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Old November 2nd, 2012, 02:07 PM   #1
DiscoSteve
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Metrolink Lines and Signage

A new thread to continue the discussion about what (if anything) TFGM could do to make it easier to navigate around the expanded Metrolink System

Continued from the Metrolink Construction Thread...

My suggestion was

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoSteve View Post
I'm happy to stick with line numbers to be honest not names. This is the kind of thing I'm thinking...



First add line numbers onto the existing maps - so people can see Line 1 is the Green Bury to Alty line etc etc

Then actually put those coloured number squares directly onto the entrances next to the stop name and anywhere on the stop where the stop name is signed - so people instantly know that a stop is on one or more lines

Then put those line numbers as reverse squares onto the tram displays AND the PID's so people can see that a Line 1 tram has really arrived (not for example a Line 3 tram at Whitefield) and the yellow-on-black tram displays and PID's are why you need to add numbers to colours.



But here is how I thought the current route map would look like...

Ignore the fact that the Key Box doesn't line up with the actual lines right now
So lets continue the discussion here...
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 05:46 PM   #2
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I know nobody likes my line strategy ideas, (that is allocating line names to routes depending on which route they take through the city centre - 1CC, 2CC or Piccadilly).

Trams which run via Exchange Square (2CC) are labelled "Exchange Square Line"

Trams which run via Shudehill (1CC) are labelled "Shudehill Line"

and Trams which run via Piccadilly Gardens are labelled "Piccadilly Line".

Couldn't be simpler. On the PIDs:-

"Exchange Square line to Airport ..... 2 mins"
"Piccadilly Line to Ashton ..... 6 mins"
"Shudehill Line to Bury ..... 10 mins"

On the front of trams:-

It can either alternate, so 2 seconds on "Exchange Square Line" and then 2 seconds on "To East Didsbury"... OR

Top line; Exchange Square Line

Bottom line; East Didsbury.




The only legitimate reason Metrolink needs route names is to solve the 2CC, 1CC, Piccadilly problem.

With this method, passengers will know first-hand where their tram is going through the city centre.



I've heard people on here say 'but Volde, your lines are too big! Look at the size of the Ex.Sq. line!".... Fair enough, my lines are big. But I think Metrolink and the people on here are too fixated by each and every route run by Metrolink having its own line... it doesn't have to be like that.

Look over to Liverpool. Merseyrail have 3 different lines serving about 15 different routes. Wirral Line and City Line have dozens of different routes!

Look at London. The District Line & Northern Line have loads of different routes.

It's not a bad thing. We don't need so many different lines and colours on Metrolink. We only need three.

Plus, only using three colours saves the network map in future, when we get new lines and new routes. Saves us running out of colours. AND we won't get that horrible-looking bunch of lines around Cornbrook. Oh good grief that's ugly.

Here's my amateur maps;


[IMG]http://i50.************/2rr9aah.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i50.************/675ugx.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i45.************/34i5ket.jpg[/IMG]
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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In general it seems fine; I have a couple of reservations (not major but worth considering)

Firstly, if the station live tram indicators show, as LU do, the next 3 trams arriving, they usually do that by indicating the order of trams by 1, 2, 3 because often they are on a second screen. There is a chance for confusion.
Secondly, if in some future expansion we end up with 10+ lines, is there enough room to display the second numerator? They are already tight for room.

It may be better to have Lines A, B, etc
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 05:51 PM   #4
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Oops VDB's reply came whilst typing mine.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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I think DiscoSteve's concept is absollutley spot-on!
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 08:17 PM   #6
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So e good ideas. I like the line number idea because it seems simple.
The Piccadilly Line idea seems more complex as the Exchange Square line seems to cover most of the network!
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manchester77 View Post
So e good ideas. I like the line number idea because it seems simple.
The Piccadilly Line idea seems more complex as the Exchange Square line seems to cover most of the network!
It does but look at Liverpool's City Line (which actually stretches to Manchester Airport, but anyway....)
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 10:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VDB View Post
It does but look at Liverpool's City Line (which actually stretches to Manchester Airport, but anyway....)
Does anyone call it the City Line though? Other than the signage in Merseyrail stations? It's just a set of Northern-operated routes?

As for lines... I like your system VDB, but I can't help thinking that if we are to introduce this level of complexity, why not split every tram's route up? You may as well, so its clear that, for example, trams do not run from Altrincham to Ashton, and terminate at Pic. The bunching at Cornbrook is unfortunate I agree, and its a good idea to combine "workings" into "lines" yes, but there is little we can use to effectively combine them. The District Line combines the whole lot together just dandy, because it is operationally separate from the others. Wherever it isn't, e.g. sharing with the Circle Line, both are shown on the map. Same with Liverpool, its just that they are separate.

