Overnight accommodation for train staff

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AndyMike

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Having read the very interesting thread regarding overnight stabling of trains, a question that’s long intrigued me: is there much call for TOCs to have regular arrangements in place for train staff on long-distance services to be given overnight accommodation, in the event of their being scheduled to end the working day far from home?
 
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Flange Squeal

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I believe there is a link of drivers at Newcastle (LNER) that includes lodging turns for some Inverness/Aberdeen services.

At the other end of the East Coast Mainline, I believe both Grand Central and Hull Trains crews have lodging turns in London.

There’s also certainly an element of lodging involved in certain Freightliner operations also.

Other interesting scenarios do occur where a company doesn’t have a depot near a location where trains start/finish their day. For example, Southern’s driver depot at Redhill has a link that signs the line to Reading and drives some GWR services over it, with some GWR units stabling at Redhill overnight. I believe GWR do have a small establishment of Guards based at Redhill though.

Similarly when South West Trains ran services west of Exeter to Plymouth and Paignton, there was a single service that extended beyond Plymouth to/from Penzance (with the unit having an overnight stay, I think arriving Saturday evening and returning Sunday afternoon?). To get around South West Trains crew having to sign the route west of Plymouth - and lodging - for such a limited service, a local First Great Western crew took over and worked it over the westerly section.
 
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185143

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The obvious one, certainly in normal times is Caledonian Sleeper.
 

Watershed

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There are only a handful of cases where lodging is still used, as described above. It is relatively inefficient and is therefore avoided where possible.
 

LowLevel

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They tend to have the usual corporate booking facilities open as well - where I work we had a depot 130 miles away a few years ago that was hit by a load of issues at once that left them with hardly any guards available. 3 or 4 guards a week from my own depot were given rest day work and expenses to live in a hotel for a week at a time covering the other depot's duties.
 

lincolnshire

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Hull Trains have or did have a block booking of rooms at Premier Inn next door to Kings Cross for there staff that stay overnight for the first train in a morning back from Kings Cross. Soon back to running all been well.
 

pompeyfan

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There is a night turn with crew booked to spend 4 hours at Exeter St David’s after working the last one down before working the first one back to Waterloo, similarly there are night turns with crew booked to spend a few hours at Guildford and Reading.
 

Townsend Hook

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Possibly slightly O/T but the Network Rail on train technicians for the infrastructure monitoring fleet cover the entire country from Derby and thus the majority of shifts require lodging. Plenty of lodging for the Colas infrastructure monitoring drivers as well, although somewhat less than for the technicians because they’re generally limited in how far from home they go thanks to route knowledge restrictions.
 

Sleepy

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Greater Anglia have an overnight turn to/from Cambridge which Norwich crew work, only normal mess room facilities provided.
 

edwin_m

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Greater Anglia have an overnight turn to/from Cambridge which Norwich crew work, only normal mess room facilities provided.
Presumably the time in the messroom is treated as part of duty hours though, or at least part of a meal break, whereas time in a hotel would be off duty. I believer there are various places where a crew work a late-night train then one of the first ones the following morning, but are available in between for things like depot moves.
 

Horizon22

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Greater Anglia have an overnight turn to/from Cambridge which Norwich crew work, only normal mess room facilities provided.

There's plenty of these sorts of jobs which as edwin mentions above, are part of their duty shift. Many night turns have a lot of "white space" between say 0100 and 0400 or are "as required" for ad-hoc shunt and depot moves, so most crews are just in the mess room. They certainly shouldn't be sleeping, not to say that it doesn't happen!
 

LowLevel

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There's plenty of these sorts of jobs which as edwin mentions above, are part of their duty shift. Many night turns have a lot of "white space" between say 0100 and 0400 or are "as required" for ad-hoc shunt and depot moves, so most crews are just in the mess room. They certainly shouldn't be sleeping, not to say that it doesn't happen!

Why? Napping at the very least has always been encouraged, it is known to help maintain alertness. Going into full sleep mode probably not but there is nothing wrong with getting your head down for a bit when you've nothing to do.
 

Horizon22

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Why? Napping at the very least has always been encouraged, it is known to help maintain alertness. Going into full sleep mode probably not but there is nothing wrong with getting your head down for a bit when you've nothing to do.
I mean you're technically on-duty so I never would. Also I feel it would potentially fatigue you for your first job after a nap. I wouldn't class it as a great sleep considering the seating in most mess rooms. Surely I'd dim / turn off the lights and not do much / listen to music but wouldn't nap. But that's all part of shift fatigue I guess each to their own.
 

uww11x

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Most focs have premier inn business accounts etc. Lodging an often occurrence
 

edwin_m

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I mean you're technically on-duty so I never would. Also I feel it would potentially fatigue you for your first job after a nap. I wouldn't class it as a great sleep considering the seating in most mess rooms. Surely I'd dim / turn off the lights and not do much / listen to music but wouldn't nap. But that's all part of shift fatigue I guess each to their own.
There are RAIB reports that mention staff taking a nap between duties, and don't make any adverse comment on it.
 

