How early do you need to arrive at a station where there are level crossings

Chris M

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In my day (not that long ago either) we would have realised that it was our own fault.
The railway say that you should allow 5 minutes to make the longest interchange at Cononley, which is from the furthest end of one platform to the stopping point on the other. So if I allowed double that time to make a shorter interchange (from one side of the crossing to the stopping point on the far platform) but missed my train because the railway kept the barriers down for 20 minutes,** it was my fault? You'd get laughed out of court if you tried that defence if someone sued.

*The only realistic interpretation of "minimum connection time"
**Why the barriers remained down is completely irrelevant.
 
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Deafdoggie

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Alsager has its moments. It’s possible to have a down train in the platform (barriers down before it arrives) then an up train comes and then another down train arrives. All without the barriers (remote from Crewe) being raised, and all with several minutes between each train.
 

Chris M

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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.
There was plenty of time, physically, for pedestrians at least, to cross safely during more than one of the intervals between trains. I do not know whether the signalling would or would not allow the signaller to raise the barriers during those times. If the signaller could, they share some of the blame, if they could not they don't. Neither situation absolves the railway of blame though - locals are not the only people who use stations and even they have a first time. From comments on this thread, Cononley is not the only place this happens, its merely the only place I've experienced it happen.
Yes a bridge and/or tunnel should be provided at every location where it can happen, but unless and until one is provided that is accessible to all customers the railway must take responsibility for every passenger that arrived at the station greater than the advertised minimum connection time in advance of their train but was unable to catch it because the railway prevented them from accessing the correct platform in time. Why the railway did this is irrelevant. If the railway cannot or will not do that then it has to either (a) prominently advertise the correct minimum connection time (and the reason for it, so passengers understand it is not a mistake), (b) provide an alternative to the level crossing (e.g. a bridge or subway) and/or (c) remove the need for passengers to cross the line.
 

fairysdad

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Not quite the same as it's a public road and not required for station access, and I'm not sure if it's still done now or not, but I know that in the relative recent past (at least), Red Cow Crossing at Exeter St Davids station had a sort of 'crossing keeper' who would let pedestrians cross the level crossing even when the road barriers remained down. Would this be somthing that could be implemented at some of these stations that have issues like this, where somebody on the ground is able to allow pedestrians to use the crossing between trains when the the trains are far enough apart to allow it but not far enough apart to raise the barriers for vehicles, or situations where a barrier is down when a train is stopped in a platform?
 

Llanigraham

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Presumably they would have access to the same information as a signaller does at least.
You do realise that there are numerous and large parts of the system that is NOT continuously track circuited?
The only notification I would get would be "entering section" from the adjacent Boxes.
 

Islineclear3_1

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Quite frankly the suggestion above is preposterous. How is this "gate opener" going to know where the trains are?
I was replying to fairygod's post re crossing keepers. I did not imply this was a good idea.

I made the comment that "crossing keepers would have to be paid" in the context that this would never happen

Of course it is preposterous !
 

Llanigraham

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I was replying to fairygod's post re crossing keepers. I did not imply this was a good idea.

I made the comment that "crossing keepers would have to be paid" in the context that this would never happen

Of course it is preposterous !
Then my apologies, and we obviously agree.
 

ashkeba

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You do realise that there are numerous and large parts of the system that is NOT continuously track circuited?
The only notification I would get would be "entering section" from the adjacent Boxes.
Why should some passengers not be allowed to catch their trains when it is technically possible just because it isn't at some other station faraway?
 

Llanigraham

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Why should some passengers not be allowed to catch their trains when it is technically possible just because it isn't at some other station faraway?
I'm sorry, but it is patently obvious that you do not understand how the signalling system works or the work of the signallers.
A signaller will drop their barriers in accordance with the Rule Book, which is there for the safe running of the railway, and safety is our only concern. We do not do it to inconvenience passengers, but to PROTECT them.
 

infobleep

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And when EXACTLY do they arrive at "the station"?
As far as I am concerned they do not arrive at the station until they cross the threshold of the station, and that is NOT the car park.
Does anyone know if this is designated in any legislation? Somehow I doubt it.
Playing devil's advocate, surely the car park is part of the station premsis and land. If not who owns it t?
 

Llanigraham

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Playing devil's advocate, surely the car park is part of the station premsis and land. If not who owns it t?
As far as I know the car park at my local station is now owned by the Council, therefore not "railway premises".
And if there is no car park, but only on-street parking, what would happen?
 

ashkeba

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I'm sorry, but it is patently obvious that you do not understand how the signalling system works or the work of the signallers.
A signaller will drop their barriers in accordance with the Rule Book, which is there for the safe running of the railway, and safety is our only concern. We do not do it to inconvenience passengers, but to PROTECT them.
And it is patently obvious that you have no empathy with passengers, protecting them to the point of preventing them being actual passengers, plus being unwillling to consider improvements possible at some stations because it might not be possible at every station.

Also, there are still unmanned, unlit and unlockable level crossing gates on UK lines where trains moving at some speed, so the suggested manned, lockable gates at stations do not seem worth the scorn shown above.

But I would still prefer bridges so I don't have to be restricted by overprotective signallers at all!
 

ashkeba

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I suggest, @ashkeba, that you read the relevant Rule Book section about level crossings.
Which section explains whether the TOC should give Delay Replay to a passenger who has arrived on a station platform but has been prevented to reach their required departure platform by a closed level crossing?
 

infobleep

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As far as I know the car park at my local station is now owned by the Council, therefore not "railway premises".
And if there is no car park, but only on-street parking, what would happen?
I was only talking about car parks that may be owned by rail companies.

Who owns Ash Station car park?

That has a level crossing and I missed a train because it went down and I hadn't factored that in. However it didn't matter as I just got the next train, which wasn't too much later.
 
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LAX54

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And it is patently obvious that you have no empathy with passengers, protecting them to the point of preventing them being actual passengers, plus being unwillling to consider improvements possible at some stations because it might not be possible at every station.

Also, there are still unmanned, unlit and unlockable level crossing gates on UK lines where trains moving at some speed, so the suggested manned, lockable gates at stations do not seem worth the scorn shown above.

But I would still prefer bridges so I don't have to be restricted by overprotective signallers at all!
NOT over protective Signallers, they are Signallers doing their job as per the rules and regulations that have to be adhered to.
 

ashkeba

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NOT over protective Signallers, they are Signallers doing their job as per the rules and regulations that have to be adhered to.
Yes sorry I am not thinking that the Signallers have any choice in this under rules - but change is needed because at the moment passengers are suffering and people are being driven away from the railway which I think few of us want to see.
 

Llanigraham

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Yes sorry I am not thinking that the Signallers have any choice in this under rules - but change is needed because at the moment passengers are suffering and people are being driven away from the railway which I think few of us want to see.
But it is NOT the signallers who can change those Rules, as I have said numerous times, and we are certainly NOT treating anyone with indifference or lack of care.
 

Chris M

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How is this "gate opener" going to know where the trains are?
Presumably they would have access to the same information as a signaller does at least.
You do realise that there are numerous and large parts of the system that is NOT continuously track circuited?
The only notification I would get would be "entering section" from the adjacent Boxes.
How is that different to what I said? If the signaller knows only in which section the train is in then that is all the information that would be available to the gate opener (Although the gate opener, being located at the crossing or viewing CCTV of the crossing, will also know whether the train has passed the crossing or not). If the crossing was located in a track circuited area then both the signaller and gate opener would also know which track circuit the train was occupying (and again the gate opener would be able to view the crossing).

The difference between the roles would be that the signaller is covering all the duties of a signaller across a wide area. A gate opener would have the sole responsibility to open and close the gates at one crossing. In some (but not all) crossings this means that the barriers could be safely open for longer. Yes these gate openers would need to be paid, but someone (whether that be Network Rail, the TOC, or anybody else) could choose to fund them. Whether they would or should are completely different questions.

Obviously at crossings where a gate opener (perhaps "crossing keeper" would be a better term as they would also be responsible for closing the gates and presumably other things like reporting defects, reporting unsafe practices/misuse, etc) would not make any difference nobody is going to employ one. However just because one method wouldn't work everywhere does not mean that it should not be used in places where it would work (I'm sure you'd ridicule an argument like "electric trains will not improve the service on the West Highland Line so they should not be used in the Thames Valley" but it's no different to the argument you are making).
 

Altfish

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Big problem at Navigation road. While the station is actually two bi directional single tracks one for Metrolink and for railtrack with both well used including a lot of freight.
On several occasions I have missed 2 trams because a slow moving freight keeping the barriers down. The road is also busy as a residential feeder road.
It is worse if you are heading for the Chester diesel; it is easy to get stuck behind a couple of trams and a freight then you miss the train; only 60 minute wait for the next one (or 120 minutes on Sunday) - at least it is only a 6-minute wait for a tram.
 

Llanigraham

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How is that different to what I said? If the signaller knows only in which section the train is in then that is all the information that would be available to the gate opener (Although the gate opener, being located at the crossing or viewing CCTV of the crossing, will also know whether the train has passed the crossing or not). If the crossing was located in a track circuited area then both the signaller and gate opener would also know which track circuit the train was occupying (and again the gate opener would be able to view the crossing).
The only way I knew there was a train in Section was because I answered the Bells and used my Block Instrument. If the Crossing Keeper does not have a repeater instrument then the only way he is going to know there is a train in section will be by phoning the controlling Box.

The difference between the roles would be that the signaller is covering all the duties of a signaller across a wide area. A gate opener would have the sole responsibility to open and close the gates at one crossing. In some (but not all) crossings this means that the barriers could be safely open for longer. Yes these gate openers would need to be paid, but someone (whether that be Network Rail, the TOC, or anybody else) could choose to fund them. Whether they would or should are completely different questions.
A Crossing Keeper is a Grade 1 Signaller, therefore he will be employed by Network Rail, and will be nothing to do with any TOC.

Obviously at crossings where a gate opener (perhaps "crossing keeper" would be a better term as they would also be responsible for closing the gates and presumably other things like reporting defects, reporting unsafe practices/misuse, etc) would not make any difference nobody is going to employ one. However just because one method wouldn't work everywhere does not mean that it should not be used in places where it would work (I'm sure you'd ridicule an argument like "electric trains will not improve the service on the West Highland Line so they should not be used in the Thames Valley" but it's no different to the argument you are making).
I see no relevance to your last sentence.
 

Chris M

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The only way I knew there was a train in Section was because I answered the Bells and used my Block Instrument. If the Crossing Keeper does not have a repeater instrument then the only way he is going to know there is a train in section will be by phoning the controlling Box.
In this situation the crossing keeper would have a repeater instrument (or some equivalent technology that gives the same information - even a CCTV camera looking at your instrument would work*) meaning that, yes, they will have the same information as the signaller. Your initial assertion was that there would be no way for a crossing keeper to know the location of trains. I replied that they would have at least the same information as the signaller - which you rejected as impossible before giving an example of how it would be possible.
I'm not saying that giving the crossing keeper this information would be sufficiently cheap and sufficiently useful that it would make employing one worthwhile in every situation. Obviously it would not. However, it is likely that in some locations it will be both affordable and sufficiently useful, therefore it is wrong for you dismiss the idea out of hand.

A Crossing Keeper is a Grade 1 Signaller, therefore he will be employed by Network Rail, and will be nothing to do with any TOC.
My comment was about funding, not about who employs them. It is perfectly possible for a TOC or other organisation to pay Network Rail to employ one or more crossing keepers at a given location, should they choose to do it. I'm not saying they should, I'm merely saying they could.

I see no relevance to your last sentence.
It was an analogy aimed at getting you to understand the fallacy underpinning your argument:
Saying that it is electric trains in the Thames Valley would not be an improvement over diesel trains in the Thames Valley because it is impossible to run them on the West Highland Line is obviously incorrect.
Saying that it is impossible to improve the status quo at any level crossing because one suggestion for how to improve the status quo would be impossible at one location is equally incorrect. Especially when it it turns out not to be impossible.

*Obviously there would need to be safeguards, such as if the instruments are not visible or unclear for any reason then the crossing keeper is to assume there is a train in section.
 

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