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Shutting doors while passengers are boarding - how low can EMT sink?

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MichaelAMW

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Yes I have reported it to EMT and I hope they reply. Previous complaints to them on other matters have gone unanswered.

Having dispatched the Derby train, the dispatcher had to hurry back along to the middle of platform 5 to dispatch the train I had just got off. That might explain his undue haste.

But both the dispatcher and conductor must have seen the Virgin train arrive on P5 and people hurrying across the platform before giving the signal to go, otherwise the first passenger could not have made the connection.

Crewe - Derby timings can't be all that tight. Trains are often held for several minutes at the junction outside Derby station for the run to platform 2 to clear - and still arrive on time.

While that might be right - I see from Real Time Trains that there is extra time allowed near Derby - that isn't where the greatest constraints lie. There is a single line soon after leaving Crewe, which probably isn't usually a major problem, but the section from Kidsgrove to Stoke is fairly busy and the train has to cross the down Manchester line at Kidsgrove.
 
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BestWestern

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Regarding the various sounds, it was long the practice that the guards whistle meant "Hurry up, about to go". Now it seems the hustle alarm, which many would take to be the same, means (at least in the interpretation of rail staff) "Stand back, you are too late". When did this officially change?


This just shows that such TOCs have completely divorced themselves from the reality that they are dealing with paying customers. If the train is unable to keep time without slamming along with minimum stop time then they have applied their service incompetently. If a bus company scheduled, and expected to operate, their bus timetable on the basis that the driver must use full throttle at all times they would put the road in a moment.

I'm afraid you seem to be 'divorced from the reality', that the entire railway network operates on that basis now!

Put simply, there are often too many trains on too little track, and every few seconds really does count. Passengers who take the attitude that the train should just 'hang on a moment' are very much at odds with how all TOCs view the situation, which is that a train should leave on time. You may have somehow managed to miss it, but there are policies in place pretty much universally which see doors being closed 30 or 40 seconds before the booked departure time; the reason that policy exists is to help ensure the train is moving on time. Those who roll up afterwards and expect access to a train as the brakes are releasing, generally fail to appreciate the reasons why this is not practical. I have seen passengers on more than one occasion actually persuing a departing HST along the platform at Paddington, pleading with the Train Manager to halt the train and let them on. Whilst I do tend to take a more sympathetic approach than some with the hard pressed travelling public, that is just utterly stupid, in my opinion.

A whistle on the platform has no official meaning in the Rulebook, but is traditionally used to give a general sense of 'the train will be going shortly', and is typically also blown when exchanging 'tips' between Guard and dispatch staff. Some TOCs use it to encourage urgency, but as already stated this can also lead to intending passengers behaving unsafely. A tricky one to call, really. The hustle alarm means nothing more than 'this door is about to close', and has no official meaning regarding departure. On lots of modern stock, individual open doors will self-close after a set interval, and so the hustle will sound even if the train is not leaving anytime soon and the doors remain available for further access.
 
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43074

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It wasn't actually an official connection you were trying to make - the minimum connection time at Crewe is 10 minutes, the 16:39 from Warrington appears to be booked to arrive at 16:58 and the Derby service departs at 17:07.
 

al78

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I'm afraid you seem to be 'divorced from the reality', that the entire railway network operates on that basis now!

Put simply, there are often too many trains on too little track, and every few seconds really does count. Passengers who take the attitude that the train should just 'hang on a moment' are very much at odds with how all TOCs view the situation, which is that a train should leave on time. You may have somehow managed to miss it, but there are policies in place pretty much universally which see doors being closed 30 or 40 seconds before the booked departure time; the reason that policy exists is to help ensure the train is moving on time. Those who roll up afterwards and expect access to a train as the brakes are releasing, generally fail to appreciate the reasons why this is not practical. I have seen passengers on more than one occasion actually persuing a departing HST along the platform at Paddington, pleading with the Train Manager to halt the train and let them on. Whilst I do tend to take a more sympathetic approach than some with the hard pressed travelling public, that is just utterly stupid, in my opinion.

