Rail Replacement Shortages due to HGV driver shortages

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
2,697
Location
London
This weekend, there was some localised disruption on GWR services to Cheltenham and on Southern along the South Coast from Brighton. It appears that provisions to secure replacement road transport were extermely limited / non-existent. This has primarily been down to TOCs simply being unable to source replacement road transport - in many cases the bus operators have got nobody available and I've heard multiple reports that there's a flight from the industry as bus drivers are going onto become HGV drivers and doubling their salary. I'm aware that in some cases all that could be mustered up was a solitary coach.

To me this seems to pose a bit of an crisis for railway companies for either a) major disruption or b) planned engineering works as there may simply be no alternative available for passengers. I would hope this is just a short-term issue as a fall out of the ongoing HGV driver shortage, but this has the potential to roll on for some time. Not sure what's the contignencies should be when your contingency isn't available!
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

greaterwest

Established Member
Joined
23 Nov 2014
Messages
1,217
Can also confirm this was a problem with SWR's replacements between Guildford and Petersfield over the weekend, with some 3 hour gaps in the service between stations. Certainly not good.
 

800001

Member
Joined
24 Oct 2015
Messages
1,084
This weekend, there was some localised disruption on GWR services to Cheltenham and on Southern along the South Coast from Brighton. It appears that provisions to secure replacement road transport were extermely limited / non-existent. This has primarily been down to TOCs simply being unable to source replacement road transport - in many cases the bus operators have got nobody available and I've heard multiple reports that there's a flight from the industry as bus drivers are going onto become HGV drivers and doubling their salary. I'm aware that in some cases all that could be mustered up was a solitary coach.

To me this seems to pose a bit of an crisis for railway companies for either a) major disruption or b) planned engineering works as there may simply be no alternative available for passengers. I would hope this is just a short-term issue as a fall out of the ongoing HGV driver shortage, but this has the potential to roll on for some time. Not sure what's the contignencies should be when your contingency isn't available!
Sounds like a standard weekend across the country, where bus drivers have done there week of work, and do not want to work extra shifts at extremely short notice on there days off.
 

wobman

On Moderation
Joined
2 Jan 2011
Messages
409
Sounds like a standard weekend across the country, where bus drivers have done there week of work, and do not want to work extra shifts at extremely short notice on there days off.
I think this is the real reason
 

Robertj21a

On Moderation
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
7,130
There seems little likelihood of any improvement in the situation in the short to medium term. So, if there's insufficient replacement buses (and, probably, taxis) what contingency does a TOC now have ?
 

Wilts Wanderer

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2016
Messages
1,660
And in the medium-longer term, is it likely that the overall cost of hiring RRS will rise due to increased bus driver salaries and therefore the overall cost of engineering work to the industry?
 

Robertj21a

On Moderation
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
7,130
And in the medium-longer term, is it likely that the overall cost of hiring RRS will rise due to increased bus driver salaries and therefore the overall cost of engineering work to the industry?
I think that's probably the least of the looming problems!
 

Carlisle

Established Member
Joined
26 Aug 2012
Messages
3,513
Time to get those route refreshers sorted for the Settle & Carlisle etc :'(
 

Iskra

Established Member
Joined
11 Jun 2014
Messages
4,475
Location
Chapeltown, Sheffield
I should imagine Covid and the various lockdowns has caused a shortage of work over the last 18 months too for coach drivers, while HGV's have been much in demand throughout. That's probably contributed to making the shift to HGV's more acute, especially with the winding down of furlough; it's a no brainer really in terms of income and job security.
 

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
2,697
Location
London
Sounds like a standard weekend across the country, where bus drivers have done there week of work, and do not want to work extra shifts at extremely short notice on there days off.

But normally its been much easier to source replacement transport. The past few weeks have been awful, even for planned work.
 

Geoff DC

Member
Joined
27 Jan 2018
Messages
167
Location
Penzance
Covid has not just impacted the freedom of movement of workers & drivers, but Covid has also affected the ability of European hauliers to carry return loads within the UK on their way back to the ports, so not only is there a shortage of Drivers but also a shortage of haulage as well.
At least the post Covid checks on imports have been delayed again so as not to make the situation worse.
 

cactustwirly

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
6,306
Location
UK
Sounds like a standard weekend across the country, where bus drivers have done there week of work, and do not want to work extra shifts at extremely short notice on there days off.

Not just that, I know of work colleagues that have had their buses to work cancelled because of a shortage of bus drivers.
 

