Every train has to be prepped before entering service each day.

At some locations (not on my line of route), you start by walking around the train, visually inspecting everything; specifically shoe gear and any other ancillary equipment underneath the train. We also check the ends of the train including the couplers, electrical coupling block, object deflector and life guards (metal spikes that stick down in front of the leading wheels).

We then move into one of the train cabs.

Our trains are of fixed formation; either 8 (RLU/Reduced Length Unit) or 12 cars (FLU/Full Length Unit), so there are only ever two cabs.

We check all of the equipment and systems, including the EVC (European Vital Computer) and perform an automatic brake test.


We then walk down the train, visually inspecting the passengers saloons and toilets, and checking all equipment is present in the emergency cupboards and ensuring that the accessible ramp is present (even though we don’t ever use it).

Once we arrive at the other cab, we perform the same checks as before, minus the automatic brake test.

The whole prep takes about 30 minutes.

@alan 8-12 cars seems like a pretty large train? How often do trains stop at stations?

I'm used to the Los Angeles Metro system where even our largest subway cars are still only grouped in 4-6 car trains.


@alienghic 12 cars is (I believe) the maximum length of passenger train in the UK. Eurostar operates in 16 car formation.

The service pattern varies wildly across the UK. Obviously London stations see trains every couple of minutes and where we are in Kent, we probably get different trains every 10 minutes or so.

In “the core” of our route (Blackfriars to St. Pancras), we’re hoping to run 24 trains per hour, partly with the help of ATO (Automatic Train Operation).

@alan is 24 trains per hour a new train every 2.4 minutes (60/24)?

That'd be so nice.

@alienghic On average, yes. We also run trains between Bedford and Brighton 24 hours a day (only hourly during the night).

Don’t forget this is central London so it’s not comparable to outer suburban services.

@alan eh I'm comparing you to where I live, the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Which is a pretty huge and significant region too (though maybe less dense?) en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greate

We don't have any 24 hour rail, just some bus lines.

@alienghic Sorry, I missed that you mentioned LA.

Population density of London is 10x that of LA, according to Wikipedia, but I think that includes Greater London (all the immediate surrounding areas) so I’m not sure how those figures actually translate.

Transport links through/in/out of London are incredibly good. I can be in central London by 06:00 and the last train out of central London for me leaves at 00:40.


Wanna make fun of us?

The parking lobby kept Metro from connecting the light rail system to the major airport, so now they're hacking in something to connect the airport to the trains.


@alienghic LA isn’t the only place in the world to be run by a shortsighted authority, I can assure you.

London has had its fair share of head-scratching decisions…!

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