Saturday, 3 July 2010

'Minor Delays'

I have spent a long time wondering exactly what is meant by 'minor delays' on the Tube. They have a fixed amount of track, and a fixed number of trains running on it. The only way for their to be delays is for the trains to slow down... how is it possible that 'a customer incident' which happened over an hour ago is still causing the trains to run slower?

I can just about see why there are delays at peak times (the trains run slower because they spend longer in each station) but how do 'delays' propogate through the system? I can see how there might be bunching, but 'delays' (or is that what they mean by delays?)?

3 comments:

Andy said...

I've always wondered this too. As soon as "person under a train" occurs, just stop all the trains on that line, clean it up, and then start all the trains on that line.

cameroncounts said...

Back in British Rail days, when I used to commute from Oxford, I had quite a bit of experience about what various different sorts of delays meant. These didn't remain constant, but in the early 1990s anything less than 5 minutes was "a very slight delay" and didn't even register on the indicators; 5 to 10 minutes was "a slight delay".

As to excuses: one of the best I encountered was "llamas on the line". (There used to be a rare breeds farm near the Great Western line near Pangbourne, and one day the llamas decided to go for a walk.)

I once told this to a railwayman on a very uncrowded Oxford to London train, and he trumped it with the following, which occurred on the Hereford line. One of a gang of track workers was injured, and they called a helicopter to take him to hospital. The helicopter arrived and found nowhere to land but the railway line. Unfortunately its landing gear got caught in the rails. So trains were delayed by "a helicopter on the line".

John Faben said...

My favourite "excuse", which I used to hear regularly at Birmingham New Street, was "due to a delay, the train at Platform 12 is running 10 minutes late"...