[07/11] WCML Closed in the Bletchley Area (again)

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Starmill, 7 Nov 2017.

  1. boxy321

    boxy321 Member

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    LM got me home last night OK. I was an a Pendo at about 17:20 at Brum International when the announcement was made. Most of the passengers got out and caught the LM Coventry train about 5 mins behind it. The Virgin one was stuck for 96 minutes and arrived at Euston 140 minutes late.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There is nothing unsafe about people standing in the Euston concourse. It's not a Tube platform where they might end up accidentally pushed on the track. If it's full people will go elsewhere. I've never seen a crowd in there I would consider dangerous give or take the scrum when a train is announced, and I've seen disruption there many times.

    Maintaining A service on those routes. It doesn't have to be the full service at the expense of less frequently served routes. It wasn't long ago that Northampton to Birmingham was 1tph.

    Better to lop 1tph from 3tph than 1tph from 1tph, unless a genuinely adequate bus replacement can be provided (it can't on a 110mph railway[1]).

    [1] I'd have no particular objection to canning Watford-St Albans to free up a crew as you can provide a genuinely adequate bus replacement.
     
  3. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    It is about safety though - having large crowds, which just get larger creates a safety issue. Just because they're not next to platforms doesn't mean it isn't an issue. And you will soon back it up into the tube station as well for good measure.

    Sorry - it does have to be at the expense of the less frequent routes - those routes are less frequent for a reason, either line capacity or demand.

    Northampton - Birmingham was hourly for a short period of time, driven by the WCML modernisation which as I recall limited capacity at Rugby. In fact Silverlink (as it was then) were curtailed to either Northampton or Rugby and the Northampton - Rugby service was operated by Central Trains. It was as the modernisation ended, which I think coincided with the LM franchise, the service returned to being at least every 30 mins.

    And whilst a bus replacement can't be all of the answer, nor was it yesterday when ticket easements meant passengers could also use EMT or Chiltern. The key to it is to look at where people are trying to get to and how that can be best served.

    The reality, whether or not you like it, is for people trying to get to points north of the Rugby on the TV line, a direct train from Euston wasn't going to be offered as a solution given the other issues. And as I've already pointed out twice, but to do it for a third time does no harm and you might actually take it on board this time, the TV stations had the following alternatives:

    Nuneaton - EMT to Leicester or Virgin / Chiltern to Birmingham or Coventry then XC or LM to Nuneaton.
    Tamworth - EMT to Derby or Virgin / Chiltern to Birmingham then XC to Tamworth.
    Lichfield - Virgin / Chiltern to Birmingham then LM to Lichfield.
    Rugeley - as Lichfield.
    Stafford - Virgin Liverpool services or Virgin / Chiltern to Birmingham and then Virgin / XC to Stafford.
    Stoke - EMT to Derby and EMT to Stoke or as above to Birmingham then XC to Stoke.
    Kidsgrove - as above, plus EMT or Northern from Stoke.

    Yes - all of those meant extended journey times, but so did pretty much any journey on the WCML yesterday afternoon.

    The ONLY TV stations left with a real problem were Atherstone and Stone. Neither are significant stations.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm sorry, but we will fundamentally disagree here. Cancellation on a low frequency route has a much bigger impact on passengers than cancellation on a high frequency route. Therefore, cancellation on a low frequency route is to be much more strongly avoided.

    I read it the first time. Those do not provide for intermediate journeys nor for people who just don't have the confidence to work out that kind of journey!

    It isn't OK to leave ANY station not served as publicised, regardless of how "significant" it may or may not be. Even if the alternative was to be a railway taxi between those and Nuneaton/Stafford, this needed arranging and publicising properly.

    You are falling into the trap of someone who knows the railway. LM have a high proportion of occasional travellers on that route - who have the potential to be having a really, really bad day because it's easier not to hack off the commuters who will be hacked off anyway.

    And I *am* a south WCML commuter (on occasions). So it's not bias in my favour, quite the opposite.

    It simply is not good enough. My view remains that the LM TV service should operate even at the expense of a couple of south WCML commuter or Birmingham extension cancellations.
     
  5. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    The stock was there. The driver and/or guard wasn't. This happens with the 20.46 all the time. What I expect London Midland to do is stop having bare-to-the-bone staffing levels so that, at the very least, final services of the day will inevitably operate. As is the case with Virgin West Coast.
     
  6. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    Yes, easements were in place (although not as extensive as those offered to Virgin Trains customers). The frequency with which LM arranges for VT to accommodate their passengers (tickets for the VT services normally being MUCH more expensive than tickets for the LM services) raises the question of whether it would be cheaper for LM to employ more staff rather than pay VT compensation on each occasion. Or have LM management crafted some elaborate plan to ensure that the current situation works to LM's financial advantage?
     
  7. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    No word for passengers travelling between intermediate stations?
     
  8. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    Hang on - what other easements would you have expected for LM?

    Looking at their Twitter feed the easements were agreed with EMT, Chiltern, LO, Virgin, Southern, Underground, GWR, Thameslink and XC.

    The only one I can see that you could *possibly* suggest is Northern for Stoke - Kidsgrove - and I suspect most Northern guards wouldn't give it a second thought for a 5 minute journey given the disruption would have been well known.

    Inevitably Virgin's would have been more wide ranging - I assume they included Scotrail, Northern, TPE and VTEC, but I can't see why any LM passenger would have needed those.
     
  9. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    You've clearly not been paying much attention.
     
  10. sk688

    sk688 Member

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    Got caught up in the disruption yesterday , arriving just as all the trains were cancelled

    Eventually got on the 1817 Overground , and credit to the staff , who did an excellent job in the most challenging of circumstances , especially down at the 8-11 barriers , where I was , it was not a pleasant atmosphere , but the staff managed it well
     
  11. RJ21

    RJ21 Member

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  12. philthetube

    philthetube Member

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    Have you thought that through? assuming that you were lucky and there were no meal breaks shift finishing etc you might get four hours out of a crew, then take into account the time taken to travel to and from London and there is really not much chance of it being possible to cover anything by Abbey flyer crews. As others have said, if you have notice you can make arrangements, but not often possible at short notice.
     
  13. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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    London Midland have what can only be described as a ****** stupid agreement that drivers can not be made to come off booked trains in disruption and can't be made to take anything not on their diagram. There were staff taxi's leaving Euston taking crews back to Northampton to then sit no further duties because there train was cancelled rather than sitting to work something when the line was re-opened.
    They have destroyed any semblance of ability service recovery on the southern WCML for passengers, perhaps forever - can't see the next franchise getting it back easily. The people involved should be ashamed, but no they are still at LM.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Really?

    That would explain why they just "carry on when left off" rather than missing stops to get things back.

    That's utterly idiotic in every possible way. If LM are paying them, they should do whatever LM want (within the remit of their job, i.e. driving and guarding trains starting/finishing at the appointed booking on/off time and location) when LM want it within the shift hours assigned.

    Why on earth did they end up with that?
     
  15. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Back in my day of running that bit of the railway - crews would work as ordered (in the nicest possible way) , and were in the Drivers Restructuring Agreement , mandated to work a couple of extra hours overtime , with allowance made to ensure they were properly rested etc for their next turn. Used to send a Controller , and often a Manager (sometimes yours truly) to Euston every pm peak to coordinate crews in the event of any problems , something that took a lot of pressure off the Control. To be fair , for a TOC that earns a significant sum of money at the London end , controlling by remote control from Birmingham was a serious mistake in the LM franchise. Critical to manage staff locally in disruption. And to support them.
     
  16. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Good grief. How ridiculous. Whoever proposed that must have been having a laugh. And whoever agreed it should be (as you say) ashamed. We run this railway for the passengers!

    The WCML does have a fe word driver agreements; I gather VWC has (or at least had) some odd ones about not repeating rerouted in a diagram.
     
  17. Polarbear

    Polarbear Established Member

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    For what it's worth, the reaction on board the 16:40 Euston - Manchester last night was placid (well it was in coach U at any rate). I head a few people mention the previous incidents that have occurred in the area recently, but no one ranting or raving about the delay.

    I really can't understand those who make rabid comments on social media when something awful like this happens. Probably why I tend to steer clear of the less savoury elements of that particular hornets nest!
     
  18. Alan McMillan

    Alan McMillan Member

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    It's a pity this forum doesn't have a like or dislike button for individual comments. Frankly, as a regular commuter on LM into Euston, I agree with most of what Bletchleyite is saying but little of A0wen. In general, LM's performance on recovering from any significant disruption is not very good. Causes are many and varied, in my humble opinion but these factors don't help: control at Birmingham; no train crew depot south of Bletchley.
     
  19. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    It's not. This has been discussed again and again and again. Most recently here.
     
