Turn around times

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HST Power

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A few weeks ago, I took an East Coast service from London Kings Cross to Stevenage. The train was going up to Newark.

Whilst seated in First Class, I noticed that they could have done a slightly better job of cleaning it up. There were still a whole load of wrappers and bits spilt on the floor from the previous journey. It wasn't anything to make a fuss over, but I'd be curious to know how long a company like East Coast would give to get a train turned around having arrived at London and back onto the next working.

I know that long-haul aircraft get about an hour, but what about for long distance trains?
 
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yorkie

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It's defined in the Rules of the Plan.

For King's Cross it's around 40-50 minutes for long distance trains (depending on the origin), with extra time allowed on Sundays.

You can work out what the actual turnaround times are using http://www.opentraintimes.com/ and diagrams (EC HST diagrams here).

(BTW, Newark is technically in the Down direction from King's Cross ;))
 

ainsworth74

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Whilst that might be their target for a turnaround they can do them a hell of a lot faster than that during disruption. I've seen HSTs (and 225s) arrive and be turned around with boarding starting about ten minutes after arrival with the correct reservations displayed, a clean (I hesitate to say tanked as well but I think they might have been) and with catering loaded.
 

CosherB

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Virgin have this off to a fine art with their VHF Pendolino service. they have on-board cleaners and I've seen a Pendo arrive at Man Picc and within five minutes leave again, on time, for Euston.

Long range aircraft take a minimum of about 2 hours as they have to have the baggage taken off, pax off, cabin, galleys, and loos cleaned and refurbished, safety equipment checked, meals and booze replenished for economy, business, and first, baggage loaded pax loaded, refuelled, engines and airframe checked and minor faults reported from the previous flight fixed.

If you could take your A380 down to the local filling station and stick the hose in, it would take 6 DAYS to fill the tanks. So you can see the sort of high pressure fuelling rates needed to do it in a 2 hour turn around!
 

Zoe

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Whilst that might be their target for a turnaround they can do them a hell of a lot faster than that during disruption. I've seen HSTs (and 225s) arrive and be turned around with boarding starting about ten minutes after arrival with the correct reservations displayed, a clean (I hesitate to say tanked as well but I think they might have been) and with catering loaded.
I was on a train that was 45 minutes late into Paddington and as I had a few heavy bags I was last off coach A. By the time I had walked to the barriers (I couldn't walk that fast due to the heavy bags) people were already starting to board.
 

laird

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It very much depends, Virgin used to issue cards at Euston detailing the tasks to be performed on a turnaround. Each card had a different amount of time stated on it.

The longer the time allowed the more activities that would be performed to turn the train around. I haven't seen any examples of the cards since the Pendolino/Voyager take over.

Perhaps they are not needed now as the reservations are now electronic, light cleaning is done on the move and so a turnaround for the modern units at a terminus is little more than a crew change and an update of route and reservations information.

Turning around an aircraft is little different, if its a quick turnaround the doors open passengers off, new load sheet on and off you can theoretically go. From wheels stopped to push back famously was targeted for 25 minutes by one low cost operator. That was all luggage exchanged, cabin emptied, refilled and a light cleaning included. Every task has a maintenance task analysis performed so the airline and maintenance staff know how long it will take to do each job and a minimum equipment list lets the crew know if it allowable to fly having not got everything repaired. I wonder if similar activities were performed for the rail operators?
 

D1009

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Turning around an aircraft is little different, if its a quick turnaround the doors open passengers off, new load sheet on and off you can theoretically go. From wheels stopped to push back famously was targeted for 25 minutes by one low cost operator. That was all luggage exchanged, cabin emptied, refilled and a light cleaning included. Every task has a maintenance task analysis performed so the airline and maintenance staff know how long it will take to do each job and a minimum equipment list lets the crew know if it allowable to fly having not got everything repaired. I wonder if similar activities were performed for the rail operators?

Public expectations of airline punctuality, particularly the low cost operators, are nothing like expectations of railway punctuality.
 

Rich McLean

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I think during times during major disruption, a turn around often is cut very short in order to get the next service running and giving it a chance to get on schedule. Sometimes there is little time to clean the trains, so that is probably what you experienced
 

MCR247

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EMT HSTs have 30ish minutes at Nottingham and an hour in St Pancras :)
 

CosherB

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Public expectations of airline punctuality, particularly the low cost operators, are nothing like expectations of railway punctuality.