Also, my point about the LU line names stands, whatever someone said about 6 of them being named after places. I wouldn't say that Shudehill is really an adequate focal point of those services to name them after. Piccadilly, is - that's quite good. And what about just "Exchange Line"?
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 01:08 AM   #9
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Well, no, I was just giving an example. People probably don't call it the city line, however I've no doubt that the other two (Wirral and Northern) are flung about a lot.

It's true that there is an issue of where trams terminate, I just think it's really silly that we should have every single route having a different colour and its own line! MediaCity for God's sake! It's like, what, a 60m branch? Doesn't need its own line.

Regarding terminating issues, I refer again to London. They're areas on their lines which are termini half way up the line, much like Shaw will be for us. There's no way of showing it really, except on the front of the trams and on the PIDs. That's the best way, surely? "Piccadilly Line to Altrincham".

I also put on the maps the service pattern, up near the Key.

Shudehill isn't the focal point of the Shudehill Line, you're right. Market St is. However 'Market Street Line' is a little long, shorter than Exchange Square yes but still quite long, especially when the line carries on through Shudehill which is much shorter anyway.

Exchange Line could work, only there's the potential for getting that mixed up with Exchange Quay...
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 02:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VDB View Post
Well, no, I was just giving an example. People probably don't call it the city line, however I've no doubt that the other two (Wirral and Northern) are flung about a lot.

It's true that there is an issue of where trams terminate, I just think it's really silly that we should have every single route having a different colour and its own line! MediaCity for God's sake! It's like, what, a 60m branch? Doesn't need its own line.

Regarding terminating issues, I refer again to London. They're areas on their lines which are termini half way up the line, much like Shaw will be for us. There's no way of showing it really, except on the front of the trams and on the PIDs. That's the best way, surely? "Piccadilly Line to Altrincham".
Hmm. Now this is interesting. I think scale is important to consider, firstly. A mediacity tram turning up every 12 mins alternating with an Eccles one at the same frequency is very useful to know. That's undeniable because its a smallish network, there are no alternative routes and its quite a long wait. It really doesn't matter about the tube because there will be another train in two minutes (admittedly, this isn't the case if you are going to Chesham or something, but I think they have timetables for that?). The point is, people need to know when its separate and when it is combined.

Now, I don't know enough to comment, but are the "half way" termeni actually posted termini at all? Branches are a separate case, obviously, but is there a system whereby every fourth train reverses ar Seven Sisters and the other three continue to Walthamstow Central (as a totally random example on the Victoria Line) in many service patterns? We do have that. The trams which are terminating at Shaw will all come from one place. Its not a random decision, and it doesn't vary; its a planned route. There aren't trams from Bury some of which go to Altrincham, some to Eccles and some to Werby's. It's specific trams assigned to specific, fixed routes. Your map doesn't show that people must change if they are on the branch from which trams terminate at Shaw.

D'you get me? I do like the idea though. It makes me wish we could operate like that. Just for the record, I do try to reinforce the idea of the Northern Line and the Wirral Line, whenever I visit Merseyrail.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 02:50 AM   #11
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I am all in favour of making things simpler for people, but I don't see how adding more information 'for the sake of it' helps.


For example...

I am a visitor, never been to Manchester. I have travelled from the South of England and I am going to my mate's new pub in Radcliffe - 'near the Met Station', he has told me.

I go into the travel shop for advice...

As it stands I will be told to get a BURY tram, explaining that I need to go to Debenhams first for a gift, I am told to use the Market Street stop and get any BURY tram 'it will say Bury on the front'.

Do my shopping, stand on platform, OLDHAM MUMPS tram arrives - never heard of it, but it doesn't say BURY. When one does arrive with BURY on the front I get on it and tootle to Radcliffe. It doesn't matter to me if it came from Piccadilly, Altrincham or Timbuktu - it says BURY.

Add line numbers, and I am now told I can get a Line 1 Service to Bury, or a Line 3 Service to Bury. The line numbers are superfluous as the important bit 'BURY' will be written on the front anyway, it is just two useless (for me in this instance) bits of information.

Lets suppose I am feeling more self-sufficient and just look at the map (which is what I would do anyway).

