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Unread 22-01-2013, 19:49   #1
Rashers
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Default [22/01/2013 AM Delays on Northern Suburban line

Arrived this morning at my local station along the Northern suburban line, and to my surprise, no delays due to frozen points.
No announcements from CTC, no announcements from local station staff, nothing on LED displays, and train arrived on time. No announcements from driver (for the entire journey). 8am Drogheda to Bray.
However, once we got to Howth Junction, we crawled all the way to Connolly. Arrived in there 15 mins late. No announcements in Connolly either.
So am I right to assume frozen points? If so where? I thought there was significant investment to prevent this...just curious.
Delays continued till after 11am
Examples of estimated delays into Bray (per Realtime information on IE website):
E104 Howth to Greystones = 12 mins late
P604 Drogheda to Bray = 26 mins late (I think this was about 18 mins late leaving?)
P605 Newry to Bray = 11 mins late
E205 Howth to Bray = 8 mins late
P652 Maynooth to Bray = 15 mins late
E238 Malahide to Bray = 15 mins late
P606 Drogheda to Bray = 11 mins late
E105 Howth to Greystones = 15 mins late
etc. etc.
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Unread 22-01-2013, 21:01   #2
longword
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Examples of estimated delays into Bray (per Realtime information on IE website):
E104 Howth to Greystones = 12 mins late
P604 Drogheda to Bray = 26 mins late (I think this was about 18 mins late leaving?)
P605 Newry to Bray = 11 mins late
E205 Howth to Bray = 8 mins late
P652 Maynooth to Bray = 15 mins late
E238 Malahide to Bray = 15 mins late
etc. etc.
I don't know the flight codes, but at Laytown it was announced that the 07:12 Drogheda to Bray was stuck in Drogheda due to points. The 07:00 Dundalk to Connolly ran ahead of it and at Laytown that train was on time. It was a 22k and those don't take well to overcrowding, passengers were being left at the platform a few stops later - or holding out for service past Connolly. I wasn't watching too closely but that train to Connolly was delayed, due to a Malahide DART I think, and arrived Connolly more than 15 mins late.
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Unread 22-01-2013, 21:37   #3
Mark Gleeson
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Add in a DART which sat down just off the platform in Portmarnock

Every year, the second we get some cold weather the points freeze and chaos ensues

Strange the guys in Belfast have no problems, they installed point heaters there is lesson in that somewhere.
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Unread 22-01-2013, 22:33   #4
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Add in a DART which sat down just off the platform in Portmarnock

Every year, the second we get some cold weather the points freeze and chaos ensues

Strange the guys in Belfast have no problems, they installed point heaters there is lesson in that somewhere.
This morning's DART and northern commuter services were a mess due to various points failures compounded by operational ineptitude.

The 0700 from Dundalk (2 x 3 x ICR, with perhaps 900 passengers) left Malahide at 0808 but was held outside Howth Junction to allow the 0802 from Howth to run ahead. Given that the nearest southbound train was then just approaching Connolly this nonsense resulted in a further gratuitous delay of almost 15 minutes to an already miserably slow service.
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Unread 23-01-2013, 09:04   #5
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The 0700 from Dundalk (2 x 3 x ICR, with perhaps 900 passengers) left Malahide at 0808 but was held outside Howth Junction to allow the 0802 from Howth to run ahead. Given that the nearest southbound train was then just approaching Connolly this nonsense resulted in a further gratuitous delay of almost 15 minutes to an already miserably slow service.
With the complexity of trains crossing tracks, I've often wondered if they work access to Howth Junction and Connolly a bit like an airport runway, with landing slots - specific time windows - assigned to services. Miss your slot (that Dundalk train was definitely late to the junction) and you're left circling until they can squeeze you in somewhere.
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Unread 23-01-2013, 09:59   #6
Mark Gleeson
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You miss the slot, you get fitted in in line with the published priority order. EU regulations set down rules about this and it has to be followed.

DART is assigned priority as its close to 40% of Irish Rail's business and there is little scope to recover if a delay occurs, so holding a train in Howth Junction will mean late arrival Bray which in turn ripples back

There was further DART cancellation of Malahide Dun Laoghaire service so that Howth DART had to run as planned or else cause serious build of commuters

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 23-01-2013 at 10:03.
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Unread 23-01-2013, 11:31   #7
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I question Irish Rail putting DARTs before northbound commuter trains as the majority of the commuter trains stop at many a DART station anyway - Howth Junction, Clongriffin, Portmarnock & Malahide.
Why delay even further those that have been on a train for the longest period .... it just doesn't make sense to me ......
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Unread 23-01-2013, 13:53   #8
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You miss the slot, you get fitted in in line with the published priority order. EU regulations set down rules about this and it has to be followed.

DART is assigned priority as its close to 40% of Irish Rail's business and there is little scope to recover if a delay occurs, so holding a train in Howth Junction will mean late arrival Bray which in turn ripples back

There was further DART cancellation of Malahide Dun Laoghaire service so that Howth DART had to run as planned or else cause serious build of commuters
There was already a massive build up of commuters from points north of Howth Junction, numerically way in excess of the numbers at the intermeduiate DART stations between Howth Junction and Connolly.

DART may represent 40% of Irish Rail business (by volume), it certainly doesn't represent the same proportion either by revenue or length of journey.

In any event basic maths and common sense says put the Dundalk service first - 900 passengers gratuitously delayed by at least 13 minutes versus a potential 3 minute delay to perhaps 700 passengers on the DART. The 0802 is normally one of the heavier loading DARTs as it picks up passengers at Connolly off the 0700 from Dundalk and (frequently) the 0745 from Maynooth.

Because of yesterday's nonsense passengers who turned up at Drogheda for the 0712 didn't reach Tara Street until 0844. Incidentally the 0712 from Drogheda had about 1600 passengers on board arrivin Connolly.

This DART first policy is taken to ludicrous extremes with northbound Belfast and commuter trains often severely delayed for a DART with a fraction of the numbers.

Irish Rail need to come up with an operating model far more sophisticated than the currently pathetically inadequate approach which they cuirrently employ. Otherwise see even more higher revenue traffic seep away to alternate modes.
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Unread 23-01-2013, 15:24   #9
Mark Gleeson
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Lets stop with the random made up numbers

The manufacturer max load on a 29k is 1240 per 8 coach set, at 1600 it would be beyond crush limits, it won't fit
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Unread 23-01-2013, 19:50   #10
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Lets stop with the random made up numbers

The manufacturer max load on a 29k is 1240 per 8 coach set, at 1600 it would be beyond crush limits, it won't fit
They do feel a bit beyond crush, Japanese style with people passing out, on a bad day when there's a missing or badly delayed service. Wouldn't mind knowing what the actual head count is on a day like that.
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Unread 23-01-2013, 20:09   #11
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I am confident that my my estimate is very close, suggest you ask your contacts in Irish Rail for CCTV of the 0712 from Drogheda arriving in Connolly.

As a matter of interest the crush load capacity for a 4-car 2900 is 819, 185 seated and 634 standing. Doing the maths again, the crush load capacity for an 8-car is therefore 1638.

Did you perhaps forget the seated passengers ?

Last edited by Inniskeen : 23-01-2013 at 20:12.
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Unread 23-01-2013, 21:33   #12
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Did you perhaps forget the seated passengers ?
Are you counting the children stowed away on the overhead baggage shelf?
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Unread 24-01-2013, 00:44   #13
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There were none in the category you mention (to the best of my knowledge), but on other occasions I have seen (and photographed) passengers stowed in the luggage spaces on both ICRs and Dublin/Belfast Enterprise services.

I have also frequently seen passengers on busier services take refuge in the toilets to escape the madding crowds.

Last edited by Inniskeen : 24-01-2013 at 00:47.
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Unread 24-01-2013, 11:40   #14
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DART is assigned priority as its close to 40% of Irish Rail's business and there is little scope to recover if a delay occurs, so holding a train in Howth Junction will mean late arrival Bray which in turn ripples back
What does this 40% figure mean? Is this by numbers of passengers, revenue or profit (as if)? If by revenue, then the priority is justified - if by number of passengers it is not really justified as the Enterprise first class passenger is going to pay about 30 times the price of a DART ticket. In any normal business, this customer would thus be 30 times as important.
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Unread 24-01-2013, 15:12   #15
Mark Gleeson
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Through Connolly DART is close to 70% of business by volume

Its the least loss making part of the business and has delivered a profit in the past. Plus its a mass transit system so holding a train to sneak a delayed train in results in a ripple which results in overcrowding situations, delayed arrival at destination and then delayed departure. On a regular basis when my morning DART is late a Maynooth train is allowed ahead of us, DART was late missed its slot

By timetable Commuter/Intercity are for the most part allocated a path which is fast, if they are late then the fun begins.

From my experience a large portion of delays on DART can be traced to an commuter/intercity delay, late Rosslare train, incoming train from Maynooth and so on. Both major delays I have had this week were directly traced to these cases.

Howth Junction works on first come first served, unless manually overridden, so first train in section gets the junction
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Unread 25-01-2013, 08:00   #16
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DART is nothing like 70% of the business at Connolly, a reality that has yet to dawn on either Irish Rail or yourself. In 2011 the published figures (see CSO website) for DART patronage was 16.793 million journeys while the corresponding figure for other Dublin suburban services was 10.861 muillion.

As almost all carryings into Heuston (apart perhaps from Sallins to Parkwest) are classed as intercity the non DART figures essentially refer to services on the Connolly side. DART therefore accounts for about 61% of the traffic by volume. Given that "Intercity" traffic into Connolly is not included in these figures the DART proportion declines further.

While the vast majority of non DART Dublin suburban traffic passes through Connolly (Maynooth and Northern), this is not the case for DART with by far the larger portion of traffic on the southside being handled at Pearse, Tara Street, Grand Canal Dock and Lansdowne Road.

At Howth Junction the vast majority of traffic is coming off the mainline and the majority of that is on non-DART services.

As regards DARTs being held for late running commuter services, my experience is generally directly the opposite. At Pearse northbound (peak and off-peak) it is absolutely routine for DARTs to be allowed to precede commuter trains originating there whose departure time has already well past. In other words the pattern would be a DART, 10-15 minutes later another DART (maybe to Malahide), 3 minutes later a commuter service (to Drogheda or Dundalk). Frequently the commuter service (often an 8-car formation and typically busier than the 4 or 6 car DART immediatelly ahead of it) will be anything from 5 to 8 minutes late and be carrying twice the DART loading.

This type of operation is brainless and unsustainable.
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