Most Challenging Route For Guards

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by BestWestern, 2 May 2015.

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  1. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Hi comrades...

    Just a spot of trivia, something which popped into my head earlier. What are some of the most difficult routes in the UK to work from a Guard's point of view? By difficult, I mean operationally taxing, as opposed to being a p*sshead express or assault alley.

    One that comes to mind is the Hereford run, where from Oxford there is an array of short platforms, of varying lengths (and on both sides of the train) in quick succession, all using SDO and on non-interlocked slam door stock (HST).

    What others are regarded by crews as a taxing days' work?
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2015
  2. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    I'm guessing London-Penzance HST's between Plymouth and Penzance are pretty bad for the same reasons as in your post. But Plymouth-Penzance is 2 hours of it! When I did it the guard didn't have time to check tickets at all.
     
  3. fishquinn

    fishquinn Established Member Quizmaster

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    The HOW line might be one if the train is busy due to the number of request stops.
     
  4. Parallel

    Parallel Established Member

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    And the Cambrian Coast line for the same reason - No facilities to buy tickets at any station (other than Machynlleth) and the majority of stations being request stops, some with very short time between stops and some stations have short platforms (i.e. front of the train only) and I think the middle doors are used at Tygwyn (southbound) due to the immediate level crossing and passengers are advised to alight from the middle at Aberdovey due to the low platform (a ramp has been placed at the middle of the platform.) and platforms on both sides.

    I imagine Weymouth - Bristol (& vice versa) when a 150/1 is working with another unit (as it often does) is a pain. Hopping between units (with no walkthrough) to collect revenue and operate the local door at certain stations.

    I imagine the Barnstaple line can be challenging, with many request stops, different services scheduled to stop at different stations, manually operated level crossings, frequent overcrowding and no facilities to purchase tickets at many stations. The valley lines as well due to the volume of stops.

    That said, I'm neither a guard or a driver. ;)
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2015
  5. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    As a guard I would hate to work the Hereford - Oxford line with an HST for the reasons given in the first post. Mixing all those factors together really does make it look like a nightmare to me.

    Anything with "wrong side" platforms dramatically increases the difficulty. Its very easy to do revenue then head towards a door on the offside before realising you are approaching a platform on the wrong side.
     
  6. Darren R

    Darren R Established Member

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    As a passenger I'd have to nominate the Colne to Blackpool South services operated by Northern. Twenty five stations on a 50 mile journey, 18 of which are unstaffed and three are Request Stops. Generally only two or three minutes between stations to walk through the train selling and checking tickets before dashing back to the rear doors for the next station and the process starts all over again. On arrival at Blackpool South it's a nominal four minute turn around before heading back again. At Colne they have a little less than quarter of an hour turnaround - at an unstaffed halt with no facilities for passengers, let alone a staff mess room! It's seldom that one sees an overweight guard on the East Lancs Line! :D

    In addition, some of the clientele are such that I refer to the services as "The Jeremy Kyle Express." ;)

    Finally, the coup de grace: for the most part all of the above takes place on a Class 142. And there are some very tight curves between Colne and Blackpool South!
     
  7. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh with a 12 car Class 450. High number of SDO's with lots of moving up and down the unit with very little time to get a manual announcement out before the next station. After Basingstoke the stopping pattern is as follows:

    Micheldever - SDO4
    Winchester - Full release
    Shawford - SDO4 (if we actually stop there)
    Eastleigh - Full release
    Hedge End - SDO8
    Botley - SDO4
    Fareham - SDO8
    Portchester - SDO4
    Cosham - SDO8
    Hilsea - SDO4 (with 12 car ONLY otherwise full release)
    Fratton - SDO8
    Portsmouth & Southsea - Full release
    Portsmouth Harbour - Full release

    One is quite often knackered after doing on of those turns, though I hear it isn't much better via the direct line with a 12 car on a stopping service.
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2015
  8. Pigeon

    Pigeon Member

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    Not to mention that if eg. the lights fail in one carriage you can't take passengers through Ledbury tunnel...
     
  9. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    Not as hard as you'd think - if you ask the driver to stop everywhere unless they hear otherwise even on a busy day its usually manageable. Plus there's a reason those request stops are request stops - they aren't very well used!

    That said, its slightly more difficult than normal at the moment - Harrington humps are going in at some stations and until they're finished its local door only.

    Much more challenging in that area is the 6 car 158 that goes from Birmingham International and splits along the way - all 6 to Shrewsbury, front 4 to Llandudno Junction, middle 2 to Holyhead. Trying to get all the passengers in the right part of the train on that is fun, aside from other difficulties like making sure you're actually on the platform at Wellington and Smethwick (it only just fits!).

