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

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SPADTrap

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This English mentality of splitting hairs such as what the hustle alarm means is why we have endless stating the obvious babysitting announcements.
 
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yorkie

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Because the passengers shouldn't have been trying to board...
Because it wasn't a valid connection? Seriously?
It is a hustle alarm in the sense of 'This door is about to shut so hurry up and get out of the way'.

It doesn't mean 'Run from the other side of the platform and try to jump on.'
Who was trying to do the latter? And who was suggesting that's okay?
 

Taunton

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Because it would mean the Virgin service would need to arrive into Crewe earlier, and it's almost always late when I see it.
This is what gets me. Many above go on about Crewe connecting time being "10 minutes", and if the train is due only 9 minutes beforehand that justifies slamming the door in people's faces for this desperation of being on time. But Crewe is a big station and the 10 minutes allows for getting over from the far side. In this case that wasn't happening, the train was on the other side of the island platform, a 20-second walk across. But of course the first train had been late, probably by about 8 minutes.

Now all of those who write above that the departing train must leave absolutely to the second, because punctuality is the first priority have completely glossed over that the first train was notably late. If it had been on time, no problem with the connection. But it wasn't. The overall impression is that being late due to the railway's own internal convenience such as putting in a TSR, a signal failure, staff reporting late, whatever, is all perfectly OK and part of life. But to have to wait a minute for a significant number of paying passengers - never.

And that attitude is part of why the general public, and thus the government who represent them, have long found rail attitudes tedious and not really wanting to support them.

There have been a few exceptions. Gerry Fiennes, much missed railway General Manager, of course in his book had the better attitude. There was an identical situation he wrote of witnessing at Reading, a tardy stream of connecting passengers slowly boarding a connecting express to Paddington. Did he say "slam the doors in their faces and get away"? Of course not, he said to the platform inspector "blow your whistle at them", to which came the humorous reply "Sir, one does not blow the whistle at passengers from Newbury". As ever, Fiennes had it right, and the current set of management procedures has it all wrong. I wonder if whoever wrote the EMT dispatch procedure has ever read Fiennes' book. Or even heard of him?
 
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bb21

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This is what gets me. Many above go on about Crewe connecting time being "10 minutes", and if the train is due only 9 minutes beforehand that justifies slamming the door in people's faces for this desperation of being on time.

I don't think that's what people are saying.

It can never be justified to deliberately slam the door in people's faces, so to speak, whatever the circumstance, but there is a difference between doing so deliberately and starting the dispatch process safely but people then try and force themselves on when the doors are in the process of closing.

I'm not going to comment on what happened in this case as I don't know which of the above is applicable here. Had it been the former, the matter needs to be reported.

Assuming that the train was a 153, which is most commonly used on that line, there is a considerable delay between the button being pressed and the door slamming shut, so what appeared to be the guard deliberately shutting the door in the OP's face may in fact be the latter case I mentioned above.

The issue of an official connection is a red herring. Safe dispatch does not depend on it either way.
 

najaB

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Because it wasn't a valid connection? Seriously?
No, because it was time for it to depart and the dispatch procedure had been started. The validity of the connection doesn't matter.
Who was trying to do the latter? And who was suggesting that's okay?
The OP stated that they were trying to make the cross-platform connection in a hurry. At the very least they would have been jogging, and quite probably running.
 

LowLevel

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This is what gets me. Many above go on about Crewe connecting time being "10 minutes", and if the train is due only 9 minutes beforehand that justifies slamming the door in people's faces for this desperation of being on time. But Crewe is a big station and the 10 minutes allows for getting over from the far side. In this case that wasn't happening, the train was on the other side of the island platform, a 20-second walk across. But of course the first train had been late, probably by about 8 minutes.

Now all of those who write above that the departing train must leave absolutely to the second, because punctuality is the first priority have completely glossed over that the first train was notably late. If it had been on time, no problem with the connection. But it wasn't. The overall impression is that being late due to the railway's own internal convenience such as putting in a TSR, a signal failure, staff reporting late, whatever, is all perfectly OK and part of life. But to have to wait a minute for a significant number of paying passengers - never.

