Lack of last train north from Cambridge this week

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MikeWM

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Each weeknight this week (except Friday) the last train north from Cambridge to Kings Lynn appears to be missing - the usual service leaving Cambridge at 2338 is the last one rather than the 0008.

On the engineering part of GN's website it mentions engineering work between Hitchin and Meldreth. However, the 2309 from Kings Cross, which would normally form the 0008 from Cambridge, is running normally through that area, but for no apparent reason it is then listed as terminating at Cambridge rather than continuing to Kings Lynn.

Is it really acceptable to just remove the last train of the night like this and not provide any alternative? There don't appear to be any buses planned to cover.


Edit : just spotted a twitter thread asking the same question. Answer : no bus. Really? Second answer : ok, we've ordered a bus.

Doesn't answer why the regular service isn't running though. Or why it takes someone pointing this out on Twitter rather than them working it out for themselves...
 
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800002

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The operator should have an obligation to provide cover transportation (eg, busses or taxi) for any planned amendments to their rail timetable. If the stated timetable includes a 0008 (presumably tuesday - Friday) Cambridge to kings Lynn - they need to provide a service.

Why they feel they can simply not plan to do that is beyond my comprehension.

As for possible reasons, I am unable to comment. Sorry .
 

Class 170101

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Extended maintenance possession (Section 5) between Ely and Kings Lynn I expect.
 

MikeWM

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It won't have occurred to them.

I'm a cynical soul, but don't ascribe to malice what is actually just incompetence.

Someone somewhere has made the (baffling) decision to terminate the normal last train at CBG rather than send it through as normal. Shouldn’t they be the person who should make sure there is some alternative provided for, rather than relying on someone on Twitter to point out they haven’t done what they should have done? There must be some process for this, surely, or are GN even more incompetent than I thought?

Extended maintenance possession (Section 5) between Ely and Kings Lynn I expect.

Which is normally reported in the engineering work notices. This one isn’t mentioned anywhere...

Anyway, fortunately I’ve managed to get to CBG in time to get the 2338. No mention of a later bus anywhere. Would be interesting to know if one actually shows - though not going to hang around to find out :)

Actually, while I was typing this, a 0010 bus just appeared on the boards...
 

800002

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It won't have occurred to them.

I'm a cynical soul, but don't ascribe to malice what is actually just incompetence.

Without wishing to needlessly speculate (but speaking with knowledge of the job)
- if it was TOC initiated, ie the TOC amended the service, the planner concerned should have been instructed to put a replacement bus into their plan.
- if it was NR initiated, ie planners at Network Rail amended the service (as is their right / responsibility) they would (should have) notified the TOC, but it would not surprise me if the communications have been overlooked / forgotten.

Certainly no mallace involved.

And I believe we are still unclear as to the reason.

Extended maintenance possession (Section 5) between Ely and Kings Lynn I expect.

I did manage to take a look at the section 5 cyclical possessions, and I didn't see anything either.

Possible (and I stress the word strongly) reasons - as clearly the train isn't able to run:-
Lack of train crew availability, which was known well in advance.
Lack of track access - either planned additional, section 7, engineering access - which is disruptive (ie, preventing services from running normally.
Lack of track access - either late notice / emergency engineering access.

Did you try asking them, on twitter, why the disruption to planned service is happening / was there any reasoning given at the station this evening? I know some operators are quite good at forewarning folk about planned disruption(s), even when it is late notice stuff.

Glad you got back in good time today though.
Are you doing it again tonight / next working day?
 

800002

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Actually, while I was typing this, a 0010 bus just appeared on the boards...

Interestingly enough, there is no 0010 bus from Cambridge (or anything listed to Kings Lynn listed on rail time trains...
For Tuesday - Friday.

There are busses listed though. (into cambridge from Hitchin / Bishops Stortford).
 

800002

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Sorry to be posting again, but it kinda got inside my head a little - out of curiosity I took a deeper look at this week's 1T72 (2309 Kings Cross - Cambridge and Kings Lynn)

Using an 'alternative' open data portal: (which I find fantastic)
http://charlwoodhouse.co.uk/rail/liverail/train/16521437/08/07/19

I can summise the following:

This week's schedule (mon-thurs) was last amended / uploaded on Thursday 4th July ( last thursday) and appeared downstream in the early hours of Friday 5th.

