Sectional Running Times and Timing Loads summary

Welcome to, Scotland's online railway community. The group is for any rail enthusiast interested in the railways and trains of Scotland. It not only consists of the wiki that you're reading now, but a busy online forum and mailing list, which is accessible to anyone who registers. If you would like to join in, all you have to do is register with us for free.

Editing menu

>After musing over the RS's power provision, I got to thinking... as
>everything in the WTT has a timing load, how does the factor work with one offs
>and charters?

Most things have a timing load (or 'model train' as it is known in the new
TPS system), for instance a 150, 155 and 156 share the same timing load, which in
turn governs that particular train's SRTs (Sectional Running Times) - that is
the time taken for the train to traverse the gap between two timing locations.

There are 3 main types of SRT...
(Train accelerates from a stand at first point and passes second point non stop)
(Train passes non-stop through both the first and second points without stopping)
(Train passes first point non-stop then decelerates to stop at the second point)

Now, the 'standard' timing load used for what is a typical diesel hauled
charter these days is 95-47455. (95mph, Class 47 hauling 455 tons) By typical, I
mean something along the lines of top'n'tail 47s or 67s on between 10 and 13
coaches, including the Royal Scotsman in some places, and the Northern Belle in most
cases. It mightn't be a 47 on the train, the train might be 400 or 500 tons,
there might be a few other variables to consider when timing it, BUT that is the
closest match to the formation asked for by the TOC/FOC when they place their bid to
run the train. Obviously there are others too, for instance 50ST420 and 75ST420 for
steam locos.

Now, a rough estimation for, say, a Class 47 hauling 13x MK1 or 2s + a dead 47 on
the rear in top n tail formation. That is actually 47 + 550tons trailing weight. It
is still technically 95mph capable, though is obviously not going to be as quick off
the mark and take a lot longer to build up the speed. When it is timed, the person
timing it will take these things into consideration, along with the Rules of the
Plan for the area they are planning, plus their own knowledge and occasionally
written instructions to insert more time in between certain points. Rising grades
and loop/station stops are some obvious ones.

For instance, an extra minute or two may be added into the 'adjustment time'
column in the train planning software if it is considered necessary. So the SRT would
be planning for, say 3 and a half minutes from stop to pass between 2 locations, but
this extra minute would allow the train 4 and a half minutes to build up momentum
before the second timing point is passed. Likewise, in some instances if it is
considered that the SRT is over-generous and that the train would run early beyond,
a 'minus adjustment' of -1 or -half minute maybe entered which reduces the
running time from the calculated value produced for that timing load, though these
instances are not common, especially on WTT trains.

You can see a few of these on this lo-res 'screen dump' of a past railtour,
uploaded purely for the reasons of illustrating this query. The minus adjustment
time values are highlighted in red (half a minute each for the record as they are
virtually illegible on this image). Associated running times between the two points
as calculated from the timing load are visible in the far right column. Obviously it
has no sensitive info visible, is a past event, and is taken off a soon-to-be-defunct
planning system too...

<a href="">Click here to view</a>

>For instance, let's say Ewan set up 'Scot-RailTours' and got enough
>bookings to run 14 coaches on a tour, but he wanted to use a Ped as power. Would
>he be given timings to allow this to happen - or would NR say 'don't be

Probably the latter. Traction type vs train length, trailing load and performance
characteristics should REALLY be considered from the outset by the Tour Promoter
before even submitting an unrealistic bid to their chosen TOC/FOC who are running
the tour on their behalf. If it wasn't, then in a wild scenario such as that
which you describe, the TOC/FOC would almost certainly reject it on the basis of
network incompatability and impact on other services, not to mention risk factor.

>Assuming he got the go ahead, and was down to 3MPH at Drumochter, would the
>tour company be liable for delays to anything else?

If it wasn't thrown out at the bid stage by the TOC/FOC or Network Rail - and it
WOULD be(!) - then the TOC/FOC would be absolutely hammered for delay minutes,
therefore it wouldn't be in their own interest to run the tour because the
resulting financial penalties would almost certainly make them a loss to run the
excursion. Severe questions would also be asked as to why it wasn't anticipated.

>In general, if you ask for a path, do you have to select power to suit the
>times given, or can you ask for slower paths?

You could ask for a slower path to run, say a pair of 60mph DRS 20s up the WCML but
the net result would be an intimate knowledge of every passing loop and slow line
going and an itinerary that took ages to complete. Remember, Charter trains are
'one offs' which normally have to fit in and around WTT timetabled trains
(freight AND passenger). If a charter requires a freight or test train path for part
of its' journey to enable its' passage (and many do), then an agreement from
the operator of that freight to either move/re-time or cancel it must be
forthcoming. Service trains (i.e. passenger trains) CAN be flexed slightly by a
couple of minutes, but only with prior consent of the TOC who operate it. You cant
just 'budge' a passenger out the way by cancelling or retiming it 5 or 10
mins to allow a charter to blast through in its' path. Think back to the Top
Gear race special with 'Tornado' last year north of Drem for instance...

You see all this whingeing online about 'too many 47 and 67 tours', but the
reality is that even though it is only a 15-20mph difference, a 37 tour with an
80mph max is harder to path in most places where line speed for other trains is
above 75mph.

Also when you 'ask for a path' - you have to consider the service pattern in
operation on the line in question already and if there is sufficient capacity to
allow for such a train to traverse the line without disruption. If you tried to plan
another SRPS style 'McBuffer Suffer' like the one run by Muffy and co with
40145 + 55022 a couple of years back, then you'd be cutting it fine not to have
at least some of your wish list denied and rejected on these grounds. Lines such as
the Kyle line, West Highland Lines, (and as we found out recently trying to thread a
rope through the eye of a needle) the Stranraer line can prevent major headaches
slotting things in.

A case in point was the GB3 with 45407 + 44871 last month. There might have been any
number of comments passed that there is hours between service trains south of Girvan,
BUT can you see what is further back or forward on the route, and outwith the problem
areas, can you free up the only platform long enough at Glasgow to fit it in during
the morning peak, then match a path down a busy Ayrshire coast with a 60mph train
among those running at 75 and 90 that then hits a gap where there is sufficient time
to squeeze it through a single line before a service train the opposite direction,
bang in a water/photo stop (where required) and get it to its destination - then do
it all again in the other direction?! Let's just say it was a bit of a bitch to
do!!! Ironically enough, if it had run on the Sunday instead of the Saturday as per
the DRS 37s the week before, it would've been a LOT easier and had bags of time
in Stranraer as opposed to 63mins. But as the Promoter had requested the Saturday,
then the Saturday was what we had to work with and do our best to push through.

Only one 'occasional' special train has the rule of the roost over everything on the network and that is the Royal Train.

Perhaps, on reflection, I should add that there is one fairly common observation I
have made which is often recited by both Tour Promoters and Cranks alike.

That is the common misconception that 'a tour went to 'XXXXXXX' only
'Y' years ago - how come if it worked then it allegedly doesn't work
now'...usually followed by some derogatory, tiresome and ill informed rant about
NR. Easy answer to that one: In most cases it is due to service pattern increases or re-casts and timetable changes.