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    Avanti West Coast - staff shortages?

    At ours, first three are guaranteed off regardless, and a fourth is guaranteed as long as the RDW agreement remains in place. There should be sufficient spare provision in the links to cover at least the bare minimum necessary to fit everyone’s lieu/app days into the year, so a depot should...
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    Level Crossings - High Level Wigwags

    Spondon: (presumably for better sighting over the hump-back bridge on the approach)
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    SWR Missing out stops to make up time

    An entirely foreseeable consequence of misguided political interference?
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    Cornton level crossing

    It’s currently an AHB crossing, so why do trains have to wait for the barriers to come down?
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    Hope Valley Capacity Scheme updates

    Thanks, and indeed. I certainly wouldn't consider it a lame excuse, even more so if it's all kicking off elsewhere on the panel. Personally, I'd love to see more mutual improvement between the two grades, regular cab rides for signalmen and box visits for drivers. The recent discussion about...
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    Hope Valley Capacity Scheme updates

    No criticism of you or your colleagues intended - apologies if it came across that way. As I said, I appreciate (probably more than most!) that it's often an impossible situation for you. Given a clear run in this example though, we'd have been well on the way down the hill through Dronfield...
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    Hope Valley Capacity Scheme updates

    Whilst I fully appreciate that you’re often in an impossible situation with freights coming off the Hope Valley in particular (having spent more than a few minutes in total sitting at Totley Tunnel East’s Up Home signal!)... On one occasion, I was stopped at S50 (?) signal, on the Up Main...
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    Long tunnels with no ventilation shafts/vice versa

    It’s not the deepest tunnel in the UK, not by a long way. I’m pretty sure that Cowburn Tunnel is*: the depth to rail level at the deepest point is approx 250m - the highest land above the North Downs tunnel isn’t even that far above sea level! * - standard gauge railway, national network, etc...
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    Long tunnels with no ventilation shafts/vice versa

    Standedge has numerous cross-passages between all four bores, if I'm not mistaken, and a number of shafts too. Similarly for Woodhead - there were a number (24 or 26?) cross-passages and a few shafts. The (fairly rubbish, sorry!) photos below are of one of the shafts between the original...
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    Sidings and head shunts

    Taking possession, not protection, of a siding. Unless the Sectional Appendix shows it as a running line, it's a siding, yes.
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    A career as a signaller

    Quite a few years ago now, but I did the TCB conversion even though I was going to a pure AB box. It meant that I didn't have to go back to school when I went for a job on the relief and thus had to learn the fringe boxes at either end of the patch. It'd have put me in a better position if I'd...
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    May 2021 Timetable Change

    Depends on the Ts&Cs at each company. Ours can have your booked job extended by up an hour for engineering work, but if your booked job is cancelled and you revert to spare, you can't go over your original rostered hours except by mutual agreement. No PNBs at the very end of jobs allowed either!
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    DSD pedal - Do any drivers use both feet?

    156s have no vigilance, but you still get the five seconds or so to change feet or whatever else you want to do - you just don’t get any audible indication that you’ve taken your foot off it until it dumps the brake. 170s are pretty good, with a holdover button that gives you quite a bit of...
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    Trivia - Extremely Late Running

    My personal best is a 6½ hour delay on what should've been a 48 minute journey (Leicester to Nottingham), thankfully initially in a station platform so devoid of passengers after alternative arrangements had been made for them.
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    8 car trains stopping at 12 car platform position

    I would certainly say that there are too many stop boards at some stations, some marked as TOC-specific and others clearly intended for a particular TOC’s trains but not marked as such. I know one station that does (or did, until recently) have two 2-car stop boards on one platform, followed by...
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    8 car trains stopping at 12 car platform position

    Universally? Stop markers appropriate for our units are few and far between at our stations, and at a number of stations the first one that we encounter is a "4/5 car stop" board (clearly intended for traction that comes in 4, 5 and - further down the platform - 7 car variants!). We routinely...
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    RMT ScotRail conductors - Strike action regarding overtime payments

    We've just issued our second emergency base roster since January. It doesn't change much though - there's still the same number of people in the links, and traincrew reverting to spare because of a cancelled turn can pick up something that's uncovered for whatever reason. All that the emergency...
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    RMT ScotRail conductors - Strike action regarding overtime payments

    Well, there's two options really: either employ sufficient staff that you're not relying on overtime to any great extent (in which case it's largely irrelevant whether there's a RDW premium or not), or keep running with vacancies and relying on overtime (which only works if you're offering...
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    RMT ScotRail conductors - Strike action regarding overtime payments

    If you put Sundays in the working week and increase the hours worked each week, then there's no increase in headcount, or at least not much of an increase? One Sunday in three could be covered by putting three hours on the average week. A longer week would mean more pay too, unless you're...
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    RMT ScotRail conductors - Strike action regarding overtime payments

    Ah yes, that makes sense. Clearly, then, the management believed that there would continue to be a need for keep dangling the carrot to tempt drivers to work overtimes (I've seen training mentioned elsewhere, possibly a combination of the demands of an ongoing training plan mixed with driver...