Manchester Metrolink PIS questions

py_megapixel

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I've read on here that the Passenger Information System (PIS) on Metrolink M5000 vehicles works by measuring distance between stops but I'd like to know some more details.

Firstly, does the PIS "know" everywhere that the tram will stop on the way to its destination, or does it just know what the next stop is, and then when it arrives there it works out the next one? The reason I ask is that it doesn't ever seem to provide a full list of calling points.

Secondly, does the distance measuring work on the basis of distance from the origin of the service, or does it reset at every stop? (As in, if a tram starts at A and stops at B and C on the way to D, does it work out when it's approaching C based on the distance it's travelled from A or from B?)

Thirdly, is there any GPS equipment onboard with which to perform a sanity check (for example if a tram skips a stop does it know or does the system get out of sync?) or does it entirely rely on measuring distance?

Finally, is the PIS integrated with the doors at all?

Any other interesting details about the PIS on these vehicles would also be welcome.
 
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Crossover

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I don't know for sure but I think it may just have a list of calling points in it. Indeed, I was on one last year which had its destination changed part way through (from memory it was originally going to go to Broadway due to a problem further along the line, but in the end ran to Eccles) and it proceeded to cycle through each stop in turn until it was at the right point of the journey - I believe this cycling may have been manual intervetion by the driver. Likewise I believe I have seen them out of sync before as well
 

Johnny de Riva

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Yes I've known the driver to manually re-calibrate the announcement when it is out of sync.

I think it must also be the driver's responsibility to remove or alter the 'via' indication when the relevant stop is passed? I thought this perhaps happened automatically, but occasionally I've seen the 'via' still showing at a later point.

Takes me back to my days 'on the buses' when we would stick a finger in the air and whirl it round to tell the oncoming driver to change his desti blind!!

Cheers, Johnny de Rivative
 

507 001

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The IBIS system on an M5000 does indeed work on the vehicles odometer. They don’t have GPS (unfortunately!).

The driver (me) inputs a route code depending on which service you’re running. Let’s take Ashton-Eccles direct which is code 4506. This automatically puts Eccles via Piccadilly on the front.

The announcements are triggered as soon as the enable door button is pressed, or if the tram passes a certain distance (generally about 100 metres or so past the station) which can cause issues in leaf fall season.

The system does know what stops are coming up in the form of a list that can be scrolled through to tell it where it is. The system is pretty basic so it can only announce what the next stop is. The new-ish ‘we are now approaching xyz’ announcements have been put in as an extra stop, being triggered by passing a certain distance.

The control panel is actually the same one as fitted to the Merseyrail refurb 142s, to give an idea of how old/simple the system is.

When the service arrives at Piccadilly the ‘via Piccadilly’ message obviously needs to be removed. The system does this automatically using a sort of workaround. As soon as the doors are enabled it automatically updates the route code (in this case to the Picc-Eccles code which I think is 4030) and then announces whatever the first stop is.

Drivers can tell the system where the tram is by synchronising to a station. No GPS remember so it’s not automatic, unlike the Hanover system that was retrofitted to the T68s.
Hope this helps.
 

py_megapixel

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The IBIS system on an M5000 does indeed work on the vehicles odometer. They don’t have GPS (unfortunately!).

The driver (me) inputs a route code depending on which service you’re running. Let’s take Ashton-Eccles direct which is code 4506. This automatically puts Eccles via Piccadilly on the front.

The announcements are triggered as soon as the enable door button is pressed, or if the tram passes a certain distance (generally about 100 metres or so past the station) which can cause issues in leaf fall season.

The system does know what stops are coming up in the form of a list that can be scrolled through to tell it where it is. The system is pretty basic so it can only announce what the next stop is. The new-ish ‘we are now approaching xyz’ announcements have been put in as an extra stop, being triggered by passing a certain distance.

The control panel is actually the same one as fitted to the Merseyrail refurb 142s, to give an idea of how old/simple the system is.

When the service arrives at Piccadilly the ‘via Piccadilly’ message obviously needs to be removed. The system does this automatically using a sort of workaround. As soon as the doors are enabled it automatically updates the route code (in this case to the Picc-Eccles code which I think is 4030) and then announces whatever the first stop is.

Drivers can tell the system where the tram is by synchronising to a station. No GPS remember so it’s not automatic, unlike the Hanover system that was retrofitted to the T68s.
Hope this helps.
That's a rather interesting insight, thanks for sharing.