    But not a patch on the aforementioned SDO runs on FGW HST's I should think! Full respect to my fellow guards doing that every day.
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2015
  10. pompeyfan

    pompeyfan Established Member

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    Monty, why is Hilsea SDO 4 if 12, but full release if 8? Seems slightly odd. I'd also assume a 444 on the Solent shuttle (although exceptionally rare) would be hard work too.

    Out of interest on the Pompey - Cardiff trains, how many stations can accommodate 6x23m?
     
  11. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    At Hilsea you can just about squeeze 8 coaches on to the platform, in order to perform an SDO8 with a 12 car you need operate the doors from the leading cab of the rear most unit (coach 9) but at this station that cab door is not accommodated.
     
  12. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    I'm tempted to ask what the least challenging route for a guard is, but that might provide fodder for the Pro DOO brigade!
     
  13. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    That sounds quite fun!

    I did that line on a HST recently - Ledbury tunnel is very very tight! The guard advised the door release at the next station may be a little slow as he had to go into the rear powercar for the tunnel (for the sliding door presumably) before coming back down to SDO the station immediately after
     
  14. PeterY

    PeterY Member

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    Having watched a Video 125 drivers eye view of the Cotswold line, just out of pure interest, what are the restrictions though Ledbury tunnel.
     
  15. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Chester - Euston on an off-peak single Voyager can't be too demanding!

    Barriers at Chester; have a walk through and full ticket check in the hour between Crewe & MKC; stroll back south of MKC.

    Did it a couple of weeks ago - Guard spent most of the journey chatting to the buffet guy!
     
  16. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    Something like the Brighton-Hove shuttle I would have thought :D
     
  17. Kite159

    Kite159 Established Member

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    Or maybe the Stourbridge Town-Stourbridge Junction shuttle
     
  18. Trainfan344

    Trainfan344 Established Member

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    Guard still has to work down the unit checking tickets, and in a small time frame...
     
  19. cool110

    cool110 Member

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    Don't think it gets much easier than the 16:30 from Euston to Glasgow calling only at Preston (excluding weekends and bank holidays). 2 hours non-stop followed by another 2 hours.
     
  20. island

    island Established Member

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    Cardiff Queen St to Cardiff Bay?
     
  21. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    That would be two seperate Train Managers.
     
  22. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    Does anyone know if guards on long distance trains ever help out the customer hosts in the 1st class coaches ?
     
  23. island

    island Established Member

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    Not as a matter of course, although I expect it has happened from time to time in the interest of helping out a busy colleague.
     
  24. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    & to earn extra food & drinks :p
     
  25. 387star

    387star Established Member

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    Can't be a bad way to earn 40k
     
  26. Pigeon

    Pigeon Member

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    If you're asking me to quote precise dimensions and paragraphs in the rule book, I can't. But it is a very tight single bore - and also on a 1 in 80 gradient in the up direction, which gave it something of a reputation in steam days. Watching a video probably doesn't give the same effect but watching out of the front of a 1st gen DMU it does give you cause to wonder a bit whether the train will fit.

    Anyway, it is so tight that you can't open the doors on an HST because they'll hit the walls after a few inches. Should the need arise to evacuate passengers it can only be done by way of the guard's sliding door. So if there is any fault that would impede the safe progress of passengers along the length of the train - like the lights not working in one carriage - it is not allowed through the tunnel with passengers on board.
     
  27. TheJRB

    TheJRB Established Member

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    Taking a ride on the Severn Beach line a few weeks back, it appeared to be quite a tough one. Stations a few minutes apart and seemingly most people buying their tickets on the train makes for non-stop activity for the guard.
     
  28. plymothian

    plymothian Member

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    Rule Book Module TW1

    Sectional Appendix

     
  29. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Over the past few years of traveling to Cornwall for our annual holiday and using XC Trains, I've witnessed quite often the train manager make/serve drinks and snacks from the small galley in first class, this has been on Saturdays when there is no 1st class host and just a steward operating the general at seat trolley service, always found the onboard staff on XC to be very pleasant and friendly.
     
  30. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    On FGW HSTs it's sometimes helpful to assist the lone Customer Host at weekends if there is high demand, often by serving the complimentaries to the First Class pax while Std punters queue (no First trolley). Similarly a tea or coffee might be dropped into First on the odd service which runs without any buffet staff, for example HSTs on Swindon - Cheltenham shuttles.

    Regarding Ledbury; exactly as Plymothian says above. Also worth mentioning that, as Ledbury is a short platform requiring an SDO release of the front four carriages (towards H'ford, in correct formation), there is a mad dash down the train upon emerging from the tunnel and a resulting routine wait of a few moments before the doors are released.
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2015
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