Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Contrary to my last post it seems that unless the sheets on display are incomplete the W&C will NOT be running on Boxing Day although I’m pretty sure that someone told me it would.  Or maybe it’s the early onset of Alzheimer’s……

The Central Line is still suffering from a lot of train cancellations leading to a lot of overcrowding during the peaks on what is now officially the busiest Line on the network and there are an awful lot of trains in service with traction problems, I don’t think I’ve had a single day in the last week when I didn’t end up on a train with motors missing.  A recent memo from Chris Taggart, Archfiend of the Central Line, blames this on the high number of “flash-overs” but says that “Fleet” are busy trying to fix the problem and we should be back to full service soon.

The 92s have DC motors which suffer “flash-overs” but unless plans have changed since February then by 2019 these will be replaced by “flash-over” free AC motors under the Heavy Overhaul Programme (not to be confused with the Heavy, Heavy Monster Sound – the Nuttiest Sound around).  It’s a pretty extensive project and it would be easier to list what isn’t being replaced or refurbished than to list what is but when added to the "refresh" before the Olympics by the time they’ve finished the 92s will be akin to the Ship of Theseus or Trigger’s Broom.

Of course that still leaves the question of why the 92s have suffered so badly from these problems in the last few months, is it simply that the trains are getting to an age when they are becoming unreliable or does the current timetable not give the depot staff enough time to get all the necessary maintenance done?  And how would this have effected things had Night Tube gone ahead?


  1. General about few of your last:
    LU so lost plot- Boxing Day close traffic = weekday/Sat? You mentioned driving near empty trains at times on Sat now. How soul destroying to be forced work BD (or even volunteer) & finish 01:30, last 2-3 hrs duty driving empty trains? Could take out easily 25% required staffing-only explanation £ by mileage? !
    Suggest only fair way improve morale is ALL senior managers work BD (where required & as qualified) across combine; rather like when we are on strike!

  2. Picc line has had 'Minor delays due to lack of available rolling stock' for the past few days. Last week I narrowly missed a 12-minute gap on the Central Line at around 7pm.

    I can only wonder how bad that would have looked like with Night Tube...

  3. As a Pic driver it's been chaotic. RMT have a good update on the situation but with it being 7 years overdue on signalling and 2-3 years overdue for a new stock I and many others are not surprised with these issues.

    Senior management have been getting away with it for a long time but rightfully the unions have had enough of drivers being disciplined for spads that are due to stock issues with a combo of flats, low adhesion on the rails and poor brakes.

    Maintenance and drivers have done wonders to keep that stock rolling throughout but it's all coming to a head this winter. No Evening Standard article though!

    Rumour has it that plans were we'd get Northern line stock. Northfields have had one N-line train in and out of the shed everyday past 3 months with people seeing it running at night. this was confirmed by depot staff and Northern line drivers who'd heard the same.
    Northern needs a few extra trains for the extension so they may renew that stock and give us their old stock seeing as it's just needs testing on the tight bends and tripcock being put back in.

    We've been instructed to report flats and trains are being taken out if they have flats but it's leading to inevitable cancelled trains. Maybe it will push them to
    actually do something and press ahead with new stock.

    On night tube, I can see it being waved away as Boris leaves because it's not long between it seemingly coming in in March and Boris going in May with a new Mayor actually dealing directly with the issues we face. Again the old school senior managers know it's stupid without investment but this is Boris's Bonkers leadership so what did we expect?

    I cannot fathom with the issues you've raised with the Central line and the issues we've been having on the PIc, what on earth the service would have looked like had it been pushed through. Again the Evening Standard remains silent.

    Night staff are causing resentment with standard station staff as they're not being put to greater use.

    1. Ah - thanks for that. I was wondering what a 95/96 Stock train was doing at Northfields. Also sorry to hear you've had such a wretched time with the 73s.

      As far as I recall the tender that came out was for 18 trains for the Jubilee and 50 for the Northern. I imagine the Jubilee trains will be to increase frequency as the line is hopelessly overloaded in the peaks towards Canary Wharf. The extra trains for the Northern will in part be for the Battersea extension, and in part for any future frequency increases on the assumption that they rebuild Camden Town and split the line in two (Edgware-Charing X-Kennington, High Barnet-Bank-Morden). But even with these two projects, that does leave some 'spare change' left over - but nowhere near enough to cover the Picc.

      I doubt the Night Tube issue will go away - it sounds like a good election promise. Trouble is TfL is getting seriously squeezed with the spending review, and they probably have better things to spend dosh on than Night Tube. Unless the next Mayor says otherwise, of course.

      Either way LU have been left in a daft position in that they have hired a fair number of additional staff and do not have anything (much) for them to do.

  4. The Pic trains are now over 40 years old and for a lot tourists, they are one of first things they see in London what a bad advert for London!

    1. Replacements for the Piccadilly 1973s were meant to start rolling out last year (along with the Bakerloo 1972s) but they were cancelled in 2010 because Tfl said they couldn't afford them.......although they managed to find money for the Borisbus and the cable car.

    2. To be honest, they don't look too bad from a passenger perspective, they're ageing well visually.