Express v Stoppers

 
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I have long maintained that the difference between express and all stations trains in Melbourne is that the stoppers stop at the stations and the expresses stop between the stations.

Saturday 24/10 saw the following timetable put up on the Craigieburn line:

Location/train               Stopper           Express

Flinders Street              1352               1354
Spencer Street              1355               1357
North Melbourne           1359                1401
Moonee Ponds               1407               1411      Express loses 2 minutes by not stopping 3 stations
Craigieburn                   1435               1439      Express takes same time despite not stopping 10 stations

Total time                     43 mins          45 mins

Express take extra 2 minutes despite skipping 13 stations. So much for saving time by skipping stations.

Before I saw the schedule I assumed that the express would run over the stopper by Kensington or at Essendon but no so - virtually empty cars beyond Moonee Ponds anyway.

1352 service was not crowded and 1354 service was only a 3 car Comeng

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  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Given that the 1354 doesn't appear in the next iteration of the timetable, it was probably just a planned light engine movement to the Craigieburn stabling that was changed to a revenue service. I remember reading a blog on it somewhere which I can't find now.

How many services regularly run as 3 Cars only? I haven't seen any recently, but I really only travel during the peak.
  A hat with a toucan 2:ele Junior Train Controller

How does the express lose time?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Given that the 1354 doesn't appear in the next iteration of the timetable, it was probably just a planned light engine movement to the Craigieburn stabling that was changed to a revenue service. I remember reading a blog on it somewhere which I can't find now.

How many services regularly run as 3 Cars only? I haven't seen any recently, but I really only travel during the peak.
TOQ-1
I assume that the 1354 (3 car express) was some sort of junket associated with the races at Moonee Valley that day given that it only stopped at Moonee Ponds.
I am not aware of any scheduled 3 car services on the Craigieburn line but I only travel during the day.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
How does the express lose time?
A hat with a toucan 2:ele
Prams and passengers
Yellow lights
Lethargy
Indolence
Lack of interest
Ridiculous timetabling

Who knows?
  AzN_dj Chief Commissioner

Location: Along route 69
One of the main issues is that dwell times are much higher these days, especially with express trains - more people on and off at a small number of stations, compared to a small number of people at a large number of stations.

Track capacity is another explanation right now - to fit more trains in, you need to run everything slower. Also, trains cannot easily overtake each other.

Express trains are mainly psychological - it isn't that they are faster (look at Pakenham/Cranbourne right now and V/Line as well when you throw it into the mix). It is more that they *feel* faster.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
One of the main issues is that dwell times are much higher these days, especially with express trains - more people on and off at a small number of stations, compared to a small number of people at a large number of stations.

Track capacity is another explanation right now - to fit more trains in, you need to run everything slower. Also, trains cannot easily overtake each other.

Express trains are mainly psychological - it isn't that they are faster (look at Pakenham/Cranbourne right now and V/Line as well when you throw it into the mix). It is more that they *feel* faster.
AzN_dj
It's certainly psychological. A 3 car express train taking 2 minutes longer (by not stopping at 13 stations) over the time taken by a train that stopped at those 13 stations.
This was on a line with basically 20 minute intervals.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The express was not advertised and does not appear in the timetable.  Almost all trains on the Craigieburn line which are advertised stop at all stations.  

It is normal to run additional trains to cater for expected peak demand usually sporting events and at new year.  Those are timed and pathed as required by the event and while they will appear in the weekly traffic circular which is available to operating staff who need it they will not be advertised widely.  They sometimes but not always appear on the PTV / Metro website and via the Metro phone app.

The train in question was provided for the benefit of persons travelling to Moonee Valley races which is why it was not booked to stop at most stations beyond Moonee Ponds.  It cannot overtake the timetabled service in front so cannot be faster overall.  If it were able to leave two minutes ahead of the service train then it could gain time but there is no pathway for it to do so; other trains must also share the same tracks / cross the same junctions.

The train ran through to Craigieburn because that is where the stabling facility is.  Similar trains ran in the up direction after the event.  

Those express trains which appear in the published timetable normally do offer a time saving over all-stations trains.  As an example the Frankston expresses which do not stop between Cheltenham and Caulfield and Malvern (morning only) to South Yarra save typically 7 minutes by skipping 10-11 stops.

