Monday, 17 June 2013

A reasonably uneventful week, the highlight was getting a call at MAA EB instructing me to go Coded up to BOS as someone had dropped their mobile phone on the track and they were going to use my train as protection.  I let my passengers know what was going to happen and when I arrived at a gentle 20kph a member of station staff was stood halfway along the platform giving me a red signal with a hand lamp.  I pulled up a metre or so short, closed down the train, handed my keys to the hand-signaller, someone got down on the track to retrieve the phone, climbed back onto the platform, gave the all clear and my keys were returned.

I took extra care in doing this because once when I was asked to drive a train part way into the platform so station staff could get something I missed the stopping mark and couldn’t get the doors open because of the Correct Side Door Enable, the clever bit of kit that ensures that we don’t open the wrong doors.  The CSDE can be overridden by standing up and pressing a button on the panel next to the J Door but obviously doing that means you can open the doors on either side.
Guess what I did?

It probably took me less than a second to realise what I’d done but it felt like an eternity.  I closed up on the wrong side sharpish, opened up on the right side, made a PA to ask passengers to pull down a handle if anyone had fallen out and then called Wood Lane to let them know I had made a bit of a faux pas.  There was no screams or any sign that anyone had fallen out, the handles remained unpulled, the train behind me was told to check the track when they came in just in case and the Super checked on me to see that I was okay to continue.
At the next depot I was taken off, interviewed by the DRM and then took a Drugs and Alcohol test which came up negative.  The next day I had a chat with one of the TOSMs, I was given a “corrective action plan” but as I’d followed the procedure basically that was that.  I doubt very much if I’ll ever open the doors on the wrong side again, once was certainly enough.

On Saturday I had to move a dud train from LOU to HAI and on the way back to LES I found a catalogue for an auction of travel related art.  One of the items really struck me, a LMS poster from the 1930s by Norman Wilkinson.  When I got home I Googled around and found that one of these was sold at Christie's last year for around £3750 so I downloaded the image instead; enjoy.


  1. I'm rather surprised that you're allowed to rely on the fact that no handles have been pulled down to indicate nothing untoward - what happens if the only passenger in a carriage falls out?

  2. Very good point fahad, one which was one of many we alluded to when our 'great leaders' wished to change our procedure following loss of 'doors closed visuals' (& indeed believe now train new ops on that, despite unions never accepting).
    Expand Mr ASLEF Shrugged?