3tph on North Downs Line

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Deepgreen

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Any problems with 3tph aren't associated with those crossings - they represent highway issues, not safety issues for the railway. As noted in this thread, 3tph is apparently close.
Not quite true - they are indeed highway-driven issues but problems with constructing a timetable which crosses many as possible at Reigate or Betchworth are proving slow to resolve. 3tph isn't in the December 2019 timetable, so May 2020 will the absolute earliest introduction date - I suppose it depends on how one defines 'quite close". I also wonder where the stock will come from, given the overall shortage of 'Turbos' already. The 769s look to be a lost cause, so I'll be interested in what turns up - more two car trains (165s) will be unhelpful.
 

JonathanH

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The 769s look to be a lost cause
Really? They have finally been doing proper testing this week with the Northern 769s as referred to in another thread https://flic.kr/p/2hFw5GH.

May 2020 has been suggested as the point where 3tph happens. We have previously been advised in this forum that there are enough Turbos available even if the 769 project were to falter. Notably, the December 2019 timetable requires more units than the current timetable because of the slower running times.

On another matter, the last train in each direction is cancelled tonight (which should also mean the first train from Gatwick to Reading tomorrow morning is cancelled for the third time this week).
 
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infobleep

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Really? They have finally been doing proper testing this week with the Northern 769s as referred to in another thread https://flic.kr/p/2hFw5GH.

May 2020 has been suggested as the point where 3tph happens. We have previously been advised in this forum that there are enough Turbos available even if the 769 project were to falter. Notably, the December 2019 timetable requires more units than the current timetable because of the slower running times.

On another matter, the last train in each direction is cancelled tonight (which should also mean the first train from Gatwick to Reading tomorrow morning is cancelled for the third time this week).
Apologies if this has been answered before and I've forgotten but what is the reason for the slower running times from December?
 

JonathanH

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Apologies if this has been answered before and I've forgotten but what is the reason for the slower running times from December?
The timetable has been adjusted to match 769 timing loads as 769s have been modelled as being slower than Turbos - see further back in this thread.

https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/3tph-on-north-downs-line.140595/page-19#post-4142346

'Clarence Yard' also posted the following comment elsewhere about 769 timings:

No, it’s what Railsys says the point to point times says they are. As there hasn’t been any main line timing runs to verify them, nobody has a clue whether they are accurate or not. It is suspected that they are pessimistic.

But, in the absence of any other proof, NR will only accept what Railsys says and those are values the planning community has to use.
 
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JN114

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On another matter, the last train in each direction is cancelled tonight (which should also mean the first train from Gatwick to Reading tomorrow morning is cancelled for the third time this week).
0510 Gatwick to Reading is running.
 

MML

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You'd think they would timetable a service for that time of day. With most flight departures starting from 0600, there is money to be made for early morning trains to airports. Amazed TOCs haven't cottoned on yet
 

infobleep

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The timetable has been adjusted to match 769 timing loads as 769s have been modelled as being slower than Turbos - see further back in this thread.

https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/3tph-on-north-downs-line.140595/page-19#post-4142346

'Clarence Yard' also posted the following comment elsewhere about 769 timings:
So are the 769s running from December? For some reason I thought it was when 3 trains an hour started but perhaps I'm misremembering things.

I see the 11:10 from Guildford to Gatwick Airport is still timetabled to take 40 minutes on Monday 23 December but for others it's 44 minutes. I've not looked at the other train movements around the NDL trains though, as those might explain why this one only needs 40 minutes.

I also see many trains leave Gatwick Airport on the hour but not around 11am. Then it leaves 10:59.
 
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JonathanH

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So are the 769s running from December? For some reason I thought it was when 3 trains an hour started but perhaps I'm misremembering things
No, but presumably when the timetable bid was made, it was expected that the first 769s could enter service within the currency of the timetable - ie before May 2020.
 