As it stands, follow line on very simple, spoke map - tram will go to BURY... oh look, there is a handy little legend that also explains that. Done ! Since I had to look at the map to see if the Line 1 service that I want at Market Street is going in the direction I want or the other one, once again the numbers become superfluous. Bare in mind, that never having been to Manchester (or Greater Manchester) I have no idea geographically what is in what direction, so couldn't guess at which side of a platform to stand on.

Comparisons to LU are not really relevant as it is a much more complicated system, with many more lines and options. Metrolink is a spoke network.

Someone on the other thread mentioned the KISS principle and I think it applies.

Regarding cross city services (2CC etc), then a simple extra line on the front of the tram 'via Exchange Square' solves the issue of which way it goes once you look at the map - which a bemused traveller would have to do anyway.

Names are fine, but will rarely be used (again they are mostly superfluous adding extra information for the sake of it) and would probably not be referred to by most people. For a while (maybe still) the X35 bus to Bury was called, IIRC, the Flying Shuttle - I don't know of anyone who has ever used that term. People would say get the 135, get the X35 etc etc etc. Buses need numbers as there are so many options and so many alternative routes.

I don't dislike DiscoSteve's numbering system (sorry Volde, don't like the line names at all), but I still think it just adds an extra layer that is not needed.

Believe me, I know all to well of the people who will run to the front of a tram with ECCLES written on it and ask 'does this tram go to Eccles' and indeed the people that will do the same to the driver of an Altrincham tram, and when advised 'No, you need and Eccles service and it will say Eccles on the front' retort with 'I DO know that' , but adding numbers, names, pretty colours or a man with a flag and a foghorn is not going to help. People enquiring about interim stops ('Does this Altrincham tram go to Stretford' - fair question if you don't know the system) will still ask as again, additional information is no help.

Just my two-penneth.

Don't mean to trample on any toes or hurt anyone's feelings, so I hope I haven't done so.
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Old November 4th, 2012, 12:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kofieye View Post
Does anyone call it the City Line though? Other than the signage in Merseyrail stations? It's just a set of Northern-operated routes?
Quote:
Originally Posted by VDB View Post
Well, no, I was just giving an example. People probably don't call it the city line, however I've no doubt that the other two (Wirral and Northern) are flung about a lot.
Yeah no one actually says 'City Line'. It's just a collection of suburban lines operated out of Lime Street by Northern, TPE, East Midlands, London Midland etc. Not underground and not Merseyrail - just Merseytravel's effort at keeping a consistent brand for rail.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 04:56 PM   #13
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Re: people asking stupid questions

I think people ask stupid questions because many of them have, at some point in their life, experienced getting the wrong train or bus. Maybe this is because they made a mistake, maybe the sign was wrong on the platform or destination blind or maybe something important was missed off/not obvious on the platform information (like not mentioning that express trains/all stations stopper trains also stop at this platform).

The main problem, though, is that having gone the wrong way they don't get the opportunity to go back and look at the maps and signs on the stop to work out what they did wrong. So they know that they got something wrong, but have no idea what, so they conclude that they must just be stupid and, true to form, ask something like "does this go to Eccles" when the answer is obvious (when really the best question is probably "is this the best way to get to [insert name of your actual destination here]").
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Old November 5th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #14
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While we're on the "Metrolink Representation" question, what do people think of on-board announcements on Metrolink?

I've always said they need radical change, especially now that the Oldham-Werburghs line announcements sound nothing like the other lines' announcements (same lady but she sounds different).

Of course, the current announcements are;

When leaving station

"This is a Piccadilly service, the next stop will be St Peter's Square; where passengers should change for services to Bury"

I heard similar announcements on Merseyrail; where passengers were told "Please Change for services......

Point being; "Where passengers should change..." and "Please change"... they're both imperatives. Might give off the wrong message. Of course, passengers don't have to change if they don't want to, they could carry on on the same line.



Metrolink announcements also have an ill-integration issue. There's no mention, at Victoria, of the National Rail service.. or at Piccadilly Gardens of the bus interchange.

Some may think Metrolink should name tourist attractions/landmarks, I'm not sure if I do... I suppose at Victoria you have the NFM and at SPS you have the Town Hall, though.

Anyway, announcements should be more like this;


Upon arrival at station

This is Shudehill. This tram is to Bury. The next stop is Victoria. Transfer is available to the National Rail Service. Exit for the National Football Museum.

Underlined "this is Shudehill" because passengers aren't actually told what station the tram is standing at when the doors open. I know I'm grasping straws here, but if you're blind and don't know the map off by heart, then how're you supposed to know what stop you're currently standing at based on what the next stop is, if you didn't hear the announcement at the last stop? Weird.

