Sunday, January 29, 2006


When I rang my wife during my meal break, she informed me that if we'd put the lottery on, we'd have had 5 numbers and the bonus ball, which would have been about a quarter of a million quid. How bloody ironic that the week we don't put our usual numbers on because we're struggling for money, the damn things come up.
I couldn't afford to enter the works syndicate for the Euro millions rollover either, so I half expected them to win the full hundred million! In actual fact, out of almost 100 lines, they won about £7 total!

I've told my missus a million times not to check the numbers when we can't afford to put it on, but does she listen?!
Ah well, I suppose I'll have to go back to driving trains again in a weeks time!

Yes I say a weeks time, because I'm away for the next week. Will Acton Town still be my home depot when I return? Who knows. There's a lot of politics and arguments going on at Acton at the moment, and morale seems to have reached a record low now. I dread to think what I'm going to come back to.

Anyway, have a good week everyone. Stay safe!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Have To Be Careful!

One of my colleagues today entered the smoking room at Earl's Court where I was sitting and said "It's you, isn't it?"
A bit of a strange "hello" I thought, of course it's me!
My colleague then went on to say "I was on the internet the other night, and you're DistrictDriver aren't you?".

Hmmm. I suspect my identity is probably so easy to work out by the posts I've made in the past, but now I know my colleagues are reading, I'll have to be careful about what I say!!!

Remember a few years ago, laser pens were the 'must-have' item for yoofs. These devices were designed for teachers or lecturers for pointing out things on whiteboards without needing a wooden pointer, however because they produce a tiny dot of red laser beam, the chavs all decided what fun it would be to have them to shine into peoples eyes. Particularly drivers.
I thought I'd seen the last of those things, but tonight while sitting in my driving cab at Wimbledon waiting for my departure time, I suddenly get a red light in my eye, then flying around my cab.
Obviously I didn't know what it was at first; it could have been a laser-sight for a rifle or anything! Anyway, I worked out it was bouncing from the mirror, and it was being shone by a yoof in the front carriage.
I told him in no uncertain terms if he did it again it would take a bloody good surgeon to remove it from his backside.
He sat down, and off I went thinking no more of it. Then I see the red dot again! This time the train is in motion. The last thing you want to see while driving a train is a red light in front of you!
Anyway, on arrival at the next station, I stepped onto the platform and looked through into the saloon, and he's shining this laser thing through the spyhole on the cab door (the spyhole is simply for security reasons so we can see who is behind the door before we open it!).
As I'd already told this guy off once, I removed him from my train. I told the line controller what he'd done and what I'd done, and he passed the message to the station supervisor, so hopefully he was also thrown out of the station.

This may sound a bit extreme, but a driver is perfectly within his rights to refuse travel to anyone he/she believes could pose a danger to the train or the railway. In my opinion, this guy had been given one chance, and how stupid was he to then shine his toy through the spyhole?!

Hopefully this doesn't mean these laser thingies are coming back into vogue for the chavs.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Here We Go Again...

Firstly, I apologise for the lack of updates. I've not had anything remotely interesting to blog about really!

Got my letter from LUL today advising me that I was unsuccesfull in my application for Instructor. Strange, but every male driver I've spoken to at work has also been rejected... It's funny how every female who applied has made it to the shortlists!
Good old 'positive discrimination'. I don't know why the hell I bothered applying, as I knew it would only be females who were picked.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the women I work with! They're just as competent in their jobs as I am. The point is why should they automatically be promoted simply because they're women?
Will I kick up a stink? I feel like doing so at the moment, especially as my wonderful, ever-loving management have now decided that they want to end the remote booking on and off dispute at Acton Town by bully-boy tactics.

Their idea is that they'll get rid of a large amount of drivers from Acton Town by moving them to Earl's Court. Without any choice. Without a say in the matter.
As yet, we don't know who yet, but to be honest if they tell me I'm moving to Earl's Court, I'll be tempted to tell them to stick their job up their arse. I'm already very pissed off with life without someone forcing me to move to a depot I don't want to go to.

Maybe I should speak to my doctor for some anti-depressants because lately I just feel so bloody low, and getting that rejection letter from LUL hasn't helped. At least now I know that I have no chance of promotion because I'm a white, straight male I'll not feel so bad about giong on the sick if I have to, although that is another reason for me being pissed off.
LUL have decided to introduce new attendance policies without consulting with the unions. These policies are quite harsh compared to previous policies, but really should only affect those people who are regularly on sick or come to work late, of which I am very rarely either.

However, watch out for more strike threats from both the RMT and ASLEF.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year - Same Old Whinge!

One of my new years resolutions was not to whinge as much. I'm not always whinging, but looking back over my blog, I'm quite embarassed by the amount of whinging I seem to do!

