P.I.S. poor (on refurbed units)

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by PaxVobiscum, 3 Jun 2015.

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  1. PaxVobiscum

    PaxVobiscum Established Member

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    I'm sure I've seen discussion on the crazy announcements on some of the recently refurbished ScotRail units but I can't seem to find it. It was also being discussed at the Glasgow forum meal on Saturday.

    Anyway, I was on an Edinburgh - Bathgate line train into Queen St. on Monday and the announcements were for the correct stops (rather than ones that advise changing at random places hundreds of miles away) but they were 3 stations ahead of the train's position, for my bit of the journey anyway. I saw the driver was out his seat at Queen St. busy on a panel on the other side of the cab, presumably trying to fix it. Would this just be a GPS fault?
     
  2. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    It could be they need a software adjustment.
     
  3. D6975

    D6975 Established Member

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    I was up there a couple of weeks ago. The announcements on 334s on the Bathgate route were out every time I travelled on one, claiming to be approaching stations 3, 4 or more stops away (but always behind where we were in my case). This provoked someone to turn the system off on a couple of services, none is better than wrong I suppose.
     
    Last edited: 4 Jun 2015
  4. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    Not exactly on topic, but do the Merseytravel 142s still have their rudimentary form of PIS installed (which works on distance, and I think only on a handful of routes)?

    Last time I caught one (one a Lincoln - Sheffield service, probably 2009) the thing kept spouting out Merseyrail announcements about smoking and such.
     
  5. OpsWeb

    OpsWeb Member

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    The Class 334 (which operates on that route) Train Management Computer (to the right of the driver seat) controls the on board PIS. The system is notoriously slow and unreliable. Common problems include:

    - Taking to long to set up the initial route (if your only on a 5 min turnaround - you have issues)
    - Being unable to update stopping pattern on the move
    - GPS being "well out" when approaching stations close to each other

    There was an allegation the TMS runs of Windows 95, given the age of the units and Scotrail's highly questionable maintenance programme - that could well be true!

    The 334's were so bad in most respects, I used to dread going near them. Thankfully in my current job - I don't have too!
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2015
  6. SprinterJedi

    SprinterJedi Member

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    There was an allegation the TMS runs of Windows 95, given the age of the units and Scotrail's highly questionable maintenance routine

    Would you care to share specifics ?
     
  7. simonmpoulton

    simonmpoulton Member

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    Surely it is the same system on the 334's as the 175's which ATW seems to have managed to get working ok?
     
  8. Juniper Driver

    Juniper Driver Established Member

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    Does it matter? AFAIK the TMS on desiro's runs Windows 3.11.Seem to run quite well and is probably all that is needed.I wonder what the 455 PIS runs as that seems to run off of some sort of PC.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2015
  9. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I found the PIS on the Northern 319s perfectly adequate. Their programming will probably need updating when the stock is used on more services as the knitting is finished. These units are just 'refreshed' which is really a step down on a refurbishment so it seems that a good job can be done.
     
  10. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    IIRC the Southern region Electrostars run Windows 98, although since Class 379 they've converted to a Linux platform - not sure about Class 376 or 378.
     
  11. Juniper Driver

    Juniper Driver Established Member

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    I think in the early days of the desiro's I seem to remember the TMS rebooting (while my train was in motion)and doing a disk check @ Godalming,there I was waiting for the brakes to apply but nothing happened.:)

    Then I was shocked when the German version of Windows 3.11 screen came up but as proved a more complicated operating system is not needed.I'm not even sure what operating system the 458's are running.
     
  12. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    While in motion? Forgive me, but you don't sound fazed by it!

    What I'd like to find out about, is how they adapt a vintage operating system to modern hardware interfaces and protocols. And whether more manufacturers are moving on to Linux or other specialist builds now.
     
  13. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    I don't know this as a fact, but would there definitely be a need for modern hardware interfaces? Could it not be that that all the stuff goes through legacy (by current standards) interfaces?
     
  14. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Can't speak about the technical details of a 334, but it is extremely common for the PIS to be out of sync. It's been an issue ever since I've been riding on them. I've actually stopped noticing it to be honest - after five years of daily communing, it becomes easy to tune out!

    I don't know if it's still the same, but some units certainly used to manage to display the full announcements whilst others would just display the names of the stations (e.g. Partick ... Helensburgh Central ... Hyndland). And, of course, the screen is very narrow so letters with "tails" don't look quite right (e.g. CarntYne).

    Still, as a passenger I found them to be infinitesimally preferable to 320s.
     
  15. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Surely al lof the newer MU designs (e.g. Electrostar/Turbostar, Desiro, 395s etc.) have Ethernet comms between PIS and main train cab sysytems. A '60s designed network standard that has been compatible with all Windos OSs since Win 95 and Linux since day one (1991).
     
  16. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    This surprises me, as the 142s obviously only ran on City Line services, so the smoking regulations would have been the same as any other part of the National Network rather than the slightly altered rules that exist on Merseyrail. AIUI the basic PIS displays inside the 142s are only capable of displaying the destination of the service, and do not scroll through calling points. This is quite useful though, as the dot matrix destination displays on the front of the units are now so faded that they're pretty much unreadable!
     
  17. OpsWeb

    OpsWeb Member

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    I remember speaking with a rep from Alstom a few years back who was up "ironing out the teething problems" (despite the units being 10 years old at this point) and he seemed to think the TMS on the units was never designed for Scotrail use.

