It's only 10 minutes

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Yesterday when travelling home on the 13:16 after leaving work early, we made good progress with an enthusiastic driver (not all drivers are enthusiastic), we arrived at Parwan loop for the obligatory cross.

There we waited and waited and waited until an announcement was made that we were waiting for the late running train to Melbourne to pass by...which got me thinking when the UP crossed us and we were now at least 10 minutes late.

There are at least two train controllers who oversee the Ballarat line, one of whom thinks outside the box and would have held the UP at Maddingley loop and allowed our train on continue on its way...on time....no not just so I could arrive home on time, but I digress.

Because we were now 10 minutes late, this had the flow on effect of causing the next UP to be late as my train was late for the cross at Millbrook. This in turn caused the 14:16 DOWN to be late because it had to wait and wait and wait at Parwan loop waiting for the late running UP to cross. This now late running DOWN caused the next UP service to be late and so the cycle continued until there was possibly a change of shift in Centrol and a more imaginative train controller took over and thought outside the box to get things back on time again.

Getting back to my train, the 13:16. It was probably late after the Parwan cross due to the 12:16 running late which caused the UP to be late crossing my train at Parwan loop. This cycle may well have occurred for several hours previous to my train.

On weekends, as I live opposite the Ballarat line, this regularly occurs and can last throughout the day and if I'm at home I'll see the trains passing by up to 10 or even 15 late due to the cumulative effect of a late train creating a domino effect of late running trains throughout the day.

Sometimes on a Sunday I'll catch a down in the afternoon and race to the Aldi 2 blocks from Ballarat station which gives me 40 minutes, do the shopping and race back to Ballarat station to catch the UP and get back to Ballan...all in just over an hour. However If my DOWN from Ballan is more than 10 mins late, I give up and go home and take the car as I won't have the time to do the shopping and I'll have to wait almost an hour at Ballarat station for the next train...but again I digress.

Then, as if by magic a train will arrive...usually on the DOWN, on time and I think a change of shift at Centrol and the new train controller is thinking outside of the box..

Merry Christmas and compliments of the Season to all...

Mike.

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  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
Life must be very hard for you.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Yesterday when travelling home on the 13:16 after leaving work early, we made good progress with an enthusiastic driver (not all drivers are enthusiastic), we arrived at Parwan loop for the obligatory cross.

(Big snip for brevity)

Merry Christmas and compliments of the Season to all...

Mike.
The Vinelander
All that implies train control done by human input at intermediate crossing loops, regardless if this human controller thinks outside the box or not. Wonder instead if train control has what is sometimes termed route setting in that the start and end of a train route is entered (eg Ballarat as start and big station in Melbourne as end) and the computer automatically calculates and sets signals and points automatically for any enroute trains crosses at intermediate crossing loops such as Parwan etc  

I don't live in Victoria so not sure what they have, although I suspect they have a computer somewhere that suggests or determines crossing arrangements, even if a human just selects a range of options suggested by the computer.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Life must be very hard for you.
LowndesJ515
Not sure what you are getting at with that comment but I can tell you that for those of us who catch V/Line services regularly in the course of our lives the constant delays, cancellations and other dramas DO make life hard.

Being late for work, late for family visits, missing medical appointments, missing bus connections and having to fork out for taxis, all these and more  are just part and parcel of a system that is moving from groaning at the seams to breaking point.

At least in Mikes case he has the option to use a car. Some of us are not that lucky so yes, life IS hard for those of us who travel on the cushions (and pay for the privilege) regularly.

Merry Christmas to you Mike and to all people of goodwill on Railpage Australia™ (which is unfortunately not all users)
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Life must be very hard for you.
Not sure what you are getting at with that comment but I can tell you that for those of us who catch V/Line services regularly in the course of our lives the constant delays, cancellations and other dramas DO make life hard.

Being late for work, late for family visits, missing medical appointments, missing bus connections and having to fork out for taxis, all these and more  are just part and parcel of a system that is moving from groaning at the seams to breaking point.

At least in Mikes case he has the option to use a car. Some of us are not that lucky so yes, life IS hard for those of us who travel on the cushions (and pay for the privilege) regularly.

