The timetable is the tabulated timings of all stopping passenger trains as well as the nonstop superfast express trains and goods trains over a section of track.It is determined that how many trains can safely run and at what times. For the purpose of working railway men the Working Timetable is published and for the general public, the Public Timetable is published.
The timetable balances demand for trains serving small communities and nonstop fast trains as well as the requirements of businesses which rely on freight.It is a complex process which takes into account many factors, many of which are there to keep passengers safe.
- The variation in speed limits on a length of the track, for example at curves and over points.
- Only one train can occupy a given section of track at any time.
- Signaling arrangement varies across the network, so the safe distance between trains may change along a route.
- There is a minimum time gap between trains using a platform at a station.
- A mix of stopping, non-stopping and goods trains, which all travel at different speeds, affects the number of trains that can use any section of track.
- It should be allowed some time for improvement work and routine maintenance so we can increase capacity and maintain reliability.
- An obstruction or a broken down train can cause long tailbacks, if the timetabled trains follow too closely together without any flexibility, making it harder to get trains back on the time when there is an incident.
- Because only one train can safely occupy a section of track at any time, any increase in the number of fast trains on a route would require a reduction in the number of trains serving small stations and also Goods trains.
To show everyone concerned how the train service will operate and where the trains will start and finish, a timetable must be drawn up. This is not the one the passengers see; it is a detailed one for staff. It shows all details of all train movements, including empty moves and times in and out of depots. It shows each train or trip identity and intermediate times for some, if not all stations.
This is such an old-fashioned word that many people have forgotten its importance. In any business, the customer expects to get, at the very least, what he is told he will get. If he is told his new car will be blue, he will be very upset if a red car is delivered. If he is told his train will arrive at 10.05 and it arrives at 10.10, he will also get upset. Any attempt at excuses will not remove the idea that he has now formed that the railway has not delivered. He is right. Whatever other things we do, we should have timekeeping as our number one priority.
The first premise for timekeeping is to have clocks which tell the correct time. Systems for the central control of clocks to very accurate standards are widely available and are well worth the cost of installation and maintenance and can even be used and paid for as a marketing tool.
Times should also be displayed in conjunction with train descriptions and arrival/departure information. Passengers should be able to set their watches by the station clock and know that it will always be correct. There is no excuse for railway clocks which do not tell the correct time.
The Guards before starting the train, they must set their watch according to control time, inform the same to the loco pilot. The Guards must give importance to the punctual running of trains though they have many associated works behind.
In order to “improve” timekeeping, railways have always provided recovery time in timetables. This is extra time, above that usually required for a train to complete its trip on time, allocated in case of a small delay or temporary speed restriction. But one important thing, the Recovery time should be strictly limited and eliminated altogether when possible. It should not be used as an excuse for bad timekeeping.