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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by C P, 7 Nov 2019.
As long as it needs plus 5 minutes!
Speaking as a semi frequent traveller but also with a life long love of British railways I’d say that expecting someone to get to a station - any station, never mind a relatively small local station such as seems to be affected by the level crossing / access issue - thirty minutes or more earlier than the advertised departure time is somewhat extreme and ott. Were it a decent day and I was in no rush I’d probably not mind sitting there but I’m the exception here I’d say, most people (my opinion only) would consider arriving ten to fifteen minutes early as more than sufficient to get a ticket, even if the barriers were down when they arrived for a preceding train. I’d imagine there to be enough time for the barriers to raise and the traffic cleared before lowering again for ‘my’ train. I see all the previous points regarding signalling requirements but if I was to arrive and find a twenty minute wait or more at the level crossing I think that even the most patient traveller may start suffering a sense of humour failure!
And what time would 'in plenty of time' be?
What's getting boring is the railway constantly blaming passengers for its inadequacies. Since you ignored it the first time, I'll ask again: how does a potential passenger using a station for the first time discover that they need to allow extra time to get to the part of the station they need to get to because a crossing barrier might be preventing them? Where can they find this information?
If there exist stations where there is a significant probability of level crossing barriers prohibiting access to platforms, and are down for a long time (e.g. 20+ minutes), it seems ridiculous that there is not an alternative means of access to those platforms available. It sounds very much like a tight fist with regards to spending money and trying to justify it by blaming the victims of the externalised cost.
And what about where the train usually arrives on one platform, day in day out, for a person's regular journey, but due to operational reasons or signaller mistake, arrives at the other, on the "other" side of the crossing? Even the most ardent railway apologists can't possible blame the passenger for that! (But no doubt they'll try!).
That's not even thinking about the delays to road users who don't want to travel, i.e. buses that are held back so are then late for the rest of their journey, causing delays to lots of other people also trying to use public transport??
Likes of google earth/maps are quite handy for this, if i'm using a station[regardless if it is at a level crossing] i don't know i'll check google earth [quite often street view, if there is one for the roads around the station] first that give me an idea of layout of the area
So you are telling people to do something, yet are unable to define what that something actually is .... but, neverthless, anyone who fails to board a train because they have not done that undefinable something is automatically at fault for not doing the undefined thing?
I give up....
Blame the victim, very easy argument...
Or just use common sense, if you don't know the station & surrounding area get there a little early than you would normally do[15-20 minutes to be on the safe side, sometimes you might like to get even earlier], you risk missing your train, if turn up with a few minutes before your train is due, if you don't know the area. Having a look on likes of google maps/earth before hand is another one you might want to do
How can there be a definitive answer? Every situation is going to be different, every time. There can be no standard.
Frankly, it is another example of people refusing to take responsibility for themselves and looking for a scapegoat to blame.
And that scapegoat is certainly NOT to Signaller!
So no signaller even makes a mistake then. OK!
How can lowering the barriers to allow safe passage of trains be "a mistake"?
This thread is getting ridiculous now
I was meaning the "mistake" of signalling the train to the wrong/opposite platform. Or the "mistake" of leaving the barriers down because that's easier than raising them/lowering them between trains. Or the mistake of simply forgetting to raise them after a train has passed.
Usually - there is a reason for signalling a train into a different platform.
How is it easier to leave the barriers down rather than raise them? If a signaller has cleared a route for a train, do you realise how difficult it is to cancel and restart the process just so the barriers can be raised for 1 or 2 people to cross the line because they've left it too late to arrive?
And you haven't answered my post relevant to posts #122 and #138
Why can't people take responsibility for themselves!? Why is it always somebody else's fault!?
Signallers have to work to a defined set of rules. If you are unhappy with the rules then either a) tough, live with it or b) forward your argument, reasons and how you could make the rules "better" bearing in mind local and national operational practices
If you want to lobby for finance to build a footbridge/underpass at a station where you feel aggrieved at not being able to access a platform because the level crossing is closed to pedestrians - take the initiative and go for it.
It is possible that one day, level crossings might be abolished altogether but probably not in my lifetime...
For a major city centre station I'm not familiar with, I would probably turn up 20mins early, but a rural station with 2-4 platforms? That's an insane expectation. Given it takes 2-3 minutes for most people to access any of 4 platforms on a typical rural station, I think if someone turns up 10 minutes early that is ample time to expect to be able to access your train. To say one should do an aerial survey via Google maps of a simple rural station prior to going is akin to a military exercise, not going off to catch a train.
However, your post does offer a potential solution - if funds cannot be found to fund footbridges or tunnels, the railway could be proactive and work with Google Maps (and Apple equivalent) to ensure that any walking directions include a big warning saying there is a high likelihood of delays when the level crossings are down, maybe using historical data to increase the walking time needed. Let's face it; most people going to an unfamiliar station will most probably be using their smartphone to get there.
So in reverse, if the car park is the same side as the platform ticket machine but you are prevented from reaching your departure platform by a long closure of the level crossing between platforms, you had arrived at the station and either NR or the ToC are liable?
If a passenger goes to the platform a train is advertised to depart from, but a late change means it will depart from the opposite platform which is rendered inaccessible by the gates being down, how exactly is the passenger supposed to "take responsibility"?
Why can't the railway take responsibility for providing a way for a customer to access the service they have paid for? I shouldn't need to lobby anybody for the railway to take that responsibility on itself.
You seem to miss the point. If you've pulled off for a second train already, then it's normally neither practical nor possible to raise the barriers. If you haven't already pulled off for the second train, then it's quite straightforward to raise the barriers (if 'auto-raise' is provided and turned on, they'll raise by themselves). It does mean that the barriers need to be lowered again, of course.
Sometimes there is a defined point at which an alarm sounds and/or the barrier sequence starts by itself - in which case the decision is largely taken out of the signalman's hands - but in many cases there isn't, and it's the signalman's decision whether there's time for a "quick swing" to let pedestrians and some traffic across. Sometimes, in a busy box and/or in a box where it's all kicking off, you just don't have time to do it without risking delaying sometime. On the other hand, some signalmen that I worked with were (by their own admission!) just lazy, and who can blame them - why make work for yourself, when you can leave the barriers down for a second train that's still quite a way off, with no penalty? I seem to remember that the ORR (or HMRI?) got involved with one crossing, Kildwick or Cononley on the Leeds - Skipton line, where (in their view) the barriers were regularly left down for far longer periods than they needed to be.
I certainly think there's some truth in the suggestion that remote control makes it more likely that the barriers will be down for longer - I've worked boxes with a busy crossing right outside the window, as well as CCTV crossings, and I certainly found it less tempting to just leave the barriers down when there's an impatient crowd outside throwing abuse in your direction! It's also more likely that a signalman in a remote PSB is going to be dealing with a lot more things than his equivalent in a small mechanical box adjacent to a crossing, so is much less likely to be able to briefly raise the barriers in a tight margin between trains without causing delay somewhere else.
At somewhere like Bare Lane, where the line to Morecambe consists of two independent single lines where trains can use either (unless they're going to Heysham or need to run round), there is undoubtedly a problem of the railway's making if the provision of information is inadequate when a train (for whatever reason) is to use the opposite platform to the booked and/or advertised platform, especially at short notice, when the only route between the platforms is via the level crossing.
You haven't been to Cononley then. The first time I arrived at that station, I was standing in the pouring rain for 20 minutes after alighting from the train before I could cross the line. The barriers were down prior to the arrival of my westbound train, which waited in the platform, with the barriers still down, for a few minutes (reason unknown), after it moved off the barriers remained down for a non-stopping eastbound train, but the barriers did not raise after that train because (it turned out) there was a westbound train that arrived in the platform just under 5 minutes later. The westbound train departed but still the barriers didn't rise, as there was a stopping service approaching eastbound. When that was safely berthed in the platform the barriers did raise and I was able to meet my father in the car park on the eastbound side of the line. However by the time we came to exit the car park the barriers were down again, fortunately we didn't need to cross the line again so I don't know how long the barriers were down for that time. If the length of closure was the same as the preceding one then an hour may not be sufficient time between arriving on the west side of the railway and catching a westbound train if you need to buy a ticket as the only facilities for doing so are on the eastbound side.
As someone who plays signaling simulator simsig, can can take 2 to 3 minutes to clear a route & get signal back to red when a train is on the approach to the signal, even if you re clear the route & set the signal to green, the train stops, & you get a call from the driver, delaying the train, i'm sure it's the same in real life.
Also signalers would questioned as to why they're raising the barriers cancelling the route, after clearing the route ecc, thus delaying the train, just to allow passengers to cross to the other platform, cue the signaller possibly facing disciplinary action.
At Bare Lane the protecting signals Morecambe-bound are way back at Bare Lane junction so will have set back to red a few minutes before the train gets to the crossing. Could the barriers be raised with a train in section if the signals are on???
No, as soon as there’s a train in the route beyond the signal, the barriers will be held down until the train’s passed clear of the crossing.
That's what I would have expected. As you say, curious.
Anyone would think a main purpose was the carriage of passengers - obviously not.
So that is ONE place where it might happen occasionally, and from the description you have given unavoidable due to a busy line, and I have no doubt that the locals take this into account each and every time they catch a train there. It also seems to be an eminently suitable scenario for a bridge to be provided. But as I said, this is just ONE example and therefore cannot be said of the whole country. And neither can the signalman be blamed for any of it.
(See Moreton-on-Lugg for the reason!)
In my day (not that long ago either) we would have realised that it was our own fault.