There are in addition a number of unadvertised trains to Craigieburn each weekday after the morning peak and which skip most stations.  There are non-PSR (not part of the Passenger Service Requirement) services available to the public but which do not appear in the timetables nor on the apps.  Some regulars are aware of them.  They exist to get trains and drivers back to the depot after the morning peak but again they cannot overtake a stopping train and are often no faster end-to-end.  Similar arrangements exist on some other lines including to Upfield and Epping and terminating there not South Morang because of the depot.
  torrens5022 Junior Train Controller

The express is running two minutes behind an all stations train, how is this train supposed to gain time if it's two minutes behind another train that is stopping?
If it was an actual timetabled service it would / should run before an all stops not after.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The express is not "supposed to gain time".  It is provided as additional capacity for a special event and has to take what ever path is available.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The express was not advertised and does not appear in the timetable.  Almost all trains on the Craigieburn line which are advertised stop at all stations.  

It is normal to run additional trains to cater for expected peak demand usually sporting events and at new year.  Those are timed and pathed as required by the event and while they will appear in the weekly traffic circular which is available to operating staff who need it they will not be advertised widely.  They sometimes but not always appear on the PTV / Metro website and via the Metro phone app.

The train in question was provided for the benefit of persons travelling to Moonee Valley races which is why it was not booked to stop at most stations beyond Moonee Ponds.  It cannot overtake the timetabled service in front so cannot be faster overall.  If it were able to leave two minutes ahead of the service train then it could gain time but there is no pathway for it to do so; other trains must also share the same tracks / cross the same junctions.

The train ran through to Craigieburn because that is where the stabling facility is.  Similar trains ran in the up direction after the event.  

Those express trains which appear in the published timetable normally do offer a time saving over all-stations trains.  As an example the Frankston expresses which do not stop between Cheltenham and Caulfield and Malvern (morning only) to South Yarra save typically 7 minutes by skipping 10-11 stops.

There are in addition a number of unadvertised trains to Craigieburn each weekday after the morning peak and which skip most stations.  There are non-PSR (not part of the Passenger Service Requirement) services available to the public but which do not appear in the timetables nor on the apps.  Some regulars are aware of them.  They exist to get trains and drivers back to the depot after the morning peak but again they cannot overtake a stopping train and are often no faster end-to-end.  Similar arrangements exist on some other lines including to Upfield and Epping and terminating there not South Morang because of the depot.
Gwiwer
Sorry Gwiwer.

The train was 'advertised' as it was in the timetable and also on the information screens at Flinders Street.
I caught the 1352 as I was unable to find out the stopping pattern of the 1354 until after the 1352 had departed. (Always catch the first train - there may not be another one!).
This is now probably an item fro the 'Armchair Operators' but the following surprised me:
Why the express did not run via Spion Kop and overtake the 1352 in the process.
Why the express did not run via 1 or 2 platforms at Essendon and overtake the 1352 in the process. I assume that Essendon would be switched out or not competently staffed.
Why an express was tabled 2 minutes longer North Melbourne to Craigieburn than an all stations despite not stopping at 13 of the 14 stations on the route.

No doubt there are reasons and it is, of course, a hypothetical exercise now but it did seem strange to me. Everything was running late anyway.

Keep up your usually well informed posts, please.
Keep smiling - it's only a game. Smile
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Sorry - railway jargon.  "Advertised" means it is in the current public timetable.  All other trains are unadvertised whether or not they appear on PIDs / posters / apps / websites in regard to special events or are regular non-PSR runs.

All sorts of reasons as you say why the express did what it did and not something else.  The driver might not have signed Spion Kop (though I believe all who sign Craigieburn, which is currently most Metro drivers, do) or there might not have been a path that way.  There might have been other regulating issues including no option to overtake at Essendon.

a game


It sure is.

If you were at Flinders Street around the time a major event concluded at the MCG or other arenas that side of town you would see a number of trains listed on the PIDs which are not found in the timetables.  Those are assigned platforms at Flinders Street and appear on the platform PIDs as well yet will not take passengers.  They are football (or what ever) extras and will start service at Richmond or Jolimont according to route.

The same is true of events at Etihad Stadium with unadvertised extras departing in that direction and commencing service at Southern Cross.

It causes station staff no end of headaches dealing with queries for trains which are to all intents and purposes being offered to the public, which will stop in the assigned platform but which will not take passengers ......
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Sorry - railway jargon.  "Advertised" means it is in the current public timetable.  All other trains are unadvertised whether or not they appear on PIDs / posters / apps / websites in regard to special events or are regular non-PSR runs.

