled forward to enable a third to pull up behind.

when the concourse at Victoria was smaller, and trains were allowed to approach to within five minutes walk of the Underground
Unfortunately that applied in this situation as well for those on the subsequent trains. At least in those days you not only approached but actually got into the Underground within this time, whereas nowadays with all the congestion you are more likely to be held queuing outside for so long that you give up and leg it over to St James Park.

Off topic, but the best "long train" experience I had was on a Victoria to Brighton 12-car fast quite some years ago, where many did the long walk down the platform at Victoria to be first off at Brighton. However we got stopped at Three Bridges, it was announced there was a blockage ahead and we were to be diverted via Arundel, and in fact ran all the way into Littlehampton platforms before reversing back along the coast towards Brighton.

While so doing a number of those who had done that long walk at Victoria, who were now at the rear, came grumbling and stumbling over legs and baggage, coach by coach, right up the formation to just make it to the front coach when passing Hove, whereupon we turned left to Preston Park and stopped on the main line, to reverse back into the main platforms. With the grumblers and stumblers now at the back again. Did we laugh? Did we ever!
 
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Fincra5

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There can't be that many platforms on Southern's network that could handle 16 car trains without some sort of SDO being used. There's a clip on youtube that shows I think it was an 8 or 12 car train rescuing what I think was another 12 car train

Bexhill is the only place that could handle that length of train... Maybe not on the Down anymore since the signal has been moved closer when it became LED instead of Semaphore.
 

Deepgreen

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The old Brighton Side at Victoria had lengthy platforms deliberately designed to hold two trains, due to the limited station width but adequate length available. A centre road and mid-platform crossovers and signals allowed the first train to pull to the buffers, the second stopped short of the crossover. The first departed via the crossover and the centre road, then the second pulled forward to enable a third to pull up behind.


Unfortunately that applied in this situation as well for those on the subsequent trains. At least in those days you not only approached but actually got into the Underground within this time, whereas nowadays with all the congestion you are more likely to be held queuing outside for so long that you give up and leg it over to St James Park.

For a little nostalgia...

https://flic.kr/p/dncVTQ
 

physics34

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An 8CIG rescued an 8CIG once at Hayward's Heath. Sure it's happened quite often over the years
 

SpacePhoenix

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I'm not sure. During my driver training on Swt, we were told that the maximum 'current limit index' was 12 and a 4 car emu had a cli of 4, hence the max 12 cars.

However, I imagine that is for usual working as I have heard of 16 car ecs movements from a station to a Depot late at night. I guess with no other trains around to draw current then the juice can handle the 16.

That's my limited understanding and your suggestion might well be possible.

They might turn all the interior lighting and hotel power off (auxiliaries switch in the cab?) so the units won't be drawing so much power
 

JB_B

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Thanks for the replies - it certainly sounded a bit implausible. It's made me realize that I don't really understand how much manual input goes into the PIS compared to the parts driven by the underlying ops systems. Another example (since GTR's self-infliced meltdown) is ancient trains ( which maybe ran or maybe didn't early in the day) hanging around all day as the 1st next departure (delayed) - thereby making the on platform 1st[plus scroll between 2nd/3rd] display much less useful - in fact downright misleading to someone who hasn't twigged. How does this system work? - I'm guessing that it requires manual intervention - - whose job is that?
 

3141

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On 11.10.14 I caught a train from Gatwick Airport to Clapham Junction which claimed to be 16 coaches though actually was 12. There were announcements about travelling in the front 12 coaches for Clapham Junction similar to those described by the OP. I opened a thread about this at the time, but I don't have time now to track it down.

It's interesting that the PIS and public address system, having got the length of a train wrong, are then programmed to follow up the logical consequences of the error.
 

JB_B

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It's interesting that the PIS and public address system, having got the length of a train wrong, are then programmed to follow up the logical consequences of the error.

Yes - that's what struck me (unlikely that a one-off manual error would be followed through like that) - so at least the system is geared up 16-car for the future - which is good.
 

Class377/5

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Yes - that's what struck me (unlikely that a one-off manual error would be followed through like that) - so at least the system is geared up 16-car for the future - which is good.

The system isn't very smart at all. Its possible to send the same unit out on multiple diagrams if they start/finish at the same location! It relies on the user.

As for max train lengths, over 12 coaches there is the limit for passenger services. ECS or in emgerencies, trains can be longer. Dont forhet the 24 car testing on the 700s recently on both the BML and MML.
 

redbutton

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They might turn all the interior lighting and hotel power off (auxiliaries switch in the cab?) so the units won't be drawing so much power

Maximum CLI varies from route to route, and the amount of CLI used by a specific unit varies by traction type.

But if you're in a situation where your formation exceeds the CLI, you would isolate traction motors in the excess units assuming they're not already dead. (Since the most common reason for this to happen is assistance of a failed unit.)
 

swt_passenger

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Maximum CLI varies from route to route, and the amount of CLI used by a specific unit varies by traction type.

But if you're in a situation where your formation exceeds the CLI, you would isolate traction motors in the excess units assuming they're not already dead. (Since the most common reason for this to happen is assistance of a failed unit.)

Interestingly, I found the public version of the Kent/Sussex/Wessex sectional appendix (SA) states that the 'standard' current index across the DC network is 16. It then goes on to state a further limitation of 3 x 4 car EMUs, rated at only 12.

The only trains that will routinely run with more than a 12 rating are 10 car 442s at 14. A 73's CLI is 8 - so two would hit the limit, but that shouldn't come into play very often.

A search of the SA found only a very small number of lines with a lower than normal CLI, usually 8.

(As you might expect there is no mention of any other 5 car trains than the 442, whether 444, 377/6&7, 458/5s etc etc; perhaps because they are all software limited?)
 

Taunton

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The 14-car Dover boat trains must have exceeded the limit considerably, 12-CEP with two notably powerful MLV on the front. Later one of the pair was often replaced by an adapted unpowered van, but there were always some with two motor units. Not only were they each like little locomotives (and indeed were occasionally used as such) but would draw extra current if recharging their traction batteries.

Two class 73s were a common feature of Bournemouth services in the early 1990s when they were used as substitutes while the 4-REP were being robbed for power systems for the 442s. I understood that two class 73 and the two power cars of a 4-REP are fundamentally the same electrically.

How much does the class 92 draw when on third rail? Or did Eurostar used to draw?
 
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