Benefit of 2 platforms over single

och aye

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2012
Messages
431
Hi all,

I was wondering how much of benefit the railways have with stations having 2 platforms instead of having a single one? I know this could be like asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm thinking in terms of time saved, less delays, passenger circulation etc. against the cost of adding a new platform/rail.

I guess an example would be adding platforms to stations on the Borders Railway at Brunstane and Newcraighall where there is a 2nd track on the otherside of the single platform.

I hope my question makes sense and isn't too ambiguous!
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

BayPaul

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2019
Messages
279
Hi all,

I was wondering how much of benefit the railways have with stations having 2 platforms instead of having a single one? I know this could be like asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm thinking in terms of time saved, less delays, passenger circulation etc. against the cost of adding a new platform/rail.

I guess an example would be adding platforms to stations on the Borders Railway at Brunstane and Newcraighall where there is a 2nd track on the otherside of the single platform.

I hope my question makes sense and isn't too ambiguous!
I don't think it works quite like that - it is more to do with the capacity of a line. A single-track branchline can take only one train at a time between the passing places. If the journey time is, say, 50 minutes, and an hourly service is wanted, with a 10 minute turn around at the end, then one passing place near the middle of the line is probably needed. Putting this in a station is normally better than on a random piece on the track, as at least if one train has to wait for the other then it will be in a station. The two-platform stations on a new line will therefore be positioned such as to support the planned service, and on an existing line, the service will probably be shore-horned into what passing places are available!

It's very expensive to build a two-platform station, as you need level access to both platforms, which normally means 2 lifts. Penryn station in Cornwall is a novel solution that allows two trains to pass on a single platform https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penryn_railway_station
 

Maltazer

Member
Joined
7 Feb 2019
Messages
33
Putting this in a station is normally better than on a random piece on the track
That got me thinking - is it really better, since it does mean the station now needs two platforms? Having the passing places elsewhere means single platforms would be fine (and so cheaper)!
 

BayPaul

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2019
Messages
279
That got me thinking - is it really better, since it does mean the station now needs two platforms? Having the passing places elsewhere means single platforms would be fine (and so cheaper)!
I must admit, I was kind of asking myself the same question as I was typing... It must be the quickest option, as all of the token exchanges or whatever other signalling protocols can be carried out at the same time as passenger operations, but if adding a few minutes to the journey time isn't that critical, then I do wonder if you are right.
 

BayPaul

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2019
Messages
279
Island platforms won't have major cost impacts directly associated with the station
Though they would normally still need a fairly expensive way to get to them - a 'normal' station platform can just have a ramp up from an adjacent road. Unless there is a very well positioned overbridge (which can bridge both tracks) with space for a long ramp down to the platform, then a lift from an overbridge will still be needed, if there is no overbridge, then possibly still 2 lifts.
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
9,612
Location
Airedale
These are fairly unusual situations, because the "opposite tracks" you mention can't actually be served by the Borders line, so you would need to put in additional points and signals to permit this. You then have to consider passenger access, which usually means a bridge or subway - which must be accessible.
The result would mean you could run more trains and reduce delays, but it would be pretty expensive (and I don't think the Borders line could cope, anyway).


That got me thinking - is it really better, since it does mean the station now needs two platforms? Having the passing places elsewhere means single platforms would be fine (and so cheaper)!
Yes, but to avoid delaying one or both of the trains you ideally have to make the loop long enough for them to pass at speed, and have points that permit this, which is expensive.
 
Joined
31 Dec 2019
Messages
104
Location
Uk
Though they would normally still need a fairly expensive way to get to them - a 'normal' station platform can just have a ramp up from an adjacent road. Unless there is a very well positioned overbridge (which can bridge both tracks) with space for a long ramp down to the platform, then a lift from an overbridge will still be needed, if there is no overbridge, then possibly still 2 lifts.
Depends on the location, really. Some places it is inevitable to have steps down from a road bridge, or vice versa.
 

snookertam

Member
Joined
22 Sep 2018
Messages
499
There will be numerous considerations as to whether the station has one or two platforms, as mentioned above, it will also be connected to overall capacity of the line, versus cost of building two platforms over having only one. There will also be other infrastructure issues as well both internally for the railway and for the wider station footprint (the overall space that it needs to take up).

