St Pancras - no room at the Inn

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apinnard

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Just waiting outside St Pancras on 1B94 to be told we have an up to ten minute wait (already 6 late) as there are no free platforms.

Does this happen regularly?
 
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apinnard

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I mean our train is waiting for a platform. But 1C95, originally a section behind us got routed bang line, overtook us into platform 3. We’re still stuck just outside the station.
 

bramling

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Just waiting outside St Pancras on 1B94 to be told we have an up to ten minute wait (already 6 late) as there are no free platforms.

Does this happen regularly?

By the looks of it, the 8-car Corby on P2 should have gone in on top of the 4-car on P1, and for some reason didn’t. That train using P2 instead of P1 as planned is what caused the problem.

In theory your train should have been able to go in on top of the train on P4, booked to be a 5-car 180, but by the looks of it this train has been substituted by a 7-car 222 (wonder why?!), so that option was unavailable.

The train which overtook you went into P3 and is a booked join, so that explains that.

What’s not clear is why the initial 360 platform share on P1 didn’t happen, that’s what seems to have caused your issue. The longer-than-booked train on P4 then compounded the situation. Also I can’t see why your train couldn’t have gone into P1 on top of the 360.

St Pancras is tight, but it does seem that one or two things were going on, as it shouldn’t have needed to be that tight.
 

Spartacus

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I know a 180 was taken out of service due to a broken window rather than anything mechanical (for a change!) so suspect the swap was as a result of that.
 

BluePenguin

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Was it not possible for them to borrow space on the Southeastern or Thameslink platforms to help clear the queue of trains waiting?
 

bramling

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Was it not possible for them to borrow space on the Southeastern or Thameslink platforms to help clear the queue of trains waiting?

Not an option unfortunately - EMR trains aren’t cleared into the Thameslink core, and the Southeastern platforms aren’t accessible.

Outwardly there shouldn’t have needed to have been an issue as there were a couple of potential options available which didn’t seem to get taken up, indeed it was a deviation from the booked timetable which caused the issue in the first place. There may well be a good reason why this didn’t happen, but what that would be in this particular instance I don’t know.
 

Spartacus

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Even if the low level or International platforms were an option, which they aren't for so many reasons, the only train to be seriously affected, 1B94 was past the points where it could have been diverted before there was known to be a "problem". I put that in inverted commas as there seems there was concern from the driver, and subsequently signaller over whether an 8 car 360 would fit in St Pancras on top of a 4 car one, which is strange as they've fit the rest of the week :s
 

bramling

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Even if the low level or International platforms were an option, which they aren't for so many reasons, the only train to be seriously affected, 1B94 was past the points where it could have been diverted before there was known to be a "problem". I put that in inverted commas as there seems there was concern from the driver, and subsequently signaller over whether an 8 car 360 would fit in St Pancras on top of a 4 car one, which is strange as they've fit the rest of the week :s

That’s what I was sort of alluding to as the reason, especially as it happened quite successfully on other days (it didn’t on Monday as the 8-car 360 was a 7-car 222 on that day, which also went into P2, on that 1B94 did a platform share on P4 as a workaround, but this wasn’t an option today due to the 7 vice 5-car substitution).

What I don’t get was why 1B94 wasn’t put into P1. A 5-car 222 on top of a 4-car 360 shouldn’t have been an issue. That would seem to have been a viable solution to the original problem.

Could all perhaps be seen as teething / familiarisation issues with the new service.
 

Spartacus

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What I don’t get was why 1B94 wasn’t put into P1. A 5-car 222 on top of a 4-car 360 shouldn’t have been an issue. That would seem to have been a viable solution to the original problem.

Could all perhaps be seen as teething / familiarisation issues with the new service.

Wasn't 1B94 a 7 car though, and there's not a lot of difference in length between a 7 car 222 and an 8 car 360.
 

bramling

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Wasn't 1B94 a 7 car though, and there's not a lot of difference in length between a 7 car 222 and an 8 car 360.

