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Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

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Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby lunchbox » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:42 pm

Sydney stations lost their sheet (poster) timetable displays on platforms in 2013. There are moves for their re-instatement.
Does Perth still have sheet timetables on railway platforms?
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby Mr OC Benz » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:16 pm

Every train station has multiple "InfoCubes" which are similar to the ones used at busy bus stops. These display the timetable for each line for the direction relevant to that platform, station ID (for journey planner) as well as stopping pattern/station information which is also provided on separate signage along the station platforms. Live times for upcoming departures are also provided in the form of station displays and machines.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby lunchbox » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:43 pm

Thank you Mr Benz.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby Glen » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:51 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote:Every train station has multiple "InfoCubes" which are similar to the ones used at busy bus stops. These display the timetable for each line for the direction relevant to that platform, station ID (for journey planner) as well as stopping pattern/station information which is also provided on separate signage along the station platforms.

Do you mean full timetables showing times at all stations down the line, or just a list of departure times from that station with stopping patterns described by words / station names?
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby Mr OC Benz » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:42 pm

There's a mix of both. On the platforms, you can see the entire timetable for each direction with the station you're at highlighted. Major stations also have the times just for that station in each direction with the stopping pattern (if any) in a legend below.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby simonl » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:27 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote:There's a mix of both. On the platforms, you can see the entire timetable for each direction with the station you're at highlighted. Major stations also have the times just for that station in each direction with the stopping pattern (if any) in a legend below.

Being able to see the entire timetable is what is missing in Sydney. One of Gladys' achievements.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby Glen » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:30 pm

simonl wrote:
Mr OC Benz wrote:There's a mix of both. On the platforms, you can see the entire timetable for each direction with the station you're at highlighted. Major stations also have the times just for that station in each direction with the stopping pattern (if any) in a legend below.

Being able to see the entire timetable is what is missing in Sydney. One of Gladys' achievements.

Yes, that was the subtly I was trying to pick up on. Thankyou.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby lunchbox » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:44 am

Thank you all for contributing to this discussion.
This (Perth) thread may seem a strange place to report the latest from Sydney, but here goes -

Platform "sheet" timetables were removed from Sydney platforms at the same time as electronic platform departure indicators were introduced; in August 2013. The government agency, Transport for NSW, runs the show, not the train operator, Sydney Trains. TfNSW's logic (?!) is that the electronic indicators display "real-time" information, whereas the sheet timetables display "scheduled" information, and that the sheet timetables were removed to avoid confusing the public with possibly differing sets of information, should services be disrupted for any reason. Some platforms which do not yet (October 2016) have electronic indicators still display sheet timetables.

TfNSW's "logic" is of course, false, and I have been pointing that out to them for over three years now. The sheet timetables and the electronic departure indicators serve fundamentally different purposes (which is why they've got different names!). But the experts won't budge. TfNSW insists that their research shows their "customers" are getting happier, which is not the point. Here's TfNSW's latest concession, dated 11.10.16 -

"For those who prefer print, timetable booklets continue to be available. That said, during the course of the next few months, and in preparation for new timetables that will commence rolling out later in 2017, we will be reviewing the effectiveness of our communications channels. As part of that review, the Go-to-market and Wayfinding teams will examine the merits of including printed timetables in the overall mix of communication channels for these new timetables".
Last edited by lunchbox on Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby Glen » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:48 am

I'm always reminded that when I visited Amsterdam in 2013 you could pick up paper timetables for trams running every 6 minutes all day!

Now if ever there was a justification for not printing timetables, that would have been it.

In Zurich in 2015 I could actually pick up a booklet showing the entire network timetable (it looks like a miniature phone book).

You don't need no apps or computer printers to find your way around in those places.

Yarra Trams uses the slogan "Think like a passenger". To that I'd add that it also pays to "think like a visitor".
Last edited by Glen on Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby Mr OC Benz » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:17 am

Interesting discussion. All the Perth stations also show real time information (in various formats) in addition to the scheduled times. As you say, they serve different purposes and I suppose this is the position the PTA has taken. Real time information doesn't tell you how long it takes to get to a specific station or the span of hours or frequency to expect if you wish to travel at a different time. And if all else fails with technology, a scheduled timetable is the backbone of the system. In addition to that, all major stations and indeed most stations with attendants will be able to provide paper timetables for the specific train lines (and nearby bus routes) if needed.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby lunchbox » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:36 am

Transport for NSW, the head government agency for all transport in NSW, has once again (after four years) refused to entertain the restoration of printed train timetables on Sydney's stations. Here's their latest response -

