8 car trains stopping at 12 car platform position

bengley

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It's reasonable to say that, in general, passenger convenience *is* the main consideration, unless there is some other over-riding reason not to prioritise this.
Maybe at some TOCs or where the boards have been in place for many years, but I find that later installations, particularly where I'm from, aren't placed in a convenient location for passengers at all.
 
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43066

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Depends on your traction and the station in question.

Appreciate policies on these things do vary. Stopping short is universally considered to be an incident, even if fully platformed, because it indeed indicates a lack of awareness of train length. I’ve known drivers to be reported for this by non TOC employees (usually NR).

When I worked DOO trains into stations equipped with platform monitors missing the mark even by a couple of feet could make the monitors difficult or impossible to see. In that situation it was actively encouraged to continue to the next set of monitors.

Where I am now there are no platform monitors but going past a stop board really isn’t regarded a big deal (they’re surprisingly difficult to spot, because ours are painted black!). Going past by half a coach length is infinitely preferable (and safer) than jamming the brake into full service. There’s absolutely no safety issue because you know your train is fully accommodated.

The worst outcome is some possible inconvenience for the dispatchers and passengers waiting on the platform. It is poor practice and for sure questions would be asked if you did it every time you stopped, but this is not an incident which will merit investigation.

Two major accidents with fatalities in 1997 and 1999 would suggest not "just fine". e.g. a train driven without working AWS, and a Thames Trains driver let onto the main line with a questionable level of training.

Sorry but I’d suggest comparing the above to slightly overshooting a stop board shows a lack of perspective. I’ve certainly never come across this attitude at either of the TOCs I’ve worked for.
 

Ianno87

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Sorry but I’d suggest comparing the above to slightly overshooting a stop board shows a lack of perspective. I’ve certainly never come across this attitude at either of the TOCs I’ve worked for.

I wasn't "comparing" anything. Merely pointing out the risk of ignoring "the thin end of the wedge".
 

357

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At my TOC we get told if we are coming in "hot" rather than stop harshly in a higher brake step, make a smoother stop at the next set of monitors. This could easily have been what happened in the OPs case.

Also, there is some pressure on management to move all stop boards to the end of the platform to eliminate the risk of a stop short, and whilst this has happened at some locations, at others it was established that there would be a higher risk from slips, trips and falls of people running down the platform to get on the train rather than the less often (but more serious) incident of a stop short / doors released.

What does amaze me is how London Underground have had safety systems in place since the 80s that stop a driver opening the doors when not in the correct place, or on the wrong side. On the mainline it seems that stop shorts or wrong side release is just an everyday hazard.
 

Taunton

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Impacts on passengers have to be considered as well. When Thameslink still had random 4-car trains the describers at the rear of the platform showed the train, but it ran right past, to the extent that on one occasion I missed it, it departed as I ran forward.
 

43066

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I wasn't "comparing" anything. Merely pointing out the risk of ignoring "the thin end of the wedge".

“Ignoring the thin end of the wedge” would be ignoring a stop short when the train is fully accommodated. As has been noted above that is still treated as an incident even where there is no actual safety risk (because the mistake could be replicated where there is a risk).

Going past a stop point might be a conscious choice for various reasons.

What does amaze me is how London Underground have had safety systems in place since the 80s that stop a driver opening the doors when not in the correct place, or on the wrong side. On the mainline it seems that stop shorts or wrong side release is just an everyday hazard.

The reasoning I’ve heard behind that that is that on underground trains all doors immediately open*, as opposed to being released and then individually opened by passengers. Therefore the risk is orders of magnitude greater.

*This also happens now on NR on the Thameslink core but is (in theory) fail safe because balises prevent the doors releasing if the train is not correctly accommodated. Outside of the core TL doors are released conventionally.
 

158747

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Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes occasionally, at least this incident is less serious than stopping a 12-car train at an 8-car stop board.
 

bramling

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“Ignoring the thin end of the wedge” would be ignoring a stop short when the train is fully accommodated. As has been noted above that is still treated as an incident even where there is no actual safety risk (because the mistake could be replicated where there is a risk).

