It would appear that last week while I was away doing ATOR the Central Line went through quite a bad patch. One derailment inside RUI depot by one of the shunters, another in LOU sidings by a TOp, a section of trackside cable was stolen that closed the line from LES to EPP and then sadly a one-under at LES last Friday. I’m told the family were allowed to place flowers by the track; nice to see a bit of feeling from LUL, makes a change.
Monday was strike day and in previous strikes when we’ve had enough TOps we’ve run shuttle services between LES and HAI or EPP on the east end of the line and between WHC and WER or EAB on the west but on Monday we tried something different. The plan seems to have been to run the “outer” shuttles from start of traffic till around 10:00 then abandon those and replace it with a service through the “middle” from LES to WHC, reverting to the “outer” shuttles after 20:00. Or at least that was the plan.
Apparently while we had plenty of TOps turn up but there weren’t enough staff at Wood Lane to run the show and the line didn’t get running till after 10:00. Although I'm told there were pickets a-plenty outside my depot in the morning by the time I strolled into work they had all left and while I wouldn’t cross a picket line if someone asked me not to I’ll be buggered if I’m going to lose a day’s pay if they can’t be bothered to hang around for me.
Even though we were running through the middle almost half the stations were closed, ATO couldn’t handle all the closures so consequently we had to go Coded through the Pipe which was actually quite fun. Everything went fine until we got to point where it was time to switch from working the “middle” to the “outer” lines. At LES the DMT on the desk was putting TOps from WHC and WER on the front of WB trains while at WHC the opposite was happening. Somehow there was a miscount and there wasn’t a West End TOp to take the last WHC train. Guess who volunteered…….
Obviously as I was heading WB the last train to LES was going the other way and we passed each other around CLA. The only way to get me back for my finishing time was for LUL to cough up for taxi back across town which I shared with a WHC DMT who lives over this side of town. Turns out exactly the same thing happened at WHC with the last LES train; more business for the taxis.
There’s a third strike in four weeks and a fourth four weeks after that, obviously they are being planned so staff only lose one day out of every pay period. All pointless, the job cuts have been coming ever since LUL decided to go with Oyster cards, it was one of the reasons I decided there was no future in carrying on at stations and move onto trains and I am glad I did.