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Union Station platform renumbering and signage

RedRocket191

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Union Station more user-friendly
By BRIAN GRAY, SUN MEDIA
Last Updated: 26th September 2008, 2:44am

All signs point to change at Union Station.

GO commuters are going to see the first in a series of upgrades to the busiest transit hub in Canada starting Oct. 4 -- something designers hope will make rush hours less harried.

Introducing a more-logical system of numbering the platforms for GO's trains and buses just makes sense, said David Hopper, one of the top people at the Union Station improvement project.

"One of the biggest complaints we've received is passenger difficulty in finding their way around," Hopper said yesterday. "We've got passengers coming up to our staff asking for Track 58 when they're really looking for 5B."

For instance, gone will be the Track 5B and 6A designations. They'll be replaced by Platforms 10 and 11, he said.

"We're doing this cold turkey. The old numbers will disappear and you will need to find the new one."

Since commuters will generally depart from their usual tracks, Hopper said he doesn't expect much confusion with the regular users. And less-frequent riders are more likely to understand where they need to go and how to get there.

The numbering -- in combination with new signs introduced in August -- will bring the station up to international standards, Hopper said.

Platform upgrades are also in the works. The roof over the train shed will be replaced, incorporating a glass atrium to allow in more light and make Union Station more attractive, Hopper said. The project is to be completed by 2014.

Makes sense to me, although I never really found the A/B thing confusing. From my observations, the most confusing part for new riders was the meaning of "Wait for info." At Union Station, this means that the train isn't ready to board yet. At airports, this usually means that something is wrong. I've seen many people march over to the customer service desk when all they needed to do was wait 5 minutes. Any thoughts? Any thoughts on the fact that it's a useful sun article?;)
 

DavidH

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Makes sense to me, although I never really found the A/B thing confusing.
They may be trying to avoid confusion over platforms 3b and 4a being the same track while 3a and 3b are different tracks. I'm not around Union on weekdays so I don't know if it makes operational sense - but ideally they would group each platform with a single track and give it a single number. Platform-level signage would have to have arrows pointing the correct track, of course. They could still use the "wrong side" platform for unloading passengers.
 

CDL.TO

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They may be trying to avoid confusion over platforms 3b and 4a being the same track while 3a and 3b are different tracks.

Track 3A and 3B are the same track, while 3B and 4A are different tracks. So yeah... clearly this does confuse people.

Right now Union uses the continental European system of track numbering, and is switching over the the British system of platform (edge) numbering. It's probably not a bad idea.
 

DavidH

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Track 3A and 3B are the same track, while 3B and 4A are different tracks. So yeah... clearly this does confuse people.

Right now Union uses the continental European system of track numbering, and is switching over the the British system of platform (edge) numbering. It's probably not a bad idea.
Oops... Well, I did say that I'm not around Union much. :) But you're right - riders go to platforms, not to tracks, and so numbering should focus on platforms and not on tracks.
 

Mr.Tang

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I think some of the confusion is that the route up to the tracks is not straight-forward as it could be and this signage is not alway great (ie. two signs will be pointing in different directions and both say 3B).
 

EnviroTO

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The main problem is that unlike most stations many tracks have two platforms instead of one. A possible way to avoid the problem would be to only load on one side of the track (which seems to be what they do anyways). That would mean they could leave track numbering the same and get rid of the A and B designation because only the loading side needs and signage. If a certain platform is only used for unloading there is no point giving it a number at all. I find the new system more confusing... now a single train will arrive on track 5 and 6 at the same time instead of simply arriving on track 4. The single side loading signage would be:

1 - 1st Platform, Track 1
2 - 2nd Platform, Track 2
3 - 3rd Platform, Track 3
4 - 3rd Platform, Track 4
5 - 5th Platform, Track 5
6 - 5th Platform, Track 6
7 - 6th Platform, Track 7
8 - 8th Platform, Track 8
9 - 8th Platform, Track 8
10 - 10th Platform, Track 10
11 - 10th Platform, Track 11
12 - 11th Platform, Track 12
13 - 11th Platform, Track 13
14 - New 12th Platform, Track 14
EXIT ONLY - 4th Platform
VIA OPS - 7th and 9th Platform.
 

Komiksulo

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So if they're changing it, will they also renumber the bus platforms? I was under the impression that they were numbered consecutively after the train platforms, so that they could be listed together on the departures boards.
 

p5connex

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Did a search for the Union Station thread, but didn't find it.

Anyways, I was speaking with someone from the architecture office responsible for the new trainshed design and he mentioned that it was moving ahead and that at least from his POV, the project looked good- it is mind you still in the design planning stages, but nonetheless, it is moving forward. I am however, not to keen on this project, primarily because it seems as though we are cheating ourselves of a better thought out and designed plan, but also because I think this solution is more about saving face - admitting its not quite "all that" but in the same breath stating "well, at least we did something".

p5
 

DavidH

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GO has posted their 2009 accessibility plan and page 17 and 18 describe the new signage for Union, including new platform signage. It looks like what is driving this is improved accessibility and clarity of signage - but that they have decided that it is a good time to renumber platforms since new signage is being installed.

http://www.gotransit.com/PUBLIC/en/publications/Accessibility_Plan_2009.pdf

New format signage will spread to other stations in a few years, after testing at Union and Erin Mills is complete.
 

FutureMayor

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I got a briefing presentation on the new train shed and tour of Union Station's new signage program.

Re: New Train Shed. Construction will begin in the Spring of 2009. Its going to look absolutely spectaular, its going to blow a lot of people away. New renderings show be updated on the GO Union Station Renewal website soon.

Re: New Signage. They are already in use at the Bus Terminal across the street.

Fun facts: Union Station is the only train station in the whole world that currently labels tracks A & B.

With the new signage there is actually no tracks 1 & 2. The best explanation I got was that north and south subway tracks were considered 1 & 2!

Louroz
 

GregWTravels

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An outright lie on the part of GO. Using letters to indicate tracks and platforms is extremely common throughout Europe.

In Europe, I have seen platforms labelled "A", "B", etc., as you point out. However, I have not seen anything labelled "3A," "3B", etc. Which is what GO may be saying. No where else labels platforms with both a track and a letter...

Greg
 

defence5

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In Europe, I have seen platforms labelled "A", "B", etc., as you point out. However, I have not seen anything labelled "3A," "3B", etc. Which is what GO may be saying. No where else labels platforms with both a track and a letter...

Greg

They do use the 2A 3B numbering system here in the UK, but it's not so common in large terminus or hub stations.
 

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