Merry Christmas to you Mike and to all people of goodwill on Railpage Australia™ (which is unfortunately not all users)
BrentonGolding
2020 will be perfect - Jacinta Allen told me ...............Exclamation
I only suffer from Metro madness but you have my sympathy. With Metro, catching at least one train earlier might get you there on time.
I share Mike's comments about 'enthusiastic' and 'less than enthusiastic' drivers (unless the Comengs that I catch are running on one traction motor.Rolling Eyes
As BG has said, inter alia:

'Merry Christmas to to all people of goodwill on Railpage Australia.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Life must be very hard for you.
Not sure what you are getting at with that comment but I can tell you that for those of us who catch V/Line services regularly in the course of our lives the constant delays, cancellations and other dramas DO make life hard.

Being late for work, late for family visits, missing medical appointments, missing bus connections and having to fork out for taxis, all these and more  are just part and parcel of a system that is moving from groaning at the seams to breaking point.

At least in Mikes case he has the option to use a car. Some of us are not that lucky so yes, life IS hard for those of us who travel on the cushions (and pay for the privilege) regularly.

Merry Christmas to you Mike and to all people of goodwill on Railpage Australia™ (which is unfortunately not all users)
2020 will be perfect - Jacinta Allen told me ...............Exclamation
I only suffer from Metro madness but you have my sympathy. With Metro, catching at least one train earlier might get you there on time.
I share Mike's comments about 'enthusiastic' and 'less than enthusiastic' drivers (unless the Comengs that I catch are running on one traction motor.Rolling Eyes
As BG has said, inter alia:

'Merry Christmas to to all people of goodwill on Railpage Australia.
YM-Mundrabilla
In many cases poor timetabling by VLP in the first place. Weekdays the 1216 & 1416 Dn Ararats BOTH have a very ambitious 10 minute turnaround at Ararat. And we all know how eager VLP is to slap on SR's because of a dodgy culvert etc and likewise how eager VLP are to remove an ever increasing number of SR on the passenger network. So both the 1216 Dn and 1416 Dn run via the old North Line at Millbrook because the WTT says so . (Just like we dont carry bicycles on replacement coach services because the Passenger Manual says so !)  However by simply making the transition from the 1216 Dn onwards and run the 1216 and 1416 Downs via the South direct line the turnaround time at Ararat for both trips at Ararat would be 15 minutes. Now sure the corresponding Ups would need to leave Wendouree 5 earlier, but no big deal. The Down traffic is the heavier traffic by far after Noon so the Downs should run direct via Millbrook and the Ups via the North line after Noon seven days a week . Not rocket science.  Anyway that problem will dissapear hopefully once Millbrook loop is commissioned early 2020. The poorly timed crosses at Parwan are a poor feature of the current timetable. As soon as the double track through Bacchus Marsh is commissioned early 2020 even with the existing tt that situation should improve as crosses will become practicable at the Marsh with two usable platforms. Whilst I have done set back pass crosses at the Marsh they are to be avoided these days.
NB: Once the double track section from Maddingley to the Up end of Bacchus Marsh is commissioned early in 2020 the Rowsley Loop effectively will become a white elephant, with something like only 750m of single track being duplicated to make the double track from the Up end of the Marsh to the Down end of Rowsley Loop.  One wonders who plans, oversees and allows these sort of situations to occur. Also if VLP or DOT or RPV were doing their jobs properly these sort of blunders/oversights would not occur.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
All that implies train control done by human input at intermediate crossing loops, regardless if this human controller thinks outside the box or not. Wonder instead if train control has what is sometimes termed route setting in that the start and end of a train route is entered (eg Ballarat as start and big station in Melbourne as end) and the computer automatically calculates and sets signals and points automatically for any enroute trains crosses at intermediate crossing loops such as Parwan etc  

I don't live in Victoria so not sure what they have, although I suspect they have a computer somewhere that suggests or determines crossing arrangements, even if a human just selects a range of options suggested by the computer.
petan
An extra thought to the computer planning of the train crosses is they usually have a preset priority in the program such as which type of train is more expendable and so will be held to allow another type of train to maintain schedule or to make up time if running late. The preset priority decided by senior management when the computer program was commissioned, may even include how the computer handles inbound and outbound trains if one or both are running late.

