Train Lengths

Blimey – 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 overcrowding in some carriages or an undignified 100m dash when the train arrives halfway up the platform?

Well, here’s their reply…

Train lengths
I am sorry that the lengths of trains are no longer showing on our platform displays before a train arrives. This is due to the current limitations of our information system which is used for updating the platform displays.
Due to our system not being able to hold manually inputted data changes (such as coach lengths), every time the system is shut down for updates this data is lost and must be manually entered again. As a result, we have not been entering train lengths. However, we are investigating other ways of automatically updating the system with train length data, and we hope that the information will be available later this year.
Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention.
Yours sincerely
Daniel Westlake
Customer Relations Officer

So – not holding my breath but maybe later this year..?

The thing that I don’t get is that they always used to do the train lengths thing – so have they at some point managed to ‘upgrade’ ┬átheir former software with less sophisticated kit?

7 Comments to “Train Lengths”

  1. scared of chives says:

    Yesterday, my Greenwich line train had zero carriages – it was cancelled.

    Thanks Southeastern.

  2. Franklin says:

    Reading between the lines, Mr Westlake seems to be saying – politely, it has to be said – “We used to manually input the train lengths, but we can’t be arsed any more…”

  3. Darryl says:

    They certainly used to up until the December 2009 timetable change.

    This came up at the Charlton rail users’ group – a similar problem happens there, where 5-car trains stop at the far end of the platform, but 4-car trains stop further back. They’ve been trying to get Southeastern to acknowledge there’s a problem for a year, but they still won’t (assuming it’s a complaint that their drivers are doing things wrong.)

    Their communications boss Jon “we don’t talk to blogs” Hay Campbell was there – he was completely unaware that the destination screens no longer show train lengths. As was the SE exec who did a site report at Charlton…

  4. Itu says:

    I would guess the system hasn’t necessarily changed but the staff have been told no longer to input the data as part of efficiency measures. Typical management to stop you doing a useful small task wherever they can.

  5. Capability Bowes says:

    I would willingly forgo information on train length for the return of the “London Connections” maps inside SE Trains. Apparently these are no longer displayed because they are “too expensive to change on all our rolling stock each time the network is updated [what, every 5 years or so with a new DLR station?]“. This, of course, does not prevent the spaces being used for adverts!

  6. Capability Bowes says:

    Hey Phant – train annoumcments on the Bexleyheath Line have suddenly started coming with added carriage numbers!

  7. [...] this at Westcombe Park – but could it be that Southeastern have actually done something about the suggestion I made a couple of months ago about notifying passengers about train [...]