FGW train stranded at Pewsey

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by tony6499, 4 Aug 2013.

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  1. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    Well some of that time would have been getting a fitter to come and try to fix it, before deciding to ditch the powercar. Although I'm pretty sure that takes somewhat less than six hours...
     
  2. GB

    GB Established Member

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    I agree that obviously a 6 hour delay is way too long, but lets be a little more realistic.
     
  3. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    From BBC News. It seems that they were giving out the food and drink free, but they ran out after a couple of hours because the service was overcrowded.

     
  4. KA4C

    KA4C Member

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    The loco's at Wby may have been out on ballast work, as the drivers may have been. Today's railway doesn't have spare staff sitting around
     
  5. Silv1983

    Silv1983 Member

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    6 hours for me is delving into the realms of pulling the door release and getting off (subject to running lines / location of unit etc). I know passengers who abuse these emergency release are frowned upon and can endanger their lives / lives of others by releasing the doors but 6 hours! That's a flight to Africa or the middle-east. It would feel like a 'no end in sight' situation and I think some survivalist instincts would kick in.
     
  6. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    Coincidentally, six hours is also how long the train journey was supposed to be (from Penzance to London).
     
  7. crewmeal

    crewmeal Member

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    This is the problem of doing away with loco hauled stock. When things go t**s up it happens big time with no back up. OK so it doesn't happen often but when it does it creates news headlines which TOCs could well do without. At least WCML have Thunderbirds, but even these are thin on the ground these days.

    OK so what will FGW cancel whilst this HST is out of action?
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  8. Southern Dvr

    Southern Dvr Member

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    Nothing i would expect. It's only one power car they are short of.
     
  9. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    Regarding the buffet running out of food and water, I wonder what was stopping FGW loading up a Transit van with sandwiches and bottles of water and driving it to the stranded train? After all, the fitter was able to get there and I don't suppose he walked.

    EDIT: Or maybe he did, and that's why it took 6 hours!
     
  10. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    This might be a reason but it isn't an excuse.
     
  11. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    Who is going to pay for the extra staff to sit around waiting for train failures?
     
  12. High Dyke

    High Dyke Established Member

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    Hmm. TOC... Delays? Situation badly handled? Now where have i heard that before? ;)

    To some extent there would be truth in it, but as usual the media seems to want to make a drama out of a crisis. That said though the industry is quite good at not implementing a sensible and effective contingency plan. It seems to dwell on what if's?

    On another note the local news where i live was running a story about the Nottingham Blockade and seemed almost disappointed when NR advised them that work was going well and on schedule...then again i've heard that from NR before about major projects - only to be told that "officially..., but in reality..."
     
  13. RochdalePioneers

    RochdalePioneers Member

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    I'm going to be kind for a moment and state that FGW managers did not intend to leave people stuck for that length of time. No one was sat in control saying "sod them" in fact I am sure they did everything they were empowered to do under their procedure for stuck trains.

    To stop being kind its the level of empowerment and the proceedure that's grossly deficient. It must have been clear early on that there was a possibility of the train being seriously demic. At that point the manual should have control organising a tow or a replacement set for passengers to detrain even if it transpires it isn't eventually needed.

    I know cost is an issue but how much will Network Rail fine them for blocking the line? How much will rebuilding their reputation cost? If you are Ryanair and don't care, then fine. Are First group telling their managers to say screw the passengers focus on profit above all else?

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  14. High Dyke

    High Dyke Established Member

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    Not in all cases agreed. However yesterday EMT chose to cancel a number of services - especially those to / from Cleethorpes - blaming the current RMT dispute. Yet they had at least three full crews sat around at Lincoln spare because of it. Staff that sign the route and had traction to use. :|
     
  15. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    Someone had to pay a fortune yesterday to sort this mess out. I doubt that 59202 was Free Of Charge, and as for the delay repay......
     
  16. MadCommuter

    MadCommuter Member

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    Presumably the down line was operating so water bottles could have been sent from Reading for transfer.

    At least the vestibules have windows on an HST but the fact that not everyone had a seat in this scenario makes it even worse.

    The media reports suggested staff were waiting at Reading and Paddington to help with onward journeys but I wonder if these couldn't have been better deployed whilst the train was stationary.
     
  17. broadgage

    broadgage Established Member

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    Agree, use of the emergency door release is not to be condoned without good reason, but I might consider it after the first few hours, especialy if standing.
    Even more so if there was a public house, restaurant or other facility within walking distance.

    The usual reaction to bad breakdowns seems to be sending for the BTP in order to arrest any escapees, but this location might be too remote for the BTP.
    At least on an HST, presumably at least one engine was running to provide lighting and airconditioning, and it seems that most, though not all had seats.

    I fail to see why passengers could not have been transfered to another train on the other line, or why supplies of food and water could not have been sent by road, or on a train going the other way.
     
  18. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    This is worryingly reminiscent of the incident on the Cotswold line a few weeks back - similar cause but even longer delay. I would hope senior people at FGW are asking searching questions and looking to improve the handling of anything similar in future.

    Presumably however the power car engines could keep the aircon running even if the brakes couldn't be released.

    I'm not sure going back to loco-hauled trains would have helped. If the brake failure had been on the only loco then two assisting locos would have been needed.
     
  19. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    Water bottles could have been transferred from a road vehicle from the nearest road. And should have been.
     