All sorts of reasons as you say why the express did what it did and not something else.  The driver might not have signed Spion Kop (though I believe all who sign Craigieburn, which is currently most Metro drivers, do) or there might not have been a path that way.  There might have been other regulating issues including no option to overtake at Essendon.

a game


It sure is.

If you were at Flinders Street around the time a major event concluded at the MCG or other arenas that side of town you would see a number of trains listed on the PIDs which are not found in the timetables.  Those are assigned platforms at Flinders Street and appear on the platform PIDs as well yet will not take passengers.  They are football (or what ever) extras and will start service at Richmond or Jolimont according to route.

The same is true of events at Etihad Stadium with unadvertised extras departing in that direction and commencing service at Southern Cross.

It causes station staff no end of headaches dealing with queries for trains which are to all intents and purposes being offered to the public, which will stop in the assigned platform but which will not take passengers ......
Gwiwer
Gone are the days.........................it's only a game after all.Rolling Eyes
  hot-axle-box Junior Train Controller

The express was not advertised and does not appear in the timetable.  Almost all trains on the Craigieburn line which are advertised stop at all stations.  

It is normal to run additional trains to cater for expected peak demand usually sporting events and at new year.  Those are timed and pathed as required by the event and while they will appear in the weekly traffic circular which is available to operating staff who need it they will not be advertised widely.  They sometimes but not always appear on the PTV / Metro website and via the Metro phone app.

The train in question was provided for the benefit of persons travelling to Moonee Valley races which is why it was not booked to stop at most stations beyond Moonee Ponds.  It cannot overtake the timetabled service in front so cannot be faster overall.  If it were able to leave two minutes ahead of the service train then it could gain time but there is no pathway for it to do so; other trains must also share the same tracks / cross the same junctions.

The train ran through to Craigieburn because that is where the stabling facility is.  Similar trains ran in the up direction after the event.  

Those express trains which appear in the published timetable normally do offer a time saving over all-stations trains.  As an example the Frankston expresses which do not stop between Cheltenham and Caulfield and Malvern (morning only) to South Yarra save typically 7 minutes by skipping 10-11 stops.

There are in addition a number of unadvertised trains to Craigieburn each weekday after the morning peak and which skip most stations.  There are non-PSR (not part of the Passenger Service Requirement) services available to the public but which do not appear in the timetables nor on the apps.  Some regulars are aware of them.  They exist to get trains and drivers back to the depot after the morning peak but again they cannot overtake a stopping train and are often no faster end-to-end.  Similar arrangements exist on some other lines including to Upfield and Epping and terminating there not South Morang because of the depot.
Sorry Gwiwer.

The train was 'advertised' as it was in the timetable and also on the information screens at Flinders Street.
I caught the 1352 as I was unable to find out the stopping pattern of the 1354 until after the 1352 had departed. (Always catch the first train - there may not be another one!).
This is now probably an item fro the 'Armchair Operators' but the following surprised me:
Why the express did not run via Spion Kop and overtake the 1352 in the process.
Why the express did not run via 1 or 2 platforms at Essendon and overtake the 1352 in the process. I assume that Essendon would be switched out or not competently staffed.
Why an express was tabled 2 minutes longer North Melbourne to Craigieburn than an all stations despite not stopping at 13 of the 14 stations on the route.

No doubt there are reasons and it is, of course, a hypothetical exercise now but it did seem strange to me. Everything was running late anyway.

Keep up your usually well informed posts, please.
Keep smiling - it's only a game. Smile
YM-Mundrabilla
Let me fill you in on some of the constraints on the craigieburn line.

The time you caught this train the loop was running anti clockwise, now if an express follows a stopper though the loop it can't get from  the eastern suburban line, PL 1 and 2 at Nth Melb and get to the Broady suburban line,(which runs up over spion kop) and is accessed from PL 5 and 6. It would have run direct from Flinders st like the Race/Show trains do.

Secondly Essendon is now always switched in, to do a "run though" will knock 2 minutes at least off the train that has to stop and be overtaken. it is a fair distance from the home arrival signal to the next auto  signal on the down at Essendon and until an express clears said auto, you will not get the route for the stopper. Unless there is a desperately late V/line or the stopper has a problem "run throughs" are a last resort.

Essendon is controlled from Kensington and the signallers there are not incompetent.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The express was not advertised and does not appear in the timetable.  Almost all trains on the Craigieburn line which are advertised stop at all stations.  

