Thameslink/ Class 700 Progress

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by fgwrich, 16 Nov 2013.

  1. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Depends how good the drivers are at keeping up with ATO performance!

    If they can match it, then the implication is nothing. If they can’t, and bear in mind it only takes one to pull back everything behind it, then it would restrict line capacity and ultimately make the timetable undeliverable if there isn’t enough slack to make up the headways.

    Same is seen on the LU lines. Some drivers are capable of matching ATO performance. Most aren’t, so you end up with one train holding back everything behind it - gaps develop, trains don’t present at junctions at the right time so conflicts arise causing knock-on delays, and ultimately the timetable then relies on recovery time, which may not exist at busy times of day.

    It also depends on factors like driving policy and how the ATO system is designed. On the Jubilee and Northern lines overrunning a limit of movement authority *isnt* regarded as a safety-related incident, unlike the Central and Victoria lines where it is, so giving more freedom to drive around at or near the limits of permissibility / performance. The Thameslink setup I presume is more like the latter, then there’s factors like defensive / professional driving policy to consider and what this allows the driver to do or not do.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2019
  2. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    700151 a bit worse for wear this evening. Brake squeal that would put a 180 to shame, filthy floors (even considering the weather) and only 1 in every 4 PIS displays working, all the way down the train.
    A bit disappointing considering that to my knowledge is one of the newest units in service.
     
  3. Verulamius

    Verulamius Member

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    Thameslink have published a consultation, which is available on the APTU website via their newsletter, on whether the Thameslink express trains should call at Harpenden instead of Luton or St Albans.

    http://www.aptu.org.uk/pdfs/aptunews20190127.pdf

    The consultation also has train loading information
     
  4. TFN

    TFN Member

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    I think the squealing brakes is the "ice/snow/cold mode". I noticed it in the Beast from the East last year. Is this an option for drivers to use or is it compulsory when ordered?
     
  5. 387star

    387star Established Member

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    Compulsory
    Any news on wifi being rolled out to all units and or tables?
    Still seems only units fitted with tables throughout have the wifi

    The PIS system is remarkably rudimentary. Surprising the system is not integrated with the in cab computer screen like 377s rather than being a separate unit

    'Check station screens' remains a far too common occurrence due to no code being available... meaning no short platform warnings are automatically announced

    There is no ability to skip stops in advance meaning you can only skip within a set order of stations ie running fast gatwick to redhill you can skip horley from being displayed and announced but if you know you are also to then run fast redhill to east croydon you can't skip merstham etc till redhill. Once doors are released even if you have then pressed to skip the next station it still shows it on the screens as stopping unless you press a button or two to reset the screens

    Finally any pre recorded message needs to be deleted or it stays on the internal screens meaning station stops etc no longer show. This is easily forgotton. They should time out after a set time ... that said given you can't skip stations in advance it is handy to cover up stops displaying which would become Incorrect due to skip stopping
     
    Last edited: 29 Jan 2019
  6. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I thought the intention was that (eventually), all trains running under ATO (being all class 700s) would be the norm. The ability to run a mix of trains under ATO at the same time as under manual control was a requirement to allow one or more train with an on-board equipment failure to pass through whilst others continue as normal. It would as hwl says above effectively mean that the intervals between trains my not be the same, maybe resulting in a reduced maximum capacity through the core, but that would be preferable to ceasing timetabled operations altogether whilst faulty train(s) were manually removed from the core.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jan 2019
  7. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I also thought the intention was to run all trains under ATO but I have found out recently that it isn't the case and many will still be running manually and not because of failure.
     
  8. MML

    MML Member

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    Is there any intent to retrofit:
    1. Wifi
    2. Seat back tables
    700/1 would be the priority since they are typically performing longer journeys, but 700/0 too.
    It's all a bit of a hit and miss affair when travelling at the moment.

    700102 today also operating with 3 of the 5 toilets unserviceable.
     
  9. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I doubt whether the cosmetic issues will be continued now the huffing and puffing has died down. Wi-fi is different though as it has been declared as a national requirement for trains to have it available. The class 700s have been built with wi-fi provision, just requiring addition of the boxes to the installed wiring ISTR. A cynic might argue that wi-fi is more important on GN line services so that some passengers can vent their spleen on Twitter. :)
    I think that most passengers see the table issue as subordinate to actually being able to board the trains in the peak so unless it is dealt with at a mid-life update, nothing much will change anytime soon.
     
  10. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    In all honesty I think most punters find the table issue subordinate to having uncomfortable hard seats with poor legroom and a duct which makes the window seats unbearably cramped.

    Obviously lack of tables isn’t an issue for those who make a bee-line for declassified first... :)

    Of course, the more discerning GN users plan their journeys round the 365 services. Once again this week it’s noticeable how busy some of these are, and how they fill up quite early - with people foresaking one or even two core services which would have got them to their destinations earlier. Likewise there’s places like Letchworth and Royston where strong local campaigning has paid off and they’ve got or are getting calls back on 387 services. That speaks volumes I think.
     
