Monday, 15 September 2014

Yesterday was a fine example of how our timetable isn’t working.  As I was waiting for my train at LES WB a train pulled into Plat. 1 with a defect and while the Train Technician tried to sort it out everything was running through Plat. 2.  That would have been fine except the TOp on the second WB train was about to start their meal break and as there was no relief available they’d been told by Wood Lane to leave the train in Plat. 2 while everything ran WB through Plat. 1, except Plat. 1 was now blocked by the defective train.

When the TT declared that the train on Plat. 1 couldn’t remain in service the TOp swapped with the train on Plat. 2 and the service started up again after a delay of about 10 minutes, which didn’t please the TOp on the train behind who I was waiting to relieve so they could start their meal break.  Needless to say that a ten minute gap in the service on a Sunday lunchtime meant that the platforms were packed which slowed things down, I only had twelve minutes turnaround at WER so by the time I arrived I should have been leaving.

Not that it mattered much, there was no one to relive me at LOU on the WB so instead of going up to EPP and back I tipped out at LOU on the EB and went into the sidings.  After my meal break I went looking on Trackernet for my second train but rather being somewhere around MIE heading EB to EPP it was in the sidings at WOO as there hadn’t been a TOp available to cover the duty that I was due to relieve.  So I rode the cushions to WOO and sat on the train until it was time to go WB.

The whole point of this timetable was to deliver a more frequent service at weekends but it is obviously failing.  Around the time I tipped out at LOU yesterday there should be one train every five minutes but the train behind me was 13 minutes away which would have left a 20 minute gap between trains and as we'd not had any delays for signal failures etc. that can only have been down to cancelled trains.  Perhaps what management need to be is a little less ambitious and a little more realistic about what the rolling stock and staffing levels can deliver.

Despite the problems with this timetable they are already working on next, to be introduced in autumn next year with 24 hour running on Fridays and Saturdays that will need even more TOps.  The original intention was to run a 15 minute service between HAI and EAB though I’ve heard that they are considering running up to EPP as well.  Considering the mess we're in I suspect that late night revellers staggering homeward in the wee small hours could find themselves waiting up to half an hour for a “Night Tube”.

You may ask why I’m bothered and part of me isn’t, I get paid the same regardless of the service although I’d rather finish my duty when I’m supposed to than have to keep claiming overtime. But there is another part that wants to be proud of the job I do, proud of the company I work for and as a Londoner, a tax payer and a regular passenger I want the Tube to deliver the best service it can.


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  2. How can an organisation with decades-worth of experience introduce a timetable that is impossible to run? If it were e.g a new bus route you'd expect a few teething problems but with the Central Line you'd think all the variables would be known in advance.

  3. Exactly Chris-how could that happen? How have LU management become so incompetant, grass roots kept warning wouldn't work, but persisted with BoJo pleasing nonsense to get funding. Embarrassing to us as employees, and we get the flack when goes tits up, as getting to be almost daily now. I get no pleasure from pissing off Joe Public on daily basis-I am Joe Public myself at other times. Sad.

  4. The timetable isn't impossible to run but clearly the resources to run it are not in place.

  5. Hang on a mo'. What is the real issue here: lack of trains or lack of staff? Because the second is - arguably - a tad easier to solve?

    Either way it looks like TfL is having to introduce serious service improvements because of Boris' bright ideas at a time when it should first and foremost be trying to save money.