ATO on Thameslink (?) and December 2019 timetable discussion

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 387star, 26 Sep 2019.

  1. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    So I understand, I was responding to the idea that they were only 'rumoured'.

    That’s the usual interpretation of the present situation, yes.
     
    Last edited: 12 Nov 2019
  2. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    *shrugs*
     
  3. peferenz

    peferenz New Member

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    Hi everyone - first-time poster and looking for your guidance.

    I'd understood that at the conclusion of the Thameslink programme (targeted for December 2019), 24 tph would run through the core (between London Blackfriars and London St. Pancras) during peak times. As of today (Wednesday), from 9-10am, I count 18 trains running through the core. When I check the Thameslink scheduler for Thursday 19 December, 9-10am, I see 18 trains running through the core. The 24 tph was to be accomplished by using some sort of onboard signaling software across the network.

    I note Thameslink has published guidance that they will not be making any significant (or moderate) changes to the December 2019 timetable. My questions - have I missed the reporting that the programme is delayed once again? Has Thameslink abandoned plans to run this many tph through the core? Any information appreciated. Asking in part because I purchased a house in SE London on the basis of these rail improvements - and if they're not happening, given the constant overcrowding, I may need to re-assess.

    Thanks!
     
  4. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Welcome to the forums.
    Official PR about the timescales for build up to 24 tph has all but ceased. You’re right that nothing much is expected to change in Dec.
     
  5. peferenz

    peferenz New Member

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    Have come across this piece, published in August 2019 - http://digitalissues.newcivilengineer.com/2019/0819Thameslink/index.html

    It mentions that with civil engineering works now completed, the network is able to run 24 tph once the "full Thameslink timetable" is introduced. However, I cannot find any mention of timing for when this introduction will occur.
     
  6. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I count 22 between 07-0800

    ATO is designed to push the capacity further but is not yet in use. Once the training and testing has been completed then I would assume that ATO will slowly be introduced.
     
  7. peferenz

    peferenz New Member

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    How are you counting 22, out of curiosity? If I use Thameslink's travel times service, and travel from Blackfriars to St Pancras from 9-10am on a weekday, I count 18. Perhaps you're including trains terminating at Blackfriars? I also note the Thameslink service double-counts a few - showing trains leaving at the same time but taking either 8 or 28 minutes to reach St. Pancras from Blackfriars.
     
  8. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    realtimetrains.co.uk

    Set Station : City Thameslink
    Set Previous Station : Blackfriars
    Set time : 0700-0800

    That allows for all services that are going through the core. I believe that in the evening peak there are also 22 running. I'm not sure if the 24tph was planned for all day. There was also a few operational issues as well as some changes to the timetable (Sutton loops) The Maidstone service may or may not happen and that will be having an effect on the capacity figures.

    ATO/ETCS is there and allows for the potential upgrades and is future proofing the station. I think that ATO could allow for 26tph and again, potentially more.

    I'm not sure how a few extra tph would influence my decision as I would be more concerned how my local services would be affected. If the Sutton Loops ever get terminated into the bay or the Sevenoaks or any potential reshuffling of services, that would affect my decision more. I'd also plan for the long term. I'd also be concerned about the fragility of adding more and more services into a very tight space that has a tendency to snap at any given moment. When I checked earlier. There was a whole lot of services that were severely delayed.
     
  9. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I think between 0900 - 1000 the peak frequency period is already over. Another example, the ex-Littlehampton trains only run in two separate hours. Eventually there’ll be 3 of them, but AIUI that still means the “end state 24 tph” maximum only actually runs in one peak hour, so there’ll never be 24 tph “throughout” the northbound morning peak period, however you define it.
     
    Last edited: 14 Nov 2019
  10. Fincra5

    Fincra5 Established Member

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    Probably habit. A lot of OBS' are Ex-Guards and for many, many years TLK only ran to Bedford.

    Not sure what this Dig at an OBS has to do with ATO however...

    As for 24t.ph. Its unlikely for a while yet. Gatwick Airport rebuilding starts next May for 2 years (at least), which will result in a reduction in services/ capacity. Not long after that the rebuilding of Windmill Junction & East Croydon is planned.
     
