Despatching error, or dysfunctional measurement system?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by TheManOnThe172, 5 Dec 2018.

  1. TheManOnThe172

    TheManOnThe172 Member

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    I've previously banged my head against the wall at what seem to be daft decisions about despatching of trains north from Derby, where slow Matlock trains (calling at Duffield and Belper on the main line) have the potential to hold up faster trains.

    Others here helped me realise that a Matlock train may be despatched on time to hold up a late-running Leeds train because EMT control the signalling, so they make sure that their own stats don't suffer, however suboptimal this may be for passengers as a whole.

    But last night saw something that is even more dysfunctional: the 1951 Matlock (2A62) was (according to RealtimeTrains) sent out on time, only to be held north of the station to let a late-running Leeds train (IE63) go ahead. I was through Derby an hour later and there seemed no issue with platform availability as a possible reason for needing to despatch bang on time.

    Had the Matlock train been held in Derby station, passengers from IE63 could have transferred (a connection recommended by journey planners). Instead, passengers from IE63 will have missed the Matlock connection (waiting 58 minutes at a station with minimal facilities at that time of night), to no discernable operational benefit: the Matlock train still ran 7 late from Duffield.

    Is this an example of someone on the operations side slipping up, or will it have been a deliberate decision to get the Matlock train away on time so that the datapoint for Derby departure helped keep up average stats, whatever the cost to passengers attempting the connection?
     
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  3. Gems

    Gems Member

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    What you are describing is a common feature. By allowing the Matlock train out on time it passes to blame and financial penalty onto Northerrail who run the Leeds service. It is now Northerns fault for the delay and not NR's.
    You really have to stop thinking in this world of privateers that you as a passenger matter.
     
  4. Dhassell

    Dhassell Member

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    If EMT delayed their train at Derby to hold for a connection... then they would be liable for the costs for the delay, but if it is sent off on time and the delay is incurred by a Network Rail Signaller, surely it is then Network Rail who would pay any delay bill? Hence from a business point of view, EMT would want to get their train away on time even if it did pick up a delay on-route to the next station?

    Did anyone actually request a hold? Or did people just assume it would be held as common sense?
     
  5. TheManOnThe172

    TheManOnThe172 Member

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    I went to the Customer Reception desk at New Street (at 1855, when the delay to the Leeds train was known) and made just such a request - I was told that nothing could be done. Guessing (correctly) that the connection would be missed, I stayed 40 minutes in a warm John Lewis at New Street, bought some food, and caught a later train to allow a safe connection for the following hour's Matlock train. An evening hour spent on a cold Derby station is not a pleasant prospect - the waiting rooms are minimally heated (if at all) and there are no refreshments past 20.00.
     
  6. AndyW33

    AndyW33 Member

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    You also need to stop thinking that Northern have anything whatsoever to do with the service between Derby and Leeds. They don't. The operator is Cross Country (plus very occasional East Midland trains which run to Leeds as a way of getting to Neville Hill depot).
     
  7. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes I see this at Leeds; I've known Northern trains head out towards York/Selby 'on time' only to be held at the end of the platforms, or in a centre road at Leeds station, for up to 10 minutes while a procession of late running XC/TPE trains go ahead of it, with all their passengers having needlessly missed the connection.

    It may well be something to do with delay attribution, I don't know but if there is a 'loophole' which some TOCs or NR are exploiting then it needs to be closed as it's a ridiculous situation.
     
  8. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    From the point of view of a dispatcher, when they have the signal they dispatch the train. It's not read into any more than that - if the train can go, they will send it. They have no concern over what is likely to happen once the train has departed and it is not their job to be concerned about such things - that is down to the signaller. The dispatcher is relying on the signal not to be cleared if there is some reason it should not go. In such cases the train would remain in the platform with doors open.
     
  9. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    when did EMT take control of signalling?
     
  10. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    Holding the Matlock train back for a connection would’ve almost certainly have delayed it more than letting it trundle to St Marys and having it ready to follow the Leeds service immediately from there, and whoever decided to hold it would wear the delay. Letting it run first was probably still on the table as an option at that point too.
    Delay attribution doesn’t work like that. It’d go down to whatever the root cause was behind the delay to the XC (not Northern) train, not necessarily XC themselves. Your last point is still valid though!
     
  11. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    The same thing now happens in the Willington direction. Thanks to the four reversible tracks, it is now possible to despatch 3 trains simultaneously in the Birmingham/Crewe direction. Whereas previously, if say a Plymouth train was running late, the Cardiff and Crewe trains would be held in the station, now they are despatched on time and held outside the station near the old Ramsline halt for the Plymouth to overtake them. I am sure that all the passengers wishing to make connections are enjoying the benefits that the new layout is bringing them.
     
  12. swills

    swills Established Member

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    If the TOC wish the train to be held, DON'T press TRTS :) simple, that is the instruction to the Signaller to clear the signal, if he does not, and there is a delay, it will go down to the Signaller, if they hold on a green that's up to them, if it is allowed to leave, it will be regulated accordingly, unless there he/she has had an instruction otherwise,
     
  13. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Member

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    I've experienced that several times, never mind seen it. I think the number of people arriving on the delayed TPE services requiring the connection would be minimal, indeed the York service is always delayed by the TPE Scarborough service and I don't think that is even an official connection - too short a time allowed.

