Saturday, 13 October 2012

Thursday was a bumper day for sleepers at the end of the line, five in all when I reached EPP, two of whom I managed to wake but the other three resisted my best efforts; I shook one bloke so hard his iPod earphones fell out. When we got to LOU the Super managed to get one man moving quite easily but the last two took our combined efforts to dislodge. Friday there were no sleepers but several of the cars looked as if they’d been a fairly boisterous party going on from the number of empty bottles and cans littered around. Drinks ban, what drinks ban?

Further to my post a couple of weeks ago about “No detrainment on 'siding reversing' trains” there was an incident on the Bakerloo Line where this is already taking place. I’m sure you’ve read elsewhere that a 12-year old boy was taken into the sheds at Queen’s Park when a train was reversing, he opened the interconnecting door, managed to squeeze between the cars, jumped down onto the track and was heading off towards Kensal Green when the TOp spotted him.

Belatedly both unions are now questioning the safety of the procedure currently used up there and also I’m told at the northern end of the Jubilee. I am informed by various Bakerloo Line sources that this consists of making three PAs to say the train is going out of service while turning the saloon lights on and off. As mentioned in one of the comments on the earlier post since the introduction of this procedure carry-overs have become so common that the TOps have stopped bothering to report them.

LUL claim the procedure saves time and reduces delays to the trains behind but recently at WOO we’ve had occasions when there have been two members of station staff on the platform to close up reversers, each of them tipping out four cars while the TOps stays in the cab and that has really reduced the time it takes to get the train out of the way. So if LUL want to save time they need more station staff rather than less but we all suspect this is less about saving time and more about saving money in the first place.

Hopefully after this well publisiced incident we’ll see a return of the old way of doing things but if it does come to the Central Line I’ll still be checking my train on safety grounds, I was a H&S Rep on the stations and can argue the point until the cows come home. Bring it on, baby.


  1. This is an interesting point, and I'm loving reading about how such seemingly simple things such as getting the punters off a train can cause delays. I'm sure some of it is down to a lack of respect and co-operation from passengers as well, which leads me to comment below.

    However, it does work both ways. I had an incident on Fiday where for some reason a train was terminated at South Woodford going eastbound, no explanation from the driver or station staff, in fact, despite a polite question, they were very very rude indeed. Formal complaints being made about both of them.

    Perhaps before LU worry about ways of reducing delays, they ought to worry more about how their staff treat customers when asked a polite question like why isn't the train at least going to Woodford to reverse.

    Co-operation in my view works both ways.

  2. If we tip out at SOW then the train is going out of service into the sidings at WOO rather than reversing. If the Bay Road/Plat. 1 is available you could go there but then the passengers who aren't stopping at WOO then have to go over the bridge to Plat. 3 to pick up the next EB train.

    It is possible that the station staff were simply told that the train was going out of service and have no other information to give you, the TOp should have made a PA to let the passengers know what was going on but it's possible that they were only told after they left SNA. Or it could be that they were just one of the grumpy ones who got a job as a TOp to get away from the punters.

    So what would you rather the staff do, close up the train and get it moving as quickly as possible or stop to explain to every passenger that asked them what was going on (from experience I think I can safely say that you weren’t the only one), holding up the trains behind and further delaying the service? When faced with a situation like this the focus is not on the individual but on all the passengers, you have a job to do and you get on with it, you can answer questions after the train is no longer an issue.

  3. Interesting. I'd love to know why they couldn't have put the train into Platform 1 at Woodford, but I appreciate you can't answer that question.

    BUT, to even things out, I'm not going to commend a lovely female train operator that we had this morning who was very good at keeping everybody informed about why we were crawling between Woodford and Leytonstone, apparently due to a train deciding it didn't like movement having got to Leytonstone.

    Very informative, very reassuring, and just to prove that I don't only make complaints, I have written to LU this morning commending this operator.

    Shame there are more grumpy drivers who don't know how to use the PA rather than leave it all to SONIA :)

    I do give praise where its due

  4. now sorry not 'not' (first paragraph, first sentence)

  5. Only the Line Controller can tell you that, perhaps they had a train somewhere back down the line that they were planning on reversing off the Bay Road so needed to leave it free. As I often say once you join the railway you realise how little you knew as a passenger...and once you become a TOp you realise just how little you knew as a Station Assistant/CSA.

  6. Fair comment, but thank you for at least trying to explain what might have been going through Line Control's mind at the time :)

    Keep up the good work with the blog