Perhaps the train priority list is published somewhere.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Not sure what you are getting at with that comment but I can tell you that for those of us who catch V/Line services regularly in the course of our lives the constant delays, cancellations and other dramas DO make life hard.

Being late for work, late for family visits, missing medical appointments, missing bus connections and having to fork out for taxis, all these and more  are just part and parcel of a system that is moving from groaning at the seams to breaking point.
"BrentonGolding"
Public transport is all very well.  Reliable public transport is another thing entirely.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
Life must be very hard for you.
Not sure what you are getting at with that comment but I can tell you that for those of us who catch V/Line services regularly in the course of our lives the constant delays, cancellations and other dramas DO make life hard.

Being late for work, late for family visits, missing medical appointments, missing bus connections and having to fork out for taxis, all these and more  are just part and parcel of a system that is moving from groaning at the seams to breaking point.

At least in Mikes case he has the option to use a car. Some of us are not that lucky so yes, life IS hard for those of us who travel on the cushions (and pay for the privilege) regularly.

Merry Christmas to you Mike and to all people of goodwill on Railpage Australia™ (which is unfortunately not all users)
BrentonGolding
Welcome to the rest of Australia and probably the world. It happens everywhere on a daily basis.

Train Controllers are human, they make mistakes sometimes just like all of us. I dont see the point of having a whinge. Trains run late all the time, deal with it. Get an earlier train, get a bus, move closer to where you have to be. There ARE options available.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Welcome to the rest of Australia and probably the world. It happens everywhere on a daily basis.
"LowndesJ515"
Go and have a look at trains in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore et al, and we'll all watch while you eat your words.

Get an earlier train, get a bus, move closer to where you have to be. There ARE options available.
"LowndesJ515"
Sure there are, and they'll be needed for as long as we have those who are prepared to not only accept inefficiency, but to endorse it as normal practice.  
How much earlier is the earlier train? Are you sure there's a suitable bus? Move house? sure - money's no object.
You are avoiding the point - people have a right to expect systems to operate correctly and Victoria's record is abysmal.
Welcome to the reality of an appalling public transport system.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'Welcome to the rest of Australia and probably the world. It happens everywhere on a daily basis.'

Not on an everywhere all day every day basis. Just look at Switzerland or Japan.

'Train Controllers are human, they make mistakes sometimes just like all of us.'

Of course they are and of course they do but, like drivers, there seem to be 'enthusiastic' and 'non-enthusiastic' train controllers. The big unknown to us mere mortals are the dargs and rules under which they operate. There was a rubbish TV show about Metro and Flinders Street Station the other night which highlighted pretty much the down side of the whole operation and the problems that we face every day.

The star of the show was the Platform Announcer often on platforms 4 and 5 who does the countdown to a train departure. One has to admire his professionalism, courtesy and enthusiasm in the light of such general adversity. Well done! ExclamationExclamation  The opposite was the 'Controller' who let slip that 'things will eventually run themselves out'. Presumably if we wait long enough.

If the mere mortals don't complain instead of 5 minutes being near enough is good enough the figure would be an hour (who knows?).

'Trains run late all the time, deal with it.'  

An admission of systemic failure

'Get an earlier train, get a bus, move closer to where you have to be. There ARE options available.'

Not much point when busses run to a 50 minute interval (at best) and don't go where you need to be. One cannot buy and sell houses on a monthly basis just because the trains run late.

There needs to be TOTAL culture change so far as public transport in Melbourne is concerned. Trains MUST run RELIABLY, REGULARLY, ENTHUSIASTICALLY and PUNCTUALLY. Passengers MUST respect the service, infrastructure, rolling stock and the staff. The lies and spin must stop. ('The rails overheat because we run so many trains .............').

Who starts the culture change is the question for 2020.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

There was a rubbish TV show about Metro and Flinders Street Station the other night which highlighted pretty much the down side of the whole operation and the problems that we face every day.
Don’t suppose you remember what channel it was on YM? I wasn’t expecting much when I heard Channel 5 were producing it but was still hoping to catch it when it made it to our screens.

