St Pancras - no room at the Inn

Watershed

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Even if you could get to the Southeastern platforms, blocking one with an EMR set would somewhat screw up Southeastern as a consequence!
SE is even more constrained if anything, they have just 3 platforms to work with. The peak service they managed to squeeze out of that is quite something (bearing in mind all the other constraints too!).

The underlying issue is that St Pancras has too few platforms, and Eurostar is given far too high a proportion of them.

At the very least, there should have been measures in place to allow some of the Eurostar platforms to be dual purpose. For example, they could have had divided island platforms at either side of the Eurostar 'middle'. You'd then open or close a lockable door/gate depending on what the platform was being used for.
 
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Aictos

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SE is even more constrained if anything, they have just 3 platforms to work with. The peak service they managed to squeeze out of that is frankly amazing.

The underlying issue is that St Pancras has too few platforms, and Eurostar is given far too high a proportion of them.

At the very least, there should have been measures in place to allow some of the Eurostar platforms to be dual purpose. For example, they could have had divided island platforms at either side of the Eurostar 'middle'. You'd then open or close a lockable door/gate depending on what the platform was being used for.
Does Eurostar need all six platforms though? They managed with only 5 at London Waterloo, okay they didn't have the Amsterdam services but as they're just a extension of the Brussels services that shouldn't be much of a obstruction.

Put a security fence down the middle of Platforms 9/10 at St Pancras and reallocate the platforms so you have:

Platforms 1 - 4 for East Midlands Railway
Platforms 5 - 9 for Eurostar
Platforms 10 to 13 for SouthEastern

This then goes some way to even out the imbalance in platform allocation or is there some reason why this can't be done?
 

dosxuk

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At the very least, there should have been measures in place to allow some of the Eurostar platforms to be dual purpose. For example, they could have had divided island platforms at either side of the Eurostar 'middle'. You'd then open or close a lockable door/gate depending on what the platform was being used for.
What signalling standard do you use for the multi-purpose lines? What platform height do you use? How do you ensure that the wrong door is not accidentally left open?

Operationally running the station as four separate sets of platforms is going to be a lot simpler than having every platform available to every service, especially since each service type has different traction and infrastructure requirements.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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What signalling standard do you use for the multi-purpose lines? .
I was under the impression that the final approach to St Pancras from the CTRL had UK signalling/TPWS, rather than TVM.
So that might simplify things.
Or I might be mistaken...
 

swt_passenger

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You are misunderstanding, I’m not talking about using the international platforms as that would obviously be a security issue. No idea where you got that from.
I‘m probably not the only one who read your earlier line “They should clear all trains into all platforms at St Pancras…” as meaning “all platforms”?
 

plugwash

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Is there realistically any technical or official reasons why this cannot be done, other than it has not been tested? Trains have ended up in places they are not yet cleared before and have lived to tell the tale
My understanding is that the midland and high speed sides of the station are totally separate tracks going to different places. So even if there were no stock clearance issues you couldn't send a midland train into a high speed platform without a bunch of shunting.

Sending a train to the thameslink core that was not intended to go there would be very likely to cause more problems than it solved.
 

Qwerty133

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It does seem to be the presence of the 7-car 222s which complicates things. Otherwise it's a fairly simple case of each platform can take 1 or 2 units of anything, or 3 units if its 360s.

I can see how it would be very easy to screw up, especially with a 7-car being on something not booked to be, which is pretty common.
So a good start in reducing such issues would be modifying the 222 diagrams so that it is a 4 or 5 coach unit that is spare rather than the current situation where a 7 coach has that role.
 
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I don't think there is now any physical connection between the MML tracks and any others at St Pan (High Level), even though the tracks at plat 4 (MML) and plat 5 (Eurostar) are adjacent to each other.
 

jon0844

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I think only having 4 platforms for MML/EMR/EMT was a bit short-sighted.