  11. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Even when they don't.
    Nevertheless, travelling in the rear first class is a privilege afforded to those who don't travel when the railway is stretched to it's full capacity.
     
  12. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Which is of course most of the time!

    (And I’ll let you into a little secret, I actually don’t mind the first class on the 700s - especially the seats located immediately adjacent to the cab which almost feel like being in an old-fashioned compartment. They’re the only seats on the whole train which actually feel like being on a train as opposed to a cross between a bendy-bus and a clinical hospital waiting room. It’s a shame the whole train wasn’t done out like this, as then the people-moving capability would have combined with a tolerable ambience to actually make a reasonably fit-for-purpose train).
     
    Last edited: 7 Feb 2019
  13. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Which is convenient for me when I choose to travel. Last Friday, travel in the rear was the obvious thing to do for ease of transfer to LU at Blackfriars. Because of the flooding in the core, I returned boarding at STP somewhere near the centre of the train so the seats there were fine.
     
  14. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Well of course. 20-minute dash to St Albans on a fast perchance? I’m all right Jack springs to mind...
     
  15. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I've even done it from Gatwick and Brighton in standard class of class 700s but given the opportunity when using spare capacity in services I (as would most others) take a quieter, and more roomy area in which to sit.
    Were it not for the very high deamnd for travel in the peak, most commuter trains would probably have 2+2 seats with arms, tables and window views, similar to what is provided many EU countries. Instead, there is a need to maximise capacity on trains that use precious peak time paths on the south-east's constrained infrastructure. That is the problem facing those who are responsible for ensuring the demand for peak rail travel is met, and despite these services having quite basic accomodation, they still cost far more to provide (per passenger) than is recovered by the fares paid by those passengers.
    Even though the off-peak passengers are offered the same basic acommodation, they are still charged about the same (or more) as the average season ticket holder for a less flexible ticket.
     
  16. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    I've done an hour from Haywards Heath to Farringdon back when the diversionary route through Crystal Palace was still in effect. It was largely fine by virtue of having a bay seat. I don't tolerate the airline ones very long as I have to sit sideways. Fortunately on almost all the occasions I've been on a 700 lately, such seats have been available.
     
  17. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Just out of pure curiosity, and noting you’ve again mentioned season tickets, might I ask why you care so much about this topic? As you say you’re not someone who generally uses the trains during peak times, so why is it such a salient issue for you that the system be designed around going for absolute maximum capacity?
     
  18. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    This question and consequently my answer is probably outside this thread's topic so I'll keep it succinct.
    Because the commuter railways in this country, like virtually every other in the western world, are run at a loss. That in itself isn't a problem to me as they are to some extent reducing the problems caused by commuter road traffic, especially where the railway is electrified. The majority of commuting passengers travel on season tickets that in the UK are generally priced near or below the equivalent off-peak tickets over the average number of working days per year. So off-peak passengers are paying similar fares for travelling with restrictions on times and sometimes trains, that benefits the TOCs, to those who are aren't required to commit to any flexibility and are by virtue of their large number the reason for most of the capital and operational expenditure on the railway. Maybe those who get this peak-time travel at off-peak rates don't understand the effect that their travel has on the railway, - maybe they do, but there is a constant chorus of complaint that the trains aren't good enough for them which I see as ironic. So their discomfort is no worse than everybody elses but they should reflect that they do get a better deal on the ticket price/flexibility deal.
    Before you ask, yes I have been a regular commuter and have experienced every bit as much discomfort and disruption as any I've heard about in the last 4-5 years on this forum and elsewhere. The isasue of more/longer/faster/comfortable trains etc has rumbled on and off since the '60s when I started work. In those days I would travel into Liverpool St on what was the busiest or second busiest commuter route into London, Just west of Stratford were the stabling sidings which were empty in the peak yet full in the middle of the day. This was replicted at Ilford, Gidea Park, Shenfield and various other spare siding along the line. Articles in the general and rail press asked why there couldn't be more trains, yet these sidings were daytime homes to units that mostly worked just one return trip per day, say 3 hours revenue use at the most. At the time I thought that this situation was why we had to travel in compartments with 6 per side bench seats and another 6 standees treading on their feet at every lurch.
    To return to the thread topic of the class 700s, they are an attempt to provide the gross capacity needed in the peak and generally sufficient seating for every passenger off-peak. This they do but the layout may not satisfy everybody's taste. Iconsider the overall picture and accept it for what it is.
     
  19. Fred26

    Fred26 Member

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    Which dictionary did you use to define succinct?!
     
  20. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    387s certainly have a cosier interior but would be totally inappropriate as an internal layout on the 700s. Of course 387s did for a while serve Bedford to Brighton commuters, and during times of disruption must have been quite hellish.

