Observations and opinions of a Central Line Train Driver
Monday, 30 May 2016
And just when we thought everything about Night Tube was settled it seems that management can't leave anything alone. The week before last I heard that when the new timetable is introduced along with the introduction of 37 part time TOps working Friday and Saturday nights the number of full time TOps will be reduced, I've now learnt that there will be 8 less places at LES, 10 at WHC and 15 at HAI with the WHC TOps said to be going to Queen's Park while the ones from the east end of the line will find themselves at Earl's Court on the District Line. What makes things even more unpalatable is that the number of TOps at LOU has been expanded, I'm informed they've had 25 brand new TOps join over the past year and I believe that WER has also had some fresh arrivals.
Management will give a annual bonus (I believe the figure is £6k) to the displaced TOps but as with Night Tube they don't seem to realise that money isn't everything. One of the LES TOps who will be forced to move only got here from WHC recently and understandably she is less than happy, had she stayed at WHC she'd have been better off. This issue will be raised at branch meetings over the next few weeks but even among those of us senior enough not to be effected the overwhelming attitude seems to be that this is grievously unfair and we are prepared to take strike action if necessary.
Maybe management could try asking for volunteers rather than imposing displacement, maybe there are some TOps who would take £6k for a move but speaking for myself its not worth having to get a staff taxi back across London after a dead late.
Back in December when we had a knife weilding maniac causing mayhem at LES I found myself stuck up the west siding at WHC next to an engineering train and got talking with the driver. The drivers of engineering trians get to work all the lines apart from the W&C so unlike most TOps they can compare and contrast. According to him the Central Line is not the worst at recovering the service after an incident, that honour goes to the Piccadilly but the Central is definitely the second worst.
The Piccadilly could have some serious competition in the near future as from 21 May the British Museum siding west of HOL will be decomissioned and it seems at some point soon we will also lose the little used crossover at QUE. Our reversing points for the middle of the line will be at LES, the crosover west of BEG, the two sidings east of and crossover west of LIS, the siding west of MAA and WHC. At the moment the sidings at LIS are unavailable as they are being used for some sort of storage, no idea what that's for and no idea when we'll be getting them back.
I'm certainly glad I won't be working at Wood Lane the next time we have a service suspension
While I'm overjoyed that Sadiq Khan will be our mayor for the next four years I'm rather saddened by the news that Richard Tracey, purveyor of moronic opinions on how the Tube should work since 2008, will no longer be around to entertain us. Maybe he simply ran out of stupid ideas or maybe he finally realised that everything he had said that related to transport was so much dingoes kidneys but for whatever reason he decided that he'd had enough. Even if he had decided to carry on it would have been the same outcome as Labour won Merton and Wandsworth.