JN114

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Cancelling the last train in both directions must have left a fair number of taxi drivers happy.
I actually don’t know what alternatives were laid on for the punters - I believe a number of buses.

The way our control is divvied up, the fleet/service controller (me) is basically in charge of what the fleet does; the crew controllers make sure I have drivers and guards to run trains with; and the info controllers make all the arrangements for if I can’t run the train for xyz reason; and disseminate what we’re doing to internal and external customers. I’ll consult with the other two to see what we can do; but in a case like yesterday/this morning where there’s no driver With requisite route knowledge available until half 3 in the morning, it really is a case of tough it’s cancelled - there isn’t really any compromise that can be drawn out of it. So the info controllers have to go sort out buses and the like.

EDIT:- anyway enough off topic. To answer on the salient points above.

The N Downs is timetabled as 769s from December; but it will be Turbos covering for the foreseeable. With the improved turnaround times it should really help performance massively.
 

Wilts Wanderer

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I actually don’t know what alternatives were laid on for the punters - I believe a number of buses.

The way our control is divvied up, the fleet/service controller (me) is basically in charge of what the fleet does; the crew controllers make sure I have drivers and guards to run trains with; and the info controllers make all the arrangements for if I can’t run the train for xyz reason; and disseminate what we’re doing to internal and external customers. I’ll consult with the other two to see what we can do; but in a case like yesterday/this morning where there’s no driver With requisite route knowledge available until half 3 in the morning, it really is a case of tough it’s cancelled - there isn’t really any compromise that can be drawn out of it. So the info controllers have to go sort out buses and the like.

EDIT:- anyway enough off topic. To answer on the salient points above.

The N Downs is timetabled as 769s from December; but it will be Turbos covering for the foreseeable. With the improved turnaround times it should really help performance massively.
And don't forget the turnover set at Reading! That, even on its own, will really assist matters when it's all going pear-shaped.
 

infobleep

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I actually don’t know what alternatives were laid on for the punters - I believe a number of buses.

The way our control is divvied up, the fleet/service controller (me) is basically in charge of what the fleet does; the crew controllers make sure I have drivers and guards to run trains with; and the info controllers make all the arrangements for if I can’t run the train for xyz reason; and disseminate what we’re doing to internal and external customers. I’ll consult with the other two to see what we can do; but in a case like yesterday/this morning where there’s no driver With requisite route knowledge available until half 3 in the morning, it really is a case of tough it’s cancelled - there isn’t really any compromise that can be drawn out of it. So the info controllers have to go sort out buses and the like.

EDIT:- anyway enough off topic. To answer on the salient points above.

The N Downs is timetabled as 769s from December; but it will be Turbos covering for the foreseeable. With the improved turnaround times it should really help performance massively.
So with the longer layover at Reading, will this give trains more chance to reach Gatwick Airport if they get delayed between Reading and Gatwick Airport?

I ask because there is a 09:56 arrival into Gatwick Airport from Reading and that forms a 10:00 departure back to Reading just 4 minutes later.

There is also a 10:55 arrival and that forms a 10:59 departure. After that the gap seems to be mostly between 6 to 10 minutes, with one or two later evening exceptions.
 

JN114

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As I’ve stated many, many times...

Terminating short of Gatwick is nothing to do with lack of recovery at the Gatwick end; and is all about NR Sussex not wanting our services impacting the very tightly pathed Thameslink timetable through Redhill.

I don’t think the Redhill <> Gatwick paths are all that different in the new timetable vs the old. (I haven’t really had a chance to look at the minutiae of the new TT yet) - If that’s the case then it’s unlikely things will change significantly at that end; unless Sussex loosen their stance against us late running on their patch.
 

infobleep

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As I’ve stated many, many times...

Terminating short of Gatwick is nothing to do with lack of recovery at the Gatwick end; and is all about NR Sussex not wanting our services impacting the very tightly pathed Thameslink timetable through Redhill.