A review of the merits of including printed timetables in the overall mix of our customer
communication channels has been completed. We have concluded that our existing
practice (as explained further below) is an appropriate and balanced approach for the
provision of timetable information.
At stations on the Intercity trains network, at ferry wharves and at bus stops, we continue
to provide timetable information on printed displays. This is appropriate at these locations
because staff are less available, services may be an hour or more apart, the distances
travelled may be longer, and electronic indicators are not consistently available. We
recognise that in such circumstances printed timetables are an important way for
customers to check the time for their service.
However, at any given time this printed information potentially could be out-of-date due to
day-to-day operating conditions or regular fine tuning of timetables. Where they can, we
would always encourage customers to access current, real-time information via our
website, a smartphone app, or by phoning our 131 500 information line.
At stations on the Sydney Trains network, printed timetables from stations are removed
where electronic indicators are installed. This reflects the different conditions and
operations at these locations. In particular, many stations are staffed and services more
frequent so that increasingly Sydney Trains customers experience a 'turn up and go'
service. As train patronage increases, stations are also becoming more crowded,
especially during peak times, with a subsequent need to free up as much space as
possible on platforms and in other areas. In such cases, electronic displays are most
appropriate.
The cost of reintroducing printed timetables to these stations and maintaining them up to
date would be considerable, without a corresponding benefit for the vast majority of
customers at these stations

We appreciate that the practice of reducing printed timetables at these stations does not
suit every customer, particularly those who prefer or need to access information without a
digital device. For this reason I have asked our Customer Experience team to undertake
some insight work around access to customer information, particularly for those
customers who may prefer printed information or who have limited access to a computer
or smartphone. I will be happy to share with you some of the results of that work once it
is completed.

Transport for NSW.
8.9.17 / 11.9.17.

Edit, 10.10.17 -
Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) research finds that 64% of travellers prefer to access public transport information online, compared to 18% who prefer physical timetables. (Track + Signal magazine, October 2017, p 70)
Last edited by lunchbox on Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby tonyp » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:30 am

It's just NSW being lazy/incompetent as usual. Not a problem in Perth.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby PoweredByCNG » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:37 pm

tonyp wrote:It's just NSW being lazy/incompetent as usual. Not a problem in Perth.


I have noticed that NSW is particularly incompetent when it comes to provision of information. Fortunately, the current situation is somewhat better than what it was 15 years ago, but there are still inconsistencies that only serve to confuse casual travellers. Previously, it was very difficult to locate bus-related information, even at major stations, where bus timetables were seemingly considered more as 'decorations' rather than as a necessity. Additionally, signs at stations tend to be very hit and miss in relation to relevance (i.e. may not be up to date) and therefore even finding the correct bus departure stand can be a challenge for those who are unfamiliar with the station.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby simonl » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:56 pm

Finding the correct bus departure stand has always been a drama in Sydney. I think this has actually improved significantly, as you say.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby lunchbox » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:54 am

......and getting easy-to-use service information and wayfinding in Sydney may well get even more difficult in 18 months, when "Metro" opens. Occassional train users will be confronted with not one railway, but two. The possibilities for confusion are real, when in practical terms, Metro is just another railway line.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby tonyp » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:02 am

lunchbox wrote:......and getting easy-to-use service information and wayfinding in Sydney may well get even more difficult in 18 months, when "Metro" opens. Occassional train users will be confronted with not one railway, but two. The possibilities for confusion are real, when in practical terms, Metro is just another railway line.

I'm not sure that it will be that confusing. I'm sure many people would appreciate having the metro defined so that they're not diving into any station hoping to find it or, conversely, dipping into every Sydney Trains station searching for the metro. If they had lots of common or closely linked stations you might get away with common signage.

Otherwise I agree about the mode. Personally I think too many opponents of the metro fret over the pedantics of purist definitions of the concept. In reality the Sydney metro is not going to be much different from the Perth suburban trains. In Germany one would be called a U Bahn and one an S Bahn but the main practical difference between Sydney and Perth will be that one system is more underground (but also on surface) while the other is more on surface (but increasingly with underground sections). Their performance as rapid transit is almost identical (though Perth can get up to higher cruising speeds), the trains are almost identical, once Perth gets ATC the safeworking will be identical (maybe Perth will even eventually have limited driver-free like the metro, but probably with "attendants" on board). The only significant area of difference is that the metro has platform screens whereas the Perth system doesn't. They're both blended metro/suburban railways in reality.

The Sydney suburban system on the other hand stands out more as an old-fashioned long-distance commuter railway which, according to the transport textbooks, should be faster but in fact is slower than the other two examples here. The Perth system is what the Sydney Trains system should be but isn't.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby boronia » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:40 am

lunchbox wrote:Thank you all for contributing to this discussion.
This (Perth) thread may seem a strange place to report the latest from Sydney, but here goes -

Platform "sheet" timetables were removed from Sydney platforms at the same time as electronic platform departure indicators were introduced; in August 2013. The government agency, Transport for NSW, runs the show, not the train operator, Sydney Trains. TfNSW's logic (?!) is that the electronic indicators display "real-time" information, whereas the sheet timetables display "scheduled" information, and that the sheet timetables were removed to avoid confusing the public with possibly differing sets of information, should services be disrupted for any reason. Some platforms which do not yet (October 2016) have electronic indicators still display sheet timetables.

