Monday 13 July 2015

A difficult weekend, on Saturday we had another one-under at MIE, this time I was at TCR heading WB which left me stuck the wrong side of the line while the ERU and the emergency services dealt with the mess.  I’ve since heard that the TOp involved was one of my LES colleagues; best wishes, mate, we’ll be happy to see you when you’re ready to come back.  On Sundays we drive the trains manually east of LES and west of WHC to keep in practice and it was just as well as ATO was repeatedly failing due to the rain on the sections in between where we emerge from the tunnel sections (STR, LEY and WHC).  Oh yeah, these trains drive themselves…..

I’ve been checking around and it seems that the only major city with extensive 24/7 rail service is New York, in Chicago only two lines out of eight run continuously and while Copenhagen is 24/7 it only has two lines serving 22 stations making it smaller than the DLR.  Berlin, Vienna and Stockholm all run 24 hours at weekend but everywhere else the subway/metro systems close at night.  If anyone knows of any other 24 hour metros/subways I’ll be pleased to add them to the list.  On the BBC Sunday Politics David Leam of London First claimed that Sydney has 24 hour service but this is untrue, instead it has buses following the routes of the lines after the trains stop running.  Facts, aren’t they annoying.

We have now had two occasions to see Our Man Finn and the new COO Steve Griffiths go head-to-head on the BBC, on Wednesday’s London evening news slot and on the Sunday Politics, both times Finn has refused to let Griffiths off the hook over the 6:30pm deadline, both times Griffiths uncertain, hesitant  and unconvincing performance gave him the look of a man who is seriously wishing he had stuck with aviation rather than taking a job on the railways.  I’ve been looking for a suitable nickname for our new COO, somehow he doesn’t seem to live up to the “Dark Overlord” mantle, I was thinking possibly “Biggles” but after he seemed to melt under a combination of studio lighting and Finn’s barbs I’m favouring “Sweaty Steve”.  Too harsh?

Along with a new COO we now apparently have a new Managing Director in the shape of Nick Brown who at least has spent time working on the railways.  Two thoughts arise, the first being what do all these senior managers actually do as we seem to have a lot of people at the top with fancy job titles and even fancier salaries.  The second is there seems to have been a lot of people named Brown in senior positions up at 55 Broadway, there must have been at least 3 or 4 since I joined, perhaps we should follow the example of the University of Woolamalloo Philosophy Department and any new appointee should change their name to Brown in order to keep things simple.


  1. In terms of 24h running, the key issue is whether the tunnels have two tracks alongside or whether they are two parallel tunnels with a single track each. This then defines whether you are able to bring in heavy plant to replace rails/sleepers alongside on the other track; or whether you have to bring the rails in on trolleys and assemble manually. Most systems that have 24h services tend to have the former solution, I think London is the only system with two parallel tunnels where 24h has been attempted. New York also has four tracks on most lines which are used by express and slow (local) services during the day, whereas at night they just use two tracks at a time and work on the other two. Copenhagen is also easier to operate 24h as it is driverless.

    In terms of other cities: Warsaw and Munich run till 3am on weekends (Fri and Sat nights), Hamburg runs all night Sat nights, Rome runs till 2am on Sat nights, Barcelona runs till 2am Fridays and all night Saturdays and some holidays,

    1. I've been on the Blue Line in Chicago, one of the 24/7 lines and I don't recall it being double tracked

    2. I'm not saying it's a pre-requisite for 24h running, but it helps a lot as it shortens the time you need to replace rails by a lot.

    3. Sorry, didn't mean that as a criticism just an observation and thanks for the info on later running Metros, I always keen to learn..

    4. No worries, no offence taken.

  2. Things would never have got this far with Jeff Ellis or John Doyle still in the business and either of those on Trains Functional Council.
    The current crop of General Managers don't make decisions but implement the mad dictats of their bosses, most of whom know very little about how the tube ACTUALLY functions.