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Thameslink Services/Timetable from May 20th 2018

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sefton

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Typical morning this morning

0607 Horsham - Peterboroughservice running 30 late.
0624 Peterborough - Horsham blocks platform 2 at Finsbury Park. Because of this.

Delays lots of other services as now platform 2 is blocked.

0652 Cambridge- Brighton service moved to platform 4 but platform staff don’t know if it 1 has a driver or 2 if it is likely to go before the Horsham service.

Such a small incident rapidly snowballing of the reasons comUtoR explained in previous posts.

Changing drivers at Finsbury Park seems very risky.

Absolutely.

The incompetents at GTR failed to get the driver for the 0654 Peterborough to Horsham service to Finsbury Park on time and the driver eventually turned up half an hour late. Half an hour!

And what is even more unbelievable is nobody seemed to know where the driver was.

How on earth can a company be so useless.
 
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sefton

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A simple example is the 'hustle alarm' Passengers will dive through a closing door, jam their limbs in it and even jam a pushchair in it. That is incredibly stupid, yet, every single day someone will do it.

I completely agree; the stupid people are the people who designed the doors and the alarm.

To start with it is termed the 'hustle alarm' - i.e, move quickly alarm. This implies it is fine to carry on moving through the doorway, just do it quickly. If you want it to be a 'no entry/exit alarm' then call it that and at the same time change the sound from a 'hustle' beep beep beep to a klaxon warning sound or verbal "DO NOT ENTER OR EXIT".

The second point of the stupidity of the designers is far more common than train doors are lift doors. Lift doors will stop and reopen if blocked. It is utter madness to design very similar doors but with completely the opposite mode of operation.

So don't blame the user, blame the designer.
 

Failed Unit

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Absolutely.

The incompetents at GTR failed to get the driver for the 0654 Peterborough to Horsham service to Finsbury Park on time and the driver eventually turned up half an hour late. Half an hour!

And what is even more unbelievable is nobody seemed to know where the driver was.

How on earth can a company be so useless.

It is getting worse. Understand that both platforms 2&4 at Finsbury Park are blocked by trains needing drivers. So everything including fast trains need to use 1.
 
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sefton

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It is getting worse. Understand that both platforms 2&4 at Finsbury Park are blocked by trains needing drivers. So everything including fast trains need to use 1.

What is completely astonishing about this is the multiple levels of failure.

No communication with their customers - they knew they had a failure before the train left Stevenage.

No alternative planning - again they knew they had a failure before the train left Stevenage.
 

jon0844

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However if you're a family travelling and one of the kids gets separated from the family, is that a acceptable use?

I'm talking kids younger then 12 here btw, or do you just get off at the next station and hope there's staff there?

If you became separated from a child, I could see how you might use the alarm to speak to the driver and get them to call control and have someone meet the child and give reassurance.

But in this case it seems there were two PASCOM activations (according to someone on the train who Tweeted) and the train did a full stop, with the driver of the belief that he may have struck something.

This understandably caused chaos as the peak was just starting. Question is whether the individual was identified and anything done. I wonder if BTP would bother either? They can all too often think that the incident is over, have a strong word and then send someone on their way.

As for this morning, it seems that besides the usual fun and games at Finsbury Park relating to drivers, there was a fault on a signal that took out one of the up slow lines, meaning some Moorgate services were terminated at Finsbury Park and other through trains were delayed.

Overall Monday was a total mess. Tuesday pretty solid and today? Well, who knows...
 

tsr

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This morning there was a suicidal person who fell from a bridge onto a signal gantry at East Croydon at the start of the morning peak (exactly when and where you don’t want it to happen), and simultaneously a points failure affecting Platforms 4 and 5 at London Bridge, and a few more things besides.

There is now a plan in place to recover the service for every train so fingers crossed...
 

David Sinnett

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There were no planned trains out of Bedford this morning for about an hour (7.56 to 8.55) though one came in earlier and formed a 8.39 departure.... one went tech and into the sidings. There were other trains in the sidings but presumably no drivers. If Croydon was blocked from 6ish why weren't trains being turned round in London to enable a decent service north of the river?
 

notverydeep

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Typical morning this morning

0607 Horsham - Peterboroughservice running 30 late.
0624 Peterborough - Horsham blocks platform 2 at Finsbury Park. Because of this.

Delays lots of other services as now platform 2 is blocked.

