Hertford Loop Trains cancelled when scheduled into London Kings Cross

Mcq

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From across the UK there must be hundreds of drivers who now have to navigate the new Kings Cross layout - how have they all been trained so effectively?
Something here doesn't seem to stack up if this really is the argument.
 
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Hadders

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From across the UK there must be hundreds of drivers who now have to navigate the new Kings Cross layout - how have they all been trained so effectively?
Something here doesn't seem to stack up if this really is the argument.
I don't work in the industry but there are only four train operators that serve Kings Cross:

GTR
LNER
Hull Trains
Grand Central

So it's probably not that many drivers in the grand scheme of things and GTR operate more services than LNER. Hull Trains and Grand Central (and soon First East Coast Trains) are tiddlers by comparison and only run a handful of trains.

Bear in mind that the DfT set the establishment and won't allow GTR to recruit above it and that is also sure to have an impact on the situation.
 

Taunton

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Probably a bit difficult to turn up on an oil rig just to do one day's overtime
It's actually quite straightforward to come out from Aberdeen on the first chopper, sort out something on the computers or whatever, and return on the last chopper back - where you will find several seatmates doing similar.

Notably, everyone on the rig gets a substantial flat daily bonus - provided production is normal (very sensibly assessed), total compliance to health & safety, and among other things there are no accidents. If there was a meltdown in daily production like this nobody would get their bonus at all - and the rig manager, and possibly the whole crew, would be looking for another job.
 

choochoochoo

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From across the UK there must be hundreds of drivers who now have to navigate the new Kings Cross layout - how have they all been trained so effectively?
Something here doesn't seem to stack up if this really is the argument.
You're placing too much emphasis on the kings cross/moorgate thing here.

Almost all GTR drivers can go to Kings Cross. Yes there are a few who've not been able to go with an instructor over the route but they are in the minority. And even if they didn't sign kings cross, they could terminate at finsbury park/alexandra palace and turn the train around at canonbury or via harringay reverser to do the next northbound service.

The fact the moorgate line is closed is purely coincidental with the disruption these last few weekends. It's more down to no crew from the depots that sign the metro route/traction (717s to Welwyn Garden City/Hertford/Stevenage to Moorgate) being available because of leave, sickness or rest days.

If GTR had maintained all driver route/traction competencies then I'm sure it would not have been such a problem. As said before there were drivers spare, but they don't sign that route/traction.
 

iphone76

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You're placing too much emphasis on the kings cross/moorgate thing here.

Almost all GTR drivers can go to Kings Cross. Yes there are a few who've not been able to go with an instructor over the route but they are in the minority. And even if they didn't sign kings cross, they could terminate at finsbury park/alexandra palace and turn the train around at canonbury or via harringay reverser to do the next northbound service.

The fact the moorgate line is closed is purely coincidental with the disruption these last few weekends. It's more down to no crew from the depots that sign the metro route/traction (717s to Welwyn Garden City/Hertford/Stevenage to Moorgate) being available because of leave, sickness or rest days.

If GTR had maintained all driver route/traction competencies then I'm sure it would not have been such a problem. As said before there were drivers spare, but they don't sign that route/traction.
Precisely this. For example, Hornsey could be short of 5 drivers to work the metro service into Moorgate. Until relatively recently 5 Kings Cross drivers who may also have been spare or available to cover the jobs via rest day work could have been utilised to cover the 313 duties into Moorgate.

Now those 5 Kings Cross drivers no longer sign the route into Moorgate or class 717 units, so those jobs go uncovered if no other cover can be found.

If the service had run into Moorgate this weekend, the service on Saturday would had been the disaster zone it was this weekend running into Kings Cross.
 

