3tph on North Downs Line

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by Barn, 18 Jan 2017.

  1. Bikeman78

    Bikeman78 Member

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    Your post has prompted me to look at the schedules in detail. I hadn't realised quite how messy it is! It all seems to stem from the fact that the electric service to Reigate has gone half hourly when the infrastructure doesn't support it. The Redhill to Reading stopper sits at Reigate for four minutes to avoid a conflict at Redhill. As you have pointed out, the Reigate to Victoria trains sit at Redhill for seven minutes. Even the hourly train from Tonbridge has to wait outside Redhill. The up journey takes 35 minutes which I think is the same as the thumpers in 1993 to 1994. From May 1994 the electrics took 30 minutes.

    For the time being it would work better if the XX30 from Reigate reverted to being a through train from Tonbridge. It would depart Tonbridge at XX08 arriving Redhill at XX39. The XX39 from Victoria would run to Tonbridge instead of Reigate. The XX00 from Reigate would depart at XX05. It would have to use platform 0 at Redhill to avoid conflicting with the Gatwick to Reading train. The stopper to Reading could revert to its previous departure time of XX34.
     
  2. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Whilst that might work from an operational convenience point of view, the traffic demand is to and from Reigate from stations north of there.

    As someone with colleagues who commute to Reigate from East Croydon and Clapham Junction, I very rarely hear any complaint about the fact that the through trains are stoppers or dwell at Redhill for six to seven minutes, they are very appreciative of the through half-hourly service. (The opposite is of course true for people who commute from Reigate to London Bridge who don't get the convenience of a through train and have relatively poor connections now.)

    Don't forget that if 3tph on the North Downs Line were to ever happen you put the current Reading to Gatwick timings on both sides of the hour. This needs two platforms at Redhill to be available for Reading to Gatwick and Gatwick to Reading trains at the same time.
     
  3. Bikeman78

    Bikeman78 Member

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    Conversely people on the Rehill to Tonbridge line are unhappy that they've lost through trains. Is half hourly Reading to Gatwick any closer to becoming a reality? If it does then I'd have thought that not having the Tonbridge train clogging up the bay platform would be a help rather than a hindrance.

    Anyway, if the Reigate to Victoria and Reading to Gatwick have to keep their existing paths then an extra platform at Reigate won't make much difference. The problem is that both trains want to run from Reigate to Redhill at the same time. Somehow one of them needs to be retimed slightly.
     
  4. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    A bay platform at Reigate makes quite a bit of difference as a train departing from Reigate towards Redhill can leave immediately after a train from Redhill towards Reading has arrived at Reigate.

    I think the thought is that Bedford to Gatwick trains swap destination with the Victoria to Reigate ones. In doing this, you potentially save a 700 diagram meaning one fewer 8-car 700 on the longer distance routes. Operationally you then no longer have splitting at Redhill as Victoria trains go just to Gatwick or Three Bridges and that, with the work at Croydon, might just about be enough for restoration of a Victoria to Redhill fast because of the slicker use of the platforms at Redhill. It is clear that additional trains from London at Redhill are not possible without the Croydon work.

    I'd personally run any Redhill fast to the Tonbridge line (fast from Redhill to Tonbridge except in the peaks) with an hourly stopper retained for local stations but that would be a big call given current demand. If Redhill and Reigate need a direct link with Sussex it should really be extension of the Reading to Gatwick trains but that is really unlikely and would be a poor use of capacity if short trains are used.

    They may well be but it has to be conceded that there is more opportunity to grow the market at Reigate than there is at the stations on the Tonbridge line.
     
    Last edited: 17 Aug 2019
  5. Bikeman78

    Bikeman78 Member

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    Any idea where the third platform is planned to go? Will it go next to the existing westbound platform or are they planning to move the whole station and use the site of the sidings?

    The Redhill-Tonbridge timetable has changed several times in the last 25 years. Started off with hourly, then half hourly with the second running non stop. Then Edenbridge was added followed by all the other stops a few years later. I can't recall when it dropped back to hourly. It was the same time that off peak electric trains started running to Reigate.
     