0652 Cambridge- Brighton service moved to platform 4 but platform staff don’t know if it 1 has a driver or 2 if it is likely to go before the Horsham service.

Such a small incident rapidly snowballing of the reasons comUtoR explained in previous posts.

Changing drivers at Finsbury Park seems very risky.

This happened repeatedly throughout the peak, with platform 4 (up fast) occupied by 9J13 0724 Peterborough to Horsham for 28 minutes, then this was joined by 9S13 0754 Cambridge to Brighton in platform 2 which stayed for 21 minutes. 9J15 0754 Peterborough to Horsham managed to be underway in only 10 minutes. These trains in turn (especially 9J13, stranded on the fast) held up an array of trains, with Moorgate services funneling through platform 1, although even these were interrupted by the sedate passage of a freight train!

With a queue on the fast line, some up fast trains ended up being routed on to the up slow at New Southgate and then Up Slow 2 from Alexandra Palace. Eventually a couple of northbound services from Horsham, then Brighton arrived, presumably with the required drivers or pilots and 9J13 did get moving, only to have to wait and be delayed for another 5 minutes one signal further down, while the above freight train made its way, even more sedately on to the North London Line.

Finally the train I was on, 1R11 0812 Baldock to King's Cross, which ended up behind 9J13 made it to King's Cross 26 late. This ended up behind 9S13 into Finsbury Park as it had stopped at Welwyn Garden City because of the cancellation of 2C13 0727 Cambridge - King's Cross to avoid a 90 minute gap from Stevenage to WGC. A whole series of LNER trains were similarly held up, with delays spreading to the Moorgate services as observed by others.

While not the direct cause, the freight train definitely didn't help. Sorry, but as a planner of intensive passenger services, I think that freight trains have no business anywhere near Finsbury Park, the North London Line or any other intensively used and capacity constrained corridor during the peaks.
 

Failed Unit

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The social media team are blaming the signal failure as the sole reason for the disruption this morning. Totally denying that the delays to the northbound services caused trains to block the southbound lines at Finsbury Park because of lack of drivers. (Who were caught up in the disruption)
 

bramling

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The social media team are blaming the signal failure as the sole reason for the disruption this morning. Totally denying that the delays to the northbound services caused trains to block the southbound lines at Finsbury Park because of lack of drivers. (Who were caught up in the disruption)

A terrible morning for sure. Before 1400 just one northbound service from the core managed to get onto the GN less than 15 late, with most services around 30 late all morning. This sort of poor performance is simply unprecedented on the GN route. Thankfully we still have the King's Cross-Cambridge stopping service, which needless to say has performed better today, providing a get-out-of-jail-free-card to many users, albeit unfortunately not for users on the Peterborough route who continue to rely on the atrocious and erratic Thameslink service.

It's laughable that anyone ever thought this joke service could work well. No wonder there's a noticeable dip in passenger numbers particularly off-peak -- at this time of year platforms at places like Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth or Biggleswade would be full of people, now they are noticeably deserted.
 

infobleep

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I see the 15:54 Cambridge to Brighton was on time until it left Finsbury Park 5 minutes late.

It eventually got to East Croydon 6 minutes late. The 17:32 from East Croydon to Eastbourne arrived first and thus was able to depart first. This stops at Horley, Gatwick Airport, Haywards Heath and continues to Eastbourne.

The Cambridge train stops at Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges and Haywards Heath, before continuing on to Brighton.

Had the Brighton bound train left first it would have delayed the Eastbourne train before Horley and then further down the line beyond Three Bridges.

As we left first, we delayed the the Brighton train before Gatwick Airport but as it stops at Three Bridges after that we'll be out of the way. The train is now 8 minutes late.
 

MML

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Arrive on time at Blackfriars this morning heading southbound. But rerouted to avoid LBG points failure and re platformed at East Croydon due to the suicide. Was expecting a reroute via Crystal Palace but we ended up with a sedate crawl through places in south London I never knew existed. Norbury and Selhurst too. Arriving 40 minutes late. Even the signaler wasn't expecting us. Driver was excellent giving constant updates.
Northbound services were extensively delayed, so I imagine Horsham drivers were late reaching Finsbury Park.
Problem is that incidents like this now impact the entire network, both north and south of the river.
 

otomous

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I completely agree; the stupid people are the people who designed the doors and the alarm.

To start with it is termed the 'hustle alarm' - i.e, move quickly alarm. This implies it is fine to carry on moving through the doorway, just do it quickly. If you want it to be a 'no entry/exit alarm' then call it that and at the same time change the sound from a 'hustle' beep beep beep to a klaxon warning sound or verbal "DO NOT ENTER OR EXIT".

The second point of the stupidity of the designers is far more common than train doors are lift doors. Lift doors will stop and reopen if blocked. It is utter madness to design very similar doors but with completely the opposite mode of operation.

So don't blame the user, blame the designer.

If train doors reopened every time they were blocked, how could we guarantee that we could ever finally close them?
 

Fred26

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While not the direct cause, the freight train definitely didn't help. Sorry, but as a planner of intensive passenger services, I think that freight trains have no business anywhere near Finsbury Park, the North London Line or any other intensively used and capacity constrained corridor during the peaks.

I agree completely, but until m
If train doors reopened every time they were blocked, how could we guarantee that we could ever finally close them?

Exactly - some stations would never have a train leave, as there's always someone else trying to board.
 

AngusH

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I think the argument is that the doors are not sufficiently designed to discourage people from boarding while they are closing. Also I agree on the "Hustle alarm", it should be "door warning alarm" perhaps?

Perhaps pictures of sharp teeth, sharp triangles pointing inward or red flashing lights or signs indicating that they won't reopen?
 

OwenB

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I think the argument is that the doors are not sufficiently designed to discourage people from boarding while they are closing. Also I agree on the "Hustle alarm", it should be "door warning alarm" perhaps?

Perhaps pictures of sharp teeth, sharp triangles pointing inward or red flashing lights or signs indicating that they won't reopen?
Real live sharks?
 

ComUtoR

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The doors are closing. You know they are closing. Yet you still decide to dive into a set of closing doors. It could be called the plinky plonky ding dong siren but it doesn't change the fact that the doors are closing and you know they are. Diving into a set of closing doors is not 'normal' Not forgetting the average passenger does not know they are known as the hustle alarm. :/

And yes, you could put big sharp blades on them and I guarantee someone will still decide to stick something in them to stop them closing.
 
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Do bear in mind, when debating the errors of the door designers, that the staff who close the doors whilst pax are still boarding and alighting don't really help either. Even 'law abiding' passengers get agitated as a result, because they think always have the risk of doors being shut on them. So they get quite used to blocking them with their feet in order to board. Ultimately, at the busier stations, we will have to allow dwell times to increase to reduce all of the 'platform/train interface' risks that the industry is quite worried about at present.
 

AngusH

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(This is totally off topic now, sorry) Most passengers don't understand what the door alarm means anyway and probably don't recognise the two are connected. This report even specifically notes that people confuse the behaviour of the doors with lift doors.

https://www.rssb.co.uk/Library/abou...nded-to-stand-back-when-doors-are-closing.pdf


Edit, to bring this back on topic. If the timetable doesn't work because passengers are delaying the trains by blocking the doors, then this is another thing that needs to be specifically addressed by Thameslink. Perhaps with more platform staff at the offending stations, or more dangerous looking paint on the doors, or perhaps both.

(Although this is obvious to us all I suppose)
 
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Ianno87

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Edit, to bring this back on topic. If the timetable doesn't work because passengers are delaying the trains by blocking the doors, then this is another thing that needs to be specifically addressed by Thameslink. Perhaps with more platform staff at the offending stations, or more dangerous looking paint on the doors, or perhaps both.

(Although this is obvious to us all I suppose)

*No* timetable will work if a passenger blocks the doors on a train at a key point in the network...
 

AngusH

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So what's the answer? Either someone needs to stop them at the time or they need to be somehow persuaded not to do this (in advance). What is being done at Thameslink stations on either of these points?

(edit: and is it working?)


I think this has moved off topic, so I'm going to stop here.
 

Failed Unit

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Just going back to this morning, as this will happen again (or something similar) what can be done to prevent the rapid timetable collapse we saw this morning.

Looking with the easy job of hindsight.

1. GTR control knew the drivers were not going to be at Finsbury Park, so why was the train not diverted to Kings Cross and the one heading north terminated at London Bridge or Blackfriars and returned South (think I have read this isn’t possible but not sure - you can’t access 3&4 at Blackfriars from London Bridge)

2. With platform 2 blocked, why put another driverless train on platform 4 and block 2 lines? Why not queue the train behind the one on Platform 2? (Or would this make things worse?)

Is Finsbury Park going to remain a driver change over point in the peak?

It is a working railway. We are going to get points failures at East Croydon, wires down at West Hampstead and signal failures at Palmers Green. Surely GTR has a plan B to deal with such instances. But stood at Finsbury Park this morning no-one seem to know when anything was likely to move.

Communication was poor again, especially from the social media team who either were not told about the lack of drivers, or even worse were told to mislead the public. (Many of who responded back highlighting the driverless trains)
 

sefton

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The doors are closing. You know they are closing. Yet you still decide to dive into a set of closing doors. It could be called the plinky plonky ding dong siren but it doesn't change the fact that the doors are closing and you know they are.

Have you never seen people using (the far more common) lifts? This is exactly what people do because the doors re-open rather than try to kill people.

Only an idiot would design trains to do the opposite.

Anyway, rather off-topic for this thread.
 

bramling

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Have you never seen people using (the far more common) lifts? This is exactly what people do because the doors re-open rather than try to kill people.

Only an idiot would design trains to do the opposite.

Anyway, rather off-topic for this thread.

There is a difference - lifts are generally unattended so the safety process is different. Every train dispatch will have a ‘safety check’ performed by a member of staff before the train moves off, which doesn’t happen with lifts (except if the lift is attended - are there any such lifts remaining anywhere these days?).

Personally I think there should be more attention paid to trying to prevent people boarding trains whilst doors are closing - a few high-profile byelaw prosecutions would make a start. But equally I’m realistic enough to know this probably won’t ever happen in the real world.
 

sefton

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Communication was poor again, especially from the social media team who either were not told about the lack of drivers, or even worse were told to mislead the public. (Many of who responded back highlighting the driverless trains)

I think the social media team have just given up.

GTR's feed these days seems to have many times the previous number of posts, but almost all of them telling the company they are crap.

Even for those people who have genuine questions, the social media team seem to have even less information than the station staff (which is damn all) and just to a cut and paste of "claim delay repay here".

Frankly they may as well close it down.
 

sefton

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Personally I think there should be more attention paid to trying to prevent people boarding trains whilst doors are closing - a few high-profile byelaw prosecutions would make a start. But equally I’m realistic enough to know this probably won’t ever happen in the real world.

I completely agree.

There should be prosecutions of staff who dangerously close or give the signal to close the doors whilst people are still getting on or off.

This still seems to be off topic though.
 

bramling

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I completely agree.

There should be prosecutions of staff who dangerously close or give the signal to close the doors whilst people are still getting on or off.

This still seems to be off topic though.

The difficulty is there are places where it’s almost impossible not to close the doors with people trying to board as there will always be people emerging from a staircase or whatever. Whilst there are doubtless times when drivers get it wrong, the culture should be that once the huddle alarm/chimes/whatever we call it starts to sound then people should cease attempting to board, and currently that culture is pretty non existent. Reality is that when investigated nearly every single complaint of being caught in closing doors is found to be the fault of the passenger.

Returning things towards topic, more shambles tonight. 2154 365 service off KX was cancelled allegedly due to the driver booking off sick - so evidently no spares in the house (what a surprise!). Meanwhile a whole batch of back-to-back core cancellations, some planned as part of the interim timetable, others not, led to a massive evening gap going north from St Pancras towards the GN side. I did predict coverage over the summer holiday period would bring its own challenges, and its clear that even with the interim timetable (at least two layers of descoping from Thameslink Programme’s original May 2018 deliverables) things are on a knifedge, and the service is simply nowhere near good enough. It’s been a pretty shambolic day all round by all accounts, any idea that things are anywhere near acceptable is completely wide of the mark. A dependable railway has been totally wrecked as a result of the Thameslink Programme.

I do wonder how long this sinking ship can now manage to keep its head above water. Grayling needs to grasp the nettle and accept that the Thameslink Programme is a disastrous failure, ditch it and order a complete re-think. It goes beyond party politics as the projects has roots very much back into the Labour years. Elements of the project may well be worthwhile, like the London Bridge rebuild, but in its current form it’s nothing short of shambles.
 
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OwenB

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Quite a few cancellations into King's Cross this morning from WGC/Hatfield owing to shortage of drivers. Could be worse than Monday morning. Watch this space.
 
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