Minimum connection times - National Rail Conditions of Carriage 25(d)

Status
Not open for further replies.

All Line Rover

Established Member
Joined
17 Feb 2011
Messages
5,054
Condition 25(d) of the NRCoC states (emphasis added):

NRCoC said:
You should make sure that, if your journey involves a change of train, you allow at least 5 minutes interchange time, or the appropriate interchange time shown in the National Rail Timetable for the station where you change trains.

If you take the view that 'whichever is the greater' is to be implied, this would mean that the sub-5-minute minimum connection times specified by Network Rail in the National Rail Timetable for a wide range of stations are void. But this would enrage commuters (particularly in the South East). Also, journey planners permit these sub-5-minute connections. So this 'implied' view is clearly incorrect. I am fortified in this conclusion by the placing of that second comma in the sentence in the NRCoC ("...time, or..."), which looks to be deliberately trying to convey the message that there is a choice between following the 'default' 5 minute minimum connection time or the minimum connection time specified by Network Rail.

Therefore, if Network Rail, in the National Rail Timetable, specify the minimum connection time at a particular station as 8 minutes, but a passenger wants to make a 5 minute connection, is a passenger entitled to make this connection?

Certain ticket offices in London have offered to manually lower the minimum connection time in such a case to 5 minutes (but no lower) when selling me a ticket. Why is this facility only available in (ever decreasing) ticket offices but not on train operator websites?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

jopsuk

Veteran Member
Joined
13 May 2008
Messages
12,583
Where short connections are possible it's unlikely that missing a connection is going to result in a delay long enough to trigger compensation. In practical terms passengers are of course free, unless otherwise restricted, to make whatever connection they want. Just don't run down stairs because when that goes wrong it's horrible.
 

The Planner

Veteran Member
Joined
15 Apr 2008
Messages
11,211
Network Rail dont specify them, the TOCs do in the TPR, we just publish them.
 

Bookd

Member
Joined
27 Aug 2015
Messages
445
Do the journey planners take into account the station layout? For example (and there will be many similar) if you were on a train from Reading changing at Richmond for Putney the connection time is irrelevant since the Putney train goes from the same platform and cannot overtake. The only problem would be if the trains are running out of order, when you are always going to miss it for the same reason.
 

hairyhandedfool

Established Member
Joined
14 Apr 2008
Messages
8,837
Do the journey planners take into account the station layout? For example (and there will be many similar) if you were on a train from Reading changing at Richmond for Putney the connection time is irrelevant since the Putney train goes from the same platform and cannot overtake. The only problem would be if the trains are running out of order, when you are always going to miss it for the same reason.

Journey planners use the minimum connection time allocated to each station, regardless of how long a connection might actually take, in part this is because the arrival and departure platforms might change at many stations 'on the day'.
 

infobleep

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2011
Messages
10,304
I notice the minimum connection time at Surbiton and Thames Ditton is 6 minutes. However at East Croydon it's 5 minutes. Surbiton has four platforms and many trains that skip it. East Croydon has 6 platforms and far less trains at skip it.

Even Woking is 5 minutes and that has 6 platforms, 5 in regular use.

I think some minimum connection times could do with being revised.

Perhaps someone could explain why Surbiton needs 6 minutes but East Croydon only 5.

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,600
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
In practice I find that 5 minutes is insufficient not to be stressful at almost all stations except where the connection is same-platform or same-island. For me as an expert rail user I prefer 10, for novice rail users my recommendation would tend towards 15 or even 20.
 

bignosemac

On Moderation
Joined
12 Oct 2009
Messages
4,981
Where short connections are possible it's unlikely that missing a connection is going to result in a delay long enough to trigger compensation. In practical terms passengers are of course free, unless otherwise restricted, to make whatever connection they want. Just don't run down stairs because when that goes wrong it's horrible.

Anectdotal, but three times I've missed an advertised 3 minute connection resulting in an hour's delay.
 

3141

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2012
Messages
1,596
Location
Overton, Hampshire
In practice I find that 5 minutes is insufficient not to be stressful at almost all stations except where the connection is same-platform or same-island. For me as an expert rail user I prefer 10, for novice rail users my recommendation would tend towards 15 or even 20.

I suppose I could regard myself as an "expert" rail user as well. If I knew a connection was tight, i.e. 5 minutes, I'd make sure I was in the part of the train nearest the stairs or ramp. There's no reason why non-expert users can't do the same - after all they will know it's just a 5 minute connection as well.

Where problems arise is when people don't know where the stairs are and can't position themselves on the appropriate part of the train; and where they don't know that they have only 5 minutes for the connection. That can happen to experts and non-experts alike.

I wouldn't support the idea of increasing official connection times to 10 or more minutes. There are many places where, for most people, such a longer time is unnecessary. But if you obtained the details of your journey and connections you would see extended waits, nearly an hour in some cases. Then, when people found they could do it in 5 minutes instead of 55, they'd start sneering about how the railway based its timings on those who were least mobile.

There is no totally satisfactory answer to all this. I think the standard 5 minutes and the greater or lesser times at some other stations are a reasonable compromise. The occasional anomaly like Surbiton v. East Croydon just makes life interesting.
 

infobleep

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2011
Messages
10,304
I suppose I could regard myself as an "expert" rail user as well. If I knew a connection was tight, i.e. 5 minutes, I'd make sure I was in the part of the train nearest the stairs or ramp. There's no reason why non-expert users can't do the same - after all they will know it's just a 5 minute connection as well.

Where problems arise is when people don't know where the stairs are and can't position themselves on the appropriate part of the train; and where they don't know that they have only 5 minutes for the connection. That can happen to experts and non-experts alike.

I wouldn't support the idea of increasing official connection times to 10 or more minutes. There are many places where, for most people, such a longer time is unnecessary. But if you obtained the details of your journey and connections you would see extended waits, nearly an hour in some cases. Then, when people found they could do it in 5 minutes instead of 55, they'd start sneering about how the railway based its timings on those who were least mobile.

There is no totally satisfactory answer to all this. I think the standard 5 minutes and the greater or lesser times at some other stations are a reasonable compromise. The occasional anomaly like Surbiton v. East Croydon just makes life interesting.
You mean like at Aldershot when the train to Alton arrives 3 minutes after the train to Ascot. Meaning officially the quickest route from Guildford is to go to North Camp and walk to Ash Vale and then catch the train to Alton. Alternatively take the train to Woking and change there. However that isn't valid on one ticket and requires two.

The journey time in both cases is 53 minutes. I've taken the off peek week day times around 1pm, which than peak times.

In contrest officially changing at Aldershot makes the journey 1 hour 10 minutes so 17 minutes longer, despite no doubt being shorter in distance. Only one of the two trains an hour via Aldershot is listed because the other gets officially overtaken by the route via North Camp.

Unofficially though the journey can be done in 37 minutes. So a saving of 33 minutes on the official time via Aldershot and a 16 minute saving via going via North Camp. I assume it's easy to get from North Camp to Ash Vale, including at night. Not done it myself.

The trains of course leave and depart from the same island at Aldershot. One would have to arrive after the other had left to miss your connection. Its never happened to me yet. If I've been late the Alton train has being delayed at the junction.

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
 

gray1404

Established Member
Joined
3 Mar 2014
Messages
5,294
Location
Merseyside
My understanding is that it is the time shown in the national rail timetable. If nothing is shown then it is 5 minutes by default. So, if the interchange time shown in the national rail timetable is less then 5 minutes then that lesser time will apply.
 

MarlowDonkey

Member
Joined
4 Apr 2013
Messages
1,034
So, if the interchange time shown in the national rail timetable is less then 5 minutes then that lesser time will apply.

It can be worth checking whether the official times don't have any slack built into them. Isn't it a common practice for the time quoted for a "terminates here" service to have a minute or several added on to reduce the possible penalties for delays? Beyond that, knowing the station where you hope to make an unofficial connection can help.
 

adrock1976

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2013
Messages
3,354
Location
What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
I remember a while ago that the minimum interchange time at Birmingham New Street was 15 minutes, then for some unknown reason, it was slightly reduced to the present day 12 minutes.

With the recent cosmetic facelift at BHM that has resulted in 2 separate gatelines at the London and Derby end (the "a" end of the platforms), perhaps the minimum interchange time could be put back to 15 minutes as it was before?
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,600
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
It's not as if going through a gateline takes very long, though? There are quite a number of mainly terminus stations where you would most likely go through a gateline to connect, e.g. Euston if connecting onto LO.
 

All Line Rover

Established Member
Joined
17 Feb 2011
Messages
5,054
I remember a while ago that the minimum interchange time at Birmingham New Street was 15 minutes, then for some unknown reason, it was slightly reduced to the present day 12 minutes.

With the recent cosmetic facelift at BHM that has resulted in 2 separate gatelines at the London and Derby end (the "a" end of the platforms), perhaps the minimum interchange time could be put back to 15 minutes as it was before?

Err... no.

A 7 or 8 minute connection is easy at New Street, let alone 12 or 15. If I was a daily commuter through New Street I wouldn't want to have my journey extended by half an hour in each direction.
 

greaterwest

Established Member
Joined
23 Nov 2014
Messages
1,186
Err... no.

A 7 or 8 minute connection is easy at New Street, let alone 12 or 15. If I was a daily commuter through New Street I wouldn't want to have my journey extended by half an hour in each direction.

Please remember that not everyone is an able traveller and that some people require more time to get around. Things you may find easy, some may find hard.
 

Mojo

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
7 Aug 2005
Messages
18,468
Location
0035
Please remember that not everyone is an able traveller and that some people require more time to get around. Things you may find easy, some may find hard.
This is the Minimum connection time. If a customer requires longer then they can request this when booking.
 

hairyhandedfool

Established Member
Joined
14 Apr 2008
Messages
8,837
I think it has to account for everyone, a first time user is never going to know how long to leave, unexpected works (planned or otherwise) at a station might disrupt the flow of people and add more time to the connection. There are so many variables to consider so I think making it a minimum connection time for the fit, able-bodied, regular commuter is not a good move at all.
 

D1009

Established Member
Joined
22 Feb 2012
Messages
3,166
Location
Stoke Gifford
I remember a while ago that the minimum interchange time at Birmingham New Street was 15 minutes, then for some unknown reason, it was slightly reduced to the present day 12 minutes.

With the recent cosmetic facelift at BHM that has resulted in 2 separate gatelines at the London and Derby end (the "a" end of the platforms), perhaps the minimum interchange time could be put back to 15 minutes as it was before?
My connections at New St tend to be off XC from Bristol on to VT to Glasgow and vice versa. It didn't take me long to realise that using the b end was much less hassle, and it certainly doesn't take 15 mins, even if you have to walk almost the length of the platform to reach the b end.
 
Last edited:

greaterwest

Established Member
Joined
23 Nov 2014
Messages
1,186
This is the Minimum connection time. If a customer requires longer then they can request this when booking.

I know, he's making it sound like it shouldn't even take that long and that the minimum should be less.
 

maniacmartin

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 May 2012
Messages
5,223
Location
Croydon
Its sloppy wording, but I also believe that the intended meaning is to use 5 minutes if there is no specified minimum connection time in the NRT.

One that I've learnt not to rely on is the 3 minutes allowed at Norwood Junction. Given that trains through East Croydon usually depart slightly late, National Rail's 06:04 ex-Purley itinerary for my commute to London Bridge is usually impossible. I'd support raising the minimum connection time at this station.

Also, why do some slow people with luggage or whatnot who have all the time in the world insist on exiting at the best door and then causing a blockage in subways and on staircases. Let faster people past first!
 

trainophile

Established Member
Joined
28 Oct 2010
Messages
5,026
Location
Wherever I lay my hat
Its sloppy wording, but I also believe that the intended meaning is to use 5 minutes if there is no specified minimum connection time in the NRT.

One that I've learnt not to rely on is the 3 minutes allowed at Norwood Junction. Given that trains through East Croydon usually depart slightly late, National Rail's 06:04 ex-Purley itinerary for my commute to London Bridge is usually impossible. I'd support raising the minimum connection time at this station.

Also, why do some slow people with luggage or whatnot who have all the time in the world insist on exiting at the best door and then causing a blockage in subways and on staircases. Let faster people past first!

How do they know which is "the best door"? They probably just head for the one nearest to where they left their luggage. I agree it is frustrating when you get stuck behind slow movers though, but it wouldn't occur to most people to get out of the way in case those behind were in a hurry.

I was puzzled by that experiment on LU to stop people walking up the escalators, telling them all to stand on both sides instead. Would be mightily annoying if you only have a couple of minutes and can't get by.
 

bb21

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
23,984
With plentiful supply of apps these days for train departure information, I think there is a need for the minimum connection times to get more publicity.