And that attitude is part of why the general public, and thus the government who represent them, have long found rail attitudes tedious and not really wanting to support them.

There have been a few exceptions. Gerry Fiennes, much missed railway General Manager, of course in his book had the better attitude. There was an identical situation he wrote of witnessing at Reading, a tardy stream of connecting passengers slowly boarding a connecting express to Paddington. Did he say "slam the doors in their faces and get away"? Of course not, he said to the platform inspector "blow your whistle at them", to which came the humorous reply "Sir, one does not blow the whistle at passengers from Newbury". As ever, Fiennes had it right, and the current set of management procedures has it all wrong. I wonder if whoever wrote the EMT dispatch procedure has ever read Fiennes' book. Or even heard of him?

Because those of us who know the service know that chucking time away when you're already battling with the wheezing, asthmatic 153 that is all that is available for the service has knock on effects. Delay the Voyager at Kidsgrove and you'll also delay the Pendolino and other unit ex Derby flighted behind it, as well as the local from Manchester too potentially.

It's not great but nor is it unreasonable to leave people in these circumstances although telling them to stand away first has to be more appropriate.

We no longer have dashing, formidable, time served railway managers and jaunty wags with a team of 40 platform staff, we have accountants, graduates and a delay attribution team constantly out for blood with a fine selection of knackered trains and old infrastructure.
 

Cherry_Picker

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I agree that too much is being made of the "valid connection" number. That's a figure for passengers and people who write timetables, not train crew. If you leave less than ten minutes at a place like Crewe then you are cutting it fine. Maybe the choice between a nine minute connection and a fifty one minute connection (assuming an hourly service) is a no brainer and it works most of the time but I'm not sure it's the fault of the second train when the first one is a bit late and it screws a connection.

I can only speak for myself and closest circle of colleagues, and maybe it's different on railways other than the one I work on but half the time train crew don't really know which trains arrived at a station before they did and they certainly wouldn't care whether the previous train was there 8, 9 or 10 minutes before their departure. What they do care about is safe and prompt departure of the service they are responsible for.

The dispatch procedure isn't instantaneous. It can involve closing anything between 2 and 20 doors and checking they are ok, that takes time. If for the sake of argument it takes 30 seconds and some people come running out of nowhere 15 seconds into that procedure then they have probably missed the train. It sucks for them but at some point the train has got to go. I've not seen both sides of the story in this incident but in my experience these arguments usually have the passenger saying the door was slammed in their face and the train crew saying that the passenger was trying to board after the dispatch procedure had begun.

They could reopen but if that costs another 30 seconds then someone else running a couple of minutes late tries to join during the second one (and it happens, trust me on that one) do you release a second time? What if someone tries to join on the third dispatch? Do you stay there forever or do you try to leave as close to your timetabled departure as possible?
 

Tetchytyke

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Many above go on about Crewe connecting time being "10 minutes", and if the train is due only 9 minutes beforehand that justifies slamming the door in people's faces for this desperation of being on time.

The minimum connection is a bit of a red herring, as it has no impact on safe despatch. But it is relevant in this case because the OP was moaning that "EMT are rubbish" for not holding the connection. The simple fact is that this train was not an advertised connection; the advertised connection was the train one hour later. And at somewhere like Crewe there will always be a train that departs within a few minutes of another train that someone, somewhere, thinks should be held for a minute to allow them to board.

As for "slamming the door in people's faces", despatch is not an instantaneous process. If the passenger hears the doors closing alarm and sees the doors close in their face then it is likely that the despatch started at least 30 seconds beforehand. There's a good chance it had started before the passengers had even left the other train.

And we all know that when passengers hear the whistle or the doors closing alarm they make a mad dash for the train, throwing themselves at the closing doors, and when they don't manage it they then whine it was "slammed" in their face. It wasn't. When they heard the doors closing alarm they had already missed the train.

I get the frustration when you miss a train by seconds, it's happened to us all, but that is just one of those things. You play the game on a tight unofficial connection and sometimes you lose.
 

