Articles: April 2012

PTN Document

HS2 : strategic wisdom or grand folly ?

7 April 2012

PTN's position on HS2 has moved as the debate has developed (see other entries under the 'HS2' tag).  This article in the April/May 2012 issue of Rail Technology Magazine explains the doubts.of a 'surprising sceptic' : RTM.pdf.

A fully-annotated version of the article is available here : RTM_with notes.doc.

 

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PTN Document

ECML - the saga reviewed, and a comparison with France

6 April 2012

In August 2010 the Office of Rail Regulation published a 'lessons learned' report on the ECML timetabling process.  Jonathan Tyler reviewed this document in the November 2010 issue of Modern Railways.  He noted that the preoccupation with process meant that larger issues were overlooked.  Perhaps the way to end drawn out arguments and mediocre outcomes in timetable planning lies in a fundamental reappraisal of railway organisation.

The ORR report is at :

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/ecml-lessons-learned-report-200810.pdf.

Accompanying the critique was a timely account of the decision by RFF, the French infrastructure manager, to initiate a comprehensive overhaul of its national timetable in order to create extra capacity, introduce greater regularity and enhance network-wide connectivity.  RFF employed the Swiss integrated-timetabling consultancy SMA to undertake this task.  If France can justify the approach (and do the work remarkably quickly) why cannot Britain at least mount a study of the potential benefits ?

The articles were "How not to write a timetable" and "France adopts integrated timetabling".

They can be found here : Lessons_learned_Commentary.doc.

 

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PTN Document

Timetabling for engineers

6 April 2012

Following a presentation at the National Railway Museum the editor of the Journal of the august Permanent Way Institution invited Jonathan to contribute an article on timetabling to its April 2010 issue.  This considered the central role of the timetable in the planning, operating and marketing of railways, and hence its (not-always-recognised) status in railway policy.  Deficiencies in the current process and the arguments in favour of an integrated approach were outlined.

The article's appeal to engineers who need to understand the context of their work designing and maintaining the track was confirmed by subsequent invitations to speak at two PWI technical meetings (Wessex in January and Croydon in October 2011).

 The article is available here : PWI.pdf.

 

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PTN Document

The ECML timetabling saga - descent into farce

6 April 2012

When East Coast finally recast its timetable in May 2011 the spin was that it had taken ten years to achieve and must, by implication, be a good timetable.  It was, and remains, poor in many respects, and the long trek to create it was a sorry commentary on the industry processes (against which many individual specialists battled valiantly).

This article in the December 2008 issue of Modern Railways spotlighted an area of railway planning that raises many questions of policy but yet is largeley hidden behind an arcane system.  In particular, it described the bizarre situations that are caused by the endemic problem of 'sequential franchising' - that is, the replanning of one route timetable, even one as important as ECML, being overly-constrained by prior agreements on paths for other franchises.

Read the article here : ModRlys_final.doc.

 

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