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Northern rail could be nationalised


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44 minutes ago, DY444 said:

 

Yes but those 10-12 car trains in the south east have the same levels of PIXC in the peaks as the 2-3 car trains in the north so the reality of the journeys are no different and in many cases the distances involved are greater.  

On many "northern" services the overcrowding is acute for most of the  day not just in the peaks; the main problem is the short length of many platforms either because they are new stations built as such on a  shoestring budget which have then generated a significant increase in passengers onto trains which were already full, or old platforms which have not been maintained for their full length.

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4 hours ago, DY444 said:

 

Yes but those 10-12 car trains in the south east have the same levels of PIXC in the peaks as the 2-3 car trains in the north so the reality of the journeys are no different and in many cases the distances involved are greater.  

 

I don't disagree that the Midlands and the North should have an ambitious upgrade project to move to say a universal 8 car railway but there is a growing (and disingenuous) narrative that implies peak hour train travel in the South East is some utopian experience vastly different from the Midlands and North.  I worked with people that regularly had to stand in the morning peak from places like Winchester, Swindon and Peterborough which is a substantially different proposition than Bolton, New Mills or Rochdale and they were paying substantially more for the privilege.

I can barely imagine what some S/SE/SW services might be like now. The last time I regularly departed London in the peak was in 1992 when the Friday afternoon (Poet's Day) Class 47-hauled train (1640 IIRC) that I normally used carried numerous standing first class season ticket holders, some of whom used the guards vans which they considered to be less crowded than their designated accommodation next door! 

 

Mind you, half of them got off at Woking so were doing it out of choice in order to get home quicker on the fast(er) Exeter service.

 

I always walked straight to the front coach (standard) and never had a problem getting a seat for my whole journey to Honiton. I avoid the capital as much as possible these days but we have twice as many trains now and I still have to do it with the Class 159s.

 

John

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8 hours ago, Pandora said:

The shortage is Drivers  or Trainee Drivers in the industry is such that "Payback " clauses  are being rejected by candidates,  one desperate company was offering full   salary to trainees  to the annoyance of qualified drivers

Its always a good idea to p-ss off your existing workforce when the job relies on goodwill and them working overtime and rest days to keep the job going isnt it!

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8 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

That does not entirely surprise me. But it is the only likely way to retain staff.

 

What sort of salary are we talking about these days? Last I heard, the salaries were very attractive and one would not expect so much difficulty in recruitment. Of course, the shift working is a bit of a nightmare.

It isnt a question of the number of applicants but the number of SUITABLE applicants, and by suitable I mean suitable for training and not whether they would make good train drivers because its all about the speed they can be trained these days.

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On 30/01/2020 at 16:52, Dunsignalling said:

I understood he was complaining about his unprofitable franchise effectively subsidising the big juicy ones by training their drivers for them.

 

The lucrative franchises get trained drivers they just have to put through conversion courses for their traction and the passengers on Northern lose out all round.

 

Mind you, it's no different to British industry in general bleating on about the need to "recruit skilled labour" from abroad - subtext "so we don't have to waste money on training British kids for the well-paid jobs".

 

John

He is right because that is a carry over from BR when you passed out as a driver and got put on the local/ commuter runs to build your experience up (now Northern), after a while and when a place become available you would move up a link (TPE etc), then later on you would put in for the long distance links (now LNER, WC etc), back then it was called link progression but nowadays its called poaching.

 

Even if Northern paid the same as, or more than, the Long Distance TOCs what work would you rather do,100 local stops or a London Flyer with 10 stops for the round trip?

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7 hours ago, Barry O said:

They are very good..and they make me wonder why, as a professional engineer I didn't jack in years ago to train up...

I know someone who was "demoted" in his TOC as his jon was redundant. Ended up far better off and less stressed in his driver role.

 

No one has mentioned the antics of the RMT in delaying driver training..and egging people on to train up and play chase the gold. Of course we will have to foot the bill when RMT demand big pay rises. 

Baz 

Since when have the RMT been the primary Drivers Union and could you post some evidence to back up your rabble rousing statement please, or failing that do we simply assume its just another of your anti Union posts!

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4 hours ago, Butler Henderson said:

On many "northern" services the overcrowding is acute for most of the  day not just in the peaks; the main problem is the short length of many platforms either because they are new stations built as such on a  shoestring budget which have then generated a significant increase in passengers onto trains which were already full, or old platforms which have not been maintained for their full length.

 

Yes and that should be dealt with.  Optimising infrastructure for short trains is short sighted madness. 

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The easy way to deal with the driver training issue is to make driver training the responsibility of an independent organisation which the TOCs contribute to in proportion to the number of drivers employed by them.

 

Or bring back BR :-)

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34 minutes ago, D9020 Nimbus said:

The easy way to deal with the driver training issue is to make driver training the responsibility of an independent organisation which the TOCs contribute to in proportion to the number of drivers employed by them.

 

 

That wouldn't really solve the problem, as drivers would still need to take time out from driving their existing trains to drive the new ones. And the TOCs would still be paying for drivers' training only to see them go elsewhere.