    Last edited: 14 Nov 2019
  11. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    From what I hear and with all rumours take it with a pinch of salt but I’m hearing May 2020 will see changes to the TT with the main one being Luton to Rainham seeing trains Monday to Saturday as a half hourly service off peak.

    And with Platform 5 at Stevenage being used for Hertford services that leads to a extra service from the GN to Gatwick being available so I think we will reach 24tph in the Core or be very close come next May.
     
  12. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    ATO/ETCS has been tested and commissioned but unless I am misinformed has not used seriously in operation yet. I would love to be wrong, but based on past experience there are going to be problems with things like stopping accuracy/door control and response to low adhesion once it starts to be used every day by all trains - there always are. And the worrying thing is that as I understand it the co-operative ops/engineering team which got the work done has been disbanded so making changes will be long and painful, with lots of arguments between GTR and NR about what the problem is and who should pay for the modifications. Don't count your 24tph chickens yet.

    And no, I don't think the system as installed will cope with more than 24tph. The combination of dwell time/service mix/confused passengers, train length and low maximum speed through the platform makes Thameslink a particularly difficult target. In terms of achieving high levels of capacity in trains per hour, Crossrail is much easier.
     
  13. 365 Networker

    365 Networker Member

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    I'll try to make the most of these Saturday services before the December timetable change. Hopefully they will continue to operate some services on Sundays.
     
  14. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    It’s designed for 2 minute headways (75 sec platform reoccupation + 45 second dwell). 24tph is the maximum that can be reliably timetabled, but it can operate at up to 30tph in recovery scenarios. Albeit not likely for a whole hour.
     
  15. Roast Veg

    Roast Veg Member

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    ATO also does a lot for service reliability.
     
  16. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    In what way ?
     
  17. Nicholas Lewis

    Nicholas Lewis Member

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    Currently 20TPH is only sustained between STP and BFR between 0744 to 0924 and between BFR and STP 1638 to 1831.

    I would further suggest that in this currently play it safe operation that the industry has invoked after messing it up in May 18 you aint going to see anymore than 20TPH, even with ATO, anytime soon if ever because those trains will create further conflicts South of Blackfriars and that creates the potential for knock on delays when the timetable is in perturbation. Remember also SoS Shapps thinks hes being clever by telling the industry trains will only be measured as being on time so this further reduces the risk the industry wants to take especially as big chunks of execs bonuses are earnt on train performance.
     
  18. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    Yes - that's the theory. The reoccupation time I am fairly comfortable with, but there are some challenging assumptions behind the 45s dwell, particularly in terms of the dispatch process.
     
  19. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    Consistent reoccupation time (not dependent on driver performance) combined with accurate stopping and fast door opening. The dispatch end, where driver surveillance prior to and after door closure comes in, is where it gets interesting.
     
  20. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Consistency is great for when its running but 'service reliability' is so much more than timing it right. I would say the biggest issue with the core is that failures and incidents cause the most severe delays. Recovery is also a drama because generally, you can only recover in a single direction. I remember causing a huge delay because when I stopped at Blackfriars, the train closed up behind me in seconds. That blocked the points and any chance at Bi-Di is gone. Even now the slightest delay and your running into the back of someone far quicker than someone can make a decision.

    Will ATO be able to deal with Bi-Di running on the fly and allow for incidents and failures or is it going to simply stack trains up behind each other ?
     
  21. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Isn't the Thameslink core bi-di already, both under ATO and under the legacy signals?

    One problem with short (like Thameslink) or moving blocks is that if there is a stoppage several trains will stack up quickly very closely being in the culprit, which means if either backing out or evacuation is needed it becomes that much more difficult with more trains to deal with. I believe Crossrail signaling is designed so there's never more than one train in each interval between stations or intermediate shafts - does something similar happen with Thameslink?
     
  22. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I don’t see how it can with the extra distance between Farringdon and St Pancras compared to the other intermediate distances.
     
  23. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    It is Bi-Di under traditional signals. Over ATO, I don't know.