    As such, the PIS struggles to come with the amount of stops, with stations so close together so as a result the software takes an age to load with lots of problems with either stations being announced out of sync or the system getting confused with erroneous GPS signals.

    Anybody who has worked with the units will be familiar with TMS ghost faults, door failures, PIS issues and TMS failures. So much so, Scotrail installed a "TMS reset" button the driving desk to try and alleviate the many faults with a system reset.

    Certainly when I used to worked with SR starting out as a new driver, there did seem to be an unwillingness for Fleet to fix faults with some units. I'm not sure if it was down the the fitters not having enough time to maintain the fleet, or an unwillingness for FSR to spend money correcting the faults or the fitters being unfamiliar with the "new" 334 technology when compared with the legacy Class 314/318/320 units at the time.

    I suspect the fleet will be given an overhaul within the next few years both mechanically and with the onboard software as technology has come along since the units were built in the early 2000's, especially with regard to data logging, remote downloads and system monitoring etc...

    I am sure someone who currently works for SR might be able to shed light on the current state of the 334 PIS / TMS issues!
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2015
  18. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    I've not normally noticed a problem (save for the drop case) but last week when I was on one, having diverged from what some of the other forumites were up to, I was going from Greenfaulds to Springburn. All was fine until the junction before Springburn "We are now approaching Springburn........." followed a few seconds later with "We are now approaching Barnhill......" followed again by "We are now approaching Bellgrove". On arrival at Springburn we got "This is Bellgrove" and just after I left the train I heard "We are now approaching Glasgow Queen Street..............."

    Yes they do. I believe it only works on Manchester to Liverpool runs. Anywhere else and it hasn't been programmed
     
  19. Juniper Driver

    Juniper Driver Established Member

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    Well you either are or you aren't,I wasn't.:) It's all experience really,you see what happens and make a decision of what you are going to do about it.
    Mainly the TMS on desiro's told about some faults but didn't really assist with any driving.The 458 TMS's are more useful and give more and better information and alarms.It's more common for a 458 TMS to reboot.
     
  20. Goldfish62

    Goldfish62 Established Member

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    If the 334s have the same PIS as the 458s, this is based on wheel revolutions and does not use GPS. Hence if the stations are out of sync the unit does not "know" and will never self-correct. Sometimes on the 458s drivers do correct it, but it seems far from straightforward as they often have to have a couple of attempts to get it aligned to the correct next station. Sometimes they just give up and switch it off off.
     
  21. asylumxl

    asylumxl Established Member

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    It's worth adding that the while some trains may use older operating systems, such as Windows 95, they are not the normal variants usually but rather the embedded ones. These usually receive support for a lot longer than the consumer equivalents and are far more stable, hence their use for things like TMS.
     
  22. Phil from Mon

    Phil from Mon Member

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    I was on a double 158 Chester to Holyhead today. All info fine until it split at Llandudno Junction with only the first set going forward, and the PIS decided we were travelling from Aberystwyth to Birmingham International, next stop Caersws.
     
  23. OpsWeb

    OpsWeb Member

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    The PIS units on the older Class 318 and Class 320 units often seemed a lot more stable than other units. From memory it was a very basic set-up with the data being contained on one of two flash drives. The software must have been written in machine code as there was definitely nothing as advanced as Windows 95 installed.

    The main problems were than the cables used to come out between the forward facing destination screen at the drivers control unit on the desk, which was easily attended to.

    I think the systems used to be made by Whitely Electronics which went bust in 2009. I think Bombardier bought there assets and designs in the end.
     
  24. ACBest

    ACBest Member

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    I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the 333's yet, and how they like shouting out 'We are now approaching Leeds' when you're several miles from the city...
     
  25. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Member

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    Really? I find them:

    Very annoying.
    Very wrong. They miss out calling points and get the station wrong.
     
  26. scotraildriver

    scotraildriver Member

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    Not sure if its been upgraded but that was the case when they were new. No GPS at all AFAIK, just distance measured by wheel turns. Used to go wrong during low adhesion when wheelspin used to confuse it.
     
  27. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    The thread is mostly comparing as-built PIS to systems fitted to refurbished units. The 333 system is rather premature, but rarely gets it completely wrong.
     
  28. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Our experiences of them obviously differ.
     
  29. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    "The next stop is Leeds. This train terminates here" whilst still sat in Shipley (it isn't so clever to do approaching IIRC!)

    Could be easily sorted adopting the T&W Metro approach "The next stop is South Shields where this train will terminate" or something on those lines

    Apart from the time where on the way into Leeds, it suddenly decided to tell us we were approaching and terminating at Cononley!
     
  30. Peter Sarf

    Peter Sarf Established Member

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    I was on a train to London Bridge at about 10:55 Thursday 11/06/2015 from East Croydon which reckoned it was going to Epsom Downs calling at West Croydon etc etc. It said that all the way to London Bridge so I asked the driver if he could turn the PIS off - he said he could not. He said he was having to make verbal announcements to correct the visual display. That suggests to me the PIS is potentially an unnecessary distraction for the driver and of no use if you are deaf. I nearly jumped off the train as the doors shut because there were fellow passengers who thought they were on a train to Brighton !. I notice the visual displays are quite often wrong by a few stops but this was truly off the rails !.

    There is nothing like information and too often there is nothing like information.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jun 2015
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