And so Night Tube has finally arrived. The predictions of trains being mobile Sodom and Gomorrahs proved to be unfounded, perhaps deterred by the noticeable presence of the BTP who seemed to be everywhere, desperately roaming the line trying to find a train or station that didn’t already have BTP on it. While things seem to have gone well from the public perception there have been rumours that things didn’t go quite so well behind the scenes and while I would usually try to verify whether these rumours are accurate I’m going to share them anyway simply because its too tempting not to.
The first thing I heard was that a number of the part time TOps didn’t last long enough to even see the start of Night Tube, the numbers quoted vary but it seems that when finally confronted with the prospect of working Friday and Saturday nights for the foreseeable future it was too much for them. The plain fact is that we do have a high turnover with staff, for some the reality of working on the Tube isn’t quite as attractive as they imagined it to be, whether it be the shifts or what the job actually entails.
As most staff start out as CSAs this usually isn't a problem but it slightly different if they’ve spent four months training up as a TOp only to decide they don’t want to be a TOp after all. Even if they’ve been a CSA or some other job that involves shift work they aren’t necessarily going to enjoy being a TOp, when I trained there I was with an SAMF for London Bridge who was also going to WHC, they lasted 6 months after their "sweat day" before they went back to stations because they couldn't stand the isolation of being in the cab on their own.
Another rumour was that there was a signal failure at LOU at some point which as I mentioned has trains moving in and out of the sidings throughout the night, something I’m told has already been the subject of complaints from the residents in the vicinity. Also at LOU one of the new TOps supposedly managed to SPAD the signal on the middle platform coming out of the depot, not easy as the signal is a long way past the stopping mark.
However the prize for most interesting rumour must go to the tale of the TOp who went into HAI depot and seems to have got somewhat confused. From the platforms at HAI there are two ways into the depot, either you go straight in or you go up the wash road, into the sidings behind GRH (known as the North Neck), change ends and then into the depot itself.
Allegedly the new TOp took the train through the wash, up into the North Neck, thought that was where they were to stable it and started walking back to HAI station. All ended happily but I’m sure somebody will be checking to see which IOp signed off that particular TOp as fully trained on their HAI depot moves.
If any of it happened, of course……..