6Gman

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The dispatch procedure isn't instantaneous. It can involve closing anything between 2 and 20 doors and checking they are ok, that takes time. If for the sake of argument it takes 30 seconds and some people come running out of nowhere 15 seconds into that procedure then they have probably missed the train. It sucks for them but at some point the train has got to go. I've not seen both sides of the story in this incident but in my experience these arguments usually have the passenger saying the door was slammed in their face and the train crew saying that the passenger was trying to board after the dispatch procedure had begun.

They could reopen but if that costs another 30 seconds then someone else running a couple of minutes late tries to join during the second one (and it happens, trust me on that one) do you release a second time? What if someone tries to join on the third dispatch? Do you stay there forever or do you try to leave as close to your timetabled departure as possible?

Cherry Picker,

spot on!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The minimum connection is a bit of a red herring, as it has no impact on safe despatch. But it is relevant in this case because the OP was moaning that "EMT are rubbish" for not holding the connection. The simple fact is that this train was not an advertised connection; the advertised connection was the train one hour later. And at somewhere like Crewe there will always be a train that departs within a few minutes of another train that someone, somewhere, thinks should be held for a minute to allow them to board.

As for "slamming the door in people's faces", despatch is not an instantaneous process. If the passenger hears the doors closing alarm and sees the doors close in their face then it is likely that the despatch started at least 30 seconds beforehand. There's a good chance it had started before the passengers had even left the other train.

And we all know that when passengers hear the whistle or the doors closing alarm they make a mad dash for the train, throwing themselves at the closing doors, and when they don't manage it they then whine it was "slammed" in their face. It wasn't. When they heard the doors closing alarm they had already missed the train.

I get the frustration when you miss a train by seconds, it's happened to us all, but that is just one of those things. You play the game on a tight unofficial connection and sometimes you lose.

Arctic Troll,

spot on!

:D
 

Taunton

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The simple fact is that this train was not an advertised connection; the advertised connection was the train one hour later.
So you are telling us that the modern, 21st Century railway is quite incapable of handling a 9 minute cross-platform connection, and expects all their customers in a significant traffic flow to hang around for 69 minutes for such a connection, possibly doubling their journey time.

The fact that the inbound train is apparently "regularly late" without the faintest thing ever having been done about it is a bit of a pointer to this attitude.
 
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Tetchytyke

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So you are telling us that the modern, 21st Century railway is quite incapable of handling a 9 minute cross-platform connection

It's actually only six minutes (xx01 arrival, xx07 departure) and it may or may not be a cross-platform connection (in this case it sort of is, depending on where on the VTWC train you're sitting), there's no guarantee, therefore they have to work on the assumption it'll take the full ten minutes.

In which case we move the xx07 Derby train to xx12, to meet the minimum connection. Great. That means it gets into Derby five minutes later, which means it misses connections at Derby for Nottingham and Birmingham New Street.

At a busy interchange there will always be trains leaving within a few minutes of each other, and someone will always be stuck on a platform for the sake of a few minutes. Delay a train for them and it'll just be a different person on a different platform.
 
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najaB

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So you are telling us that the modern, 21st Century railway is quite incapable of handling a 9 minute cross-platform connection, and expects all their customers in a significant traffic flow to hang around for 69 minutes for such a connection, possibly doubling their journey time.
It doesn't matter if it's the 19th, 20th or 21st century - if one train is scheduled to arrive at x:00 and the other leaves at x:09 sometimes you'll make the connection, other times you won't.

And I still don't understand why it's good customer service to unnecessarily delay the people already on board the x:09 departure and cause them to potentially miss connections on their journeys.

The fact that the inbound train is apparently "regularly late" without the faintest thing ever having been done about it is a bit of a pointer to this attitude.
Sometimes it is possible, sometimes it is not. It's a long journey from Glasgow to Crewe and there's lots of opportunity to pick up delay, and it's not easy to fix them all.
 

Senex

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At a busy interchange there will always be trains leaving within a few minutes of each other, and someone will always be stuck on a platform for the sake of a few minutes. Delay a train for them and it'll just be a different person on a different platform.
Unless we develop a proper national Taktfahrplan that accepts that many journeys will only ever be possible by means of connections and aims to make those connections as pain-free as possible -- unlike the British way of doing things.
 

najaB

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Unless we develop a proper national Taktfahrplan that accepts that many journeys will only ever be possible by means of connections and aims to make those connections as pain-free as possible -- unlike the British way of doing things.
The only way that will work is slowing down lots of journeys by adding a lot of padding to the timetables. The journey times between stations isn't a regular multiple of minutes.
 

