Signalling fault

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by dcd, 26 Oct 2011.

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  1. dcd

    dcd Member

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    If you were a member of the public and heard an announcement that your journey had been delayed due to a signalling fault what would you expect it to have been?


    I was on the 16:05 Mallaig to Glasgow Queen Street yesterday 25/10/11 and at Crianlarich where the Oban portion is joined on. I watched the join and it failed, although the trains coupled the controls were not functioning i.e. control signals failed to join. They uncoupled at which point I rejoined the train. The Mallaig portion then pulled forward and the went back through the station and then forward again much to the puzzlement of the other passengers who were not aware what was going on, except for an announcement saying there was a problem and we would be delayed about 5 minutes. The Mallaig portion then coupled successfully to the rear of the Oban portion. We then left with a 20 minute delay which was maintained until Queen Street whereupon the announcement was made that they were sorry for the delay caused by a signalling fault.

    What sort of fault people thought it was that sent us back and forward through the station I do not know.
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
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  3. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I've seen this operation performed a few times. There is a lot of electrical connections that have to be made when the cables between units are joined, and there's nothing more prone to failure in the realm of electrics than connections; with the possible exception of connections on flexible cable; and excepting connections on flexible cables exposed to the elements; and excepting connections on flexible cables exposed to the elements that are old and well-used.
    i.e. They fail.
    Inevitably.
    It's immaterial how it's described on a Customer Information System. They WILL fail. That's a certainty.

    But I'm not clear what you're asking here
    Did the two portions attempt to reconnect at the same ends, or did they both set back and one ran round so that they connected at their other ends?
     
    Last edited: 26 Oct 2011
  4. table38

    table38 Established Member

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    I'd normally expect it to be stolen cable, but having read this last week, it could be more than just the cable :)
     
  5. dcd

    dcd Member

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    The question I am asking is really do you expect understandable notifications of causes for delays? If a member of the public is told there is a signalling fault I think they would assume the signals i.e. semaphore or lights were not working due to cable failure or theft.

    The connected the other way round the Mallaig portion having run round the Oban portion by going through the other platform.

    A person on the Mallaig train was totally perplexed in that in their view we had pulled into the station then left correctly , then reversed through the station on the other platform and then pulled back into the original platform for a few minutes and then departed late. The explanation later being a signalling fault.

    How were they to know it was a fault in the signalling between units or that there was even another unit involved.

    A simpler message would have been to say that there was a problem with coupling the controls of the units together all would then be understandable.
     
  6. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    Why do they need to know the exact reason?
     
  7. GB

    GB Established Member

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    Stating it as a signalling fault is unfair as it automatically implies its a Network Rail fault.

    While technically speaking it maywell be a signalling fault between the units "a train fault" or similar would have been more appropriate.

    Most passengers do not need or want technical details, a genuine reason for the delay and an ETA of normal running would suffice.
     
  8. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    It would definitely be more accurate for this incident to be described as a train fault.

    Using a "signalling fault" as a reason for a delay to a train on the WHL is surely quite an unusual one to go for as the line is controlled by Radio Electronic Token Block, which while it can still go wrong lacks the external paraphernalia that you would usually associate with typical lineside signalling systems.
     
  9. dcd

    dcd Member

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    It must be an exact reason otherwise there is no point in giving one at all. What is the point of an inexact therefore incorrect reason?
     
  10. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    An inexact reason is not necessarily incorrect. A delay may be described as a signal failure, but be caused by a sticky track circuit relay. Signalling failure as a reason is not exact, but correct. The passenger doesn't need to whether the points are showing OOC, or only reverse detection is available, due to the detection being knocked out of place. They only need to know that it is a signalling failure.
     
  11. whhistle

    whhistle Established Member

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    Unless they are being detailed and suggesting that the electrics are giving signals, therefore it would be a signalling fault?
     
  12. deltic1989

    deltic1989 Established Member

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    That made me lol. mind you scrap prices are so high these days that anything will fetch a quick few quid.
     
  13. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

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    WHL RETB signal is dire in some places, Spean Bridge is a classic. Have had about 15 mins or so of shunting back and forward in the up loop there trying to find a spot where the token would actually receive. Driver ended up having to fill out a ticket.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    I think the railways should just give the passengers what they want; more information. There'd be no problems with "No detection 8091A normal", "T/C TF showing occupied when should show clear", or "Twist 1:72 13m1425yds VTB1 2100, blocked to traffic".

    Or they could just stick with Signalling Failure, Track Fault, or Emergency Engineering Works and keep additional info if needed jargon free, simple and clear. Putting this fault up as a signalling failure is a bit cheeky mind. Sounds very much like a train fault.
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
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