Jubilee line service at weekends

Discussion in 'London Underground' started by Samuel88, 16 Dec 2018.

  1. Samuel88

    Samuel88 Member

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    During the week the frequency on the Jubilee line is very good with a train every two or so minutes, but during the weekend there are frequently gaps of upto 15 minutes followed by 5 trains within 6 or 7 minutes leading to overcrowding. Why does this happen only on Saturday and Sundays?
     
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  3. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    That's not what I have experienced - are you sure you have not been caught up in some service disruption?
     
  4. Samuel88

    Samuel88 Member

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    Happened twice this weekend, yesterday afternoon at Swiss Cottage, and tonight at Canary Wharf, indicators said good service
     
  5. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    The definition of "good service" on the indicators is somewhat looser than what most of us would use, so it's quite possible you had come across some minor disruption that delayed one train for about 10 minutes of so and caused a few others to catch up with it.
     
  6. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    All the tube working timetables are on the TfL website. Just put ‘working timetable’ in the search. You can then see that 15 minute gaps certainly aren’t planned.
     
  7. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    "Good Service" = management bonus.

    So what else would you expect.
     
  8. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    There is no target on anyone’s scorecard for a bonus based on the time the service says “Good service,” indeed the decision to change the service status is taken by relatively junior staff in the pecking order.

    The basic statistics that matter are things like missed headways, excess journey time etc, and these are all collected automatically so cannot be fudged. Lost customer hours are also assessed, and this revolves around items being booked and calculated, but this is a manual process by various people.
     
  9. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Are TfL using Balanced Scorecards? Very 1990s.

    If the service is notably erratic surely that comes up in the Missed Headways figure. How can it be that if this is recording an exceedance, the staff are still able to put up Good Service? And it doesn't just apply to headways. Inability to get in the train (eg westbound at Canning Town, even at weekends) just doesn't seem to impact the statistics at all.

    While we are at the Jubilee, can sudden unplanned peak period short termination at North Greenwich be announced before Canada Water, rather than just after. The announcement is made that you should now change at Canary Wharf for the next eastbound service, oblivious that at Canary Wharf at that time there are such platform queues at each door that it will take you three or four trains to get in another. I wonder how my Lost Customer Hours are assessed in this. It can be actually quicker to go on to North Greenwich, missing the next service while you go over the bridge between platforms, but getting in the subsequent one.

    One gets the feeling that the attention is wholly on the central London portion, disregarding the east end beyond North Greenwich, which nevertheless must be the busiest and most congested of all Underground services at the outer end of the line. And is putting up "Good Service" when there isn't one not on the scorecard in itself?
     
  10. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    No idea what TfL do, but London Underground use scorecards (not sure what makes one Balanced, the Wikipedia article on the subject doesn't clarify), in common with similar organisations, to monitor their performance.

    You can view the service status criteria in this FoI answer from last week: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/service_status_criteria_for_all#incoming-1281296

    I think the issue is that, it is reasonable to assume that the service status will reflect the exact journey. It doesn't, it reflects the larger picture of the service. A single cancelled train might result in a longer wait than would be expected if you arrive at the station at a certain time, but it does not mean that the service overall should have its status changed.

    The Service Control team on duty will be attempting as a priority to put the service back to timetable; this will inevitably mean that some trains will be turned short.
     
  11. Samuel88

    Samuel88 Member

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    Yet another weekend, yet another long wait (10 minutes+) on the Jubilee line without explanation!
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2019
  12. HXX

    HXX Member

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    I noticed this too - waited 8 min at West Hampstead yesterday. Because of the game on at Wembley, I had to leave that one go and wait another 3 min before I could board!
     
  13. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    As a general point, unless there’s other stuff obviously going on, the obvious suspect for weekend bad running is poor driver coverage. Things are planned more tightly at weekends for various reasons, both from a coverage point of view and in terms of how the duties / train schedules are worked out. So it doesn’t take much before a few cancellations start to bite.

    Remember that one duty being uncovered can have a wider effect than one might first expect, especially if arrangements aren’t made to smooth over the effect. If a typical duty involves two trains separated by a meal break. Train 1 will be cancelled for the times the driver was booked to work it. But the train has arrived at the relief location and can’t just sit there, so the driver who is on it might have to take it to depot. His meal break (bear in mind there’s less padding at weekends) is now delayed, so now he can’t pick up his next train on time, so something now has to be done with that train. Meanwhile the next driver is now ready to pick up the original train, only the train’s not there as it was stabled, so it remains cancelled until the new driver can get to it, and then a plan has to be put in place to get it back to where it’s meant to be. Maybe there isn’t that opportunity, so now a second driver might be on a late meal relief and potentially unable to pick up their next train in time. Repeat all of the above for the missing driver’s second train, and one can see that one missing driver has potentially caused quite a bit of disruption.

    Naturally the above is a bit of an exaggeration, as generally the crew managers and controllers are adept at doing their best to avoid the effects rippling out, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid - especially if people blow out at short or no notice.

    On the ATO lines one can also add in the mandatory manual driving which applies on Sundays and this can make late running worse.
     
  14. Dstock7080

    Dstock7080 Established Member

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    Trains were held for over 10mins on Saturday after report of persons accessing the track at Wembley Park 17.20.
    9 trains were cancelled because of no operator available 1500-2100 Sunday.
     
  15. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    Is that the nine trains which one operator would have driven?
     
