Manchester Piccadilly P13/14 PIS

LNW-GW Joint

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I passed through Manchester Piccadilly station today for the first time in 19 months, and was surprised to find a new PIS system for the P13/14 concourse/lounge.
Out has gone the spidery horizontal dot-matrix scrolling mess that was only capable of showing the next two trains on each platform.
In has come a much larger vertical display showing more incoming trains, and colour coded for their arrival.
This is clearly an attempt to manage the crowds waiting in the open (often in the wind and rain) on P13/14, aiming at keeping them in the concourse area until the appropriate time for boarding.
Evidently Red means "Wait", Blue means "Prepare" and Green means "Go".

20211006_MAN P13-14 PIS2.jpg

I've not seen anything like that before, anywhere.
Is it unique within the NR estate?
I think it is a very clever way of both improving the quality of passenger information, and in helping to manage crowding on the platforms.
Full marks to Network Rail.
 
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jonnyfan

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I think they are excellent as well, very well thought out.
It's not shown in that picture, but even the little green "go" person arrow icon points the opposite way for platform 14 - all the little details thought through.
 

Agent_Squash

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Passed through Piccadilly yesterday and it seems to have changed since before COVID - it used to be three departures on those screens and the colours weren’t as prominent. It’s nice.
Believe it’s an adaptation of the Infotec system?
 

snowball

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They date from about March this year. Pictures were posted on Skyscrapercity at the time. (I read the Greater Manchester Transport subforum of SSC.)
 

Mikey C

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I saw them for the first time myself only last Friday. Indeed I was pleasantly surprised by the whole "P13/14" experience
 

thenorthern

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Nice, until relatively recently some of the screens on Platform 13 and 14 were still the old CRT monitors.
 

_toommm_

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Did you stay behind the red line though?

Luckily it's just about worn away.

Piccadilly, along with some of the other Network Rail stations (maybe all of them), also have live signalling map screens at the buffers of 1-12, and a hanging screen on each of 13 and 14. Shows direction of travel of that berth/train, goes as far as Levenshulme IIRC, and as far as Oxford Road in the other direction.
 

Bletchleyite

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Luckily it's just about worn away.

Piccadilly, along with some of the other Network Rail stations (maybe all of them), also have live signalling map screens at the buffers of 1-12, and a hanging screen on each of 13 and 14. Shows direction of travel of that berth/train, goes as far as Levenshulme IIRC, and as far as Oxford Road in the other direction.

Oxford used to have one of those, and Bedford does (under the footbridge on P1). They are usually marked "staff information" but presumably this is more because it removes the need for the displays to comply with accessibility regulations.
 

HSP 2

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The only thing that could be confusing is that the P13 display reads L - R and the P14 reads R - L. But all in all a good clear display.

I do understand why they want to keep people on the concourse and if this helps to do that then good.
 

Djminisite06

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I passed through with a colleague who doesn’t normally use Piccadilly and they commented on it being a good idea so it’s being well received by the regular traveller too

it’s an idea I would like to see expanded
 

462cd

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The signs are great, but judging by the platform announcements this weekend I think a lot of people don't look at them:

"This train is going to Southport. If you're going to Liverpool, get off the train now! If you're going to Blackpool, get off the train now!"

(followed by a lot of sheepish people hurriedly jumping off the train)
 
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CAF397

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The signs are great, but judging by the platform announcements this weekend I think a lot of people don't look at them:

"This train is going to Southport. If you're going to Liverpool, get off the train now! If you're going to Blackpool, get off the train now!"

(followed by a lot of sheepish people hurriedly jumping off the train)
Yes, there needs to be a large screen at the bottom of the stairs with the current train and stations to be called at.
 

Bletchleyite

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Yes, there needs to be a large screen at the bottom of the stairs with the current train and stations to be called at.

When it was built (in its current form, i.e. 1970s) Liverpool Central had a Solari for each platform at the bottom of the escalator, easy to see as you went down. These were removed because they caused accidents due to people seeing their train on there and running for it. So maybe not?

On the other hand, I would agree the platform PIS needs to be more prominent to be seen once you are at the bottom of the stairs. Standard 3-line LED displays would work fine, the newer vertical-format ones aren't very good for that.
 

Horizon22

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This is one of Infotec's adaptations of main-board displays that have a really excellent use of colour. I believe the "go, prepare, wait" signs were due to the direct input of station management.

Would love to see more of this sort of thing at major stations / terminals (although maybe toning down the pink a little!). The design could probably be bettered still further.
 

Bletchleyite

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This is one of Infotec's adaptations of main-board displays that have a really excellent use of colour. I believe the "go, prepare, wait" signs were due to the direct input of station management.

Was the reason for not using the conventional red, amber and green for these avoiding red-green colourblindness issues, or just because it looks fancy?
 

Horizon22

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Was the reason for not using the conventional red, amber and green for these avoiding red-green colourblindness issues, or just because it looks fancy?

Not sure why exactly those colours were used, but I would imagine either that, or to distinguish it seprately from traditional traffic lights slightly.
 

plugwash

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The signs are great, but judging by the platform announcements this weekend I think a lot of people don't look at them:

"This train is going to Southport. If you're going to Liverpool, get off the train now! If you're going to Blackpool, get off the train now!"

(followed by a lot of sheepish people hurriedly jumping off the train)
At least with the previous displays, when trains were close together passengers would be sent to the platform before the previous train has departed. I don't know if that is still the case with the new displays.

Delays, especially poorly reported ones compound this. I know I have been on platform 13 before waiting for a delayed train which was replaced on the "next train" board with another one at the last minute.
 

