Should trains wait if there is a platform alteration?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by George109, 6 Jun 2019.

  1. George109

    George109 Member

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    Today I caught the 2045 (Actually 2046) Thameslink service from London St Pancras to London Bridge (9J61), which was delayed because it was stuck behind the late running 2035 service, which actually left St Pancras at 2044 (9R55)

    At London Bridge 9J61 sat at a red signal outside the station for a couple minutes, then as I saw on opentraintimes the route was set to Platform 3 (it was booked for 4) as 9R55 was occupying platform 4 for a while (13 mins according to RTT).

    I saw the route was set at around at 21:03:30ish and it arrived London Bridge at platform 3 at 21:04, I got off the train and lots of people were running up the stairs. While this crowd was halfway up the stairs, the door hustle alarm sounded. People heard the alarms and a stampede happened up the stairs and escalators and a few people slipped through the doors as they were closing.

    At 20:04:45 the doors shut. The train left at 20:05:00 (I'm not sure if platform staff dispatched it or the driver does it themselves at London Bridge)

    Anyway about 40-50 people missed 9R55 and had to wait 30 minutes for the next Horsham service. The platform staff got shouted at by a lot of angry people saying "why did you let it go" etc.

    9R55 was 5L and I can understand it was priority to let it go to try and get back to time (and it arrived RT at Horsham)

    Should trains wait and extend their dwell time if there is a platform alteration? 1 minute 15 seconds from the announcement to change platforms at London Bridge is next to impossible, and if you are disabled you have no chance (getting two lifts). Thoughts?
     
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  3. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Same happens at Finsbury Park at times, and now (most of) the trains aren't dispatched there's little that can be done unless the signaller takes the signal back to delay it.
     
  4. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    DOO at London Bridge.
     
  5. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    No, trains should not wait. Also, passengers missing trains with train specific Advance tickets should be forced to buy a new Anytime ticket.;)
     
  6. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    There’s zero chance of that happening unless it’s for a very good safety-critical type reason (certainly not a platform alteration), and the signaller has established communication with the driver beforehand to ensure the train is at a stand.
     
  7. big all

    big all On Moderation

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    no one goes out to annoy people on purpose
    as a driver several years ago i would read the general situation
    this would often be knowing how much local staff would know and include local situations
    in general you would leave under station staffs direction as they would be far better informed off local situations but not always
    some times visual cues like connecting train or passengers rushing would suggest a say 80 seconds delay waiting was a good compromise as most could be recovered
    but to be fair drivers are not god so should be prepaired to trust others judgment and work together with your workmates :D
     
  8. George109

    George109 Member

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    Do the platform staff have any control over (like TRTS, holding their baton thing up, or waving to a DOO camera :D) when the train leaves at London Bridge? Or it is solely the drivers decision when they go?
     
  9. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    It’s a sad indictment of the modern railway that, if there are any platform staff at all, they generally aren’t in contact with the driver or involved in dispatch - including for TL services through London Bridge these days.

    In DOO land it’s check the monitors, close your doors, check the signal and go.
     
  10. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    DOO monitors for TL*, CD/RA for everything else.

    *I’m unsure whether this is the case for TL at London Bridge “lower level”, can anyone confirm?
     
  11. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    If the train is dispatched by the driver, it’s highly likely he wouldn’t know any different, unless there’s been some specific three-way communication between the driver, signaller and station staff. It’s not ideal, but is probably one of those little facts of life, or more specifically a fact of a busy railway with few staff looking after wide areas.

    The signaller is quite probably too busy to be able to concentrate too much on marrying things up nicely - holding a signal at danger is asking for trouble if something else happens and it gets forgotten.
     
  12. mresh91

    mresh91 Member

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    As station staff, I would've held the train for people to board, even if there was a mobility impaired passenger who I knew was changing platforms to make this train. Then log the delay down if deemed significant.

    I don't know London Bridge station, but round my patch (SWR) we get plenty like this and I have to be proactive in this regard all the time as I can't take the prospect of getting abuse from passengers, it's happened far too often.

    On night shift I preemptively have to announce that the trains may be subject to a platform change, and will hold it if necessary. Train are rarely delayed though if you monitor the CCF and make prompt announcements. Did they make manual announcements at London Bridge or was it just the automatic?
     
  13. George109

    George109 Member

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    I don't know, I was on the the train behind it so I arrived after any announcements soils have been made
     
  14. carriageline

    carriageline Established Member

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    It’s possible the 9R** was awaiting relief at London Bridge, as not often will Thameslinks use platforms 3 & 6. They normally do it if 4 or 5 will be blocked for an extended period of time.

    But it is true, the new London Bridge isn’t great for platform alterations. Even same island changes during a disrupted PM peak can cause chaos
     
  15. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I'm guessing it's automatic, so the platform alteration message will only play when it moves into the appropriate berth. That doesn't give people a lot of time.

