Thameslink services on Sundays

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by AndyY, 24 Aug 2015.

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  1. AndyY

    AndyY Member

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    Yesterday, the all station Bedford service departing West Hampstead at 20:14 was cancelled just before 20:05 due to "a member of staff not being available". I suppose it was caused by driver shortage.

    The next all stations service was 30 minutes later. There were 2 other Bedford services in the meanwhile but one was cancelled and the other had St. Albans as the first stop.

    While I was annoyed at the short notice of the cancellation (would have tried another route if I knew in advance), I wonder why the current patten of service on Sunday is as it is (4 non-stop service between West Hampstead and St. Albans per hour, all stations service every 30 minutes).

    If there is a staff shortage, why not change to 4 all station services per hour? Is there any reason why this cannot be done? Is it because people living north of St. Albans would complain (as their services are now slower)?
     
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  3. causton

    causton Established Member

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    That is a good reason. Also:

    -Thameslink could be penalised as that train would arrive late. They could probably claim it against "service recovery" but it would count as late.
    -The train could get in the way of other trains if there are freight trains, or no suitable passing places, or only certain lines open etc.
    -The return working of the train once it gets to Bedford etc. could be cancelled or delayed for obvious reasons.
    -The driver would arrive late at their destination and they could go over maximum working hours, causing even more disruption!
     
  4. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    And also, it minimises delay to the majority. The fast trains load very well all weekend, and it is not unusual to have people standing on 8 cars. Whereas the all stations are relatively empty, even the 4 cars. And with a cancellation, the fast train after the gap would have been full and standing.

    So, making even one fast train on a Sunday an all stations will delay around 500 people by about 15 minutes, 7500 personminutes. Compared to the additional delay caused by not stopping it, around 150 people for 20 minutes, 3000 personminutes.

    Unfortunate for you, but society wins.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2015
  5. AndyY

    AndyY Member

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    I have some ideas why there are fewer passengers from the stations between St. Albans and West Hampstead, compared to stations further north.

    Perhaps there are more alternatives within London. (From Mill Hill Broadway, the alternatives are 113 to Hendon Central or one of the buses to Burnt Oak. Hendon Central is relatively close to Hendon station, and Kilburn is not far from Cricklewood using 32.) This leaves Elstree, Borehamwood (although you can argue 107 / 292 to Edgware and then Northern Line is also an alternative) and Radlett as the main places where an alternative does not exist.
    As the Thameslink service is so poor and has such a "reputation", people just go for the more reliable alternatives rather than take pot luck with the trains. And don't forget that for pay as you go, using underground only is cheaper than rail and then changing to underground.
    I know this could be true because there are very few passengers getting on/off at Hendon and Cricklewood. There are more at Mill Hill Broadway, but still not as many as Elstree & Borehamwood.

    The population centres north of Radlett (St. Albans, Harpenden, Luton, Bedford) are much larger than Radlett, etc, so I think your explanation could make sense.

    It is my choice for living in such a place, and I cannot really complain because my season ticket is much cheaper than e.g. from St. Albans or Luton.
     
  6. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    From my observations over many years - the TLK semi/fast services load very well on weekends (with all that is going in the Capital and area with sport / drinking /shopping and so on) - the slow locals north of the river has clearly no solid Mon- Friday commuter flows and tend to maange well enough on 4 cars as a lot of traffic is "local" short hops at weekends.

    Elstree is without doubt a very busy station (over 3 million per annum) - as is Mill Hill and a 20 min trip to London is very competitive - or if the Jubilee is open - good access to the West End etc. Hendon is a long uphill walk to Hendon Central - done it several times and not really reccomended.

    All will change with the massive redevolpment of Brent Cross and a new station planned on the site of the carriage sidings - north end.
     
  7. bakerstreet

    bakerstreet Member

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    It's so annoying. Every Sunday, often at least one of the two stopping services is cancelled every hour so an already poor London urban service (2 per hour) is halved much of the time to 1 per hour. And still they run 4 car trains!
    . It's been like this for some time. Many will remember that this line under FCC had a similar problem a few years ago. They paid out compensation including free scratch off tickets for day travel across the network.
    Anyone know how long this is likely to continue? I tweet Thameslink - they only mention delay repay and not how long the problem will last.
    Are the dft piling on the pressure?
    It's a disgrace!
    And delay repay doesn't really cut it. It's ok for the odd cancelled train but when a entire day's train service is decimated every week the paperwork is annoying.
    Any ideas if this misery will end soon?
     
  8. physics34

    physics34 Established Member

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    Thameslink drivers can book their sundays off (without pay) and sundays are not part of the working week, so there is more likely to be a shortage in the summer months as many drivers would prefer not to work their sundays during this time.

    Its to do with their contracts so you can't blame the drivers and in a way you can't blame Thameslink either as it was an FCC thing I believe.
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2015
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