Left Epping about 9:40pm, breathed a sigh of relief when I wasn't held outside Woodford by the RAT reversing off plat. 2 as I have been numerous times before but then as I approached Leytonstone I saw a red signal ahead. Sure enough it was the RAT reversing off plat. 2.
I missed my bus.
Possibly it was running late?
From what I've seen on the timetable notice quite a few other trains have their timings and even journeys altered to make timetable space for the RAT trains.
However what I suspect is happening is that for some passenger train journeys being delayed is part of the plan.
I've also noticed that at Newbury Park the RAT will not be given a green departure signal until the exact timetable time, even when passenger trains are being delayed by this action. I see this as sub-optimal, as being a non-passenger working it really should not matter if it runs a few minutes early. Indeed, in situations such as this it is actually beneficial (for the passenger service) if the RAT runs a little early and therefore passenger services are not held at red signals.
As an aside, I made a point of getting to Ealing Broadway yesterday in good time to see the five car RAT and yet I missed it. Maybe it did not run - or ran quite a bit early (ie: not just a few minutes). I did note that platform 6 was empty at the time the RAT should have been occupying it. Fortunately my visit to the Ealing area was still worthwhile as I caught one of the Piccadilly line RAT's passing an S stock train at Ealing Common and the remains of the Asset Inspection Train at Acton Town.