RailAleFan

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Was the reason for not using the conventional red, amber and green for these avoiding red-green colourblindness issues, or just because it looks fancy?
I wonder if it was thought that red might be too easily associated with "Cancelled". It looks like a CMYK based scheme.
 

Mikey C

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At least with the previous displays, when trains were close together passengers would be sent to the platform before the previous train has departed. I don't know if that is still the case with the new displays.

Delays, especially poorly reported ones compound this. I know I have been on platform 13 before waiting for a delayed train which was replaced on the "next train" board with another one at the last minute.
More than one train's worth of passengers are "allowed" down, so it's not as if you're on the 11:48, you can't go down until the 11:46 has gone
 

Trackman

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I wonder if it was thought that red might be too easily associated with "Cancelled". It looks like a CMYK based scheme.
I was thinking that too, red means something is up. Plus I guess it would be easier to read on a pinkish red background and easier on the eye.
 

AlbertBeale

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The only thing that could be confusing is that the P13 display reads L - R and the P14 reads R - L. But all in all a good clear display.

I do understand why they want to keep people on the concourse and if this helps to do that then good.

I presume the reason one set of pending departures is L-R and the other R-L is so that the arrow pointing to the platform (when the next train is imminent and that display goes green) is so that the arrow is on the "outside" of the set of screens and points away from the other destinations rather than towards them (and towards the platform, presumably!).

Though if people conceptualise the displays as a normal list of next trains, rather than realising they're separate displays for each platform, then the sequence is indeed counter-intuitive and confusing. But there is the combined (for both platforms) list of next trains on the separate (and distinct) - and more "normal" - screen in the middle, so perhaps that avoids most of the confusion. Though the way that overall summary screen colours the platform number as per the relevant screen colour is something I do find confusing - in that context the different colours make me think they're references to different platforms. I think that's unnecessary and better not done. The only embellishment that might work is an arrow added to the platform number pointing left or right as appropriate, but I think the colouring of the platform numbers on the central screen is a bad idea.
 

JaJaWa

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Couldn't they have just used the traditional system of not showing a platform number for "wait" trains?
 

Bletchleyite

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Couldn't they have just used the traditional system of not showing a platform number for "wait" trains?

It wouldn't work because everyone knows it will be 14 for certain destinations as it physically can't be anything else.

(OK, very rarely 13 and 14 end up reversed, but it's a once every few months occurrence - I've experienced it all of once, it happens when a unit fails blocking one of them)

13 isn't a great issue as there are few destinations and lots of trains to them, it doesn't crowd in the same way 14 does.
 

plugwash

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13 isn't a great issue as there are few destinations and lots of trains to them
I just did a quick count looking at trains around the current time (so middle of day on a weekday) to confirm/refuse this.

Looking at platform 13 right now (i.e. middle of the day on a weekday) I see trains to Crewe (via Manchester airport), Alderly edge (via Stockport), Hazel grove, Norwich, and Manchester airport.

Looking at 14 I see trains to Liverpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Chester, Redcar, Southport, Blackpool, Windemere, LLandudo and Edinburgh (I was suprised not to see any trains to Glasgow)

So yes nearly twice as many final destinations and on top of that in most cases much longer journeys. Worse most of the destinations served from platform 14 are served only from platform 14* so if passengers miss their train, or it's cancelled or badly delayed there is no incentive for them to leave the platform. Whereas if you miss your train on 13 (or it's cancelled or badly delayed) then it's quite likely your next train will go from the main shed.

* Yes there are some exceptions where destinations can be reached by multiple routes, for example North transpennine services via either Guide Bridge or Victoria and Chester via either altrincham or warrington.
 

Watershed

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It wouldn't work because everyone knows it will be 14 for certain destinations as it physically can't be anything else.

(OK, very rarely 13 and 14 end up reversed, but it's a once every few months occurrence - I've experienced it all of once, it happens when a unit fails blocking one of them)

13 isn't a great issue as there are few destinations and lots of trains to them, it doesn't crowd in the same way 14 does.
13 (and, more rarely, 14) can be used by services which terminate and reverse. TfW have quite a few of their trains booked to do this.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Yes there are some exceptions where destinations can be reached by multiple routes, for example North transpennine services via either Guide Bridge or Victoria and Chester via either altrincham or warrington.
Though these days any TPE service via Guide Bridge will depart from the low-numbered platforms in the main shed, not from P13 unless there's some serious disruption. Likewise the two routes towards Chester will leave Piccadilly in opposite directions.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Looking at 14 I see trains to Liverpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Chester, Redcar, Southport, Blackpool, Windemere, Llandudno and Edinburgh (I was surprised not to see any trains to Glasgow)
Glasgow trains alternate with Edinburgh as destinations each hour (TPE), so you are unlikely to get both on the same display.
Similarly Barrow alternates with Windermere on the hourly Northern service to Cumbria.
Trains can also take different routes towards Warrington, Liverpool, Wigan and Preston.
It's also feasible to reach Chester from P13 as well as P14 (as well as the main station).
Very occasionally, Avanti also uses those platforms on WCML diversions (so Birmingham and London appear on the departure board).
 

plugwash

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Glasgow trains alternate with Edinburgh as destinations each hour (TPE), so you are unlikely to get both on the same display.
I was looking at a 2 hour window on realtimetrains, so I should have caught that.

I see only 3 trains to Glasgow today on realtimetrains. Maybe cutbacks due to the knock-on effects of covid?
 

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