    If a train was delayed outside the station a while and is redirected, there should be a way to trigger the alteration before the train even moves. That would then require the signaller to communicate with control to get the booked platform changed earlier, but I am sure that at most times of the day there's simply not time to do that. It comes down to platform staff being alert enough to notice/predict what might happen and advise, but that can of course lead to people being told to change platform only to perhaps find that the train is held where it is and waits until it gets the booked platform...
     
  16. bionic

    bionic Member

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    As has been pointed out above, Thameslink trains are DOO at London Bridge while Southeastern are CD/RA. Thameslink drivers voted to take on the extra DOO responsibilities at their busiest stations as part of their last big cash for conditions sellout.

    In my experience, platform staff generally do hold the train if it's a southeastern one, but they have no way of holding Thameslink ones. At a station as busy as that, the driver has no way of knowing how many people are legging it up the stairs so isn't going to hang about.
     
  17. Dynamonic

    Dynamonic Member

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    I’ve occasionally encountered trains get held if there’s a last minute platform alteration, mobility impaired passengers or a slightly delayed connecting service.
     
  18. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    How would you have held the train ?

    The Platform Staff at London Bridge would have only know at the last minute that the train had the alteration. So would have been caught out just as much as the passengers.
     
  19. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    I'll always hold my trains if there has been a last minute platform alteration and I'm aware of it. I'll put down the reason for the delay in a report, and I've never any come back from it.
     
  20. mresh91

    mresh91 Member

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    Not sure about the workings at London Bridge for platform staff, so not judging them on how they done their duties. Just that in SWR land, and especially at my station things like this is far too common, and sometimes cannot even rely on the signaller for the correct information. Just have to be on the ball for every individual train movement.
     
  21. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I get that and fully appreciate that Platform Staff have a difficult job at times and deal with various out of course situations but I'm interested how you could hold the train, especially if its DOO. If you did manage to hold the train, who is then responsible for dispatch ? Do you have a specific method of working that is used to hold a DOO train at a station ? How would you get the Drivers attention etc ? Would you expect to hold another TOCs service ?
     
  22. baz962

    baz962 Established Member

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    We would think they are waving goodbye.
     
  23. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    I think that would depend on location, for example a dispatcher at one location served by DOO services could speak to the driver while the train station was held for a few minutes then dispatch it as per normal dispatch matrix for that station.

    I can think of two times amongst many that I had a train held which incurred a small delay.

    1. Was a very late platform alteration with a hourly service and had a mother and baby needing to cross platforms (no step free access) so train held to allow her and other passengers to get it.

    2. Had a ramp assistance at a station which was unmanned at time, no available taxis in area so travelled to the station with passenger in order so they could get off there.

    Both trains were held for no more then a extra minute or two which was made up by time the trains made their destination.

    Every situation is different and you can’t always do what should be done so you can only do your best.
     
  24. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think he was talking about holding the train in SWR's context, hence communicating with the guard.

    Communicating with the driver is slightly different, of course.
     
  25. lincolnshire

    lincolnshire Member

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    Holding trains past there departure time even after platform change cost money in train delays and at London Bridge through platforms are very much in demand. Waiting for the next service in 30 mins time is nothing as compared with places elsewhere if they miss or the train gets cancelled like places with only and hourly service .
     
  26. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Yes if i need to catch the train. No if i am already on the train.
     
  27. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Ideally yes, but there can be practical reasons why not. However, if they aren't and people miss them, Delay Repay should be payable as if it was a cancellation.
     
  28. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Which one of you is more important? :D

    Sadly it does typify the mentality of a big chunk of the general public.
     
  29. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    the third part ;)

    That is kind of my point. You cant win with this kind of decision. Delay the train and some people think you are a hero but others think you are a clown and vice versa. Best, in my view, to just go with the timetable unless there are extenuating circumstances

    ( also how do the on board crew know there was a last minute platform change? For all they know it might have been on the boards for 20 minutes.)
     
  30. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Given that the TL train was running the in the opposite direction to the usual SE one the platform staff won't have been well positioned to do that as they will probably have been looking the wrong way on approach and if standing in the right place will have been 6 coaches away from the driver
     
  31. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    In the ideal world trains should be held for the minimum connection allowance for the particular station after it has been announced as it boils down to the same thing. It can happen at Bristol TM and as the customer reaches the top of the steps they can see their train, for which they might have been waiting a considerable time, pulling out.
    It used to happen regularly at Newport before the horrible alterations of 2010 when a west bound train was diverted from Platform 2 of the island platform to platform 1 instead. The announcement was not triggered until the train was actually running in to the platform so a mad rush over the bridge to Platform, which was self dispatch, ensued and which resulted in many passengers missing their train. The situation was worsened due to the fact that the Welsh language version of announcements was broadcast before the English, and a position that the TOC were reluctant to change.
     

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