  20. OuterDistant

    OuterDistant Member

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    On the positive side, there are now 500 people who will vow never to take the train again, thus freeing up capacity :-P
     
  21. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    The location of the failure was somewhat remote I gather. And, I can't agree with you - what should've happened is that after 2 hours of standing, you sort a controlled evacuation. And if that means cancelling something else then so be it. Worrying about getting a transit van loaded with supplies is akin to barking up the wrong tree - we shouldn't leave a train standing for 5 hours with people on board! I expect a controller may be called on for a meeting without refreshments here unfortunately.
     
  22. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I assume the FGW procedure on a failure is to dispatch a fitter in a van to try and fix the train. That seems sensible, but it is going to take some time to reach the train. It seems here that the system after the fitter declares that he can’t fix the fault seems to be the issue. For passengers to be stuck on an overcrowded train for 6 hours is simply wrong and should not happen. Passengers shouldn’t be left in that position.

    Whilst I am sure FGW didn’t want to leave their passengers in that situation for hours something went badly wrong. Either the staffs, on site or in the control office, were not empowered to make the suitable decisions or were not allowed, by way of procedure, to make those suitable decisions. I wonder if the chain of command went beyond the on call manager and required higher level authority.

    Of course staying on the train is usually best choice for the passengers but there has to come a point where getting the passengers off becomes the best thing to do. I appreciate it is hard to climb down from a train to the track, that not everyone may be able to do that and that I don’t know the exact location and geographical features of the site, but getting people off the train seems sensible after so long. Yes, that is a hassle and is going to take time to organise the required blockages, assemble and brief the required staff and then implement the plan but I doubt it would take 6 hours.

    I suppose there are two options to get the passengers off; one is walking along the track under escort, a group at a time, to a safe access point where a bus could take them to civilisation. I suppose the other option is to bring another train along side and try and evacuate everyone over some kind of “bridge”. Both are slow but do at least make it look like you are doing something.

    I also wonder how long it took the rescue loco to arrive and remove the rear power car. How soon after this was the train underway? I guess if that was the main delay it might explain why the passengers couldn’t be taken off as the line couldn’t be blocked to traffic until the rescue loco had been and gone. 6 hours seems an awful long time for one train failure.

    Finally, I am assuming the failure location was too remote to allow extra refreshments to be brought to site to keep the passengers fed and watered. It would be very sensible, if possible, to get water and food to the train, especially in hot weather. Yes, that is going to mean man handling it along the track by a chain of blokes from an access point but that has to be better than leaving passengers in difficult conditions.
     
  23. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    I agree entirely that this is what should have happened, but once someone had decided that this wasn't going to, then amelioration of the onboard conditions should have come to the fore.
     
  24. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    BBC R4 news this morning reported that someone missed their flight to Singapore because of the breakdown and massive delay.

    Delay repay could be the least of their worries if a few Heathrow long-haul passengers missed their flights.

    With lots of Crossrail and GW franchise EMUs (not Bi-mode IEP) appearing on the GWML and branches in the near future are there any plans for better Thunderbird provision? (or has that been added to the cost savings made to the electrification programme?)
     
  25. Proud Salopian

    Proud Salopian Member

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    This is just another example of how inflexible the railways have become (in terms of operation). After about 2 hours the policy should be to get the passengers off the train and onto either another train or escorted to the nearest road. I've been in these situations (where the train breaks down) a couple of times and it always feels like there's a long chain of decision making and seemingly not many options available to the train staff.

    Frankly I would have escaped this train after about 3-4 hours and made my own way. There is no reasonable excuse for keeping me prisoner.
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  26. The Decapod

    The Decapod Member

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    In a TV interview, one passenger said the problem was eventually solved by detaching one of the power cars. She went on to ask why they didn't do that in the first place.

    She deserves an ex-gratia consultancy fee from FGW, I reckon!
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  27. sammyg901

    sammyg901 Member

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    I've been on a busy Chiltern 168 that had a similar problem at the height of rush hour after hitting a pheasant. The response was great with senior management and refreshments awaiting us at Princes Risborough and taxis for Aylesbury as they needed to wait for and then hook up a 165 from Aylesbury to the damaged 168 to take it back to the depot and they didn't want to keep us waiting any longer in the cold.

    What seems to be a key factor in these incidents is a lack of someone senior enough to take ownership and make decisions outside of the core working day - a problem not specific to the railways.

    What I don't understand is why wasn't the power car just detached and left behind with the fitter and the train then run forward without it ?
     
  28. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    My guess is that nobody decided anything and that all the eggs were put in the basket of the TRI getting the train moving. Time went by, and continued to go by without anyone deciding that enough is enough, cape an HST, run it alongside and do a controlled evac. I guess it's easy for a controller to lose sight of the bigger picture, but it doesn't alter the fact that a train stood for well over 5 hours with people on it!
     
  29. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    Which sounds like First Group and/or Network Rail have failed to apply the lessons learned from the Kentish Town Incident in 2011.

    In particular, "the need to recognise when minor operational occurrences have the potential to develop into major incidents unless decisions are taken in a timely and decisive manner".
     
  30. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Remember when Tim O'Toole, now Chief Exec at First, was in charge of the Underground on 7/7, and said .....

    "We evacuated 250,000 people out of our tunnels and trains during rush hour and not a single person was injured. That doesn't happen because of management intervention. That happens because people in the field are in control and understand what needs to be done".

    Looks like he hasn't brought any of that ability with him.

    http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/668562/Lessons-Underground/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
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