ExRes

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The question of taking a nap reminded me of the Highway Code which states

"the most effective ways to counter sleepiness are to drink, for example, two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (at least 15 minutes)"

If it's effective and recommended for vehicle drivers why not train drivers?
 

Bigfoot

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I regularly find a space to have a nap when on break. No shame, certainly not in my toc anyway.
 

bengley

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It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for train crew to nap on night turns with long breaks.
 

MrEd

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The obvious one, certainly in normal times is Caledonian Sleeper.
I don’t think that’s happened for over a year now, as it ended when the pandemic started last March, and I’m not sure when it will come back (if ever- it will save a fortune in hotel bills). The sleeper hosts and train managers are currently swapping over at Lockerbie each night (or Alnmouth if an East Coast diversion), with London-based staff working between London and Lockerbie/Alnmouth and Scottish staff north thereof. I don’t believe any of the GBRF drivers who work the sleeper did lodging turns anyway, so their turns haven’t changed much.

Not sure what’s happening with the Night Riviera- I suspect there’s probably a crew swap for the sleeper hosts at Exeter or somewhere (as there already is for drivers and guards)?
 

edwin_m

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I don’t think that’s happened for over a year now, as it ended when the pandemic started last March, and I’m not sure when it will come back (if ever- it will save a fortune in hotel bills). The sleeper hosts and train managers are currently swapping over at Lockerbie each night (or Alnmouth if an East Coast diversion), with London-based staff working between London and Lockerbie/Alnmouth and Scottish staff north thereof. I don’t believe any of the GBRF drivers who work the sleeper did lodging turns anyway, so their turns haven’t changed much.

Not sure what’s happening with the Night Riviera- I suspect there’s probably a crew swap for the sleeper hosts at Exeter or somewhere (as there already is for drivers and guards)?
That does pose a significant operational risk if one of the trains is delayed, so the other one has to wait for its replacement crew. Both stations have only one platform in each direction, Lockerbie also has a loop (don't recall if bi-directional) but Almouth doesn't. I guess if something is running late Control will re-arrange the swap to Carstairs or Carlisle (or Morpeth or Berwick) but that could still result in a significant period of line blockage.
 

Watershed

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That does pose a significant operational risk if one of the trains is delayed, so the other one has to wait for its replacement crew. Both stations have only one platform in each direction, Lockerbie also has a loop (don't recall if bi-directional) but Almouth doesn't. I guess if something is running late Control will re-arrange the swap to Carstairs or Carlisle (or Morpeth or Berwick) but that could still result in a significant period of line blockage.
Indeed. Also significantly constrains the ability to divert for engineering works etc.

I can't see it lasting as a permanent solution.

Not sure what’s happening with the Night Riviera- I suspect there’s probably a crew swap for the sleeper hosts at Exeter or somewhere (as there already is for drivers and guards)?
When I took it recently, the sleeper hosts were Penzance based and had done a lodging turn in London.
 

185143

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I don’t think that’s happened for over a year now, as it ended when the pandemic started last March, and I’m not sure when it will come back (if ever- it will save a fortune in hotel bills). The sleeper hosts and train managers are currently swapping over at Lockerbie each night (or Alnmouth if an East Coast diversion), with London-based staff working between London and Lockerbie/Alnmouth and Scottish staff north thereof. I don’t believe any of the GBRF drivers who work the sleeper did lodging turns anyway, so their turns haven’t changed much.

Not sure what’s happening with the Night Riviera- I suspect there’s probably a crew swap for the sleeper hosts at Exeter or somewhere (as there already is for drivers and guards)?
Guards definitely change at Exeter. Suspect drivers do too.
 

221129

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Not sure what’s happening with the Night Riviera- I suspect there’s probably a crew swap for the sleeper hosts at Exeter or somewhere (as there already is for drivers and guards)?
The only sleeper hosts are based in PZ so have to lodge.

I don’t think that’s happened for over a year now, as it ended when the pandemic started last March, and I’m not sure when it will come back (if ever- it will save a fortune in hotel bills). The sleeper hosts and train managers are currently swapping over at Lockerbie each night (or Alnmouth if an East Coast diversion), with London-based staff working between London and Lockerbie/Alnmouth and Scottish staff north thereof. I don’t believe any of the GBRF drivers who work the sleeper did lodging turns anyway, so their turns haven’t changed much.
Several members of Scottish staff worked from Euston through to Edinburgh on my last few trips.
 

MrEd

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The only sleeper hosts are based in PZ so have to lodge.


Several members of Scottish staff worked from Euston through to Edinburgh on my last few trips.
I never knew that Great Western did not have London crews for the Night Riviera sleeper.

I wonder if Scottish sleeper crews are starting to work into London now- obviously I don’t have an essential reason to be on the sleeper in the present time so can’t comment from experience, but I see from RTT that the Lockerbie stop still exists in the timetable and that the train is still stopping at Lockerbie- is that because the Inverness section still has a crew swap I wonder? Of course it could be to change train manager. Drivers change at Crewe and Carlisle so that can’t be the reason.

When I was on the sleeper last summer (before the second lockdown) I do remember the crews swapping, as it was always a London crew greeting you at Euston and a Scottish crew delivering your breakfast heading to Fort William/Inverness, regardless of which night of the week it was. I wonder though if it makes a difference between Highland/Lowland?
 

D6130

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I never knew that Great Western did not have London crews for the Night Riviera sleeper.

I wonder if Scottish sleeper crews are starting to work into London now- obviously I don’t have an essential reason to be on the sleeper in the present time so can’t comment from experience, but I see from RTT that the Lockerbie stop still exists in the timetable and that the train is still stopping at Lockerbie- is that because the Inverness section still has a crew swap I wonder? Of course it could be to change train manager. Drivers change at Crewe and Carlisle so that can’t be the reason.

When I was on the sleeper last summer (before the second lockdown) I do remember the crews swapping, as it was always a London crew greeting you at Euston and a Scottish crew delivering your breakfast heading to Fort William/Inverness, regardless of which night of the week it was. I wonder though if it makes a difference between Highland/Lowland?
In recent months the sleeper hosts on the Lowlander service have been working through between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow and vice versa, but the Highlander hosts and train managers have been changing over at Lockerbie (or Alnmouth, when diverted) - according to the Scot-rail. co.uk forum.
 

dk1

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Greater Anglia have an overnight turn to/from Cambridge which Norwich crew work, only normal mess room facilities provided.
Most crews take sleeping bags etc on that job. It’s not as good as it used to be as you’d get your head down guaranteed 00:15-05:30 but since the arrival of 755s the units are shunted around & fuelled by Cambridge drivers thus disturbing the Norwich driver & guard or forcing them to decamp to the messroom. They used to take up either end of the class 170 which remained in the platform.
 

duncanp

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I remember once travelling on the sleeper from Edinburgh to London overnight on 23rd/24th December.

As there were no return services on 24th/25th December, there was a crew change at Preston, with the Scottish crew working the train between Edinburgh and Preston, and the London crew between Preston and London.

When I used to work at Euston and Kings Cross, I would regularly see sleeper staff coming into and out of the various hotels in the area.

I have also seen Eurostar staff use the Premier Inn in York Way, Kings Cross.
 
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When I used to work at Euston and Kings Cross, I would regularly see sleeper staff coming into and out of the various hotels in the area.

I have also seen Eurostar staff use the Premier Inn in York Way, Kings Cross.
One quick diversion on how it was done in the past in Italy
(not sure how many sleeper trains still run or if this was still the arrangement right up until Covid)

About ten years ago I was doing an on-line search to find a moderately-priced hotel in Rome.

One option offered at a lower-priced, but not rock-bottom, hotel near Termini involved you having no access to your room during the daytime between 8am and 8pm.
Apparently the deal was that your room (and your bed / shower) was used during the day by a sleeping car conductor who had arrived in Rome in the morning on an overnight train.
By 8pm he would have headed back to the station for his next shift, and you got your room back for the night!

The hotel was quite open about this arrangement and mentioned the "sleeping car conductor" bit presumably as they thought that made it sound a bit more reputable or legitimate. They didn't mention whether or not the room got cleaned and bedding changed twice a day as part of the deal.

Needless to say, my wife and I did not take advantage of this economising hack.
 

edwin_m

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One quick diversion on how it was done in the past in Italy
(not sure how many sleeper trains still run or if this was still the arrangement right up until Covid)

About ten years ago I was doing an on-line search to find a moderately-priced hotel in Rome.

One option offered at a lower-priced, but not rock-bottom, hotel near Termini involved you having no access to your room during the daytime between 8am and 8pm.
Apparently the deal was that your room (and your bed / shower) was used during the day by a sleeping car conductor who had arrived in Rome in the morning on an overnight train.
By 8pm he would have headed back to the station for his next shift, and you got your room back for the night!

The hotel was quite open about this arrangement and mentioned the "sleeping car conductor" bit presumably as they thought that made it sound a bit more reputable or legitimate. They didn't mention whether or not the room got cleaned and bedding changed twice a day as part of the deal.

Needless to say, my wife and I did not take advantage of this economising hack.
Someone started a website in the UK a few years back offering hotel rooms for daytime occupancy, prompting various stories in the press speculating what nefarious purposes it might be used for. But I imagine it wasn't for rooms that were occupied by the same person the night before and after, who would also have to remove all their effects and luggage. No doubt hotels will come to some profitable arrangement, for example with companies that need to book employees in for daytime rest when working nights away from home on railway engineering jobs.
 
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