A whistle on the platform has no official meaning in the Rulebook, but is traditionally used to give a general sense of 'the train will be going shortly', and is typically also blown when exchanging 'tips' between Guard and dispatch staff. Some TOCs use it to encourage urgency, but as already stated this can also lead to intending passengers behaving unsafely. A tricky one to call, really. The hustle alarm means nothing more than 'this door is about to close', and has no official meaning regarding departure. On lots of modern stock, individual open doors will self-close after a set interval, and so the hustle will sound even if the train is not leaving anytime soon and the doors remain available for further access.

Can trains be thought of as operating in a similar manner to aircraft in this respect, in that an aircraft (I think) has a specific time slot to take off and it is not desirable to miss it, and passengers thus have to be at the gate and boarding within a certain time prior to takeoff?
 

hounddog

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Can trains be thought of as operating in a similar manner to aircraft in this respect, in that an aircraft (I think) has a specific time slot to take off and it is not desirable to miss it, and passengers thus have to be at the gate and boarding within a certain time prior to takeoff?

Forum rule no 94: Airline analogies are never relevant. Except when they're to the railway's advantage.
 

BestWestern

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Can trains be thought of as operating in a similar manner to aircraft in this respect, in that an aircraft (I think) has a specific time slot to take off and it is not desirable to miss it, and passengers thus have to be at the gate and boarding within a certain time prior to takeoff?

Sort of; each train has a booked pathway over each section of track. If that pathway is missed due to late running, it may mean the next booked train carries on and the late service simply has to be slotted in somewhere. Invariably though, other trains will end up being delayed somewhere along the way. Every individual minute of delay then caused, to the original train and to anything else as a consequence, then has be to billed.
 

swj99

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.....This just shows that such TOCs have completely divorced themselves from the reality that they are dealing with paying customers. If the train is unable to keep time without slamming along with minimum stop time then they have applied their service incompetently.......
I've said similar before, and it's as relevant now as it was then.

Passengers need to be able to board the train they are waiting for. While there are still passengers waiting to get on or off a train, it is clearly not ready to leave the station. To close the doors in circumstances such as these is just as wrong and unacceptable as it would be if someone deliberately closed any other door (railway related or not) when someone was either going through it, or attempting to go through it.
 

Llanigraham

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I've said similar before, and it's as relevant now as it was then.

Passengers need to be able to board the train they are waiting for. While there are still passengers waiting to get on or off a train, it is clearly not ready to leave the station. To close the doors in circumstances such as these is just as wrong and unacceptable as it would be if someone deliberately closed any other door (railway related or not) when someone was either going through it, or attempting to go through it.

Perhaps you need to read the replies above from BestWestern, and understand why things are done as they are.

If they do it at (say) the first station and then at every other station the train calls at, how long do you think the delays would be at the end of the journey?
And how many other trains and passengers would have been inconvenienced by your request?

Things are done for a very good reason and sorry, but it is tough if they don't always fit into your personal view.
 

6Gman

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I've said similar before, and it's as relevant now as it was then.

Passengers need to be able to board the train they are waiting for.

While there are still passengers waiting to get on or off a train, it is clearly not ready to leave the station.

On your first point the OP wasn't "waiting for" the train. He was trying to make an unofficial connection.

On your second point there are stations where there is a constant stream of passengers (Stratford leaps out as an example). Even at Crewe if you hold the Derby for the Scottish train, do you then hold on for the chap coming down the platform, and the late-running Chester connection that's just coming in on 6 ..... ?
 

43096

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Today I was travelling on business from Little Sutton to Derby via Ellesmere Port, Warrington BQ and Crewe.

The 1639 from Warrington to Crewe was delayed and pulled into platform 5 about 1706. Several passengers were stood by the doors at the front hoping to make the cross platform connection on to the 1707 to Derby from platform 4.

The conductor on the EMT train let the first passenger on and then closed the door on me as I was boarding, trapping my bag. He barked at me to remove my bag, which I did, then closed the door on me, leaving myself and several other passengers marooned on the platform. With the Trent Valley line disrupted, I have no choice but to wait 59 minutes at Crewe for the next train.

I appreciate that TOCs have punctuality targets to meet, but surely there are occasions when a little common sense has to be applied? How much time would it have taken him to re-open the doors to let half a dozen or more of his customers on? About 30 seconds which the driver could easily make up.

