Observations and opinions of a Central Line Train Driver
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Yesterday for an hour and 40 minutes there was no service between MAA and LES due to a "one under" at LEY. Had this happened last year we could have reversed at LIS or HOL but as mentioned last month Museum siding at HOL has been removed and currently LIS sidings are being used for storage. Reversing over the crossovers at LIS and BEG would mean using one platform for arrivals and departures which would lead to serious overcrowding so instead the main central 16km/10 mile stretch of Central Line serving a dozen stations was shut down. This is progress?
By the time I started work we were running again but obviously everything was late which was further exacerbated by a signal problem at WHC. Things were still running late when I finished 7 hours 20 minutes later with all WB trains running to WER and a shuttle service running NOA to EAB plus no outer rail service on the HAI loop. Strangely the platforms were more crowded around 20:00 than they were at 17:00 and my last EB trip wasn't helped by the train repeatedly changing the destination describer from EPP to WER or occasionally sounding the chimes to warn that the doors were closing after they'd started to close. Not a happy train.....
We had conformation of the TOp reductions for Night Tube, LES will lose 5, HAI 14 and WHC 6. As I mentioned this is not because the rosters were expanded for Night Tube last year and are now being reduced, this is from the full time TOps we had under WTT 67. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens next.
When I joined LU nearly 20 years ago as a humble Station Assistant last trains meant that one of us would go down on the platform while another waited at the ticket barriers to call down over the radio if any last minute passengers were on their way. When everybody was on board the bod on the platform would give a signal to the TOp that it was okay to proceed. In April we received a new issue of Rule Books and one little amendment seems to have been overlooked. In the last issue of Rule Book 8 "Managing the platform train interface" under Section 3.6 "Last Trains" station staffs’ responsibilities were listed as....
"When the last train to a destination is departing you must:
hold the train as necessary to maintain connections
the announcements to tell customers this is the last train
dispatch the train using the appropriate dispatch sign.”
The first line has now been amended to read "For the last train booked for connection to a destination you must"
The booked connections are listed on page 5 of Working Timetable 67, they are the last EPP and HAI at LES, the last WB and EB trains at MIE to connect with the last District Line trains and the last WER and EAB trains at WHC. Anywhere else the TOp is no longer required to wait for station staff to show up, this seems to have caught out a few people including so I'm told the controllers at Wood Lane and when I got back from annual leave a few weeks ago notices had gone up pointing out the rule change. No doubt this is another result of FFTF, it just gets better and better……..
Yesterday at 11:14 the Victoria Line Twitter feed announced
that King’s Cross had been evacuated and closed due to “staff below minimum
numbers” although at 11:35 it was announced that it had re-opened.I’m pretty certain that King’s Cross has the largest
staff of any station on the Tube, according to the Fit for Future station by
station review for the Metropolitan Line it now has 7 CSM1s, 14 CSS1, 91 full
time and 7 part time CSAs although some of them are the new “customer facing” CSA2
On a Sunday the minimum staffing level is 11 rising to 15 between 11:00
and 20:00 but on this particular Sunday there was no
Circle Line due to engineering work with the Met and the H&C reversing at
KX so for that 20 minutes it must have been pretty hectic at Euston Square or wherever they decided to tip out the trains. My guess is that one or two members of staff who should have been there at
11am were delayed, possibly because like the District Line TOp I had in my cab on Saturday they forgot there was engineering work and
their usual route to work was unavailable. I guess it isn’t just the passengers who don’t check engineering work
On Night Tube it seems the general opinion is to wait and see what happens. One thing I neglected to mention about the TOps being displaced is that neither WHC or LES were getting any extra TOps for Night Tube. Had the original plan gone ahead both depots would have had the same number as under WTT67 so these are not extra TOps who were added for Night Tube, under the current proposals both WHC and LES will have fewer TOps
Please feel free to correct me if I've got anything wrong, I usually do.........