Going past a stop point might be a conscious choice for various reasons.



The reasoning I’ve heard behind that that is that on underground trains all doors immediately open*, as opposed to being released and then individually opened by passengers. Therefore the risk is orders of magnitude greater.

*This also happens now on NR on the Thameslink core but is (in theory) fail safe because balises prevent the doors releasing if the train is not correctly accommodated. Outside of the core TL doors are released conventionally.

There have been a few DOO mainline trains where all doors open as opposed to be being released - 313 and 314 spring to mind, perhaps 315 too. The 313s only gained passenger open upon refurbishment in the late 1990s. Indeed I can recall a wrong side opening at Knebworth on 2x313 around that time, which I suspect being those days was unlikely to have been reported!

I’m surprised the mainline has never gone for a safety system. The Underground’s systems built into ATP are a bit picky, and in some cases require very precise stopping, but the older standalone systems were pretty reliable and non-intrusive, and that was 1980s technology, so something even better should be readily forthcoming nowadays.

I was surprised the 700s only have a system in the core. For something like intensive suburban DOO work it’s a real no brainer, the chances of a wrong-side release on that must be pretty high. No doubt one day there will be a high-profile incident of some kind, and then it will become a matter of more focus.
 

ComUtoR

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I was surprised the 700s only have a system in the core. For something like intensive suburban DOO work it’s a real no brainer, the chances of a wrong-side release on that must be pretty high. No doubt one day there will be a high-profile incident of some kind, and then it will become a matter of more focus.

Its about money. There isn't that many incidents to justify putting a balise at every station. It would almost completely cure door release incidents but until somone dies or it costs more to deal with incidents then nobody is gonna pay.
 

bramling

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Its about money. There isn't that many incidents to justify putting a balise at every station. It would almost completely cure door release incidents but until somone dies or it costs more to deal with incidents then nobody is gonna pay.

It’s surprising in a way though, as the cost of putting some kind of system in shouldn’t have to be that massive. Though of course better if the industry could devise a standard system, rather than it ending up being TOC-specific.

If it were my remit I’d be tempted to give it some serious thought, especially in third-rail areas. A decent system should also have dwell time benefits, as less need for drivers to have to be fully careful for normal door activations.

Agreed that it of course comes down to ££££.
 

Scott M

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Stopping point accuracy isn't a big deal really as long as the train is accommodated but it seems in the last couple of years it's become more of an issue for some people for no particularly good reason.
Stopping point accuracy isn't a big deal really as long as the train is accommodated but it seems in the last couple of years it's become more of an issue for some people for no particularly good reason.
The higher driver’s wages get through successful strike action, the more that management will expect them to perform their jobs flawlessly. Back when drivers were paid much less in the BR era, they could get away with a lot more. But now if you are earning £60k+ per year doing one of the most highly sought after jobs in the country, management will rightly expect a flawless performance to justify you being there.
 

73128

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and these days (Thames Valley) there are stopping marks for 387s, others for IETs and often others for XC, SWT and anyone else's trains too. Too much signage in places.

I can think of several places on routes I've signed where if you stop at the correct stop board, passengers have to chase the train down the platform, so the point is largely moot. Stop markers aren't really placed for passenger convenience these days it would seem.
No - primarily for safety i.e. where on curved platforms there are camera screens (which being expensive are not at every point that a 4, 5, 8, 10 or 12 car train could stop if its back were to be by an entrance or the canopy at the rear of the train). On a straight platform with good lighting and visibility and on-train cameras one would hope that there would be a series of car stops along the platform to achieve that customer service aim too. The Southern Railway and early Southern Region did exactly that.

Complicated today by different types of stock and operators - eg at Twyford down relief the XR 9 car sets pull right up to their stop at the Reading end, but the 8 car class 387 GWR trains stop much further back at their car stop.
 
