How much do passengers cost?

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Oswyntail

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As I was coming home on a near empty train yesterday, I found myself wondering if it cost more to run a full train than an empty one. Assuming the train has to run, and there are essential overheads already accounted for (maintenance, cleaning, staffing, access, etc), what sort of increase in costs is there between a train with one passenger and one with 100 (Negligible? or Significant?). Odd thought, I know - i just wondered if this sort of thing is taken into account.
 
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tbtc

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Interesting question.

Whilst I don't know the answer, there must be a marginal cost of each additional passenger, in terms of fuel (heavier trains costing more to power than empty ones), in terms of each time the toilet is used, in terms of wear and tear... plus the difference in staff costs (do you need a Guard etc - do they cost less if they are "off duty", so it can be counted as a "break"?) and paying Network Rail for the "path" (is the track access cost any less to run a train ECS than in service?).

There are certainly a few long distance ECS movements (e.g. EMT run some very early morning ECS trips from Nottingham to Liverpool) - would be interesting to know whether these could break even with a certain number of passengers.
 

cuccir

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I thought that one of the issues with ECS movements is that you also need to figure in the added cost of opening stations which might otherwise be shut during the middle of the night? It raises slightly different questions to the those that Oswyntail raises.
 

Bellwater

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There are certainly a few long distance ECS movements (e.g. EMT run some very early morning ECS trips from Nottingham to Liverpool) - would be interesting to know whether these could break even with a certain number of passengers.
I work Said Liverpools and would do them as part of a 'night' turn which is what they are, but I can't see the value in it.

The First through service is the 0520 which only gets significant passenger numbers from Sheffield.
 

tbtc

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I work Said Liverpools and would do them as part of a 'night' turn which is what they are, but I can't see the value in it.

The First through service is the 0520 which only gets significant passenger numbers from Sheffield.
Cheers.

If you don't mind me asking, do non-driving staff get paid the normal rate for working ECS services, or do TOCs try to get away with paying a lower rate? (apologies if this is sensitive information)
 

GadgetMan

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Cheers.

If you don't mind me asking, do non-driving staff get paid the normal rate for working ECS services, or do TOCs try to get away with paying a lower rate? (apologies if this is sensitive information)
Get paid the same whether you are working a train, traveling pass, sitting in a messroom or wondering around town.
 

DownSouth

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Perhaps the way that the OP's question needs to go is along these lines...

Ignoring franchise requirements or penalties, is there a number of passengers below which it would be cheaper for a train to run dead-headed than as a revenue service?

I'm expecting the answer is yes, but that the magic number would vary according to a whole bunch of factors including the route, stock involved, staffing requirements, time of day, ticket pricing and so on.

A kind of related reason would be behind the practice of serving a low-usage station on request rather than as a mandatory stop. Less fuel is used for accelerating to line speed or recharging compressed air, and less wear is inflicted on braking and drivetrain components.
 

dk1

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There are certainly a few long distance ECS movements (e.g. EMT run some very early morning ECS trips from Nottingham to Liverpool) - would be interesting to know whether these could break even with a certain number of passengers.
But would it not be a pain to run as a passenger train. Much more operating flexibility around overnight engineering if you can send it any route ECS.
 

LE Greys

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Widening it slightly, would the cost of my ticket to (say) Berney Arms pay for the extra fuel required to restart the train after stopping there?
 

dk1

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Widening it slightly, would the cost of my ticket to (say) Berney Arms pay for the extra fuel required to restart the train after stopping there?
Very unlikely if you take into account brake wear & even less if the driver opens up straight into notch 7.
 

Bevan Price

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There will be a slight increase in fuel consumption between an empty and a full train, due to the added weight of the passengers. (The Railway Performance Society once suggested a typical average of about 14 passengers weighing one ton.) Also, yu will probably observe lower acceleration and lower speeds on adverse gradients when the train is full.
 

142094

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Is it not the fact that most of the ECS runs do not have a guard, and to run in service, there would have to be one on board?

Certainly if it is DOO and unmanned stations then the only problem can really be keeping to pathings.
 

D1009

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But would it not be a pain to run as a passenger train. Much more operating flexibility around overnight engineering if you c an send it any route ECS.
Spot on, and once you advertise a train you have to run replacement road transport if you can't serve the intermediate stations because of overnight engineering work. That's why some late night trains from London are shown as set down only at Grantham, Swindon etc.
 

Yew

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Wasnt there a trhead saying that an ECS had been changed into a passanger service, and required something like 5.4 passangers to break even?
 

tsr

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Not sure but of course it would depend on how far they all travelled!
And presumably the type of train, the cost of any signal boxes that may have to stay fully functional, the cost of running any infrastructure such as stations that may need to be used... not to mention ticket discounts, prices (as you imply), any lack of revenue due to it being given to other operators through ticket sales...
 

DownSouth

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There will be a slight increase in fuel consumption between an empty and a full train, due to the added weight of the passengers. (The Railway Performance Society once suggested a typical average of about 14 passengers weighing one ton.) Also, yu will probably observe lower acceleration and lower speeds on adverse gradients when the train is full.
14 passengers to a ton is a bit optimistic these days. This works out to an average of 71.4 kg per person, which is quite low considering that the average in the UK is around 84 kg for men and 69 kg for women - and that's before you add clothes (which are hopefully worn by most people on trains) or luggage. Working on an average of 12 passengers to a ton (average mass of 83.3 kg including luggage) would be a bit more realistic.

Lines that serve airports would be better off working to a much higher average weight to allow for a higher proportion of passengers carrying heavy luggage with them. Places popular with American tourists would need to work to a higher average regardless of luggage!
Widening it slightly, would the cost of my ticket to (say) Berney Arms pay for the extra fuel required to restart the train after stopping there?
Very unlikely if you take into account brake wear & even less if the driver opens up straight into notch 7.
The amount of mechanical braking required to stop the train and the amount of energy required to restart it can be reduced by smart station design.

If a station is built at the top of a hump (for example on top of an overpass with a crossing road underneath) the slope can act as a natural form of regenerative braking because it assists braking on the way up to the station and assists acceleration on the way down after the station. This type of design has also been applied in construction of the underground components of the Dubai Metro where the stations are close to the surface with the lines then dropping away to a deeper point between stations.

A station on top of an overpass can have other major benefits too. On one side of the overpass you can add a pedestrian/cycle path which makes for better green transport options in the area and a safe option for crossing a major road without requiring pedestrian/cyclist-activated traffic lights. The station can be built as an island platform so only two sets of access are needed at each end (stairs and lift). Finally, it eliminates the need for a level crossing and allows for good connections to buses directly underneath the station.
 
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LE Greys

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14 passengers to a ton is a bit optimistic these days. This works out to an average of 71.4 kg per person, which is quite low considering that the average in the UK is around 84 kg for men and 69 kg for women - and that's before you add clothes (which are hopefully worn by most people on trains) or luggage. Working on an average of 12 passengers to a ton (average mass of 83.3 kg including luggage) would be a bit more realistic.

Lines that serve airports would be better off working to a much higher average weight to allow for a higher proportion of passengers carrying heavy luggage with them. Places popular with American tourists would need to work to a higher average regardless of luggage!
I wonder if they included children in that, they are obviously lighter.

The amount of mechanical braking required to stop the train and the amount of energy required to restart it can be reduced by smart station design.

If a station is built at the top of a hump (for example on top of an overpass with a crossing road underneath) the slope can act as a natural form of regenerative braking because it assists braking on the way up to the station and assists acceleration on the way down after the station. This type of design has also been applied in construction of the underground components of the Dubai Metro where the stations are close to the surface with the lines then dropping away to a deeper point between stations.

A station on top of an overpass can have other major benefits too. On one side of the overpass you can add a pedestrian/cycle path which makes for better green transport options in the area and a safe option for crossing a major road without requiring pedestrian/cyclist-activated traffic lights. The station can be built as an island platform so only two sets of access are needed at each end (stairs and lift). Finally, it eliminates the need for a level crossing and allows for good connections to buses directly underneath the station.
That's interesting.
 

button_boxer

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The amount of mechanical braking required to stop the train and the amount of energy required to restart it can be reduced by smart station design.

If a station is built at the top of a hump (for example on top of an overpass with a crossing road underneath) the slope can act as a natural form of regenerative braking because it assists braking on the way up to the station and assists acceleration on the way down after the station.
Nice idea, provided all trains that pass through the station will stop there - I'm not sure you'd want to design in a gradient like this for a station that has non-stopping services passing through.
 

Class45

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The amount of mechanical braking required to stop the train and the amount of energy required to restart it can be reduced by smart station design.

If a station is built at the top of a hump (for example on top of an overpass with a crossing road underneath) the slope can act as a natural form of regenerative braking because it assists braking on the way up to the station and assists acceleration on the way down after the station. This type of design has also been applied in construction of the underground components of the Dubai Metro
I think the London Underground tube lines incorporate station humps like this too.
 

WatcherZero

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Theres another factory, subsidy particularly of concessionary fares. There must come a point where providing capacity for people with railcards, child fares or other route subsidys costs more than the fare revenue itself. For this reason its actually more efficent to provide a two car unit and have some passengers dissuaded from travelling through overcrowding than it is to actually provide the extra capacity for them with a longer train.

PTE and franchises have to make this judgement every year when looking at strengthening frequency or services, whether the effective cost (including the cost of extra non-profitable passengers) outweighs the extra revenue. For example a bus company may decide that a route thats crammed full of OAP's or schoolkids isnt actually making a profit.
 

DownSouth

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I wonder if they included children in that, they are obviously lighter.
But many children don't count as passengers because they travel free with an adult (therefore invisible to statistics at time) and they often come with extra prams, bags etc. I would still recommend the higher average weight because it's always worth overestimating when it comes to calculating expected real fuel consumption.

If fuel or electricity is billed on estimated consumption rather than how much was pumped into the tank, of course you would use the underestimated weight!
That's interesting.
It's a little bit of a tangent, but kind of related to the topic of train running costs still. I'll indulge you with a bit of "back of the envelope" physics - i.e. ignoring friction, wind resistance and so on.

Let's say you have a 150 ton train operating at 90 km/h - chosen from a DMU type I ride at times - which is 25 metres per second, about 56 mph. Using the formula K = 1/2 x mass x velocity squared, that train has a total of 47 MJ (megajoule) of kinetic energy at 90 km/h.

Let's say the station is elevated 10 metres (11 yards) from the normal track height - chosen from a tram overpass/station I cycle over. Using the formula for gravitational potential energy P = mass x gravitational constant x height you find that the train loses or gains 15 MJ when it goes up or down that slope.

Therefore instead of the brakes (could be a combination of regenerative, dynamic and friction) having to do 47 MJ of work to stop the train as they would need to for a station on the flat, they instead need to do only 32 MJ of work while the hill does 15 MJ. The same applies when leaving the station - to accelerate up to that same speed would require only 32 MJ of work to be done by the traction motors.

Even if you varied the mass of the train, the proportion of work done by the change in elevation would still remain the same as long as you kept the speed and height the same. If you vary the speed, the amount of work done by the change in elevation is the same but the amount of work required to brake/accelerate to/from a stop changes.

The beauty of this kind of solution is that it does not prevent express services passing through from carrying on at nearly full speed. Because energy is related to velocity squared, a train carrying on to the top without adding any braking effort would hit the top while still travelling at 75 km/h. Power could be fed in and the speed maintained, but with the catch of picking up even more speed on the way down the other side which may make it too fast, which is not a problem if regenerative braking is available.

A similar principle applies for motorway exit ramps. Ideally an exit ramp will slope up after it branches off the motorway, to help drivers who are "speed drunk" wash off speed.
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Nice idea, provided all trains that pass through the station will stop there - I'm not sure you'd want to design in a gradient like this for a station that has non-stopping services passing through.
Not really a problem, see the figures posted above. Dropping the speed a bit is not really an issue when you're headed back down again within seconds You wouldn't want your hump too high or steep because that would increase construction costs a lot, and in the case of normal railways (as opposed to underground) there is the issue of public amenity.

It's even less of a problem if regenerative braking is available. You power up to maintain cruising speed while ascending the hump, and use the regenerative braking to stop it going too fast while descending.

The presence of long freight trains without using an intelligent distributed traction system like Locotrol would make it a non-starter though.
I think the London Underground tube lines incorporate station humps like this too.
I expect that newer lines would, but are there any newer ones? I would have thought older lines would have been designed before this kind of thing was thought of, and that avoiding other subterranean pipes, cables etc would be the main factor affecting the vertical profile of the line.
 

ChiefPlanner

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We have a "model" to work out the cost of stopping and restarting a train on route specific - e.g a class 465 2 car at Swale is around £4 , a 125 at say Didcot is around £150.
 

142094

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If a station is built at the top of a hump (for example on top of an overpass with a crossing road underneath) the slope can act as a natural form of regenerative braking because it assists braking on the way up to the station and assists acceleration on the way down after the station. This type of design has also been applied in construction of the underground components of the Dubai Metro where the stations are close to the surface with the lines then dropping away to a deeper point between stations.
I'm sure the Glasgow Subway is quite like that.
 
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