Future Thameslink core resilliance

Status
Not open for further replies.

Lozzy0603

Member
Joined
3 May 2016
Messages
63
By the time Canal Tunnels are bought into service on Thameslink, presumably the Thameslink core will be about as upgraded as it is going to be. I see the ridged overhead conductor is done and ETCS trials are underway but its still an old railway using some old tunnels.

My question is what happens if there is a problem on the Thameslink core causing delays to trains, cancellations or a complete blockage of the line? What plans do Thameslink have for service resiliency if the core is out of action?

Surely if there were to be a problem in the core once the full service plan is up and running it could potentially affect all of the feeder lines?

Presumably at some point Thameslink will give up some platform capacity at Kings Cross mainline station as they'll be diverting a large portion of ex WaGN services down the Thameslink core. If there is a problem in the core where would these services get diverted back to without causing even bigger problems?
It seems a little bit short sighted that the new St Pancras A/B platforms weren't constructed with four tracks or at least three in mind to allow for terminating/reversing services from the north and easy transfers in this event.
Blackfriars, by contrast seems a lot better thought out with its two reversing/terminating platforms available for the south.

PS I have asked Thameslink about this. Met silence.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

NSE

Established Member
Joined
3 Mar 2010
Messages
1,305
Been discussed on this forum a lot. My personal views, which are shared by many others, are that its going to be carnage when something goes wrong.
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
6,571
Location
Herts
Carnage last night with signal problems Farringdon - St Pancras - from 1740- 1818 with everything at a stand northbound.

Around 45 cancellations , delays to 40+ mins and and disruption to very late evening. Some of the worst crowding experienced in my very long time in using this route when things got moving again......
 

physics34

Established Member
Joined
1 Dec 2013
Messages
3,205
From the south London Bridge (platforms 10-15) will have a bit more capacity but not much.
 

AM9

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2014
Messages
9,564
Location
St Albans
Carnage last night with signal problems Farringdon - St Pancras - from 1740- 1818 with everything at a stand northbound.

Around 45 cancellations , delays to 40+ mins and and disruption to very late evening. Some of the worst crowding experienced in my very long time in using this route when things got moving again......

Were these the signals that will be used when the full service is running or the brand new ECTS?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
By the time Canal Tunnels are bought into service on Thameslink, presumably the Thameslink core will be about as upgraded as it is going to be. I see the ridged overhead conductor is done and ETCS trials are underway but its still an old railway using some old tunnels.

My question is what happens if there is a problem on the Thameslink core causing delays to trains, cancellations or a complete blockage of the line? What plans do Thameslink have for service resiliency if the core is out of action?

Surely if there were to be a problem in the core once the full service plan is up and running it could potentially affect all of the feeder lines?

Presumably at some point Thameslink will give up some platform capacity at Kings Cross mainline station as they'll be diverting a large portion of ex WaGN services down the Thameslink core. If there is a problem in the core where would these services get diverted back to without causing even bigger problems?
It seems a little bit short sighted that the new St Pancras A/B platforms weren't constructed with four tracks or at least three in mind to allow for terminating/reversing services from the north and easy transfers in this event.
Blackfriars, by contrast seems a lot better thought out with its two reversing/terminating platforms available for the south.

PS I have asked Thameslink about this. Met silence.

What is it about "an old railway using the same old tunnels" that would give so many more problems that other busy lines?
 
Last edited:

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,621
Whilst I can see that it may be possible to get 24 trains an hour through the core, the problems will be with dwell time at platforms. Currently, at St Pancras during the evening peak most trains will be occupying the platform for around 3 minutes, and that is with a relatively simple service. With vastly more people on the platforms it is difficult to see how this dwell time will be reduced by over a third, even with more 12 coach trains. Even if the service stands up during normal operation, there will be huge problems even with slight delays on the approaches.
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
24,031
Location
Scotland
Currently, at St Pancras during the evening peak most trains will be occupying the platform for around 3 minutes, and that is with a relatively simple service.
Think of it less like a mainline service and more like the Tube. They manage sub-minute dwell times, so no reason that bigger trains with larger doors won't be able to do it too. And with a train every few minutes there's no reason for people to try and rush and end up blocking doors.
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,621
Think of it less like a mainline service and more like the Tube. They manage sub-minute dwell times, so no reason that bigger trains with larger doors won't be able to do it too. And with a train every few minutes there's no reason for people to try and rush and end up blocking doors.
Which is all very well, but the train every few minutes isn't going to the same place and doesn't have the same stopping pattern, and most places will see no increase in frequency over the present service in the peaks. And the problem isn't people rushing and blocking the doors, it's people physically struggling to board the trains.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
25,182
It seems a little bit short sighted that the new St Pancras A/B platforms weren't constructed with four tracks or at least three in mind to allow for terminating/reversing services from the north and easy transfers in this event.
A regular discussion in these forums over the 6 years or so I've been here. Allegedly not physically possible in the room available underground.
PS I have asked Thameslink about this. Met silence.

They probably think it is more a question for Network Rail and/or DfT. But did you seriously expect a reply from people who have better things to do with their time running the existing railway?
 

carriageline

Established Member
Joined
11 Jan 2012
Messages
1,862
Were these the signals that will be used when the full service is running or the brand new ECTS?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


What is it about "an old railway using the same old tunnels" that would give so many more problems that other busy lines?



