The Anonymous Widower

Chris Grayling On The RMT

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled I’m A Lightning Rod’: Grayling Dismisses Criticism From Rail Unions And ‘Anti-Brexit Brigade’

This is Grayling’s view of the RMT.

“This is a trade union that regards Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as too right-wing to affiliate to and wants to stand in the way of modernisation of the railways.

It is one of the better political put-downs.

February 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Engine Change At Bad Bentheim

I’m on a train frim Amsterdam to Osnabruck. The train, which goes all the way to Berlin, is not very fast, but they’ve now stopped for ten minutes, whilst the Dutch engine is changed for a German one! Can’t both railway companies use the dame Euro-blighter and just have a change of drivers, as we do on Anglo-Scottish services.

Surely, these are the problems that the EU should solve. Or do German and Dutch rail unions make the RMT look like pussy-cats?

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

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

The London Overground Grows Without Fuss

I use the East london Line of the london Overground several times a week.

But this article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Extra evening services added on London Overground and I didn’t notice anything announcing the increase in services. This is said.

The East London line has been increased from two trains to four an hour between 10.00 and 11.30pm on the routes from Dalston Junction to New Cross and Clapham Junction and from Highbury & Islington to West Croydon and Crystal Palace.

It’s almost as if a Night Overground is being introduced in a Softly Softly way!

What’s gone wrong with the Unions?

They usually see an increase in levels of customer service, as a perceived threat to their jobs and working conditions and vote about whether to go on strike.

May 19, 2016 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

History Repeats Itself

The BBC is today showing a clip on Breakfast Time, where their Transport Correspondent, gets a ride on the new Class 800 train from Hitachi, as it runs round the test track.

But it is already suffering from the same problems that dogged the British Rail trains of the 1970s and 1980s. According to this document on a web site about the Advanced Passenger Train, the drivers blacked the train for twelve months because it was single-crewed. The writer claims this was a factor in the abandoning of the project.

So what was last week’s strike on First Great Western about?

Crew levels on the new trains, as is reported in this article on the BBC.

We may be in the twenty-first century, but some people and their attitudes are still in the nineteenth.

July 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Should London Take A Leaf Out Of Syriza’s Rule Book?

Tomorrow and Thursday in London, the Underground is on strike.

The strike is to try and get a greater increase in salary to work the new Night Tube, when it opens in September.

If I was Boris, I’d call a referendum with this question.

Do the residents and visitors to London want a night Underground service on Friday and Saturday?

I certainly do! But then the Unions want to rerun the 2015 General Election, where the electorate didn’t like the Labour Party.

Obviously, if it’s a No! vote, then the Mayor and Transport for London would drop the idea of the Night Tube.

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Night Tube May Be On It’s Way

Transport for London have announced that from the 12th of September 2015, there will be a night service on the tube lines through Central London.

I used the word may in the title of this post, as the dinosaurs are stirring. The RMT general secretary is making threats.

From his statements on this and other issues, it seems he is trying to outcrow, the late Bob Crow.

September 24, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment