• Dear Guest, and welcome to RailUK Forums. Our non-railway discussion forums are currently restricted until members have five or more posts, and you will not be able to make a new thread or reply to an existing one in this section until you have made five or more posts elsewhere on the forum.

1st May Northern passengers told to all travel in the front carriage

Status
Not open for further replies.

peters

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jul 2020
Messages
916
Location
Cheshire
I saw this post in a Facebook group.

A 2 car train to Manchester is pushing it already but now been told to all cram into ONE carriage due to the guard needing the ENTIRE rear carriage...
Northern Resist | Facebook

Does anyone know what actually happened? Some of the responses suggest that post may be accurate, others suggest it's unlikely a guard would get an entire carriage to isolate themselves from passengers. The picture shows the unit in question is 195016.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

bb21

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
24,137
It is a private farcebook group. Without any further details it is impossible to say.

There could have been an issue with the coach requiring locking out but going to need more information to figure out.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
70,739
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
I have come across this before. I believe it's because the guard is entitled to be 2m from passengers, and because there are no cab door controls on 195s and the opposite sides are on opposite doors (not every door has a set), a route that has platforms on both sides would require this.

I don't think every guard is doing it, however.

They aren't the only TOC that is/was saving a coach for the guard - Avanti were reserving coach C for crew at one point, don't know if they still are.
 

peters

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jul 2020
Messages
916
Location
Cheshire
I have come across this before. I believe it's because the guard is entitled to be 2m from passengers

I thought it was generally accepted that 1m is acceptable if masks are worn and even less if there's a glass or plastic screen between the customer and worker.

How would he/she keep 2m away on the platform if the train arrives at a station where there are passengers waiting to board? I've seen instances where a guard has had to tell a passenger waiting to board that they can't board through a crew only door, never mind a passenger door.

and because there are no cab door controls on 195s and the opposite sides are on opposite doors (not every door has a set), a route that has platforms on both sides would require this.

Do you mean if the letters represent the doors then X would be the ones with controls and Y would be the ones without?

X Y
Y X
------
X Y
Y X

Avanti were reserving coach C for crew at one point, don't know if they still are.

At least they have 9 and 11 carriage trains on many of their services. Northern probably have 2 carriage sets on services which should have 4 due to the unit shortages.
 

robbeech

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2015
Messages
3,723
I thought it was generally accepted that 1m is acceptable if masks are worn and even less if there's a glass or plastic screen between the customer and worker.

How would he/she keep 2m away on the platform if the train arrives at a station where there are passengers waiting to board? I've seen instances where a guard has had to tell a passenger waiting to board that they can't board through a crew only door, never mind a passenger door.



Do you mean if the letters represent the doors then X would be the ones with controls and Y would be the ones without?

X Y
Y X
------
X Y
Y X



At least they have 9 and 11 carriage trains on many of their services. Northern probably have 2 carriage sets on services which should have 4 due to the unit shortages.
Are there really unit shortages at the moment. They’re still running a reduced timetable (and will still be later this month although it’s much better). I know they have had some structural issues but they’re not (from what I can tell) running any services longer than normal and are already short forming, so which are the shortages?
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
70,739
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
I thought it was generally accepted that 1m is acceptable if masks are worn and even less if there's a glass or plastic screen between the customer and worker.

2m is the default. 1m is a "second best" option.

How would he/she keep 2m away on the platform if the train arrives at a station where there are passengers waiting to board? I've seen instances where a guard has had to tell a passenger waiting to board that they can't board through a crew only door, never mind a passenger door.

They can not release the door and knock and point.

Do you mean if the letters represent the doors then X would be the ones with controls and Y would be the ones without?

X Y
Y X
------
X Y
Y X

Yes, it's like that.
 

Kite159

Veteran Member
Joined
27 Jan 2014
Messages
15,499
Location
West of Andover
I'm sure @185143 has come across similar on his trips.

It's a similar story on the Barrow/Windermere routes where some guards block out most of the rear coach forcing any remaining passengers into the other coaches, even if it gets overcrowded.
 

peters

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jul 2020
Messages
916
Location
Cheshire
2m is the default. 1m is a "second best" option.

The government changed the policy from 2m to "1m plus" at some point last year, the plus can mean plus masks, plus track and trace or if neither is possible then the extra metre. Aldi and some other supermarkets removed their one way systems as soon as masks were made mandatory in supermarkets because it is possible for people walking in opposite directions to pass on the same aisle and remain 1m apart.

They can not release the door and knock and point.

To be honest if a guard did that and there was also someone with a bike or buggy on the platform then I would presume the guard is trying to tell that passenger that the door they need to board through is at the other end and remain where I was. If a door or carriage is out-of-use I would expect either notices on the doors or the lights to be out.

It's a similar story on the Barrow/Windermere routes where some guards block out most of the rear coach forcing any remaining passengers into the other coaches, even if it gets overcrowded.

Thinking about this do they ever block the carriage which contains the toilet out-of-use? If they do then doesn't it render all the expense that has gone into making sure trains have a toilet accessible for both regular and disabled passengers a bit pointless and possibly breach legal requirements. If they don't then it means over 50% of the seats are taken out-of-use by this policy when 2 car units are in use.
 

185143

Established Member
Joined
3 Mar 2013
Messages
3,706
I'm sure @185143 has come across similar on his trips.

It's a similar story on the Barrow/Windermere routes where some guards block out most of the rear coach forcing any remaining passengers into the other coaches, even if it gets overcrowded.
Oh yes. Many a time.

And, based on my extensive experience, it will be exactly as was reported. On a recent AM peak train I travelled into Manchester on, popular with schoolchildren, there were 13 of us stood in the vestibule at one point due to everyone being forced into the front carriage.

I get the need to maybe limit numbers in the rear coach where the guard is, maybe "window seats only, no standing" as a rule rather than a guideline. But frankly if someone is that selfish that they think blocking off a whole carriage for their own use on a busy service, even by normal standards, is acceptable then they could do with reminding how long the dole queue is in my opinion.

The government changed the policy from 2m to "1m plus" at some point last year, the plus can mean plus masks, plus track and trace or if neither is possible then the extra metre. Aldi and some other supermarkets removed their one way systems as soon as masks were made mandatory in supermarkets because it is possible for people walking in opposite directions to pass on the same aisle and remain 1m apart.



To be honest if a guard did that and there was also someone with a bike or buggy on the platform then I would presume the guard is trying to tell that passenger that the door they need to board through is at the other end and remain where I was. If a door or carriage is out-of-use I would expect either notices on the doors or the lights to be out.



Thinking about this do they ever block the carriage which contains the toilet out-of-use? If they do then doesn't it render all the expense that has gone into making sure trains have a toilet accessible for both regular and disabled passengers a bit pointless and possibly breach legal requirements. If they don't then it means over 50% of the seats are taken out-of-use by this policy when 2 car units are in use.
Normally the toilet and accessible area is left available.
 

robbeech

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2015
Messages
3,723
Thinking about this do they ever block the carriage which contains the toilet out-of-use? If they do then doesn't it render all the expense that has gone into making sure trains have a toilet accessible for both regular and disabled passengers a bit pointless and possibly breach legal requirements. If they don't then it means over 50% of the seats are taken out-of-use by this policy when 2 car units are in use.
It's not a permanent thing, so i wouldn't consider the expense pointless.
 

221129

Established Member
Joined
21 Mar 2011
Messages
6,500
Location
Sunny Scotland
But frankly if someone is that selfish that they think blocking off a whole carriage for their own use on a busy service, even by normal standards, is acceptable then they could do with reminding how long the dole queue is in my opinion.
If they are working to the risk assessment put place by their employer (which they are) then they are not being selfish. The alternative is to invoke the worksafe procedure and stop the job.
 

Starmill

Veteran Member
Associate Staff
Events Co-ordinator
Joined
18 May 2012
Messages
17,564
Location
Manchester
If they are working to the risk assessment put place by their employer (which they are) then they are not being selfish. The alternative is to invoke the worksafe procedure and stop the job.
My understanding is that this only calls for the vestibules to be kept clear, and the seating area between the rearmost passenger doors and the rear cab.

This is the layout now found on the majority of Northern's 195 and 331 trains. The front area of seating right behind the driver's cab might be out of use too if the train is reversing en route.
 

skyhigh

Established Member
Joined
14 Sep 2014
Messages
1,577
Do you mean if the letters represent the doors then X would be the ones with controls and Y would be the ones without?

X Y
Y X
------
X Y
Y X
It's actually the opposite (assuming the top end is the leading cab), which is a subtle but significant difference. So:

YX
XY
----
YX
XY

That's important because it means that for the majority of platforms, the guard has to walk down to the second set of doors from the cab, rather than the first set, and therefore pass through pretty much the whole carriage. If the door control panels were placed in a sane layout, this wouldn't be an issue.