From memory of the layout just outside*, could they have extended the building westward and perhaps add at least one more platform? I am sure the road outside is big enough, and there's no reason the smaller road used for taxis could have been put underneath if necessary.

Given the platforms are in the new part of the station, the limitation of the main roof surely didn't limit that bit?

* It's been ages since I've walked further up the road to see what the layout there is like.
 

Snow1964

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I don't think there is now any physical connection between the MML tracks and any others at St Pan (High Level), even though the tracks at plat 4 (MML) and plat 5 (Eurostar) are adjacent to each other.

Correct, although there is plenty of room (and I think no cable trough to allow a connection to be laid into platform 5) it physically doesn’t exist.

The other side of the International platforms (10) can also be reached by track approaching the SE platforms. So that has a dual approach route.

I am not sure why platform 5 wasn’t made dual purpose (with glass screen along length and lockable gates), even if have to walk all way to concourse to access it when used in domestic mode. Having flexibility to have 5th Midland platform seems like a no brainier as needing 6 International platforms all day was always overkill

I am fairly sure Ashford Intl platforms has signals acting as repeaters to the TVM430 system, so duplicating with colour lights would be possible (basically one extra left feather on signal approaching platform, a red light at buffers, and a platform starter for departing. Speed is unlikely to exceed 25-30mph and it is just a visual for trains without cab signalling), can’t be very technically hard to add.

.
 
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Ianno87

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I don't think there is now any physical connection between the MML tracks and any others at St Pan (High Level), even though the tracks at plat 4 (MML) and plat 5 (Eurostar) are adjacent to each other.

Correct, although there is plenty of room (and I think no cable trough to allow a connection to be laid into platform 5) it doesn’t exist.

The other side of the International platforms (10) can also be reached by track approaching the SE platforms.

I am not sure why platform 5 wasn’t made dual purpose (with glass screen along length and lockable gates), even if have to walk all way to concourse to access it when used in domestic mode. Having flexibility to have 5th Midland platform seems like a no brainier as needing 6 International platforms all day was always overkill

You can see the track connection quite clearly on Google Earth: Dropped pin https://maps.app.goo.gl/CTLKe87nDVfp3MWg6

But the signalling on it has never been commissioned, nor is it electrified.

It permits access from the MML to any platform up to Platform 10 (I.e. not the Southeastern platforms)

I am not sure why platform 5 wasn’t made dual purpose (with glass screen along length and lockable gates), even if have to walk all way to concourse to access it when used in domestic mode. Having flexibility to have 5th Midland platform seems like a no brainier as needing 6 International platforms all day was always overkill

Different gauges for a start, plus it would impact the upper level circulation space. Plus inevitable customs issues. And having the MML and HS1 timetables interact with each other. So perhaps not* a "no brainer"

6 International platforms are needed to realised the 4 standard Eurostar paths per hour.

*If it was a "brainer" it would have been done.
 

ABB125

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6 International platforms are needed to realised the 4 standard Eurostar paths per hour.
Have those four paths ever all been used though?

(Not that I disagree with their existence, just an observation that it seems a bit perverse to have severely underutilised international platforms (which are there "just in case"), yet both sets of domestic platforms are rather tight for capacity. What frequencies were the domestic platforms built for?)
 

Spartacus

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I think only having 4 platforms for MML/EMR/EMT was a bit short-sighted.

In fairness it copes surprisingly well when there's disruption through the core and some GTR services get diverted into St Pancras, though I do think 1 more platform would be useful with today's service level. One set swap and things are in the wrong platforms for hours, and it's sometimes only a few hours later when something gets delayed. Given the approaches with St Pancras churchyard, the sidings and Camley Street I don't really think there could have been another line to the West.
 

flitwickbeds

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Will be interesting the next time the Thameslink core/St Pancras Low Level is unavailable because of engineering works. In previous times the Thameslink trains would use Platform 1 (on the high level). I'm guessing that's not going to be possible now without Thameslink and/or EMR reducing services?
 