In the example of Brunstane its actually two separate single lines running side by side, and to have a second platform would require a cross over at the south end of the station. That would create additional cost and a decision would have to be made on whether it was worth it. At Newcraighall, the line is just short of the start of the Borders Railway itself, and would mean another requirement for a crossover, which would likely be seen as an unjustified cost given that there is a double line section beyond the junction (and Shawfair station is double track with two platforms). We also have Stow which has two platforms because it happens to be on one of the double track passing sections, whereas Galashiels which is arguably the principal station on the line only has a narrow single platform due to space constraints.

In short, there's no simple answer as to why certain stations have single platforms as opposed to double. It all depends on what can be fairly complex and competing requirements at each location.
 

BrianW

Member
Joined
22 Mar 2017
Messages
229
Surely any new platform should be expected to be 'accessible' ie ramps, lifts etc rather than or in addition to steps.
 

61653 HTAFC

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Dec 2012
Messages
11,729
Location
Another planet...
Gala being almost at the end of the line means it's unlikely to need a second platform unless the population of the area balloons and the line needs a "turn-up-and-go" frequency. Likewise Tweedbank is unusual in having two platforms despite being at the end of the line (though this seems to be a thing in Scotland, as Larkhall also reopened with two platforms at the terminus). If the line was to be extended to Hawick, a passing place at Tweedbank might be useful, though removing the buffers would require something to be done with regards to step-free access to/between both platforms. Extending beyond Hawick can be filed under "pointless nostalgia".
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
19,335
Location
Nottingham
There will be numerous considerations as to whether the station has one or two platforms, as mentioned above, it will also be connected to overall capacity of the line, versus cost of building two platforms over having only one. There will also be other infrastructure issues as well both internally for the railway and for the wider station footprint (the overall space that it needs to take up).

In the example of Brunstane its actually two separate single lines running side by side, and to have a second platform would require a cross over at the south end of the station. That would create additional cost and a decision would have to be made on whether it was worth it. At Newcraighall, the line is just short of the start of the Borders Railway itself, and would mean another requirement for a crossover, which would likely be seen as an unjustified cost given that there is a double line section beyond the junction (and Shawfair station is double track with two platforms). We also have Stow which has two platforms because it happens to be on one of the double track passing sections, whereas Galashiels which is arguably the principal station on the line only has a narrow single platform due to space constraints.

In short, there's no simple answer as to why certain stations have single platforms as opposed to double. It all depends on what can be fairly complex and competing requirements at each location.
Looking at the timings at the existing loops, it's pretty clear that if the service on Borders is to be doubled in future (even if only part of the way), trains will need to pass each other somewhere around Brunstane. The ideal place to pass would be right on the junction at Portobello as this minimizes the impact on ECML capacity, but even that probably requires double track as far as Brunstane because of signal positions etc. So I suspect there's a plan in a drawer somewhere for putting in the extra crossovers and platform to make this a true double track section.
 

xotGD

Established Member
Joined
4 Feb 2017
Messages
3,186
A benefit of reinstating the second platform at Castleford would be fewer people getting on the wrong train. With everything reversing in the station there isn't a clue from the direction of travel, and when things are running late there is greater chance of passengers getting confused.

P1 for Leeds, P2 for everywhere else would make things easier. Plus fewer knock-on delays waiting for the platform.
 

61653 HTAFC

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Dec 2012
Messages
11,729
Location
Another planet...
A benefit of reinstating the second platform at Castleford would be fewer people getting on the wrong train. With everything reversing in the station there isn't a clue from the direction of travel, and when things are running late there is greater chance of passengers getting confused.