  20. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I am also a south WCML commuter. I agree with much of the post you agree with, however i also see why the focus has to be on Euston and not Atherstone.
     
  21. MarkWi72

    MarkWi72 Member

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    Hello! I'm new here. Interest in railways , in amongst other things.

    I have a little to add to this topic and one of these fatalities. On Sunday Nov 5th, I was travelling home to Bentley Heath (nr Dorridge) from a weekend in London, visiting a friend. I got to Marylebone, in time for the 17.40 to Brum. This didn't stop at Dorridge, so I thought I'd stop at Leamington and change. However, I saw that the train was packed 15 mins before departure - standing room was also full. The train left 5 mins early. I'd heard people talking about "Euston tickets" , so I thought there must have been an incident of some sort. I got some snacks and got ready for the 18.10., which I was actually originally planning to get. A stampede ensured which I beat as I was already on the platform. I heard people saying they wanted to get to Stoke and Manchester on my train - they had to get to Brum first, of course. I saw on my phone's twitter there was a fatality at Milton Keynes. So, that was that. A packed train. And, more importantly, thoughts with the deceased and those close to them.

    So to today at work. In a College in Birmingham. I speak to a colleague of mine. We are supervising the Library for a short while. We talk about the weekend etc. He tells me he has visited a friend (from his childhood in Northants) whose sister committed suicide- he says she "jumped in front of a train near Bletchley" last week sometime. They grew up nearby and she lives in the area; there would not have been any outward signs of this happening - good career and a wealthy middle class family. But we know this is not always the issue. I told him it I think it must have been the Sunday, when I was on the jam-packed train at Marylebone. So we looked online to see that there was a local newspaper article on the recent rail fatalities in the area. 4 in a month on this stretch of line (2 in the last week). Local Councillors are calling for an investigation into this section of the WCML. I'm not sure what can be done locally - maybe close of some access near the WCML? Not sure of the topography/geography. Bigger picture shows rail fatalities are on the rise - 310 this year and up near 15% from last year. Mental Health services need investment of course. But to be , even distantly aware of someone, it brings it home, more.

    On a similar issue, I know the trauma this also causes rail staff. A friend I went to school with went through a BR YTS in the late 80s, before driving trains for a living. He drove freight trains, from (I think) Bescot to Willesden and coal trains to and from Ironbridge (I may be wrong, although I think this to be correct). He was co-driving a train along the Stour Valley line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street once. The preceding train was involved in a grim fatality (suicide). They had to pass the scene a walking pace. Both drivers had months of counselling.
     
  22. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    There seem to be some listless and bored hired in security gaurds at bletchely at present. That must be the response.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Hadn't noticed them, but the BTP were knocking around about an hour ago.

    I don't believe any of the recent incidents were at the station, though?
     
  24. MarkWi72

    MarkWi72 Member

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    According to the newspaper articles it is a point between MKC & Bletchley.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There are a few bridges including quite an isolated cycleway one which was probably the one involved. Difficult to prevent that other than "caging" the bridge in completely as one of them is (but it feels[1] horrible from a personal safety point of view).

    [1] Yes, I know, there is no survivable way out other than the two ends from an open bridge over a 25kV electrified railway, but psychology can sometimes be as important as reality when it comes to making people feel safe from crime. The raised-sided bridge at MKC feels very claustrophobic - I really think that needed a better solution such as high Perspex walls.
     
  26. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I am not sure that is correct.
     
  27. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Certainly the last two were *between* MKC and Bletchley, not at the station. I would expect the Redway bridge between Standing Way and the depot, it has almost no parapet and would be easy to quickly jump. It's also very isolated so nobody would be questioned.
     
  28. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Ok. Like i said I am not sure that is correct. We shall leave it there.
     
  29. LeylandLen

    LeylandLen Member

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    MarkWi72 says "Bigger picture shows rail fatalities are on the rise - 310 this year and up near 15% from last year." Where are these stats from ? Whats the source? I stated on page 1 #29 that they all are more important to us railfans than Brexit ,Paradise Papers etc ; obviously drivers as well . I would like to see more serious news about the topic without being seen to give ideas to people . I know there are sensitive guidelines .
    I too was delayed leaving Euston by the fatality on WCML on Nov 5th and would like to know more in general terms whilst not without disclosing names .
     
  30. GW43125

    GW43125 Established Member

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    More fun tonight as a trespasser has blocked all lines at Leighton Buzzard.
     

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