Snow1964

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Have those four paths ever all been used though?

(Not that I disagree with their existence, just an observation that it seems a bit perverse to have severely underutilised international platforms (which are there "just in case"), yet both sets of domestic platforms are rather tight for capacity. What frequencies were the domestic platforms built for?)

From memory when St Pancras was planned about 20 years ago, was based on a half hourly service (Sheffield and a Derby or Nottingham) with 3 per hour in peaks and a spare platform.

The International services were for 4 trains per hour (including the services to Amsterdam, Cologne, Disney), with spare platform and extra one for extended layovers.

Thats why earlier I said changing current split is a no brainer, as it is now inconsistent with current service levels (although I got shouted down)
 

Bald Rick

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Using the downstairs platforms will soon require working ETCS... and cause lots of ticket gate problems too.

Not to mention fire alarms...

MML to what are now the Southeastern platforms was used during the interim development, when platforms 1-4 were opened the temporary connection was removed, also platform 5 was available for connection if required but was never used because of the customs requirements

Indeed so, but the track layout was very different - effectively the MML was slued right across what is now the throat of the international part of the station.

I was under the impression that the final approach to St Pancras from the CTRL had UK signalling/TPWS, rather than TVM.
So that might simplify things.
Or I might be mistaken...

IIRC its KVB there, just to make matters even more complicated.

It is KVB

From memory of the layout just outside*, could they have extended the building westward and perhaps add at least one more platform?

Nope, as you would have been well into Midland Road, and the foundations for the extra supports would have been through the Thameslink tunnel itself.


Have those four paths ever all been used though?
Yes. Albeit in not very many hours!


Will be interesting the next time the Thameslink core/St Pancras Low Level is unavailable because of engineering works. In previous times the Thameslink trains would use Platform 1 (on the high level). I'm guessing that's not going to be possible now without Thameslink and/or EMR reducing services?

It will be possible. But EMR run a reduced service on Sundays until mid afternoon anyway. It will just be after that they have to reduce services.


From memory when St Pancras was planned about 20 years ago

30 years ago!
 

JonathanH

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From memory when St Pancras was planned about 20 years ago, was based on a half hourly service (Sheffield and a Derby or Nottingham) with 3 per hour in peaks and a spare platform.
Did the planning of four platforms for the Midland pre date any concept of the 4tph service that the first franchise brought in? That was already running 20 years ago.
 

Bald Rick

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Did the planning of four platforms for the Midland pre date any concept of the 4tph service that the first franchise brought in? That was already running 20 years ago.

Yes it did, but even so 6tph off 4 platforms is not exactly taxing.
 

Ianno87

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The general EMR pattern on Platforms 1-4 seems to be:

-Corbies (2tph) in and out on Platform 1
-Fast Sheffield (1tph) generally forms itself on Platform 3 (arrive 38, depart 02)
-Slow Sheffield (1tph) can form itself (arrive 07, depart 32) in either Platform 3 or 4
-The Nottingham (2tph) turnround times generally overlap, being around 40 minutes, and the Fast and Slow need to cross-form each other.

So, basically:
-One platform for 2tph to Corby
-One platform for 2tph to Sheffield
-Two platforms for 2tph to Nottingham (with about 15 minutes spare per hour in each platform)

I suspect it'll get a bit more elegant once the Sheffield/Nottingham services are standardised onto a common fleet.
 

tspaul26

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SE is even more constrained if anything, they have just 3 platforms to work with. The peak service they managed to squeeze out of that is quite something (bearing in mind all the other constraints too!).
I infer that adding a shuttle to Ebbsfleet to service the proposed London Resort would not be a ‘cakewalk’, then?
 