TfNSW's "logic" is of course, false, and I have been pointing that out to them for over three years now. The sheet timetables and the electronic departure indicators serve fundamentally different purposes (which is why they've got different names!). But the experts won't budge. TfNSW insists that their research shows their "customers" are getting happier, which is not the point. Here's TfNSW's latest concession, dated 11.10.16 -

"For those who prefer print, timetable booklets continue to be available. That said, during the course of the next few months, and in preparation for new timetables that will commence rolling out later in 2017, we will be reviewing the effectiveness of our communications channels. As part of that review, the Go-to-market and Wayfinding teams will examine the merits of including printed timetables in the overall mix of communication channels for these new timetables".


Platform displays only tell you where/when the next train is going, with some vague information about the following one or two services. As for "real time" during delays, the "due" time is based on the train's current location - if it breaks down or is otherwise held up 5 minutes from the station, it will always be "due in 5 minutes" until it gets moving again.

There should be concourse information as to when (at least perhaps 2 or 3) the next trains to each station on the line are due.

Paper timetables are probably more convenient for regular travellers than station billboards, but it is not always possible to get these ("sorry, we ran out, don't know when we are getting more")
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby tonyp » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:31 pm

boronia wrote: the "due" time is based on the train's current location - if it breaks down or is otherwise held up 5 minutes from the station, it will always be "due in 5 minutes" until it gets moving again.

There should be concourse information as to when (at least perhaps 2 or 3) the next trains to each station on the line are due.

Paper timetables are probably more convenient for regular travellers than station billboards, but it is not always possible to get these ("sorry, we ran out, don't know when we are getting more")

The countdown timers at the CAT bus stops in Perth keep adjusting the arrival time if the bus is delayed, presumably because it is GPS-based. Perhaps the Sydney Trains countdown displays run on a different technology?

Paper timetables are also useful for us observers of transportation systems - I have a pile of Transperth timetables sitting beside my desk here on the south coast of NSW. Some of them make multiple plane trips with me back and forth across Australia! There's a convenience factor with hard copy. It's impractical to open up multiple sources of information on the tiny screen of an iPhone, not to mention typing searches in with a thick finger. I think both in Sydney and Perth timetable booklets are only available at staffed stations, not unstaffed ones. Perth buses also have a selection in a rack on the driver's gate.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby boronia » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:27 pm

Even if the display is GPS based, it cannot predict how long a bus/train is going to be stationary if there is some condition that prevents it from moving.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby tonyp » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:38 pm

boronia wrote:Even if the display is GPS based, it cannot predict how long a bus/train is going to be stationary if there is some condition that prevents it from moving.

Obviously it can't predict the time that the bus will move, but it keeps making updated predictions while the bus is stationary. I've stood at the Blue CAT stop at Perth Station watching the bus across the intersection trapped at one of Perth's terrible traffic light cycles and the clock kept on updating to a new time while the bus was stationary. In Sydney, as you say, the clock just counts down to zero and then stays there even if the train hasn't arrived.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby boronia » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:08 pm

I haven't seen any count down to zero here; they show the time the train would be due based on its current location and predetermined time to get from that location. So if the train is stopped 10 minutes from the station, it remains "due in 10 minutes", unless it has passed some final timing point that updates the data.

In the CAT situation you described, the clock would just keep advancing so that it remains 10 minutes ahead of the actual current time. The GPS based phone apps used in Sydney are anything but reliable. On many occasions I have been advised that I have missed a bus, only to have it turn up 5 or 10 minutes later (although they do seem to have improved this issue in recent times)

The Sydney system might be preferable as it doesn't require the passenger to check the actual time and then work out how far away that due time is.
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Re: Quick Quiz - Train timetables on platforms.

Postby jonwil » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:15 am

In QLD most stations have paper timetables (at least the ones I have used). Some stations have monitors showing all the trains passing through and how long before they arrive using real time data. Other stations have displays showing just the next train to arrive at that platform. Some stations have no visual displays. Many stations (not all of them though) have a machine that has a pair of buttons you can press indicating when the next train in each direction is due to depart (e.g. "the next Brisbane City and Ferny Grove train will depart from platform 2 in 10 minutes" is displayed on the screen of this machine and also played audibly)

Compared to what I remember at some smaller stations in Perth where there was basically no real time info, its much more useful.
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