Which train gets to leave the station first?

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TSR :D

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This has confused many passengers including me using rail stations with more than 2 platforms.

Scenario: One train is delayed and so arrive at same time as other train arriving on time but on different platform. Since they're both going in same direction and this direction only has single line track in that direction so one train can only use this line at time.

For example, at Coventry rail station. Sometimes XC train arriving at xx:27 (towards Brum) is delayed by 15 minutes (actually it's that common) to xx:42 which is same time as Virgin trains arriving at xx:42.

Which train gets to leave first? Sometimes, I switch the train and only to find this train I'm on is waiting for other train to leave. Sometimes it's other way around.

Few days ago, I've noticed the pattern, fast one always to gets to leave first even if slow train (LM in this case) is already on time. Also, I've noticed it's all in the signals, so I usually tend to go for train which has green signal in front of the train.

Does this apply to elsewhere? Any tips that will help me to get on the train which will leave the station first?
 
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telstarbox

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If there are two trains at a station both heading onto the same road (i.e. the same physical track) and one gets a yellow, double yellow or green light while the other is red, that one will depart first.

In general where a fast and slow service use the same road, the fast is given priority for obvious reasons.
 

tsr

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You'd love East Croydon. Ahem.

During possessions or disruption on the Fast lines, trains on Platforms 5 & 6 heading via Purley must both use the Down Slow line beyond South Croydon Junction, which is just after South Croydon itself. Effectively, the two lines then merge into one for trains in this direction.

So... a slow/stopping train via Purley pulls in on P6 a couple of minutes late. Double yellow shown. The signal at the end of P5 is still red. Meanwhile, a very late fast service with an added call at Purley is diverted onto the slows just North of East Croydon and arrives alongside on P5. Signal goes to caution for P5 but double yellow still shown on P6 just as the train on P6 departs and slows to a crawl, stopping adjacent to the platforms at South Croydon. Meanwhile, the junction is clear and the train from P5 at East Croydon shoots past on a proceed aspect.

It happens too often! Staff and CIS systems find it very hard - sometimes impossible - to know which will clear South Croydon Junction first before one is actually going through the despatch procedure. It's often the train with fewer stops, usually booked for the Fasts or which is travelling furthest... but not always.
 
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EssexGonzo

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Sounds like Shenfield platforms 1 & 2 in the rush hour. London bound trains every 5 to 6 minutes, 2 platform tracks merging into single fast line within a mile, virtually all trains (that stop at SNF) calling at Stratford and LST.

In my experience, the late train usually goes first, irrespective of which arrived first. The Southend trains are normally on time so it's the Colchester / Ipswich trains that are normally late.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
 

telstarbox

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Indeed - 'regulation' as the signallers call it is an art form.

Going back to the OP: heading from Coventry to Birmingham, there is only one westbound road* between Coventry and Birmingham International. This means that once Train A leaves Coventry, it cannot be overtaken by Train B behind it until Train A reaches Birmingham International, where the line splits for the multiple platforms.

Elsewhere there are four-track sections between stations and so this is less of an issue - for example, between Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport, there are two roads in each direction. One is known as the "fast" line and one is known as the "slow" road in each direction.

*under normal operation
 

Eagle

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In general where a fast and slow service use the same road, the fast is given priority for obvious reasons.

In the example given though, both trains are fast.

From experience in that situation, it would depend on the signaller's decision. Let the XC out first to minimize overall delay or to stick to booked order; or let the VT out on time to minimize the number of late trains (knowing that the XC service has a reasonably long wait at New Street that it can use to make up time).
 

causton

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a) It probably depends on the signalling system, if it automatically gives a route to one of the trains obviously that one will go first!

b) In a delay minute-reducing world, the xx42 service would probably leave first so that can be 'on time' and not fail PPM, whereas the xx27 would wait for another minute or 2. Unless the xx42 had a lot more stops than the xx27 I guess!
 

Boysteve

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I share your annoyance. Once I boarded a TPEx Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport service at Manchester Piccadilly. The 'Train Manager announced that due to a problem with the doors the Northern stopper would go first from the adjacent problem so everyone swapped trains with their luggage (platform 11 to 10 from memory). The Northern stopper did go first and sped to Slade Lane junction where we then sat for 5 minutes whilst the TPEx eventually caught up and went past!!!!!!!!! I was not the only person to resort to expletives.
 

ert47

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Had that problem on Monday @ London Charing Cross, there were 2 services to Dartford leaving at the same time! (1940) Tried to use the national rail app in order to find out what times they would reach Waterloo East and then London Bridge - however they both had the same departure times at both locations :s
 

Starmill

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Had that problem on Monday @ London Charing Cross, there were 2 services to Dartford leaving at the same time! (1940) Tried to use the national rail app in order to find out what times they would reach Waterloo East and then London Bridge - however they both had the same departure times at both locations :s

Hope those trains are announced with via points! "Platform 2 for the 1940 Southeastern service to Dartford..... Platform 4 for the 1940 Southeastern service to Dartford.... " uuuhm.

Both were late anyways :p But the train from platform 4 was on time until after London Bridge - sods law you got t'other one?
 

ert47

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Hope those trains are announced with via points! "Platform 2 for the 1940 Southeastern service to Dartford..... Platform 4 for the 1940 Southeastern service to Dartford.... " uuuhm.

Both were late anyways :p But the train from platform 4 was on time until after London Bridge - sods law you got t'other one?

Lol, luckily was on the first one. The one on platform 2 only made it into the station 5 mins before departure, doubted the driver would be able to switch cab and back out in that time (well, was hoping they wouldnt be able to do it!)
One was via Sidcup and I think the other was via Blackheath. There was a lot of people on the platform at London Bridge, it was held there for a bit

The thing I didnt get is that they were both scheduled to arrive at London Bridge around 1948, however there was also a FCC service to Brighton that was scheduled for 1949. With a single track leading to 2 platforms at the tail end of rush hour, I dont even know how that was suppose to work.
 
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Greenback

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Llanelli can be great fun at 0830 in the morning if the Manchester service from platform 2 is delayed by 15 minutes or more.

If it's on time, at 0842 or so the 0845 Cardiff train (from Shrewsbury) will trundle into platform 1. Loads of people pile over the footbridge to the Cardiff train, but little do they know that the crew tot ake that service on arriv eon the delayed train, so it won't be going anywhere until the 0830 finally arrives.

It's more of a guessing game at 1740 though. If you arrive and there trains heading east in both platforms, again one having come down from Shrewsbury, it's anyone's guess which will go first. The best thing to do is to check if the signals are giving any clue!

I also used to enjoy deciding between the 1809 Tenby and 1821 Shrewsbury when returning home from Swansea. If the former was running late and showing as arriving ten minutes late it meant both wuld be leaving at around the same time in theory. Sometimes the 1821 would be allowed away first, sometimes the 1809. I don't know how the decision would be reached, both trains needing to pass other services during their journey. Perhaps it was based on how the other trains on the respective lines wer edoing. It's all I can think of!
 

ANorthernGuard

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I share your annoyance. Once I boarded a TPEx Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport service at Manchester Piccadilly. The 'Train Manager announced that due to a problem with the doors the Northern stopper would go first from the adjacent problem so everyone swapped trains with their luggage (platform 11 to 10 from memory). The Northern stopper did go first and sped to Slade Lane junction where we then sat for 5 minutes whilst the TPEx eventually caught up and went past!!!!!!!!! I was not the only person to resort to expletives.

Thats pretty much Normal. Northern spend more time stuck at Signals courtesy of being "regulated" for TPE services its ridiculous.
 

The Planner

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In the case of Coventry, it is down to the decision made by the respective TOC controls who liase with the WMSCC. A late XC is likely to get let out in front of the Virgin as it will make the PPM back by Manchester if it is, the Virgin won't get hammered for 10 minutes by New St and still make PPM too.
 

Welshman

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Chester can also be fun in the evenings!

There are services along the North Wales Coast at 1921[VT] & 1932[ATW] and 2026[VT] & 2032[ATW].

The 1932 & 2032 ATW stopping services normally run punctually, but the 1921 & 2026 VTs from Euston are sometimes late. So you can sometimes have a punctual service in platform 3 and the late one, having been diverted on to platform 4, both waiting to depart. The staff never seem to know which one will go first, and you can't watch the signals and then decide as it's quite a dash over the footbridge from one platform to the other!
[In fact, I suspect the staff do know but don't say, as they don't want a mad dash over the footbridge].

Sometimes they delay the punctually-running stopper to allow the late-running VT to get ahead. At other times the stopper departs on time but then is held just outside the station exit to allow the VT to overtake. And sometimes the stopper leaves on time and stays ahead of the VT all the way to Holyhead. And, thanks to the long signalling sections on the NW Coast, a VT delayed by 10 minutes and departing right behind the stopper has a slow run along the NW Coast, and its delay is more like 25 minutes by the time it arrives at Holyhead.

And the passenger is either smirking or fuming, depending upon whether s/he has picked the right one! Great fun!
 
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The objective of regulation is to minimise overall delay as previous posters have alluded to.

This is a fabulously complex decision based on:
1. Operator type (Long distance or Commuter)
2. Pathing or recovery time in the schedule

For example, at a terminal station, there is a long distance train running 8 minutes late, but it will conflict with a commuter train arriving on time, and a commuter train ready to depart on time. In which order do they run?

In order to attempt to achieve the PPM the long distance arrival is given preference (less than 10 minutes late being counted as on time), then the commuter arrival (less than 5 minutes late being counted as on time), and then the commuter departure as it has chance to arrive on time (and probably has some recovery/pathing time to achieve that).