And yes, the FSS 4/5 announcer is an absolute legend with a good humour and enthusiasm totally unbefitting what must be one of the railways’ least rewarding jobs.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Train Controllers are human, they make mistakes sometimes just like all of us. I dont see the point of having a whinge. Trains run late all the time, deal with it. Get an earlier train, get a bus, move closer to where you have to be. There ARE options available.
LowndesJ515
I'll leave most of this alone as YM and others have dealt with it better than I would have.

I will however address your comment re moving closer to where you have to be.

As I have posted before on RP I am someone who drank the Victorian government Kool Aid and actually moved from Melbourne to Central Victoria based on the promise of improved V/Line services after the RRL was completed.

Pretty soon after that we had the wheel wear issue to deal with and the chaos that wrought. Things got so bad that people from my new home town even banded together to rent flats in Melbourne to use when they had early meetings or classes because V/Line could not be relied upon to get them to their destination.

Since then the system has had many ups and downs but you would do well to remember that it is the Government who claims to want people to move to the regions to take pressure off Melbourne. A hit and miss regional rail system is NOT the way to achieve it. It is simply not reliable enough for anyone to base important lifestyle decisions on.

You are right about one thing though, there ARE options - keep filling Melbourne up with more and more people. Sounds like a great plan!
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
There was a rubbish TV show about Metro and Flinders Street Station the other night which highlighted pretty much the down side of the whole operation and the problems that we face every day.
Don’t suppose you remember what channel it was on YM? I wasn’t expecting much when I heard Channel 5 were producing it but was still hoping to catch it when it made it to our screens.

And yes, the FSS 4/5 announcer is an absolute legend with a good humour and enthusiasm totally unbefitting what must be one of the railways’ least rewarding jobs.
potatoinmymouth
Sorry PIMM.

I didn't even know of the show's existence until the YMs blundered across it the other night.

Unfortunately, I don't even know the day, the time or the channel (SBS ?), much less its name or the 'commentator/presenter' (whatever). I did think that he might be a Pom (Tony Robinson ?). There are those on here who maintain that I don't know what day it is and in this instance they would be right.Smile

All in all, (with the exceptions of one PSO and old mate on 4 and 5), the highlights seemed to be:

  • The overhead coming down somewhere east
  • Someone spewing on a train
  • A drunk sprawled on a platform
  • Some sheila occupying the ladies toilet for an hour and a half
  • Someone loitering at an outstation resulting in the suspension of train services until the cops said that he was OK. Perhaps he was waiting for a train.

Sadly, the show realistically represented what we have all come to experience as more or less 'normal' operation of Melbourne's train network due to all of passengers, Metro, the Nanny State and PTV.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Yesterday when travelling home on the 13:16 after leaving work early, we made good progress with an enthusiastic driver (not all drivers are enthusiastic), we arrived at Parwan loop for the obligatory cross.

There we waited and waited and waited until an announcement was made that we were waiting for the late running train to Melbourne to pass by...which got me thinking when the UP crossed us and we were now at least 10 minutes late.

There are at least two train controllers who oversee the Ballarat line, one of whom thinks outside the box and would have held the UP at Maddingley loop and allowed our train on continue on its way...on time....no not just so I could arrive home on time, but I digress.

Because we were now 10 minutes late, this had the flow on effect of causing the next UP to be late as my train was late for the cross at Millbrook. This in turn caused the 14:16 DOWN to be late because it had to wait and wait and wait at Parwan loop waiting for the late running UP to cross. This now late running DOWN caused the next UP service to be late and so the cycle continued until there was possibly a change of shift in Centrol and a more imaginative train controller took over and thought outside the box to get things back on time again.

Getting back to my train, the 13:16. It was probably late after the Parwan cross due to the 12:16 running late which caused the UP to be late crossing my train at Parwan loop. This cycle may well have occurred for several hours previous to my train.



Then, as if by magic a train will arrive...usually on the DOWN, on time and I think a change of shift at Centrol and the new train controller is thinking outside of the box..

Merry Christmas and compliments of the Season to all...

Mike.
The Vinelander
Mike, not trying to be critical here but there are a lot of assumptions in your post that aren't quite right.

First up, if you think you can pick which train controller is on duty just by which trains are held at a certain location then you're doing a lot better than those of us that speak to them daily. I'm sure they have their own quirks like any person but they also have to justify their actions to higher above and questions would be asked if they were making decisions that weren't optimal (i.e. making trains late).

