DB Fernverkehr train despatch

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Senex

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After a six-month trial at Cologne and Hannover, DB Fernverkehr introduced a new despatch procedure nationwide with effect from 17 October. Provided the signalling shews a "proceed" aspect, the aim is that trains will now start to move at zero seconds of the departure-minute. Until now it was normal for all doors save one to be closed immediately after the stated departure-time, with the Zugchef (i.e. Guard or "Train Captain") then operating the Zp9 system to give the driver the right-away, getting back into the train, and closing the remaining door. This meant that in practice a train could not theoretically leave before 31 seconds after departure-time. The close-door process, which according to train-type requires from 30 to 45 seconds, will now start in advance of the stated departure-time and the driver will receive the right-away over the intercom system.

(DB Fernverkehr is the last user of the Zp9 facilities as pretty well all the local traffic providers have their own despatch arrangements which do not use these signals. For Fernverkehr their use has given rise to some difficulties since the abolition of most of the platform supervisors who used to operate them and the pass of their working to the Zugchef. Where there are still supervisors, they will continue to be used, and in Munich there is even a founr-month trial re-introduction.)
 
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Bletchleyite

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That seems silly. DB's previous system of "you can board the train up to the specified departure minute" seemed more sensible.

Will they still activate the departure announcement before closing doors, or has that curious little feature of DB-land now gone completely?

What kind of "intercom system" will be used on hauled stock that is only fitted with the UIC door close key?

FWIW, SBB (albeit with a flawed and unsafe general departure procedure) seem to manage to have their guards operate the RA (I guess that's Zp9's UK equivalent?) without any significant delays.
 
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Senex

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Will they still activate the departure announcement before closing doors, or has that curious little feature of DB-land now gone completely?

What kind of "intercom system" will be used on hauled stock that is only fitted with the UIC door close key?
Yes, the announcement stays -- that is the official start of the close process.

Not clear on second question. What I saw reads: "Der Lokführer bekommt nunmehr seinen Abfahrauftrag fernmündlich vom Zugchef über die interne Sprechverbindung."
 

axlecounter

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That seems silly. DB's previous system of "you can board the train up to the specified departure minute" seemed more sensible.

Will they still activate the departure announcement before closing doors, or has that curious little feature of DB-land now gone completely?

What kind of "intercom system" will be used on hauled stock that is only fitted with the UIC door close key?

FWIW, SBB (albeit with a flawed and unsafe general departure procedure) seem to manage to have their guards operate the RA (I guess that's Zp9's UK equivalent?) without any significant delays.
They could use the UIC intercom, why not?

Any SBB guards operated train will never leave before at least ~15sec after departure time, having that same procedure.
Yes, the announcement stays -- that is the official start of the close process.

Not clear on second question. What I saw reads: "Der Lokführer bekommt nunmehr seinen Abfahrauftrag fernmündlich vom Zugchef über die interne Sprechverbindung."

That just says that the driver will become his RA via intercom.
 

Tim R-T-C

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Sounds like a committee idea from people who don't actually work on the railways.

Surely the working timetables should allow for door opening and closing in them, so a train departing 45 seconds after the departure time will be 'on time'.

Just from experience, this could cause more delays, as passengers arriving to find the doors are closed will need to run up to the guard's door to get on - or will the guard not be required to allow entry after the main doors have closed?
 

Groningen

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In England at some stations access to the trains is stopped 1 minute before departuretime? In the Netherlands the whistle blows around 15 to 30 seconds before departuretime with the risk of departing seconds too early.
 

Bletchleyite

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They could use the UIC intercom, why not?

There is a standard UIC intercom to the loco driver (rather than just a PA system)? Didn't know that.

Just wait until an accident where something else is interpreted as "Abfahren, bitte"...

Mind you, I've seen a Pacer departure thus (years ago):-
- Guard closes doors
- Guard closes local door
- Guard opens driver's cab door, shouts "buzz buzz"
- Driver returns buzzes actually on buzzer
- Driver departs

:)

Any SBB guards operated train will never leave before at least ~15sec after departure time, having that same procedure.

Why's that a problem? The only punctuality figure that actually matters is arrival.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
In England at some stations access to the trains is stopped 1 minute before departuretime? In the Netherlands the whistle blows around 15 to 30 seconds before departuretime with the risk of departing seconds too early.