There's very little instructions as to how the barriers must be used. It depends on how the staff feel safe, and what's in their personal risk assessment. Personally I will only place the barrier between the back cab and first set of doors, assuming I'm not busy. If the train is busy, I'd ask the passengers just to not sit at the single seat closest to the cab door (the stupid layout means you practically have to sit on whoever is in that seat to get in and out the cab).

Generally on 170s, the guard will put the barriers on either side of the doors in the end vehicle with the DCP, and just work from there.

The problem doesn't really exist in the same way on 150s/158s thankfully.
 

northernchris

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2011
Messages
1,368
I was on a Calder Valley service recently operated by a 3 car 195 where the conductor had blocked off 2/3 of the rear carriage, so the only area accessible to passengers was the toilet and wheelchair area. At the opposite end, it was just the end section between the last set of doors and the cab which was closed off, yet when the train reversed at Bradford the conductor didn't ask anyone to move and proceeded to walk between the cab and doors despite the carriage being quite crowded as it was effectively a 2 car service. I've also recently been on a 195 where all sections of the train have been available for passenger use, so it would be really useful if Northern could standardise their approach

The problem doesn't really exist in the same way on 150s/158s thankfully.

I've seen barriers in place across the last few rows of a 158
 

Kite159

Veteran Member
Joined
27 Jan 2014
Messages
15,499
Location
West of Andover
The problem doesn't really exist in the same way on 150s/158s thankfully.

150s the guards can do the doors from the rear staff only section

156/158s I've seen some guards block off access to the rearmost door, in some cases blocking off access to the toilet (in the 156).

I was on a Calder Valley service recently operated by a 3 car 195 where the conductor had blocked off 2/3 of the rear carriage, so the only area accessible to passengers was the toilet and wheelchair area. At the opposite end, it was just the end section between the last set of doors and the cab which was closed off, yet when the train reversed at Bradford the conductor didn't ask anyone to move and proceeded to walk between the cab and doors despite the carriage being quite crowded as it was effectively a 2 car service. I've also recently been on a 195 where all sections of the train have been available for passenger use, so it would be really useful if Northern could standardise their approach

I remember last year when on a Calder valley train which reversed at Bradford that the guard ordered anybody who was sitting in the formerly front part of the train (which was now the rear part due to the reversal) to move to another part of the train. Good customer service, especially as it included a family and they forgot to remove the barrier at the other end
 

scrapy

Established Member
Joined
15 Dec 2008
Messages
1,641
I've spoke to a health and safety rep at Northern and on class 195/331s the company have advised that up to and including the second vestibule in the rear coach should be for staff use only. This may be the 4th coach in a 6 car 331. This is because the company have to provide staff with a safe place of work no matter how crowded the rest of the train is and having passengers in this space breaches the 1 metre plus guidance even if only at window seats with masks. No areas at the front of the train should be cordened off. Access should be maintained to the bike space where this is in the rear coach.

A conductor can at their discretion reduce this area if:-
1) they are not classed as vulnerable or extremely vunerable, as they will have had an individual risk assessment which will stipulate the areas should be cordenned off. These guards are not allowed to do revenue duties either.
2) they are not being relieved en route as the reliever may be in the above category
3) any members of staff travelling passenger can still socially distance.

There is no agreed method of work if the train reverses although the guard would theoretically be allowed to barrier off an area and ask passengers to move forward.

On 150s, 153s, 158s only the rear vestibule can be out of passenger use.

On 156s if the bike area is at the rear this can be out of passenger use (bikes can still be stored). If the toilet is at the rear the vestibule can be cordened off. Access still has to be given to the toilet on request unless the unit is coupled to another gangwayed unit. Passengers should not be allowed to queue for the toilet.

On 319s the rear vestibule and seats to the rear can be cordened off. The bay of seats immediately forward if this vestibule should also be cordened off although in practice this I haven't seen this done.

On 323s no public areas should be out of use but the guard can temporarily tape off vestibule in middle coach should they need to work doors from there.

On all units access must be allowed to wheelchair area for disabled passengers.

