Arnos Grove station congestion

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18 Aug 2019
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303
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London
As someone who has used Arnos Grove station my whole life, congestion and getting stuck at red signals when arriving into Arnos Grove into the eastbound direction has always been common. However since I started commuting again in October, every evening I get stuck at multiple red signals on the approach to Arnos Grove station and crawl into the station.

It seems to me the problem is a combination of terminating trains, and crew changeovers, blocking both of the eastbound platforms at Arnos Grove causing congestion. A particularly big issue I've seen recently is both platforms 1 and 2/3 being occupied by terminating eastbound services about to head westbound, meaning cockfosters trains have no platform they can use at Arnos Grove until one of those services has departed. Also terminating services using platform 1 causes a lot of delays as they have to cross the station throat.

Its no big deal, but I'm just wondering why its got worse recently, it may be that its timetable that way but I'm doubtful.

One thing I do wonder if that if London Underground has its own version of the Timetable Planning Rules perhaps a larger junction margin is needed there, but that's probably not the case.
 
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Surreytraveller

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Perhaps the train you're on is running early, due to fewer passengers, and is just waiting its booked slot into a platform
 

bramling

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As someone who has used Arnos Grove station my whole life, congestion and getting stuck at red signals when arriving into Arnos Grove into the eastbound direction has always been common. However since I started commuting again in October, every evening I get stuck at multiple red signals on the approach to Arnos Grove station and crawl into the station.

It seems to me the problem is a combination of terminating trains, and crew changeovers, blocking both of the eastbound platforms at Arnos Grove causing congestion. A particularly big issue I've seen recently is both platforms 1 and 2/3 being occupied by terminating eastbound services about to head westbound, meaning cockfosters trains have no platform they can use at Arnos Grove until one of those services has departed. Also terminating services using platform 1 causes a lot of delays as they have to cross the station throat.

Its no big deal, but I'm just wondering why its got worse recently, it may be that its timetable that way but I'm doubtful.

One thing I do wonder if that if London Underground has its own version of the Timetable Planning Rules perhaps a larger junction margin is needed there, but that's probably not the case.

Multiple different issues coming together, unfortunately. Arnos is a crew relief point, and the Piccadilly Line was particularly heavily bitten by a concept in the 1990s called "superdepots", where there was a school of thought that each line would be best served by a small number of very large train crew depots. Whilst this brings in some level of efficiencies, the problem is that by definition you end up with massive numbers of crew reliefs, which makes things difficult to manage when there's problems. An associated problem is that a "superdepot" by definition is one which has a lot of drivers based there, and in order to house lots of drivers the depot needs to be physically large, space on that scale not being something typically found on the average station, so both Piccadilly Line depots ended up being sited some way from the platforms, which doesn't help when things go wrong as any sit down will be amplified by the time it takes for a fresh driver to walk from the depot to platform. Lessons have been learned from this, and new depots have opened in recent years at Northfields and Cockfosters, however Arnos is still a fairly large depot, and still has the legacy of being remote from the platforms. Add in the typical 1980s signalling designed for a time when passenger numbers were falling and it adds up to a sub-optimal setup.
 

FOH

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17 Oct 2013
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557
Worst station for this on the network in my experience. The only time I've seen open revolt by passengers with feet jammed in the doors forcing train destination changes.
 
Joined
18 Aug 2019
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303
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London
Multiple different issues coming together, unfortunately. Arnos is a crew relief point, and the Piccadilly Line was particularly heavily bitten by a concept in the 1990s called "superdepots", where there was a school of thought that each line would be best served by a small number of very large train crew depots. Whilst this brings in some level of efficiencies, the problem is that by definition you end up with massive numbers of crew reliefs, which makes things difficult to manage when there's problems. An associated problem is that a "superdepot" by definition is one which has a lot of drivers based there, and in order to house lots of drivers the depot needs to be physically large, space on that scale not being something typically found on the average station, so both Piccadilly Line depots ended up being sited some way from the platforms, which doesn't help when things go wrong as any sit down will be amplified by the time it takes for a fresh driver to walk from the depot to platform. Lessons have been learned from this, and new depots have opened in recent years at Northfields and Cockfosters, however Arnos is still a fairly large depot, and still has the legacy of being remote from the platforms. Add in the typical 1980s signalling designed for a time when passenger numbers were falling and it adds up to a sub-optimal setup.
Thankyou for your response. Crew changes have always caused delays from what I can remember, but its really interesting to hear the background behind why the crew changes cause delays.

I do think the timetabling could be better, today I had delays again because Platform 1 and 2/2 were occupied by westbound services, meaning there is no available platform for eastbound services to arrive at Arnos Grove until one of those trains has departed.
 

philthetube

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5 Jan 2016
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2,499
This would not be timetabling, this would be a stuck train either for a defect or lack of driver, or possibly something to do with a passenger, illness perhaps.
 

Mojo

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Lessons have been learned from this, and new depots have opened in recent years at Northfields and Cockfosters, however Arnos is still a fairly large depot, and still has the legacy of being remote from the platforms.
Even though the depots at Northfields and Cockfosters have (re)opened it still suffers from the problem that the majority of pick ups are still at Acton and Arnos.

I'm sure you are well aware but for the benefit of others, a particular problem is with second half pick ups after meal relief, the majority of these for the line are at Acton or Arnos but pose the biggest risks in the event of late running whereby the first train is running late meaning the Train Operator doesn't have time to have their meal relief and be in position for their second pick up.
 
Joined
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This would not be timetabling, this would be a stuck train either for a defect or lack of driver, or possibly something to do with a passenger, illness perhaps.
I don't think it is, but as someone who uses the station everyday, delays are happening everyday at the minute, and at least twice a week two terminating trains are blocking both of the eastbound platforms at Arnos Grove.
 

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