I don’t think the Redhill <> Gatwick paths are all that different in the new timetable vs the old. (I haven’t really had a chance to look at the minutiae of the new TT yet) - If that’s the case then it’s unlikely things will change significantly at that end; unless Sussex loosen their stance against us late running on their patch.
I would expect them not to allow the train to run to Gatwick, when it goes over a set amount of delay time. Thus there will be early terminations as now, if delays occur between Reading and Gatwick.

Clearly if the problems are occurring only between Gatwick and Reading then there will be time at Reading to make up some or all of the lost time.

The turn around time will be shorter at Gatwick Airport going forward as the arrival times will be later but the departure times are broadly not changing or not changing at all. Surely this means means there is a greater chance of a train reaching the delay time, by which the controllers for Sussex say no you can't run, sooner. I'm basing my comment here on trains running slower. Obviously with the Turbos they will have more power to make up lost time but that is only possible for as long as they continue to run on the line.

I'm not an expert, it probably shows, so there maybe something I've missed making it all work.
 

Minstral25

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Will the 769s be quicker than the Turbos by using the 3rd rail between Reigate and Gatwick?
No - they won't be using third rail but still on diesel as there is not enough power in Third Rail for them to use it apparently. I guess though NR are trying to fix that.

Also rumour is that GWR have canned 3 trains per hour in May 2020 moving it to now happen in Dec 2020
 

infobleep

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No - they won't be using third rail but still on diesel as there is not enough power in Third Rail for them to use it apparently. I guess though NR are trying to fix that.

Also rumour is that GWR have canned 3 trains per hour in May 2020 moving it to now happen in Dec 2020
Is that due to a lack of rolling stock?
 

Minstral25

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Is that due to a lack of rolling stock?
I have no official notification but my understanding is that Network Rail have not approved the bids for the 3tph timetable. I'd assume there may be time yet for them to be approved if the conflicts that are stopping approval can be sorted. The North Downs line cuts across a lot of other routes so I would guess making it all fit together is very hard.
 

Class 170101

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You'd think they would timetable a service for that time of day. With most flight departures starting from 0600, there is money to be made for early morning trains to airports. Amazed TOCs haven't cottoned on yet
I expect the TOCs have, it will be NR saying no as it probably impacts on Section 4 - the maintenance access.
 

Meerkat

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No - they won't be using third rail but still on diesel as there is not enough power in Third Rail for them to use it apparently. I guess though NR are trying to fix that.
Thats crazy! They can’t take one or two more short trains!?!
 

peterson

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I have no official notification but my understanding is that Network Rail have not approved the bids for the 3tph timetable. I'd assume there may be time yet for them to be approved if the conflicts that are stopping approval can be sorted. The North Downs line cuts across a lot of other routes so I would guess making it all fit together is very hard.
Apologies for getting the crayons out here. But has it ever been considered to lay a very short chord from the Aldershot/Alton line joining to the northern part of the North Downs line? If it's really so difficult to manage conflicts at Guildford and on the Brighton line, why not make better use of the northern part of the NDL by running 2tph Reading to Farnham and 2tph Reading to Redhill/Gatwick.
Having 4tph from the northeast Hampshire conurbation into Reading would be a big improvement. It would benefit Reading's reach as a commercial centre and definitely help make new journey options getting people out of cars. I'd assume capacity exists on the Alton line to accommodate extra services.
Thoughts?!
 

The Ham

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Apologies for getting the crayons out here. But has it ever been considered to lay a very short chord from the Aldershot/Alton line joining to the northern part of the North Downs line? If it's really so difficult to manage conflicts at Guildford and on the Brighton line, why not make better use of the northern part of the NDL by running 2tph Reading to Farnham and 2tph Reading to Redhill/Gatwick.
Having 4tph from the northeast Hampshire conurbation into Reading would be a big improvement. It would benefit Reading's reach as a commercial centre and definitely help make new journey options getting people out of cars. I'd assume capacity exists on the Alton line to accommodate extra services.
Thoughts?!
To stop is going to far off topic I've created a thread to discuss potential rail improvements in North Hampshire:

https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/potential-north-hampshire-rail-improvements.194934/

I've replied to your post there.
 

