diamond geezer

 Saturday, September 23, 2017

Users of Bow Road station might appreciate an update on how the westbound Next Train Indicator is doing.

In good news, it's stopped doing this.

1 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 0 mins
2 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 0 mins
3 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 0 mins

In better news, it's started doing this, and being generally correct.

1 Richmond via Earl's Ct 1 min
2 Hammersmith via King's Cross 3 mins
3 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 4 mins

Generally speaking, the first train is going where it says it's going, and will be arriving in approximately the time it says it will. That's progress.

Even better, the second train is also going where it says it's going, and will be arriving in approximately the time it says it will, and so is the third. That's unheard of.

There is a but, which is that trains aren't necessarily arriving in the order they say they are. The system appears to have a blind spot, around 8 minutes distant, at which point trains silently blip out on the display allowing those coming up behind to appear instead.

For example, this happens.

1 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 4 min
2 Wimbledon via Earl's Ct 6 mins
3 Richmond via Earl's Ct 8 mins

Looks convincing. And all those trains are in fact on their way, in that order, at those times. But suddenly the display changes to this.

1 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 4 min
2 Wimbledon via Earl's Ct 6 mins
3 Hammersmith via King's Cross10 mins

The Richmond train has entered the signalling black hole, and disappeared, allowing the Hammersmith train to nudge up into third place. Then, less than a minute later, the Richmond train reappears.

1 Ealing Broadway via Earl's Ct 3 min
2 Wimbledon via Earl's Ct 5 mins
3 Richmond via Earl's Ct 8 mins

The Hammersmith & City line train is still on its way, and still around 10 minutes distant, but is the fourth train on a three-train list so no longer registers.

I watched for a while, and four consecutive trains disappeared briefly when they were around 8 minutes away. Eight minutes away would be somewhere around Upton Park. I wonder what that's all about.

There are also issues, as you'd expect, as trains are brought into service further up the line at Barking. Any train over 12 minutes away probably isn't in its correct position in the sequence of trains that'll eventually turn up. But it is probably as far away as it says it is. So that's reassuring.

Anyway, in summary:
Trains are disappearing briefly from Bow Road's westbound display when they're around 8 minutes away.
All the trains you can see on the display are on their way, but other trains might be arriving sooner.
If all the trains on the display are less than 8 minutes away, then everything's probably correct.
This is what I've seen happening recently. Other things might be happening. Things could change again.
The display may be a bit wrong, but it's fantastically better than we've had for the previous 50 years.

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