Which is reasonable enough when you consider how complex an aircraft is compared to a train (so much more likely to suffer technical failures especially as components have to be as lightweight as possible), and how bad weather (particularly fog) will affect airline ops far more than it will affect the rail system.
 

bkhtele

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I remember in Glasgow they use to turn the HST around in minutes to keep them to time. I wsh they did that in Dublin on the Enterprise to Belfast. Last time I was delayed for 1 hr, even though the train arrived in before the departure time. Guess it was something to do with staff breaks or the easy pace of life in Ireland
 

D1009

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Which is reasonable enough when you consider how complex an aircraft is compared to a train (so much more likely to suffer technical failures especially as components have to be as lightweight as possible), and how bad weather (particularly fog) will affect airline ops far more than it will affect the rail system.

It was Laird's phrase "Turning round an aircraft is little different" that prompted my post. Chalk and cheese springs to mind.
 

Crossover

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Slightly off topic, but I have been very impressed by Virgin. On two occasions travelling south from Glasgow Central, the train has arrived after it was due to depart (with a scheduled 40 minute turnaround completely wiped out)

On both occasions, the train was back out within 10 mins of first arriving...very impressive in my opinion!

That said, given that I have only travelled on VT out of Glasgow twice, maybe I am something of a bad omen!
 

HST Power

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Thank you for all for the detailed responses, they certainly made for interesting reading! :)

(BTW, Newark is technically in the Down direction from King's Cross )

Technically, but I don't think I could have written 'it was going down north to Newark.' :p

Thank you for the diagrams, and the fares advice you gave me earlier in that week. When the ticket inspector saw my ticket he said 'hang on a minute, Letchworth?!' and then he went 'ah yes, you're going via Stevenage!'

One other question from me, as we're on the subject, what about the train crew? How many workings are they expected to do in a day, and how often do they get a rest? (Still thinking of East Coast here)
 
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CC 72100

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Interesting experiences here. My experiences of HSTs being turned around (not literally of course, that would take ages on a turntable or a big Chunnel-style loop :P ) is that between Totnes and Plymouth the traincrew come through and start taking away the seat reservations and light rubbish, visible to the eye (ie. stuff left on tables). I've always had good experiences with XC and FGW* with regards to getting the train ready for the next journey, they always seem fresh at the start. Although I think that although someone going down the train with a big black bag shouting 'rubbish' isn't the most glamourous image of a long-distance operator, it seems very effective.

*Comments made about HSTs, with the toilet pong, I've never been on a voyager I could describe as fresh ;)
 

NathanPrior

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When I went to Carlisle, the train came from Liverpool and got cleaned and scheduled to board in about 15mins, rather impressive.
 

notadriver

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Which is reasonable enough when you consider how complex an aircraft is compared to a train (so much more likely to suffer technical failures especially as components have to be as lightweight as possible), and how bad weather (particularly fog) will affect airline ops far more than it will affect the rail system.

So is a Cessna 172 more complex than a Eurostar train ?
 

Kentish Paul

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Just a comment on commuting 10 years ago. Agreed not HST turnaround.

Cannon Street in the evening peak would despatch a train every 2 minutes. 7 platforms = max 14 mins turnaround. It always seemed to work. OK no massive clean, no seat revs. Some ECS inbound, some with PAX. Did it for 8 years and was amazed how often they got it right. Regular commuters knowledge a big help. They could sense platform changes etc without being told. They knew that if the regular platform was blocked the alternative was a sixth sense away. If the 18:40 Hastings arrived on P7 instead of P4 then we knew the 18:44 Dover/Ramsgate would take its place on P4 = 300+pax move to P4 with no prompting from PA system.
 

150222

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I was at Lancaster earlier. I noticed the 1258 pendolino to London Euston arriving at platform 3 at 1254. I didn't hang around to watch it leave. Is 4 mins long enough or would it have left late?
 

MidnightFlyer

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I can't see a 1258 for Euston today, however the 1238 Euston service left 3 down at 1241.
 

MidnightFlyer

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There's your answer then, 7 minutes! I think it was an ECS move off Preston that was late-running. Whether or not you can shave any more of the 7 I'm not sure.
 

The Planner

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20 is the requirement for an ECS to a passenger move. Guessing this is 5M07 forming 1M07, obviously knocked a minute off that to make it work.
 
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