Thameslink Services/Timetable from May 20th 2018

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by blakey1152, 17 May 2018.

  1. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    Aware it's a different company and there are alternatives but surprised no mention that LO only managed to run 8 trains between 2pm and 10pm from Imperial Wharf to Stratford due to disruption now I might be cynical but if it was GTR I'm sure a lot of people here would be kicking up a stink...

    Which for a turn up and go service isn't good!
     
  2. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    The LO service on that route is undeniably pretty disruption-prone and most likely brings down the punctuality for all of LO a fair bit. Severe disruption on routes in zones 2 & 3, however, is generally a lot less problematic than disruption on routes where the stations are much further apart, there are no proximate alternatives by rail and weak bus routes/frequencies. A lot of the routes GTR operate are more of the latter, though certainly far from all of them.
     
  3. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Here comes the apologist again, but a lot of problems for GTR are possibly down to the new rostering and drivers at new locations. Trains now having more driver changes at WGC, for one example, with impacts to services that may not be fully realised, predicted or appreciated when things go wrong where it maybe didn't matter so much before.

    You can always ask a driver nicely if they'll continue in service somewhere else, but some can and will refuse for whatever reason. This can lead to problems with trains left stranded with no return working. In extreme cases this leads to platforms being blocked as a result, with other trains then held outside the station (as happens at Finsbury Park) possibly with a driver onboard that is trapped.

    I hope that everything that happens with the December timetable is being analysed carefully because come May 19 and December 19 there will need to be additional resilience built in and predictions based on what runs now - not necessarily local knowledge that has built up over years, from those who were on the railway in the First and National Express days. All that knowledge may count for little now, or even hinder operations.

    That said, I do think a lot of people forget that things weren't perfect pre May 18. It's rather like people remembering rival parties and how great they were when they ran the Government. Easy to forget all the bad things and why they were kicked out. (Perhaps the only Government we'll remember for nothing but bad things is the current one.)
     
  4. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I can only speak for my usage, however I’d say things were pretty good pre-May. In all honesty it was very rare to be late - indeed for some years I was actually planning my journey into London to minute precision so reliable was the service. Things did decline, er, around the time GTR took over...

    To be fair, there have been some enhancements over recent years. Longer trains particularly off-peak is one. It’s just a shame things couldn’t have been done just a bit differently to give the best of both worlds, rather than using Thameslink as the solution to everything - which unfortunately brings nasties like poor dependability, as well as the nasty trains that have all the interior ambience of a mouldy portacabin.
     
  5. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I do feel more confident travelling now, even at weekends, than I did. Weekend service frequency, especially on a Saturday, is poor unless you're willing to use the Moorgate stoppers - but it seems reliable at last.

    There's a long way to go. Restoring the full weekend service is a must, but that still doesn't solve the Sunday service. I would hope that at some point extra services will come on Sunday too, once there are enough drivers contracted to work Sunday to make it possible to run more trains.

    The problem now is that any further changes will not happen quickly. Indeed, not for any TOC. The GTR and Northern Rail issues have probably contributed to timetable optimisations and new service introductions being done far slower than before. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it will be a gross overreaction.
     
  6. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    Sutton loop reliability has been dreadful for years. Now that the full new timetable is mostly running, we have better frequency and more capacity in the peaks. Reliability I don't think has declined. From my (selfish) point of view the new timetable (and trains) has brought us a noticeably improved service. I've also found myself taking advantage of the increased direct journey options from the core (for me now an easy change at blackfriars) on a few occasions, including the Rainham line and the services through to the GN lines.
     
  7. Skimble19

    Skimble19 Established Member

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    Well, Arlesey and Biggleswade would be a major issue seeing as the Platform Staff finish at 20:00, but Sandy is staffed 24/7 with 2x Platform staff so would be fine to stop a 365 12 car there at any time.
     
  8. bionic

    bionic Member

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    Thameslink has commited Sundays. Existing Thameslink drivers are contracted to work a MINIMUM 8 commited Sundays a year. Newbies are contracted to work a MINIMUM 12 commited Sundays a year. This was agreed by ASLEF a while back. Whether or not the company are enforcing it is a different matter. Unless it was a BBQ day they never really had trouble getting people to work them before.
     
  9. notverydeep

    notverydeep Member

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    The train involved was 2C15, 0750 Cambridge North to London Kings Cross. As far as I can deduce from both Real Time Trains and my being on the platform 2 at WGC at the time, it was probably expecting to be diverted via the Hertford Loop and to that end was instructed to skip stops after Stevenage - up to that point it had been on time until it reached the queue of trains heading for the Hertford loop. At around this time through running was resumed, with 1T11 0718 Kings Lynn and Kings Lynn to London Kings Cross the first train through WGC which passed platform 2 on the up slow, non stop at line speed just after 0900. Subsequent fast trains were routed along the up fast, but were being crossed to the up slow approaching Hatfield. This being a slow move, the signal on the up fast at WGC was showing a single yellow or red for most trains.

    Some time after 1T11 passed, the class 700 that had been working 2C11 0648 Cambridge North to Welwyn Garden City but had been turned back to Stevenage arrived again into platform 1 at WGC and terminated having formed an additional train from Stevenage described as 2W11 on the Open Train Time map, but not shown in Real Time Trains. I suspect this shuttle move had been planned before through running resumed. This set was worked empty via the flyover headshunt to the WGC carriage sidings. By this time 2C15 was just behind 2W11. It was announced as calling at WGC by the automatic Passenger Information System at WGC and again manually by the supervisor and the platform was by this time full. I could see that it continued on the up fast at Digswell Junction and inevitably it was brought to a stand by the up fast signal at WGC (at around 0920) as it queued for the crossover to the up slow at Hatfield. It was not until 14 minutes later at 0934 that 2C17 0825 Cambridge to London Kings Cross was the first train post incident to call at WGC advertised as going to Finsbury Park or King's Cross, some 33 minutes after the first train had passed after service resumed.

    I can only judge from the perception of those around me, but up to then the atmosphere was calm, resigned to the delay and to a degree sympathetic to the train operator and staff as being affected by things outside of their control, but 2C15 being announced and then not stopping sharply increased the level of complaint. I work in the industry and this struck me as a (presumably) unintended, but even in these circumstances an avoidable and unnecessary addition of insult to injury to customers who had already endured up to two hours of delay. The Real Time Trains entry for this train illustrates how little was achieved by this skip stopping http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/G15754/2019/01/14/advanced. It passed booked stops at Knebworth, Welwyn North and Welwyn Garden City without making up any time and lost an additional 20 minutes as it inevitably queued with the other disrupted trains all the way to King's Cross eventually arriving 50 minutes late, despite also omitting Hatfield and Finsbury Park (no trains were calling at Potters Bar).

    A pair of class 313s did set off in service towards Hatfield after 2C15, but slightly ahead of 2C17 advertised as going all stations to Alexandra Palace. The supervisor had indicated that buses were ordered to form all stations to Alexandra Palace services, but none had arrived at WGC before this first train to these stations after through working was restored had departed.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jan 2019
  10. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    One question I do have about the MML, is for those travelling from Luton and St Albans are trains starting from these stations off peak Monday to Friday more quieter then the Bedford starters or just as busy as the Bedfords bearing in mind they call all stations.

    I used the line recently as was surprised how full declassified 1st was on both Bedfords off peak.
     
  11. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    My experience off peak is the ones starting at St Albans are fairly dead all the way to London. Considering that when i normally use it, it is because of great northern disruptions.

    In terms of passengers per seat the first class area are always busier as people make a beehive for them.

    St Albans - London passengers seem to prefer to wait for one of the many fast services.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jan 2019
  12. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    My experience is the reverse. I find the services coming all stations down from St Albans are generally well loaded. There are a few choke points along the route but they load up pretty well all the way into St Pancras.
     
  13. Aictos

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    To me, it doesn't matter if it's 30 minutes or 45 minutes as long as I get a seat that is all that matters, I just wondered what the loadings were like especially if you compare the Rainhams starters from Luton to London with the Bedfords to London.

    As most people I would have thought would make a bee line for the fast services.
     
  14. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Spent much time on the commute - now off peak and retired. Many people will trade a seat from SAC - especially on a peak semi-fast , though if in dire need you will squeeze onto a fast for a stand. Better chance for some sort of seat as HPDN got missed out on the fast peaks as a result of changes last year - as they basically got the last seats. Their loss , SAC's gain ....I understand their angst - but at least everything is now 8 or 12 with better standing - compared to the hell on earth that was a 4 car 319 !

    Got a Rainham today at 1131 off SAC , decently busy - and I sat in standard ...Monday to Friday off peak the slows load quite well - better on weekends when there is football , cricket etc on - far from empty.

    The issue is the pathetic weekend service of 2 fast Bedfords only (why ..not part of the Sunday restricted working crew arrangements ?) - such that the 1127 last Saturday on the up (fast) was crush loaded from SAC.
     
  15. MML

    MML Member

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    Off peak services along the MML should be aiming for 15 minute interval service across fast (Bedford-Brighton/Gatwick), semi-fast (Luton to Elstree, West Hampstead-Core-Rainham/Orpington) and all stations St Albans-Sutton. Only some of which is achieved today but was provided in the past.
    The Sunday service should where possible replicate the Saturday service.
    The largest deficiency is the lack of overnight services Saturday night into Sunday morning.
    Saturday night revellers and those travelling to Luton Airport for early Sunday morning flights have no service.
    Maintenance work in the core might preclude through services but a half hourly interval services (one all stations and one first stop St Albans) should at least be provided from St Pancras.
     
  16. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Agreed on all counts - the Saturday overnight service is a major cause of anxiety for a number of people. Miss or cancel the last train and you have a very long wait. Loadings are pretty decent.

    Of course , if GTR had to use "upstairs" at STP -- blocking points for the core section - costs would be incurred !
     
  17. Bedpan

    Bedpan Established Member

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    But the last train north is still very late compared with must lines....there isnt much out of Waterloo after midnight for instance. I did though get caught out one Saturday night when I had gone on a day trip to Spain (in the days when you could do a return trip for about £30), got back to Luton Airport at around midnight and then found that the last train south had gone.
     
  18. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Quite shocked to see the PPM figures for Saturday 19th Jan on Great Northern (including TL trains on the ECML).

    GN Inners

    On time: 98.5%
    Late: 0.7%
    Very late or cancelled: 0.7%

    GN Outers

    On time: 94.3%
    Late: 5.7%
    Very late or cancelled: 0%

    Seems to confirm that weekends are now a lot more stable. Sure there are fewer trains, but at least you can trust the timetable and make some plans around it.

    As a whole for GTR it was on time 96.4%, late 2.8% and very late or cancelled 0.8%.
     
  19. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Sadly incorrect. I can only give 1 example.

    http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/G40609/2019/01/19/advanced

    1551 London - Cambridge follow GTRs must skip stops policy.

    This is something that was concerned me for a long while. People say this should be recorded as a cancellation but clearly it wasn’t. GTR are shown an a good light despite a 2 hour gap in service. Luckily for me I took the gamble as it was just showing “delayed at kings cross” and went to Highbury. Again poor information that only the season traveller will know. “Delayed” means don’t expect to run.

    They did actually run all the southbound football extras.

    Figures look good. But don’t include skip stopping as GTR know these are not published. At least it was on time for its return working...... 2 hour gaps in service are ok to make sure that happens.....
     
  20. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I think trains that skip stops are counted as cancellations. That applies for any train company, no?
     
  21. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    That is what I am told. But your figures for yesterday show 0% cancellations. I was trying to get a train that skipped stopped so clearly it wasn’t recorded or your figures would have least had 2%.

    I have often suspected GTR don’t record skip stopping but your figures from yesterday actually prove they don’t record them as cancelled.

    I doubt I tried to get the only service that skipped stops yesterday.
     
  22. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Nothing goes through the core on a Saturday though so let's not get too excited.....

    This is just a reminder of the sort of reliability we used to enjoy pre-May 2018.
     
  23. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    That's rather concerning - it's something I've suspected for a while but it's plainly evident there. Is that the sort of thing that ought to be reported?
     
  24. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    The maths there doesn't add up as I will explain below:

    GN Inners

    On time: 98.5%
    Late: 0.7%
    Very late or cancelled: 0.7%

    0.7 + 0.7 = 1.4

    Then 1.4 + 98.5 = 99.9 so close to 100% but not quite.

    The way I see it and feel free to disagree but I think if it's over a hour late then GTR say it's very late if it's up to a hour late but not quite then it's just late but I await to be corrected....

    However I do agree with you on the skip stopping as the said service arrived 9 late at Cambridge, what GTR should have done is run it fast to Hitchin then as booked okay it probably would have got into Cambridge 15 to 20 late but it would have meant stations north of Hitchin ie Ashwell and Morden, Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton would not have a 2hr gap in service which is crap.

    It could have missed stations south of Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston for the simple fact that there was a another service just 30 minutes or so behind 2C38 or in the case of south of Welwyn Garden City there is a number of stoppers that are available to WGC where onward connections can be made.

    Failing that they could have got 1T48 to pick up 2C38's missed stops from Baldock to Cambridge and terminate 1T48 short at Cambridge if need be but there shouldn't be any need to stop short and have 2C38 skip stop which wouldn't have given the situation of some stations having a 2 hour gap in service.