Senex

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The only way that will work is slowing down lots of journeys by adding a lot of padding to the timetables. The journey times between stations isn't a regular multiple of minutes.
An enormous amount of work has been done by Jonathan Tyler, amongst and with others, to shew just how it might be made to work. And of course it could never be an overnight job. As the Swiss experience shews, infrastructure improvement works need to be targeted on those points/lines where the Taktfahrplan demands them, not just at improving times between, say, London and Edinburgh or London and Glasgow.
 

martinsh

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It's actually only six minutes (xx01 arrival, xx07 departure)
Actually the ARRIVAL time of the Scotland service is xx58, so it is a 9 minute connection.

and it may or may not be a cross-platform connection (in this case it sort of is, depending on where on the VTWC train you're sitting), there's no guarantee,
99 times out of 100 this will be a cross platform connection

therefore they have to work on the assumption it'll take the full ten minutes.
The connection time at Crewe could easily be lowered. An able bodied person can walk from one end of Crewe station (platform 12) to the other (platforms 1-2) in 5-6 minutes. Thus adding a couple of minutes padding would give an 8 minute connection time – making the one we are discussing a valid connection.

In which case we move the xx07 Derby train to xx12, to meet the minimum connection.
Not necessary. A couple of minutes should be sufficient.

That means it gets into Derby five minutes later,
2 minutes later – see above. Anyway, in practice the train regular waits outside Derby for a few minutes, so we can probably compress the schedule by a couple of minutes, and still make the same arrival time at Derby.

As a regular traveller on this route the commonest cause of delays is extended dwell times at stations caused by the large numbers of passengers detraining and embarking from a single class 153. Increasing the capacity (156 or 153 x 2) would thus improve reliability.

which means it misses connections at Derby for Nottingham and Birmingham New Street.
Not it doesn’t ! As discussed above we can probably provide a better connection at Crewe and still reach Derby at the currently scheduled time (xx26)

However, even if we do arrive 5 minutes later in Derby, the connection times you mentioned are

Nottingham xx40, xx02
Birmingham xx28 (not valid anyway), xx37, xx53

That would give us a 6 minute connection for Birmingham (with a backup 16 mins later), and 9 minutes for Nottingham. I’m not sure of the official connection times for Derby, but they ought to be less than for Crewe. Personally, I would be confident of making both the above connections if the trains were on time.

Whilst the Nottingham connection is likely to be a popular one, I’m not at all certain of the demand for a connection to Birmingham. The only places it could be from are Uttoxeter and Tutbury. [ Otherwise quicker / cheaper via Stoke ]

More annoying is the lack of a good connection at Derby for Leicester / London. Trains leave at xx25, xx01.

At a busy interchange there will always be trains leaving within a few minutes of each other, and someone will always be stuck on a platform for the sake of a few minutes. Delay a train for them and it'll just be a different person on a different platform.

I accept your general point. However, as I hope I’ve indicated above the connection at Crewe can probably be improved by a couple of minutes without much effect elsewhere. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether it would affect anything else between Kidsgrove and Stoke.

More generally, I would suggest that whether a connection should be held or not, ought to depend on the following factors

1. how popular a connection is it (i.e. how many people are likely to be making it)

2. how severely would passengers be delayed if they missed the connection

3. how long would the service need to be delayed for the connection to be kept

In this case that gives us

1. pretty popular (north west / Scotland – Stoke)

2. fairly severely delayed (over 50 mins)

3. up to 5 mins delay would not have much effect elsewhere
 

najaB

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The connection time at Crewe could easily be lowered. An able bodied person...
Basing connection times on what an 'able bodied' person who is familiar with the station can theoretically manage is a recipe for lots of complaints about missed connections.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
...making the one we are discussing a valid connection.
If the facts don't support your contention, just change the facts.
 

hairyhandedfool

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....99 times out of 100 this will be a cross platform connection....