Taunton

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Bear in mind that the DfT set the establishment and won't allow GTR to recruit above it and that is also sure to have an impact on the situation.
This is rather bending the actuality. While DfT have the final say on expenditure, they didn't set the establishment numbers, because they don't have detailed operational staff who could do that. What they have done is to control tightly budgets and staff numbers - which of course originally came from the TOCs as well. If the numbers have now fallen under agreed establishment then you can build back up to it, as all companies will be doing as a matter of course. If they want to go beyond that then there has to be a very good justification for that. As the situation here seems to be an internal operation inefficiency, with drivers standing spare but services unable to be covered because the operator has not organised them sufficiently flexibly, as described above, that's not a very good justification. Given that commuter numbers, and the need for enhanced peak hour schedules, are still way down, it will certainly not be apparent to DfT why there are not sufficient staff to run things.
 

Snow1964

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So the basic problem is that class 717 units were scheduled, but many drivers in the company are not signed for them.

Surely that situation is known, so the obvious question is as the dual voltage Moorgate route was closed, was there no other types sitting in sidings that more drivers know and could have been used instead. Surely a 4car outer suburban unit is better than a cancellation.

I haven’t used the inner suburban there for years, but I remember class 312s working it at weekends.

Doesn’t seem a very flexible arrangement for multiple weekends (not a one off) to an outsider. Just seems like bad planning.
 

iphone76

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So the basic problem is that class 717 units were scheduled, but many drivers in the company are not signed for them.

Surely that situation is known, so the obvious question is as the dual voltage Moorgate route was closed, was there no other types sitting in sidings that more drivers know and could have been used instead. Surely a 4car outer suburban unit is better than a cancellation.

I haven’t used the inner suburban there for years, but I remember class 312s working it at weekends.

Doesn’t seem a very flexible arrangement for multiple weekends (not a one off) to an outsider. Just seems like bad planning.
The problem then is that the Hornsey inner link drivers who usually work the Moorgate service don't sign the 387s so then when it's time to change drivers, you get the same issue but the other way around! It's like they've checked mated themselves. (And their passengers).

They've lost flexibility every day of the week with this arrangement. It just seems to show up as more of a problem over the weekend.
 

Hadders

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It wasn’t just the inner suburban services that suffered cancellations at the weekend. The outlets were affected as well.
 

Taunton

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This general approach seems to go round and round. Someone 1 comes up with a grand, extra-efficient workplan which minimises crew numbers and cost, but relies on perfection each day, is inflexible, and has a whole series of "seemed like a good idea at the time" concepts that don't work out. I recall in BR days at Waterloo there was a main line driving turn which involved diving down for a couple of rounders on the Waterloo & City. Eventually, after too many melt-downs, Someone 2 comes up with a simple, straightforward replan, no crew changes at the London terminus in the peak, etc. Needs a few more crew though. Rolls along for a while, previous issues forgotten, then eventually Someone 3 comes along with a grand, extra-efficient workplan which minimises ...
 

choochoochoo

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So the basic problem is that class 717 units were scheduled, but many drivers in the company are not signed for them.

Surely that situation is known, so the obvious question is as the dual voltage Moorgate route was closed, was there no other types sitting in sidings that more drivers know and could have been used instead. Surely a 4car outer suburban unit is better than a cancellation.

I haven’t used the inner suburban there for years, but I remember class 312s working it at weekends.

Doesn’t seem a very flexible arrangement for multiple weekends (not a one off) to an outsider. Just seems like bad planning.
The problem with a 4 car outer unit to do inner work is then the inner drivers can't drive it !! So when spare outer driver doing inner work needs their break, nobody can relieve them !! - Can you see the genius in the GTR decision to limit what depots drive what routes?

All flexibility has gone. And whilst they blame corona isolations, come next summer, you'll get the same again. They'll never fully staff hornsey depot because very few drivers want to stay there !!
 

717001

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It wasn’t just the inner suburban services that suffered cancellations at the weekend. The outlets were affected as well.
Agreed - there were TL trains cancelled too at Hatfield (plus a few northbound that left Hatfield, but then didn't make the whole journey to Royston / Cambridge). Further cancellations were flagged by TL on Brighton - Cambridge and the TL Peterborough services. Seems this was a general driver shortage issue, not a "spare on one route can't cover the another" one.
 

