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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just returned from collecting an offspring from a train. I was directed to drive to the platform 1 side of the station which completely nonplussed me since I don't remember pickup points that way. As it happens it was the "down" line but it led me to wonder if there is a standard way of numbering platforms; for example start with platform one on the down side and work across to the "up". It works for Reading and Paddington but that's hardly a representative sample. So is there a system or is it just "pot luck"?

David
 

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David,
Most of the London Termini run from left to right as you stand in the station looking down the tracks, except
1. The old Euston layout (right to left) - don't know what happened in the 1960s rebuild
2. Kings Cross in 1905 (R to L) and the rebuild of 1924
3. Fenchurch Street
4. Cannon Street pre-1960s R-L, thereafter L-R
5. Marylebone - when built R-L, current numbering unknown.

(Information partly from personal recollection and partly from 'London Termini' by Alan Jackson, published by David & Charles.)

The ex-Midland mainline from St Pancras has the platforms at intermediate stations numbered from 1 on the Down Fast to 4 on the Up Slow. But while this agrees with the GWR practice from Paddington I don't know if this is a general rule.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Now a days most platforms are numbered with No1 being the most left hand platform leading to London
i.e. On most Southern staions No 1 is on the Up line where as on LNR etc No 1 would be on the Down.
There are of course many exceptions to this rule
 

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Usually platform 1 is the closest one to the main entrance, but I'm sure there are numerous exceptions.

As somebody mentioned above, all the Midland suburban platforms are numbered the same way. They were changed at the time of re-signalling and electrification - because of long line public address I believe. The announcer could then confidently say 'the next train to London will be on platform 3' to several stations at once!

If a new platform is added, modern practice is not to renumber the existing platforms. I imagine this is because the platform number is often used on signal route indicators so renumbering would lead to changes to the signalling and re-training of all the drivers (plus greater risk of driver error). As well as Haymarket, Cardiff Central and Stockport have a platform 0 and the new platform proposed at Kings Cross is known as platform Y! If re-signalling involves major changes to the platform layout they will probably be renumbered, for example York and Newcastle in the 90s and (I think) Edinburgh now.
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 8 Sep 2007, 08:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>which places platform 9 3/4,......where?

Just above the pool of blood to the left of the paramedics.........

QUOTE (Oakydoke @ 9 Sep 2007, 04:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Sorry;......I'm afraid you'll never know!

Damn!

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QUOTE (Edwin @ 10 Sep 2007, 11:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If a new platform is added, modern practice is not to renumber the existing platforms. I imagine this is because the platform number is often used on signal route indicators so renumbering would lead to changes to the signalling and re-training of all the drivers (plus greater risk of driver error

With regards the relationship between platform numbers and signalling. To renumber platforms that are indicated to drivers from the signals would involve altering theatre boxes/feather indicators - which cost a lot more than platform ID plates. Haymarket platform 0 is indicated to drivers by the indication 'B'. There are a few other locations where this happens, Preston comes to mind with its bay platforms 3c & 4c both indicated by a 'B'
 

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QUOTE (eurostar @ 12 Sep 2007, 16:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With regards the relationship between platform numbers and signalling. To renumber platforms that are indicated to drivers from the signals would involve altering theatre boxes/feather indicators - which cost a lot more than platform ID plates. Haymarket platform 0 is indicated to drivers by the indication 'B'. There are a few other locations where this happens, Preston comes to mind with its bay platforms 3c & 4c both indicated by a 'B'

This is to give a greater distinction between short bay platforms and full length platforms, making it less likely that a driver will accidentally enter a bay platform too fast, thinking it is full length. Derby platform 5 is another example.

Probably the most outlandish platform numbering scheme is at Bristol TM. Most of the long platform faces have two numbers but there are no intermediate signals, just a white board with a black cross. Whether the number on the theatre indicator approaching the station is even or odd determines whether the driver has authority to pass this board. I don't recall any major incidents but it's highly likely they would be allowed to install something like that today.
 

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I seem to recall that a lot of railway companies pre grouping had platform 1 on the platform next to the main station buildings, and would generally have the main buildings on the same side at each station. Obviously this doesn't apply on the GCR for example, where most of the stations on the London Extension were a single island...

Chris
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 8 Sep 2007, 07:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>which places platform 9 3/4,......where?
I think you'll find it on a pillar between the main and suburban platforms


Fascinating original post and the answer appears to be random eg some stations are numbered right to left eg Norwich and Barking and have little to do with where the entrance is now (though maybe was?); and as other posts say others are the other way round!

