Wem level crossing.

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Deafdoggie

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Hi. Can anyone in the know let me know how far in advance (in time) the barriers are lowered at Wem before a train?
 
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mr_moo

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Not heard of Wem. Where is it? A line/route/location or something would be helpful and then we can at least advise the type of LC it is. I doubt anyone will be able to advise exactly as it depends on several local factors, but we'll be able to give you a general approximate answer once we can identify it accurately.
 

Mcr Warrior

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It's on the Crewe to Shrewsbury line.

Think the barrier down time at Wem (not quite the same thing as the OP was asking) varies depending on type of train, train speed, how far away the train detection equipment is located, whether the train due is a stopper, whether there's another train due in the opposite direction, etc.

Have seen stats (in response to a FoI request) showing total barrier down time at Wem varying between 31 seconds and over 12 minutes, all in a particular calendar month.

Are you asking because there's currently no footbridge at Wem and don't want to miss your train?
 

4F89

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They are controlled by distance, not time, so a somewhat impossible question to answer without other knowledge such as speed of train etc.
 

Deafdoggie

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We're trying to organise a road timetable, but want the service to avoid being caught by barriers
 

Mcr Warrior

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We're trying to organise a road timetable, but want the service to avoid being caught by barriers
Barrier down times of between two and five minutes seems to be most typical at Wem, but could well be shorter or longer. You'd probably have to do a careful analysis of all train workings through Wem using something like RealTrainTimes (not just those handful of passenger trains that actually stop at the station) to work out when the most likely "barrier up" gaps in the daily train working schedule are.
 

mr_moo

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Ah, found it. Wem is an "MCB-OD". This means 'manually' (but actually usually automatic now the OD has been added) controlled barriers with obstacle detection. Lowering is triggered automatically by trains when they are a fixed distance away, usually the point a train travelling at the highest speed would be to get the barriers down and allow the closure sequence to complete whilst still displaying a green to the train.
The sequence is described on pages 19 and 20 of this: https://www.orr.gov.uk/media/10713/download

You can see it on OTT maps here: https://www.opentraintimes.com/maps/signalling/cre-shr#T_WEMM

The crossing will need to be down and cleared for the signal to clear, so for trains heading towards Nantwich this will be several minutes in advance as the signal is way back, and before the station. If the train is a stopper then the crossing will be down while the train approaches, does it's station stop and goes off again, so you're easily looking at 4 to 5 minutes at least in those cases. Linespeed is 90mph so the train has to be a good way off to keep it on greens.

You'd have to look at the mix of trains and train types - a freight will not be doing 90 so will of course take longer to go through - again, probably 4 mins or so.

Not sure if that's helpful but it's a start!
 

Deafdoggie

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Ah, found it. Wem is an "MCB-OD". This means 'manually' (but actually usually automatic now the OD has been added) controlled barriers with obstacle detection. Lowering is triggered automatically by trains when they are a fixed distance away, usually the point a train travelling at the highest speed would be to get the barriers down and allow the closure sequence to complete whilst still displaying a green to the train.
The sequence is described on pages 19 and 20 of this: https://www.orr.gov.uk/media/10713/download

You can see it on OTT maps here: https://www.opentraintimes.com/maps/signalling/cre-shr#T_WEMM

The crossing will need to be down and cleared for the signal to clear, so for trains heading towards Nantwich this will be several minutes in advance as the signal is way back, and before the station. If the train is a stopper then the crossing will be down while the train approaches, does it's station stop and goes off again, so you're easily looking at 4 to 5 minutes at least in those cases. Linespeed is 90mph so the train has to be a good way off to keep it on greens.

You'd have to look at the mix of trains and train types - a freight will not be doing 90 so will of course take longer to go through - again, probably 4 mins or so.

Not sure if that's helpful but it's a start!
Thank you. Most helpful
 

Baxenden Bank

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Thank you. Most helpful
All I can say is, having caught a train there once and had chance to watch them in inaction, a long time. Especially if you have trains coming in opposite directions - a bit like Wedgwood and Barlaston.

One tale to relate, perhaps relevant to someone feeling the need to make an FOI request. I was there shortly after the new method of operation was installed, but before the signal box was demolished. A cyclist held at the barriers shouting up at the signal box (lights on, no-one home) "come on, come on, open the barriers" or something like that. And Network Rail wonder why, at some locations, people 'amber gamble', zig-zag through half-barriers or pedestrians vault the barriers.
 

zwk500

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Might be worth dropping NR a line through the 'contact us' page to ask about likely gaps. However, bear in mind that if the trains run late those gaps will shift, and there are often short-notice and unpublicised moves over the Shrewsbury-Crewe line in both directions (lots of freight, a few railtours).
 

