Timetabling and regulation policy of EMR and Thameslink services in the current timetable

Status
Not open for further replies.

Senex

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2014
Messages
2,403
Location
York
Moderator note: split from https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/mml-electrification.110445/

Oh dear! Will keeping West Hampstead mean that long-distance services continue routinely to shudder to a stand to let Thameslink units make a fast/slow crossing, or spend miles at a reduced speed for the commuter trains? (Too many memories of the time when the Master Cutler and one other service were just about the only trains running non-stop between London and Leicester. In the up direction I often used an up service that reguarly had a fast and clear run from Leicester to Watling Street, where it was stopped for a Thameslink unit and ended up a couple of minutes late into St Pancras.)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

cogload

Member
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
104
Oh dear! Will keeping West Hampstead mean that long-distance services continue routinely to shudder to a stand to let Thameslink units make a fast/slow crossing, or spend miles at a reduced speed for the commuter trains? (Too many memories of the time when the Master Cutler and one other service were just about the only trains running non-stop between London and Leicester. In the up direction I often used an up service that reguarly had a fast and clear run from Leicester to Watling Street, where it was stopped for a Thameslink unit and ended up a couple of minutes late into St Pancras.)

That is the agreed regulation policy between TOCS/NR; nothing to do with how the box regulates.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
16,115
It also regularly happens the other way - my morning TL train is frequently delayed because it has been regulated for an up EMR that was late. A late TL train will cause far more reactionary delay than a late EMR, and have far more passenger on board, who have collectively paid far more in fares. So, really, on time TL trains should be given precedence over late EMR services.

Finally, EMR services running slowly etc is often how the timetable is designed to fit them all in.
 

Senex

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2014
Messages
2,403
Location
York
Finally, EMR services running slowly etc is often how the timetable is designed to fit them all in.
So why was so much money spent only a few years ago on raising speeds? Surely money wasted if the ability to run faster is not fully exploited for the benefit of East Midlands and Sheffield passengers?
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
16,115
So why was so much money spent only a few years ago on raising speeds? Surely money wasted if the ability to run faster is not fully exploited for the benefit of East Midlands and Sheffield passengers?

Well, they’d be even slower now if that money hasn’t been spent.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
20,278
Location
Nottingham
If I recall, the current EMR timetable was cobbled together when it became obvious that the electrics weren't going to be ready in time, and if they had been some longer-distance journeys wouldn't have been decelerated and we'd still have trains calling at both Bedford and Wellingborough in the peaks. The recast in December 2020 will address the second of those things, and hopefully the first as well.
 

Kneedown

Established Member
Joined
29 Dec 2007
Messages
1,625
Location
Nottinghamshire
A late TL train will cause far more reactionary delay than a late EMR, and have far more passenger on board, who have collectively paid far more in fares.

Off topic re electrification I know, but outside peak times, pretty much all of the TL's I pass daily seem to be transporting a lot of fresh air around with only a few people on board.
 

Spartacus

Established Member
Joined
25 Aug 2009
Messages
1,798
Off topic re electrification I know, but outside peak times, pretty much all of the TL's I pass daily seem to be transporting a lot of fresh air around with only a few people on board.

Doesn't surprise me, that was the general consensus of what would happen according to the users I know, as well as the professionals. But that's the frequency that was specified, so.... :rolleyes: Doesn't matter to those who specified it that running lots of unnecessary trains just causes a lot of delays, and doesn't move any more people anywhere when the service was frequent enough to begin with.
 

InTheEastMids

Member
Joined
31 Jan 2016
Messages
469
If I recall, the current EMR timetable was cobbled together when it became obvious that the electrics weren't going to be ready in time, and if they had been some longer-distance journeys wouldn't have been decelerated and we'd still have trains calling at both Bedford and Wellingborough in the peaks. The recast in December 2020 will address the second of those things, and hopefully the first as well.

I think the main change is that the fast Bedford commuter trains will basically move from being TL to EMR electric services originating at Corby. I don't think these will call at St Albans and obviously won't be crossing to the slow lines around West Hampstead. My experience of EMR inter city services in peak is that these are significant causes of slow running.

Withdrawal of the HSTs helps too as they have the slowest acceleration of anything passenger on the southern MML.
 
Joined
6 Nov 2017
Messages
862
Doesn't surprise me, that was the general consensus of what would happen according to the users I know, as well as the professionals. But that's the frequency that was specified, so.... :rolleyes: Doesn't matter to those who specified it that running lots of unnecessary trains just causes a lot of delays, and doesn't move any more people anywhere when the service was frequent enough to begin with.
The service was not frequent enough during the peak periods. Thameslink is now an extreme example of a service with a capacity shortage during the rush hour and a huge surplus of capacity at other times. It's not unique in that respect except in the intensity.
 

Mikey C

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2013
Messages
3,923
The service was not frequent enough during the peak periods. Thameslink is now an extreme example of a service with a capacity shortage during the rush hour and a huge surplus of capacity at other times. It's not unique in that respect except in the intensity.

I imagine the fixed length trains rather highlight the excessive capacity at off peak times!
 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
7,946
I imagine the fixed length trains rather highlight the excessive capacity at off peak times!

I thought that it had been accepted that this would be the case with fixed formations.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
16,115
Off topic re electrification I know, but outside peak times, pretty much all of the TL's I pass daily seem to be transporting a lot of fresh air around with only a few people on board.

Doesn't surprise me, that was the general consensus of what would happen according to the users I know, as well as the professionals.

How very interesting. If you are passing Thameslink trains, you will be on the fast lines, which means you’ll be passing the slow trains, which are usually less busy off peak. If you saw a fast lin TL service in the off peak, you wouldn’t say they were transporting fresh air. It is not unusual to be standing on an off peak TL service on the MML, indeed I did so myself a few hours ago.

Secondly, every morning I stand on St Albans platform 3, with around 400 other people, waiting for a Thameslink train to arrive knowing that it will already have around 400 people standing on it, and see an EMR go through with plenty of seats spare.

Just a different perspective.
 

Spartacus

Established Member
Joined
25 Aug 2009
Messages
1,798
The service was not frequent enough during the peak periods. Thameslink is now an extreme example of a service with a capacity shortage during the rush hour and a huge surplus of capacity at other times. It's not unique in that respect except in the intensity.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I've no issue with it during the peaks, but it's simply a waste continuing that same sort of provision off peak.
 

klass43

Member
Joined
20 Feb 2020
Messages
24
Location
UK
Off topic re electrification I know, but outside peak times, pretty much all of the TL's I pass daily seem to be transporting a lot of fresh air around with only a few people on board.

Not in my experience. They're not packed but loaded enough. The 700s have loading indicators on board, so you can tell which parts of the train are busy or not busy.
 

43074

Established Member
Joined
10 Oct 2012
Messages
1,729
If I recall, the current EMR timetable was cobbled together when it became obvious that the electrics weren't going to be ready in time, and if they had been some longer-distance journeys wouldn't have been decelerated and we'd still have trains calling at both Bedford and Wellingborough in the peaks. The recast in December 2020 will address the second of those things, and hopefully the first as well.

I get the impression it will address the second of those things but not the first, especially with TL's additional calls at Leagrave and Harpenden in the peaks in current "Thameslink Express" services. The acceleration comes from not stopping until Kettering/Leicester.
 

CdBrux

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2014
Messages
579
Location
Munich
Secondly, every morning I stand on St Albans platform 3, with around 400 other people, waiting for a Thameslink train to arrive knowing that it will already have around 400 people standing on it, and see an EMR go through with plenty of seats spare.

Will the new timetable with electrics introduction and a faster (EMR) service from Bedford to St P help shift some people to the emptier trains or not?
 
