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Trains departing early - How are passengers notified? Are they "cancelled"?

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All Line Rover

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This Saturday morning, a Southern/GTR train from Epsom Downs to London Victoria, after skipping all calls between Sutton and Balham, departed Balham and each subsequent station (such as Clapham Junction) about 5 minutes early.


What caused this unusual behaviour? Is it relatively common on GTR services? Would the train have been advertised as departing early at stations such as Clapham Junction, or would it have been advertised as cancelled? And would the train be considered by Southern/GTR to be "cancelled" from the perspective of a passenger who missed the train due to the early departure and claimed Delay Repay?
 
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Aictos

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Could be the driver misread the diagram or could be the timings were revised and no it's not common least not on the Southern/Thameslink routes I use daily.
 

ag51ruk

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There was a problem at West Croydon that meant the train had to be diverted via Mitcham Junction or be cancelled - once it arrived at Balham it made sense to move it along early to avoid issues with following services. There was another train 8 minutes later than the scheduled time for this one that ran on time so no-one from Balham onwards would have arrived late enough to claim delay repay
 

Surreytraveller

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Up trains leaving Balham and Clapham Junction leave when they're ready rather than wait for time, unless they're the last train. There is a standing instruction for this to occur.
Trains are frequent enough they'll be another one along in a minute. This is to prevent delays to following trains if trains are running out of course.
 

Bletchleyite

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The only time I've ever seen this happen (and very annoying it was, too, as there was no sign it was going to and I could have left the office earlier and caught it) was that there was a points failure at East Croydon, so the Southern WCML service was sent to Clapham Junction about 5 early where it then waited for time, to get it out of the way so Platform 5 could be used for something else. I suspect it'd have been turned at Clapham or Selhurst but the problem occurred too late for that.
 

Gloster

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Up trains leaving Balham and Clapham Junction leave when they're ready rather than wait for time, unless they're the last train. There is a standing instruction for this to occur.
Trains are frequent enough they'll be another one along in a minute. This is to prevent delays to following trains if trains are running out of course.
I think that the same rule applies at Woking to Up trains in the morning peak. Certainly it seems to be so for those that are non-stop to Clapham Junction or Waterloo.
 

ABDeltic

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I think that the same rule applies at Woking to Up trains in the morning peak. Certainly it seems to be so for those that are non-stop to Clapham Junction or Waterloo.
I don't think trains have ever departed early from Woking towards London. They certainly are allowed to leave Clapham Jn towards Waterloo when ready.
 

swt_passenger

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I don't think trains have ever departed early from Woking towards London. They certainly are allowed to leave Clapham Jn towards Waterloo when ready.
I think it extends out further, such as Vauxhall and Wimbledon, but not to Woking as you say. There’s a load of SWR suburban stations where they only display a next train “countdown in minutes” rather than an exact departure time.
 
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Gloster

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I don't think trains have ever departed early from Woking towards London. They certainly are allowed to leave Clapham Jn towards Waterloo when ready.
Although I tended to travel later in the morning, on a number of occasions when I travelled in the peak - admittedly not for four or five years - my train (a Pompey) left several minutes early. This might have only been when there is disruption.
 

All Line Rover

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I get the countdown timer at stations with one up and one down platform, but how does this work at Clapham Junction? It's an awkward station to navigate, so I hope the departure boards don't direct passengers to a platform whose train will depart "in 5 minutes" but suddenly departs early.
 

swt_passenger

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I get the countdown timer at stations with one up and one down platform, but how does this work at Clapham Junction? It's an awkward station to navigate, so I hope the departure boards don't direct passengers to a platform whose train will depart "in 5 minutes" but suddenly departs early.
Only in the up direction - and it only works because each TOC has its own dedicated platforms, and all of SWR’s up trains go to Waterloo.
 

Kite159

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I get the countdown timer at stations with one up and one down platform, but how does this work at Clapham Junction? It's an awkward station to navigate, so I hope the departure boards don't direct passengers to a platform whose train will depart "in 5 minutes" but suddenly departs early.

Majority of passengers will go for P10 or P3/4 for London bound trains, both are frequent enough to effectively be a turn up & go, unlike P7 (mainline) which can be infrequent with trains not-stopping.

It wasn't that long ago that nothing was advertised for those P7 services (the PIS would simply say "Welcome to Clapham Junction"), the only mention being on the "London departures" screens.
 

gallafent

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I missed the northbound Lowlander at Watford Junction many years ago because it had been “retimed to depart earlier”. Apparently I was supposed to have divined this for myself — despite having a berth booked I had not been contacted beforehand. I took the train back to LB, booked a seat on an EasyJet from Luton to Glasgow (which was substantially cheaper, even booked the night before), took a few hours sleep in my own bed, and got to the meeting I had to make at about the same time as I would have done by taking the sleeper. That was quite an instructive experience.
 

Deepgreen

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Up trains leaving Balham and Clapham Junction leave when they're ready rather than wait for time, unless they're the last train. There is a standing instruction for this to occur.
Trains are frequent enough they'll be another one along in a minute. This is to prevent delays to following trains if trains are running out of course.
Or, in this case, in eight minutes.

I think that the same rule applies at Woking to Up trains in the morning peak. Certainly it seems to be so for those that are non-stop to Clapham Junction or Waterloo.
Never heard of that - they are far less frequent than from CJ.

Wasn't everything on P7 meant to be set-down only? They didn't mind if you worked it out and boarded one, though.
No, but so few would venture there that it made no difference.
 

Wilts Wanderer

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In the morning peak there used to be a policy at Reading that if trains were out of course, they could swap paths; in particular the 0555 Plymouth-Padd could depart early if the Oxford-Padd train it was booked to follow was running a bit late, in order to protect the pre-0900 arrival into London which was business-critical for stakeholders. Presumably on the platform passengers were just told ‘there’s another one in 4 minutes.’
 
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