Dr Hoo

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From personal experience , it is very easy to miss a train or miss a rare bus 'connection' at Wem after alighting. Especially with fast trains and freights as well as the occasional stopper that one is using/hoping to use.

Common sense suggests at least a ten-minute 'no regrets' buffer in any plan to use the road crossing.
 
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DennisM

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A similar type of thing was done with the level crossing at Thatcham, looks like the site is now offline though.

 

craigybagel

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Ah, found it. Wem is an "MCB-OD". This means 'manually' (but actually usually automatic now the OD has been added) controlled barriers with obstacle detection. Lowering is triggered automatically by trains when they are a fixed distance away, usually the point a train travelling at the highest speed would be to get the barriers down and allow the closure sequence to complete whilst still displaying a green to the train.
Sadly this is not the case at Wem or at any of the other OD crossings on the Crewe - Shrewsbury line. The timing of the barriers is dependant on how fast the system thinks your train should be, and/or where it thinks you should be stopping at.

I use the word "think" here because it quite often gets it wrong, and AFAIK under normal circumstances it can't be overridden by the signaller.

To see the issue in action, you only need travel on one of the late night services to and from Cardiff that normally stop at all the request stops, but due to TfW policy on local door operation are currently not stopping at Prees or Yorton. The signalling system does not know this however, and if a train passes through those stations at a high speed then when they approach Wem they'll find that the barriers at the crossing will not lower in time and as a result they have to slow or even stop altogether before they reach the signal protecting the crossing.

Now under normal circumstances this isn't an issue; the timetable hasn't been altered to take into account the missed out stops, so there's plenty of time to deal with the crawl into Wem. But it's an issue with late running services - if you go through Yorton at 90 trying to make up time, you'll get cautioned at Wem every time.

There's also an ongoing issue since day one that the timings at Harlescotte for Up direction (towards Shrewsbury) services that have stopped at Wem but not at Shrewsbury are wrong. The barriers at Harlescotte will lower too late, meaning that these services will always encounter a yellow signal at Harlescotte distant and have to slow down, losing time.

Also, every so often the system decides to throw a massive tantrum and treats every train as the slowest possible service (an all stations local), so that even a non stop class 1 will get signal checked at every single level crossing. On these occasions it's routine to have several hours of ~15 minutes delays on every one of the fast services.

Thrown in the general unreliability of the obstacle detectors themselves (causing trains to be talked through signals that can't be cleared from danger), the retina searing brightness of the signal heads and the fact that the block sections were left the same as they were under Absolute Block (meaning there's a long block section in the middle from Wrenbury to Prees that takes about 15 minutes to traverse and limits how closely the local service can be pathed behind a Class 1) and you surely have a candidate for a list of awful resignalling schemes.
 

NI 271

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Sadly this is not the case at Wem or at any of the other OD crossings on the Crewe - Shrewsbury line. The timing of the barriers is dependant on how fast the system thinks your train should be, and/or where it thinks you should be stopping at.
A real bugbear of mine is that overnight, for some reason the barriers aren't lowered anywhere near in time to allow freights to pass at 60mph. It's not uncommon to be checked right down at all of Wem, Prees, Wrenbury and Newcastle Road, I've tried approaching the repeaters at 50mph and 45mph and there's no difference, they still show that yellow until you're past them.

It doesn't happen during the day, when there's actually road traffic being delayed by closed barriers, you'll see nothing but greens then, but overnight there's hardly ever traffic waiting at any of the crossings. You have the ludicrous situation where the aim of the signalling appears to be to cause minimal delay to cars that simply aren't there, but because freight trains heading toward Crewe (sighting is decent heading for Shrewsbury) are going to be down to around 20mph or less by the time the protecting signals can be sighted, the barriers end up down for longer overall anyway. It is hugely irritating, and as well as costing time needlessly, it means trains take far longer to pass the crossings and pull away from them, using far more diesel and making far more noise for far longer than is necessary. If I lived nearby I'd be badgering Network Rail every week, there's literally zero benefit to doing what they do, and a whole host of downsides.
 
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