The Anonymous Widower

A Long Journey Home

A friend had booked between London and Edinburgh today on the 13:00 LNER train from King’s Cross. She was also travelling with her miniature Schnauzer.

.We had arranged to meet at Marylebone, so I could help them across London to King’s Cross and have a much-needed hot chocolate in King’s Cross before they caught the train North and I went to a meeting organised by my cardiologist.

I had checked out King’s Cross earlier and there was trouble with srveral delayed and cancelled trains.

It wasn’t strikes or bad management from LNER and the problem is explained in this article from the Yorkshire Evening Post, which is entitled Trains From Leeds To London Cancelled Or Delayed After Thieves Steal Signalling Cables From Railway Tracks.

In the end we made the train in time and also had time to have a hot chocolate in LEON, whilst we sat out the back with the dog.

We were texting each other most of the afternoon and with assistance from Real Time Trains, the journey went as follows.

  • The train left King’s Cross at 13:08, which was eight minutes late.
  • By Peterborough, the train was running seventeen minutes late. 
  • The driver kept this delay until Retford, where he lost another eighty minutes.
  • The train was now running 97 minutes late and this grew by four more minutes by Newcastle.
  • My friend reported that they stopped at Newcastle, as they had no driver.
  • In the end, LNER found a driver or a way for the current driver to continue to Edinburgh and the train left Newcastle after a thirty minute stop.
  • The train was now two hours and ten minutes late.
  • Eventually, it pulled into Edinburgh, two hours and five minutes late, after the driver had picked up a few minutes on the approach to Edinburgh.

Note.

  1. The incoming train that formed this service arrived in King’s Cross from Edinburgh seventy two minutes late, mainly because of the cable theft. It should have arrived and returned to Edinburgh an hour earlier. But it arrived conveniently to form the 13:00 to Scotland.
  2. As the train presentation team turned the train in nineteen minutes instead of twenty-one, they saved a couple of minutes.
  3. I suspect the delay at Retford was getting through the area without any signalling.
  4. Had the driver run out of hours by Newcastle, as he had been in the cab for four-and-a-half hours?
  5. Normally, four-and-a-half hours would have enabled the driver to have driven to Edinburgh.

These are my thoughts.

Cable Theft

In the days of British Rail, I did some work for British Rail using my software called Daisy, which led to a report entitled Failure Reporting And Analysis On British Rail, which was written by J. S. Firth CEng, MIEE, MIRSE, who worked for SigTech, which was a Business Unit of the British Railways Board.

If anybody who has a legitimate reason to read the report, I still have the complimentary copy sent to me by Mr. Firth and would be happy to provide a copy.

I did flag up a project called Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage, as one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition organised by the Dept of BEIS.

If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

Problems In France

A friend in France told me that there is a problem with stealing overhead electrification cables in France.

This article on RFI is entitled Copper Wire Thieves Force France’s High-Speed TGV To Go Slow.

There are several similar stories on French and other European web sites.

Signalling Using Radio

The East Coast Main Line is being signalled using modern ERTMS digital signalling, where drivers read the signals on an in-cab display, which is connected by radio to the signalling system.

This extract from Wikipedia describes the first project.

In June 2020 it was reported that the UK government would provide £350 million to fund the UK’s first digital signalling system on a long-distance rail route. The signalling is to be fitted on a 100-mile (161 km) section of the East Coast Main Line between Kings Cross, London, and Lincolnshire, which will allow trains to run closer together and increase service frequency, speed and reliability. No date for when the new technology, already in use on the Thameslink lines at London Bridge and some London Underground lines, has been given.

If the cables are removed will this reduce crime?

LNER Delay Repay

My friend will be entitled for a full refund of her single ticket.

This page on the LNER web site gives full details.

Note.

  1. You have 28 days to claim.
  2. If you have a return ticket, you may be entitled to something for that leg of the journey.

I would add, that you should always keep all your tickets, in case the return journey goes belly-up.

December 5, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Cable theft seems to be increasing, despite use of drones, smart water, Q trains and stronger legal controls over scrap merchants. None seems to have much effect, because the penalties don’t reflect the real-world costs of such damage.

    We have to end a culture of meek acceptance in which passengers and freight customers are forced to pay for the consequences of theft, trespass, vandalism, bridge strikes and other forms of criminality and negligence on the railways.

    To arrive at an appropriate compensation figure, multiply the 2-hour delay by the number of passengers affected (say 4,000) and apply a low* hourly rate of, say, £20 per person per hour then add in the cost in time and materials to NR, the TOCs, police, plus the consequential and direct costs to freightcustomers etc. My guess is that this sort of event will cost the perpetrator in the region of £250,000. (* to allow for students, unemployed, retired people etc.)

    Comment by Stephen Spark | December 5, 2022 | Reply

    • One thing I remember from the British Rail days, was that signal cables were being replaced with fibre optic cables. I was told, that the gangs would come back night after night and cut the cables in the remote hope that British Rail would go back to using copper cables.

      The other thing they found was that there was a pattern to fibre optic cable breaks. It turned out that breaks were being caused by track tamping machines. Some areas were much better than others and they found that there was sometimes someone in the tamping gang, who knew about fibre optic cables. The solution was that British Rail put in a bit more training.

      Comment by AnonW | December 5, 2022 | Reply

  2. You were right, the Evening Standard reported.
    “The cable theft happened outside Sheffield between Doncaster and nearby Retford at around 10pm Sunday, and National Rail warned “major disruption” was expected to last until the end of Monday.”
    I used to work in southern Germany and found it incredulous that houses in the area often had copper guttering and downpipes. Nobody ever seemed to steal those.

    Comment by fammorris | December 6, 2022 | Reply


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