Merle Haggard

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Just to point out that that the 360 situation seems to be the booked working.
The diagrams thread shows that the (8-car) 20.11 Corby - St P forms the 21.45 and 22.47 departures, both obviously 4 cars. The 4 car in platform 1 was presumably the one to form the 22.47.
But between the 21.45 and 22.47 departures, there's another Corby set that arrives and departs, so this must have been the train in Platform 2.
Presumably the reason it's not put into Platform 1 on top of the 22.47 departure is to avoid confusing passengers by having a later train nearer the stops, but that situation is pretty common elsewhere.
 

43096

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Presumably the reason it's not put into Platform 1 on top of the 22.47 departure is to avoid confusing passengers by having a later train nearer the stops, but that situation is pretty common elsewhere.
Any time you put a train on top of another in a terminal platform, the 2nd one in has to be first out! It’s been done for years at St Pancras and in any case the normals won’t know what the blocks end set is for as it won’t be on departure boards with a platform and they’d normally leave the set locked to avoid confusion.
 

Merle Haggard

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Any time you put a train on top of another in a terminal platform, the 2nd one in has to be first out! It’s been done for years at St Pancras and in any case the normals won’t know what the blocks end set is for as it won’t be on departure boards with a platform and they’d normally leave the set locked to avoid confusion.
2nd in would be the first out.
4 car departs at 21.45, leaving 4 car for 22.47 against stops on p1.
Next Corby (8 car) arrives 21.59 departs 22.15
So I still think that the 21.59a/22.15d could have gone on top of the 22.47.

Reason for seemingly illogical working is supposedly that 22.15 is last train with forward connections at Kettering so more demand and has to be 8 cars rather than 22.47.
Only reason I can think of for the platforming is that long term the 2159/2215 will be 12 car and the 2247, 8. But that's just a guess, based on older publicity.
 

carriageline

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With 360s and 810s fully rolled out there shouldn't be issues upstairs on the EMR platforms. This is a short term new fleets rollout and unfamiliarity linked with first week of new timetable issues.

Using the SE platforms (even if you could access them and you can't / impossible) you would need TVM430 signalling equipment fitted to the EMR fleet. clearing isn't just physical but signalling etc. too.

Using the downstairs platforms will soon require working ETCS... and cause lots of ticket gate problems too.

No need to contemplate changing the status quo as it will improve in the future.

You don’t need working ETCS to get into the lower level. It wouldn’t also bring in much benefit for the 5/6 signal sections between Kentish and St Panc.


But the signalling on it has never been commissioned, nor is it electrified.
It is commissioned, and it’s been used a few times. Only really for maintenance trains though.
 

43055

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So a good start in reducing such issues would be modifying the 222 diagrams so that it is a 4 or 5 coach unit that is spare rather than the current situation where a 7 coach has that role.
Normally one of the 4 car's is a spare unit that can be used if needs be with the other 3 in service. The current weekday diagrams only require 4 of the 6 7 car's so there is likely going to be at least 1 spare with another on maintenance.

Just to point out that that the 360 situation seems to be the booked working.
The diagrams thread shows that the (8-car) 20.11 Corby - St P forms the 21.45 and 22.47 departures, both obviously 4 cars. The 4 car in platform 1 was presumably the one to form the 22.47.
But between the 21.45 and 22.47 departures, there's another Corby set that arrives and departs, so this must have been the train in Platform 2.
Presumably the reason it's not put into Platform 1 on top of the 22.47 departure is to avoid confusing passengers by having a later train nearer the stops, but that situation is pretty common elsewhere.
2 trains in 1 platform happens quite regularly at St Pancras.

Any time you put a train on top of another in a terminal platform, the 2nd one in has to be first out! It’s been done for years at St Pancras and in any case the normals won’t know what the blocks end set is for as it won’t be on departure boards with a platform and they’d normally leave the set locked to avoid confusion.
Not so bad when the departure times are spread out but now there is the odd case when a Sheffield and the Nottingham 3 mins later are from the same platform. For example the 1302 and 1305 are both on platform 3 on a weekday.
 

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