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Tomnick

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Appreciate policies on these things do vary. Stopping short is universally considered to be an incident, even if fully platformed, because it indeed indicates a lack of awareness of train length. I’ve known drivers to be reported for this by non TOC employees (usually NR).
Universally? Stop markers appropriate for our units are few and far between at our stations, and at a number of stations the first one that we encounter is a "4/5 car stop" board (clearly intended for traction that comes in 4, 5 and - further down the platform - 7 car variants!). We routinely stop short of these - I've always been taught to do that and I've always done it on ride outs too with no complaint. It'd be silly to trundle right up to the 4/5 car mark with a 2-car unit that otherwise fits nicely under the canopy! Obviously route knowledge is everything here though.

Sheffield's 4/5 car stop boards were recently provided to ensure that there's room at the far end of the platform for another train to arrive from the north, and I've always treated them as a 'limit' rather than something to aim for.
 

O L Leigh

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Not long back we were notified that one of our stations would be receiving a "2 Car Stop X" board, with the instruction that this was a precision stop board. This confused me, so I asked about it and the answer I received was that this was a stop board that I must line up with. "So what are all the other car stop boards for, then?" was my not unreasonable response. As a former DOO driver, my understanding had been that all car stop boards were "precision" boards and that it was important to line up correctly with them to ensure that the train was fully platformed and/or assist with safe dispatch and had naively assumed that the same applied at my current place of work.

I'm sure we've all made mistakes with stopping points. I know that I once took a 2 car unit up to the 3 car board, but nothing was said about it on the day or afterwards. I know that different TOCs employ different policies about such things, perhaps with good reason, but it does seem a bit harsh to treat a stop-board-overshoot as grounds for investigation if there was no impact on safety or if it was a one-off.
 

43096

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Not long back we were notified that one of our stations would be receiving a "2 Car Stop X" board, with the instruction that this was a precision stop board. This confused me, so I asked about it and the answer I received was that this was a stop board that I must line up with. "So what are all the other car stop boards for, then?" was my not unreasonable response. As a former DOO driver, my understanding had been that all car stop boards were "precision" boards and that it was important to line up correctly with them to ensure that the train was fully platformed and/or assist with safe dispatch and had naively assumed that the same applied at my current place of work.

I'm sure we've all made mistakes with stopping points. I know that I once took a 2 car unit up to the 3 car board, but nothing was said about it on the day or afterwards. I know that different TOCs employ different policies about such things, perhaps with good reason, but it does seem a bit harsh to treat a stop-board-overshoot as grounds for investigation if there was no impact on safety or if it was a one-off.
Is it your view that there are too many such stop boards at stations? Some platforms seem to grow them at an alarming rate!

As an outsider, I've long thought the way to do it is as in Germany (and elsewhere): put up a board showing metres of train length. So in the Southern's historic way of working you'd have a "240" board for a 12-car, "160" for an 8-car etc etc. So if you were driving a 230m 10-car 444, for example, you go to the 240 board. Nice, simple, and applies to all traction without each class needing its own boards.
 

Horizon22

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Also, there is some pressure on management to move all stop boards to the end of the platform to eliminate the risk of a stop short, and whilst this has happened at some locations, at others it was established that there would be a higher risk from slips, trips and falls of people running down the platform to get on the train rather than the less often (but more serious) incident of a stop short / doors released.

What does amaze me is how London Underground have had safety systems in place since the 80s that stop a driver opening the doors when not in the correct place, or on the wrong side. On the mainline it seems that stop shorts or wrong side release is just an everyday hazard.

There's a balance to be had between driver standards and passenger comfort, and they often go hand in hand. For instance, if your platform canopy is towards the "back" of the train, then you would be constantly making people wait in the rain or rush down the platform (in wet weather potentially) which is a risk in itself. So yes I'm sure that goes into individual risk matrixes for each station at a TOC, let alone differing between TOCs.

Some stock does indeed stop you doing that I believe but also / or requires balises but can't say I know much about it.
 

Tomnick

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Is it your view that there are too many such stop boards at stations? Some platforms seem to grow them at an alarming rate!

As an outsider, I've long thought the way to do it is as in Germany (and elsewhere): put up a board showing metres of train length. So in the Southern's historic way of working you'd have a "240" board for a 12-car, "160" for an 8-car etc etc. So if you were driving a 230m 10-car 444, for example, you go to the 240 board. Nice, simple, and applies to all traction without each class needing its own boards.
I would certainly say that there are too many stop boards at some stations, some marked as TOC-specific and others clearly intended for a particular TOC’s trains but not marked as such. I know one station that does (or did, until recently) have two 2-car stop boards on one platform, followed by a 3-car board that (with our trains) pretty much gets the AWS receiver perfectly over the magnet with a certain formation of train. Some TOC-specific ones are now highlighted, e.g., with coloured borders, but clearly that’d lose its value if every TOC did the same. As long as we’re allowed to use our route knowledge and best judgment to stop the train in a suitable position, it’s not an enormous problem, but if the industry generally starts enforcing accurate compliance with car stop markers then a more standard approach would be needed in my opinion.
 

Skie

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One mantra I heard moons ago was "Never guess, aim for the S". Which is basically saying if in doubt about the length of your unit due to a poorly timed brainfart, go to the S board or longest available board. Better to have an old dear shuffle a few feet to get to a door than risk an incident.

Of course this only works when you dont have a hodgepodge of different class boards, humps or other considerations.
 

flitwickbeds

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One mantra I heard moons ago was "Never guess, aim for the S". Which is basically saying if in doubt about the length of your unit due to a poorly timed brainfart, go to the S board or longest available board. Better to have an old dear shuffle a few feet to get to a door than risk an incident.

Of course this only works when you dont have a hodgepodge of different class boards, humps or other considerations.
What if the "old dear" you're being so condescending about "shuffling a few feet" actually needs to walk 80 meters or more and it's the last train of the day? What if there is a wheelchair passenger on board who can't alight because there is a drop in the platform that wouldn't be there if you'd stopped in the correct place?

I accept that we're all human and mistakes or "brainfarts" happen occasionally, and yes of course it's better, if that does happen, that you don't open doors where there isn't a platform because you've stopped a 12 car train at an 8 car stop marker. However as someone said above, at the kind of wages we're talking about for a qualified driver, we should expect them to know the size if the train they're driving. We expect much lower paid lorry drivers to know the height of their vehicle and to take notice of clearance limit signs on bridges they go under, or weight limit signs on bridges they go over. Why shouldn't we expect train drivers to get it right every time, and expect there to be a punishment - even if just a "talking to" - if they don't?
 

O L Leigh

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Is it your view that there are too many such stop boards at stations? Some platforms seem to grow them at an alarming rate!

I may have been unclear about the example of the "2 Car Stop X" board. That one is at a station with a very short platform at which it is necessary to put the driver's cab off the end slightly and onto the ramp so that the guard has somewhere to step out. At this location it is the only board on the platform.

But yes, at some locations it can be a bit bewildering. At Birmingham International there is a 4/5/8 Car Stop, VT 4/5 Car Stop and VT 8/9/11 Car Stop (if memory serves me correctly), but you soon get to learn which one(s) you should be looking out for. It's part of the driver's route knowledge after all.

As an outsider, I've long thought the way to do it is as in Germany (and elsewhere): put up a board showing metres of train length. So in the Southern's historic way of working you'd have a "240" board for a 12-car, "160" for an 8-car etc etc. So if you were driving a 230m 10-car 444, for example, you go to the 240 board. Nice, simple, and applies to all traction without each class needing its own boards.

I disagree. Where incidents happen it is generally not due to the driver forgetting where along the platform trains of certain lengths need to stop but momentarily forgetting how long the train that they are currently in control of is. As such it matters not if you label "8 Car Stop" or "160 metre Stop" if the driver cannot recall at that moment how long the train actually is.
 

tpjm

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Reading this thread is rather interesting. As somebody who is actively involved in setting and changing stop boards, it's staggering quite how many people we have here who don't see the significance of these boards.

