Monday, July 16, 2007

Great big gigantic signal failure


Well, last night's trip home was a bundle of fun I can tell you.
Due to what I eventually found out was a great big gigantic signal failure (that is the technical term), we were all turfed off our late night train at Slough, and treated to a double decker bus ride through Maidenhead and Twyford, before being deposited at Reading. Through a stroke of luck, my car happened to be at a friend's house in Reading, otherwise I shudder to think how I would have got home to Pangbourne, where another dreaded rail replacement bus is also in place from Tilehurst because of work on the line. I still didn't make it home until after 1am, but at least it didn't cost me anything.
So, this leads me to another question - why do signals fail so frequently, and why can't they be fixed or replaced so that they don't fail so often?
Signal failure is one of the most common reasons why trains are delayed, so I feel I should try and learn a bit more about it. I realise that the signals are not part of FGW's remit, but I don't care about that, I just want to know why the system doesn't work, and how to fix it.
This is all I know so far from a brief foray on the internet: signals can fail for a variety of reasons (what reasons?) and when they do, they always "fail safe", which means they go to red for safety reasons. That's about it. I can't find anything more helpful, apart from very technical descriptions of type of signal and signal procedures, which I can't bring myself to read.
So, rail fans, what's the answer? Whose fault is it and why isn't it being sorted?

13 comments:

MML Dan said...

God's, vandals, and animals fault they fail, and Network Rail's fault they 'aint fixed.

Ollie said...

Was a major failure, even trains that were first stop Reading were taking a minimum of 1hr to get between Pad and Reading.

Temporary block working, where it was from what I was told, hand signals and other means being used, rather than the normal, call signaller and him telling you if you can go or not.

Billyo said...

Don't feel you're suffering alone up there in the big smoke. The fall-out was felt down here at the end of the line too.

The 06:56 at Bath was cancelled yesterday for no reason (I had to find out from your blog!) and we were all crammed in a local train instead and 35 minutes late.

Anonymous said...

There are rumours circulating that FGW is going to have its franchise taken away in 3 weeks if it doesn't sort things out? Can anyone confirm whether this is true?

Simon said...

Hi

Where did you here this rumour from?

I'd like it to be true, but I think the government needs the £1.1 billion pounds that FGW is paying them.

Anonymous said...

Well I was delayed by 1:30 mins this morning from Bristol PW to Padd - no explaination given. The 07:31 was cancelled and the 08:01 got in at 08:31 to Parkway and it was standing room only. When I asked if I could sit in First Class as the delay had been over an hour, I just got a cold blank no. FGW - dont you just love them!

Anonymous said...

Me again: I meant 1:30 HOURS, if ONLY it was 1:30 mins!!!

MML Dan said...

There are *rumors* that FGW with have their franchise removed from them. However, they have acctually been following the franchise conditions. Another however, the ORR is writing up a complaint to the DfT regarding First Great Western, so they may have the franchise revoked, but no date as yet.

Billyo said...

Hi All, you might like to take a look at this cracking example of FGW stupidity on my blog

Economy Klaus said...

Has anyone managed to get their 'gesture of goodwill' payment -at least I assume it's a payment - for the trouble caused the lightening strikes a week earlier?

Anonymous said...

No, I'm still waiting for mine. The initial reply I received seemed to be in their usual standard form and failed to acknowledge that FGW had offered a 'gesture of goodwill' payment.

Economy Klaus said...

Got an email from FGW customer servoces this morning telling me I was getting £100 in rail vouchers. Not to be sneezed at.

Anonymous said...

I think that what you published made a great deal of sense.

However, what about this? what if you were to write a awesome title?
I am not suggesting your content is not good, but what if
you added a headline that grabbed a person's attention? I mean "Great big gigantic signal failure" is a little plain. You should look at Yahoo's home page and watch how they create
post titles to get viewers to click. You might add a related video or a related picture or two to grab readers interested about everything've got to say. Just my opinion, it could bring your blog a little livelier.

Visit my webpage - Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags