Mind the Doors! (Updated)

In today’s Metro, Ed Drass writes about the problem of subway car doors closing before people have a chance to get on and off. (The article is not yet online except in the full PDF version of the paper.)

Updated: This item has been clarified to show that Ed is paraphrasing the TTC’s remarks rather than directly quoting them. My apologies if the earlier version of this piece misrepresented the situation.
Drass paraphrases the TTC as saying:

… the TTC has not changed its policy, but ridership has definitely grown across the system. Train guards are given about 15 seconds at each station, typically opening the doors for shorter periods at quiet stops and longer at busy ones.

When asked why trains wouldn’t take longer at busy stations, the TTC replies:

If you extend it too long you’re going to develop gaps in your service.

Drass notes that the TTC has asked for help with expanding capacity on the subway, but it is unclear from his article whether this is his own comment or a paraphrase from the TTC itself. Such relief, in the form of new trains and signal systems, won’t be here for years and only affects the Yonge line.

Moreover, they won’t address problems with jackrabbit behaviour at stations. Although the TTC worries about keeping the service properly spaced, the signal system (anqituated though it may be) does that today unless, of course, the service is late. Like other TTC systems, it focuses on schedule maintenance, not headways. When trains are late, operators are free to make as brief stops as possible in an attempt to get back on time again.

There is no excuse for ultra-brief station stops, trapping people in trains before they can get off, or catching people in the doors. All have happened to me, and not during the peak of the rush hour when we can blame the problem on rising demand.

Once again, the TTC needs to get its own house in order before blaming those pesky passengers who insist on getting on and off the trains for their problems.

33 thoughts on “Mind the Doors! (Updated)

  1. I had often wondered if I was the only one thinking the doors were closing on a mostly empty train (especially at Bloor around 5), but it’s good to know I wasn’t imagining this.

    Perhaps if the headways were more even in the evenings/weekend mornings then passengers wouldn’t feel they need to get on this train because the next might be a while, and there would be enough courtesy to allow free flow off the train and in turn free flow loading.


  2. At least once a week, on my way home from work, the subway I’m riding fails to wait at the Bloor/Danforth platform at Yonge/Bloor station long enough for passengers to board (everyone getting off makes it off slowly, but only one or two people from a fairly full platform get on before the doors begin to close). About half the time, some valiant rider blocks the doors open with his body so that at least a few more people can board.

    This type of problem really undermines the ‘let people off the train first’ etiquette, as riders may be legitimately concerned that they may not be given time to board the train (especially when so many people are exiting the train that they are forced to shuffle off rather than walk briskly).


  3. I have been experiencing that quite a bit lately also. And I agree. There is no excuse for closing the door after 5 seconds, at ANY station. Heck, even late night, you barely have time to jump through the door. It’s unacceptable.


  4. I would add that the doors ought to open more quickly, as two people standing side-by-side (even if they’re totally prepared to exit before the train stops) will kill the first 2 or 3 seconds out of 15. Hopefully the new trains’ doors will fly open like there’s no tomorrow…


  5. Hi Steve.

    What an absolutely incredible comment for the TTC to make!

    I am getting sick and tired of having the doors closed on me. I have written to the TTC on several occasions to complain about this. (I notice that the problem seems to be worse on Bloor.) What makes this even more annoying is that, depending on the station you get on at, you can have the doors close on you and then wait at the next station so the TTC can hold the train and space the headway because the train is running early.

    These guys have to get their act together and run a service based on passenger needs and flows.


  6. I’m not sure if I can take your viewpoint on this, but I have never been caught inside a train while trying to debark. But what I do notice is passengers who take their sweet time getting off their keysters before making a mad dash for the exit only to be trapped by said doors.

    I’ve been on instances where the chimes start ringing before the passengers are fully debarked, but the doors do not “close on the passengers” as I have seen, most of the operators I see hold back a bit when they see passengers still debarking on one end of the train.

    The way I see it, part of the TTC’s problems is twofold: 1) the location of busy exits points in one part of the station and 2) idiot passengers charging the doors to get on the train before people have fully gotten off. This is most prevalent at Bloor Yonge, where I see a stampede of people trying to get in instead of waiting for people to leave first before getting on that train. That window seat is most important to them so they have to get it before someone else does.

    If you want a system that has worse problems than the TTC in this aspect, look at the Mass Transit Railway in Hong Kong. As an example, I will identify Admiralty Station. This station is a transfer station between two lines, not to mention that it is located in a busy financial area. At times this platform can be a zoo, with transfers from multiple lines and the fact that most of the platform exits and transfer corridors are packed close to the middle area of the platform. It can take over a minute for trains to debark and another for passengers to load. I have seen countless number of times where a train was held up in this station because of people running from trains on one trying to get on the other (and ignoring the calls that the train doors are now closing).

    Schedule Maintenance vs. Headways: I suppose it depends on how late a train is. Many a time I have been on a train on a normal day with no real service issues only to be told that the train is going out of service at the next station (of course where is a tail track nearby). But while I understand your viewpoint on this, it should be noted that if the TTC switched to a more headway-based system, then you would get trains short turning at more stations thus putting more pressure on the train behind it. This does not bode well for “reliability” in the sense that passengers at stations beyond now have to deal with a sardine packed train rather than one that has adequate room.


  7. The real issue here is subway overcrowding — this is only a symptom of that. Because we’ve fallen behind building a new N-S subway line to serve the downtown area from Don Mills and the west, there is just too much reliance on YU and BD to get passengers downtown.

    Yonge has always been overburdened because many passengers who have the option of taking a bus south to BD will instead opt to take an E-W bus to Yonge in order to avoid a subway transfer at B-Y.

    With rush hour trains operating on the tighest possible headway already, schedule and headway adherence becomes very important. If a train keeps its doors open longer, crowds build up more and more at platforms downstream, and that delays the train even further, and it inconveniences more passengers. It’s a trade-off.

    Steve: After a string of comments, I am going to jump in here. The issue is that a train has a capacity. If it closes and leaves while it is still half-empty as several others have mentioned here and I personally have witnessed, then this capacity does nothing to help the line overall. I can understand the need to leave once a train is comfortably full, but cutting off people who don’t even have a chance to board is ridiculous.

    Another issue here, especially in the off peak when those with mobility problems tend to ride, is that everyone can’t just leap to the door, and some people are unsteady about getting ready to exit while the train is still moving. They should reasonably expect a certain minimum dwell time. In the interest of full disclosure, I say this from personal experience during a period when I was recovering from knee surgery some years ago. I was able to deal with the situation, mostly, but many are not.


  8. Oh my how I’ve forgotten how TTC operators, be it subway or surface, tend to be impatient at stops, whether they are justified or not (and keeping in mind how most TTC operators have now been recognized as suffering from acute levels of stress and even PTSD and my sympathies are entirely with them). When I first moved to Ottawa the first thing I immediately noticed on OC Transpo was when a bus came to a bus stop. More often than not, the bus stops, THEN the passenger get up from their seat and exits the bus! I don’t know if the same thing happens across the country, but in Toronto, if you’re not by the door within a nanosecond of the vehicle stopping, the driver will start up again!


  9. One problem may be that people want to get on to fast. Anytime i’m on the subway I see people in a hell-hot hurry to get on the train that’s already there. The way they run after a train you’d think they were trying to catch the Canadian. No matter where I’ve got to go there’s no way in Hell I’m going to rush to catch the first train I see. The last I checked all subway lines ran more than tri-weekly!!! (lol)


  10. Technically, you are supposed to wait for the doors to fully open before boarding, and if you hear the chimes, not board. If you tried to do his at Summerhill or Old Mill outside of rush, you’d literally end up standing on the platform for hours.


  11. The capacity of the half-empty train can be filled up at the next station. People who didn’t get a chance to get on can easily wait for the following train — subway headways are very reasonable.

    If a train is held until everyone gets on, then the stations later will be overcrowded. You can’t win, and holding the train longer doesn’t solve things.

    Steve: We are not talking about holding a train. The problem is that a train pulls into Bloor-Yonge eastbound in the PM peak and leaves after a short dwell time with half a load and many people still on the platform. There are not thousands of people waiting at Sherbourne to fill up the space.


  12. I don’t notice this problem at all, ever. Of course, I’ve never been elderly or handicapped, so maybe I’m not in a position to talk about that. But everyone able-bodied should never have a problem getting off the train or being shut out in off-peak hours. It’s just a matter of getting up and being ready. Heck, even holding onto a pole if necessary. I never thought it might be a problem to open for only five seconds in a little-used station.


  13. Tsk tsk. The valiant riders described by Greg Smith are violating those new signs the TTC plastered on all the trains, ordering passengers not to hold the doors.