Let's be clear, TOCs don't like to spend money unless it has a safety benefit. The obvious reason why stop boards get fitted is to minimise the chance of a stop-short, but if that was the only reason, we'd just have S car boards at the end of the platform.

Other considerations:
  • Signal/DOO monitors sighting for the Driver
  • Signal/OFF Indicator sighting for the Guard and/or Dispatcher
  • DOO camera positioning
  • Visibility for the Guard/Dispatcher of the full PTI (particularly at curved platforms)
  • Visibility of particular areas of the train (following a train surfing risk assessment)
  • Management of step gap (particularly at curved platforms)
  • TPWS grids, AWS magnets
  • Specific location requirements, such as places with a short overlap and therefore, specific TPWS fitment to cater for SASPAD incidents.
  • Permissive bi-di working
  • Positioning of the accessible door in relation to platform furniture
  • Location of TRTS/CD/RA plungers
  • Customer flows (i.e. main thoroughfares)
  • Canopies and customer facilities (to minimise the amount of running for trains, slips, trips and falls, and manage dwell time)
  • Entrances and Exits on the platform (think about seeing late runners who may try to board)

Would a driver stopping at the 12 car board with an 8 car train cause a major issue? Most likely not.
Is it good practice? No.
Should it be condoned? No - if the Driver does this regularly, they need to be coached in case there are underlying issues.
Are the people of Rail Forums competent to comment with any authority on this individual situation and the reasons behind it? No.

The ORR have recently become very hot on stop-boards with the introduction of so much more rolling stock where the Driver gives door release. Coupled with the various amounts of new stock with different accessible door positions, coach lengths, etc, there has been a large increase in the number of stop boards. Some operators are attempting to rationalise the approach to make it easier for all involved, but from experience of doing this, I can confirm that is is NOT as simple as you might think!!!
 
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Dieseldriver

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What if the "old dear" you're being so condescending about "shuffling a few feet" actually needs to walk 80 meters or more and it's the last train of the day? What if there is a wheelchair passenger on board who can't alight because there is a drop in the platform that wouldn't be there if you'd stopped in the correct place?

I accept that we're all human and mistakes or "brainfarts" happen occasionally, and yes of course it's better, if that does happen, that you don't open doors where there isn't a platform because you've stopped a 12 car train at an 8 car stop marker. However as someone said above, at the kind of wages we're talking about for a qualified driver, we should expect them to know the size if the train they're driving. We expect much lower paid lorry drivers to know the height of their vehicle and to take notice of clearance limit signs on bridges they go under, or weight limit signs on bridges they go over. Why shouldn't we expect train drivers to get it right every time, and expect there to be a punishment - even if just a "talking to" - if they don't?
It’s funny how Drivers wages seemingly get brought up in literally every single conversation about Driver related matters. You could pay a Driver £1000000 a year, they still have the potential to make a mistake. It’s amusing that people honestly seem to think Drivers aren’t ‘dealt with’ after they’ve made mistakes, we are, and in most cases that mistake follows you for your whole career, particularly if you want to apply for another TOC.
Out of interest, why do *you* think Drivers make mistakes? Why do *you* think Drivers sometimes inadvertently stop in the wrong place on a platform? You don’t seem to have any idea of the standards we strive for and are expected to uphold day in day out.
As for your comment about HGV Drivers, I actually personally think that bridge bash incidents aren’t taken seriously enough, not in terms of punishment for the Driver but in terms of the haulage industry looking into ways of preventing them (be that training or technology). I can’t imagine any HGV Driver goes to work with the intention of making such a mistake, funnily enough, the same is true of Train Drivers.....
 

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It amuses me how people think a salary can change human nature and how a humans mind works
 

Horizon22

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It amuses me how people think a salary can change human nature and how a humans mind works

It can't but I suppose the presumption (perhaps clumsily made above) allows you to attract and select a particular calibre of individual who is less prone to lapses of judgment via all the rigorous testing that is done for a driver. You can never completely eliminate mistakes (law of diminishing returns) but various standards, non-technical skills can get them to a particularly low level.
 