Deepgreen

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Thats crazy! They can’t take one or two more short trains!?!
Agreed - it's a farce (if it's true) and is yet another example of the lack of proper strategic planning taking place in the 'silo culture' that is today's railway.

Not being able to operate on electrical supply completely nullifies the point of the stock!

Meanwhile, GWR continues to treat the Reading to Gatwick route as a very low priority for spend - this (attached) was my train yesterday - 165101's first class is a disgrace and passengers were saying so (and it's far from the only unit in this state). Rather like the French railway system, GWR relies on its high-speed route to carry its image, and the rest is ignored.

To list: public address not working in the section at all, the tiny tables were hanging loose from the wall (as usual), the seats were unkempt and with some anti-macassars missing, the seat arm-rests seemed to have been attacked with a sanding machine and the overhead light switches were completely missing from some arm-rests. Simply atrocious offering from GWR again. They have seemingly abandoned any efforts to provide an acceptable quality of service on the route. One woman who boarded just behind me at Gatwick had the fact that is was 'first class' pointed out to her by someone she had been chatting to and she was incredulous, asking how anyone could consider offering this as a product! She moved to standard and said it looked better than first as she walked through!

DSC03123.jpeg
 
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JN114

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The Turbo fleet in the east is treated as one - there aren’t specific units for the Gatwicks, so any suggestion that it’s wilful neglect of the North Downs is way off the mark straight out the traps.

As has been said to you many times before - Cosmetic issues will rightly always play second fiddle to fixing issues that prevent sets from entering traffic. It’s not a case of avoiding spending money - it’s a case of we can fix this engine fault and put the train into traffic with a handful of minor cosmetic issues; or we can stop it all day and fiddle about with some light switches and worn armrests. I’m sure you’d be the first to be up in arms of GWR decided to reduce the service on the North Downs to allow more units to undergo maintenance - and from a practical/diagramming point of view the ONLY way to free up more Turbos in the east for maintenance at the moment would be to cut services on the North Downs.

If you felt that aggrieved then perhaps a letter/email to customer relations outlining what you have here and a copy of your first class tickets would garner some kind of compensatory goodwill gesture?
 

infobleep

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The Turbo fleet in the east is treated as one - there aren’t specific units for the Gatwicks, so any suggestion that it’s wilful neglect of the North Downs is way off the mark straight out the traps.

As has been said to you many times before - Cosmetic issues will rightly always play second fiddle to fixing issues that prevent sets from entering traffic. It’s not a case of avoiding spending money - it’s a case of we can fix this engine fault and put the train into traffic with a handful of minor cosmetic issues; or we can stop it all day and fiddle about with some light switches and worn armrests. I’m sure you’d be the first to be up in arms of GWR decided to reduce the service on the North Downs to allow more units to undergo maintenance - and from a practical/diagramming point of view the ONLY way to free up more Turbos in the east for maintenance at the moment would be to cut services on the North Downs.

If you felt that aggrieved then perhaps a letter/email to customer relations outlining what you have here and a copy of your first class tickets would garner some kind of compensatory goodwill gesture?
The seats should at least be more comfortable in first class. Can't say that about all rolling stocked used by all TOCs. Govia Thameslink Railway, I'm looking at you.
 

infobleep

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Tonight was one of the few times where I delayed train on the North Downs Line was allowed to run to Gatwick Airport.

The train was the 18:31. It departed Reigate 10 minutes late and Redhill 21 minutes late. It arrived into Gatwick Airport 21 minutes late.

Given so many trains are not allowed to run so late to Gatwick Airport, how come this one got through?
 

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