London was spookily quiet Thursday, at 8am it felt decidedly off-peak which was made even odder by the Evening Standard announcing that shoppers were flooding into the West End; not on the Central Line they weren’t, matey. Despite being the only London paper ES does seem to restrict itself to regurgitating press releases rather than actually looking for substance behind the claims and this seems to have been a bit of wishful thinking on behalf of the West End shops which some hack had written up as factual.
And on that note I can confirm that the Boxing Day strike will go ahead despite LUL trying to get it stopped in the courts. We all got a nice note from Howard Collins telling us that at ACAS on Wednesday morning LUL had generously offered to reduce the number of TOps working on Boxing Day and that nasty ASLEF had refused.
Actually ASLEF should have agreed if the amended timetable, roster, etc could be in place by start of traffic Friday in accordance with LUL’s own rule that any alteration to duties must be made at least 48 hours in advance. LUL would then have to admit that it was impossible as these things take weeks to check and double check and then send out to the depots where local alterations can be made.
This was what we wanted from the start and it is a fine example of how frustrating management can be that they only make this offer when they couldn’t possibly give it to us rather than when we first asked for it over a month ago or even after the strike ballot had been announced. With the Royal Wedding coming up expect LUL to avoid talking to the Unions about arrangements until mid-April.
The first half of my duty finished with me stabling a train at HAI so when I arrived at Plat 3 I went through the train closing up and checking that the train was passenger free. As I sat back down in the cab and waited for the shunt signal to clear I got a call on the “cab to cab; there was a TOp at the other end if the train who informed me that he had been sent to take this train west.
As I headed off to the train crew accommodation for my meal relief a passenger complained that they’d been directed up to the train on Plat 1 for the first WB and there were still a lot of passengers sitting there waiting despite the station PA announcing the change of platform.
I was going to pass this information onto the station staff when I got to the DMTs desk but when I got there the DMT informed me that Wood Lane had been trying to contact me over the station PA as they now wanted me to take the train sat on Plat 1 into the yard.
As I closed up on Plat 1 several passengers expressed their understandable frustration at being sent to a train and then being turned off. They have my sympathy but communication of "real time" information with staff and passengers remains one of LUL’s failings. Sadly if Wood Lane decide to swap trains around at short notice it's not them that get the grief it's those of us out here on the "front line".