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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 3141, 16 Apr 2018.
I wouldn't. It's exactly what I'd expect from the BBC.
My experience (particular SWR routes) is that it depends on the route, station, service and time of day. Sadly my commutes have involved, and does involve, journeys where skipping stations is popular. If you get off a service at a station where you are usually one of a single figures number of passengers you can expect your journey home to be sacrificed for the 'Greater Good' on a regular basis, especially if the train is travelling to a major terminus and doubly so if it is the last journey of the day for that set so getting it in the right place for the morning is an extra priority.
It's all highly logical but does bugger all for the passenger stood on a platform miles from home with little idea how and when they will reach there.
This is the typical reaction from many associated with the rail industry, as a job or an enthusiasm, to criticism. Passengers are a problem and how dare they expect to get home? Don't they know we have a railway to run?
Some passengers are dumb and/or unreasonable. But after 20 years of commuting you get to know why things happen. The problem is that understanding why you are stuck miles from home does nothing to get you there. In the final analysis the reason you have been dumped out or ended up 20 miles beyond your destination is of academic interest only - as a passenger you want to get to your destination without unreasonable delay and discomfort.
I think it depends on where one lives. For example on South Western Railway it's possible for some Portsmouth Harbour bound services to divert via Eastleigh but only if the driver and guard know the route.
Whilst trains can divert via Virgina Water, I doubt they would do that much during the week as the line is busy enough. Again via Cobham is possible but it has stoppoing services.
I've seen Cobham trains go back Woking. They usually run non stop to Surbtion if they do.
Today the 8.07 Guilldford to Waterloo stopped at Wimbeldon, due to other cancellations but that is rare.
I usually find uf stopping services via Surbtion need to run faster they will cancel Wimbledon, Earlsfield, Clapham Junction and Vauxhall. If it's a service that also stops at Berrylands then they might also stop there, New Malden and Raynes Park, before running fast and skipping the other mentioned above.
Saying this I was once on the 8.02 Woking to Waterloo stopped. It was running 4 minutes late by the time it reached West Byfleet so they cancelled every stop from Wetbridge onwards. This train is regularly late into Surbtion with no stops cancelled ut that day it was either in time or early. I'm sure they had their reasons for doing it but it did seem odd on the face of it.
One evening recently there was a 20 minute gap at Earlsfield towards Waterloo due to trains running fast. That's a long gap by Earsfeilds standards.
I take your point. Personally if I'm going to be delayed I want it to be an interesting experience. So maybe arriving on a platform the train rarely uses or maybe boarding a train that doesn't usually call at the station I'm going from.
Obviously I don't want it to be due to people ill or worse.
Because FTCs by themselves are meaningless. This is bordering on one of the most technically inept and pointless articles ever produced by the BBC.
It in no way represents customer journey experience, which is more suitably measured by overall cancellation, by levels of crowding, by punctuality, by a range of other qualitative criteria, or a combination of those. FTCs by themselves measure nothing meaningful.
That is correct. Stations missed on cancelled parts of a journey do not count as FTCs, although obviously also not served.
All services with FTCs are classed as part cancellations, regardless of the number of stops missed. You can also have trains which are part cancelled distance-wise and with FTCs.
FTCs for the purpose of returning services to normal running are much more common on high frequency and more congested routes. They are for obvious reasons much rarer with TOCs such as Virgin West Coast or Transpennine Express unless diverted and unable to serve the station physically.
I don't see any problem in the BBC reporting this, yes we all know why it's done but the average passenger might not and they are likely to be slightly miffed at being told that the train will now not be calling at their station and they need to get off and wait for another one, it's ok if there is another train just behind but not if there is going to be a lengthy wait. Likewise waiting passengers aren't going to be impressed at seeing their 'cancelled' train hurtling through non stop. I realise of course that there is no other way of getting a late running train back on time, I don't think longer turnaround times are possible at many termini where capacity is limited.
I can understand the frustration of trains changing destination at Earls Court but I don't think skipping stations is going to help, aside from the inevitable confusion surely the train would just catch up with the one in front and be down to a crawl?
I saw this report on the news on TV yesterday. They were interviewing customers who werr affected.
One said he ended up in Eastbourne as it skipped his stop. Apparently it took an hour and a half to get back. At first I thought it must have been non stop from a fair distance, but turns out he took a taxi back. Not sure why he didn't just get a train back.
Apparently skipping stops cost customers money..how? I would have thought you can double back without buying an extra ticket if your train didn't stop as booked?
I think sometimes certain train operators do just abandon their passengers without a thought or care. Arrived at Penzance on Easter Monday, the 09:35 XC service was a last minute cancellation, as driver could not get power. Fair enough, there is a 10:00 GWR service, except that didn't call at Hayle, it occurred to neither XC nor GWR to stop the 10:00 at Hayle (both blamed the other) it is the poor passenger who is stranded. By all means miss out stops (I appreciate the above example is slightly different) but do make alternative arrangements for passengers.
EMT are awful at this too. Derby-Crewe runs short to Stoke and turns round, no provision made for Longport passengers at all, why don't TOC's think of passengers when making these decisions? Everything is done for their benefit, rather than trying to help their fare-paying passengers out
Other than the fact that skip stopping results in large fines for the TOC. They don't just do it for their benefit, they also do it for the benefit of passengers on later workings whose train will now be on time.
Maybe there wasn't another train back the other direction for a while? Or maybe they had somewhere they needed to be and couldn't wait? Or maybe they missed an onward connection / event because of being late to their destination station?
Just because the BBC "investigated" something doesn't mean it's worthy of front page news.
@bb21 has outlined why this is such a poor and one dimensional piece of journalism more succinctly than I could have.
PS: you are affected, quite significantly, by foreign policy decisions made by our Government.
PPS: I do not want to engage in further meta-discussion with a resident contrarian.
Yep, something else not reported properly by the BBC.
The headline could be "Train companies aim to recover train services for the benefit of the largest proportion of people". Footnote "Let's hear from the minority who get shafted".
Surely you mean: "why don't TOC's think of all passengers when making these decisions?" There will inevitably be trade offs between the needs of the few versus the needs of the many, especially with high density routes such as those in the BBC report that the OP referred to. The problem with this thread is that it has prompted several anecdotal posts that only mention the few, but in the broadcast item, there were a couple of passengers who stated that the railway did the right thing yet they had sympathy for those waiting at lesser stations.
But the solution is so simple. It’s just the railway never considers an option from a passenger perspective.
If the fines are so great for skip-stopping they wouldn’t do it. What you mean is, the fines are less than running a late train all day!
I get why it’s done, but more consideration could be made
What is this 'simple solution' ?
What to you propose as a 'consideration' ? Someone has to suffer. The choice is the majority or the minority. The consideration is towards the majority.
But if the railway didn’t; there’d be cries of why are all the trains running late?
When I, with my colleagues, make the call to run a train fast; we consider the following:
1) What are we trying to achieve? Are we looking to make train Y a R/T start from Z? Or are we going to adversely delay train W behind us if we continue to run late? Is the train severely short-formed/severely overcrowded; and thus calling at A, B, C causes more issues than running non-stop. Is there some kind of emergency on board and the train needs to get to Z as quickly as possible for Ambulance/Police attention. Is there some kind of operational restriction that prevents train X calling at A, B, C - platforms on a closed line, not fitted with local door controls at short platforms etc.
2) Does the plan achieve what we want it to? Is running the train fast to Z actually going to make any difference?
3) Is there an alternative for passengers? Running last trains fast is an absolute no-no on my watch; other times I’ll try and endeavour to either have another train within 30-60 minutes or stop something additionally to meet that timeframe.