Which brings me to your train. You were correct in that the 12:16 (8133) was running late which was due to an operational issue at Bacchus Marsh which then made the UP Ararat (8148) 8 minutes late. Your train departed Melton 4 minutes late and arrived at Parwan Loop pretty much the same time as 8148 arrived at Rowsley Loop where the train controller made the call to hold you and let 8148 continue on.

I get that it sucks to be sitting stationary in a loop and getting off at Ballan 10 minutes late, but looking at the bigger picture which is what train controllers do, 8148 arrived at Southern Cross only 1 minute late and your train arrived at Wendouree exactly on time. So in other words the train controller made a great decision and has allowed both trains get to their destinations on time.

The delays caused by 8133 running late were confined to your train, 8148, and the next UP train 8152 which arrived at Southern Cross 4 late. There were no hours of delays or a change of train controller required to get things back on time.

As for 'enthusiastic drivers', personally my main priority is safety followed by passenger comfort. I don't see the point in braking at the last moment for a station or curve, and quite often its the 'enthusiastic' ones that need to front up to a manager to explain why they had an indiscretion. The timetable pretty much demands that you drive flat out to maintain it, but it doesn't take much to lose time such as a motor out or passengers that decide they all want to board through the same door.

Wonder instead if train control has what is sometimes termed route setting in that the start and end of a train route is entered (eg Ballarat as start and big station in Melbourne as end) and the computer automatically calculates and sets signals and points automatically for any enroute trains crosses at intermediate crossing loops such as Parwan etc
petan
Its been a while since i've been to centrol but i'm 99% sure its still done section by section by the signaller/train controller. Occasionally you get 'forgotten' about which requires a quick phone call to get the signal pulled off. I believe Metrol though has a degree of automation their area of control.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
There was a rubbish TV show about Metro and Flinders Street Station the other night which highlighted pretty much the down side of the whole operation and the problems that we face every day.
Don’t suppose you remember what channel it was on YM? I wasn’t expecting much when I heard Channel 5 were producing it but was still hoping to catch it when it made it to our screens.

And yes, the FSS 4/5 announcer is an absolute legend with a good humour and enthusiasm totally unbefitting what must be one of the railways’ least rewarding jobs.
Sorry PIMM.

I didn't even know of the show's existence until the YMs blundered across it the other night.

Unfortunately, I don't even know the day, the time or the channel (SBS ?), much less its name or the 'commentator/presenter' (whatever). I did think that he might be a Pom (Tony Robinson ?). There are those on here who maintain that I don't know what day it is and in this instance they would be right.Smile

All in all, (with the exceptions of one PSO and old mate on 4 and 5), the highlights seemed to be:

  • The overhead coming down somewhere east
  • Someone spewing on a train
  • A drunk sprawled on a platform
  • Some sheila occupying the ladies toilet for an hour and a half
  • Someone loitering at an outstation resulting in the suspension of train services until the cops said that he was OK. Perhaps he was waiting for a train.

Sadly, the show realistically represented what we have all come to experience as more or less 'normal' operation of Melbourne's train network due to all of passengers, Metro, the Nanny State and PTV.
YM-Mundrabilla
PIMM,
It's on again now 2234 ESST 27/12 Foxtel Lifestyle Channel 106 and again at 0034 Saturday 28/12 on Lifestyle + 2 Channel 152.
Being Foxtel it will probably repeat forever.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!

Wonder instead if train control has what is sometimes termed route setting in that the start and end of a train route is entered (eg Ballarat as start and big station in Melbourne as end) and the computer automatically calculates and sets signals and points automatically for any enroute trains crosses at intermediate crossing loops such as Parwan etc
Its been a while since i've been to centrol but i'm 99% sure its still done section by section by the signaller/train controller. Occasionally you get 'forgotten' about which requires a quick phone call to get the signal pulled off. I believe Metrol though has a degree of automation their area of control.
jakar
So Jakar, are you are saying that Melbourne Ballarat or at least the non Metrol portion of that line and similar areas are manual not computer train control in 2019?

EDIT: do they at least have a train priority list which determines which type of train is expendable so another train higher up the management determined list is given a run instead?
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
So Jakar, are you are saying that Melbourne Ballarat or at least the non Metrol portion of that line and similar areas are manual not computer train control in 2019?
petan
It depends on what your definition of computer train control is. Its obviously all controlled by computers but if you're talking about complete automation from one end of the line to the other, then no, I don't believe Centrol has that capability, or if they do, use it. If its the same as number 1 box at SCS then the signaller/train controller just selects the start and end point of the move they want to make and all points and signals are automatically set as required. I understand they can 'stack' movements so once one has completed the next movement is set up but its not done much or too far in advance in case something goes pear shaped.

I'm not aware of any specific train priority list. Decisions on what train to hold back when there is late running is based on numerous factors which can change day to day and not just a single rule.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
So Jakar, are you are saying that Melbourne Ballarat or at least the non Metrol portion of that line and similar areas are manual not computer train control in 2019?
It depends on what your definition of computer train control is. Its obviously all controlled by computers but if you're talking about complete automation from one end of the line to the other, then no, I don't believe Centrol has that capability, or if they do, use it. If its the same as number 1 box at SCS then the signaller/train controller just selects the start and end point of the move they want to make and all points and signals are automatically set as required. I understand they can 'stack' movements so once one has completed the next movement is set up but its not done much or too far in advance in case something goes pear shaped.

I'm not aware of any specific train priority list. Decisions on what train to hold back when there is late running is based on numerous factors which can change day to day and not just a single rule.
jakar
Jaker, just to clarify, are you stating they still do it the 1940s fashion with a train controller deciding each train move outside Metrol area and the computers just move the points and signals? You earlier post suggests you talk to train control daily so you are a driver or similar?  

I find all this interesting as I expected it had been automated by 2019.

Also interested that you are not aware of any specific train priority list. In some other states they have a definite fixed priority list so trains such as freighters are usually held outside the metropolitan area during peak hour and rural trains such as the XPT give way to commuter trains, especially if just a tad late and lose their original XPT path. That priority list is 'said' to have political implications so as to appease city voters at the expense of non commuter trains.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Jaker, just to clarify, are you stating they still do it the 1940s fashion with a train controller deciding each train move outside Metrol area and the computers just move the points and signals?
petan
1940's fashion would have a signal box and a signaller manually pulling levers at most locations, now days (with some exceptions) the V/Line train controller can sit at a desk in Melbourne and see where all the trains are & communicate with them over the entire line and set signals + points as required.

Metro still has a few signal boxes around the place but has largely consolidated them into a couple of central locations.

Also interested that you are not aware of any specific train priority list.
petan
I should point out that I was talking about V/Line passenger train vs v/line passenger train as per the original post. Yes passenger trains get priority over freight, and circulars issued for heritage trains have words to the effect saying that they are not allowed to delay a revenue service which is why they often get put away somewhere if they're running a bit late.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

So Jakar, are you are saying that Melbourne Ballarat or at least the non Metrol portion of that line and similar areas are manual not computer train control in 2019?
It depends on what your definition of computer train control is. Its obviously all controlled by computers but if you're talking about complete automation from one end of the line to the other, then no, I don't believe Centrol has that capability, or if they do, use it. If its the same as number 1 box at SCS then the signaller/train controller just selects the start and end point of the move they want to make and all points and signals are automatically set as required. I understand they can 'stack' movements so once one has completed the next movement is set up but its not done much or too far in advance in case something goes pear shaped.

I'm not aware of any specific train priority list. Decisions on what train to hold back when there is late running is based on numerous factors which can change day to day and not just a single rule.
Jaker, just to clarify, are you stating they still do it the 1940s fashion with a train controller deciding each train move outside Metrol area and the computers just move the points and signals? You earlier post suggests you talk to train control daily so you are a driver or similar?  

I find all this interesting as I expected it had been automated by 2019.

Also interested that you are not aware of any specific train priority list. In some other states they have a definite fixed priority list so trains such as freighters are usually held outside the metropolitan area during peak hour and rural trains such as the XPT give way to commuter trains, especially if just a tad late and lose their original XPT path. That priority list is 'said' to have political implications so as to appease city voters at the expense of non commuter trains.
petan
I'm fairly sure Centrol doesn't have any form of automatic route setting. Although there are variations by line the gist is that the signaller sets routes by selecting signals to route the train between. The interlocking automatically sets any points and clears the signals themselves when the points are locked and the relevant track circuits/axle counter sections are clear.

