I normally catch the 17.05 or 17.35 Waterloo to Weymouth services. Both of these are formed of 2 class 444 units, and they divide at Southampton, the front part going to Weymouth and the rear part to Poole. However, quite often the departure screens on the platform at Waterloo show some ridiculous formations, eg, front 4 coaches for Weymouth, middle coach for Southampton Central, and rear 5 for Poole. This has been going on for months - or possibly years - and clearly confuses those who are not regular travellers. You shouldn't be telling your passengers nonsense! When is this going to be fixed!
Thanks for your question,
Our current customer Information system is around 15 years old and we recognise that it's time to replace it, it was never really designed to handle trains splitting and this is what causes the display problem.
We are in the process now of installing a new system across our network that should see anomalies like this to disappear. I believe London Waterloo is currently scheduled to be upgraded in January 2019.
One of the enhancements is that it is linked directly to our fleet system so any last minute changes will automatically be displayed. I appreciate this seem a slow process but it will require an upgrade at each station individually.
In the mean time I'll ask the team to investigate the problem at Waterloo.
Hi David. Thanks for this, but I'm afraid some of the answer is a little unconvincing. Trains from Waterloo have divided en route for a lot more than 15 years, so why would you install a system not designed to handle them? And if it's not designed to handle them, why does it sometimes show the correct information, and sometimes show nonsense?
It's a very good question and not one I can say for definite without the system teams investigating.
What I believe is occurring is: when the daily timetable is downloaded each night these trains have zero coaches. When we manually enter in 10 caches the system becomes confused and can't work out if the train is 450 units (which come in sets of 4) or 444 units (which come in sets of 5).
If the timetable is downloaded correctly into the system it will know that the train has 10 coaches and 5 spilt off at Southampton and will show correctly on display boards.
We have explored the option of upgrading this system but it's no longer reliable enough which is why in partnership with Network Rail we are upgrading all stations on our network.
I appreciate that it's frustrating and I've ask the systems team to investigate. Please bear with us whilst we improve in this area
The existing screens and their sortware worked OK for dividing trains when they were installed.
Has there been a change to the data fed from the rolling stock diagrams and/ or station workings / Carriage Working Notices?
We now ask the system to process a lot more data then when they were installed. Waterloo has the most platforms of any station in the country and when we re-opened the international terminal this added 5 additional platforms and the system is now running beyond capacity.
This is why it was identified as area that required an upgrade.