As I understand it, ETCS isn't getting rid of signals and they will still be there. ETCS will allow the gaps to be closed up.

I believe it was a signalling module fault, something that could happen anywhere in the country with SSI interlocking.
 

NotATrainspott

Established Member
Joined
2 Feb 2013
Messages
3,083
Which is all very well, but the train every few minutes isn't going to the same place and doesn't have the same stopping pattern, and most places will see no increase in frequency over the present service in the peaks. And the problem isn't people rushing and blocking the doors, it's people physically struggling to board the trains.

The new Class 700 trains are designed specifically to allow faster boarding and alighting. All of the design decisions which people on this forum like to criticise were done to minimise dwell times at stations and so make it possible to run 24tph through the core. For instance, on both 8 and 12 car trains the bicycle areas will be located at the same point along the platforms, so it will be possible for all people with bikes to be put in the right place before their train arrives.
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,621
The new Class 700 trains are designed specifically to allow faster boarding and alighting. All of the design decisions which people on this forum like to criticise were done to minimise dwell times at stations and so make it possible to run 24tph through the core. For instance, on both 8 and 12 car trains the bicycle areas will be located at the same point along the platforms, so it will be possible for all people with bikes to be put in the right place before their train arrives.
I hope you are right about loading and dwell times, but bikes won't make the slightest difference as they're not allowed in the peaks.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
17,983
I'm not repeating everything that I have said before (multiple times) on this. Other than to say that yes there are contingency plans, and yes, if something goes wrong it will be disruptive, just like when something goes wrong on every other high capacity railway in the world.

Last night's failure was quite unusual, in that it prevented the POSA (Proceed on Sight Aspects) being used, hence the disruption. Indeed it is IIRC only the second failure of its type since the new signalling was commissioned. 2 failures in 4 years is not bad going. Note that there were four signal failures in the core last week (caused by the third rail system), and the service ran absolutely fine through them.
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
24,031
Location
Scotland
And the problem isn't people rushing and blocking the doors, it's people physically struggling to board the trains.
These people are currently managing to get where they need to go, so why is it that with more, longer trains they suddenly won't?
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,621
These people are currently managing to get where they need to go, so why is it that with more, longer trains they suddenly won't?
Firstly, I was talking about dwell times, which affect how long it takes everybody to board the trains which has no impact on their ability to get where they need to go, just how long it takes. Secondly, 24 trains an hour includes those to destinations and routes not currently served and won't actually provide more trains than now for each route. Longer trains just do a bit to alleviate current overcrowding.

The key factor is still how long each train will need to stand at each platform, and how short that time needs to be to maintain appropriate headways. Comparison has been suggested with underground services, but these are generally shorter trains with simpler service patterns. Northbound from the Thameslink core in the evening peak there will effectively be 4 or 5 different service groups, so it won't be a simple matter of clearing the platform every time a train arrives. I don't say that it is impossible to maintain 24 trains an hour, but I have serious reservations based on my own observations.
 

AM9

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2014
Messages
9,564
Location
St Albans
There will be some really disappointed posters here if the Thameslink core runs as smooth as other high density services. I can though hear the 'told you so' chorus when the first problem caused by equipment teething troubles causes a few delays.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
17,983
Normal running is all about dwell times; 60 seconds each for St P to Blackfriars, 90 seconds for London Bridge. Note that dwell times today are booked minimum 60 seconds*, except for St Pancras in the peak direction to/from the MML which has some at 90 seconds

The reduction is possible with the new trains, which have much wider doors and big vestibules so people don't routinely board a train and then stand in the way of the door blocking half of it, as happens almost every day today.

In my experience the dwells are usually met under normal operation, except when it is a 377 or 387 changing voltage when the 60 seconds is exceeded by about +30. And yes I have timed them, regularly.

* some dwells are longer, but this is for timing purposes rather than using pathing time, or sometimes for changing train crew at Blackfriars.
 

PhilipW

Member
Joined
6 Feb 2008
Messages
756
Location
Fareham, Hants
For resilience I am surprised that two southbound platforms were not built at St Pancras, which would have allowed trains from West Hampstead and the GN line to arrive at more or less the same time with one then waiting its turn to depart at the platform rather than being held in the tunnel in the current layout.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
17,983
For resilience I am surprised that two southbound platforms were not built at St Pancras, which would have allowed trains from West Hampstead and the GN line to arrive at more or less the same time with one then waiting its turn to depart at the platform rather than being held in the tunnel in the current layout.

But, as has been explained patiently before, and impatiently now, it was simply not possible to get any more than 2 X 12 coach platforms in St P Low Level within the constraints of the curve at the south end, the gradient at the north end, the need to have the Canal Tunnels aligned to meet the ECML where it is paired by use rather than direction, the station and approaches of St Pancras HL directly above, the various LU lines and the Fleet River.
 

PhilipW

Member
Joined
6 Feb 2008
Messages
756
Location
Fareham, Hants
But, as has been explained patiently before, and impatiently now, it was simply not possible to get any more than 2 X 12 coach platforms in St P Low Level within the constraints of the curve at the south end, the gradient at the north end, the need to have the Canal Tunnels aligned to meet the ECML where it is paired by use rather than direction, the station and approaches of St Pancras HL directly above, the various LU lines and the Fleet River.

Thank you. I had actually missed that and was not aware of it. I understand now. Thanks
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top