diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 05, 2017

Q: Did the westbound Next Train Indicator at Bow Road get any better yesterday?
A: Possibly.

Q: Is it now correct, functional or usable?
A: None of the above.

Here's what the display showed during a 4-minute period between a Richmond train leaving and a Hammersmith & City line train arriving.
» Check front of train; Richmond 1 min; Hammersmith 2 mins
» Check front of train; Hammersmith 1 min; Richmond 2 mins
» Check front of train; Check front of train 1 min; Hammersmith 2 mins
» Check front of train; Hammersmith 1 min; Check front of train 2 mins
» Hammersmith 1 min; Check front of train 2 mins; Richmond 3 mins
» Hammersmith 1 min; Check front of train 2 mins; Ealing Broadway 3 mins
» Check front of train 1 min; Hammersmith 2 mins; Ealing Broadway 3 mins
» Check front of train 1 min; Ealing Broadway 2 mins; Hammersmith 3 mins
» Check front of train; Ealing Broadway 2 mins; Hammersmith 3 mins
» Check front of train; Ealing Broadway 2 mins; Richmond 3 mins
That's 4 minutes during which the first train should have read Hammersmith 4 mins, then Hammersmith 3 mins, then Hammersmith 2 mins, then Hammersmith 1 min, then Hammersmith. Instead we got a shedload of Check front of train, and a couple of Hammersmith 1 min when the train was definitely further away than that. Given that what most passengers want to know is "Is the next train a H&C or a District, and how soon will it be here?", the display has been of no help whatsoever.

The archaic signalling system in the Bow Road area is being replaced, along with that on the entire sub-surface network, as part of TfL's 4 Lines Modernisation project. Signal cabins are being phased out, manual feeds are being replaced by electronic, and during the changeover period some of the datafeed reaching Next Train Indicators is horribly confused.

Eventually it'll mean better information and a lot more trains, so will be excellent, but 'eventually' remains a long way off. Specifically the rollout for 'Migration Area 6', which contains Bow Road, isn't set for completion until 2021, although it's possible that upgrades at Whitechapel will sort the problem quicker. An insider reassures me it's unlikely that the Next Train Indicator will be spouting gibberish for the next four years, but as things stand perhaps they'd be better switching the damned things off.


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