If we can tick those boxes adequately then not to call orders are issued at the next staffed station the train calls at. Occasionally we have to verbally inform the crew as the alterations take effect before the next staffed station; but that’s rare - and usually reserved for situations where we’re physically unable to call or there is a medical emergency on the train.
The point the article misses somewhat is that the TOC often doesn’t have a choice. If the NR train running controller wants the train to run fast due to its delay impact on services around it then it runs fast; and TOC control have to pick up the pieces afterward. There’s also times where running fast between A and B is part of a set train plan due to reduced infrastructure availability (unplanned 2 track railway between Paddington and Airport Jn for example) - again in those situations that is the contingency plan we signed up to and compiled with NR and HEX however many years ago; and review regularly. We then have to go with it (broadly) if that’s the scenario we find ourselves in.
It makes no sense to have a train running late all day when there is an operational remedy available to get it back on time, regardless of any fines. Sure it's inconvenient for the passengers on that train who may need the stop being skipped, but if that train runs late all day then many many more people are going to be inconvenienced by being late at their destination &/or missing tight connections en route.
So if 10 people are going to be inconvenienced or 200 who do you give more consideration to?
I wouldn't be all that surprised if removal of Guards on Southern has had a negative impact on GTR's skipped stops count. If there was a problem with DOO cameras, you had a guard. Now, you've got no member of staff to permit degraded working on a train and/or station with defective cameras. The only option is to skip stops until you get to a station with platform dispatchers.
We have this problem with Thameslink on the Sevenoaks line. If a 700 suffers a fault with the cameras (it does happen), they have to run fast from Sevenoaks, and can only call at Bromley South and Blackfriars, as those are the only stops with platform dispatchers.
+ St Mary Cray
This happened last night.
To go back to my original examples. Why was no arrangement made to stop the 10:00 at Hayle, or arrange a taxi onwards from St Erth? The only answer is, no one thought to!
When EMT don't call at Longport, why do they not get LNWR to call instead, the Up service sits at Stoke for for 5 mins, so is not delayed. The down is virtually at the end of its journey so isn't an issue either. Again, it is lack of thought or effort at all. I understand not every case can be solved easily, bu there really is a "Can't do" attitude to every problem, rather than trying to find a solution.
But that is my point! All of them!! I understand at some times you can't please everyone but lots of times everyone can be, but the railways always see it as "either or" never, we could do this and please everyone! Of course you can't everytime, but the attitude is always you can't everytime!
That isn't the attitude, no. Whichever decision a Control takes will mean that one group (almost always, by volume, the larger group) of passengers affected will be dealt with first.
It is basically impossible to avoid "collateral" during disruption. That isn't to say there aren't occasions where some passengers have been "forgotten about", but even where they have, it's usually because resources are concentrated somewhere else.
Were GWR Control even aware the XC didn’t stop? They usually call us up directly and say “we’re not stopping 1Swhatever at Hayle, do you mind awfully stopping your 2Pwhatever instead” - and the answer to that question is almost exclusively “not at all”.
For it to have broken down so completely as you suggest in your post suggests that XC and GW weren’t talking to each other - which while I accept must’ve happened is very uncharacteristic of my experience of working in GW control. If for whatever reason a stop on the GW service was declined (although I don’t know why it would be) it would then be up to Cross Country to arrange road transport or other alternatives themselves.
Basically we were all on the train, and it would not start at Penzance. We were told to all get on the 10:00. As it was a Bank Holiday Monday morning, there were only 12 people on board-of whom 10 wanted Hayle! We asked the XC staff, they said "It is down to GWR" we asked GWR staff they said "It is down to XC" not helpful at all for passengers.
In the end, we called the taxi firm waiting at Hayle for us, they came to St Erth and didn't charge us the extra, and they went to Hayle and taxied everyone waiting there to Cambourne-but did charge them Bank Holiday rate!