  16. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Very unlikely one driver will be touching nine trains except on the short lines, or perhaps during engineering work. On most lines it’s typical for a duty to involve two or three trains. More on those lines where stepping-back occurs.

    There’s numerous permutations as to how things can pan out, depending on how the depot crew managers have arranged things. So it might only be small bits of some duties, or it might be whole duties - then there’s the consequential issues arising from how you transition the affected trains from in-service to cancelled and back to in-service again, and what effect this messing around has on other drivers.

    Generally the less notice that the driver is unavailable then the more disruptive it will be, as there’s less time to plan. So the most disruptive situations will be things like someone phoning in at the last minute to say they’re not coming in, someone who doesn’t show for whatever reason (oversleep, mix-up with duties, mix-up over start time, et cetera).

    In the case of a no-show the manager will have as little as 7 minutes to plan, which doesn’t leave long to re-arrange everything. Even worse is if someone turns up and then for whatever reason it turns out they can’t drive a train - so perhaps if they’re under a banned medication that they haven’t told anyone about beforehand, or an extreme example is if the driver turns up smelling of alcohol.
     
  17. Railguy1

    Railguy1 Member

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  18. Helenamuti

    Helenamuti Member

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    Why is there mandatory manual driving on Sundays? Is it so that drivers retain familiarity with manual driving or something else?
     
  19. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Yes. It applies on selected sections of line, generally part of the open sections. It’s mainly a union thing - LU don’t really care, although it’s that lackadaisical attitude which has meant the quality of manual driving is, er, variable. And my use of the word variable is being diplomatic!

    In terms of performance, this variability has meant manual driving is a disaster for performance, particularly on the Northern. This is what happens when you bring in a massive change to how someone drives a train, and their only training on a real train is three return trips from Finchley Central to High Barnet!
     
  20. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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  21. cjp

    cjp Member

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    I think yours was just to the FOI request whist the blog is a layman's helpful analysis which I read as even Good Service can have some cancellations - as I found out in the past at Paddington desperate to get to Euston (Square) on the H&C .
     
  22. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    Perhaps a good reason to have the practice sections include an instructor ride-along?
     
  23. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    There are a number of issues with the manual driving (on the Jubilee and Northern - the Central and Victoria are both completely different) -

    (1) no one has really explained the finer points of the system to drivers, and that includes instructors. Some have picked things up by making their own observations or getting snippets of info off people in the know, but there’s been very little formal instruction. Straight away this leads to a confidence issue, or people making errors because they don’t understand why the system is behaving in a particular way in a given location.

    (2) to achieve ATO comparable run times the train has to be driven on the limit of what is allowable. This means always driving within a second or two of the system intervening. Many drivers aren’t comfortable with that.

    (3) Driving close to the limit will cause lots of over speed imminent warning alarms to sound in the cab, which some drivers find irritating. Regulars zone out of them and don’t even notice, but this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

    (4) The driving style is different because the train is very much more powerful than before, so motor/coast/motor/coast driving is unavoidable if one is to keep rigidly to the speed profile. Many drivers find this uncomfortable or annoying, or find it too much of a change from what they did before. Likewise some drivers are simply not comfortable hitting a platform at high speed and relying on most or all of the service braking capability available to stop on a sixpence (especially on the Jubilee with the platform edge doors which require a tighter degree of accuracy).

    (5) the system retains a *lot* of software glitches, and learning where these are and how to work around them requires a degree of dedication - bearing in mind what I wrote above that one is always within a second or two of the system potentially intervening.

    (6) I’d also add that successful manual driving also requires a good awareness of gradients. Most drivers won’t have this. One doesn’t fully appreciate tunnel gradients unless one has actually walked the whole line!

    All of the above is a lot of hassle compared to pressing two buttons and sitting in peace letting the train do the work! ;)
     
    Last edited: 7 Feb 2019
  24. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    I know that pain all too well!

    Thanks for the detailed and informative post. :)
     
  25. Helenamuti

    Helenamuti Member

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    Fascinating. Thank you for such a detailed explanation
     
  26. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Very interesting post - thanks. Makes you wonder why any driver would choose manual driving, but I guess some like a challenge and others do so out of cussedness or boredom.
     
  27. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    The simple answer is that few do. However, there will always be people who like to beat the system, or as you say find the ATO boring (or perhaps more commonly more tiring). For the small handful of drivers who have put a lot of efffort into mastering this style of manual driving, it does come naturally eventually. Those few that do it regularly can quite happily meet or even slightly beat ATO running times.

    Yes, if the train is driven hard it is possible to better the ATO, as there’s a number of unsatisfactory things it does which give the edge to a skilled human. For one it has a tendency to over brake when there’s a drop in speed, dropping to a few mph below the new lower speed, then motor back up again. When driving manually a decent driver can get it bang on. Likewise there’s places where the speed drops momentarily due to software issues, a driver who knows the road can ignore this and keep at full speed.
     
  28. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    How much faster is the Jubilee service now than in the 2000s when it was all manually driven, and manually stopped aligned with the platform doors?
     
  29. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Just taking a typical comparison from the eastbound running times listed in the front of the timetable, comparing 2007 and 2018 today's typical running times give an end-to-end run quicker by 5 and a half minutes.

    I couldn't say whether this is achieved in practice. On the Northern trains tend to lose time in the open due to brake rate issues, which is particularly noticeable on northbound journeys as there's no opportunity to catch up before the terminus.
     

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