It is normal to run additional trains to cater for expected peak demand usually sporting events and at new year.  Those are timed and pathed as required by the event and while they will appear in the weekly traffic circular which is available to operating staff who need it they will not be advertised widely.  They sometimes but not always appear on the PTV / Metro website and via the Metro phone app.

The train in question was provided for the benefit of persons travelling to Moonee Valley races which is why it was not booked to stop at most stations beyond Moonee Ponds.  It cannot overtake the timetabled service in front so cannot be faster overall.  If it were able to leave two minutes ahead of the service train then it could gain time but there is no pathway for it to do so; other trains must also share the same tracks / cross the same junctions.

The train ran through to Craigieburn because that is where the stabling facility is.  Similar trains ran in the up direction after the event.  

Those express trains which appear in the published timetable normally do offer a time saving over all-stations trains.  As an example the Frankston expresses which do not stop between Cheltenham and Caulfield and Malvern (morning only) to South Yarra save typically 7 minutes by skipping 10-11 stops.

There are in addition a number of unadvertised trains to Craigieburn each weekday after the morning peak and which skip most stations.  There are non-PSR (not part of the Passenger Service Requirement) services available to the public but which do not appear in the timetables nor on the apps.  Some regulars are aware of them.  They exist to get trains and drivers back to the depot after the morning peak but again they cannot overtake a stopping train and are often no faster end-to-end.  Similar arrangements exist on some other lines including to Upfield and Epping and terminating there not South Morang because of the depot.
Sorry Gwiwer.

The train was 'advertised' as it was in the timetable and also on the information screens at Flinders Street.
I caught the 1352 as I was unable to find out the stopping pattern of the 1354 until after the 1352 had departed. (Always catch the first train - there may not be another one!).
This is now probably an item fro the 'Armchair Operators' but the following surprised me:
Why the express did not run via Spion Kop and overtake the 1352 in the process.
Why the express did not run via 1 or 2 platforms at Essendon and overtake the 1352 in the process. I assume that Essendon would be switched out or not competently staffed.
Why an express was tabled 2 minutes longer North Melbourne to Craigieburn than an all stations despite not stopping at 13 of the 14 stations on the route.

No doubt there are reasons and it is, of course, a hypothetical exercise now but it did seem strange to me. Everything was running late anyway.

Keep up your usually well informed posts, please.
Keep smiling - it's only a game. Smile
Let me fill you in on some of the constraints on the craigieburn line.

The time you caught this train the loop was running anti clockwise, now if an express follows a stopper though the loop it can't get from  the eastern suburban line, PL 1 and 2 at Nth Melb and get to the Broady suburban line,(which runs up over spion kop) and is accessed from PL 5 and 6. It would have run direct from Flinders st like the Race/Show trains do.

Secondly Essendon is now always switched in, to do a "run though" will knock 2 minutes at least off the train that has to stop and be overtaken. it is a fair distance from the home arrival signal to the next auto  signal on the down at Essendon and until an express clears said auto, you will not get the route for the stopper. Unless there is a desperately late V/line or the stopper has a problem "run throughs" are a last resort.

Essendon is controlled from Kensington and the signallers there are not incompetent.
hot-axle-box
Sorry, the loop was running clockwise ie approach from the east end of Flinders Street and depart to the west end.
I agree with not running through the 1352 at Essendon with what was, by that stage, an empty car move to the detriment of a train with a fair number of passengers.
It was the timetable that I was commenting on where a train stopping at only one station between North Melbourne and Craigieburn was tabled 2 minutes longer than one stopping at all 14 stations between North Melbourne and Craigieburn.
I know nothing of the Kensington signallers and made no comment upon them.
  712M Chief Commissioner

The 2 minutes longer could be explained by the signalling headways. In the city trains can, in theory, depart within 2 minutes of each other as was the case in your example. However out past Broadmeadows there is a higher speed limit of 130 km/h (however Metro trains go no faster than 115) meaning that signals are spaced further apart and therefore trains must run further apart for safe operation. Thus, is why the second train arrives at Craigieburn 4 minutes later than the first.

This is explaibing it in very simple terms and someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Overtaking options do exist but let's say none was available on the Race day, but since it has to run 2 minutes behind an all stop train anyway, why not make it stop all stations so that it can serve as many passengers as possible?  Not all race goers live in Craigieburn.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
I think most people who have commuted would agree stoppers stop at the stations and express trains stop between stations.
However, Cranbourne trains do both, and don't make it to Dandenong in time and terminate there.

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