This discussion reminds me of a complaint I saw a while back. The customer complained of missing his train regularly at Clapham Junction in the morning peak, giving himself 3 minutes (I think, or something like that) to cross from the Mainline side to the Windsor side. This meant he subsequently missed another connection along the way and were regularly 20 minutes late at work. When informed that the connection was not valid, he insisted that 3 minutes were plenty should things run on time and demanded compensation. Whether he was offered any eventually I do not know, but this does show that people may simply plan their journey using departure information, and total unaware what constitutes a valid itinerary. This is even more important these days with more and more people being aware of their rights when things go wrong.
 

All Line Rover

Established Member
Joined
17 Feb 2011
Messages
5,054
This is the Minimum connection time. If a customer requires longer then they can request this when booking.

Precisely.

Although some train operators insist that the minimum connection times at stations they manage be set at a figure to 'cater for the less mobile' (elderly, disabled, lots of luggage, etc.), these still aren't long enough for many of these passengers (especially wheelchair users or slow walkers) and yet these train operators provide no ability for passengers to request longer connection times when booking tickets online or over the phone! On the other hand, the minimum connection times these train operators set do have the consequence of lengthening journey times for commuters (particularly those reliant on 'Advance' tickets, for which there is usually an obligation to wait for the booked connecting train).

This gives the impression that these train operators couldn't care less about assisting inexperienced or vulnerable passengers, and that their main concern is to forbid connections that may regularly be missed because of poor reliability. For example, compare the minimum connection times at VTWC-operated stations (Crewe [10], Carlisle [8], Preston [8], Wolverhampton [7]) with the minimum connection times at comparably complex stations along the same route which are managed by other train operators (Chester [5 - ATW], Milton Keynes [5 - LM], Watford Junction [5 - LM]). Speaking for myself, I don't find Crewe, which in its current set-up is actually quite a compact station, as difficult to navigate as Manchester Piccadilly or, worse, Clapham Junction (both of which also have minimum connection times of 10 minutes).

You could also compare a GWR-managed station (Bristol Parkway [7]), which has only three platforms, with an ATW-managed station (Newport [5]), which has four platforms. The Newport minimum connection time is optimistic, but useful nonetheless for regular passengers.

The best example I have of a station with a minimum connection time which caters for commuters is Stratford. A labyrinth, with an eye-watering number of passengers (for the entire station complex, well over quadruple that of Manchester Piccadilly or Clapham Junction). And the minimum connection time is...

...7 minutes!
 

gray1404

Established Member
Joined
3 Mar 2014
Messages
5,294
Location
Merseyside
I was puzzled by that experiment on LU to stop people walking up the escalators, telling them all to stand on both sides instead. Would be mightily annoying if you only have a couple of minutes and can't get by.

Didn't know about this.... What is it?
 

AM9

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2014
Messages
9,561
Location
St Albans
Didn't know about this.... What is it?

Recent tests at Holborn station revealed that passengers standing two abreast on the escalators meant a greater overall throughput than the long standing practice of standing on the right-hand side only to allow others to pass them on the left.
The second stage of the trial has been introduced where one escalator (there are usually two operating in the major flow direction) will be operating in each of the two modes.
A (London) Evening Standard video here:
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/holborn-standing-only-escalator-trial-gets-off-to-a-rocky-start-as-londoners-ignore-the-advice-a3227401.html
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
12,837
In these days of journey planners and phone apps, I can't help but feel that Minimum Connection Times could be a little more "intelligent"

E.g. at Crewe, a standard value of 8 minutes applies to all connections, which is fair enough for interchanging between Platform 3 and Platform 10, for example.

However, one could comfortably make a 3-4 minute connection between Platforms 1 and 5 for example. However currently the 8 minutes rules out some otherwise comfortable journey opportunities being shown in journey planners.

So is there an opportunity for 'variable' minimum connection times, depending upon the booked platforms of the services being connected between? It could even be variable based on the likelihood of a platform alteration or inward delay to a particular service. Surely not beyond the wit of some whizzy journey planner coding?
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,600
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Indeed not, though it would require a lot of data with regard to track layouts for which certain platform alterations are impossible. But there do exist these connections - for instance, from the 1816 EUS-NMP onto the Southern to MKC, a one minute connection would be perfectly adequate, as operationally the Southern will always be held unless the fast is *very* late.

I guess it would be possible to move away from the number of minutes and build a database of confidence values in particular connections to feed the planners, though you'd still need an outline "definitely OK" cut-off time for each station for those not using planners.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top