Joined
6 Nov 2017
Messages
862
. . . If you saw a fast lin TL service in the off peak, you wouldn’t say they were transporting fresh air. It is not unusual to be standing on an off peak TL service on the MML, indeed I did so myself a few hours ago.
I'm a bit surprised to hear that. I'm often at St. Pancras Low Level at midday or early to mid-afternoon. The trains running non-stop to St. Albans and thence to Bedford are fairly well loaded but I've never seen people standing. Most TL trains heading south from St. Pancras are very lightly loaded off peak, except some going to Gatwick or Brighton.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
16,115
I'm a bit surprised to hear that. I'm often at St. Pancras Low Level at midday or early to mid-afternoon. The trains running non-stop to St. Albans and thence to Bedford are fairly well loaded but I've never seen people standing. Most TL trains heading south from St. Pancras are very lightly loaded off peak, except some going to Gatwick or Brighton.

I was on one again today, at lunchtime, certainly half the seats taken. Not the definition of lightly loaded.
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Herts
Where was the train going? Probably not Sutton, Rainham or Sevenoaks.

St Pancras going southbound is not the place to observe the off peak loadings on Thameslink - there is generally a good input from Farringdon etc.

My observations are that off peak loadings are well up - not just on Saturdays - where you really do need 12 car sets , and some trains are almost up to M-F peak shoulder (if not high peak loadings) , but equally on Sundays. Interestingly -(well I think so) , the slow services appear to do a lot more intermediate traffic on weekends - not just the bread and butter flows to and from London , - but short hops right across the board to St Albans - to West Hampstead (heading for the JLE and the Westfield shopping ) and so on.

Not having 4 car 319's around in the "old" days outside the peak , really does seem to have made a difference. The new links to Rainham (MF) - being semi-fast north of the Thames make a good alternative to the fast trains , and people seem to have cottoned on to that.
 

Mikey C

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2013
Messages
3,923
St Pancras going southbound is not the place to observe the off peak loadings on Thameslink - there is generally a good input from Farringdon etc.

My observations are that off peak loadings are well up - not just on Saturdays - where you really do need 12 car sets , and some trains are almost up to M-F peak shoulder (if not high peak loadings) , but equally on Sundays. Interestingly -(well I think so) , the slow services appear to do a lot more intermediate traffic on weekends - not just the bread and butter flows to and from London , - but short hops right across the board to St Albans - to West Hampstead (heading for the JLE and the Westfield shopping ) and so on.

Not having 4 car 319's around in the "old" days outside the peak , really does seem to have made a difference. The new links to Rainham (MF) - being semi-fast north of the Thames make a good alternative to the fast trains , and people seem to have cottoned on to that.

And of course once at London Bridge, all the Rainham services are doing is effectively replacing existing SE services, so are as busy (or not) as those services would be
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Herts
And of course once at London Bridge, all the Rainham services are doing is effectively replacing existing SE services, so are as busy (or not) as those services would be

You can now get to Greenwich on a one seat journey in an hour ....this needs to be marketed ! , odd that some parts of "Kent Metro" are now coupled together , something that was always resisted in the development days of "Thameslink 2000" , I appreciate fully the slow journey beyond there towards the Medway.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
16,115
Where was the train going? Probably not Sutton, Rainham or Sevenoaks.

Bedford.

The stoppers on the MML to Sutton etc have never been busy off peak. But they have the same frequency as they have had for the last 20 years plus.
 

cactustwirly

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
6,122
Location
UK
It also regularly happens the other way - my morning TL train is frequently delayed because it has been regulated for an up EMR that was late. A late TL train will cause far more reactionary delay than a late EMR, and have far more passenger on board, who have collectively paid far more in fares. So, really, on time TL trains should be given precedence over late EMR services.

Finally, EMR services running slowly etc is often how the timetable is designed to fit them all in.

I don't see how you come to that conclusion, a 1 minute delay to a TL service to let a much faster EMR service pass is negligible, however if the TL was let out in front of the EMR, then that would cost that service at least 5 minutes of delay.

I would have thought TL passengers would be paying less, as they are making significantly shorter journeys than those on EMR.
 

hwl

Established Member
Joined
5 Feb 2012
Messages
6,273
I don't see how you come to that conclusion, a 1 minute delay to a TL service to let a much faster EMR service pass is negligible, however if the TL was let out in front of the EMR, then that would cost that service at least 5 minutes of delay.