    However, by shifting the Northern service a few yards it does free up a platform. It is frustrating as a passenger but it seems quite a logical thing to do. The solution is to sort the TPE timetabling issues out.
     
  14. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Sorry but EMT, nor any other TOC or FOC control the signalling. All signalliing is under the control of Network Rail and NO signaller will show favour to any operator. To suggest otherwise is insulting and disengenuous.
     
  15. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    Yes the situation you have posted is possible but procedure states that the dispatcher presses TRTS when the train is ready to go and then the signaller sorts the regulation out. Are you saying dispatchers should become regulators aka signallers?
     
  16. GB

    GB Established Member

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    TRTS should only be pressed if the train is ready to leave. If it is being held for a connection then it shouldn't be pressed as obviously the train is not ready to go. Signallers are not always given up to the minute information so if they see TRTS and have had no instructions from control or whoever to hold it then it will be sent on its way. Signallers are not responsible for holding connections unless they have been told to hold it.
     
  17. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    I apologise to the above posters - I missed the end part of this post about the connection issue - I thought this was primarily a debate about regulation.
     
  18. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    The op appears to be arguing that the timetable should be disregarded. What if people on the held train have connections of their own? Should they be put at a disadvantage? As is often the case here the bigger picture is an alien concept.
     
  19. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    Easily avoided:
    https://www.visitderby.co.uk/dine/real-ale-pubs/brunswick-inn
    I would not have had a second(s) thought. :)
     
  20. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    The Brunswick is the only good thing in Derby.
     
  21. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    And if you miss a second connection then The Alexandra, just a few yards further on, also has a good pint. Plus many items of rail related memorabilia :):)
    https://goo.gl/Hgb4Zm
     
  22. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Agreed, though in this instance they’re generally from York Platform 1 so this isn’t really the case.

    The Matlock train has no connections from it as such but in general this is a very important factor. One that causes me trouble with a regular journey I do.
     
  23. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    The people on the held train would NOT be put at any disadvantage. The train originally referred to was delayed by holding it outside the station after it had departed. Holding it at the platform instead would have incurred no more delay. In fact, saving the train from having to restart a second time could even have reduced the delay it incurred.

    There is another problem that seems to happen if the Cardiffs depart on time when the Plymouths are running late. Several times we have been let out, and come to a stand at St Andrews. You think "ok, they are holding us to allow the Plymouth to run first." But no, after a minute or two, we are on our way again. A couple of minutes totally needless delay. The first time it happened, I put it down to an inattentive signaller. But by the third time, there must be something else going on. I suspect that we are being held until the signaller has got permission from XC control to let us run first.

    The argument about letting the train out to free-up a platform does not apply at Derby. With a few exceptions, each service has its own dedicated platform, so freeing up the platform just results in an empty platform - Derby isn't Leeds, there is no train waiting to use it.

    The argument about not pressing the TRTS also does not currently apply - since the resignalling, the Derby signallers seem to clear the platform exit signals long before the train arrives. It may apply once ARS is commissioned.
     
  24. louis97

    louis97 Established Member

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    Most Cardiff services are booked to follow a Cross city service into Birmingham from Proof House, so it will be being held to allow that to go ahead as booked.
     
  25. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    There are people who bus it home after the train. Is that not a connection? Should they not be considered?

    What about getting the bus home? What about appointments? I take the point about delay to the train in the example used to illustrate your argument however looking at the bigger picture is also important. Why should those on a train be delayed to make your life easier? Are you worth more than them?

    This happens to me on a regular basis: The main line LNWR is late so i miss my connection to the branch line train. Such is life.

    you are seeing a paranoid conspiracy where none exists.
     
  26. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I agree fully that they should be considered. However there is no financial penalty to EMT for people missing the bus at Matlock Bath and this MAY be the way the business thinks.
     
  27. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Agreed! That is a long way from the conspiracy that the OP seems to see!
     
  28. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    But the point is, on this occasion, that by holding the Matlock train at Derby until the XC departed, the Matlock train would not have arrived at any intermediate stations any earlier than it did, as the train only went a short distance outside of the station until it was stopped to allow the XC to overtake.

    I think it was perhaps a bad choice of words, but if Derby is fitted with TRTS plungers then they would be operated by EMT staff.
     
  29. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    then someone is playing PPM bingo.
     
  30. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The Network Rail website says that PPM is based upon the arrival time at the final stop of the train, rather than the departure time for the origin or intermediate stations.

    Would there be internal penalties or negative performance statistics applied for a late departure time for an individual station?
     
  31. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    No idea. The lowest commonly available measure is by "service group" (say EMT local) but I suspect such detailed statistics can be produced internally if required. Do TOC's not keep some type of OTIF ( On Time In Full) measure?
     

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