October 2013 Timetable

 
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Much as I hate to say this, I think they've done a pretty good job with this new timetable.  And while they have "gone dark" in terms of the public consultation, I expect this is at least in part to retain the "purity" of it so to speak.  With consultation there would be a stop added here, a slight shift there to match the opening time of the chief of staff's preschool opening times, a special train for the Kings School cricket team etc etc.
"djf01"
Exactly. This is actually a step forward, because it reduces the power of vocal minority lobby groups, such as the Bus Lane Opposition Office of the Daylight Robbery Grocery Store Alliance of East Whoop-Whoop. That having been said, though, it also increases the scope for political intervention.

I think the consistency of stopping patterns removes a lot of the anomalies (ie long gaps between some services) of the old timetable and thus should help to even out the variance in the city station dwell times and platform crowding.  The effect isn't going to be huge, but it should be enough to ensure they can reasonably max out the services through the city without spectacularly adverse consequences.
"djf01"
I agree. There are still some niggles, such as the South Line's poor frequency of 6tph, consisting of a core 4tph pattern and a 2tph half-pattern that runs three minutes after the 4tph pattern.

But there are gains. I expect the Illawarra timetable to take some getting-used-to, and might take longer for passengers to get comfortable with. However, on casually reflecting over it for several weeks, I've come to the conclusion that it will benefit the line's passengers so long as Hurstville is not overloaded.

Most of the major benefits this new timetable delivers are from using the "new" Clearways infrastructure (at least).  

A lot of the "new" services are unnecessary and not solving any real problems (like higher frequencies on the BJ line, which maxes out at ~66% utilisation now) or more Bankstown line services where it seems the fudged the figures to show there was demand fore them.  A lot of these "new" services while a bit more than spin, are probably actually a bit worse: costing more to implement without delivering more PT benefit.
"djf01"
The Eastern Suburbs service increase could be a prelude to TfNSW changes to the STA network in that area, but we shall see how it pans out. The Bankstown line probably got the additional service because the line between Liverpool and Lidcombe via Regents Park no longer receives service to the City via Strathfield.

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  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
Much as I hate to say this, I think they've done a pretty good job with this new timetable.  And while they have "gone dark" in terms of the public consultation, I expect this is at least in part to retain the "purity" of it so to speak.  With consultation there would be a stop added here, a slight shift there to match the opening time of the chief of staff's preschool opening times, a special train for the Kings School cricket team etc etc.

I think the consistency of stopping patterns removes a lot of the anomalies (ie long gaps between some services) of the old timetable and thus should help to even out the variance in the city station dwell times and platform crowding.  The effect isn't going to be huge, but it should be enough to ensure they can reasonably max out the services through the city without spectacularly adverse consequences.

Most of the major benefits this new timetable delivers are from using the "new" Clearways infrastructure (at least).  

A lot of the "new" services are unnecessary and not solving any real problems (like higher frequencies on the BJ line, which maxes out at ~66% utilisation now) or more Bankstown line services where it seems the fudged the figures to show there was demand fore them.  A lot of these "new" services while a bit more than spin, are probably actually a bit worse: costing more to implement without delivering more PT benefit.
djf01
Agreed the consistency in stopping patterns is a positive move, however cramming services in without allowing space if things go pear shaped is just asking for a snowballing of delays for the slightest issue.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Agreed the consistency in stopping patterns is a positive move, however cramming services in without allowing space if things go pear shaped is just asking for a snowballing of delays for the slightest issue.
Blackadder
Why? If things go pear-shaped, with a consistent departure pattern, then instead of the 17:09 train arriving at 17:09, it might arrive at 17:24, since everything is 15 minutes late.

Since we have a consistent service pattern of trains every ten minutes (as an example), instead of trains arriving at 17:09, 17:19, 17:29, 17:39, 17:49 (and so on) since everything is running fifteen minutes late, we instead have 17:24, 17:34, 17:44, 17:54, and so on.

Trains will still run to the same intervals, and since we will have relatively uniform stopping patterns, it won't matter if a train is late, it will basically be operating on another runs path, and the passengers on the platform won't know or care, the only people that will know that it is a late train will be those on the operational side. For the passengers, they will show up to get a train, and a train will arrive. It might be a bit more cramped than normal, but it will still be there.

Dave
  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
And trains will take longer to get back to the timetable running, at least with a few gaps here and there (even a 5 min gap in peak hour can help trains with minor delays get back to OTR), things have more of a chance of getting back towards OTR, rather that a 3 min gap when there is no chance in hell of it happening.
Passengers want on time trains, this timetable makes that very hard to achieve even with relatively minor delays.
  jcouch Assistant Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a commuter train
Don't forget that a lot of the "extra services" come from extending the peak hour an extra 45 minutes in the evening. From memory, that adds an extra 6 services a day to Campbelltown through East hills just on the evening peak.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
And trains will take longer to get back to the timetable running, at least with a few gaps here and there (even a 5 min gap in peak hour can help trains with minor delays get back to OTR), things have more of a chance of getting back towards OTR, rather that a 3 min gap when there is no chance in hell of it happening.
Passengers want on time trains, this timetable makes that very hard to achieve even with relatively minor delays.
Blackadder
But the existing timetable has 3 minute headways anyway.  What's changed with this one?
  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
But the existing timetable has 3 minute headways anyway.  What's changed with this one?
simonl
More 3 min headways in this, less wiggle room if trains are delayed.
  bambul Station Master

Location: Sydney
Much as I hate to say this, I think they've done a pretty good job with this new timetable.  And while they have "gone dark" in terms of the public consultation, I expect this is at least in part to retain the "purity" of it so to speak.  With consultation there would be a stop added here, a slight shift there to match the opening time of the chief of staff's preschool opening times, a special train for the Kings School cricket team etc etc.

I think the consistency of stopping patterns removes a lot of the anomalies (ie long gaps between some services) of the old timetable and thus should help to even out the variance in the city station dwell times and platform crowding.  The effect isn't going to be huge, but it should be enough to ensure they can reasonably max out the services through the city without spectacularly adverse consequences.

Most of the major benefits this new timetable delivers are from using the "new" Clearways infrastructure (at least).  

A lot of the "new" services are unnecessary and not solving any real problems (like higher frequencies on the BJ line, which maxes out at ~66% utilisation now) or more Bankstown line services where it seems the fudged the figures to show there was demand fore them.  A lot of these "new" services while a bit more than spin, are probably actually a bit worse: costing more to implement without delivering more PT benefit.
djf01
How were the Bankstown Line figures fudged? I assume it's these figures, which show an average loading of 144% in the AM peak for March of 2013 (the most recent figures available). That's the second highest on the network, so it'd have to be fudged pretty heavily for it to not warrant additional trains on that line.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

How were the Bankstown Line figures fudged? I assume it's these figures, which show an average loading of 144% in the AM peak for March of 2013 (the most recent figures available). That's the second highest on the network, so it'd have to be fudged pretty heavily for it to not warrant additional trains on that line.
bambul
I don't know, but the most recent figures for the Bankstown Line look very suspect to me.  For the past decade or so patronage was steady at ~5000 PAX/ peak hr.  But as soon as they want to run more trains on the Bankstown line, suddenly there is a surge of patronage.  It stinks to high heaven.
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
I've noticed that the peak Endeavour services between Bomaderry and Kiama don't connect well from 21 October. The Peak AM Endeavour arrives Kiama at 05:45, the electric departs Kiama 5:57. While in PM peak the electrics arrive Kiama at 18:34 and 19:36, the Endeavours leave at 18:48 and 19:52. Is this to help freight or is there another reason the connections have to be so loose?
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
I don't know, but the most recent figures for the Bankstown Line look very suspect to me.  For the past decade or so patronage was steady at ~5000 PAX/ peak hr.  But as soon as they want to run more trains on the Bankstown line, suddenly there is a surge of patronage.  It stinks to high heaven.
djf01
Less passengers going via Regents Park?
  scott4570 Chief Train Controller

I've noticed that the peak Endeavour services between Bomaderry and Kiama don't connect well from 21 October. The Peak AM Endeavour arrives Kiama at 05:45, the electric departs Kiama 5:57. While in PM peak the electrics arrive Kiama at 18:34 and 19:36, the Endeavours leave at 18:48 and 19:52. Is this to help freight or is there another reason the connections have to be so loose?
bowralcommuter

In the morning for the Up Endeavour service arriving Kiama at 0545 hours, it would seem they have sloted this service, and the next Down Bomaderry service departing at 0550 hours, just ahead of a potential Platform conflict.
There is the connecting Sydney service at 0557 hours waiting, but another Down Service from Wollongong is due at 0556 hours.
The Down service from Wollongong would be delayed at Bombo if both platforms at Kiama are occupied.  

In the evening it would appear that the Endeavour set is working hard commencing with departure from Kiama at 1743 hours.
The set seems to run continuously, each trip each way is 27 minutes and with a minimum turnaround of 4 minutes you cannot achieve a departure from Kiama much earlier than 1848 hours and 1952 hours.  


- Scott.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I would suggest djf01 consider the cessation of Liverpool via Regents Park services; the new Bankstown line patronage figures would need to account for all the traffic formerly carried on the via Regents Park service.

While the new timetable has less recovery leeway for OTR recovery en route, the turn-up-and-go frequency should reduce the effect on passengers. I do not believe that passengers "demand on-time trains" per se; I believe they demand trains to show up when they need them to. This is perceived as a need for very high OTR, but this is only because of the lack of frequency in prior timetables; as such, it has become a favourite KPI for public transport in Australia.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I would suggest djf01 consider the cessation of Liverpool via Regents Park services; the new Bankstown line patronage figures would need to account for all the traffic formerly carried on the via Regents Park service.
Watson374

Trying to do just that.  But I don't quite have enough data.  Does anyone have copies of past years service capacity reports?  That PDF they publish onthe website?  

I have the "current" one (the website says March 2013, the PDF it links to September 2012), and last year's one: March 2012.  Both show ~160% utilisation on the Bankstown line, where as all prior reports as far as I can recall showed it no more than 120% - as does my 2010 Compendium.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
I've got the summary stats from Sep 2010 as well.

AM Bankstown = 6075, 110%, 120%
AM South = 9640, 120%, 150%

PM Bankstown = 4830, 90%, 130%
PM South = 6115, 100%, 160%
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
I haven't seen much comment about the Blue Mountains timetable. We will have two stopping patterns, all stations, stopping all stations from Penrith to Katoomba (Down) and Mt. Victoria to Penrith (Up) - with normal stops between Central and Penrith. We will also have an express service, stopping Penrith, Emu Plains, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Springwood, Hazelbrook, Wentworth Falls and onwards.

Where it gets interesting is in the evening peak.

A down all-stopper will arrive in Katoomba and terminate, and then sit in the platform. an express will then arrive at Katoomba, and then proceed onwards, to either Lithgow or Mt. Vic. The all-stopper will then proceed empty cars to Mt. Vic to stable.

So those wanting to travel (as an example) Woodford to Blackheath, will have to change at either Wenty, Leura or Katoomba (Katoomba would be the best bet).

Different workings on the Up, for quite understandable reasons.

Dave
  Brianr Assistant Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
I haven't seen much comment about the Blue Mountains timetable. We will have two stopping patterns, all stations, stopping all stations from Penrith to Katoomba (Down) and Mt. Victoria to Penrith (Up) - with normal stops between Central and Penrith. We will also have an express service, stopping Penrith, Emu Plains, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Springwood, Hazelbrook, Wentworth Falls and onwards.
thadocta
I was rather surprised  at the new stopping pattern. I left Woodford to live in Dunedin 4 years ago and gave up regular commuting several years before that. I lived on the Hazelbrook edge of Woodford and often drove to Hazelbrook to catch the train especially when I travelled on the old Summit as I was more likely to get a window seat there, also there were more car spaces there.
I know the populations of Woodford, Bullaburra are smaller (I am surprised that Lawson has been omitted) but do not see why commutors from those towns should be forced to travel in all stations to Penrith trains just so those from Wenty, Leura and above can have a few minutes faster trip.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

I know the populations of Woodford, Bullaburra are smaller (I am surprised that Lawson has been omitted) but do not see why commutors from those towns should be forced to travel in all stations to Penrith trains just so those from Wenty, Leura and above can have a few minutes faster trip.
Brianr

No different to the decades-old practice which puts those on the Bankstown Line on all-stoppers by default, or those at Lewisham on all-stoppers, or those at Denistone on all-to-Burwood trains whilst those at Eastwood and further out have expresses available.
  Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R
I'm fairly happy with the new timetable. I'm a frequent but not exactly regular train user. Three things make using trains more attractive to me; U/L fuel that costs more than $1.50 a litre to make it cost-effective,  a clock-face operating pattern of at least 4 tph so I can just 'turn up and go', and a swipe card that gives me the flexibility to travel wherever I want to go, as often or as little as I like, while still getting a good deal. So it's two down and one to go.

On the down side, Sydney trains look like they will still just trundle along. The timetable has much more slack than it did years ago. The Bankstown line in particular could be tightened up a bit. Build in the slack while you're in a turnback, not while you're carrying passengers. If you want a real world example of what trains can do if desired, try Stockholm's commuter trains (managed by MTR when I was there). The Swedes are renowned for safety in almost everything, yet their trains still manage to set a seriously cracking pace.
  vdan Train Controller

Trying to do just that.  But I don't quite have enough data.  Does anyone have copies of past years service capacity reports?  That PDF they publish onthe website?  

I have the "current" one (the website says March 2013, the PDF it links to September 2012), and last year's one: March 2012.  Both show ~160% utilisation on the Bankstown line, where as all prior reports as far as I can recall showed it no more than 120% - as does my 2010 Compendium.
djf01

http://wikisend.com/download/353848/servcap.zip
  clrks Locomotive Fireman

On the down side, Sydney trains look like they will still just trundle along. The timetable has much more slack than it did years ago. The Bankstown line in particular could be tightened up a bit. Build in the slack while you're in a turnback, not while you're carrying passengers.
Oldfart

I think you are spot on there.

The Bankstown Line appears no faster than it used to be. In the past, it was understandable why the Bankstown Line had so much slack since the travel time around the endless loop between the Inner West Lines and the Bankstown Line was not exactly a multiple of 15 minutes, so the train journey time had to add in waiting time to make the total journey time a multiple of 15 minutes to maintain its clockface timetable.

But now that is no longer the case with the Lidcombe and Homebush turnbacks breaking up the loop. The slack really should have be built in to the turnbacks at Liverpool, Lidcombe or Homebush.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The slack really should have be built in to the turnbacks at Liverpool, Lidcombe or Homebush.
"clrks"


I would be inclined to agree with you, but it's worth noting that on-time running based on individual services is used as a political KPI for the railways. Because there has been such intense focus on on-time running, I believe there is a fear that it would be politically incorrect to return to a more aggressive timetable.

Essentially, the proposal to stack the slack at termini (rather than en route) is based on the idea that it's actually alright to run a little late so long as there's enough slack at the termini so the next run of the diagram can still depart on time. Quite rightly, too. But while this is operationally sound and sensible - delivering faster journeys and a reasonably reliable system with enough back-end leeway - it is based on the acceptance of services running late (within reasonable limits, of course).

Because the political KPI is on-time running of individual services, this solution generates inferior numbers for that KPI; hence, it is politically difficult.

That having been said, however, I believe that this obsession with on-time running is flawed, at least within a Sydney Trains context. The Minister has stated that one of her goals is to elevate frequency to a turn-up-and-go level of service, allowing the timetable to be abolished at the end-user level. This is an excellent goal. I say this because what makes a service truly useful is being able to use it spontaneously. It's great if a service runs with 99.9% on-time running, but if it's an hourly service, it's not all that great for me.

Frequency matters. On-time running should be a back-end concern. At the end of the day, the customer does not care if the 17:17 Cronulla express service is within 30 seconds of its scheduled time (and how well it has been achieving that for the last six weeks). He just wants to get to the platform and have a train take him home. Preferably pronto.

So while the idea of moving the slack from the front end to the back end of the timetable is an excellent way to speed up the timetable, the stumbling block is the political obsession with the on-time running KPI. If we can get around that, and move towards a more frequency-based service model, these operational concepts can be applied successfully.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

http://wikisend.com/download/353848/servcap.zip
vdan
Thanks for that, much appreciated.
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
I blame the terrorgraph and other similar media for the obsession over OTR, every time there are peak hour delays or a bad statistic comes up its front page news! Rolling Eyes   And therefore of course, Joe Bloggs will chuck a sulk the next time his train from Town Hall to Hurstville is running 2 minutes late because he read how unreliable the trains are and that's another train running a disastrous few minutes late.
  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
There are bigger issues on the network than OTR, but the Govt obsession with the "Customer" sees this pushed into the spotlight.

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