Regardless of the accuracy of that statement, should the other 1 time be forgotten about because the other 99 are fine?

....The connection time at Crewe could easily be lowered. An able bodied person can walk from one end of Crewe station (platform 12) to the other (platforms 1-2) in 5-6 minutes. Thus adding a couple of minutes padding would give an 8 minute connection time – making the one we are discussing a valid connection....

An able bodied person travelling alone with little or no luggage and a good idea of where they are going for the next train? Maybe, but then we are on a forum where some claim (I have no way to verify) to be able to make -1 minute connections, regularly, at some stations.

....As a regular traveller on this route the commonest cause of delays is extended dwell times at stations caused by the large numbers of passengers detraining and embarking from a single class 153. Increasing the capacity (156 or 153 x 2) would thus improve reliability....

Only if they decide to use all available doors. I'm not a regular on that route, but on many others the presence of more than two doors on the train does not always mean more than two doors are used.
 

sd0733

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The Derby trains if retimed would cause problems between Kidsgrove and Stoke. Once the Derby goes the Northern stopper is pretty close behind, then the Cross country (xx:44 off stoke) then the Virgin (xx:50).
One way it could possibly be done would be to swap the Longport stop from by far the slowest, lowest capacity train on the route into a different train, possibly the LM as that has 5mins waiting time at Stoke, but thats not going to happen purely to.make a connection valid.

Ive seen a lot of advances in the past from carlisle/lancaster/Scotland to Derby which route you to Crewe, then to Stafford om the xx:19, then to Tamworth on the xx:55 then to Derby. Far more hassle but for a journey planner quicker than the long official wait in Crewe
 

bunnahabhain

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This is what gets me. Many above go on about Crewe connecting time being "10 minutes", and if the train is due only 9 minutes beforehand that justifies slamming the door in people's faces for this desperation of being on time. But Crewe is a big station and the 10 minutes allows for getting over from the far side. In this case that wasn't happening, the train was on the other side of the island platform, a 20-second walk across. But of course the first train had been late, probably by about 8 minutes.

Now all of those who write above that the departing train must leave absolutely to the second, because punctuality is the first priority have completely glossed over that the first train was notably late. If it had been on time, no problem with the connection. But it wasn't. The overall impression is that being late due to the railway's own internal convenience such as putting in a TSR, a signal failure, staff reporting late, whatever, is all perfectly OK and part of life. But to have to wait a minute for a significant number of paying passengers - never.

And that attitude is part of why the general public, and thus the government who represent them, have long found rail attitudes tedious and not really wanting to support them.

There have been a few exceptions. Gerry Fiennes, much missed railway General Manager, of course in his book had the better attitude. There was an identical situation he wrote of witnessing at Reading, a tardy stream of connecting passengers slowly boarding a connecting express to Paddington. Did he say "slam the doors in their faces and get away"? Of course not, he said to the platform inspector "blow your whistle at them", to which came the humorous reply "Sir, one does not blow the whistle at passengers from Newbury". As ever, Fiennes had it right, and the current set of management procedures has it all wrong. I wonder if whoever wrote the EMT dispatch procedure has ever read Fiennes' book. Or even heard of him?
I'm somebody who regularly holds my "branchline" train to connect with mainline services out of Kings Cross. I don't need a manager from a bygone age to tell me that its okay to do that, I'm capable of making my own decisions based on whether I think it's in the best interests or not. On the other hand I've also shut my doors on time as the mainline service is rolling in, in the full knowledge that a handful of passengers with tons of luggage will have to wait for the next service, the reason? Because it will significantly delay my train to get them and their luggage onboard.

If you're late on a connecting service and you miss your hourly connection, you get delay repay that will probably make your journey free or half price. Whereas if I held my train and we then get screwed over on single line sections, or worse, we screw another service over, that could mean that whilst the people I waited for a quite happy, I could have ruined a connection for hundreds of other people, and on the trains I work it is hundreds in the summer.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work, that's the way of life and that's the way of connections with any public transport, and if I can help by waiting a few seconds or even a few minutes I will, but it's not always possible or sensible.
 