I would have thought TL passengers would be paying less, as they are making significantly shorter journeys than those on EMR.
THe reactionary delay from Thameslink will be huge - it isn't just that train but lots of others too, not the same issue for EMR services
 

Triumph

Member
Joined
5 Dec 2011
Messages
399
How very interesting. If you are passing Thameslink trains, you will be on the fast lines, which means you’ll be passing the slow trains, which are usually less busy off peak. If you saw a fast lin TL service in the off peak, you wouldn’t say they were transporting fresh air. It is not unusual to be standing on an off peak TL service on the MML, indeed I did so myself a few hours ago.

Secondly, every morning I stand on St Albans platform 3, with around 400 other people, waiting for a Thameslink train to arrive knowing that it will already have around 400 people standing on it, and see an EMR go through with plenty of seats spare.

Just a different perspective.
When the MML was loco-hauled they always stopped at St Albans!
Maybe everything should stop there again. That would help move all the excess of passengers to & from SAC.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
16,115
I don't see how you come to that conclusion, a 1 minute delay to a TL service to let a much faster EMR service pass is negligible, however if the TL was let out in front of the EMR, then that would cost that service at least 5 minutes of delay.

I would have thought TL passengers would be paying less, as they are making significantly shorter journeys than those on EMR.

But it isn’t a 1 minute delay to a TL service. It’s 5+. There are plenty of examples of a 5+ minute late service through the core causing well over 500 minutes of delay across the whole of the network by the time it’s resolved, having delayed upwards of 100,000 people.

Meanwhile a 5 minute delay to an EMR service into St P is usually the end of it.

Clearly TL passengers are paying less for their journey, as they are not travelling as far. But not on a per mile basis - The cheapest St Albans to central London season ticket is £3712, for less than 20 miles.

There’s also a lot more people of board the TL trains. In normal circumstances, on average more people board each ‘fast’ service just at St Albans than are on each EMR service arriving into St P. Typically the fast TL services arrive at St P with 1500+ people on board, and are carrying much more revenue. And there’s twice as many of the trains.



When the MML was loco-hauled they always stopped at St Albans!
Maybe everything should stop there again. That would help move all the excess of passengers to & from SAC.

They didn’t always stop at St Albans. It was one every other hour IIRC, @ChiefPlanner will confirm. It would be not a good idea to stop peak services at St Albans... dwell times would be enormous, pm services would fill up with St Albans passengers taking seats of those travelling long distance, journey times would go up, and finally I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be timetabled. Other than that...
 

ChiefPlanner

Established Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Herts
When the MML was loco-hauled they always stopped at St Albans!
Maybe everything should stop there again. That would help move all the excess of passengers to & from SAC.

As Baldrick said - the number of "main line" calls at SAC by longer distance trains was at a time when the overall service pattern was very much lower - especially in DMU days ,an "offer" which became less important once the Bedpan electrification came in with a pretty standard min frequency of shiny new class 317's at least as 30 mins ex Bedford service interval for much of the day - (with the treat of a trolley service in those days). Remember for much of the day up to 1977 or so , you had a semi-fast Bedford DMU - fast to Elstree and an all stations to Luton. (with obvious peak enhancements) , - sectorisation had not then got a grip on developing the I/C services but the MML was always a poor relation , but the transfer of 125 sets from "underperforming" (maybe overspecified GW route services), really helped out in terms of spreading the greatest good to the greater population (Jeremy Bentham misquoted no doubt). No doubt someone will now rush off and disprove my "generalist" comments , but services were very sparse compared to today. 2 hourly sounds right on the diesel LHCS sets , I doubt if 125's ever graced these workings. Not even in snow and disruption.

So a feature of the past , welcome as it was then , would not be a great idea now IMHO. Though - the Bedford Rail User group have suggested the new Corby electrics could maybe call at SAC. They have done a commendably well researched piece of work on service options on it , but I have very mixed feelings on that. If any service group though , north of Bedford - might have some empty seats on it it would probably be a Corby outside peak hours.

In happier , recent times , the sight of 700 storming out of SAC , back end doing close on 75 mph on the down fast , is impressive.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top