Sometimes 2 minutes at termini.

It's stupid and inconsistent. Easiest way is that you can board up to the timetabled departure time, though I would concede for a national consistent standard for boarding cut-off publicised widely. The UK at present has neither.
 
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Senex

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Easiest way is that you can board up to the timetabled departure time, though I would concede for a national consistent standard for boarding cut-off publicised widely. The UK at present has neither.
I agree, and that's why I liked the way DB have done it up to now. I was always under the impression that the first point-to-point Buchfahrplan time (i.e. start to pass) actually included enough time to allow for the starting procedure, but it looks as though I may have been wrong.

The British way of doing things is just a mess, though the long-distance TOCs do seem to work on the basis that a train should start to move on the second of the departure minute -- the problem is that there is then absolutely no consistent pattern to the door-close procedures.
 

Diplodicus

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The British way of doing things is just a mess, though the long-distance TOCs do seem to work on the basis that a train should start to move on the second of the departure minute -- the problem is that there is then absolutely no consistent pattern to the door-close procedures.


It's simple! If you're on the 11:45 train, then you want it to start moving at 11:45:00

If you're on the platform, you expect to be able to board the train until 11:45:59

At Waterloo (at least) the train info disappears from all displays one minute before scheduled departure unless shown as "Delayed".


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Bletchleyite

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It's simple! If you're on the 11:45 train, then you want it to start moving at 11:45:00

I don't care if it starts moving at 12:00:00 provided it arrives at the first station stop and all thereafter at or before the published time. Though if there is that kind of scenario (e.g. where an engineering diversion has been cancelled) an announcement comes in handy.
 

Groningen

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I
f you're on the platform, you expect to be able to board the train until 11:45:59

Someone calling in the desert. No; departuretime is departuretime and the seconds do not count!
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Mind you, I've seen a Pacer departure thus (years ago):-
- Guard closes doors
- Guard closes local door
- Guard opens driver's cab door, shouts "buzz buzz"
- Driver returns buzzes actually on buzzer
- Driver departs

:)

Yes it gets interesting when the the door control panel buzzer stops working. There are of course safe methods of work for use in such situations principally involving use of a green flag or lamp. But they do impinge a little on the ability to carry out ticketing duties. What you witnessed was perhaps the ultimate in pragmatism. The driver responding on the actual buzzer was for data recording purposes.

The British way of doing things is just a mess, though the long-distance TOCs do seem to work on the basis that a train should start to move on the second of the departure minute -- the problem is that there is then absolutely no consistent pattern to the door-close procedures.

While perfectly true it is perhaps due to there being no consistent pattern to the time it takes to initiate and complete the door closing process. From observation a Pendolino needs at least 45 seconds whereas as 142 needs barely 20 seconds. Where guards are self dispatching most will take this into account but once platform dispatchers and RA indicators start to get involved it gets more complicated. I would suggest the blanket times are a simple way of accounting for such variations. If people really expect to board a train 59 seconds after its departure time while still wanting on-time arrivals then expect nearly all journey times to be extended by a minute for each intermediate stop.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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I prefer a system where if I'm catching the 11:45 train, I can expect to be able to board it at 11:44 and 59 seconds. By all means, shut the doors in my face at 11:45:00. If the doors are closed before departure time, the train has effectively departed early.

No. It means that boarding ceases at a time prior to departure. The issue is defining and communicating that time.
 

axlecounter

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No. It means that boarding ceases at a time prior to departure. The issue is defining and communicating that time.

I don't really agree. As long as there is no particular procedure (see: airports) to get on a train, I don't see why I should be expected to arrive before departure time.
If then it takes two minutes to close all the doors and have the train finally moving it's not really a passenger's problem, provided that he arrived before departure time (11:44:59 in my opinion, not after that, seconds do count!)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There is a standard UIC intercom to the loco driver (rather than just a PA system)? Didn't know that.

Just wait until an accident where something else is interpreted as "Abfahren, bitte"...

AFAIK, yes, two pins are reserved for driver <-> coaches communications. It was used in Switzerland, in the pre-mobiles era.

Why's that a problem? The only punctuality figure that actually matters is arrival.
Sure! Ask those who thought this why is it a problem!
 
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