Anyway, there's my ideas for On board announcements.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 07:20 PM   #15
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Announcements on platform -
On platform announcements are rare, or I very rarely hear them. A stations like Cornbrook where the will be trams every few minutes it would be useful if you can't see the destination blind to hear what the tram is that's just pulled up. So as well as the PIDs automated announcements triggered a minute before the tram arrives would be good.
I'd have:-
In between trams - The next tram to arrive will be an Eccles service. There is a good service on all metrolink routes.
Tram 1 approaches - The tram now approaching is for Eccles. Please stand back from the platform edge.
As tram pulls in - This tram is for Eccles via Salford Quays. The next tram will arrive in 2 minutes. It will be an East Didsbury Service.
In between - the next tram to arrive will be an East Didsbury service. There are minor delays to Bury trams. A good service is in operation on all other routes
Etcetera etcetera

On board announcements -
the announcements, I think that they should be a little bt more like the London underground's with some variations.
In my opinion, this is he I feel they should go -
Approaching Deansgate-Castlefeild = The next stop is Deansgate-Castlefeild. Upon arraival doors will open on the right / left hand side.
At Deansgate-Castlefeild = This stop is Deansgate-Castlefeild. Alight here for Manchester Central Conference Centre and the Museum of Science and Industry. This service terminates at Altrincham via Coornbrook.
Approaching Cornbrook = The next stop is Cornbrook. Upon arraival doors will open on the right / left.
At Cornbrook = This stop is Cornbrook. Change here for services to Eccles, St Welburghs Road and services to Oldham in the opposite direction. This service terminates at Altrincham via Sale.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #16
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My only issue with that is that is the existence of too many 'vias'. There's only one route to Eccles and Altrincham, except if you took the train, and so there's no need for 'via Salford Quays', really....

Plus they used to say what trams you can transfer to at Cornbrook when you arrived at the station, as you've suggested. The issue with that was that it was too late and sometimes the doors had closed. I'd prefer to have the "Connections Announcement" before you actually arrive at the station.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 07:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
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My only issue with that is that is the existence of too many 'vias'. There's only one route to Eccles and Altrincham, except if you took the train, and so there's no need for 'via Salford Quays', really....

Plus they used to say what trams you can transfer to at Cornbrook when you arrived at the station, as you've suggested. The issue with that was that it was too late and sometimes the doors had closed. I'd prefer to have the "Connections Announcement" before you actually arrive at the station.
yeah good point. looking at London this does happen. On the Victoria Line at King Cross you get the full interchange announcement before and as the tram pulls in so when the doors open you'll get
"This is Kings Cross St Pancras. Change here for Circle, Hammersmith, Metropolitan, Northern and Piccadilly+ Lines and national and international rail services. This is a victoria line train to Brixton."

+ you usually get the door alarm and closure there as the announcement is quite long!
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Old November 5th, 2012, 07:46 PM   #18
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Don't forget that one of the things TMS offers is automated announcements on the platforms.

As has been mentioned about, adding numbers/names to lines confuses matters, certainly doesn't make it simpler for anyone - you still need to know which direction a tram is heading on a line, you still need to look at the front to know if it is going to Alty or Bury on line 1, making the fact it is on line 1 redundant information.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LNGCats View Post
Don't forget that one of the things TMS offers is automated announcements on the platforms.

As has been mentioned about, adding numbers/names to lines confuses matters, certainly doesn't make it simpler for anyone - you still need to know which direction a tram is heading on a line, you still need to look at the front to know if it is going to Alty or Bury on line 1, making the fact it is on line 1 redundant information.
I agree with LNG.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VDB View Post
I agree with LNG.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Manchester77 View Post
yeah good point. looking at London this does happen. On the Victoria Line at King Cross you get the full interchange announcement before and as the tram pulls in so when the doors open you'll get
"This is Kings Cross St Pancras. Change here for Circle, Hammersmith, Metropolitan, Northern and Piccadilly+ Lines and national and international rail services. This is a victoria line train to Brixton."

+ you usually get the door alarm and closure there as the announcement is quite long!
You officially stole my example! And the first underground announcement I committed to memory. I do love the '09 & S Stock woman. Can we have her on Metrolink? (They are a bit superfluous though, I mean if you're getting on the Eurostar, you're in a mess if you need the Victoria Line to tell you where to go - and "Doors will open on the Left/Right hand side" and "This station has step-free access" are maybe taking it a bit too far?)
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