London Bridge Fiasco 2/6/15

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by itsjamierawr, 3 Jun 2015.

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  1. itsjamierawr

    itsjamierawr Member

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    I have literally just arrived home having boarded what I thought was the 23:40 Charing Cross - Canterbury West train (and here's an ordeal I never want to repeat). I thought I'd share my experience from a passenger perspective and maybe gain some understanding in what went on. To clarify the staff were faultless tonight and a credit to Southeastern.

    Firstly I understand there were signal problems at London Bridge which ground everything in the area to a halt. When this happened I'm surprised ticket acceptance on high speed wasn't announced as it would've solved a lot of trouble and passengers had ample time to make the 00:10? service to Ashford Intl.

    Following this, I believe passengers on board one of the stuck trains pulled the emergency door release and ran onto the track causing the power to be turned off and again, everything halted. Finally my train left Charing Cross at 00:10 and went to Cannon Street where it sat for approximately 45mins while they rounded up the rest of the people on the track. Finally we set off and called additionally at London Bridge and Orpington.

    When we approached Tonbridge the guard announced the usual split at Ashford as being front 4 for Folkstone Central, rear 4 terminating. So I asked him "what happened to get Canterbury portion?" This was where I learnt the train I was on was in fact the 22:40 from Charing Cross! One hell of a delay there... By the time we reached Ashford it was about 02:40 and we were directed onto a waiting replacement Stagecoach bus to Canterbury, finally arrived into Canterbury about 03:20 to see the sun coming up! So chances are some of those passengers boarded the train with the sunsetting only to arrive with it rising! Either way, huge well done to the staff involved and the passengers on my train for keeping quiet and not causing a riot!
     
  2. Mike99

    Mike99 Member

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    Sounds awful, on RTT shows the 23.40 CHX to Folkestone Central and Canterbury West, 2R84, as arriving Ashford International at 02.48, 107L, it left CHX at 01.20, 100L, so arrived at Ashford 8 minutes behind the 22.40,2R80
     
  3. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    There were two trespass incidents yesterday during the evening peak at St Mary Cray and at Folkestone that threw everything into turmoil, I assume that was the reason?
     
  4. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Why were people egressing onto the track ? It seems a bit extreme for just a signalling delay. Where were you when passengers jumped out ?
     
  5. plymothian

    plymothian Member

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    That's what people do when the nasty railway keeps them prisoner on overcrowded trains with no information.
     
  6. jnjkerbin

    jnjkerbin Member

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    How do you know that there was no information? Were you on the train?
     
  7. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    In my experience it is rare that what sounds like a simple and very common signal delay gets people egressing. The Op also posted that the staff were faultless.

    Did the Driver/Guard not make any announcements ? Was the unit standing 1 signal out a station that it was soooo tempting just to walk the last few meters ?

    I get the impression that some information is missing from the story. Passengers can be, well, um, ... but to get to a point where they egress is extreme.
     
  8. Temple

    Temple Established Member

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    There were multiple significant signal failures (don't yet know the cause).

    Some trains were delayed for a very long time. Some trains were held at signals very close to platforms. There was at least 3 reported egress-ers, at separate times, for which power had to be switched off each time, causing further delays.
     
  9. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    Frontline staff being faultless in doing their jobs doesn't necessarily mean that the situation was handled well on the whole, although by the sounds of it I imagine there would have been some serious stress levels in the control room by the time things started getting better so considering that it sounds like they all did a good job and some passengers just got impatient.
     
  10. bengley

    bengley Member

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    I don't think trains should have egress handles. Underground trains don't have them and they manage okay.
     
  11. itsjamierawr

    itsjamierawr Member

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    Both times they announced they had to turn the power off was when we were sat at Charing Cross or Cannon Street so I believe it was they forced themselves off a stuck train outside London Bridge was what we were told and the police had to round them up.
     
  12. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    They do have external emergency egress switches, but [the vast majority of] passengers can't use them. However, Tube trains are rather different in that they are almost always either in tunnels (where egress would just end up with people walking into the tunnel wall) or other areas where there would be such limited space for passengers that having them self-evacuate through the side doors would put them in incredible danger. Also, passengers are naturally not trained to call for a power isolation, meaning that there is very limited potential for them to walk amongst densely-packed fourth-rail lines.
     
  13. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Cheers for the reply.

    Could be a multitude of reasons why passengers egressed then.
     
  14. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    Given the time of day, alcohol may have played a part? One or two drunk people decide to egress and others (drunk or not) follow?
     
  15. hassaanhc

    hassaanhc Established Member

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    Passengers using the emergency release at London Bridge has happened before, on 27 November 2013 when a small fire in the signal box caused all signalling to be lost. That was in the evening peak however.

    Do wonder if the Clapham incident of 30 April where people were trapped for several hours was playing on their mind? :idea: Can see the line of thinking, to get away from the stuck train and use alternative transport to get home quickly when it is already late evening, rather than wait an unknown time on a train. :? They're lucky not to come into contact with anything live.
     
  16. itsjamierawr

    itsjamierawr Member

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    I overheard a couple of staff members at Ashford chatting about it trying to figure out why as well.