Just a quick question (and apologies if you've already answered this and I've misunderstood) but am I correct that if you're Picc-Eccles tram has to skip stopping at Deansgate for some reason, and you don't manually re-sync the PIS, it will think Cornbrook is Deansgate, Pomona is Cornbrook and so on all the way down to Eccles?
 

507 001

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That's a rather interesting insight, thanks for sharing.

Just a quick question (and apologies if you've already answered this and I've misunderstood) but am I correct that if you're Picc-Eccles tram has to skip stopping at Deansgate for some reason, and you don't manually re-sync the PIS, it will think Cornbrook is Deansgate, Pomona is Cornbrook and so on all the way down to Eccles?
No problem, always happy to answer questions.
Basically no, this is actually a situation where you wouldn’t need to manually sync the IBIS. Once you get around 100m past the platforms at DCF it’ll assume the station has gone missing and will skip ahead to Cornbrook. As it does it will trigger the ‘this is a service to Eccles, the next stop will be Cornbrook’ announcement.

This is why we can have problems keeping them synced in leaf fall season as excessive wheelslip can make it think it has travelled further than it has.
 

py_megapixel

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No problem, always happy to answer questions.
Basically no, this is actually a situation where you wouldn’t need to manually sync the IBIS. Once you get around 100m past the platforms at DCF it’ll assume the station has gone missing and will skip ahead to Cornbrook. As it does it will trigger the ‘this is a service to Eccles, the next stop will be Cornbrook’ announcement.

This is why we can have problems keeping them synced in leaf fall season as excessive wheelslip can make it think it has travelled further than it has.
OK. But presumably it would need to be manually synchronised if the doors are released twice at a particular stop? Or can it detect that it's not moved?
 

rebmcr

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This is why we can have problems keeping them synced in leaf fall season as excessive wheelslip can make it think it has travelled further than it has.
Just cancel it out with some wheelslide before the next stop! :D
 

tramfan208

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OK. But presumably it would need to be manually synchronised if the doors are released twice at a particular stop? Or can it detect that it's not moved?
No, you could enable the doors as many times as you wanted at a platform - if the wheels haven’t turned, the announcement will just repeat.
Given the example earlier, just to add to 507001’s reply, if non - stopping Deansgate, I would silence the system at St Peters Square (the previous stop), do a PA myself telling the passengers we were going directly to Cornbrook, and then manually change the system to show Cornbrook as the next stop. I’d only put it back into automatic once we arrived at Cornbrook platform
 

py_megapixel

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@tramfan208 and @507 001 your answers have been very interesting to read, thanks very much.

Something I meant to ask earlier us whether the system can provide special announcements if triggered by the driver (e.g. on iBus in London the bus driver can manually trigger announcements about things such as not smoking or vacating the wheelchair bay)

Another observation of mine is that "DO NOT BOARD - TRAM TERMINATES HERE" is in fact implementation as just another destination - does it have a code that the driver could use to manually trigger this if they wanted to?
 

507 001

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No, you could enable the doors as many times as you wanted at a platform - if the wheels haven’t turned, the announcement will just repeat.
Given the example earlier, just to add to 507001’s reply, if non - stopping Deansgate, I would silence the system at St Peters Square (the previous stop), do a PA myself telling the passengers we were going directly to Cornbrook, and then manually change the system to show Cornbrook as the next stop. I’d only put it back into automatic once we arrived at Cornbrook platform
Yes so would I ;)
 

507 001

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@tramfan208 and @507 001 your answers have been very interesting to read, thanks very much.

Something I meant to ask earlier us whether the system can provide special announcements if triggered by the driver (e.g. on iBus in London the bus driver can manually trigger announcements about things such as not smoking or vacating the wheelchair bay)

Another observation of mine is that "DO NOT BOARD - TRAM TERMINATES HERE" is in fact implementation as just another destination - does it have a code that the driver could use to manually trigger this if they wanted to?
No it doesn’t have any pre-programmed announcements (although there’s a few that would be useful).
Tram terminates here message is automatic, but can be put up manually using certain route or message codes (like special, not in service etc).
 

py_megapixel

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No it doesn’t have any pre-programmed announcements (although there’s a few that would be useful).
Tram terminates here message is automatic, but can be put up manually using certain route or message codes (like special, not in service etc).
Thanks very much!
 

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