At the end of the day whilst it's a good idea to have as much capacity as possible, Northern have a legal duty to protect their employees. They have to follow government guidence which stipulated 1m plus. Whilst this is guidance failure to follow it without a valid reason would breach Health and Safety legislation. Passengers have the right not to board or to disembark the train should they feel unsafe no matter how inconvenient and again are subject to government guidance which states that capacity on public transport is reduced, they should not board if the train is too full and should wait for the next one. (We all know that this is not practical on many routes in the North). Whilst employees have that right it would likely lead to much greater inconvenience to passengers than an area being cordened off.

Unfortunately the problem on 195s and 331s lies with the door controls being staggered. Whoever came up with this idea has obviously never been a guard before. Even before COVID it could be a problem on full trains. Whilst I've no doubt this was done with DCO in mind, the DFT did stipulate the train had to be fitted with guard door control panels, these should be fit for use and maybe it needs to be stipulated on new stock that door controls must on both sides of the train opposite each other either in the cab or at the first set of passenger doors.
 
Last edited:

Snow1964

Established Member
Joined
7 Oct 2019
Messages
1,174
Location
West Wiltshire
Can someone please explain to me how a risk assessment can be signed off that says guard should have 2m or 1m+ but other humans on the train can be packed into one carriage even if they are virtually touching.

I don’t get a risk assessment that is selective to one person but not the next person. Where does it say that in any Health and Safety policy?

Since when has a Health and Safety Rep on Northern been able to ignore passengers health and safety, that rep is in fantasy land, and should return his/her wages if that is their moral stance.
 

Jan Mayen

Member
Joined
30 Sep 2020
Messages
175
Location
Sussex
After reading the comments in this thread,I'm grateful I use Thameslink. No guards so no need for barriers. Even on Southern, I've not seen any barriers. Presumably the guard sits in a spare cab.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
70,739
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Can someone please explain to me how a risk assessment can be signed off that says guard should have 2m or 1m+ but other humans on the train can be packed into one carriage even if they are virtually touching.

Because the staff have no choice but to be on that train, whereas passengers can decide not to board, or to leave, if the situation feels unsafe to them. This gives them a higher duty of care to the staff.

It's not just about ensuring they are safe, it's about avoiding disruption to their life. 10 days' self isolation would cause me mental health issues so I am doing my best to avoid that, and I would expect my employer to do the same.
 

Starmill

Veteran Member
Associate Staff
Events Co-ordinator
Joined
18 May 2012
Messages
17,564
Location
Manchester
Unfortunately the problem on 195s and 331s lies with the door controls being staggered. Whoever came up with this idea has obviously never been a guard before.
There are quite a few trains with the panels in this manner. 380s for example are still sometimes worked by a guard.
 

trebor79

Established Member
Joined
8 Mar 2018
Messages
3,219
Crikey. What a load of fuss over what must be an infinitesmally small risk at this stage.
I don't see there's any other part of railway operation where staff safety is more important than public or passenger safety, yet again it's different this time "because COVID".
And different from other industries - eg you don't see aisles cordened off in the supermarket whilst the shelves are being stacked.

Recently I've been getting back to face to face meetings and have been very pleasantly surprised at the complete lack of any COVID nonsense in any of the offices I've visited thus far. Just people behaving normally, with bare faces and nothing out of the ordinary except hand sanitisers being available and some people preferring not to shake hands.

Personally, I will be avoiding rail travel where possible until all of this rubbish about distancing and masks is gone. It's not appropriate for a world in which the majority of the population are vaccinated and at zero personal risk, and the wider public health risk squashed by herd immunity.
 

Table 52

Member
Joined
5 May 2006
Messages
210
I think something else that needs to be considered is that there are still laws in place that people with covid must self isolate. And less protection for guards means more will catch covid and end up having to take those 10 days off work.

If there are too many guards off work, less trains will be able to run. So consider this - would you rather have one less carriage, or no train at all?
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
70,739
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
I think something else that needs to be considered is that there are still laws in place that people with covid must self isolate. And less protection for guards means more will catch covid and end up having to take those 10 days off work.

Yes, that's an issue from the operator's perspective, and is indeed why timetables had to be slashed in the first wave - without testing at that stage people had to isolate if they had a cold, pretty much.
 

peters

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jul 2020
Messages
916
Location
Cheshire
Crikey. What a load of fuss over what must be an infinitesmally small risk at this stage.

Agreed. While employers should do COVID assessments the greatest risk is when there's prolonged contact with the same people e.g. two people working in the same ticket office who are going to sit near each other for a few hours or possibly platform staff at stations.