  6. Minstral25

    Minstral25 Established Member

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    The numbers of passengers at Reigate peaked at 1.6 million per year in 2014 but has been falling because of lack of decent service, half hourly was to try and stop the fall - next years figures will be interesting. Meanwhile Tonbridge line stations have around a 1/6th of that all together and many go via Tonbridge so through trains would often only have single figures of through passengers, even in peaks it's only 10's of passengers.

    If the Bedford's divert to Reigate (which I believe is the plan) they will remain mostly 12 coach trains as demand is sufficient, but yes it will save one unit. If this happens the Redhill to Victoria trains should keep their paths north of Redhill, but will extend to Horsham all stations allowing the Peterborough to Horsham service become semi-fast. There will be no splitting to Tonbridge as Redhill station is of high operational risk for splits/joins due to lack of places to put trains in if split or join fails.

    It will probably be very similar to Mark Townend's diagram of a few years back. Station will stay where it is.

    http://www.townend.me/files/reigate.pdf
     
  7. Minstral25

    Minstral25 Established Member

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    Part of the problem was that GTR worked out the detailed times for May 2018 based on the GWR proposed timetable for 3 per hour along North Downs. The GWR timetable never became reality (possibly because Network Rail threw it out) and thus trains did not work nicely together creating these issues. As by the time GWR reverted the GTR timetable was set in stone due to timetable agreements reached throughout the Thameslink network that couldn't be changed.
     
  8. Bikeman78

    Bikeman78 Member

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    Thank you. I'd not seen this diagram before. Any idea when it might actually happen?
     
  9. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    Unless they count people on the platform, ticketing quirks cause difficulty in estimating figures in this area. I recall that Reigate users can get additional routing options by buying tickets valid to Dorking, and Redhill users often buy to Gatwick.
     
  10. HamworthyGoods

    HamworthyGoods Member

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    The Reigate trains are always somewhat messy to timetable with Reigate Down Platform unable to take 8 cars, thus on a weekday some trains need the extra time at Redhill to attach/detach coaches. Saturdays is easier as doesn’t have these peak/contra-peak requirements so can just run as 4 cars throughout.
     
  11. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    I understand that around 10am on Saturdays there is some sort of peak load on these trains that arguably might justify more than 4 coaches on Reigate to Victoria services (or re-education of people to fill the mass of empty space in the trains from Redhill to London Bridge).
     
  12. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    The platform does extend further though. It maybe that the signalling has been positioned in such away that the whole platform can not be used by trains heading to Reading. I'm not an expert.

    If the train must stop there, then the remaining issue is indeed with the departure boards. Perhaps one of them should be moved so it sits within the area that the trains to Reading stop at.

    I appricate people need to know there are trains further down the platform but they also need to know the train at that part of the platform isn't for the destination that is handled by a train further down the platform. It works both ways.
     
  13. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    It's interesting how it's of high risk, yet currently trains split there, as although the risk is high the demand is greater.
     
  14. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    To run 3 trains an hour would have required extra stock. Would it not have been possible to run 2 trains an hour but using the agreed timings or would that have required more than the number of trains used, had they run 3 trains an hour? So effectively using as many train as is required to keep to the times agreed but not not running a third train.
     
  15. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    There’s probably a case to be made for peak-time through services between London and the Redhill-Tonbridge line, but I can speak from extensive experience that there is definitely no case to be made for an off-peak London service.

    When they weren’t carting fresh air around, the former London Bridge / Victoria - Redhill - Tonbridge services used to basically swap their entire passenger load at Redhill between about 0830 and 1600, with large numbers of people shuttling between London and Redhill, and then a changeover to mostly local travel (most of which was either very low value or entirely ticketless...) between Redhill, Edenbridge and Tonbridge.

    There are occasional Croydon/Purley - Tonbridge passengers who do find it more convenient to travel via Redhill, but really not very many.

    The other observation is that at least 50% or so of the passengers for Tonbridge are actually Tunbridge Wells passengers wishing to change between trains at Tonbridge, and any non-local passengers for Redhill usually want to change for Gatwick Airport. This means the most useful off-peak service pattern would operate between Tunbridge Wells and Gatwick Airport, although there is also a reasonably sizeable flow of passengers between Ashford, Maidstone, Canterbury and Gatwick as well.

    The passenger flows to/from Gatwick Airport involving this route appear to be on the increase, anecdotally.

    (All of the above also applies in the opposite directions, of course...)
     
