Stoppers vs. fasts during disruption

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marks87

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At around lunchtime today, there were problems with services through Paisley Gilmour Street because of a points failure at Arkleston. This seemed to mostly effect services to Gourock, one of which I was due to catch to Carstdyke.

There's 4tph to Gourock from Glasgow Central - two stoppers (what I needed) and two fast. After a couple of cancellations, there was a fast due to leave at 13.25 and a stopper at 13.35. What then happened was that the fast left at 13.35 and the stopper left...whenever (I bought a single to Greenock Central to make sure I could at least get to Greenock, so caught the fast. In hindsight, I should probably have just waited and bought a single from Port Glasgow-Greenock Central on the train and used my Dundee-Cartsdyke ticket as far as PTG).

Even the ticket inspector was baffled as to why they didn't just make the fast a stopper, leaving on-time, and more or less get the timetable back to normal.

So my basic point and question is - when there's a line with a combination of fasts and stoppers going to the same place, is there any reason to not have a general contingency plan, where stoppers are preserved over fasts? So in the specific case of today, the default would have been for the service I caught to stop everywhere, even though it was due to run fast.
 
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OMGitsDAVE

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Common sense and the railways sometimes don't mix... and this is obviously one of the situations where this happens!

In an ideal world, that would be the solution, but this world often lacks pretty common sense thinking!
 

Tomnick

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The bigger picture! Perhaps there was a need to get something out to Gourock fairly quickly to get some sort of service moving in the other direction?
 

AlexS

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I think East Midlands do just that on the route out of London - in the event of reduced capacity/disruption the Sheffield/Nottingham 'slower/slow' services get taken out and the fast services stop everywhere, much like a Sunday timetable.
 

TEW

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But sometimes trains will need to run fast instead of as a stopper to catch up to the timetable, reducing disruption later on. If you make the fast trains stoppers the disruption could linger on longer.
 

ralphchadkirk

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The bigger picture!
That is the key. Signallers get criticised on here (or sometimes whole boxes of signallers!) when someone is involved in an odd regulating decision to their train without realising that the signaller may have a few more to deal with, and will be thinking of the bigger picture (crew diagramming, unit diagramming etc. You can't just stick another unit on a different diagram without first planning it properly!).
 

The Planner

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Depends on what ScotRails control wanted to do, the units as discussed above and how they wanted to play the PPM game.
 

OMGitsDAVE

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Not really, the OP posted explaining these services going to the 'same place', and the fast leaving at the time the stopper was due to leave... Therefore, the fast would have been cancelled and the train scheduled for that service moved on to the stopper - departing on time, in its slot.
 

ralphchadkirk

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Not really, the OP posted explaining these services going to the 'same place', and the fast leaving at the time the stopper was due to leave... Therefore, the fast would have been cancelled and the train scheduled for that service moved on to the stopper - departing on time, in its slot.
And what if the unit on the fast had been diagrammed specially to return to depot for an exam - which would be far more difficult to do if it takes over a different diagram which may finish somewhere completely different? Come next morning, the unit may have overrun it's mileage and have to be green carded or even red carded which would result in cancellations.
 

marks87

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And what if the unit on the fast had been diagrammed specially to return to depot for an exam - which would be far more difficult to do if it takes over a different diagram which may finish somewhere completely different?
It was going to the same place - Gourock.
 

Wath Yard

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What needs to be remembered, as The Planner hinted at, is the railway is run for the benefit of the TOCs, not the passengers.
 

GB

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What about the passengers that were on the fast? I'm sure they would be chuffed to have their train turned into an all station stopper.
 

MidnightFlyer

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But later in the day, the diagram could have taken the unit further out, like down the Shotts line to Edinburgh. If it then had to be at a depot in Glasgow,it would have been miles out of place
It wouldn't get that close to Shotts, a 380 and lack of OHLE wouldn't go well together :P

I get what you're saying though.
 

tbtc

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There's 4tph to Gourock from Glasgow Central - two stoppers (what I needed) and two fast
I thought it was two slow and one fast (plus a fast Weymss Bay service that shares the tracks beyond Paisley)?

there was a fast due to leave at 13.25 and a stopper at 13.35. What then happened was that the fast left at 13.35 and the stopper left...whenever
Given the lack of overtaking available on the route, maybe it made more sense to get the fast one out of the way and then send the stopper after it)?

Sending the stopper would meant there was no scope to send a fast service (as no potential to overtake it), plus there's the need to get *something* to Gourock to operate an eastbound service )to try to stop further disruption).

Dunno. If ScotRail were agreeing with the Signal Box (as has been suggested on this thread) then maybe that says something about their priorities (and the biggest passenger flows)?

The problem is that (as on the Abergavenny thread) we are trying to run one railway with both fast and slow services on it, meaning that neither gets the service that it'd really want and an awkward compromise results.
 

p123

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I personally have a bone to pick with Scotrail over this issue. While I do think on the whole they're a pretty good TOC, their handling of delays/incidents with regards to expresses and stoppers is truly awful.

Example of the usual type of response: At rush hour there are three Helensburgh Central trains within around 10 minutes of each other. One of these trains runs to Partick, then express direct to Dumbarton. A second train runs to Partick, Hyndland, Dalmuir then to Dumbarton. A third train runs calling at all stops. The very windy day we had just before Christmas, when all sorts of problems were beginning to occur across the network Scotrail only ran the one running to Partick and Dumbarton. By this point the Argyle line was closed and no trains were showing on the remainder of the line (station staff at a station that will remain unnamed checked for me) all the way back to Edinburgh at the other side of A>B - thus this would be the last train out of Glasgow for a long long time.

Therefore, over what I'd say would be good 'customer service', Scotrail chose to run the express and stranded anyone intending on travelling to Hyndland, Jordanhill, Scotstounhill, Garscadden, Yoker, Clydebank, Dalmuir, Kilpatrick, Bowling and Dumbarton East - that's a lot of stations! I can't see any operational reason why they had to run that train direct to Dumbarton, especially given that the rest of the network was clearly going down at the time.

Anyway, on my route they're pretty bad for things like that. Balloch branch trains stop short what feels like every other day due to delays picked up at other places (ok, there's an operational reason for it, but I've seen Balloch left without a service for hours before - not great if you live there), control point blank refuse to add in a stop on the Helensburgh express at Kilpatrick/Bowling and never arrange replacement transport (a station in particular, which will also remain unnamed won't even query it with control as the staff always assume - often incorrectly during major disruption - that there'll be another train along in 30 minutes), and the Springburn shuttle seems to be cancelled at the drop of a hat these days... leaving Duke St/Alex Parade and Barnhill passengers stranded quite often.

That was a lot longer than I expected... apologies for the rant. Partly justified I feel - especially as in the famous 'Ready for Winter' plan we were all told that during times of disruption trains were to stop at all stations along the route. Hmm... it's been all winter and I haven't seen that one yet...
 
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