Metrol, on the other hand, does have automatic route setting since its upgrade a few years ago. This is, of course, still subject to manual override and though I cannot speak to Melbourne specifically, I know in overseas operations (Britain for one) some signallers prefer to retain full control of the system, although they are discouraged from doing so by management who are loath to have minor delays caused by the signaller's prioritisation of movements at a junction, for example.

The truth about which is better is probably somewhere in the middle. ARS typically calculates a "score" for each train based on its type (express passenger, stopping passenger, goods), lateness, and a few other factors. Each second or so it cycles through every train in the area, attempts to set a route to the next signal, and if it finds a conflict, prioritises the train with the better score. It doesn't attempt to "think ahead" and that is where the human still has the edge.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Metrol, on the other hand, does have automatic route setting since its upgrade a few years ago.
potatoinmymouth
Yep, which is a pain in the butt when your on an UP Traralgon and get to Flinders St early (yes it does happen occasionally!) which is drop off only, and despite there being no other conflicting moves the signal to depart doesn't come off until exactly the scheduled departure time all because a computer was programed to do it that way. As you say the human factor is better than full automation sometimes.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Jaker, just to clarify, are you stating they still do it the 1940s fashion with a train controller deciding each train move outside Metrol area and the computers just move the points and signals?
1940's fashion would have a signal box and a signaller manually pulling levers at most locations, now days (with some exceptions) the V/Line train controller can sit at a desk in Melbourne and see where all the trains are & communicate with them over the entire line and set signals + points as required.

Metro still has a few signal boxes around the place but has largely consolidated them into a couple of central locations.
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jakar
As I wrote earlier, the 1940s fashion in some states had a human train controller deciding each train move and he sent orders to individual signal boxes. The centralised train controller, maybe located in regional locations, had the big train paper graph on which he drew lines to determine train crosses.

In some places he was called the 'man in the wall' or similar names as he used a loud speaker on the wall of the station office / signal box to send commands.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Metrol, on the other hand, does have automatic route setting since its upgrade a few years ago.
Yep, which is a pain in the butt when your on an UP Traralgon and get to Flinders St early (yes it does happen occasionally!) which is drop off only, and despite there being no other conflicting moves the signal to depart doesn't come off until exactly the scheduled departure time all because a computer was programed to do it that way. As you say the human factor is better than full automation sometimes.
jakar

On the other hand...if the human factor is a bit slack, getting back to Parwan loop, quite often the train that has run through on the main line will be long gone from the loop before the signal is given to the train in the loop to proceed.

Does the 'computer' assuming it knows how to set points and signals set the road as soon as the train on the main line has passed the arrival signal OR does the computer wait until after the train on the main line has left the loop entirely Question

Is there a point where the train controller, appearing to be not quite on the ball has actually contributed to late running by being tardy in setting the points and giving the green light to the train in the loop long after the cross has been made...I think there could be.

Mike.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

On the other hand...if the human factor is a bit slack, getting back to Parwan loop, quite often the train that has run through on the main line will be long gone from the loop before the signal is given to the train in the loop to proceed.

Does the 'computer' assuming it knows how to set points and signals set the road as soon as the train on the main line has passed the arrival signal OR does the computer wait until after the train on the main line has left the loop entirely Question

Is there a point where the train controller, appearing to be not quite on the ball has actually contributed to late running by being tardy in setting the points and giving the green light to the train in the loop long after the cross has been made...I think there could be.
Bear in mind that the specific behaviour of any signalling system will vary, but typically ARS will clear the route as soon as a) it is available (points, track circuits etc) and b) scheduled departure is reached (as jakar observes). So if ARS were fitted to the Ballarat line control panel, the signal would come off as soon as the crossing train cleared the track section foul of the turnout and the points had locked for the new route. But no one seems to think ARS exists here, so all of that has to happen and THEN the signaller has to set up the new route themselves. If they’re in the middle of, say, working Deer Park Junction for a couple of close trains, it might be a while before they get to Parwan to “press the button”, as it were.

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