I have 1B94 booked as a 5-car. If it was in fact a 7-car then that would explain why that wasn’t done. It should still have fitted though. 7x23=161 + 80 totals 241 metres in a 260 metre platform. Obviously easier to do the sums from the comfort of an armchair than in real-time though!
 

fgwrich

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I have to say though, all this goes to show just how limiting the 4 platforms for the Midlands side of the station really are. It’s a shame it wasn’t at least built with 5, but as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
 

Aureol Colin

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I have to say though, all this goes to show just how limiting the 4 platforms for the Midlands side of the station really are. It’s a shame it wasn’t at least built with 5, but as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
HS2 are you watching?
 

JonathanH

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What I don’t get was why 1B94 wasn’t put into P1. A 5-car 222 on top of a 4-car 360 shouldn’t have been an issue. That would seem to have been a viable solution to the original problem.
Was the 5-car due out before 2247?

Answering my own question - yes, it should have formed the 2232 to Sheffield.
 

D365

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I have to say though, all this goes to show just how limiting the 4 platforms for the Midlands side of the station really are. It’s a shame it wasn’t at least built with 5, but as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
STP in general doesn’t have enough domestic platforms.
 

apinnard

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I have 1B94 booked as a 5-car. If it was in fact a 7-car then that would explain why that wasn’t done. It should still have fitted though. 7x23=161 + 80 totals 241 metres in a 260 metre platform. Obviously easier to do the sums from the comfort of an armchair than in real-time though!

1B64 which I was on, was a 7-car vice 5-car yesterday. Probably explains it. The guard did his best to keep the few of us onboard entertained. 1C95 which went around us was a 5-car 222 and went into P3 on top of what was already in there. There was a 4-car 360 in P1 and we waited for the 8-car 360 to come out of P2 a good 15 minutes or so.
 

ExRes

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Even if the low level or International platforms were an option, which they aren't for so many reasons, the only train to be seriously affected, 1B94 was past the points where it could have been diverted before there was known to be a "problem". I put that in inverted commas as there seems there was concern from the driver, and subsequently signaller over whether an 8 car 360 would fit in St Pancras on top of a 4 car one, which is strange as they've fit the rest of the week :s

Would the driver specifically know that it was a 4 car on the platform without querying it though? he/she would have looked pretty unprofessional trying to fit an 8 car on top of another 8 car even though it would've been down to signaller error
 

bramling

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Would the driver specifically know that it was a 4 car on the platform without querying it though? he/she would have looked pretty unprofessional trying to fit an 8 car on top of another 8 car even though it would've been down to signaller error

Being a *planned* move, there shouldn't have been an issue. Reading between the lines, however, the driver seems to have queried it, and this seems to have put doubts in the signaller's mind.

To be fair, the numerous different EMR length combinations, and the fact there is often quite a bit of variation from what is booked (including at the time in question) must make it quite fiddly at times. If in doubt, better to tread carefully than end up with an over-length combination. Where that runs into problems is that treading carefully will quite likely mean running out of space, as happened, with only four platforms available.
 

ExRes

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Being a *planned* move, there shouldn't have been an issue. Reading between the lines, however, the driver seems to have queried it, and this seems to have put doubts in the signaller's mind.

To be fair, the numerous different EMR length combinations, and the fact there is often quite a bit of variation from what is booked (including at the time in question) must make it quite fiddly at times. If in doubt, better to tread carefully than end up with an over-length combination.

Absolutely, unfortunately some people are under the impression that drivers know what is on a platform at any given time which, of course, is not the case, drivers know what can and cannot go on a platform but it's the signaller who should know what's actually there
 

BluePenguin

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I have to say though, all this goes to show just how limiting the 4 platforms for the Midlands side of the station really are. It’s a shame it wasn’t at least built with 5, but as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The Midland side has definitely been put onto the back burner for many years now. The builders must have been so excited about Eurostar coming that they made the platforms as long as possible and left a ton of unneeded space at the end of them.

They should clear all trains into all platforms at St Pancras and make it possible to walk between the Southeastern and Midland side without having to painfully lug yourself, suitcases and children up and down escalators. So much hassle to get to what is an adjacent platform.

Is there realistically any technical or official reasons why this cannot be done, other than it has not been tested? Trains have ended up in places they are not yet cleared before and have lived to tell the tale
 

Revaulx

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If the Channel Tunnel goes bust, or gets closed by the government to boost its populist image, how easy would it be to re-convert the “proper” station? It took years to do the former Eurostar bit of Waterloo...
 

