Defensive Driving Surveys
Client: South West Trains, Dec 2003 - Jan 2004
Train service performance has clearly become a key issue in recent years, but the causes of its deterioration are complex. One particular issue of which South West Trains (SWT) had become aware was the potential impact of more cautious driving techniques, as a reflection of a more stringent safety regime. On a busy railway, however, this can cause havoc with train schedules and hence punctuality.
SWT therefore commissioned the Railway Consultancy Ltd to carry out a programme of surveys on the section of line between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. Covering all down platforms on the slow lines, staff measured to the nearest second various train, passenger and staff movements. Track circuit occupation and signal aspect data was also obtained from signalbox records at Wimbledon PSB, and the whole dataset merged. Our analysis showed that, despite a wide variation in journey times, virtually no trains were completing their journeys within the booked time. In fact, this result was also the case when all other variables were excluded e.g. when the dataset was limited only to those trains which had not been signal-checked. Comparison with historical datasets held by the Consultancy showed that trains were typically taking 20 seconds longer than 10 years ago. This analysis then enabled SWT to consider various changes to operational procedures.
Last updated: Sunday, 18th December 2016
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