    I’ve had the doors close prematurely getting on eastbound at Yonge/Bloor on at least a couple of occasions, which is more remarkable than it sounds since I don’t usually take that route home.


  14. I think the chimes actually provoke people into dashing for the doors. Under the old 2-whistle system, I don’t remember as many door dashers, because the guard would usually blow both the warning and closing whistles together. The chimes make it too obvious and give you more time to run for it. Hopefully the new trains will have electric eye sensors on the doors so they don’t hit people.


  15. Re: getting off your seat while decelerating to be beside the door

    I wonder if the people who abolished walk left stand right on escalators were pointed at this, they might mandate a minimum door open time on all subway stations. After all, the way some drivers jam on the brakes it’s not the best time to be half-in/half-out of a seat.

    Just a thought.

    Steve: You are too evil for a post before 9 am. [insert chortling here]


  16. At Museum, northbound rush hour, almost everyone gets on/off thru one door on the north end. I have had the doors close while people are still getting off, and I almost don’t get on. In that case I always wondered if it was an inattentive operator who doesn’t see anyone exiting/entering on the doors closest to him/her and assuming all doors were clear.


  17. I remember reading somewhere, a long, long time ago (1970s?) where some visitor to Toronto was amazed by how short the dwell time was at stations. The thing is, the short dwell time generally worked in those days, although you were taking your chances at stations such as Old Mill (where I often saw the doors make it only partly open before closing again).

    Well, that was in the days of high-rate operation on Bloor-Danforth, when you could get to where you were going a lot more quickly by subway than you do now.

    The less pretty side of those days was frequent station overshoots, with the first one or two doors opening in the tunnel.

    I wonder if the wider doors on the T1s should be geared to open and close more quickly. If they’re slow to open, there’s a lot of time wasted as the two people standing abreast elbow each other to get through the narrow initial opening. By the same token, wide doors and slow closing tempts people to dash through the shrinking gap.


  18. M. Briganti said: “I think the chimes actually provoke people into dashing for the doors.”

    I agree completely. I wonder, too, if the new(ish) ‘countdown’ pedestrian signals have a similar emboldening effect. I tend to catch myself thinking, “Sure, I can probably make it in X seconds, why not give it a shot?”. The old-style blinking hand gave no indication of how long it had been flashing and so no conveyed no clear information about the need/appropriateness of charging into the street.

    Steve: I prefer the countdown because I know whether at my walking/trotting speed I can make it on the time remaining.


  19. Some of the problem with early door-closing does relate to the concentration of people around certain doorways. I have boarded trains where most of the doors on the train are clear and passengers have all boarded, except for maybe two or three sets where people are still leaving. Boarding passengers wait for them all to clear out instead of spreading out and using the adjacent doorways which are clear. This situation is aggravated further when some ignoramus decides to stand in the aforementioned busy doorway while passengers are exiting and only decides to get out of the way when everyone has left. The Guard activates the chimes to try to speed up the process and sometimes the last one or two people are left on the platform.


  20. The problem is that a train pulls into Bloor-Yonge eastbound in the PM peak and leaves after a short dwell time with half a load and many people still on the platform. There are not thousands of people waiting at Sherbourne to fill up the space.

    Exactly. We need to distinguish between two concerns over short dwell times and boarding:

    1) that 5 seconds is not enough to empty and board a subway off-peak at a quiet station (which I think is debatable)

    2) at peak, a subway should not leave a very full platform without a load.

    #2 happens and it should not — I don’t think that is debatable. It happens because the operators give people just enough time to unload a busy train, but not enough time to board.

    I don’t think the payoff (close adherence to planned headway times) is sufficient to justify the anger generated on the still-packed platforms.


  21. Perhaps the TTC needs to adopt a system similar to used on JR East in Japan where the guard walks out of the full width cab to play a departure song.

    Each JR East station has its own departure song.

    Steve: Note too the rather leisurely departure process.


  22. After reading some of the other comments here, I feel I should respond.

    I myself use transit off-peak quite often. I head in to work at night, and go from Christie to Finch to do it. Every day, without fail, at Christie; the chimes will begin before the doors fully open. This has never been a problem for me as 90% of the time I’m the only person using that set of doors, and if someone is ever getting off, its always been just one person. The same occurs at Bathurst, and even at Bay. I’ve noticed there is a small delay at St. George, and I do love to stand at the front of the train (and watch the platform mirror when I can) and I’ve never seen anyone get abandon on the platform. The Yonge line tends to be similar, with the train breezing though stations like Rosedale and Davisville, and holding for a little at Eglinton and Sheppard. The only station that I’ve seen this be a problem at (and it is a problem every day) is Spadina on the Bloor line, and I have to be honest, I do blame that on the passengers. They all walk down the stairs, then walk another 10 or 20 feet, and stop. About 5 people get on the last 5 cars, and 25 get on the first car, almost always though the first two doors. At least some of these people must do this every day (EG, heading to/from work) and I wonder why they have yet to clue in that if they walk a few more feet that they might get a easier entrance onto the train.

    I myself has seen the problem with exiting from people with limited mobility. Mostly seniors. Usually I see this at Davisville for some reason, where they don’t even stand up until we arrive at the station. Each and every time I worry that they wont make it (and if they don’t my plan is to hop up and stick my arm in the door – I don’t care if the TTC tells me not to, it is their job to ensure all passengers get on and off who desire to) however each and every time they make it without fail. I am one of those sticklers for rules. I once ran for a train at Bloor station only to hear the chimes, and literally fall over in an attempt to NOT board the train. I’ve sworn at people who hold the doors open, or who mindlessly walk right into them because they just arrived on the platform and don’t want to wait for the next train (Eglinton, stairs near the buses) but even I would stick my arm into a door if I saw someone with mobility problems unable to get off in time.


  23. Honestly, if the guard is going to pull that crap when I’m standing at the door waiting to enter/exit the train, I’m going to hold the door open.


  24. Sometimes, at Rosedale, I see the doors closing briefly after opening and there is no closing chime. Is a defect or a technique? I have been left behind because of this when changing cars. (Please, no advice about changing cars)

    Steve: I’m not sure if it is possible to prevent the closing chime from playing by starting the closing sequence before the doors are fully open. I do know that if the closing chime plays, and the guard reopens the doors while they are closing, the chime does not play a second time when the doors close again.


  25. One visitor to Toronto who marvelled at the short dwell times was O. S. Nock, who visited Toronto in 1971, and published Underground Railways of the World in 1973. The shortest dwell time he experienced was 7 seconds, on a Saturday morning on the Yonge line (he doesn’t say what station). he didn’t report average time.

    My own informal observations suggest that the guards often either don’t pay attention to whether people are still boarding or have been instructed to close the doors after a certain time regardless of whether people are boarding. There are also the bitter and twisted souls who like to close the door just as the only person on the platform runs up to the first or last door on the train.

    Steve: You may have noticed that there are green, orange and red dots mounted on the walls of the station platform. The green dot is aligned at the point where the guard should be when the train is stopped in the correct location. If they’re not at the green dot, then part of the train may be in the tunnel. After closing the doors, the guard is supposed to watch for problems with people or objects caught in the doors until reaching the orange dot. The red dot does double duty of telling the operator at the front of the train that they’re at the correct spot (rather obvious as trains fill stations) and also to tell the guard it’s really time to get your head inside the train.

    It is fairly obvious that if the guard is supposed to be watching for problems until passing the orange dot, they should also have been doing this while stopped at the green dot.

    Obviously, for the new trains, the guard’s position will change, and who knows whether we will get a second set of dots much as there used to be two separate sets of braking markers for G and H trains.


  26. Try Vancouver where the trains are all automated. The “let riders off first” rule does not apply when those getting on have no idea when the doors will close. In my 20 years of taking the subway, I have never been trapped on; maybe because I prepare for exiting the train. In Vancouver, it is a different story, people are frequently trapped on and off (with a half empty train pulling out and a platform full of people.


  27. Mr. Boragina comment regarding where people stand (i.e. Spadina) on the platform to board the train is quite common. The majority of people when they come down the stairwell will stand right there and not move down the platform. Thus when a train comes into that station and that stairwell is also the main exit point you have a large crowd getting off a set of doors that line up with the stairwell and those people who came down standing there waiting to get on. Instead of as Mr. Boragina said moving 10′ in either direction to get onto the train thru another set of doors.

    The same can be said at Yonge and St. George stations where the majority of people who are going to get off at those stops have gotten on the car where the doors line up with the stairwells. Thus comments made about trains “leaving half-empty” from those stations with people still on the platform maybe because the cars those people were trying to get onto were full because of it being by a stairwell but the other cars having plenty of room.

