Wednesday 15 August 2012

Ok here’s something you might not know. In the cab of the 92s we have something called the countdown clock which basically does what it says; we open the doors, the clock starts counting down from twenty seconds or however much “dwell time” we have depending on time of day and/or location and when it reaches two seconds it gives us three loud chimes to tell us it’s time to close the doors.

It’s linked with the dot-matrix destination boards over the platforms and a clever little feature is that when the countdown clock reaches ten seconds and the “station starter” signal is clear the dot-matrix board starts flashing “Mind the doors”. If when the countdown clock reaches ten seconds the signal is at danger it will stop the countdown clock and delay the dot-matrix flashing until it clears. So if you see the dot-matrix start flashing then it’s time to go, stop faffing around and get on the bloody train!

If the gap between my train and the train behind is getting too long then Wood Lane can add time to the countdown clock and hold me at a platform for longer in order to "regulate" the service which was what happened yesterday during the evening peak when we had a problem on a train behind me.

If you didn’t know about the countdown clock and the dot-matrix board then you knew as much as 90% of the Station Staff doing SATS who stick the baton up in the air and inform the passengers over the PA that the train is ready to leave when I’m sat on a red signal or when I’ve still got 20 seconds on the clock. Kudos to LIS EB, the only person who got it right between HOL and MIE last night.

Hopefully now I've told you someone will tell them......


  1. Definitely interesting, although lost on me. I can't see destination boards or anything like that :)

    Shame they can't programme SONIA to say Mind the Doors at the same time, stop my dog nearly getting his tail caught when I mis-judge it as there's a train sitting there, but no door closing alarm (yesterday afternoon).

  2. Sorry, one more thing.

    Are drivers meant to wait for this countdown clock. Only ask cause the driver I had on my train from Loughton into Liverpool Street yesterday morning didn't wait more than about 5 seconds, before closing doors and starting.

    He sent SONIA nuts as he re-opened the doors at several stations on the way to let everybody on the platform on, he was going so damned quick

  3. I take it the clock itself is local to the station, and you have a repeater in the cab, with a sending unit to tell the clock when you've opened the doors?