    700s are designed for the worst times, and off-peak there's rarely any issue getting a seat in the declassified first class section (although obviously if everyone knew and chose to go there, you wouldn't). 12 car 700s in the middle of the day in the week are often carrying a handful of people, but the benefits for fixed-formation trains are clear when the railway now has to design around a few hours of the day.

    The only way to change this would be to have more people work from home (but many people don't want to, or businesses don't trust staff, or the job can't be done at home) or more flexible working hours, which is fine unless you'd prefer to work 9-5 and have time to go out in the evening, rather than a lie-in until 11 and working to 7. Or an extra early start at 7 and finishing at 3, but then having to go to bed early when others are out...
     
  21. 387star

    387star Established Member

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    I agree the 8 car units don't need tables

    They are used on metro routes to Sutton, Sevenoaks, Orpington, Rainham .... Maidstone to Cambridge outstanding though that will be quite slow to Cambridge

    So that leaves 700101-123 to fit with tables. Nor that many really

    Still yet to see any retrofitted wifi equipped units
     
  22. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    The Maidstone services haven't started yet have they?
     
  23. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Why doesn't metro need tables ? Are they any less deserving ?
     
  24. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Okay that’s an interesting read. I note much of it relates to season tickets. Surely season ticket holders deserve some squeeze for the fact that (1) they are loyal users, (2) they provide a guaranteed income to the railway over a longer period, (3) being a pattern of regular and constant use the railway can plan to provide the capacity, unlike haphazard demand spikes seen for things like event traffic, and (4) they don’t need the provision of booking office staff and banking/accounting/revenue protection measures every day? Likewise in many cases these season ticket holders will be making a substantial contribution to the economy, particularly city commuters earning high salaries and thus paying high amounts of income tax? Patsi from Stevenage travelling to see her grandson in Letchworth two days a week simply won’t be making the same contribution, and without the season ticket holders providing the service to her probably wouldn’t be viable.

    In any case, increased off-peak usage means the notion of lines and lines of trains basking in the sun through the day is less true now. On the GN outers from memory the peak requirement is something like 3 extra 8-car 700s, 6 387s, and of course 17 365s (some of which remain in use through to mid-morning and late-evening). Bear in mind things will be arranged so most 365 maintenance will occur during the midday, this isn’t actually so inefficient. Things were very different 25 years ago when the peak requirement was much more top-heavy.

    Moving things back to topic, I get the point about crowd shifting, but no one has yet given a satisfactory reason why we can’t reduce the 24tph figure slightly, divert a handful of services elsewhere - to places where they used to run - and specify a slightly less spartan interior. This would have the added benefit of placing less reliance on the less reliable through services.

    Deck out the whole interior like the first class, perhaps without the armrests and with half tables like on the 365s, use some slightly nicer interior finishes and put in some sound deadening so that noise doesn’t carry down the whole train, and they would be perfectly okay - whilst maintaining all the capacity.
     
    Last edited: 7 Feb 2019
  25. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    Even the same seats would be OK if spaced ever so slightly further apart and a better solution found to the window duct problem. The sound dampening is unexemplary but perfectly acceptable compared to the likes of the 317 and 321 fleet that used to operate some of those routes. I don't think much would need doing to the 700s for them to provide a much better travelling experience, nothing that would be excessively expensive or technically too challenging, but that's the rub with a lot of these DfT specifications. The 800s are broadly the same, what's there really isn't bad apart from a couple of daft flaws that could have pretty easily been rectified.
     
  26. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    The issue I have with sound is more to do with passenger noise. Any little noise like someone listening to a personal stereo, having a phone conversation or whatever seems to carry and amplify through the train, possibly due to the materials used for the interior. A bit more carpet and some dividing partitions / doors would help.

    The window duct is a major negative, although not an issue in the first class as the seats are positioned slightly further out.
     
  27. 387star

    387star Established Member

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    In another universe a few passengers featured this Wednesday on The One Show praised the 700s with one even saying the (standard) seats are comfortable
    That said most on here seem happy with certain aspects and admit a few tweaks would make a great train

    The lighting can be dimmed by the driver and some do that. At night especially this is perhaps preferred?
     
  28. Elshad

    Elshad Member

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    Just noticed a new glitch: When the driver selects the “This train is being held at a red signal, and should be moving shortly” message, the displays get stuck and stays on that message for a long time. Even after several stations have passed. Really stupid. The voice announcements still work though.
     
  29. westcoaster

    westcoaster Established Member

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    The message needs to be cancelled by the driver, they do not clear automatically. If you set it you have to reset it, but some forget.
     
  30. Passo

    Passo New Member

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    I'd been planning to write a post here about the mystery platform zones in the core section. For as long as they've been there they've not been used in any way as far as I can tell.

    But today at Farringdon I've noticed train diagrams now feature on the digital screens. Presumably at some point they'll show loading indicators too.
     

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