    Steve: Sorry, but I have been on trains at Yonge Station at the height of the rush hour that have closed doors and left without giving anyone a chance to board. Also, especially during the peak period, people don’t have a chance to spread out as much as they might in the offpeak. The fact that at Spadina, for example, many people get off at the east end of the train shows that they must have positioned themselves to board the end cars. This is a common behaviour — walk to the appropriate point for your destination if you have time, otherwise get on wherever you landed on the platform.

    As for doors opening and closing quickly, two thoughts. First, my mother who is 85 with some mobility issues when using the sytem will get up and proceed to the doors as the they are closing at the previous station and then can easily exit safely at her stop without that worry. Second, with the automation of the stops being called people can’t use the excuse of not realizing their stop was next and thus getting “trapped” on the train.

    Lastly in my long reply. How many of the people indicating they got hit by the doors as they were closing are the same ones that race down the stairwell (knocking people down) to get onto the train as the doors are closing. If the guard has done their job right and everyone that was on the platform waiting to get on the train have boarded and the doors are closing then it is that persons fault. Wait for the next train.

    Steve: I find the tone of this comment somewhat offensive as it tries to blame the passengers and absolve the TTC of any possible blame. Yes, people charge the doors. Yes, crowds do not always disperse in the most efficient way to load the train. But no, stops are not always carefully made with a care to getting everyone on and off reasonably. This sort of thing does not have to happen very often for many people to remember it as part of their subway experience.


  28. I have to agree with C Jordan on his comment. Far too many times I have been on trains that have been countlessly delayed due to someone jamming or charging the doors. I hate to say this but this contributes to your observation that at subsequent stops, the time given to alight and depart becomes shorter, as yes, the train needs to catch up a bit, but I’ve only seen this done at really sparse stops like Rosedale or Summerhill. Never saw it done on busier stops. And at busy stops, they will give all the time they can to accomodate people to board and alight but if they take too much time, and there are still people charging the doors, then yes, the operators have to clamp down.

    Really, there is sort of an “unwritten Subway Code of Conduct” as to how to board and alight a train. Charging the doors when the chimes ring, wrestling the doors open, are acts that are contrary to “the code”. Likewise, taking your sweet time getting your rear off the keyster when the doors have already opened, and only charging at the third chime is also contrary to “the code”. These only contribute to delays, and the shorter boarding times you speak of.

    Again, I really have not had any issues with this. The only time I had doors shut on me was when I was outside a train trying to get in, the platform was packed and the chimes were ringing while people were still trying to get in. I held back, knowing that a) I wouldn’t get a seat, and b) another one was right behind it.


  29. When I first moved to Ottawa the first thing I immediately noticed on OC Transpo was when a bus came to a bus stop. More often than not, the bus stops, THEN the passenger get up from their seat and exits the bus! I don’t know if the same thing happens across the country, but in Toronto, if you’re not by the door within a nanosecond of the vehicle stopping, the driver will start up again!

    I’ve seen this behaviour in Oshawa too, but on the contrary I find it entirely odd that you wouldn’t be already prepared to disembark when the bus stops. Its not a personal taxicab. Mind you I’m often annoyed by the … leisurely pace people seem to tend to do things in the surburbs.

    Its the same with escalators. Seems to be a vaguely shocking idea to some people to (gasp!) walk on them and sadly “stand right” is an unheard of concept.

    Perhaps living in the city has changed me, but if I can shave five seconds off my day by walking down the escalator or by being at the doors of the bus when they open, I will!

    Steve: Some people can be ready by the doors, some prefer to sit until the bus stops moving. Those who can be prepared, who can move briskly through the system, should do so, but we cannot and should not operate the system as if every passenger is in training for the Olympics.


  30. I think Ed Drass and most of the other people commenting on the station dwell time issue here are making the issue seem much more serious that it really is. I in fact praise the TTC for having short dwell times, I’ve been riding the TTC for many years, and have never once been trapped or had a problem, and I’ve been a passenger many times at the peak of peak to the last trains.

    The people who are making this seem like an issue must not be in a particular hurry to get home, if they propose that there be some minimum dwell time at the stations. I do not want to spend any more time on a crowded subway than anyone else does, and by standing around at the stations till the cows come home is just going prolong my stay on the subway un-necessarily. People riding the subway should be ready and prepared to get off and on the trains, and if they stand around waiting for Christmas then they shouldn’t get mad when the doors close on you. It is not fair for the other 1000 people on the train to have to wait for the slow pokes to figure out what they are doing.