    Wouldn't surprise me if it was alcohol-fuelled given people would be coming in to London for a night out at that time of night (though it was a Tuesday and who goes out on a Tuesday)
     
  17. wensley

    wensley Established Member

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    I personally think that viewpoint is madness. As explained above there are good reasons why LUL is a totally different set-up.

    In cases like this passengers self-evacuating is a real pain in the backside for staff trying to deal with an already disruptive incident, as well as passengers being further delayed. That's without the safety consideration of passengers blundering around on 3rd rail infrastructure ... the thought of which makes be shiver.

    I've dealt with a few egress handles being pulled, although thankfully passengers haven't made it off the train in these cases (in one instance it was close), it's annoying, but it's part of the job. The same goes for pass-comms - irritating when pulled in error, but undoubtedly useful on occassion.

    However, in the case of a serious incident where passengers would be at greater risk by remaining on the train egress handles serve their purpose. These instances are few, but I wouldn't fancy taking the chance. The industry already has put effort into reducing the likelihood of passengers self-evacuating, and maybe more needs to be done, but passengers are (apparently :lol:) humans and you can't account for all the daft behavioural traits out there!!
     
  18. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    It was a power failure to the signalling equipment, mostly on the Charing cross lines east of London Bridge. Not connected to the Thameslink works, it was old kit.

    As soon as someone egress, the power has to be turned off in an emergency, depriving every other train in the area of power, which is not pleasant for the thousands of other people who have stayed on board.

    There were two separate reports of people egressing

    Another reason why OLE is better.
     
  19. itsjamierawr

    itsjamierawr Member

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    Ahh that makes sense! Thanks for the info! Out of curiousity, how much third rail got turned off since the trains didn't lose power at both Charing Cross and Cannon Street so I presume they have quite a finite control over the sections to switch off?
     
  20. Philip C

    Philip C Member

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    I suspect that however the line were electrified, or even were it not, services would have to stop when passengers start to walk around an area such as the approaches to London Bridge at mid-night.

    I travelled about 600 miles per week for more than 25 years on the Southern and was never aware of a delay relating to third rail displacement (though they certainly did happen). In five years travelling into Liverpool Street I was twice on trains which brought the wires down on top of themselves (once at Harlow Mill and once at Hackney Downs). I've never been convinced of the reliability of the OLE, certainly not in this country.
     
  21. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    Passengers will self-evacuate when they're stuck for very long periods. The fact is that TOCs know this and most policies state that they won't keep passengers trapped on a train for more than an hour.

    The 2301 Dartford-Cannon Street was stuck between Deptford and London Bridge for nearly two hours. The 2339 Charing Cross-Gillingham was stuck by Borough Market for 90 minutes. And people are surprised that passengers get angry and frustrated and then decide to let themselves off the train?
     
  22. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    I'm not surprised ... But the trains were only stuck for 2 hours because the power was turned off. Had people not detrained themselves the trains would have been on the move within 30 minutes.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Nope, in areas without third rail electrification, trains are run at caution if there are tresspassers around.

    Conversely to your example, in 21 years of travelling daily under OLE I've never been on a train that has brought the wires down in this country*, but I have been delayed several times by faults with the conductor rail. Most recently on 30 April.

    * on my one and only journey under the OLE in the USA, my train brought the wires down at Baltimore.
     
  23. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I try to take the view that people are intelligent. Are passengers still that stupid and impatient that they would risk juicing themselves because they just cant wait patiently. Good communication and accurate information can prevent such incidents.

    As Bald Rick posted. It just causes more delay.
     
  24. sbt

    sbt Member

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    'Passengers', like the human race in general, are not one homogeneous hive mind. It only takes one person who thinks they know best or is particularly selfish to trigger the traction current being switched off.
     
  25. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    With delays of up to two hours reported I would hardly call their actions stupid or impatient.
     
  26. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    As above, though, it would've been a much shorter delay (half an hour or so) without passengers wandering about all over the place - the first ones certainly didn't wait for anything like two hours before making a break for freedom.
     
  27. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    (Adopts schoolmaster tone) I'm not going to say this again, but the delays were only 2 hours because the idiots detrained. Had they stayed put, delays would have been half hour max.
     
  28. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Ok then I stand duly admonished but presumably they wouldn't have known at the time that it would be 'only' half an hour max?
     
  29. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    That's why I stated good communication.

    There is a live rail out there and trains moving without a moments notice. It is also a bit of a drop from sole bar to unstable ballast. I find it important to stress that going onto the track is dangerous. Going onto the track is the last thing anyone should be contemplating. No one should condone their actions in any way.

    Passengers should be educated about the perils of going onto the track. With national campaigns for level crossings maybe there should be one for egresses.

    I've been driving long enough to have been in such situations and I do understand passenger and other human behavior. Understand, yes. Accept, NO.

    I spoke with about 3 Drivers last night about the delay and none had egresses. I suspect the Driver/Guard on an egressed train wasn't communicating to passengers.

    To any Signallers out there. PLEASE use general calls more often to communicate delays and progress so we can tell the folks behind us.
     
  30. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Inevitably if passengers are 'trapped' for too long they are going to start considering their options, in all honesty I'd have probably done the same if there was a station nearby.
     
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