Train Lengths

Dear Vince Lucas

I am wondering whether it would be possible to reinstate the useful additions to the train announcement displays, whereby waiting passengers are told the length of the train expected. This allows people to distribute themselves along the platform in advance, according to how many cars the train has.

At most stations the length of the train means that it will stop at different places on the platform and not knowing how many carriages there are means either a concentration of people hedging their bets in the middle or an undignified sprint once the train arrives.

There always used to be notice of the number of carriages on the display boards – so clearly Southeastern has the technology to do it. I have no idea why the practice was stopped – but is there any chance of getting the advance notices back?

I think this is quite a polite letter – don’t you agree? It’s not earth-shattering stuff. I’m not haranguing or screaming for something unreasonable, or at least not in my humble opinion. I sent it a couple of weeks ago, and so far no reply, but I’ll let you know if I ever hear anything…


11 Comments to “Train Lengths”

  1. Kate says:

    Been caught out on this one myself. Positioned myself nicely on the platform only to have a mad 100m dash to the other end of the platform when it stops miles away from my anticipated location. The windswept-out of breath-hair all over the place-contents of bag all over the place look is never appealing just before a night out.

  2. Simstim says:

    You sometimes get the length of the train announced over the tannoy by the platform staff at London Bridge in evening peak times.

  3. Yeah, but that’s a small concession and it’s usually when they have put a 4-car train on during peak time.

    They used to do this. The signboards haven’t changed; I can’t see why they can’t it now.

  4. Mark says:

    I’m actually glad they’re gone, at least at London Bridge. Too many times I’ve been wondering if I need to sprint up the ramp to the platform only to have the sign tell me how long the train is instead of where it stops.

  5. Darian Thomson says:

    To be fair if it says its 6-car in lengh then it would go to the screens on the platform that says 6-car monitors. Also this annoys me too. This is just southeastern for you. Southern still do it.

  6. Greenwich Station user says:

    Agree with this completely. I’ve been meaning to write a very similar letter – just hadn’t got around to it.

    I had assumed it was just Greenwich Station where this info was no longer presented – but as your letter doesn’t mention a station, and a comment says it happens at London Bridge, it must be widespread?

  7. Alan Palmer says:

    When the train is shorter than usual, often I’ve seen the line about the number of carriages appear on the screens. I can’t say if it appears every time, as sometimes I haven’t noticed it and am too busy doing the 100 yard dash to look. It only seems to appear with short-formed trains, though, not every arrival.

  8. Yes – as far as I know they don’t do it anywhere any more – except when they have a really short train during rush hour – but that’s usually a tannoy announcement. I particularly miss it at Maze Hill and Westcombe Park where the length of the train really does make a big impact on where it stops in the station.

  9. Izzyrocks says:

    London Bridge is a nightmare at evening peak now that they seem to have stopped announcing either on the boards or the tannoy how long the train is (they were doing so up till about Christmas, I’d say). That narrow Platform 1 is terrifying enough (I almost slipped under a train once, only stopped by the footplate) without everyone rushing back down when it’s only four carriages. Heaven help us when it’s the only platform available once Crossrail has cut off the link to Charing Cross once and for all. I don’t mind having a great frequency of trains, but I do mind feeling I’m risking my life just to get on one.

  10. Joe D says:

    They may have the technology to do it, but they might not have the staff. When they were including the data previously, it probably involved some manual data entry. I expect they decided those wages could be better spent on senior management and shareholders.

  11. [...] – a real, live reply from Southeastern. Remember the missive I sent a little while back about their not announcing train lengths any more, which results in [...]