Many of the busses and amended train service schedules were created / uplaoaded at the end of April (around the 26/27th) which is roughly 12 weeks ago (and so when final timtable should be in place).

As to why there is a time large time difference, it could simply be because a train Planner at NR has republished a set of schedules on Thursday last week, thus overwriting the date of amendment in the data stream. It is impossible, from the outside looking in, to see if the service was amended prior to Thursday last week, to terminate short at Cambridge.

This probably hasn't added much, in the grand scheme of things. It's just a little more data to ponder over...
 

AE

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Anyway, fortunately I’ve managed to get to CBG in time to get the 2338. No mention of a later bus anywhere. Would be interesting to know if one actually shows - though not going to hang around to find out :)

Actually, while I was typing this, a 0010 bus just appeared on the boards...

Travelling to Cambridge North a couple of Sundays ago I arrived at Kings Cross expecting to see the 2312 to Kings Lynn on the board but the final destination was given as Cambridge. Since there were no trains to Kings Lynn displayed I decided to catch the 22:40 to Cambridge from St Pancras. When I arrived at Cambridge I was surprised to see that the information screens were displaying a 00:10 bus all stations to Kings Lynn. Outside of the station there were two rail replacement buses. One was an Ely and then Kings Lynn only bus and the other stopped at all stations. I didn't see anything at Kings Cross saying there would be a replacement bus service. From the information at Kings Cross it looked like the 23:12 was a normal train which terminated at Cambridge.
 

MikeWM

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Travelling to Cambridge North a couple of Sundays ago I arrived at Kings Cross expecting to see the 2312 to Kings Lynn on the board but the final destination was given as Cambridge. Since there were no trains to Kings Lynn displayed I decided to catch the 22:40 to Cambridge from St Pancras. When I arrived at Cambridge I was surprised to see that the information screens were displaying a 00:10 bus all stations to Kings Lynn. Outside of the station there were two rail replacement buses. One was an Ely and then Kings Lynn only bus and the other stopped at all stations. I didn't see anything at Kings Cross saying there would be a replacement bus service. From the information at Kings Cross it looked like the 23:12 was a normal train which terminated at Cambridge.

Yes, I noticed that too (on the 30th June, I assume is when you mean). I was fortunate enough to manage to get the preceding train from Cambridge that night, but I don't recall any notice that the last train was going to be a bus, until I got to Ely and wondered why the next 'train' to KLN on the departures board wasn't for another two hours (...because it turns out it was a bus...)

I wouldn't bet my life that this wasn't mentioned on GN's engineering work page, but I don't think it was.
 

MikeWM

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Certainly no mallace involved.

And I believe we are still unclear as to the reason.

That's the issue that worries me. We don't know why it happened or whether it will happen again (I suspect it will :(

I find the attitude of GN to running their last trains very troubling. Whatever one can say about WAGN or FCC - and one could say quite a lot! - in my experience they tried really hard to ensure that last trains - or suitable replacements - ran, at the correct time or later. They also managed to report when engineering work would affect train times in an accurate manner - you didn't have to go and look at a journey planner just to check your train would run when they weren't reporting anything happening in the area.

And this is far from the first time that GN have just not bothered to run a last train. If you look through my posting history you can see me complain about this a number of times in the last few years. Plus I'm aware of quite a number more times when I haven't posted.

They just don't seem to care about last trains, which is really poor.

Did you try asking them, on twitter, why the disruption to planned service is happening / was there any reasoning given at the station this evening? I know some operators are quite good at forewarning folk about planned disruption(s), even when it is late notice stuff.

Nah, I read twitter but don't do it myself.

Glad you got back in good time today though.
Are you doing it again tonight / next working day?

Thanks - and fortunately not. One-off late return, for this week at least.

Interestingly enough, there is no 0010 bus from Cambridge (or anything listed to Kings Lynn listed on rail time trains...
For Tuesday - Friday.

There are busses listed though. (into cambridge from Hitchin / Bishops Stortford).

It appeared on NRE departure boards and the Cambridge boards at around 2330 last night. When I got to Ely it was displayed on the departure board for platform 1, which would have been an interesting place for a bus to arrive... :-/

It seems tonights is now in planners but as a bus that can apparently match train times (!) - see this Twitter thread.

Thanks for the investigation!
 

800002

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That's the issue that worries me. We don't know why it happened or whether it will happen again (I suspect it will :(
I am not surprised! It is completely unacceptable for an operators service to be directed by its passengers in this way. Why are the rail users having to check in depth to ensure they can get home alright?!


I find the attitude of GN to running their last trains very troubling.

One wonders how they would have managed the inevitable situation that arises when passengers arrive at the station.

When I got to Ely it was displayed on the departure board for platform 1, which would have been an interesting place for a bus to arrive... :-/

That could just be constructive use of technology. I for one sometimes don't look at departure displays until I am on the platform I travel from. Unaware though which direction platform 1 at Ely goes... is that where the train would have been? RTT suggests, yes.

It seems tonights is now in planners but as a bus that can apparently match train times (!) - see this Twitter thread.

As it is not in TRUST / NR data stream, it is likely the operators control function (or similar) has created the schedule and stuck it onto their CIS system. Additional, they've copied the regular train schedule! Oops.
May I suggest that they hold onto their hats?

Thanks for the investigation!

It's my pleasure - I saw it as an intriguing situation. It does raise several important questions though.

At the moment (9 July) is see the following:-

Week beginning Mon 5th Aug - mon - Thurs. 1T72 (2309 KGX - Kings Lynn) terminates short at Ely. http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/G46631/2019/08/05/advanced
Replacement bus in the system: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/X05007/2019/08/06/advanced

Week begining Mon 19th Aug:-
Mon - wed:- 1T72 terminates at Cambridge. http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/G46631/2019/08/19/advanced
Replacement bus in the system (0010 from Cambridge - Kings Lynn (Tue-Thurs). http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/X05669/2019/08/20/advanced
Thurs - Fri - runs as normal KGX - Kings Lynn.

Week beginning Mon 26th Aug.
Bank holiday mon - terminates at Cambridge. No replacement bus in the system.
Tues - Friday - running as usual to Kings Lynn.

Week beginning Mon 16th Sept:-
Mon - Thurs - terminates at Ely.
Replacement bus in the system.
Fri - runs as normal to Kings Lynn.

The Ely terminations I believe are the cyclical possessions, as mentioned previously. The 16-19 Sept alterations are not on the GN engineering works planner (yet).

Hope this puts some sort of confidence into ones mind. I would be tempted to say that this week's incident(s) would be an oversight, considering all the other short terminations in the system so far have buses uploaded already. I do wonder though why the schedules for this week were uploaded last Thursday.
 

MikeWM

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One wonders how they would have managed the inevitable situation that arises when passengers arrive at the station.

As Cambridge and Ely are both run by Greater Anglia, I suspect they don't care very much :(
 

800002

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As Cambridge and Ely are both run by Greater Anglia, I suspect they don't care very much :(
Dag nammit' mised that one!

I suppose they donot even have station staff there. (it's been a while since i was in cambridge, and I dont recall whose colours I saw).
 

AE

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Yes, I noticed that too (on the 30th June, I assume is when you mean). I was fortunate enough to manage to get the preceding train from Cambridge that night, but I don't recall any notice that the last train was going to be a bus, until I got to Ely and wondered why the next 'train' to KLN on the departures board wasn't for another two hours (...because it turns out it was a bus...)

I wouldn't bet my life that this wasn't mentioned on GN's engineering work page, but I don't think it was.

Yes, it was 30th June. I looked all over the Internet to see if there was any onward transport but I couldn't find anything official or unofficial. I was therefore very pleased to see the replacement buses shown on the platform screens at Cambridge as that saved me a long walk. I was even more pleased that I was only going as far as Cambridge North on the bus. I didn't envy those others having to endure a trip of over 40 miles on a small single decked bus.
 
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