Why can't automation be over-ridden by the guard?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Howardh, 25 Aug 2015.

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  1. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Last night, over the tannoy (Virgin Pendolino) the guard..." we are very sorry, please disregard the station announcements, they are incorrect, automated and we cannot alter them, I will announce the stations (as and when)".

    Bizarre. if a train has incorrect on-board info, surely it can be stopped/altered/reset??

    Also, why can't guards alter the air-con so as to suit the actual conditions (last night, cold, wet, but air-con on full blast and little heating from the radiators)?
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I believe they can be turned off.

    On many trains it's depot-set - but the guard can change the temperature on Pendolinos. However, it could well simply be faulty.
     
  4. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Sorry, should have pointed out the second was TPE (my error) but the guard on the pendo definately said he couldn't over-ride the automated announcements (and the on-screen internal displays were also wrong).
    maybe there was a fault and he could do normally - although he didn't say they were fautly?

    Puzzling!
     
  5. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    On my TOC I can switch of the automated announcement but it can, and will, still make random announcements. Frankly its **** and very broken.

    I have an on switch and an off switch. Its even worse on a 319 as I don't have any control over the heating.

    Trains are pretty basic in terms of what is and isn't possible.
     
  6. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Veteran Member

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    On many 158s of varying TOCs not even the Depot can fix the Air-Con in hot weather. This has gone on for some 25 years now and not good enough.
     
  7. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    Could ask the same question about automated station announcements too! Had one on the weekend at Bristol Parkway where it kept announcing a Swansea bound service as delayed, even after the service had departed on time! The announcement seemed to be cut off half way though though, so I am guessing station staff can stop an announcement once it has started?
     
  8. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

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    Depends how they are set up, I have no knowledge of the Class 390's PIDS (Passenger Information Display System) but I know that on the units I drive it is powered by the headcode/TRN entered into the TCMS. When stopping patterns alter this can cause issues until the database is updated.
     
  9. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    You mention TPE, so I'm assuming it was a Desiro (class 185 DMU)? All brands of Desi are renowned for aggressive, freezing cold air con, which blasts noisily away at all times regardless of the weather. Older stock (class 158, HST etc) offers little control to anybody beyond 'On' or 'Off', and I would imagine newer stuff is probably little different. Many tend to share the view that an old unit with opening hopper windows is often as good as it gets on a hot summer's day. These trains, for example class 150 etc, do at least offer the option of switching off the saloon heater blowers.

    As for automated announcements, it seems to have been fairly conclusively proven that they're cr*p. Of all the varying types and systems in use, across thousands of trains and stations, there seems to be not a single on that has proven itself as capable as a good old fashioned bloke with a public address system; particularly in times of disrupion or disarray. The most recently installed system on the network is probably that fitted to FGW's refurbished class 150 units. Despite a world packed full of clever technology, it works on door cycles - so the system identifies which stop is coming up by counting how many times the doors are armed and released. Guess what happens if an additional station call is added or omitted from the schedule?! Yup, it gets lost. I'm unsure how such a depressingly fallible system is deemed to be beneficial to the confused traveller, but there we go...
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2015
  10. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    "Round of applause for that"!
    If automation's the key, let's take it to the extremes, what happens if you have driverless trains that are 100% automated and it goes wrong? OK, they will have a failsafe no doubt - ???? ;) - if so, why can't loops of PA's?

    Lost count of the number of times on TPE "The next station is Burneside". No it isn't, we passed that last stop.....:(
     
  11. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    People care if passengers die. Not many care if the stations are announced wrong.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    A manual announcement takes precedence over an automatic one.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Similarly, I have never ridden on a Class 166 with what I would consider acceptable air conditioning. I believe the system, like that of 158s, was designed for CFCs and simply will not work effectively with other refrigerants.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    One of the problems with all railway HVAC is that it is generally made up of two separate systems, floor level radiators and ceiling level cooling. While that is the right way round to get the air to mix to some extent, it tends to mean that you get roasted ankles and cold ears. Why, I wonder, has automotive style climate control not been implemented in a rail application - that is, take in the air, heat or cool it to the specified temperature, and circulate it throughout the train at several levels, possibly including personal vents for passengers?
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2015
  13. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    It's always refreshing when it is allowed to from a technical point of view, but it's not the case on all stock. The older software on Class 171s is still present on some of them and refuses to let manual announcements override automatic ones. Likewise older 377s. It does seem that for those trains equipped with any sort of relevant software, it is being updated to allow manual overrides at any point, which is great. Otherwise, you can make additional PA announcements to supplement automatic ones, and if you time it correctly you can make an announcement at exactly the point when the automatic one should kick in, but you can't cut out the automated announcements once they've started burbling (unless you use the PIS circuit breakers, which is a faff).

    I'd never claim that Networkers are particularly brilliant for ventilation (though I've usually found heating is OK-ish) but don't they have personal vents above seats? I haven't been on one for a couple of months now.
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2015
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Ah, I was referring to a station announcement.

    Not allowing manual override of on board announcements seems a safety risk, as "evacuate the train now" surely needs always to be possible, rather than waiting for it to reel off a long list of stops it won't call at because the SPADed train approaching at speed behind is about to hit it.
     
  15. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Regarding air-con, it surely must be expensive on fuel to produce the cold air, especially when it's not required? I know in my car having the air-con on adds 10-15% to the fuel bill, so I wonder if there couldn't be saving made if the guards couldn't simply swich it off when it clearly wasn't required?
    And why we have this constant battle between floor heaters and overhead cold blasts I will never know, and the cold usually wins :(
    The pendolino I was on last night had several 1st-class carriages and as I walked through one was empty and it really was uncomfortably cold, it felt like walking into the refridgerated area of a shop. The carriage I was sat in was OK but the noise from the air-con is overwhelming!
    But if a guard can see something's wrong, it's daft he can't do anything about it - like switch that carriage's A/C off and save some fuel/be good to the environment. maybe I should write to the Guardian!!!
     
  16. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    A good idea, but...

    You have to remember that Guards are the arch enemy of the modern railway and its battalions of managers. Anything designed to be operated by on board staff is an unlikely development in future, since all on board staff should sell tickets and have absolutely no operational or technical knowledge of anything else whatsoever.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If it worked properly it would heat/cool to a specified temperature and nobody would ever need to adjust it. That's how my home heating system works; I don't turn it off in summer as such, it just correctly determines it doesn't need to heat.
     
  18. mbreckers

    mbreckers Member

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    I must say that the Air Con on the Class 380's is pretty good, as are the automated announcements.

    Apart from on occasion when insted of "Change here for services to Kilmarnock" you get something along the line of "This train is too long for the platform at the next station on this route, please move forward to alight from this train" (you dont have to move forward)
     
  19. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    The driver could still do an override by activating a cab-to-cab call (or indeed a PA announcement) on receiving a 3-3 bell code - on most stock which I am familiar with where this problem still persists. You're right, though, that it's by no means ideal, although I have yet to hear of any disaster that has been caused, and to be honest the chances are relatively low of the guard being in a situation where a train approaches to the rear which is likely to cause a serious incident and then managing to evacuate in any significant way.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    True, it was just an extreme example.
     
  21. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Well if you mentioned to the TOC's that allowing guards a bit of leeway might save them £000's, improve their profit margins and please their shareholders they might do so <D

    But, then again...:(

    A post above alluded to no-one being killed by a list of wrong stations being read out; but if the railways are to go driverless as in the DLR it hardly instills public confidence in the system if a simple (to us, anyway) proceedure to correct announcements can't be implimented.
     
  22. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    Sounds like my idea of heaven! Most Pendolinos are kept at uncomfortably hot temperatures that put me to sleep.

    There is also the common misconception that air conditioning is only about creating cold air - which is untrue. The purpose of air conditioning is to create dry air, which can then be refrigerated or heated to any temperature - so having a separate heating system is rather unnecessary I would argue!

    Air conditioning is just as useful in the winter as the summer for this reason - lots of people getting onto a warm train in soaked clothes creates unfathomably uncomfortable humidity - which air conditioning removes, as well as helping your clothes dry much faster than just applying hot, humid air.

    Air conditioning was first introduced in cars as a safety feature to prevent windows from steaming up and reduce the time taken to de-mist, also a common unknown! It also encourages constant air circulation which makes for a much enhanced environment.

    For those reasons, my preference is that air conditioning should always be in operation on trains just as I keep it permanently switched on in my car - but a thermostat would be useful!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Corrected you there ;)
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2015
  23. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Veteran Member

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    I was waiting at Cardiff Central on an occasion when a Valley service which should have departed about 5 hours earlier was showing "delayed" on the CIS. At the same time, the tannoy was repeatedly giving out "The xxxx to (forget where now) has been delayed. Please wait for further announcements"
    Admittedly not a matter for the guard but an annoying announcement but a reason to be culled..
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2015
  24. dgl

    dgl Member

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    Won't the new desiro city's have proper HVAC with the warm air being pumped out rather than using floor level radiators.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I do hope so.
     
  26. Paul180

    Paul180 Member

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    Well by the sound of it I am sure that Harley Davidson wishes he could turn off certain manual announcements :D
     
  27. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

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    If it's "powered" by the TMS, could they try rebooting the TMS?
     
  28. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    This is what has to be done on 377s if things go REALLY badly wrong. As in, if the same drivel shows even if you restart the screens, change ends and bash it with a hammer.

    I've only actually ever known it to be done once or twice. Usually a stern word from the driver and a prod with a t-key does the job.
     
  29. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    I had one on the Jubilee the other day going towards waterloo and the announcements were for going to Stratford. I even had to double check at Southwark I was on the right train.
     
  30. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    Ah, so they've fitted exactly the same system as they did to the Turbos then. And the problem of the system getting lost has been present since day 1 on the Turbos, you'd think they'd learn.
     
  31. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    This wouldn't happen to be the APIS system by TrainFX now would it?
     
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