Why is our network this bad?

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CallySleeper

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Scanning the engineering alterations I see no less than 40 blockades timetabled for the weekend of 28th/29th October. I would have thought for sacrificing a good weekend timetable to block the line for works on many occasions on every weekend would see some improvement - but I'm not seeing much!

European networks, while not the same set up as the UK don't have as many disruptions I would have thought yet compared to us they run a far better system for example in France and Germany.

As it is, having that much engineering work is too disruptive for the network - and is it really necessary or fair to be messing travellers up this much when, for the most part they wont themselves see any improvement in service?
 
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devon_metro

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Precisly, i now have to add about 35 mins to my journey! At least do it on a weekday in between rush hours or something.
 

ChrisCooper

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I think the H&S aspect plays a big part, since so much more work needs a full line closure, and even where bi-direction signalling is provided it's usual for both lines to be closed. Where trains are still running on adjacent lines, fences will usually have to be errected between the running line and the lines being worked on before work can start. Oviously this adds to the time taken to set up and hand back a worksite, which makes short closures much less efficient, and is a big factor in the big blockades that are now common. In France, it's not uncommon for one line of the LGVs to be closed for work whilst trains pass at reduced speed on the other, and the site of workers walking around working on normal lines whilst trains are running, often with very little in the way of high visability clothing, is very common, wheras in this country working on lines whilst trains are running is very rare, and is something the HSE would like to see the end of entirely.
 

Nick W

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I recently read a short article saying that less than 80% of trains ran on time in Germany during the summer, and blaming engineering works. Perhaps they suffer from works too.
 

TheSlash

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Peter B, most engineering works are to prevent a deteriation in the service quality
For instance, i have been involved with 4 emergency possessions in the past 4 weeks, all of which were to remove rails with large gauge corner cracking. These faults were classed as 36 hour defects, meaning they were immediatly subject to a 20mph speed restriction and had to be removed within 36 hours or the line would have to shut completely.
I also know of a section of track that is beyond economical repair and is being re laid in 3 weeks time. The new track will be continous welded rail on concrete sleepers, vice bullhead jointed track on wooden sleepers.
 

Coxster

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Precisly, i now have to add about 35 mins to my journey! At least do it on a weekday in between rush hours or something.
35 minutes is hardly anything to moan about when some people (me! ;)) face journey times increase by three times for four weeks to get to London (30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes). Also, when Woking closed a bus ran from Farnborough to Woking. It took me 40 minutes to cover that section rather than the normal 9-12 minutes on the train! I could normally be in London by the time I covered the 10 miles to Woking on the bus and still facing another 30 minutes on the train.

If you want your trains to run then engineering work is essential, as pointed out by TheSlash. Surely it is better that they do the works now rather than later on in time when it has got so bad that you have to suffer no service for a period of months? I think we owe it to the chaps like TheSlash who work all sorts of hours to keep our trains running the vast majority of the time.
 

CallySleeper

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I understand the importance of engineering work. However when it's shutting down large parts of the network at a time when a lot of people are using it as I tried to point out in my original post then I hope you'll agree that it becomes a slightly different matter somewhat!
 

TheSlash

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No matter what time the works take place, somebody will always be inconvienced. Weekends are better for the economy as you aren't disrupting stuff like people travelling to the city.
 

CallySleeper

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If some works are more essential than others, then can't the less-essential works be spread out so that while essential work is given priority, there is not a large amount of non-essential work taking place on the same weekend which in effect cripples the system?
 

CallySleeper

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Thankyou very much but I don't feel as if I require an explanation of your profession.

Roughly the same proportion of rail journeys are taken off peak - 60% on weekends, and 55% of all weekday journeys are done at off-peak times - so could you explain why smaller stoppages can't be carried out off peak on weekdays? If work was such a priority then it would get it done sooner and affect to a lesser extent those who travel solely at weekends.
 

Mojo

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In actual fact the quietest time is from Saturday afternoon, through until about 3pm Sunday – which is when most work gets done. There is some opportunity for work to be done at night, but staff availability is usually the issue. Also some of the busier lines, which need to most work, still have a lot of freight and ECS movements about.
That's certaintly what I experience. Not just on "InterCity" railways, but Motorways are very quiet on Saturday afternoons and evenings - I always prefer to travel on a Saturday evening rather than a Sunday - which are far busier IME.

OTOH - Saturday evenings are probably the busiest time all week for buses round here, and the Tube I always find busy after 11pm.
 

ChrisCooper

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We have a complete lack of bi-directional signalling in this country, so it would means single line working which is very labour and time consuming.
There is actually a resonable amount of bi-directional or reversable working, in particular on double track main lines. Two examples I can come up with straight away are the double track sections of the GEML, and the MML south of Leicester. I don't know what it's like in Europe, but I expect that not every line is fully bi-directionall signalled, again it's likely to be busy double track sections. As you said though, HSE requirements often mean the other line has to be closed regardless of the signalling. Oviously, if work is carried out on the crossovers, both lines will need closing anyway.
 

TheSlash

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Thankyou very much but I don't feel as if I require an explanation of your profession.
You obviously do need to witness first hand what my colleagues and i do while the line is shut at weekends, as you seem to think it is a few hours of work. I take you are an expert on the subject of how to change a half set of switches in a 5 hour possession :?: Well for those that aren't, changing half a set of switches {points} takes a good 7 hours actual work, not including 1/2 hour to get the possession set up, 1/2 hour to get the machines onto track, 1/2 hour to get them loaded up and on site and then another hour and a half to reverse all this. Thats just a maintenance possession, never mind a renewals possession {52 hour block}
 

Coxster

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You obviously do need to witness first hand what my colleagues and i do while the line is shut at weekends, as you seem to think it is a few hours of work. I take you are an expert on the subject of how to change a half set of switches in a 5 hour possession :?: Well for those that aren't, changing half a set of switches {points} takes a good 7 hours actual work, not including 1/2 hour to get the possession set up, 1/2 hour to get the machines onto track, 1/2 hour to get them loaded up and on site and then another hour and a half to reverse all this. Thats just a maintenance possession, never mind a renewals possession {52 hour block}
Are those timings the same across the board or a bit longer when dealing with third rail as you of course do?
 

CallySleeper

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You obviously do need to witness first hand what my colleagues and i do while the line is shut at weekends, as you seem to think it is a few hours of work. I take you are an expert on the subject of how to change a half set of switches in a 5 hour possession :?: Well for those that aren't, changing half a set of switches {points} takes a good 7 hours actual work, not including 1/2 hour to get the possession set up, 1/2 hour to get the machines onto track, 1/2 hour to get them loaded up and on site and then another hour and a half to reverse all this. Thats just a maintenance possession, never mind a renewals possession {52 hour block}
No, I'm OK thanks :)
 

TheSlash

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The bloke has done a typical journalist thing - spouted off a load of old rubbish and refuses to be corrected.
I'll be able to tell when Peter B takes up railway infrastructure management as we'll be relaying Southampton station throat inbetween peak times.
 
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