Have Northern taken into consideration the latest government advice which is that workers who can't work from home get 2 x lateral flow tests per week (which they can get free from a pharmacist) and then if one of those is positive they get a second PCR test to confirm it's not a false positive?

I think something else that needs to be considered is that there are still laws in place that people with covid must self isolate. And less protection for guards means more will catch covid and end up having to take those 10 days off work.

Actually the 10 days relates to someone who has been traced as having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If you get COVID the number of days self-isolation required depends on a number of factors and won't be an automatic 10 days, it might be less or it might be months if you get a serious case which requires hospital admission.

You're much more likely to be a close contact of someone who has had COVID than to get COVID yourself.

Yes, that's an issue from the operator's perspective, and is indeed why timetables had to be slashed in the first wave - without testing at that stage people had to isolate if they had a cold, pretty much.

You can get an idea of whether that's likely to happen in your area from Royal Mail delivery times. If you are in an urban area and normally get a postal delivery at 12pm but one day a week you get it at 5pm then they are having an issue finding someone to cover rest days. If you find the delivery is within their normal times for urban areas 6 days a week then there's probably no-one self isolating.
 

trebor79

Established Member
Joined
8 Mar 2018
Messages
3,219
I think something else that needs to be considered is that there are still laws in place that people with covid must self isolate. And less protection for guards means more will catch covid and end up having to take those 10 days off work.

If there are too many guards off work, less trains will be able to run. So consider this - would you rather have one less carriage, or no train at all?
Do more railway staff catch covid than would be expected for the general population?
Why hasn't there been a huge wave of covid amongst supermarket workers?

The risk is not from a few minutes operating doors (and most of that time the doors are going to be open, plenty of ventilation!). The risk is from spending long periods of time in close contact with others. Eg most staff infections in schools have been acquired not from infected children, but from other staff members, presumably in the staff room at lunchtime.
 

Table 52

Member
Joined
5 May 2006
Messages
210
Do more railway staff catch covid than would be expected for the general population?
Why hasn't there been a huge wave of covid amongst supermarket workers?

The risk is not from a few minutes operating doors (and most of that time the doors are going to be open, plenty of ventilation!). The risk is from spending long periods of time in close contact with others. Eg most staff infections in schools have been acquired not from infected children, but from other staff members, presumably in the staff room at lunchtime.
As you say, the risk is from spending longer periods in close proximity to someone. Most supermarket workers except those on tills will only have brief encounters with the customers, who are constantly moving (and the tills have plastic screens).

On a train, the customers are in one place for significant amounts of time between stops. That place should not be where the guard is also located.
 

trebor79

Established Member
Joined
8 Mar 2018
Messages
3,219
As you say, the risk is from spending longer periods in close proximity to someone. Most supermarket workers except those on tills will only have brief encounters with the customers, who are constantly moving (and the tills have plastic screens).

On a train, the customers are in one place for significant amounts of time between stops. That place should not be where the guard is also located.
But the guard spends most of the journey in the rear cab, emerging only to operate the doors at station calls. So a few seconds to open the doors, then plenty of fresh air available by standing on the platform (which is normal practices anyway). Shut the doors, buzz buzz and once the train's left he platform back to the rear cab. We're talking what, a minute of potential exposure? and that's before we consider the door area will be filled with largely fresh air for a minute or so after the doors have shut.

If it's safe for the passenger humans why isn't it safe for the guard human?
 

Table 52

Member
Joined
5 May 2006
Messages
210
The passenger human is choosing to take the risk by travelling on public transport and probably only will only be doing this once or twice during the day. The guard human is doing this for every stop and with shifts lasting hours.

I’m pretty sure earlier studies have shown risk of catching the virus and it’s effects depend on how much exposure a person has had. The guard human will have many more potential exposures during the day.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
30,329
Location
Yorks
surely this is a problem with the design of the trains - that the guard has to come into the passenger compartment to open the doors in the first place.
 

bengley

Established Member
Joined
18 May 2008
Messages
1,625
surely this is a problem with the design of the trains - that the guard has to come into the passenger compartment to open the doors in the first place.
Agreed, it doesn't allow much flexibility. It's fair enough having a policy (in normal times) for guards to use the saloon controls but to allow them to use cabs in busy periods or during pandemics is sensible.

I suspect because they were designed with DOO in mind the flexibility wasn't that important.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top