Dieseldriver

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It can't but I suppose the presumption (perhaps clumsily made above) allows you to attract and select a particular calibre of individual who is less prone to lapses of judgment via all the rigorous testing that is done for a driver. You can never completely eliminate mistakes (law of diminishing returns) but various standards, non-technical skills can get them to a particularly low level.
The argument I would put forward is that there are already extremely high standards set by Drivers. Being someone who has done this job day in day out for a little while now, I am actually shocked that more Driver related SOL incidents don’t happen.
 

Horizon22

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The argument I would put forward is that there are already extremely high standards set by Drivers. Being someone who has done this job day in day out for a little while now, I am actually shocked that more Driver related SOL incidents don’t happen.

Indeed. I think "stopping long" comes right down towards the bottom of the SOL / dispatch incidents and - as others have suggested - is not a major concern, unless its a regular occurrence. Although how often these would be reported is a separate issue.
 

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A few things it could be

Driver came in fast, so judged it better to slow down comfortable and not a harsh full stop.

Driver missed their braking point, end result the same as above.

Driver thought they were a Flu

A stock swap was mentioned, drivers diagrams are colour coded green for FLU's and blue for RLU's. We can not change this, also at every stop on diagrams we have 8 cars or 12 cars printed by the departure time.
 

bramling

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A few things it could be

Driver came in fast, so judged it better to slow down comfortable and not a harsh full stop.

Driver missed their braking point, end result the same as above.

Driver thought they were a Flu

A stock swap was mentioned, drivers diagrams are colour coded green for FLU's and blue for RLU's. We can not change this, also at every stop on diagrams we have 8 cars or 12 cars printed by the departure time.

I’d imagine stopping a RLU at a FLU mark is a pretty easy mistake to make, since the vast majority of Thameslink services to Bedford are FLU. It’s easy to see how a very small lapse could result in such an error happening. By contrast the reverse would be much less likely.
 

MissPWay

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If you stop a 5 car train at the 5 car SDO on Bedford platform 1 on the down then the approach released signal at the end of the platform won’t come off as you’re not close enough.

But I expect the mega-minds on here (that both simultaneously need to post a thread on a forum for trainspotters to ask a question about something quite basic and then become experts on it immediately....) would prefer to be despatched against a red and draw up to it?

And yes, it’s been reported many many times, no one in authority particularly cares.
 

Aictos

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There have been a few DOO mainline trains where all doors open as opposed to be being released - 313 and 314 spring to mind, perhaps 315 too. The 313s only gained passenger open upon refurbishment in the late 1990s. Indeed I can recall a wrong side opening at Knebworth on 2x313 around that time, which I suspect being those days was unlikely to have been reported!

I’m surprised the mainline has never gone for a safety system. The Underground’s systems built into ATP are a bit picky, and in some cases require very precise stopping, but the older standalone systems were pretty reliable and non-intrusive, and that was 1980s technology, so something even better should be readily forthcoming nowadays.

I was surprised the 700s only have a system in the core. For something like intensive suburban DOO work it’s a real no brainer, the chances of a wrong-side release on that must be pretty high. No doubt one day there will be a high-profile incident of some kind, and then it will become a matter of more focus.
What do you mean the 313s only gained passenger open upon refurbishment in the late 1990s? As far as I'm aware the class was fitted with door handles which passengers used to open the doors once the driver had stopped and the guard yes there was guards back then had activated the master door release. However apparently most people were too impatient and couldn't wait for the guard release thus giving the handles a much more harder tug which as a result could open the doors even if the train hadn't stopped and the the door release not given which led to the door handles being released by push buttons from March 1977.

Source: Haresnape, Brian; Swain, Alec (1989). 10: Third Rail DC Electric Multiple-Units. British Rail Fleet Survey. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1760-3.

So I'm confused to your referencing that the fleet only gained passenger open in the late 1990s, can you please rephrase and explain in more detail what you actually mean?
 

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