The Anonymous Widower

Metrolink Tram Drivers To Strike After ‘Pitiful’ Pay Offer

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railnews.

The strikes will be on the 25th and 26th September, which coincide with a Manchester United home match and the Great Manchester Run.

It would appear that Unite’s new boss; Sharon Graham means business. And in Manchester’s case, a drop in business activity for two days.

I wonder how many extra tonnes of carbon dioxide will be emitted in Manchester on each day of the strike, as people swap from the electric trams to their cars.

September 14, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strikes, Carnage and Threats

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Rail Magazine, about the strikes on Southern.

I won’t pass any opinion and urge you to read the article.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Driver Only Operation Problems On The London Overground

This article in the Hackney Gazette is entitled Highbury-bound trains disrupted every day for Overground commuters.

As the East London Line trains share tracks with Southern trains, to the South of the Thames, the delays are caused by the Driver Only Operation dispute on that network.

Perhaps we need a referendum!

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Have The RMT Seen The Writing On The Wall?

This morning the RMT are on strike on Southern, in the longest strike seen on UK railways for decades.

This report has recently appeared on the Rail Magazine web site, and is entitled Network Rail tests ETCS on Class 700 on ‘Core’ Thameslink route.

The report goes on to say how this successful test will allow Automatic Train Operation (ATO) from 2018.

In other words, the Thameslink trains and eventually, there will only be Class 700 trains operating through the central core, will be driven by computer, with the driver monitoring what is happening.

In a leader, The Times today described the rail unions as Luddites.

Surely, any hint of computers driving trains will invoke the resistance of the unions.

But as with Driver Only Operation DOO), ATO is the way that passengers, train operators and progressive governments will want to go. And if it is unsafe, just look at the Victoria Line which now runs thirty trains per hour using both DOO and ATO. And it has been using this method of operation for fifty years.

So have the unions looked at this and decided that with a big push they can get the whole lot thrown out.

The Times called them Luddites. The Times was right.

As an aside, when did you last see a woman driving a train on the National Rail Network?


August 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Now ASLEF Joins In!

I take the headline from this article on Rail News, which is entitled Southern dispute: now ASLEF joins in.

This Southern dispute and the related one in Scotland, appear that they may continue until 2017 at least.

I used to travel up to London in the 1990s with a driver-supervisor on the Central Line. We would discuss various technical subjects and the questions of efficient operation of trains and driver only operation came up.

Nothing he said, ever gave me any hint that driver only operation was anything but totally safe, if you have good communication with those on the platform. In fact, he did give the impression, that when problems did occur, it was because communication between driver and platform staff failed. I can remember him saying that with trainees, he always impressed on them, the dangers of not checking properly before starting when platforms are long and curved, as at Bank.

My view as someone, who has seen a lot of industrial automation at work in factories and industrial plants, is that the safest way to drive a train, is let the computer do the driving and the train driver should monitor what is happening.

Effectively, that is what has happened on the Victoria Line since 1967.

It’s about time that the UK’s trains joined the twentieth century, instead of clinging to the nineteenth.

August 4, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

I Get Struck By The DOO Lurgy

The DOO (Driver Only Operation) Lurgy has generally been limited to Southern, Gatwick Express and ScotRail trains.

But today, when coming back from IKEA, I was unable to get a train on the Great Northern Route at Highbury and Islington to Essex Road, as the train was cancelled.

The station-man upstairs said it the DOO Lurgy and I walked off to catch a bus.

This row over DOO has gone on long enough and from what I wrote about in Design For Safety In A New Station, I would suspect that the solution I saw at Lea Bridge station, is as good as its going to get!

July 9, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Piccadilly Line Drivers Give Heathrow Express A Helping Hand

Yesterday, as the BBC reports, the drivers on the Piccadilly Line went on strike.

My view on the tube drivers and their constant strikes, is that it is not about safety, Night Tube or whatever, but a power struggle between the drivers union and Transport for London.

At least it’ll all stop if Sadiq Khan becomes Mayor as the unions will calm things down in the hope, that they’ve got a more union-friendly Mayor.

The only winners yesterday were Heathrow and their overpriced Heathrow Express, which as most Londoner’s wouldn’t use it, except as a last resort, probably got some strong language going in the pubs and on social media.

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

‘Three Strikers And You’re Out!’

This was the banner headline on the Standard and it describes how just three workers have brought a strike on the Waterloo and City Line.

This is going to be a big story!

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

RMT Moves The Tube Strike

It has been announced by the RMT, that the Tube strike has been moved from this week to the 10th and 8th of September.

Intriguingly, the new Labour Leader will be announced on the 12th of September.

There doesn’t seem to be any reference on the Internet, as to where the Special Conference is to be held! As the TUC Conference starts in Brighton on the 13th, that must be a possibility.

Or has someone forgot to book the hall?

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Are We In For More Strikes On Tubes And The Railways?

Sometimes, I think that when I posted Après Bob, Le Déluge and asked this question.

Where else will this worrying new militancy turn up?

That I got things about right.

Transport for London, won the row about the closure of Ticket Offices and now contactless ticketing is used all over London, by virtually every passenger. You see very few orange cardboard tickets.

So the Unions lost that battle and then their friends on the left lost the much more important General Election in May!

This week, there are strikes on First Great Western over the introduction of new Class 800/801 trains and the Underground is being shut down by the strike over the introduction of the Night Tube.

On the First Great Western strike, I have a feeling, that these trains may not be all they’re supposed to be cracked up to me, after a brief conversation with a senior guy at FGW on a train.

I sometimes think that the Tube strike is all about the pay back to TfL on losing the Ticket Office issue and punishing passengers for not voting for Labour in the General Election.

The Night Tube is also a difficult battle to fight, as once it starts, because lots of people will depend on it, I suspect that it will be a very difficult service to stop. Like closure of Ticket Offices, it would be filed under things difficult to reverse like putting toothpaste back in the tube.

I do think though, that this is just the start of an Autumn of rail strikes. Especially, if Jeremy Corbyn is elected to be leader of the Labour Party and he decides to back them.

Although, if JC decided to be pragmatic, he could be the one person, who sorts out the Tube Strike. After all, he has no monetary responsibility, but he is a London MP, who if he becomes leader would be in debt to the Unions. If he got this right, then we could have a very Left Wing Labour Mayor or if he got it wrong, then, if the Tories put up a total nonentity, he or she would be home and hosed.

I do think that things will get a lot nastier and more angry before they get any better.


August 23, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment