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I chose not to board the train at the nearest door and it left without me

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Tommy3000

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Evening all,

I'd be interested in the collective view on whether I was shafted/treated less than ideally/got what I deserved.

Last night, I was waiting for the final train from Hither Green to Charing Cross - I think it was due about 23:38 but turned up a few minutes late. I was standing at the top/driver end of the platform and started walking down the platform to spot a carriage with a toilet as the train was passing, so it would seem pretty likely that the driver saw me. I was also the only passenger on the platform, or at least on the part of the platform adjacent to the front half of the train.

The doors unlocked as I was passing the rear set of doors of the second or third carriage and, by the time I reached the front set of doors of the next carriage (which had a toilet, huzzah), they had been locked again. It seemed like there was only a 5-10 second window to press the open button. A few passengers got off but none of the open doors were within sprinting distance. I waved towards the cab in case the driver could see me on the monitors; the train departed anyway and I was left at a deserted station.

Should drivers operating the last service of the evening be ruthless with passengers (either on board or waiting to board) who don't open the nearest door as soon as it unlocks? I don't think an extra ten seconds of waiting time shortly before midnight would have caused chaos on the rail network but I may be wrong. I was a bit careless as it was in fact possible for me to board but a person who had been seated or gathering their belongings when the train stopped or with mobility problems would have suffered the same agonising fate of having to make small talk with a very chatty Uber driver for 30 minutes.
 
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mmh

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Unfortunate, but why wouldn't you get on the train and locate the toilet once aboard? Particularly at that sort of time of night, I don't think it's unreasonable for a driver to assume someone walking along the carriages of their train is either someone who doesn't want to get aboard, or potentially someone they'd rather not have aboard!
 

Dieseldriver

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Can’t really comment on your specific situation as it wouldn’t be fair on either you or the Driver involved.
What I will say is if I’m driving the last train of the night I always prefer to be a minute or so late (not that I deliberately cause a delay, I mean if there is a delay outside of my control) as I prefer to know that people have had a fair buffer to ensure they are able to catch their last train home (particularly on Friday/Saturday nights when people have been out drinking).
 

Taunton

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Time was that staff made every effort to get people onto last trains (I remember from the Wirral electrics in past times), double checking approach passages, shouting "last train" all around, blowing whistles, getting everyone on, etc. Yes, the passengers at that time were not as snappy as morning commuters, that's what the staff were employed to handle. I don't think this was covered in training, because commonsense and tradition were adequate.

Nowadays the only important thing is for the TOC statistics on absolute punctuality reported to the DfT to be as high as possible. All else is secondary.
 

RJ

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I think in future, you should consider if in these specific circumstances, it’s a good idea to wait until after the train has stopped and released the doors to decide to walk down the platform for your preferred set of doors to board the train. Especially if you need to be on it and especially if it is running late.

As you’re asking for opinions, I would say that is not a good idea and in future to board at the closest set of doors and walk through the train if you want to find a toilet, changing units at the next stop 5 minutes later if needs be.

I use those trains in the evenings and they don’t dwell for very long at stations. 10 seconds is not out of the ordinary. Perhaps drivers are advised to wait for passengers who dither on the platform for no apparent reason, but if the train is running late I wouldn’t advise doing that.
 
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BJames

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Unfortunate, but why wouldn't you get on the train and locate the toilet once aboard? Particularly at that sort of time of night, I don't think it's unreasonable for a driver to assume someone walking along the carriages of their train is either someone who doesn't want to get aboard, or potentially someone they'd rather not have aboard!
I was going to say the same thing when I read the OP before I read this response. If there was no obvious reason that you were not boarding the train, and were just walking down the side of it, the driver would surely assume that you don't want to get on - especially if you walked past doors that you could have used. I think it is different to someone who is gathering their belongings as they are not just being picky with where they get on.

On the wider point, I agree that effort should be made to get passengers on the last train - but in staffed and busier stations like St Pancras and Paddington, late at night when staff are making these efforts and encouraging passengers to board the last trains, they don't let you walk halfway up the platform first to find the carriage you want, you get in the first door. In future, you just need to get on first - you can always walk through the train. Your approach got the worst of both worlds - no toilet and no train!
 
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LowLevel

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If the train is late it's not going to wait for you to walk along and pick a chosen carriage, especially on a driver only operated suburban route, they're planned with minimal station working time as it is.
 

Mag_seven

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If I was aware that the train I was boarding was the last train of the night I would make sure I got on the train the second it stopped and not faf about being fussy what coach I joined. I'm sorry OP but you really have only yourself to blame for this.
 

AlterEgo

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If you were just walking down the side of the train and passing perfectly good doors I can see why the driver thought you wouldn’t get on. After all, if it was the last train, why would you be passing perfectly good doors and making no motions to join the train?

One to chalk up to experience.
 

Thermal

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On approach a driver’s primary focus will be on managing their speed, stopping point etc. They will have likely seen you, but not paid attention to the finer details of clothing, identifying features etc. Once stopped they will be ensuring correct side door release, checking their signal, checking the next stop etc so will be unlikely to be watching exactly who gets on or off of the train. If it is quiet station, a short dwell time would be expected before checking that the train/platform interface is clear to close the doors safely. If a driver sees someone walking down the platform, passing doors and making no attempt to get on, their main thought is likely to be that you have just alighted / do not wish to board and they will close the doors as long as you are well clear of the train.
 

PupCuff

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Its hard to make a judgement really without being there. My question really would be how far were you from the train? If you were walking down the middle of the platform then I can understand a driver thinking you'd just alighted as reasonable. If you were over the yellow line close to the train going for the door open button then that's the point I'd be asking a few questions as to why the driver moved the train. Following a few high profile incidents where people were hurt or killed, at most train operators (don't know about the one referenced in the OP) we're quite hot on trains not being moved when people are too close to them.
 

TheEdge

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If I'm sat in a platform ready to go and a person walks past a released door I assume they don't want my train and off I go. We don't have time to sit and wait for people to saunter along and pick their preferred door, mainly because the vast, near total, majority of people get on at the first door they see so someone who doesn't probably doesn't want the train.
 

theking

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Why do people always justify their actions by mentioning disabled or mobility impared people.

If you walk past the first set of released doors don't be upset if the doors get closed and you are left behind which you fully deserve to be.

It is not not drivers job to wait for you to pick a specific set of doors to board.

Honestly some of the threads on here recently with rubbish like this
 

Tommy3000

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If you were just walking down the side of the train and passing perfectly good doors I can see why the driver thought you wouldn’t get on. After all, if it was the last train, why would you be passing perfectly good doors and making no motions to join the train?

One to chalk up to experience.
That seems to be the consensus. I'll look more alive next time.
Its hard to make a judgement really without being there. My question really would be how far were you from the train? If you were walking down the middle of the platform then I can understand a driver thinking you'd just alighted as reasonable. If you were over the yellow line close to the train going for the door open button then that's the point I'd be asking a few questions as to why the driver moved the train. Following a few high profile incidents where people were hurt or killed, at most train operators (don't know about the one referenced in the OP) we're quite hot on trains not being moved when people are too close to them.
I was still pressing the open button as the train started moving but didn't have my nose against it so it wasn't dangerous.

Edit:
Why do people always justify their actions by mentioning disabled or mobility impared people.

If you walk past the first set of released doors don't be upset if the doors get closed and you are left behind which you fully deserve to be.

It is not not drivers job to wait for you to pick a specific set of doors to board.

Honestly some of the threads on here recently with rubbish like this

I'm not convinced that walking from one set of doors to the next is incomprehensible passenger behaviour. Women do it all the time to avoid louts, etc.
 
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lkpridgeon

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I was still pressing the open button as the train started moving but didn't have my nose against it so it wasn't dangerous.
It is my understanding however I could be wrong, trains shouldn't be dispatched or even start moving if a person is that close to a train/over the yellow line. At my local station people get shouted at for being over a yellow line when the train is trying to depart.

Has this changed?
 

Surreytraveller

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How would the driver see you? The DOO cameras on the train do not show the whole width of the platforms, so chances are the driver didn't actually know you were there
 

class ep-09

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Not sure about the route / station you tried to get on but some lines could be operated by number of TOC’s / depots .

I can think of possibility, that driver may not know if he / she is driving last train of the night . At the end of the day, they do not know entire timetable.

i suppose CIS screens could give them a clue, but on multi platform stations , the train they are driving may be the last from that platform , but there may be train from another .


What I can definitely say is, that if it is last train for them to work , and it is running late, they will go “hot” in to and from the stations .
They will not be bothered that much about “undecided” , in their view, person left behind .

As I said , I do not know the specifics of the station / route you tried to get on to the train , I just wanted to make general point that some places have multiple depots / TOCs operating over them making it next to impossible for a driver ( or even guard) to know if they are the last train .
 

Neptune

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Time was that staff made every effort to get people onto last trains (I remember from the Wirral electrics in past times), double checking approach passages, shouting "last train" all around, blowing whistles, getting everyone on, etc. Yes, the passengers at that time were not as snappy as morning commuters, that's what the staff were employed to handle. I don't think this was covered in training, because commonsense and tradition were adequate.

Nowadays the only important thing is for the TOC statistics on absolute punctuality reported to the DfT to be as high as possible. All else is secondary.
The trouble is these days that people seem to have no responsibility for themselves. Why should a train run late because people can’t be relied on to get themselves on a train.

What if someone had a last bus connection at the other end and missed it because the driver or guard was checking every nook and crannie of a station to make sure everyone was on.

There is a timetable for a reason and should be adhered to unless there is an issue outside of the crews control. It doesn’t suddenly become a work of fiction on the last train.
 

Phlip

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Evening all,

I'd be interested in the collective view on whether I was shafted/treated less than ideally/got what I deserved.

Last night, I was waiting for the final train from Hither Green to Charing Cross - I think it was due about 23:38 but turned up a few minutes late. I was standing at the top/driver end of the platform and started walking down the platform to spot a carriage with a toilet as the train was passing, so it would seem pretty likely that the driver saw me. I was also the only passenger on the platform, or at least on the part of the platform adjacent to the front half of the train.

The doors unlocked as I was passing the rear set of doors of the second or third carriage and, by the time I reached the front set of doors of the next carriage (which had a toilet, huzzah), they had been locked again. It seemed like there was only a 5-10 second window to press the open button. A few passengers got off but none of the open doors were within sprinting distance. I waved towards the cab in case the driver could see me on the monitors; the train departed anyway and I was left at a deserted station.

Should drivers operating the last service of the evening be ruthless with passengers (either on board or waiting to board) who don't open the nearest door as soon as it unlocks? I don't think an extra ten seconds of waiting time shortly before midnight would have caused chaos on the rail network but I may be wrong. I was a bit careless as it was in fact possible for me to board but a person who had been seated or gathering their belongings when the train stopped or with mobility problems would have suffered the same agonising fate of having to make small talk with a very chatty Uber driver for 30 minutes.
Don't faff about. Just get on. If you need the toilet, walk down the train.
 

Zontar

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I feel you were unlucky, and didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Was part of the train possibly locked up or out of use?
 

Islineclear3_1

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I'm not convinced that walking from one set of doors to the next is incomprehensible passenger behaviour. Women do it all the time to avoid louts, etc.

Any woman in her right mind wouldn't be travelling alone and boarding trains in SE London at that time of night

As others have said, tough luck and you'll remember to board quicker next time
 

Robertj21a

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Any woman in her right mind wouldn't be travelling alone and boarding trains in SE London at that time of night

As others have said, tough luck and you'll remember to board quicker next time
Sorry, I don't agree with that 'Railway Speak' view. Plenty of women have to travel alone 24/7, that's how you have nurses and police readily available to tend to you, or cooks, cleaners, managers etc to look after the areas you visit.
I see no need to get on at the very first train door as long as it's obvious to all that you intend to catch that train. Clearly, I don't agree with anyone just sauntering along a 12 coach train but there needs to be a level of common sense used by train staff too. Most of the time it seems to work well.
 

TheEdge

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I'm not convinced that walking from one set of doors to the next is incomprehensible passenger behaviour. Women do it all the time to avoid louts, etc.

It really is. With the exception of terminal stations my experience of watching thousands of passengers board trains it is incredibly rare to see someone at an intermediate section walk down looking for a specific door. They either board at the nearest door once a train stops or pick a door as the train passes and chase it down the platform (which is funny to watch!) The exception is when someone has a bike or wheelchair but then its quite obvious which door they are aiming for.

I feel you were unlucky, and didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Was part of the train possibly locked up or out of use?

Not really, as has been said several times walking past open doors is a flag for drivers that someone doesn't want their train. A driver would know if any external doors were locked out of use and account for it, and its near enough impossible to be in a situation where a coach in the middle of a train is impassable on the inside.

I see no need to get on at the very first train door as long as it's obvious to all that you intend to catch that train. Clearly, I don't agree with anyone just sauntering along a 12 coach train but there needs to be a level of common sense used by train staff too. Most of the time it seems to work well.

How else do we define "obvious" then? How many doors and coaches do we have to allow before we declare the person as not getting on? To me if you are walking past open doors then its pretty obvious you don't want the train, otherwise you'd be getting on.
 

baz962

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As a doo driver , here's my take for what it's worth. Obviously we are trying to keep the train on time and a lot is being made of punctuality lately and rightly so. If I have the time to wait and someone is making an effort to get on , then I will wait. I will also make judgement calls and if someone is slow and looks like they need extra time , perhaps elderly , disabled , pregnant or with pushchair , walking aids etc , I will wait. Some people will maybe have hidden disabilities I know . People walking past open or released doors are not given extra time though , especially if I'm already late and I have to take into account that people already on the train may have connections to make. At most station's on my route , we are the only toc that serves them and I have before stuck my head out of the cab window to ask if someone is getting on. Some people are spotting and others just waving off friends or partner's. I even asked one person sitting in the shelter drinking coffee , who replied that they were early and wanted to enjoy their coffee and wait for a later train. Slightly different for you op being the last train of the night , but please don't walk by released or open doors , especially when we are already late.
 

185

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DOO is great. No angry unprofessional guard there to shout "Oi! gerron, yer d____!" ....just the timely punctual closing doors of fate. 'Train says no'
 

choochoochoo

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If you were over the yellow line close to the train going for the door open button then that's the point I'd be asking a few questions as to why the driver moved the train. Following a few high profile incidents where people were hurt or killed, at most train operators (don't know about the one referenced in the OP) we're quite hot on trains not being moved when people are too close to them.

The problem with having everyone behind the yellow line before moving a train is that would take forever at busy DOO stations. And at some stations there may be a stream of people who will continuously walk in that area to traverse the platform.

I think it's a judgement call for the driver.

I personally will not move the train if you're touching any part of it. Or if you're looking like you're falling on to the train.
 

Fincra5

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I think most people hit the nail on the head. Why didn't you get on and walk down the train?
 
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