This just confirms my long-held view that EMT is the worst TOC in the country (gross overcrowding on the Crewe – Derby line on Saturdays, the loss of Crewe – Derby – Nottingham – Skegness through workings, poor connections at Kettering, uncomfortable carriages with little legroom, etc etc).

Why are EMT so customer hostile? Most conductors with most TOCs will reopen doors to let prospective customers on (particularly ladies!). Closing the doors while customers are trying to board isn't just discourteous, it is potentially very dangerous.
I think you are being economical with the truth.

What I think happened was this: as you went across the platform the hustle alarm was already sounding (it has to before the doors close). You disregarded this (and maybe warnings from guard/platform staff?) and carried on as the doors closed. Given that the dispatch procedure had already started and you ignored the warnings (hustle alarm), then you have put yourself in that situation. As for your 59 minute wait: that's your problem. You took a chance on a connection that wasn't booked and it missed.

I get the impression you have an axe to grind with EMT, and also a history as a serial complainer. I wouldn't be at all surprised if your complaint was purely with the aim of getting as much money as possible out of them. Hopefully EMT will respond to you in the way that you deserve.
 

bb21

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I regularly see passenger complaints about not having sufficient dwell times at some stations. I always wondered how much reduction in capacity they would like to put up with in exchange for building an extra 30 seconds into every train during rush hour at some stations. Perhaps they would be happy as long as the lost paths do not affect their own services?

There is obviously a balance to be struck, but unfortunately the network is at capacity in many places. Dispatch has to be assertive at many places otherwise many trains will never leave. Stand on the platform at St Pancras low level in the rush hour and you will all see what I mean.
 

matt_world2004

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Happens quite a lot on the early Morning Heathrow Connect there would only be six or 7 passengers at each door waiting to board as the train pulls up, and a few times it has been a case that five of them would not get on.
 

LowLevel

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I think you are being economical with the truth.

What I think happened was this: as you went across the platform the hustle alarm was already sounding (it has to before the doors close). You disregarded this (and maybe warnings from guard/platform staff?) and carried on as the doors closed. Given that the dispatch procedure had already started and you ignored the warnings (hustle alarm), then you have put yourself in that situation. As for your 59 minute wait: that's your problem. You took a chance on a connection that wasn't booked and it missed.

I get the impression you have an axe to grind with EMT, and also a history as a serial complainer. I wouldn't be at all surprised if your complaint was purely with the aim of getting as much money as possible out of them. Hopefully EMT will respond to you in the way that you deserve.

I'm probably going to surprise you here by disagreeing with you on a few counts. The main one of relevance is regarding boarding the train. I would suggest it very likely they attempted to board the guard's local door at this location (most probably Crewe platform 4) which has no hustle alarm (at the point of closing, only when the close button for the rest of the train is pressed does it sound on a 15x) which would put the door under the direct control of a probably rather frustrated guard.

However I would agree there is probably an axe to grind and a serial complainer, whether it's justified in this case in some ways is perhaps another matter (I speak as a guard who works these very services, though not on this occasion). I also agree it's daft to expect a train to wait for a connection that isn't really legal.

Allowing a local door to trap a person or the belongings except in the most unusual cases of being caught out is rather naughty, regardless of provocation. Particularly on a 153 unit as they can do some damage and have no obstacle detection.
 
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swj99

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Perhaps you need to read the replies above from BestWestern, and understand why things are done as they are.

If they do it at (say) the first station and then at every other station the train calls at, how long do you think the delays would be at the end of the journey?
And how many other trains and passengers would have been inconvenienced by your request?

Things are done for a very good reason and sorry, but it is tough if they don't always fit into your personal view.
I did read all the comments prior to posting my own. Thanks.

BTW, what request are you talking about ? I certainly haven't made one.