Hugh
 

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Hi

Regarding 9 3/4

Ms. Rowling never bothered to research Kings Cross when she picked 9 3/4 as the platform. 9 is not even in the main station. In the film it is actually between platforms 7 and 6, as platform 9 and 10 do not have the arches. There is some creativity with the filming, as the pillar they run into is not in the position it appears to be in the film and the platform numbers are fake.

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KAL
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 7 Sep 2007, 22:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>....The ex-Midland mainline from St Pancras has the platforms at intermediate stations numbered from 1 on the Down Fast to 4 on the Up Slow. But while this agrees with the GWR practice from Paddington I don't know if this is a general rule....

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by ex-midland mainline, but I know that West Hampstead Thameslink to Bedford inclusive currently have Platform 1 for the Up Slow (US). Generally speaking platform 2 is for the Down Slow (DS), 3 for the Up Fast (UF) and 4 for the Down Fast (DF), the exceptions being Bedford (3 is on a loop, there is no platform for the UF) and Luton (2 is for a loop, 3 is for the DS, 4 is for the UF and 5 is for the DF). At Kentish Town 1 is for the Up Moorgate, 2 is for the Down Moorgate, 3 is for the US (reversible) and 4 is for the DS (reversible).

Meanwhile, elsewhere.....

On the London Bridge-Brighton line, stations currrently have Platform 1 for an up line except Haywards Heath (where the Up Main is Platform 3 and the Up Loop is Platform 4) and Brighton (which is a terminus station and does not have an up line).

Platform 0 has appeared at stations where an additional platform has been opened which is on the 'wrong side' of platform 1 (Stockport is another one). The bay at Bedford is Platform 1a, although I'm not sure if this was a platform when the station was rebuilt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It will be interesting to see how Network Rail renumber the platforms after the Christmas revamp at Reading.

David
 

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QUOTE (hairyhandedfool @ 3 Dec 2011, 09:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'm not entirely sure what you mean by ex-midland mainline, but I know that West Hampstead Thameslink to Bedford inclusive currently have Platform 1 for the Up Slow (US). Generally speaking platform 2 is for the Down Slow (DS), 3 for the Up Fast (UF) and 4 for the Down Fast (DF), the exceptions being Bedford (3 is on a loop, there is no platform for the UF) and Luton (2 is for a loop, 3 is for the DS, 4 is for the UF and 5 is for the DF). At Kentish Town 1 is for the Up Moorgate, 2 is for the Down Moorgate, 3 is for the US (reversible) and 4 is for the DS (reversible).

'Ex Midland mainline' means exactly how it reads, as in the line from St Pancras to Nottingham/Sheffield is the mainline of the former Midland Railway, and has always been referred to as the 'midland mainline', even before privatisation...

The stations that are still open along the MML have their platforms numbered with platform 1 being the platform nearest the main station buildings(an exception being Nottingham, platform 1 at Notts is on the Station street side of the station, which is where the main buildings used to be before the Midland rebuilt the station in 1908).
At Bedford, platform 1a was added after the station was rebuilt, to accommodate the Bedford-Bletchley services. There is no Up fast platform, as Up trains can use platforms 1, 2 and 3 without coming into conflict with any other trains. The Down fast platform, number 4, was added also at a later date, so that trains on the Down fast didn't cause any conflicting moves with Up trains. Bedford station used to be closer to the overbridge at the south end of the site, but was moved further North when rebuilt as the original layout was too cramped.

Luton was rebuilt by the LMS in the 1930's, I'm not aware of the original station's platform numbering though.

Kentish town's platform 1 was where the main buildings were situated before they were demolished.

Chris
 

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The majority of stations that now have a 'platform 0' have the newer platform numbered like that as it's a major headache to alter all the plaform numbers in respect to signalling, as large stations have 'theatre box' type route indicators which indicate the platform number when the route is set, and all drivers would have to be retrained on the route if the numbers all changed...

Chris
 

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From what I can gather reading about how the main lines (and therefore the stations) were developed, a system was used by the railway companies but then development to suit developing traffic, joint running, branch lines and so on tended to mess up the initial tidiness. Having said that, when Southern Railways started to electrify main lines they also redeveloped stations (even if it was just lengthening platforms) and reduced anomalies in numbering on a given line; but then the consistency between eastern, central and western sections could not be relied on - no wonder route knowledge was (and is) considered essential.
 
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