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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by George109, 6 Jun 2019.
^ Thank you again. So it evidently varies between different companies.
I remember about a year or two ago waiting for the 19:30 Bristol Temple M to Leeds on a Sunday evening, which had originally been advertised as departing from platform 5. At roughly 19:28, the robot PA system very slowly announced that it would now leave from platform 15 (!) I remember panicking a little, with it being so last minute and I remember the train (2*220) already being there on platform 15 when I got to it, with an empty platform, so I got the impression it had been there a few minutes.
I could be wrong, but I got the impression the auto announcement only sounded at the last minute, surely the system should have been able to give more warning, as the train would have been routed across different points etc on its approach to the station, a good minute or two before it even arrived.
Having thought, the answer to the question that forms the thread title, is surely yes, trains should wait, if necessary; but it should not be necessary, as the customers should have been informed in adequate time for them to have made their way to the revised platform, ready for the train, which then has no need to wait.
For those of us who aren't familiar with the railway's systems, can someone explain the chain of events when a platform alteration occurs? Is it a case of the signaller deciding that an alteration is necessary, pushing some buttons (or pulling some levers or whatever) and the information is automatically propagated to downstream systems, triggering an update to the passenger information systems and an announcement?
The reason I ask is that I'm curious about the time interval between the signaller deciding that an alternation is required, and the consequent change being made known to passengers. If the answer is not "A few seconds" then perhaps there's an opportunity to improve the situation without causing operational problems.
I think most screens show the booked platform and only realise a change when the train enters another berth, which is why you've likely got 20-30 seconds warning (and bear in mind, it's 20-30 seconds to start the announcement which probably consists of 'This is a platform alteration..' and so won't get to the point immediately - the platform the train now coming in on being the very last thing.
If the software was more intelligent then in some cases it could work things out ahead of time, such as a train being on the fast line once leaving Potters Bar going north. From this moment, anyone on platform 4 at Welwyn Garden City could be told their train will now call at platform 3. There's no way for the train to get over to 4. In reality, you'll likely see the train when the announcement is made.
Obviously it doesn't really matter at a station where the other platform involves no stairs, but there must be many examples where screens could 'know' in plenty of time.
In the absence of intelligent software, could a human being not perform this function?
They can at staffed stations but only if the signaller tells them. I don't know what is the process at London Bridge but there ought to be one, given the long walk from platform 4 to 3 or 5 to 6.
It normally is. Everything is normally set through platforms 4 & 5 (you can see this on Opentraintimes’ map) But, if something occurs an adjacent platform will be used. Normally this will be last minute. If it’s going to happen for more than one train, the control point for the station can be advised and they can make announcements/adjust the CIS.
The fact it waited outside the platform for a few minutes says it was a last minute alteration. And as another poster stated, the adjacent platforms are South Eastern platforms, so needs to fit in with their trains, without causing unnecessary delay.
Even with all the announcements and CIS changes in the world, passengers will still go to the platform they normally go to, without checking boards.
There has been some posts here that agree that passengers who miss a train owing to inadequate notice of a platform change should be entitled to dely repay should their overall journey arrival time qualify. Are there auditable records of the events that cause the passengers to miss the train, i.e. I imagine that the route to the platform is recorded (even RTT will show the actual platform used), but is the time that the CIS was changed recorded as a signaller action or would that be open to a TOC judgement?
It all depends on how much time you have to make a decision, an infrequent train service and plenty of notice that you can’t use the intended platform the decision can be made well in advance. On the other hand intensive train service and things going wrong at short notice will result in a near instant decision to alter the platform and sometimes so instant that no time to advise the station before the change.
The decision to alter platforms at least in my part of the world rests 99.99% with the signaller.
The only place it doesn’t is the major terminus that we control and some decisions will just the signaller and ones that involve a lot of stock alterations will be done by the station supervisors and some by comity, but very rarely will that involve passengers having to alter platforms at the last minute anyway.
Signallers don’t operate the CIS equipment.
Perhaps giving them a way to modify the booked platform on the fly is something that could be looked at?
Signallers have enough safety critical tasks to carry out without getting involved in customer service matters.
Afaik the third delay minute at any timing point, i.e. station stops, becomes a recordable delay automatically.
I cover a station control room at a busy regional station.
As soon as the signaller sets the route for a train to go into an alternative platform, this changes the platform alteration on LICC GUI which then alters the CIS boards and plays the automatic platform alteration announcement. If the signaller rings us ahead of time or we’ve rung them and asked for a different platform (which happens fairly regularly for a number of reasons) we can manually alter the platform in LICC GUI which will then change the boards (flashing platform number on the summary screens) and plays the announcement. It’s likely we will do at least one manual announcement on the booked platform, the new platform and the concourse also.
To my knowledge, As far as delay investigation is concerned. Sub threshold delays (of two or less minutes) arn't attributed to a particular cause - unless I believe it is a recurrent issue, eg: continually loosing 2 minutes at stations due to dispatch timelyness (or lack thereof).
But I could be mistaken.
Today the delayed 1737 Cardiff to Ebbw Vale which had a very large number of passengers waiting for it on platform one was changed to platform Zero-only announced after it had arrived there.Cue a charge of passengers.They did make sure everyone made it before it left!
slightly off topic, the late arriving Nottingham service was sent straight the station with its passengers who had to wait for it to be brought back to platform one to form the 1745 service before disembarking.Never seen that before.
As a passenger with a mobility impairment, last minute platform changes are one of the biggest stresses of train travel, and I always appreciate when a train is held. I've had particularly good experiences when I've had passenger assistance booked, with a massive effort to not only wait but also create a safe route to move through a crowd of passengers transferring to the new platform.
A hypothetical I'm wondering about is what would happen if there wasn't enough time for people (including passenger assistance staff) to change platforms, and a passenger requiring ramps, was disembarking at that station? Do platform/ passenger assistance staff find out about changes prior to general passengers? Is there a risk of the passenger being left on the train? I'm thinking especially at smaller stations where platform staff on every platform is not standard.
I saw a lady in a wheelchair over carried past her intended stop. Peterborough put her on the train but there was no one at Huntingdon to get her off. So she had to go to St Neots and go back. Hopefully they got her a taxi.
Not sure that is reasonable, perhaps your post was tongue in cheek. I've claimed delay compensation in this scenario in addition to having the advance ticket accepted on the next reasonably available service.
See the wink at the end of my post!
Naturally, a platform alteration should be considered the same as a cancelled train.
One of the issues with alterations is sometimes due to the signalling berths being the way they are at various locations, you might not get any alternation announcements if it is a late one until the last minute.
Locations such as Luton, Hertford North, Finsbury Park etc are all locations where this can and does happen, it's all well and fine if the person manning the CIS desk is made aware in plenty of time of a alteration so they can override the system and put in the alteration but if not and it's left to the system to pick up the platform alteration then it won't pick it up until the last minute.
I do acknowledge that sometimes platform alterations do have to happen without little to no notice however the industry still has a commitment to ensure that passengers are made aware even at last minute to be given the chance to board the train with the train being held and the delay attributed to the platform alteration.
This is especially important if there is a assistance booked for that train or if the next service is delayed/cancelled or if it's a hourly service.