    As far as I know ANY service which fails to call for whatever reason is counted as a cancellation regardless so if you take 2C38 for example because of the skip stopping it's already failed PPM.

    Now as far as I'm concerned I can understand the need to recover the service but there needs to be a balance in providing a service and gaps of 2hrs plus simply are not acceptable especially if there are no alternatives made available or if they are available but are not used.
     
  25. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    That's just a matter of rounding - there won't be 1000+ services in a day, so that 0.7% figure will be rounded. It'll probably be more like 0.73% 0.73% and 98.54% which add up to 100% but when displayed with one decimal place as they have been there, only add up to 99.9%.
     
  26. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    Yeah I know as that's simple maths that I did recently at college, just the way it was put above it didn't seem to add up that's all.
     
  27. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    Remember the daily PPM figures shown by various website are unofficial, they may not match exactly the official figures released by Network Rail at the end of the period. I suspect the live figures just do a quick comparison of actual v scheduled arrival time without checking any intermediate stops.
     
  28. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Problem is at the weekend GTRs insistence that the must skip stop is it is a long delay.

    Welwyn north and knebworth had a 2 hour gap.

    When the announce a London kings cross - Cambridge is cancelled you don’t have time to get to Finsbury Park for the next Moorgate service. In this case at 1602. So you are on the 1632. Which by the time you get to WGC you haven’t saved much on waiting for next direct train.

    People who say that south of Welwyn have the Moorgates. True but they don’t help if you go north. Sadly I still can’t trust the service enough to get a train to Stevenage and drive. GTR themselves admit weekend travel has collapsed since May. Although Jon posted and improvement the figures were not correct as the didn’t include skip stopping cancelling (which still happens far too often)

    Really can’t wait until may 2019, when we get back what we had previously. Yes we have the Moorgate services. But what use are they when you are stood on the platform at kings cross. A skip stop even then is realistically a 2 hour gap between trains.
     
  29. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    My interpretation of his point is that people should disregard the 2Cxx services and just take the Moorgates, perhaps changing from the Underground at Highbury or Finsbury. Unfortunately this is a sad but realistic verdict on the current state of affairs.

    As far as weekdays go, the 2Cxx services are slow and generally don’t overtake the Moorgates, so really the advice holds true there too - unless one particularly likes using the declassified first of course!

    Looking at the outers, it’s interesting to observe how the KX 365 services fill up quite early at times - indicating people are taking them in preference to a sooner train from St Pancras. I took a 700
    from London Bridge one evening last week just for a bit of variety, and was surprised just how empty the train was heading north onto the GN. Meanwhile Letchworth and Royston have already given their verdict on the new service, with further retrenchment to come in May.

    Is this really travel transformed for good?
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2019
  30. Fred26

    Fred26 Member

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    That's a bit disingenuous. The core-GN services are formed of either 8 or 12 car 700s, and run more frequently than the 365s out of Kings Cross. Being 700s they feel more empty due to the amount of space on board, but even if they are more empty than a 365, that'll be down to the fact that there's more of them. With an increased service of course there'll be less passengers per train. If the 365s ran through the core there would be no difference at all.

    I think eventually, yes, rail travel will be transformed very much for the better. Thameslink opens up London to GN passengers, rather than dumping everyone at Kings Cross with the only alternative being Finsbury Park. Now and in the future, they'll still be able to alight at Finsbury Park, and St Pancras (in lieu of Kings Cross), but also have Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, and London Bridge. Speaking to my booking office colleagues, there are many passengers who are buying tickets to the core, as it's more convenient for them than KGX. Overtime I think most people will prefer a train that runs through due to the improved connections, or simply just taking them walking distance to their destination.
    It would be good if there was interchange with the Central Line between City Thameslink and St Paul's, but once Crossrail opens at Farringdon that will provide the east-west link through the West End and the service will be favoured even more.

    For the record, I was against TL taking over GN routes from when we first heard about it. Part of me still is. It used to be a running joke at work to look at the 'Our Service' page of the intranet - most days GN would be 'green' status and TL would be 'red' status. Now of course GN feels the delays from the TL network and TL feels the delays from the GN. That's why I didn't want to see the two joined, but I think by and large, it will work well... eventually. Control need to learn a plan B and have some ideas beyond cancelling stops before that happens though. (Speaking of which, where did this phrase 'skip-stopping' come from? I've done over a decade on the railway with three different TOCs and never once come across this term internally. In fact, I've only seen it on here...)
     

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