As for closing a door whilst someone is going through it, it's unacceptable for safety reasons. In fact, the RAIB report into the accident at West Wickham on the 10th April 2015 states the following.
People dispatching trains must allow train doors to be released for sufficient time for passengers to get on and off trains safely. This should take account of passengers with reduced mobility, passengers with children and passengers that need to gather their belongings

Clearly, closing train doors whilst people are still going through them is at odds with this.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...a/file/503661/R032016_160229_West_Wickham.pdf
 

ComUtoR

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As for closing a door whilst someone is going through it, it's unacceptable for safety reasons. In fact, the RAIB report into the accident at West Wickham on the 10th April 2015 states the following.

People dispatching trains must allow train doors to be released for sufficient time for passengers to get on and off trains safely. This should take account of passengers with reduced mobility, passengers with children and passengers that need to gather their belongings

Clearly, closing train doors whilst people are still going through them is at odds with this.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...a/file/503661/R032016_160229_West_Wickham.pdf

If you read the report correctly you will know that the doors were closed when nobody was going through them.

The hustle alarm sounded and she exited the train whilst it was going off. If the hustle alarm is going off then you should stand clear and not attempt to board or alight.

There is a big difference between allowing time for boarding or alighting and closing the doors when people are in them.
 

Cherry_Picker

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Will obstacle detection ever become mandatory for all doors?

It's being phased in isn't it? I'm pretty sure there hasn't been stock built in the past twenty years, or at least since privatisation, which doesn't have obstacle detection but older stock with power doors remains to be modified.

Maybe there is no legislation to force older stock to be modified but how many units are still in operation with power doors but no obstacle detection? It's probably only the latter day BR (mid 80s-mid 90s) built stuff, right? While there are probably still a few hundred being worked daily I can see why someone might not want to pay to modify a fleet which is that close to the end of it's working life to solve a problem which only affects a miniscule number of people, including a group who try to board when not permitted because the doors are already closing.
 

Tetchytyke

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Will obstacle detection ever become mandatory for all doors?

People often assume that the doors will detect obstacles and bounce back open, which is why you see so many people throwing themselves at doors which are closing.

Even on modern trains obstacle detection isn't that sensitive. We saw this last year at Newcastle when a woman boarded a TPE 185 train as the hustle alarm sounded, only to be dragged along the platform by her wrist.

Boarding when automatic doors are closing is against the Byelaws for a reason.
 

Taunton

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It can be done efficiently, and is notable for the variable quality of how it is done. Just down the line from Canary Wharf, the regular SA who does dispatch on the westbound Jubilee Line at Canning Town in the morning peak, when a good proportion of those on the platform are often unable to board due to overcrowding, is a fine example of how to do it well on the PA.

Immediately above is the DLR platform, where desperation to meet the DLR's 30-seconds from schedule punctuality target once led to the hustle immediately followed by doors closing on a pram with a baby in it which was already being negotiated in through the doorway. That's just incompetent.

Rather like the Highway Code diagrams, which assume there are only ever two cars on the road, I suspect the various dispatch procedures assume nobody is standing just inside the doorway (ha-ha), everyone can get in and out within whatever dwell time is allowed, is well organised, has perfect hearing and mobility, can react in a flash, etc.
 
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ComUtoR

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?
Not sure what point you were attempting to make.

You quoted a report to provide evidence that doors should not be closed whilst people are boarding or alighting. But you failed to understand why the incident you quoted occurred.

Those reports are all about understanding what contributed to an incident and how we can prevent it reoccurring.

If the hustle alarm is sounding then you should not attempt to board or alight. What is highlighted time and time again is that even if no one is boarding or alighting, once the button has been pressed then little else can be done. Hence the hustle alarm. No matter how long you allow for dwell times or how clear the doors are when you activate the CD. People will chance it.

How do you stop passengers from chancing the hustle alarm ?
 

Antman

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In London, its not uncommon for the doors to start to close before all the people waiting on the platform have had a chance to board, even if there is room on board for them. There's nothing frustrating than waiting on the platform for 5 minutes for your train, and then not be given time to board when it arrives.

Things would also be helped if passengers moved down so others can board more quickly. However, most passengers seem reluctant to do so.

I saw an incident on SET at London Bridge the other day where a woman claimed her arm had been injured because of the driver closing the doors whilst passengers were still boarding, I didn't see the incident so I won't pass judgment but it really is a catch 22 at busy times. Passengers are often reluctant to move too far from the doors because they may have difficulty getting off at their destination.
 

swj99

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You quoted a report to provide evidence that doors should not be closed whilst people are boarding or alighting. But you failed to understand why the incident you quoted occurred.....
Not at all. It occurred because someone closed the doors when it was not safe to do so, contrary to the RAIB recommendation.

In the first post in this thread, the OP said
The conductor on the EMT train let the first passenger on and then closed the door on me as I was boarding, trapping my bag. He barked at me to remove my bag, which I did, then closed the door on me, leaving myself and several other passengers marooned on the platform
He went on to say
Closing the doors while customers are trying to board isn't just discourteous, it is potentially very dangerous.

I quoted from a report in which the RAIB said people dispatching trains must allow train doors to be released for sufficient time for passengers to get on and off trains safely. On the basis that the OP's bag was trapped in the door, it would appear that whoever was dispatching the train failed to allow the doors to be released for sufficient time for the OP to get on the train safely. I therefore agree with Yorkie who suggested that the OP makes a complaint about the incident.
 
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LowLevel

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The train originates at Crewe and the inbound crew have to change ends. Insufficient dwell time is definitely not an issue here.
 

najaB

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In the first post in this thread, the OP said
The conductor on the EMT train let the first passenger on and then closed the door on me as I was boarding, trapping my bag.
Given that, on most stock, there's five to ten seconds between pressing the button and the door actually closing, a more accurate description of events might well be: "The guard pressed close, and the guy in front of me made it on before the doors closed but I didn't."

Storm, meet teacup.
 

hounddog

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Given that, on most stock, there's five to ten seconds between pressing the button and the door actually closing, a more accurate description of events might well be: "The guard pressed close, and the guy in front of me made it on before the doors closed but I didn't."

Storm, meet teacup.

So you're saying that if the guard started to close the doors while the first passenger was still boarding and others were waiting it's OK?

Crap customer service meet apologist.
 

Baxenden Bank

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Hustle alarm?

Does that mean 'hustle' or does it mean 'stand clear'?

At level crossings, the wig-wag lights flash and siren sounds, meaning do not start to cross; but if already on the crossing continue to cross.

I recall the 'hustle alarm' was introduced for the benefit of people with visual impairment - to warn them that the doors were closing / about to close (so as not to hit them).
 
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Robertj21a

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Hustle alarm?

Does that mean 'hustle' or does it mean 'stand clear'?

At level crossings, the wig-wag lights flash and siren sounds, meaning do not start to cross; but if already on the crossing continue to cross.

I recall the 'hustle alarm' was introduced for the benefit of people with visual impairment - to warn them that the doors were closing / about to close (so as not to hit them).

As a mere passenger, what is the 'hustle' sound supposed to mean to me ?
 

najaB

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So you're saying that if the guard started to close the doors while the first passenger was still boarding and others were waiting it's OK?
Yes. Old Yard Dog wasn't in time for the train, and wasn't trying to make an 'official' connection.
Crap customer service meet apologist.
"So why were you late?"

"Well, I was on time for my train and it was ready to go, then it sat there for another few minutes waiting for some people who were trying to make an unofficial connection off a late train. Which meant we were delayed further up the line and I missed my connection."
 

ComUtoR

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Not at all. It occurred because someone closed the doors when it was not safe to do so, contrary to the RAIB recommendation.

RAIB REPORT - 29 said:
Around 10 seconds after the train stopped, the trainee driver pressed the ‘doors close’ push-button to initiate the door closing cycle. Around this time, the passenger was walking through the train towards the doors at the rear of the fourth vehicle carrying her backpack over her right shoulder. The left strap of her backpack was hanging loose

When the doors were closed. SHE WAS IN THE TRAIN.

The doors were closed when it was safe to do so. It even goes on to say that was also evidenced by CCTV. The West Wickham incident occurred because of other factors.

RAIB reports can be difficult to read and they post a lot of information. The point you quoted is not a recommendation; it is a Learning Point (135) If you look at the Immediate Cause (116) and Casual Factors (117) at no point does it say that the doors were closed while a passenger was alighting.

So no, you did not read the report properly.
 
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