    My concerns are how quickly trains stack up and how easy the system snaps. You can literally be on time 1 signal outside of Blackfriars and then drop 5/6 minutes on a normal day and when it really goes up the creek you can drop loads. When your sitting on the last signal out of Blackfriars your options are limited. When you have trains over junctions and crossovers it just compounds the issues further. I remember an incident this year where there was a dragging brake at Blackfriars and everyone stacked up. I could have easily stayed at Elephant and passengers emptied out onto the Tube. Once I passed the junction signal it was game over and my only option is to queue up for The Core :/

    Some days I despair with The Core. I would rather be held in a station with the crossover in front held clear but it doesn't happen. You start stacking up really quickly. I'd like to know how ATO will deal with disruption. How easy will it be to turn back at Kentish Town or drop into Smithfield and turn back there ? Will the system revert to legacy and then the human in the box figure it all out or will it be fed into the ATO/ERTMS and the system come up with a recovery plan ?

    It's stuff like this where I'm interested in how ATO will benefit/cure/help/ameliorate the situation. If everything is forced into time order your potentially waiting for something behind you to be regulated in front.
     
  24. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    I regularly see trains in the core do a 30 second dwell, so 45 seconds is no problem.


    Yes ATO can deal with bidi. If the signaller routes a train bi-di, it will do as it’s told.

    The signalling in the core is very carefully designed to permit a 12 car to stand between Farringdon and City, or City and Blackfriars, whilst there are trains in all the platforms. You can’t get two trains between any two of these consecutive stations; there isn’t enough space, even if the blocks were short enough. It is almost exactly a mile from the south ramp of Blackfriars to the ‘north’ ramp of Farringdon, and that includes almost half a mile of platforms. It’s different between St P and Farringdon, which of course is helped by the old KXTL station.

    Crossrail signalling is indeed designed to prevent more than one train in an ‘evacuation section’, but that is about tunnel evacuation, rather than being near a station. It’s the main reason why 30tph on Crossrail is questionable (I’ve never seen it proved to work )
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2019
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Farringdon to St Pancras has a high-capacity emergency evacuation route via the old Kings Cross Thameslink station and there may be another one between there and Farringdon.
     
  26. Nicholas Lewis

    Nicholas Lewis Member

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    Agreed as a daily user the core is the most reliable on dwell times its the station platform dispatch at E.Croydon, Purley and Redhill that often cause us to lose time especially when weather is adverse as the dispatchers aren't predisposed to be up the end out in the open before the train arrives.
     
  27. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    This is all excellent stuff - and clearly ATO is blindingly cleary superb for Metro options on an end to end basis, say Walthamstow to Brixton. Excellent. (Maybe not for Cambridge to Brighton)

    However , in the dark past of 1930 something they had a cunning signalling system on the Watford to Euston DC line which had basically "stop and proceed" working on colour light signalling with tripcocks on all trains (LT and LMS) which kept trains moving. Bad news is that in in disruption , you had a massive pile of stacked trains - one behind the other , of differing kinds ,neither could "mate" with their friends if one felt poorly.

    Just a comment. Please add.
     
  28. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    How often do things actually go wrong in the core though - as in, a train coming to a halt and then everything getting stuck stacking up behind it?

    I know everything's sensitive to disruption elsewhere, which can cause trains to enter the core out of sequence and therefore not as efficiently as would be ideal - however I was under the impression that something breaking down in the core is now relatively rare.
     
  29. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    If that is so then the passenger flows on and off the train are much faster than expected, which is good, of course and does suggest that more than 24ph as a timetabled service might be possible. But can I ask some questions (don't get offended, I really want to know):

    1) Is that wheels stop to wheels start?
    2) Loading conditions (45s in recovery conditions implies a crush load)
    3) Which station(s)?
    4) AM or PM peak?
    5) Mainly boarders or alighters?
     
  30. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    This says that if you expect failures regularly, station-to-station or station-to-crossover working is the only way to operate (because you can always detrain or reverse or run wrong line if there is a blockage). And of course this puts severe limits on capacity. There is no way round the fact that high capacity railways just have to be very highly reliable - so train and signalling failures are extremely rare and you don't need extra infrastructure to handle disruption. That's the way successful metros work and if the main line railway wants to achieve those kinds of capacity, it has to do the same. The "mating" issue underlines the fact that high capacity implies a homogenous fleet (which Thameslink more or less has now, despite pushback from various quarters)
     

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