What’s the point of a timetable?

Platform announcements concerning doors closing before the train departs have changed recently. Forty-five seconds, rather than thirty, is now the time that doors will be closed before the train departs. Is this a device to pad real journey times in order to avoid measured delays? Twice this month I have been on trains that have been dispatched thirty seconds before departure time.

What’s the point of a timetable if it doesn’t give the actual time that passengers can board their train?


What’s the point of a timetable? — 4 Comments

  1. I’ve never understood this absurd policy of publishing fake departure times and then having to warn people endlessly that they’ll be left behind if they don’t board earlier. It may have been realistic in the days of wind-up watches when everyone erred on the side of caution, but it’s completely unrealistic in the digital era.

    The obvious solution is that the published departure time should remain in the format xx:00 but the railway’s working timetable should be xx:00½, xx:00¾ or whatever.

    Sorted !

  2. Couldn’t agree more! I did get an apology once after the Bromley North to Grove Park train left one minute and 20 seconds early, just as I was reaching for the door, having walked all the way up the platform in full view of the driver (via his platform mirror that they are supposed to check for safety reasons). It’s annoying enough at Bromley North already, because Southeastern now park the train quite a distance short of the terminus end of the platform, which is where you enter the station, forcing everyone to walk quite a way to reach the train (takes about 30 seconds at normal walking speed). Presumably this is in order to save on petrol money or entertain themselves by slamming the doors in people’s faces after they have made the long walk. Wonder if I would still get an apology for that early drive-off now?

  3. Thought the very same thing this morning when I heard the ‘new’ announcement. Just another way of peeing off us poor long suffering commuters and making their lives easier. A bit like the ‘we won’t give you a refund if we’re 29 minutes late, you’ve missed all your onward connections and had to pay for a cab’ policy. If you can’t run a decent service make it as hard for the customer as you can and then blame them! Isn’t that how it works with most service providers these days?!

  4. @cheryl Train companies are now subject to the Consumer Rights Act, and so you can claim actual losses – including consequentials – rather than “Delay Repay” if you have, for instance, had to be pay for a cab. In our experience this often works out, although you normally have to appeal the first-instance refusal by Southeastern’s “customer service centre” and the Train Companies are not transparent about customers’ rights and what is actually paid. See https://srta.org.uk/wp/posts/1938

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