Friday 4 March 2011

Two very straight forward nights the only little wrinkle being on Wednesday evening when I was heading WB. First there was a call for all EB trains between WHC and BOS to hold on platforms as there was a report of someone going into the tunnel at OXO. When I reached BAN this had expanded to include the WB from TCR back to LES as traction current had been discharged in both directions though it was unclear if this had been done by the Control Room or by the station staff locally.

I was told to move up as far as HOL and hold where I was joined in the cab by a Station Super on their way to do a night shift who didn’t fancy sitting back there with the public. It’s true, if you’re wearing the uniform and the job goes up the wall all eyes immediately turn to you in accusation which is why I never travel in full kit. I try to look as little like a train driver as possible when I’m not being paid to.

When I first joined it wasn’t so bad, the coats were plain dark blue with badges that cleverly tucked away and a plain white shirt but then we had this new design for the Millennium that was bright blue with logos everywhere which made you stand out like a sore thumb.

The white shirt was replaced by a blue shirt with a white check pattern and many a time I was asked for help by customers at Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s who got very annoyed when I tried to explain that I didn’t work there, one even demanded I call the manager to complain about me. White shirts became the mark of Supers and managers.

Everyone said that the bright blue would get filthy down in the Tubes but the suits at 55 went ahead with it regardless and then replaced it a year or so later with the same design in dark blue, still covered in logos and still making you easily identifiable as an LUL employee so it still stays in my locker outside of work hours.

Anyway I sat at HOL for a few minutes beofre Wood Lane announced that traction current had been restored and we could carry on, no idea if there ever was someone on the track or if it was just a fault. Other than that the only news to share is that pay talks have commenced with LUL proposing a multi-year deal while the unions want a one year deal and then recommence negotiations this time next year, a few months before the Olympics.

No doubt if they can’t reach an agreement something will be leaked to the Standard quoting some outrageous demand by the unions, someone will say that we are holding London to ransom, there will be a general moan against overpaid Tube staff and eventually we will end up with something halfway between what RMT demanded, what LUL offered and pretty much what ASLEF and TSSA suggested in the first place. Sadly all too predicatable…..

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