BluePenguin

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If the Channel Tunnel goes bust, or gets closed by the government to boost its populist image, how easy would it be to re-convert the “proper” station? It took years to do the former Eurostar bit of Waterloo...
Not too difficult I imagine. They could provide entrances at platform level and use the departure lounge area downstairs as storage
 

skyhigh

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They should clear all trains into all platforms at St Pancras
What's the point? You're never going to get EMR trains into the low level platforms (unless there is really enormous disruption), and you're never going to get domestic trains into the international platforms either. Sticking an EMR service into the low level platforms because the normal platforms are occupied like in this scenario will cause major issues for the Thameslink service.
 

hwl

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What's the point? You're never going to get EMR trains into the low level platforms (unless there is really enormous disruption), and you're never going to get domestic trains into the international platforms either. Sticking an EMR service into the low level platforms because the normal platforms are occupied like in this scenario will cause major issues for the Thameslink service.
The first week after introducing a new timetable with new stock is always going to be riskier and potentially more problematic.
 

BluePenguin

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What's the point? You're never going to get EMR trains into the low level platforms (unless there is really enormous disruption), and you're never going to get domestic trains into the international platforms either. Sticking an EMR service into the low level platforms because the normal platforms are occupied like in this scenario will cause major issues for the Thameslink service.
You are misunderstanding, I’m not talking about using the international platforms as that would obviously be a security issue. No idea where you got that from.

I am talking about the Southeastern platforms which are ALSO domestic. At least it would provide more options for EMR when their platforms are full of broken down trains or in the event of any other disruption. Both platforms look very similar


Clearing EMR for the low-level platforms could lead to long distance and Thameslink-stye services in the future. Obviously terminating them there would block the core which would not be a good idea.
 

Ianno87

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The first week after introducing a new timetable with new stock is always going to be riskier and potentially more problematic.

Always the week you find out the quirks and issues that haven't been thought of.

You are misunderstanding, I’m not talking about the international platforms as they would obviously be a security issue. No idea where you got that from.

I am talking about the Southeastern platforms which are ALSO domestic. At least it would provide more options for EMR when their platforms are full of broken down trains or in the event of any other disruption. Both platforms look very similar

There is no physical route in the track layout. Off memory the track connection between the MML and HS1 (which is not electrified and I believe never commissioned signalling wise) can only access the international platforms.

Even if you could get to the Southeastern platforms, blocking one with an EMR set would somewhat screw up Southeastern as a consequence!
 

hwl

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I am talking about the Southeastern platforms which are ALSO domestic. At least it would provide more options for EMR when their platforms are full of broken down trains or in the event of any other disruption. Both platforms look very similar


Clearing EMR for the low-level platforms could lead to long distance and Thameslink-stye services in the future. Obviously terminating them there would block the core which would not be a good idea.
With 360s and 810s fully rolled out there shouldn't be issues upstairs on the EMR platforms. This is a short term new fleets rollout and unfamiliarity linked with first week of new timetable issues.

Using the SE platforms (even if you could access them and you can't / impossible) you would need TVM430 signalling equipment fitted to the EMR fleet. clearing isn't just physical but signalling etc. too.

Using the downstairs platforms will soon require working ETCS... and cause lots of ticket gate problems too.

No need to contemplate changing the status quo as it will improve in the future.
 

ExRes

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MML to what are now the Southeastern platforms was used during the interim development, when platforms 1-4 were opened the temporary connection was removed, also platform 5 was available for connection if required but was never used because of the customs requirements
 

bramling

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With 360s and 810s fully rolled out there shouldn't be issues upstairs on the EMR platforms. This is a short term new fleets rollout and unfamiliarity linked with first week of new timetable issues.

Using the SE platforms (even if you could access them and you can't / impossible) you would need TVM430 signalling equipment fitted to the EMR fleet. clearing isn't just physical but signalling etc. too.

Using the downstairs platforms will soon require working ETCS... and cause lots of ticket gate problems too.

No need to contemplate changing the status quo as it will improve in the future.

It does seem to be the presence of the 7-car 222s which complicates things. Otherwise it's a fairly simple case of each platform can take 1 or 2 units of anything, or 3 units if its 360s.

I can see how it would be very easy to screw up, especially with a 7-car being on something not booked to be, which is pretty common.
 
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