P1 for Leeds, P2 for everywhere else would make things easier. Plus fewer knock-on delays waiting for the platform.
Side-facing destination boards on every unit (something that I'd thought was supposed to become compulsory at the start of this year, but apparently that part of the PRM-TSI doesn't apply to legacy stock) would prevent this problem for a fraction of the cost. The timetable is set up for all services to use the one platform and a second shouldn't be needed. If a York service was introduced there'd be a case for it maybe.
 

railjock

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2012
Messages
354
Looking at the timings at the existing loops, it's pretty clear that if the service on Borders is to be doubled in future (even if only part of the way), trains will need to pass each other somewhere around Brunstane. The ideal place to pass would be right on the junction at Portobello as this minimizes the impact on ECML capacity, but even that probably requires double track as far as Brunstane because of signal positions etc. So I suspect there's a plan in a drawer somewhere for putting in the extra crossovers and platform to make this a true double track section.
I think a double platform at Brunstane is already seen as a possible future enhancement. Not at Newcraighall though.
 

och aye

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2012
Messages
431
I think a double platform at Brunstane is already seen as a possible future enhancement. Not at Newcraighall though.
That is interesting. I would have thought having a 2nd platform at Newcraighall and access to the park would make it easier to get to QMU
 

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
1,946
Location
Hope Valley
A second platform can be quite expensive. The Dunbar scheme was widely reported as £13,000,000 despite there being no need for significant track or signalling work. It is not entirely clear if that is the final cost as I believe some work remained outstanding after the December 2019 opening.
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
9,612
Location
Airedale
That is interesting. I would have thought having a 2nd platform at Newcraighall and access to the park would make it easier to get to QMU
It would, though just an accessible footbridge would be sufficient (I'm assuming that the footpath through the park is itself OK?) - leaving aside the cost and lack of operatiinal benefit (see my earlier post) I am not sure there is space for the new crossover that would be needed (with today's signalling rules).
 

YorksLad12

Member
Joined
5 Feb 2020
Messages
309
Location
Leeds
Side-facing destination boards on every unit (something that I'd thought was supposed to become compulsory at the start of this year, but apparently that part of the PRM-TSI doesn't apply to legacy stock) would prevent this problem for a fraction of the cost. The timetable is set up for all services to use the one platform and a second shouldn't be needed. If a York service was introduced there'd be a case for it maybe.
Given that Castleford is a single platform and a reversal; is there a theoretical maximum of calls there? Effectively there are six per hour (three in, three out), one of which terminates there. The York service would likely be an extension of Huddersfield-Wakefield K-Castleford (which wouldn't reverse) but if one of the other services was doubled in frequency... how long until Castleford is 'full'?
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
19,335
Location
Nottingham
Given that Castleford is a single platform and a reversal; is there a theoretical maximum of calls there? Effectively there are six per hour (three in, three out), one of which terminates there. The York service would likely be an extension of Huddersfield-Wakefield K-Castleford (which wouldn't reverse) but if one of the other services was doubled in frequency... how long until Castleford is 'full'?
It depends on many factors, principally the dwell time plus the time it takes for a train to leave the platform and get clear of the crossover to the other track, and for the next train to arrive in the platform without being checked by signals. These in turn depend on track layout, permitted speeds and train performance.
 

BrianW

Member
Joined
22 Mar 2017
Messages
229
It depends on many factors, principally the dwell time plus ...
As an armchair amateur I would be pleased to have some idea of eg a minimum of X minutes, or at such-and-such a place its Y mins, whereas at Z its ... (and maybe why?)
I am increasingly admiring of those trying thanklessly to balance train frequencies, lengths, platform and staff availabilities, destinations and the unbottomless pit of money.
Thank you.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
50,430
Location
Yorkshire

randyrippley

Established Member
Joined
21 Feb 2016
Messages
3,209
I think a more interesting question is whether there was really any advantage in locations where one line actually had two platform faces, such as found at Ulverston and Yeovil Pen Mill. Both were junctions / transfer points enabling cross platform interchange, but did it cause more problems than it saved?
 

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
1,946
Location
Hope Valley
Whilst I am sure that passenger convenience was part of the thinking I suspect that ease of transferring things like mail, newspapers, parcels and milk churns to and from branch trains was a key element too. (Long before the days of electric lifts, of course.)
 

reb0118

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
28 Jan 2010
Messages
2,890
Location
Bo'ness, West Lothian
I've heard rumours that the Borders' Line is to be double track from Portobello Jn. to King's Gate Jn. with second platforms for both Brunstane [BSU] & Newcraighall [NEW]. As to when that may happen is anyone's guess?
 

Top