Wednesday, 15 May 2013

There has been a disturbing number of “one unders” recently, four on the Central in the past months while yesterday we had two at the same time on the District and Victoria; very sad.

If you hadn’t heard last week RMT announced that TOps on the Piccadilly Line had voted in favour to strike action while action short of a strike was supported on the Metropolitan, H&C and Circle.  On the Piccadilly it seems that management have decided to do things different from everywhere else and make up their own procedures on attendance at work, SPADs, staff errors and the reopening of the depot at Northfields.  Unsurprisingly the Piccadilly TOps want to stick to the Tube-wide procedures agreed between management and unions. 
Over on the Sub-Surface the disagreement is over various issues arising from the introduction of the new S Stock which will eventually be introduced to all four lines but along with that there’s trouble brewing on the Victoria Line where management have also been making up their own rules.  We’ve only just settled the Bakerloo Line detrainment issue but all of this gives the rather worrying impression that management are testing the water for an all out attack on our working practises. 

ASLEF have informed management of their concerns and asked them to consider their response - very carefully. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

ATO was having fun yesterday, on Sundays we’re mean to drive manual east of LES and west of WHC but I ended up doing plenty of driving in the “Pipe”.  Once on my “first half” the train pulled up in a heap when it had only just left the station, if forget where that was, and then it stopped only a couple of cars into the platform at SHB EB.  I also lost the CCTV as I was leaving LIS WB, had to knock out the TBC to activate the emergency brake and call up Wood Lane to monitor me leaving the platform.

This weekend there is engineering work on the District Line at MIE and as it would throw up loads of dust they decided to shut the station completely.  Wood Lane put in a “station skip” which meant that in ATO the trains roll through at 20kph which worked fine WB but for some reason both times I tried to start the train up at BEG on the EB DTS flashed up an “ATO not ready” message and I had to go Coded all the way to STR.  Not that that was a problem, it’s just rather amusing when loads of people think that driverless trains are just around the corner and that all we do is push buttons.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

I just noticed that today is May Day when we should be dancing round the Maypole and crowning the May Queen or if you’re a socialist marking International Workers’ Day, which commemorates the death of four protestors shot by the Chicago police at a rally in 1886, with a rousing chorus of “The Red Flag”.

Or if you’re a pagan last night you should have been lighting bonfires before heading off into the fields and woods to shag like bunnies as a fertility rite.  We have something similar at Hollow Ponds by Whipps Cross though I don’t think the activities there carry the same religious significance.
Me, I'm making asparagas soup......

Not much to write about, everything has been going pretty much to timetable.  On Friday I was spare and got sent to the Lower Depths aka the Waterloo and City Line which I find ghastly.  This isn’t because it’s all manual working with no codes, just coloured light signals, speed limit signs and tripcocks but because after a few “get on at Waterloo, get off at Bank, wait for the next train, get on, get off at Waterloo, wait for the next train, repeat” I lose all track of how many trips I’ve done and more importantly when I’m meant to go home.

My only reward was the Muppet at Bank who was darting from one door to the next trying to find somewhere to squeeze on and when he did he stuck his head out to call to his mate as the doors were closing.  There were more than a few sniggers from the passengers around me as the doors slammed on his ears, the look on his face made my trip down The Drain worthwhile.

I have noticed the number of traction faults that were getting are on the rise, normally passengers wouldn’t notice when we get an “aux set req” message on DTS but occasionally it will manifest itself by all the lights apart from the emergencies going off in the two affected cars.  What it means is that the motors on one of the four units won’t be working until we can reset which we do by pushing a button in the cab but a few months ago we were instructed to only to do this when stationary as if we do it on the move it can cause further faults.

Occasionally we get “traction fault” along with the “aux set req” which means that we can’t reset from cab and have to go trip an MCB in the car when we change ends otherwise we’ll be motoring with only three units.  This isn’t meant to be a problem, they’re supposed to run fine with one unit not working but some trains will take a long time getting up speed and some will never get up to full speed which causes delays to you and the trains behind.

I’ve also noticed that there seem to be a lot more stations where we have traction problems when leaving, the train will "shudder" much as when someone leans on the doors and we lose the interlock causing the motors to drop out except at these stations we don’t lose the pilot which suggests it is a traction problem.  I have no idea if any of these problems are related or what the cause could be but I'm certainly noticing more of them in recent months.

There have also been more radio problems, it used to be we only ever lost the signal on the EB platform at BUH for a few seconds but it seems to be happening at a lot more places.  If it were just on one train I put it down to a fault on that particular train but it has happened on separate days on different trains.  Once again I don’t know what is causing this but hopefully this doesn’t develop into a major problem as that could be a little embarrassing, the Connect system is only 6 years old, even though it wasdelivered 4 years late, and cost £2bn.

Yesterday the West End Commission, a body of “experts” set up by the Westminster City Council, issued a report which among other things such as a new body to run the West End, as if we didn’t have enough layers of bureaucracy in London, calls for the Tube to be run even later on Fridays and Saturdays than the extra hour proposed by LUL from 2015 with the suggestion that it run post-3am to deal with the “night club exodus”.  It also calls for the possibility of Crossrail and Tahmeslink running 24 hours to be “explored”.

The Evening Standard in a fine display of its usual level of accuracy ran the story with the headline “We must have 24-hour Tube to boost London, says major new report”.  Gotta love the sub-Standard………

And I've just noticed that Diamond Geezer has made the same observation, great minds thinking alike or fools seldom differing, I will let you be the judge.