Aictos

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The problem with a 4 car outer unit to do inner work is then the inner drivers can't drive it !! So when spare outer driver doing inner work needs their break, nobody can relieve them !! - Can you see the genius in the GTR decision to limit what depots drive what routes?

All flexibility has gone. And whilst they blame corona isolations, come next summer, you'll get the same again. They'll never fully staff hornsey depot because very few drivers want to stay there !!
In my opinion, the organisation of the driver depots and traction under Govia was a disaster, least under First you had Kings Lynn drivers who could sign to Moorgate etc...

All the flexibility under First gone because some idiot decided their way was better.

All they had to do for Thameslink was keep the existing depots but replace Blackfriars depot with the ability to crew change at Elephant and Castle, Finsbury Park, West Hampstead or London Bridge.
 

Stampy

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I went from Peterborough - Crawley and back on Saturday 28th August on Thameslink, and the trains were down to 1 an hour in each direction (xx24 from Peterborough) and (xx54 from Crawley)

On the way back, we stopped at Finsbury Park for quite a while...
 

LatymerKing

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So the basic problem is that class 717 units were scheduled, but many drivers in the company are not signed for them.

Surely that situation is known, so the obvious question is as the dual voltage Moorgate route was closed, was there no other types sitting in sidings that more drivers know and could have been used instead. Surely a 4car outer suburban unit is better than a cancellation.

I haven’t used the inner suburban there for years, but I remember class 312s working it at weekends.

Doesn’t seem a very flexible arrangement for multiple weekends (not a one off) to an outsider. Just seems like bad planning.

I remember in FCC days, a 321 or 317 would occasionally work the inners at weekends, although of course they went to King's Cross.
 

jon0844

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There are some stock changes today, with more 387s back on the Cambridge stoppers in the week. This may well be down to driver rostering from different depots?
 

Aictos

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I remember in FCC days, a 321 or 317 would occasionally work the inners at weekends, although of course they went to King's Cross.
I remember that as very rarely you had a Class 317 on the weekends on a Hertford diagram but weekdays you had a Class 317 work the 21:xx Letchworth GC to London Kings Cross via Hertford North every night as it got to Stevenage for 21:29 every night and called all stations to London Kings Cross via Hertford North.
 

iphone76

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There are some stock changes today, with more 387s back on the Cambridge stoppers in the week. This may well be down to driver rostering from different depots?
Yes. Rosters changed this weekend. Fewer but slightly more productive jobs from different depots.
 

43074

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There are some stock changes today, with more 387s back on the Cambridge stoppers in the week. This may well be down to driver rostering from different depots?
Also partly because interworking the units between Fenline fasts and Cambridge stoppers at Kings Cross so they cross form each other is back too. 700s also have booked work to Kings Lynn again, 1621 off Cambridge and 1716 return. It is essentially the King's Cross remodelling timetable but with a few tweaks in light of experience running it last time and to work with the new layout in the King's Cross area.
 

choochoochoo

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Agreed - there were TL trains cancelled too at Hatfield (plus a few northbound that left Hatfield, but then didn't make the whole journey to Royston / Cambridge). Further cancellations were flagged by TL on Brighton - Cambridge and the TL Peterborough services. Seems this was a general driver shortage issue, not a "spare on one route can't cover the another" one.
There was a general shortage as there is most summers, but it is made worse now because of this lack of flexibility in driver working. You've also reduced your availability of rest-day-workers who could have covered the job.
 

iphone76

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Another Saturday of numerous cancellations on Great Northern due to staff shortages. Sadly made worse due to a fatality in the Croydon area affecting Thameslink.

Let's hope they get a grip on this soon.
 