    Steve: This is not a question of “slow pokes”. Try riding a moving train while standing up with one leg in a cast and balancing on crutches. Then try getting to the door the instant the train stops. I did that for a few months, and I was in reasonably good shape. Many people have far more trouble getting around on the subway than I did. Yes, there are dawdlers, but that’s not who I and others here are writing about. Also, closing the doors before anyone on the platform has a chance to get on is inexcusable, and it does happen albeit rarely.

    Also, the signal system on the Bloor-Danforth line actually maintains the headways, and NOT the schedule despite what comments were made earlier. The system is designed to adjust the trains around the slowest running train so that the headway between trains, even if the train is late is equal. So with increased dwell times at all the stations because of all the slow pokes, I’ll be sure to get to my destination by Christmas, I hope.

    Steve: I will take your word for it, but the original design was schedule based, and my own observations tell me that trains are not held when the service is running late, regardless of their spacing.


  31. I’m a subway operator, and I can confirm first hand that the subway is entirely run on headways, and almost never to the schedule. We are dispatched from the end terminals at the appropriate amount of time after the previous train and held at certain stations if we get too close to the train ahead. This usually results in train crews finishing their shift late and getting paid the appropriate amount of overtime.

    With regards to closing the doors, I try my best to leave a reasonable amount of time for everyone on the platform to board my train. But when the rest of the train is clear and there are a bunch of people boarding by one door while I’m looking at the train behind down the tunnel, then I’m sorry but I have to close. If I’m aware that there are people with mobility problems trying to exit the train, then I will hold the doors open for them, but unfortunately we cannot see inside every car so we don’t always know who is where.

    With regards to increasing station dwell times, in my job capacity I’m paid by the hour so I can hold the doors open all day if they want me to… but being that I don’t have a car and ride transit everyday myself, I want a quick ride to where I need to go. I’ve been on transit systems that do hold the doors open a long time, and if you have to go more than a couple of stations the ride becomes very lengthy and tedious. Fortunately, in my travels I’ve encountered very few subway systems that hold the doors open for a lengthy period of time… many other systems have dwell times similar to ours, and some of them (Montreal comes to mind) don’t even have warning chimes when the doors close!

    I tend to suggest to people with mobility problems that they sit near the end of the fourth car if they’re exiting on a side platform, where I have a constant view of them from the front window of the fifth car. If exiting at a centre platform, then I suggest that they sit near the head of the guard’s (fifth) car, where I can see them from my guard’s position. Quite a large proportion of them, in my experience, do just that and they have no problems exiting the train.


  32. Steve: This is not a question of “slow pokes”. Try riding a moving train while standing up with one leg in a cast and balancing on crutches. Then try getting to the door the instant the train stops. I did that for a few months, and I was in reasonably good shape. Many people have far more trouble getting around on the subway than I did. Yes, there are dawdlers, but that’s not who I and others here are writing about. Also, closing the doors before anyone on the platform has a chance to get on is inexcusable, and it does happen albeit rarely.

    In that case, blame the insensitive goons who refuse to give up their seat closest to the door.

    Steve: Nice to say, but that doesn’t get me off the train.

    Again, closing the doors before anyone on the platform has a chance to get on is only done when the train has been on the platform for far too long and there is a train behind it. I always look to see if there is a train behind it before boarding when the chimes come on, and usually there is.

    Steve: I repeat: I have been on trains that arrived eastbound at Bloor-Yonge and left the doors open barely long enough for people to get off, let alone anyone get on. It happens.


  33. I can assure you that the TTC doesn’t care about schedule. All they care about is headway. None of the passengers will know if the the subway line is down 20 minutes which is the case most days.

    Steve: I believe that the source of confusion in this discussion may lie in the degree to which the tower operators intervene in the intermediate point headway management. My understanding is that they can “drop a train” from a time point which has the effect of adjusting the schedule to be late by one headway. If this is done multiple times, everything can be running 20 minutes late and still be on headway regulation. On the other hand, if service is trying to make up time and get back on schedule, then it’s better not to enforce the layovers at time points and let everything catch up a bit at a time. Under these circumstances, trains never see a red signal and are never held.

    In the future, as headways get shorter, the option of holding trains along the line will become unworkable because of queueing problems. Inevitably there will be times when the time to get from Bathurst to Broadview will be longer due to dwell times, but scheduling all trains on this longer time will produce lineups whenever trains are running faster than scheduled. We see this problem now with queues approaching terminals.

    Anyone with definitive information about this, please write.


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