Wednesday 13 July 2016

I was given my copy of Working Timetable 69 a few days ago with orange pages for Fridays added to the white (weekday), green (Saturdays) and yellow (Sunday).  The proposed rosters are still under negotiation, management and our union reps have been discussing them for several weeks with the main bone of contention the distribution of "dead late" and “middle” turns.   Previously HAI and LOU had more dead lates than middles while LES had more middles than dead lates but when the first draft of the rosters came out it had switched around so some people are less than pleased (apart from me, I love later starts).

Since then there’s been a bit of swapping and as well as disagreement with management there’s also been disagreement between union reps, not RMT vs ASLEF but the reps of both unions from one depot arguing with the reps from another!  I think we’re up to version three now and it does seem as if things are slowly taking shape although one rather bizarre detail is still there. Up until now WER duties were numbered 200-something, WHC 300, LES 400, HAI 600 with the W&C duties 700.  For some reason the suits have decided to change this after all these years, in the new rosters WER are 900, LES are 600 and HAI 400.  I’ve no idea what WHC and LOU or why they’ve decided to do this but it seem rather an odd thing to do.

Even odder are the actual Night Tube duties that the part timers will be doing, for starters all duties are eight hours long although most of them aren’t driving up until the end of their shift, getting relieved a good while before their finish time but at least it will be unlikely they'll be claiming for overtime if there's a sigal failure.  One of the strangest duties drives a train for 2 hours 50 minutes, stables at LOU, brings a train out of WHC sidings 3 hours 10 minutes later and finishes at LES after 1 hour 42 minutes with 47 minutes left before their official booking off time.

Rather than trains running through the night it seems that trains will be taken out of service at regular intervals throughout the night which I assume is so the train maintainers can do their stuff.  There are fifteen night turns on Friday at LES and in those fifteen duties there are 28 instances where the train either goes in or out of a siding or depot.  So rather than drunks sleeping from one end of the line to the other until they eventually wake up they will have to be roused and persuaded to leave the trains before they can be stabled which from my many years of doing last trains I imagine will lead to a degree of aggravation. 

It’s also going to be very annoying for the residents of LOU, WOO and HAI as the trains have to sound their whistles when going in or out of a depot or siding as a safety measure to alert the staff working there.  I've no doubt this all looks pretty easy and problem free when you’re sat in an office somewhere but I suspect not only will there be tears before bedtime there will also be tears during and after.

On a somewhat happier note LES has a new attraction, if you’re coming out the Grove Green Road exit in the evening keep an eye out for the fox that appears to have taken up residence in the car park.  It’s perfectly relaxed with people, as long as you don’t threaten it then it will let you get quite close and just carry on sitting around or wandering about sniffing things.  Its not quite so tolerant of the local pigeon population from the occasional stray wing I've seen lying around but with its obvious taste for death and destruction I think we should name it in honour of the area’s other famous resident 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Alfred Hitchfox


  1. White City get Loughtons old 800 series numbers.

  2. haha iv seen that fox whilst on grub, as for renumbering what is the point?

  3. When we used to fuel our units up at Edge Hill depot there were always lots of foxes knocking about,the shunter's would feed them.
    I remember changing ends one night and a couple of fox cubs were scurrying around my feet. Like something out of Disney.