Mcq

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Screenshot_20210911-115716_On Rails.jpg
For the 5th Saturday in a row - can there be any excuse at all?
 

malc-c

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Mind you it has its positives... I was at Watton-at-Stone this morning to video the Mayflower running through and if the 08.35 to Moorgate had run it would possibly have spoilt the shot :)

On a serious note it was very frustrating for people wanting to get into London this morning, I overheard a few people on the phone complaining about it to whoever they had arranged to meet. After the 7.37 service to Moorgate cancellations meant that the next service that ran was the 09:08 service... 90 minutes between trains !! With almost an hourly service there after.....

Hopefully things will only improve for those who need this service.
 

Mcq

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Malc-c - you can get away with that remark of course, given the fantastic footage you generated during the construction of Stevenage P5.
Equally after all that effort, including yours, it would be nice if the scheduled trains ran on it!
Does anyone have any idea how long this scheduled shambles is going on for?
It is obviously nothing to do with diversions from Moorgate, or its tunnels, as Moorgate is the scheduled terminus today, as normal.
 

bramling

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Malc-c - you can get away with that remark of course, given the fantastic footage you generated during the construction of Stevenage P5.
Equally after all that effort, including yours, it would be nice if the scheduled trains ran on it!
Does anyone have any idea how long this scheduled shambles is going on for?
It is obviously nothing to do with diversions from Moorgate, or its tunnels, as Moorgate is the scheduled terminus today, as normal.

I suspect it could well be a long-term thing. If things are this bad with so many services having already been deleted from the timetable, there’s clearly a deeper underlying issue.

Seems to me that there may well be a case of the “inner” depots proving transient in terms of drivers, and Covid has meant it has proved difficult to keep up. This is what happens when the work gets silo’d up and certain depots are left with predominantly poor work.
 

Royston Vasey

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There are some stock changes today, with more 387s back on the Cambridge stoppers in the week. This may well be down to driver rostering from different depots?
I enjoyed my surprise crack-of-dawn 387 through the villages on Tuesday (warmer ambience, table and power socket), I noticed at least one other 387 doing the same, and was going to start a thread but I knew I'd read about it here at some point. Thanks for info
 

choochoochoo

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I suspect it could well be a long-term thing. If things are this bad with so many services having already been deleted from the timetable, there’s clearly a deeper underlying issue.

Seems to me that there may well be a case of the “inner” depots proving transient in terms of drivers, and Covid has meant it has proved difficult to keep yup. This is what happens when the work gets silo’d up and certain depots are left with predominantly poor work.

I think next saturday won't be so bad. - Although summer leave for drivers goes until mid october. So it may be bad again.

The underlying issue, is the inner depot is heavily understaffed. And with the poor work there, as soon as vacancies become available at other outer depots, the inner depot loses another driver looking for better work. It is telling that there is nobody wanting to transfer into Hornsey !! Just people wanting to transfer out.

So if nothing changes, hornsey will always be a feeder depot. And will leave inners work uncovered. - I know several drivers who'd love to do the odd journey to moorgate, just not 3 times a day, four days a week !! If only they didn't 'silo' the work. Was a proper reason given for making that decision ? It must be lurking in some management documentation somewhere (with costings/justifications)
 

jon0844

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Today is unbelievably bad. While most cancellations were known in advance, it didn't stop a (Cambridge to) Brighton train being cancelled last minute as there was no relief at Finsbury Park. The previous service (or more?) was cancelled and then the next 2 or 3. That meant a good few hours with no trains to Brighton, and people like us at St Pancras given no warning even when tracking the train (nor were there any audible warnings, just an update on the CIS that a lot of people missed).

We went to Victoria to wait an hour due to more cancellations there (and this was long after lines reopened due to the fatality at South Croydon this morning).

So looking forward to getting home later...
 

greatkingrat

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So if nothing changes, hornsey will always be a feeder depot. And will leave inners work uncovered. - I know several drivers who'd love to do the odd journey to moorgate, just not 3 times a day, four days a week !! If only they didn't 'silo' the work. Was a proper reason given for making that decision ? It must be lurking in some management documentation somewhere (with costings/justifications)
I think the reason was to make a potential future transfer of the Moorgate service to TfL simpler.
 

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