• Removing The Secret Minute at the Terminal Station

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by eolesen
As long as you arrive more or less ontime, why is this even an issue?

I see no problem with an advertised time and a operational time, but it can condition people to be late.

Airlines routinely close their door 5-10 mins prior to departure, and even put in their conditions of carriage that you can be denied boarding if not at the gate ready to board ten minutes prior to scheduled departure. But they've got reservations and know who is missing...

On my commuter line, doors close at the scheduled time, and people are conditioned to being onboard a minute prior to scheduled time. If the crew sees a runner at an outstation, they usually hold. Making up a half minute isn't difficult on an hour long run, but it can mess you up at a busy interlocking...

Where trains only run hourly or less, people pay more attention to being early.

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  by photobug56
Main issue - believability of any schedule or on time arrival information posted by LIRR. Having a passenger schedule and a 'shadow' employee schedule adds to the credibility problem. People come later expecting the minute, yet typically find doors closed, the train just sitting there for no obvious reason.
  by workextra
This has nothing to do with credit ability.
The justification for the time dates back to when there were actual gates, and gatemen at the stairs. A very orderly society in the Edwardian era. (Think Titanic era)
That extra minute was to allow the last person beyond the gate to make it to the train.
Consider is a blessing not a curse. We can try to modernize or update its justification, but it indirectly benefits the commuter.
  by Kelly&Kelly
People come later expecting the minute, yet typically find doors closed, the train just sitting there for no obvious reason.
Anyone, through their personal oversight, arriving one minute late after the advertised time would find a train with its doors open and be accommodated graciously by the scheduling policies.

Quite typical of the exemplary care, benevolence and professionalism offered daily by the men and women of the LIRR's labor organizations.
Last edited by Kelly&Kelly on Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  by Head-end View
Photobug56, there are many reasons a train might be standing at the platform with its doors closed even after departure time. One is that the engineer might not have gotten a proceed signal yet because of congestion in the tunnel ahead. Another is there might occasionally be a malfunction in the safety system that prevents the train from moving if all the doors don't show as closed. When that happens the problem has to be resolved before the train can safely proceed.

People like yourself who are so quick to criticize every little thing about the LIRR often do not have much understanding of how a railroad actually works and the many factors, mechanical and human that often conspire to screw things up. Some of these things are the railroad's fault but many are not.
  by photobug56
Of course there are lots of good reasons for that. You close, and you wait for clearance. Normal. But that's not what bothers me. it's closing - sometimes exactly at the published time for departure, but NEVER leaving for at least a minute or two every single day on some runs. Doesn't meet the PRR standard, and doesn't make sense. Even more absurd is what would go on daily with a train out of HP, which would pull out, and every day then wait 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding. This suggests poor train scheduling.

Part of what I found so disturbing were the many delays built in to every run. One trip required 90 minutes to go 40 miles with only a few stops, though with a transfer. Now I'm sure that whether in real life or historical, there were reasons - but that and so many other problems (ignoring breakdowns) can make the daily commute a living hell.
  by Kelly&Kelly
Have you considered sharing your valuable suggestions and insight to the LIRR Public Affairs department or perhaps the governor's office? Your solutions would be most valuable to them, and put into action immediately! By Executive Order, perhaps.
  by Literalman
I recall reading that it was New York Central practice at Grand Central Terminal to depart one minute after the time advertised in the public timetable. This may have had something to do with the gates too. As a Virginia Railway Express commuter for more than 20 years, I heard plenty of (usually automated) announcements for trains that were nowhere in sight, let alone boarding. One morning in Fredericksburg, the electronic VRE signs said that our train was now in the station. What was in the station was a CSX freight that was not moving. I remarked to a fellow passenger that maybe this was our train and we were supposed to be hoboes that day.
  by photobug56
One thing though about Penn (love your VRE story); as I understand it, the dispatchers had screens and cameras so they knew whether a train was on platform or not. Oh, and the train in question was a 12 car express to Huntington that was packed every night - as was the platform. People were really freaking out.

Now I doubt this would happen today - it was truly blatant and absurd. Plus a bit more safety in mind today; doing that with so many people on a packed platform was dangerous.

Only really regular problem was with the 4:49 on Track 17. Dangerous, usually overcrowded once about 50 people are down there, but the DM's have long been so unreliable you never knew if the train would show up from the yard. Not the dispatcher's fault normally.
  by Commuter X
Let me chime in here, if I may

I am back to taking the LIRR a few days a week and take the train r/t Penn to one of the eastern terminal stations. In other words, the last stop

I have noticed that when the east-bound train is one or two minutes from arriving (the train is in motion and the doors are closed) the TrainTime App marks the train as "arrived"

This is fine when train is running less than four minutes late. At the six minute mark, the train is still in motion, doors are closed, and it is officially late, but HQ marks the train as arrived and on-time, giving no credibility to the OTP that is published

Commuter X
  by photobug56
I'm shocked and dismayed! Oh, not really. I've always thought the OTP numbers to be fictional. Years ago (could still be true), a subway train that broke down en route would be noted as having arrived on time because it did not arrive late, albeit at all.
  by Kelly&Kelly
Trains that are cancelled are not carried as late. Cancellations are reported separately in daily reporting to the media.

Back in 1980, a timing system was proposed that would tabulate "passenger minutes late". It would factor the number of passengers on trains and thus weigh a late train with 2000 riders more heavily than it would a train with a handful. It would also consider missed connections. Obviously kicking out an empty connecting train on time and stranding hundreds of riders who wished to board it from a late arrival should be considered...

The system was never adopted because it went against the standard OTP of the rail industry, and as such was knocked down by the AAR and other national groups.

In reality, a dispatcher will always hold a lightly traveled train (make it late) if necessary to expedite a heavy train. It's just good practice that a seasoned dispatcher (or Train Director) follows in his work. They also consider future delays that will be caused or prevented by their actions.

Schedules are sometimes tight and where they are, the experience of crews, operators and dispatchers work to minimize the number of passengers delayed.

It may not always seem to be the case to riders or employees who don't have access to the whole picture as seen by the dispatcher. In truth, the LIRR has some of the best dispatchers around and most have well earned respect of all those with knowledge of the craft.
  by Head-end View
Commuter X and photo bug, I seem to remember the media finding out some years ago that a train's arrival time at its terminal is recorded as the time it passes the last signal before the station, not the time it actually reaches the platform. I assume because there is no way to document the actual arrival at the platform, only the train passing a certain signal can be documented.

Maybe K&K could fill in the blanks on that ?
  by eolesen
That was before PTC. With PTC it should be possible to grab the event of doing a full stop at the appropriate coordinates for a platform location.

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