6Gman

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This is what gets me. Many above go on about Crewe connecting time being "10 minutes", and if the train is due only 9 minutes beforehand that justifies slamming the door in people's faces for this desperation of being on time. But Crewe is a big station and the 10 minutes allows for getting over from the far side. In this case that wasn't happening, the train was on the other side of the island platform, a 20-second walk across. But of course the first train had been late, probably by about 8 minutes.

Now all of those who write above that the departing train must leave absolutely to the second, because punctuality is the first priority have completely glossed over that the first train was notably late. If it had been on time, no problem with the connection. But it wasn't. The overall impression is that being late due to the railway's own internal convenience such as putting in a TSR, a signal failure, staff reporting late, whatever, is all perfectly OK and part of life. But to have to wait a minute for a significant number of paying passengers - never.

And that attitude is part of why the general public, and thus the government who represent them, have long found rail attitudes tedious and not really wanting to support them.

There have been a few exceptions. Gerry Fiennes, much missed railway General Manager, of course in his book had the better attitude. There was an identical situation he wrote of witnessing at Reading, a tardy stream of connecting passengers slowly boarding a connecting express to Paddington. Did he say "slam the doors in their faces and get away"? Of course not, he said to the platform inspector "blow your whistle at them", to which came the humorous reply "Sir, one does not blow the whistle at passengers from Newbury". As ever, Fiennes had it right, and the current set of management procedures has it all wrong. I wonder if whoever wrote the EMT dispatch procedure has ever read Fiennes' book. Or even heard of him?

I interpret the attitude of Fiennes in a directly opposite way. He wanted to hurry the passengers along; the Inspector wanted to indulge the tardy Newbury passengers.
 

Flamingo

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When I first passed out, I used to be very lenient with late trains, letting people on, holding for their mates who are on the way, etc, thinking this was good customer service.

Then I got to know the regulars on the late trains - including the ones who had only got a few minutes to catch the last bus from their destination train station, and how they would be watching departure time, (having been on board the train for ages before departure), and dispairing if the train left even a minute or two late, as these minutes really would make the difference to them getting a bus or walking several miles late at night after work.

It made me realise that good customer service was more than the "easy option", sometimes good customer service is the difficult option.

Or, to summarise, why should the hundreds of people on the train be delayed for one person who is late?
 

najaB

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Or, to summarise, why should the hundreds of people on the train be delayed for one person who is late?
This question has been asked several times now, but seems to be being ignored since it would spoil a good rant/dig at the railway.
 

bunnahabhain

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You've not seen the loadings on the Crewe - Derby trains I take it? ;)
Quite, despite all the bluster and bluff of it being horrifically overcrowded I left Crewe with 10 on and arrived into Derby with just under 40 on. I've never left anybody behind on that route even at peak times.
 

Jonfun

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I've been left behind with about 10 or 15 others at Stoke before on that service, tbh. It can get very busy, especially if it's a single 153 in the peaks.
 

MichaelAMW

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Or, to summarise, why should the hundreds of people on the train be delayed for one person who is late?

This point is irrelevant as lateness isn't like that. You can't add together the lateness of several people and get some number that has any meaning in reality so the aim should be to minimise the delay to an individual. I'm not less or more late if there are fewer or more people on my train, so it is better to delay a train of 500 people by three minutes if it saves a single person an hour.
 

najaB

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...so it is better to delay a train of 500 people by three minutes if it saves a single person an hour.
Only if you can guarantee that none of those 500 people are then subject to a subsequent delay. That three minutes could mean that 50 of the people then miss a bus or another train.

Last Friday my train to Edinburgh was six minutes down leaving Crewe, but was 29 minutes down by the time it got to Haymarket.
 
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MichaelAMW

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Only if you can guarantee that none of those 500 people are then subject to a subsequent delay. That three minutes could mean that 50 of the people then miss a bus or another train.

Last Friday my train to Edinburgh was six minutes down leaving Crewe, but was 29 minutes down by the time it got to Haymarket.

Of course, but that's a separate point that is not directly related to whether the number of people has a meaningful effect. In practice, on many bits of the network there will be all sorts of knock-on consequences that will be very difficult to quantify in advance, which is why generally keeping trains to time is a good thing.
 
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