 

The correct way to deal with the issue is for new trains to be delivered on time, and for sufficient contingency time to be allowed in case of overruns, even if that means the full benefits of the new trains are put back until the next timetable changes (it's easier to introduce the new trains to service earlier, on the old timetable, if drivers are trained, than to try to run trains without drivers).

 

The correct way to 

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1 hour ago, DY444 said:

 

Yes and that should be dealt with.  Optimising infrastructure for short trains is short sighted madness. 

 

The shortening of platforms started under Regional Railways only for them to require increasing in length currently!

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5 minutes ago, Mark Saunders said:

 

The shortening of platforms started under Regional Railways only for them to require increasing in length currently!

I can remember a few platforms at suburban stations only maintained for part of their length in the 1970s. 

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3 hours ago, D9020 Nimbus said:

The easy way to deal with the driver training issue is to make driver training the responsibility of an independent organisation which the TOCs contribute to in proportion to the number of drivers employed by them.

 

Or bring back BR :-)

 

What would an "independent organisation" train them on, exactly? They could teach the basic Rules and Regulations, for a number of months, but that would be about it. Everything else, including route learning, learning different traction/units and so on, which take the bulk of the time, would still have to be done by individual companies (or whatever), because there is no national train, nor do all drivers learn all 20,000 plus potential routes.

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2 hours ago, Mark Saunders said:

 

The shortening of platforms started under Regional Railways only for them to require increasing in length currently!

 

True, but passenger numbers were in decline, at least initially, until RR started to modernise and rationalise services, but even then they did not climb anywhere near as fast as they have done in the past 20 years (bar one or two routes).

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Network rail  or ORR insisted that all Drivers apply for, and carry European  Train Driving licences, ( this edict issued after  the 2016 referéndum of course)  , we thought it would a plot of bypassing training requirements so east europeans could be recruited from abroad to take away our jobs,, somehow the east europeans  did not appear . which reminds me ,   as of  2300 hours 31st January 2020,   can I ceremoniously burn my EU train driving licence?

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17 hours ago, royaloak said:

Since when have the RMT been the primary Drivers Union and could you post some evidence to back up your rabble rousing statement please, or failing that do we simply assume its just another of your anti Union posts!

Well on Look North in Leeds they interviewed the local RMT guy 2ho was very bullish about how they had changed the way the drivers were being trained...to suit them. They didn't speak to any ASLEF people so I have no idea of what they have been doing in this area..

 

But talking to Railworkers I know they are fed up with the RMT strikes as everyone is being tarred with the same brush.

 

Baz

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On 02/02/2020 at 15:59, D9020 Nimbus said:

The easy way to deal with the driver training issue is to make driver training the responsibility of an independent organisation which the TOCs contribute to in proportion to the number of drivers employed by them.

 

Or bring back BR :-)

 

23 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

What would an "independent organisation" train them on, exactly? They could teach the basic Rules and Regulations, for a number of months, but that would be about it. Everything else, including route learning, learning different traction/units and so on, which take the bulk of the time, would still have to be done by individual companies (or whatever), because there is no national train, nor do all drivers learn all 20,000 plus potential routes.

 

There would be a lot of practical details to resolve but I think there might be the germ of an idea in this.  A version of the signalling schools for drivers.   The driver school could teach rules and regs and have say a couple of surplus emus for on the line training.  Then when they went to the TOCs they would be much further along the line to being trained than if they'd walked in off the street.  Not the same as an experienced driver transferring in who just needed to learn the traction or routes but better than starting from scratch.

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1 hour ago, DY444 said:

 

They'd be a lot of practical details to resolve but I think there might be the germ of an idea in this.  A version of the signalling schools for drivers.

Following Clapham there was a big need for extra staff so we did a similar thing for signalling designers. Our project group produced a 12-week course explaining Rules, Regs and the history and reasoning behind signalling. It included basic principles of signalling and interlocking. Each intake did the initial course and those who passed the tests were allocated to a section to get on-the-job training and working their way up through various tasks. During this time they also shadowed various people like Scheme Developers and Project Engineers to learn what happened each side of the detailed design process. 

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5 hours ago, Barry O said:

Well on Look North in Leeds they interviewed the local RMT guy 2ho was very bullish about how they had changed the way the drivers were being trained...to suit them. They didn't speak to any ASLEF people so I have no idea of what they have been doing in this area..

 

But talking to Railworkers I know they are fed up with the RMT strikes as everyone is being tarred with the same brush.

 

Baz

So a local rentagob on the telly.

 

The press dont exactly help, when we had planned engineering work closing the mainline at Whiteball tunnel they were mentioning the reduced service was because of the strikes forgetting to mention they were on SWR and the route affected wasnt anywhere near SWR land.

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47 minutes ago, royaloak said:

So a local rentagob on the telly.

 

The press dont exactly help, when we had planned engineering work closing the mainline at Whiteball tunnel they were mentioning the reduced service was because of the strikes forgetting to mention they were on SWR and the route affected wasnt anywhere near SWR land.

No, but the (relatively few) GW diversions via Yeovil were timed to fit around the normal SWR service rather than the amended "strike day" one that runs in different paths, so there was some impact.

 

John

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12 hours ago, Pandora said:

Network rail  or ORR insisted that all Drivers apply for, and carry European  Train Driving licences, ( this edict issued after  the 2016 referéndum of course)  , we thought it would a plot of bypassing training requirements so east europeans could be recruited from abroad to take away our jobs,, somehow the east europeans  did not appear . which reminds me ,   as of  2300 hours 31st January 2020,   can I ceremoniously burn my EU train driving licence?

But the whole idea of licencing train drivers had en under discussion for. a long time before that in Britain.  In fact it first appeared at around the time of privatisation as the route to gettinga. common basic standard.

 

Which leads to this point -

7 hours ago, DY444 said:

 

 

They'd be a lot of practical details to resolve but I think there might be the germ of an idea in this.  A version of the signalling schools for drivers.   The driver school could teach rules and regs and have say a couple of surplus emus for on the line training.  Then when they went to the TOCs they would be much further along the line to being trained than if they'd walked in off the street.  Not the same as an experienced driver transferring in who just needed to learn the traction or routes but better than starting from scratch.

This is a way of regularising what actually happens but in a different way.  there was a considerable move back in the late 1990s to getting a standardised 'basic training' syllabus for drivers - which some proposed should be linked to a Licence system to ensure that all drivers were trained to exactly the same basic level - as had been the case under BR.  It was accepted even then that there could no longer be such a thing as a 'basic traction' - in the way the Class 47 had been the 'basic' diesel - because of disparity in traction between different parts of the country and hence by then between different operators.  Similarly there was supposed to be a basic set of principles for route knowledge retention but that quickly got lost  'on economic grounds'  to be replaced by 'route assessment' and so on - which means that two different operators over the same route could end up with differing standards (and sometimes have).

 

So a common basic training, at various geographically diverse centres in order to contain costs might make a lot of sense and it would include common standards for route learning and route knowledge retention practice.  To some extent traction training has always varied and so, obviously, has route learning but that is no different from what has always happened.  For example when I had First Preference Drivers come back off the Southern Region to the Western they often didn't have basic diesel (loco) training because they had been at a depot with 100% EMU work.  equally if one of my blokes moved to, or in from, the other end of the Region on a First Preference he might well know (some of) the traction but he would usually face a lot of road learning and maybe some traction training.  With Drivers moving around that has always happened and it always will.

 

but none of that solves the immediate problem at Northern.

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

But the whole idea of licencing train drivers had en under discussion for. a long time before that in Britain.  In fact it first appeared at around the time of privatisation as the route to gettinga. common basic standard.

 

Which leads to this point -

This is a way of regularising what actually happens but in a different way.  there was a considerable move back in the late 1990s to getting a standardised 'basic training' syllabus for drivers - which some proposed should be linked to a Licence system to ensure that all drivers were trained to exactly the same basic level - as had been the case under BR.  It was accepted even then that there could no longer be such a thing as a 'basic traction' - in the way the Class 47 had been the 'basic' diesel - because of disparity in traction between different parts of the country and hence by then between different operators.  Similarly there was supposed to be a basic set of principles for route knowledge retention but that quickly got lost  'on economic grounds'  to be replaced by 'route assessment' and so on - which means that two different operators over the same route could end up with differing standards (and sometimes have).

 

So a common basic training, at various geographically diverse centres in order to contain costs might make a lot of sense and it would include common standards for route learning and route knowledge retention practice.  To some extent traction training has always varied and so, obviously, has route learning but that is no different from what has always happened.  For example when I had First Preference Drivers come back off the Southern Region to the Western they often didn't have basic diesel (loco) training because they had been at a depot with 100% EMU work.  equally if one of my blokes moved to, or in from, the other end of the Region on a First Preference he might well know (some of) the traction but he would usually face a lot of road learning and maybe some traction training.  With Drivers moving around that has always happened and it always will.

 

but none of that solves the immediate problem at Northern.

That sounds like the sort of thing that happened to me when I trained as a marine engineer, 50 years ago. What a good idea something like that would be!

 

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2 hours ago, 62613 said:
2 hours ago, 62613 said:

For example when I had First Preference Drivers come back off the Southern Region to the Western they often didn't have basic diesel (loco) training because they had been at a depot with 100% EMU work.  equally if one of my blokes moved to, or in from, the other end of the Region on a First Preference he might well know (some of) the traction but he would usually face a lot of road learning and maybe some traction training.  With Drivers moving around that has always happened and it always will.

 

 

Those Drivers, who would transfer Depot to Depot living  an idyllic nomadic existence,  ,  perpetually  route learning  but never truly  entering a productive driving link, we called them the "Depot Cats"  as they were to be found  in a nice cosy corner of the  mess room. Do they still exist?

 

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