Thus proving it was quick and easy to arrange in one phone call. One call the railway were unable (or unwilling) to make, because it is simply easier to miss the stop out, and pay out delay repay
I still believe that much is caused by over-ambitious diagrams for stock and crew, leading to desperation to catch up. For example, the lengthy and complex GWR service from Brighton etc to Worcester was extended to Great Malvern, principally as an Orcats Raid on the Worcester-Malvern flow. So the 0859 from Brighton winds through innumerable junctions and delay points to get to Malvern at 1430, 5.5 hours later, and is just given a 20-minute turnround before departing back at 1450 for Weymouth, arriving there 1912. Here the normal recovery mode for the outward service being late by more than a few minutes is not to skip stops, but to turn short at Worcester. Now there are all the excuses about "service agreed with the DfT" etc, but nobody told GWR to do a 20 minute turnround at the end of a 5.5 hour journey.
In the 1970s days of the Push-Pull Glasgow-Edinburgh service, every half hour, 45 minute journey time, 4 sets in circuit, there was a full 5th set stood standby all day in Glasgow able to plug in if required. Wasn't always needed, but sometimes it was. That sort of approach just isn't there now.
This is a railway operating person's perspective. Railway accounts staff know full well that only about 10% of what is eligible for delay repay is ever actually paid.
Unfortunately some group of passengers are going to be inconvenienced if no remedial action is taken. Skipping stops, totally cancelling the train or turning it around short of its intended destination are the ways of getting the rolling stock and crew back onto the timetable plan.
Happens to me a couple of times a month on the West Anglia stoppers between Broxbourne Jcn and Tottenham Hale (stops at Cheshunt / Waltham X etc. etc. dropped) to minimise the effect on the section as it's so busy I guess. There's also the extra hassle of the many level crossings down that way too.
I don't expect 100% of trains to run, I don't expect 100% of trains that do run to be on time throughout their journey, I appreciate that things will go wrong from time to time.
Maybe, in the context of the total number of station stops in an average day (hundreds of thousands?), a hundred and sixty isn't a huge number. As has been pointed out, there are some additional stops made at short notice too.
However these things need to be measured - I've no problem with the BBC reporting it - a lot of the comments on this thread are attacking the BBC for daring to raise this story rather than explaining why a hundred and sixty isn't an unreasonable amount.
And maybe it isn't an unreasonable amount. If these are generally stops on services with "metro" frequencies then that's maybe less significant than @Deafdoggie 's example of a Cornish station that doesn't get as frequent a service (so will be a bigger impact upon potential passengers than an urban route where there's "only" ten minutes to wait for the next service).
But I think it's an interesting thing to discuss - we have threads about much more insignificant things. Like regulation to accommodate late trains, ensuring that connections are met at junctions by delaying services to meet a late running trains, there are discussions to have about whether it's better to significantly inconvenience a small number of people for the sake of improving things for a much larger number of people.
There are other options for dealing with delays - some of which are less easy to do nowadays than in the Good Old Days (e.g. maybe thirty years ago you could terminate a service part way along a route and reverse, but with "rationalised" track layouts and busier lines it's maybe harder to arrange that).
There are trade-offs re tight turnarounds at termini (to provide a better frequency), chopping services into much shorter routes (which inconveniences a small number of long distance passengers to provide a more robust service for a bigger number of short distance passengers), Guards (using @Alteran Ancient 's example of their removal meaning unstaffed stations being skipped)... I think it's a worthwhile discussion to have. Maybe, in having it, "non enthusiasts" will understand the railway better and appreciate that most skipped stops are skipped for the Greater Good. But burying heads in sand and blaming the messenger for daring to bring up bad news seems quite a 1980s approach.
It’s not just about how many people are inconvenienced. The extent of the inconvenience needs to be taken into account. Those 10 people might be inconvenienced by having to wait an hour for their next service, whereas the 200 might be only subject to a minor delay of perhaps 10 minutes.