Should the rail network copy road numbering schemes?

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GrimsbyPacer

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Hi everyone.
I've been thinking that the A, B, C, D, M & U classification of the UK's roads, with number loosely based on sector is quite clever overall.
I guess that the W tracks could be used for those with the largest loading guage, O for overhead electric, T for third rail, S for largely single track, M for mainline, and B for branches, etc etc. Ofcourse more than one letter will designate each line. The thinking behind my idea is to make it easier for freight companies to plan their route, as they'll know if the loading guage or power supply is good or not etc.

So my question is, could a similar scheme to mine or the road network be put in place for the railways, and would it be worthwhile?
 
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Flying_Turtle

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Well, the problem is that track characteristics may change radically from one station to the other. Besides, Timetabling is so complicated that choosing the path to go from A to B is the less complicated part.
So, not much use I m afraid.
 

judethegreat

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I should think the freight companies will know all they need to already.

My first thought when seeing the thread title was for the benefit of passengers using the services. Could be something in that possibly.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Well, the problem is that track characteristics may change radically from one station to the other.

Like roads then.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Sounds like something for the crayonistas. Real rail planners know where to find all that sort of information if they need it. As for passenger route numbering it only works well if you maintain service patterns over a long period of time. Our tendency to mix and match through services would soon break down any such system.
 

HSTEd

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Then perhaps we should accept a fewer number of fixed service patterns on the continental model? Especially for regional and commuter trains.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Then perhaps we should accept a fewer number of fixed service patterns on the continental model? Especially for regional and commuter trains.

I'm sure the bureaucratically minded would agree with you. Real world passengers might be less enthusiastic. To have more european style service patterns would imply rigourous connections between routes being timetabled at the junction stations and we just don't have the platforms to do that.
 

HSTEd

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I'm sure the bureaucratically minded would agree with you. Real world passengers might be less enthusiastic. To have more european style service patterns would imply rigourous connections between routes being timetabled at the junction stations and we just don't have the platforms to do that.

Operational concerns are increasingly forcing simplifications of routing, especially around london, however.
Whilst we don't have the platforms for Swiss style connections, we can certainly provide relatively short connections at junction stations with proper timetabling.
But that would require a complete recast of service structure nad timetabling over most of the network, from the ground up.
 

The Planner

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We do have a numbering system, it is called Line of Route and there are also the Engineers Line References, we don't need anything else.
 

DarloRich

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So my question is, could a similar scheme to mine or the road network be put in place for the railways, and would it be worthwhile?

no & no. What would be the point? Internal numbering systems already exist and are of no use or interest to real passengers as they add nothing to understanding how to use the railway system.
 
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Joseph_Locke

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Hi everyone.
I've been thinking that the A, B, C, D, M & U classification of the UK's roads, with number loosely based on sector is quite clever overall.
I guess that the W tracks could be used for those with the largest loading guage, O for overhead electric, T for third rail, S for largely single track, M for mainline, and B for branches, etc etc. Ofcourse more than one letter will designate each line. The thinking behind my idea is to make it easier for freight companies to plan their route, as they'll know if the loading guage or power supply is good or not etc.

So my question is, could a similar scheme to mine or the road network be put in place for the railways, and would it be worthwhile?

Road numbers tell you nothing - there are 60mph C-class dual carriageways and A-class single lane roads with passing places. The letter doesn't change because there is a height restriction or weight restriction or change in speed - it would be changing for change's sake. Far better to know that LEC1 is "four track, maximum 110/125EPS, Cat 1A, W12, OLE, RA8, 30t axleload". If any of this changes it will still be LEC1 ...
 

edwin_m

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If any of this changes it will still be LEC1 ...

Or MD101, depending who you ask. See, the railway likes route identifiers so much it has at least two sets already!

The road ones aren't terribly logical either. According to Google the A6 runs up to either end of the pedestrianised bit of Market Street in Manchester, so logically that must still be the A6.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Or MD101, depending who you ask. See, the railway likes route identifiers so much it has at least two sets already!

And then the electrification guys use an entirely different route identification system, ignoring ELRs!
And the signalling...
 

theageofthetra

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I don't understand why we don't just use the system adopted by the Chinese railways where each train has a type- G,D, T etc denoting the type of train (high speed, stopping, sleeper etc) and a unique number. Despite the language (written and spoken) difficulties as a tourist its simple to ensure you book the correct train as the only information that matters is the train number and date. E.g just book G1 on 28/4 and that is unique to the 9am Beijing Nan - Shanghai- Honquiao CRH high speed. They use 1 letter and up to 4 digits so there are thousands of combinations.
 

swt_passenger

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I don't understand why we don't just use the system adopted by the Chinese railways where each train has a type- G,D, T etc denoting the type of train (high speed, stopping, sleeper etc) and a unique number. Despite the language (written and spoken) difficulties as a tourist its simple to ensure you book the correct train as the only information that matters is the train number and date. E.g just book G1 on 28/4 and that is unique to the 9am Beijing Nan - Shanghai- Honquiao CRH high speed. They use 1 letter and up to 4 digits so there are thousands of combinations.

Look at the RTT detailed header, and you'll find some services already have a Retail Service ID, usually a two letter TOC code as per NRTT, and four numbers, e.g. SW 1234. It's the one you see on the side panels on a XC Voyager, XCnnnn. They don't load the info for most short distance metro type services , but there's no reason why they couldn't:

Passenger Information
Retail Service ID XC2180
Seating: first & standard
Reservations recommended
Trolley service
 
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louis97

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They don't load the info for most short distance metro type services , but there's no reason why they couldn't:

Its not, not loaded, its not there because only services marked with "reservations available" have a retail service ID.
 

higthomas

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But the problem is this is in no way advertised to the public, so is of no use. I think it could be quite helpful if we did advertise train numbers, and display them on trains. It would help a lot with helping people with little understand the railway system. E.G. Catch any train from Waterloo whose number starts with AB123--. For instance, with AB123 denoting route and --denoting specific train. It would be simpler for peiple who find the system very complicated or confusing.
 

Bletchleyite

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But the problem is this is in no way advertised to the public, so is of no use. I think it could be quite helpful if we did advertise train numbers, and display them on trains. It would help a lot with helping people with little understand the railway system. E.G. Catch any train from Waterloo whose number starts with AB123--. For instance, with AB123 denoting route and --denoting specific train. It would be simpler for peiple who find the system very complicated or confusing.

VT started out showing the retail service ID, and like in a lot of countries the first digit was a route code. Sadly they've given up this and now just show a headcode/reporting number in its place. Indeed, are VWC the only ones that put headcodes/reporting numbers on public facing displays?

I think it would remove a lot of confusion, particularly at places like New St, if the RSID was used as a "flight number" and shown on reservations and on the PIS.

As for local trains, the German/Swiss concept of numbering routes seems a good one to me as well, along with standardising calling patterns. Makes the system much easier to understand if you know you want an S2 or an IC4 rather than having to look at time, destination and calling points. After all, we manage it for buses!
 

61653 HTAFC

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I believe German routes are numbered in way not entirely dissimilar to that suggested by the OP, but applying such a system on the GB system would be difficult and of limited value.
 
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