  16. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    So would it be feasible to run services from Tonbridge to Gatwick Airport or are there simply too many other more popular services on other lines to allow this to happen?

    Would there be enough demand to run more off peak services to Gatwick more generally? Off peak some trains just go to Reigate, rather than splitting, with some parts going to Gatwick.

    If the timings could work, perhaps the Tonbridge services to Redhill could continue to Gatwick solely off peak.
     
  17. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Very unlikely at the moment that trains could run through between Tonbridge and Gatwick as not enough capacity for the train to layover. Thameslink occupy one platform at Gatwick for most of the day with their Bedford to Gatwick service - platforms 1 and 3 are both used for northbound services from Brighton as well as the services on the slow side of the route.

    Moreover, there is not enough time to get the Tonbridge train reliably to Gatwick and back so it would need more units.

    Finally, there are still Southeastern crew working the Redhill to Tonbridge line who don't sign Gatwick since they haven't had workings there for some time.
     
  18. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Fair enough. Could they ever run those Thameslink trains to the sidings, as they did for the former Reading to Gatwick Airport services in the past when they used platform 3 and only 6 platforms existed?

    Incidentally due to missing an official connection at Redhill today, I noticed that the slow train to Reading between 9 and 10 only arrives in 6 minutes into Guildford before the fast train does, rather than about 30 minutes in advance, as it does most other hours. I appreciate this is due to it coming off the 7:34 Reading to Redhill service, which in an ideal world should go to Gatwick Airport, rather than the 7:04 Reading to Gatwick Airport service, which should ideally stop at Redhill. Edit: I've also notice this slow train waits for 5 minutes at Shalford to allow other trains to run ahead from Portsmouth no doubt. Without that my delay would have only been 50 minutes.

    It would be nice if one day this could be corrected, as it means passengers who miss the 9:14, which would most likely be due to it starting short, won't be so heavily delayed. The reason today wasn't for once due to the 9:14 starting short but signalling issues at Gatwick Airport.

    Edit: I actually see there is a 9:10 Guildford to Reading service. Alas it starts at Guildford and not Redhill, which is the problem as one can't get to Guildford. Well they could via Clapham Junction I guess. In fact any passengers going to Reading today from Horsham, for example, would have been better off getting off at Guildford and boarding the train that an hour later than they should have done.

    Whilst hanging around at Redhill I was able to watch the very same fast train, that arrives 6 minutes later into Guildford, pull in and depart to Gatwick Airport.

    I will get delay repay and here's hoping I get delayed by a further 5 minutes, so I can claim an hours delay. That seems unlikely though.

    To be fair, if I'd known I was going to be delayed, I probably would have stayed on my train to Gatwick Airport, even though it's an unofficial connection to the Reading train, due to being just 9 minutes (official connection time is 10 minutes). This is probably less prone to less issues than the official 5 minute changes at Three Bridges and Redhill, which I did, but minimum connection times is a while other thread in itself.

    On a plus side the aircon is working on my 9:52 service.

    On another point, will the new 769 GWR trains have tables at all?
     
    Last edited: 22 Aug 2019
  19. OxtedSignaller

    OxtedSignaller Member

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    I keep hearing this plan to divert the Gatwick to Bedford services to run from Reigate instead and I just think is it really necessary. Like many stations Reigate is a commuter station and most of its traffic is generated in the peaks. Would it not be better to just retime the connections at Redhill it is hardly a big inconvenience to change train at Redhill 3 minutes along the line. A lot of the off peak traffic and Victoria commuters appreciate the service and it is pretty well used especially in the off peak periods.
     
  20. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Is it not possible that a lot of people who change now would appreciate the service and it might be well used in the off peak periods even if it goes to London Bridge and beyond? Or are you saying Victoira would still be a more popular destination when taking the day as a whole?

    Victoira to me always seems a bit cut off. I guess you can change at Clapham Junction to go to Waterloo. If you go to London Bridge though you can board a train to Charring Cross and Charring Cross to me always seems far more central. Maybe I'm biased due to where I usually head.

    How much inconvenience would it be for Victoira passengers to change and could they not just have good connections through retiming them so they work well?

    I'm just saying the opposite here to test your views. I don't actually know which is best. I do know connections to and from Gatwick alone the Reading line during disruption aren't great. They may be fine from Reigate but not everyone lives in Reigate. Although at the time I got to Redhill the other day, on my delayed service, we had just missed a train to Reigate. Between 8am and 9am they are not so well spread out. This is for timetabling and train pathing reason. It may have been quicker to walk to Reigate than wait for the next train or not too far off it.
     
  21. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    You might remember that historically, the through service at Reigate in the peaks effectively was inward to Reigate from Victoria and outward to London Bridge. That reflected the way demand had built up over the years (although the demand for student travel to Reigate from the local stations South of Croydon is probably the most significant flow into Reigate).

    From an operational perspective, running Thameslink to Reigate has the following advantages
    * it potentially saves a 12-car 700
    * it removes the need to split Victoria trains at Redhill
    * it speeds up the journey to Victoria from Earlswood and Salfords from where there is more peak demand for Victoria than from Reigate
    * the Redhill route can have 8-car off-peak trains to Victoria.

    There is some anecdotal evidence that people from Reigate are driving to Redhill for Thameslink trains rather than relying on connections. The problem is that it is necessary to change at East Croydon out of trains to / from Victoria rather than at Redhill and wherever the change is made it can be unreliable. The GWR timetable is not really built around connections from Reigate to London Bridge.

    If a bay platform is to be built at Reigate, it needs to be served by full length trains to justify the point of doing it.

    Clearly some people going to Victoria might be disappointed at the need to change trains, especially those connecting for South West London and those young professionals who love in Clapham Junction and work in Reigate who would have to change trains.
     
  22. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Isn't the issue at Reigate down to the track layout only allowing for 4/5 coaches to turn back?

    Something needs to be done as only having single units can get busy north of Croydon, especially if an unit from Reigate is the first Victoria service after a gap
     
  23. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Yes, the crossover needs to be moved quite a long way east, probably to the other side of the bridge across Croydon Road so it is quite an expensive plan even beyond the cost of the platform and turnout itself.
     
  24. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Does that mean it's business case is unlikely to stack up?

    Whatever is done, there will be winners and losers because there will be unreliable connections no doubt which ever route requires someone to change.
     
  25. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Previous posters have suggested that on its own it doesn't stack up - the cost is something like £50 million and not funded. However, seen as part of the Croydon work they need somewhere to terminate trains running as part of the expansion of possible services and it is this which apparently might make the Reigate work viable.
     
  26. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Cheers
     
  27. Minstral25

    Minstral25 Established Member

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    It is apparently now confirmed that GWR will be running the 3 trains per hour from May 2020. All the crossing issues are now fixed and it is a matter of arranging the stock and timetable.
     
  28. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I am amazed. I hadn't realised or remembered they were fixing it this soon.

    Csn anyone please explain what they have done to resolve the issue?

    If the issue hadn't occurred, would GWR not have been able to implement 3 trains when intended due to the rolling issues?

    Well done to everyone involved for getting it sorted.

    Another quick point, do they have enough trained up on the route?
     
  29. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    How on Earth could they have fixed Reigate??!!
     
  30. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    Does that 3TPH include:

    an hourly stopper (all stations both ways); and
    fixing the large evening gap in the timetable that basically prevents anyone commuting to London using the line UNLESS they are guaranteed to finish work before 1730?

    We're moving so that Gomshall will be our local station. It is an hour, give or take to London Bridge timed right (change at Redhill) and an alternative via GLD and then to Waterloo - but on the way back, it's rubbish. You have to leave work early, to get the train to either Redhill or GLD. And then there's 100 minutes or so between services. So no one really uses it for commuting. Instead filling up the A25 into Guildford and across into Redhill..... local bus connection also timed so last one is at give or take same time as train. Crackers local planning....

    I am conscious that the 769s are basically being pooh-poohed as too slow when they get to the Surrey Hills (so on diesel). Is that not going to actually reduce the number of stopping trains at the intermediate stations because they will lose so much time stopping and slow accelerating ? So in actual fact, the service for stations from say Shalford to Dorking will actually deteriorate....?

    Otherwise, my problem is thus - going on the train to Dorking or Guildford for a beer at 1900 or so is too early. And 2100 is too late. Don't these train planners understand that you can't mess with a man's beer time ?
     
    Last edited: 8 Oct 2019

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