However, I was hoping that the signallers would have had the new years resolution to actually think before routing trains in front of me.
The prime example was last night. The Piccadilly line was completely screwed because of a defective track somewhere at the north/east end of the line. I am approaching Acton Town and am held at the home signal. I notice a Piccadilly line train in our platform. Nothing unusual about that, except I can see he has a green signal and isn't moving. I can also see the platform is VERY full.
I contact the controller who is as frustrated as I am! He informs me that the train in the platform is awaiting relief, but alas there is none.

After about 10 minutes, I notice the train is moving! Hooray! But the sadistic signaller has other ideas! Instead of running me straight in and out of Acton (and by now, District trains are queueing behind me back to Stamford Brook), he still holds me while another empty Picc train comes alongside and promtly get a green signal into my platform again.
The controller again apologises and informs me that there is no relief for that train either!
Another 10 minutes pass and he's still sitting there without a driver. The platforms at Acton are getting busier and busier. I can hear my passengers getting restless (and I don't blame them), and all I could do was apologise to them on the PA.

Eventually, train number 2 moves and I am on my way. 25 minutes I sat at that red signal! Why oh why could the signaller not have routed the two Piccadilly trains who he knew would have no relief through their own platform at Acton to save completely screwing the District as well as the Picc? I will be putting in a 'trainmans report' about that, but as usual, nothing will happen.

Anyway, when I arrived into Acton Town platform, it becomes apparent that there has been no Piccadilly line train towards Heathrow for over half an hour, and no train on the Rayners Lane branch for almost TWO HOURS! I saw one of my colleagues on the platform at Acton who had booked off at around 10.30pm (it was now just after midnight) and was still waiting for a train home. He joked that he'd probably still be waiting on the platform when I'd been to Ealing Broadway and stabled the train in the depot and walked back to Acton to book off. Sure enough, he was right!
We stood for about another 20 minutes before someone decided that maybe they ought to run a train towards Rayners Lane.

This was very poorly handled by the people who should be controlling the railway. I know there was a track defect which caused problems, but surely there must have been a train somewhere which could have filled the gaps in the service a bit? Especially considering that yesterday was the first day of an exhorbitant price rise for anyone not using an Oyster Card.

Anyway, now that's off my chest, I'll try not to whinge as much... However my other resolution was to stop smoking, and I've broken that one already too!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Starting as we mean to go on?

The first day of the new year, and already I have some overtime to count towards my review of 2006 (see my last blog (below)). We started the new year as we left the old one... With a signal failure!
Signal A900 between Bromley-by-Bow and Bow Road stations failed at about 10pm, so I had to "apply the rule" to pass it. As did every other train! Not a huge delay in itself, but because we're limited to about 5mph for a while after passing the failed signal for safety reasons, the trains start queueing up for quite a distance behind, so that was the main cause of delays.

Anyway, it's better that it failed at 10pm on a very quiet New Years day than at 8am on a normal rush-hour day! I did say a very quiet day, because I think everyone must be nursing hangovers! I'm lucky if I've carried more than about 200 people during my 8 hour shift! VERY quiet!

My missus has decreed that Christmas is now officially over and has taken down the tree and decorations! Back into the box for another year! Or in the case of shopping centres, only another 10 months until Christmas comes around again! It always makes me chuckle when they put the decorations up in shops almost as soon as Hallowe'en is over!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Welcome to 2006!

I'm very happy to report that Bob Crow's plans to ruin New Years Eve for hundreds of thousands of people were almost completely ruined! There were a few stations closed, but every line had a service running through the night as planned, although I did notice that the numbers were down from what I remember of the last few years.
Now when I say I'm very happy, I don't mean that in any way as a dig at my station colleagues who did go on strike, or who worked despite the strike. I am aware of the reasons behind the strike, but as I commented a few days ago, hopefully the RMT will find another way of getting their point over rather than holding a gun to Londoners heads.

The mood of those using the tube last night seemed to be pretty good, and for the first time ever on a NY Eve, I didn't suffer any abuse! Hopefully this is the same for all my colleagues on stations and trains... There's nothing worse than trying to run a service under difficult circumstances (especially with a strike going on!) and then being harassed for doing your job by knob-heads who think they know everything about our job.

I'm not going to make this a news review etc, as every newspaper and TV channel does that! These are the quirky facts about last year which I have recorded in my 'little red book'!

Overtime claimed due to late stabling because of signal failure
723 minutes.

Overtime claimed due to late stabling because of drunks
165 minutes.

Overtime due to incompetent signallers (this is where they put you into Ealing Broadway platform then simply forget about you, or leave you at a red signal for ages somewhere between Ealing Broadway and Ealing Common depot)
508 minutes.

Trains with broken windows
4 (down from 9 in 2004!)

Drunks unconscious on train at terminus requiring assistance either from BTP or other station staff

Incorrect routes set for me by signaller

Number of near-misses (people trespassing or pretending to jump in front of me)

So there we go! Let's see if we can get lower numbers on all of those for the 2006 review!

I hope and pray that 2006 will be a prosperous and peaceful year for us all.