Very definitely a dark art, and one that is not easily explained, and can change depending on circumstances quickly!
 

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The added complication with XC at Coventry is that the line between there and Leamington Spa is, in part, single track (i.e. one road, bi-directional) so a delay on the southbound could have quite an impact on the northbound (or vice versa)
 

Eagle

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The added complication with XC at Coventry is that the line between there and Leamington Spa is, in part, single track (i.e. one road, bi-directional) so a delay on the southbound could have quite an impact on the northbound (or vice versa)

Yep. In the normal weekday timetable the units cross at Coventry. (In the opposite half-hour two Southampton freight trains usually do the same.)
 

455driver

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Had that problem on Monday @ London Charing Cross, there were 2 services to Dartford leaving at the same time! (1940) Tried to use the national rail app in order to find out what times they would reach Waterloo East and then London Bridge - however they both had the same departure times at both locations :s

They both might have been 1940 in the PTT but what about the WTT?
 

ert47

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455driver:1608947 said:
They both might have been 1940 in the PTT but what about the WTT?
Tried to look it up on open train times, but there was no info on any SE trains for that time.
 

zn1

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I was always taught that a class 1 passenger train always gets priority over class 2 stopping and freight services...the exceptions were breakdown trains and the royal, but it depends on what the local instructions in the controlling box says about certain station despatch..

Logically an "inter city" service will have create a longer path and should be on greens all the way, if you throw a LM and its on all stops then energy is wasted braking by the faster service behind...

so in the case of trains at COV logically the Virgins, the XC will will get priority over the LM and freight going in to Birmingham...as said the next passing loops will be at International...

on 2 line working where no passing loops or 3+ platforms are available or limited then the
I would say that the working would be at cov on WCML would be virgin/cx - LM - Freight.. or if the LM is a stopper Freight then LM

purely my opinions
 

The Planner

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Which would be in that case of a LM and Virgin, but when you have a late northbound XC then it is different and the XC will normally get the priority.
 

High Dyke

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Indeed - 'regulation' as the signallers call it is an art form.
And doesn't always work... ;)

As a passenger it can be frustrating...i know i've had it happen. Fast train is running late, so advised to go and catch slower train (should normally depart 10 minutes after fast train). Then sit on slower train in platform as late running fast train departs first. :( The theory being the slower train may make up some time, but any delay would be attributed to the fast train being late. To put it simply!
 

nickw1

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If there are two trains at a station both heading onto the same road (i.e. the same physical track) and one gets a yellow, double yellow or green light while the other is red, that one will depart first.

In general where a fast and slow service use the same road, the fast is given priority for obvious reasons.

Though on occasion this has not been implemented, doubtless due to some rule where it's much worse financially to have two slightly-late trains than one on-time and one very late. I've been on late Southern trains (or they may have been Connex at the time, can't remember) from Havant to Southampton when they've let the on time, slow Portsmouth to Southampton out more or less immediately in front, rather than - let that wait on the western bit of the "Hilsea/Cosham triangle" (sorry don't know it's official name) for <5 mins for the Southern to pass. Result - Southern is much, much more late than it would have been.
 
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Sheepy1209

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Thats pretty much Normal. Northern spend more time stuck at Signals courtesy of being "regulated" for TPE services its ridiculous.

And having been on one such Northern train which was initially on time, while my colleagues caught the delayed TPE behind - I know the TPE guard was quite happy to blame Northern for the delays.
 
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Every Monday at Stoke I'll either catch the 08:20 XC to Manchester or the less crowded 08:25 V to Manchester. Frequently the XC service is running late, but no matter how late it's running, the V service seems to get held behind this.

Given that these services run on different lines until they reach Stone, if the XC service is running behind the V service, why wouldn't the V service be allowed to clear Stone Junction first and so overtake the delayed XC service?
 

TSR :D

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Thanks for interesting replies.

For the benefit of the OP, PPM is explained here: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/about/performance/
Thanks, is PPM only recorded once a train gets to the final destination? Doesn't timetable padding defeat the purpose of PPM?
Indeed - 'regulation' as the signallers call it is an art form.

Going back to the OP: heading from Coventry to Birmingham, there is only one westbound road* between Coventry and Birmingham International. This means that once Train A leaves Coventry, it cannot be overtaken by Train B behind it until Train A reaches Birmingham International, where the line splits for the multiple platforms.

Elsewhere there are four-track sections between stations and so this is less of an issue - for example, between Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport, there are two roads in each direction. One is known as the "fast" line and one is known as the "slow" road in each direction.

*under normal operation


Do you mean the line can be bidirectional when it's necessary? Or do you mean there's another route? If so, how? As far as I know there isn't one that doesn't involve missing International.
 

TOCDriver

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Class 1 services will always be given priority over class 2, even if that class 1 is a few minutes late. Always stay on a class 1 service if you have a choice, even if it's late! Quite often I'm made late heading into Manchester by being held up for a late running class one service
 
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