Thursday, May 04, 2006

Metronet Disgrace

Well, what a cock-up today was! It wasn't just a few temporary restrictions in place... ALL parts of the District line above ground were subject to a blanket 20MPH restriction.
This was due to the fact that Metronet had failed to treat the tracks in preparation for the hot weather. According to the BBC London News, All LUL senior managers are absolutely furious about it, and I'm not surprised. As usual though, it was us in the front line who got the flack for it.

Can you imagine having to travel all the way from Upminster down to Bow Road (where we enter the tunnel) at 20MPH? The average speed is usually 45MPH so it was taking almost an hour to do this journey.

To make matters worse, the controllers were still sending loads of trains all the way to Upminster. Bearing in mind that trains were opnly travelling at 20MPH, it took a long time for the train in front to clear the signal sections, so we spent more time sitting at red signals than actually moving!
It would have made a lot more sense to reverse more trains back west from Barking rather than trying to keep up their 'mileage quotas'.

It wasn't just the east end of the line... As I said earlier, ALL external sections were subject to this restriction!

I hope someone gets a damn good bollocking for this, but (call me cynical if you wish) but I suspect nothing will happen to anyone at the top of the Metronet tree.

Goodness knows what's going to happen if we have any more hot weather before Metroshite have had a chance to treat all of these rails.

By the way, PLEASE don't blame train drivers or station staff! We can't do anything about it! We don't like running late, we don't like running slow and we don't like being diverted at the last minute but we only do as we're told.


Blogger Tube Dude said...

I did see the late new with the head man from Metronet and he blamed LU for not giving them enough time to access the track, sorry what do P Way do?

Then they interviewed Howard Collins - and suprise suprise he blamed Metronet.

5:07 am  
Blogger alantan said...

After the question that you raised about warm-weather countries in the previous post, I asked some fellow enthusiasts how this was handled in Israel, where the outdoor temperature can reach 40 or higher some days of the year.

The answers that I got pretty much fit with what both LUL and Metronet are saying. The practice (at least in many countries) with welded rails and concrete sleepers is to heat the entire length of rail up to the highest forseen temperature and then weld it to the sleepers. I'm assured (much to my disbelief) that this ensures that even when the rails expand and contract, they do so in line with the gauge. There are still expansion gaps between the welded rails every 100 metres or so, but these do not cause "clicketty-clack" as they have a diagonal profile.

Additionally, they claim that there is importance to the weight of the sleepers used and the amount of ballast, as well as the frequency with which the ballast is respread (if that's the correct term?).

For a change I can understand Metronet's point-of-view vis-a-vis having enough time to treat the rails adequately when they were welded, as the heating process described above sounds pretty time-consuming.

6:47 am  
Blogger crzwdjk said...

Basically what heating does is cause the rails to expand, and then they weld them, and the rails now have some tension built in, which steel is very good at dealing with. Also, in many places with long welded rail sections, they have expansion joints, where one rail comes to a point, and the other comes in diagonally, so it can slide back and forth a bit. Also, at insulated joints there's a bit of room for expansion, and I bet the London lines have plenty of those.
Speaking of temperature-related delays, around New York, some of the train lines have very old overhead electrification, without an auto-tensioning system, and any time it gets too hot or cold, there are always speed restrictions. And there's even a light rail line that recently had its overhead reconstructed, but for some reason with no tensioning system. I saw it once on a hot day. The trains were running at 25 mph, and the wires were noticeably saggy.

9:39 pm  
Blogger metronetdude said...

I work at Metronet. The Director at 'Asset Perform' Dave Crawley has been sacked, or as our big boss said ' a change of leadership' was needed. Mind you he's ex LUL with a fat pension so he won't starve

8:27 pm  

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