Monday, October 03, 2005


It seems that the last week or so has been almost completely incident free, at least while I've been at work!
However I was interested to read a message sent to me by a friend of mine who is a signaller somewhere on the District (I'll not reveal his location!) informing me of a bit of a cock up on Sunday night on the line. Now I was rest day (thank God!) so I wasn't there to witness things, but apparently a set of points at Tower Hill westbound failed.
These points are set to run into a sand drag when the signal is at danger (red) in case the train should accidentally pass the signal at danger, thereby protecting a train leaving the bay platform at Tower Hill.

Unfortunately, the person who went down to 'secure' the points (to allow the train to apply the appropriate rule and continue on his way) decided to secure the points as they were already set (ie into the sand drag). The driver failed to notice his error until he ended up in the sand. This made things even worse, as now the train had to be set back into the platform to have another go!
I've added the photo below showing the sand-drag (indicated by the yellow arrow). Apologies it's such a bad image, but those tunnels are dark, and I've just taken the picture as a still from our route-learning DVD!

To make things worse, there was a train held in the tunnel east of Tower Hill which was there for quite a long time before someone in the 'Ivory Tower' could make a decision on moving the train either back or forwards to at least get part of the train in a platform so the poor passengers could get off and stretch their legs.

Three things struck me about this:
1. Why on earth did the person securing the points decide to secure them into the sand drag?
2. How did the driver of the train not spot that the route was not secured correctly?
3. What is the point of having Duty Operations Managers if they can't make a decsion as to detraining passengers instead of holding them in a tunnel.

As normal, the driver and whoever secured the points will no doubt be bollocked, and have all delays attributed to them, but those in charge of the operation sitting in the control room will be cleared of all blame as usual.

The company keep going on about how we should all work as part of a team. Most of us 'front line' staff do! Train Ops and station staff usually get on fine and work well together during incidents. The people who do not play as part of the team are the controllers and Duty Operations Managers who make the rules up as they go to suit themselves (and to minimise any liklihood of them losing their Performance-Related pay bonus).

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: The words "piss-up" and "brewery" spring to mind!

Back to work tomorrow...

By the way, if you are interested in the history of London Underground, the Acton Museum is open on 22nd and 23rd October. The depot houses a lot of examples of old buses and trains along with loads of other LT stuff. It's a fascinating place if you're interested in this sort of thing (and I have to confess to being a bit of an anorak!).
The prices are Adults £6.95, Concessions £4.95 and accompanied children under 16 go free. This admission is valid for both days.
The description of this months open event is described by the LTMuseum website as detailed below:

"Do your children know how to use London's public transport safely? Learn safety tips and much more with staff from London Underground, London Buses, River Services and Surface Transport. Handle real museum artefacts and take part in poetry and craft workshops and loads more. Suitable for all ages. "

Unfortunately, if you are attending, be aware that bad planning means that the District and Piccadilly lines will be suspended between Acton Town and Earl's Court on this weekend. You can find alternative routes via the LUL website.


Blogger Tube Dude said...

So, I think you've hit the nail on the head. We normal staff - you trains and me stations, do try and work well together. things do and will go wrong, and are normally made much worse when the Management become involved. I say leave it alone!

And yes, I've been to Acton Depot too, pass the anorak.

9:25 am  

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