Robertj21a

On Moderation
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
7,130
Something worse in the rail industry relating to Rail Replacement then? Please elaborate.
The suggestion was that it would be costs that might be a key issue. Surely, all the other issues previously highlighted are likely to be of even greater concern ?
 

flitwickbeds

Member
Joined
19 Apr 2017
Messages
382
Covid has not just impacted the freedom of movement of workers & drivers, but Covid has also affected the ability of European hauliers to carry return loads within the UK on their way back to the ports, so not only is there a shortage of Drivers but also a shortage of haulage as well.
At least the post Covid checks on imports have been delayed again so as not to make the situation worse.
Do you mean Brexit (x2)?
 

geoffk

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2010
Messages
2,005
There's also the likelihood of industrial action by bus drivers over low pay. Devon and Derbyshire have been mentioned but it could spread.
 

geoffk

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2010
Messages
2,005
The Government and BBC say its due to Covid, who I am I to doubt them
The BBC says what it's told to say but some of the printed media seem to be coming round to the idea that Brexit might be responsible, even if they then blame the EU!
 

flitwickbeds

Member
Joined
19 Apr 2017
Messages
382
The Government and BBC say its due to Covid, who I am I to doubt them
Do you have a source? It's not because of covid that import checks have to be done, it's because of Brexit. I'm not sure about the claim that European hauliers can't do an internal UK job on their way back to the mainland (I think that's what you mean?) but I'd say that's nothing to do with Covid and everything to do with Brexit?

(Or maybe I'm totally misunderstanding what you mean - it's been a long day being stranded at St Pancras with no way home!)
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
6,492
Not just that, I know of work colleagues that have had their buses to work cancelled because of a shortage of bus drivers.
Well, with railway a shambles and buses a shambles, the crews will have to do what the rest of the population have long done, and drive to work in their own cars.

Public transport is really losing it big time.
 

CyrusWuff

Established Member
Joined
20 May 2013
Messages
2,729
Believe Chiltern struggled as well.
Chiltern declared "CSL2 - Black" (i.e. "Do not travel") for the weekend at around 1500 on Friday.

The revised timetables that were issued show various gaps in service (some of 2 hours or more) on both days, and the Amersham - High Wycombe buses completely withdrawn in lieu of ticket acceptance on the joint Arriva/Carousel route 1/1A.
 

class ep-09

Member
Joined
5 Sep 2013
Messages
230
Do you have a source? It's not because of covid that import checks have to be done, it's because of Brexit. I'm not sure about the claim that European hauliers can't do an internal UK job on their way back to the mainland (I think that's what you mean?) but I'd say that's nothing to do with Covid and everything to do with Brexit?

(Or maybe I'm totally misunderstanding what you mean - it's been a long day being stranded at St Pancras with no way home!)
Most EU LGV drivers are paid per km , so any delay , either way to or from UK is their loss of earnings .
For now imports had no delays , because UK choose to not impose them .
It would be screwed proper if it did .

Back on topic, when UK was part of EU the lorry drivers could do up to 3 collections drops in the UK.
For example : lorry from Munich had a load to Plymouth but return load from Newcastle .
That lorry could pick up load from Plymouth to say Bristol , then from Bristol to Leeds and Leeds to Newcastle , and go back to Munich .

That way a lot of internal UK transportation was done by EU drivers .
All that to cut empty runs .

After brexit, they can do only one internal collection / drop off before taking return load to EU .

Now , if they do not want to wait for papers to be sorted , that after Brexit are required to take load to EU , they just run empty back to EU ( charging twice for inbound load to cover cost of empty run ).

EU drivers and hauliers avoid like plague coming to UK due to waiting times on return if loaded ( paid per kilometres not per hour ) or charge arm and leg for coming , which means we pay more for everything .

Just wait till inbound traffic is finally subject to checks , as required by WTO, then even less of EU hauliers ( if any ) would want to come here with the stuff we need , as there will be checks both ways .


UK must introduce these checks, otherwise other big countries US , China , Brazil etc will sue UK , because EU exporters are at competitive advantage to the rest of the world due to having no checks on their goods.

On another hand ,when inbound checks are introduced, and because UK is massively net importer of goods especially food , the empty shelves in supermarkets now will be nothing in comparison .

Btw trade deficity with EU got a lot worse after brexit as EU importers stopped buying british goods due to delays / checks , and Britain does not produce much that the rest of the World would want to buy .
 

Geoff DC

Member
Joined
27 Jan 2018
Messages
167
Location
Penzance
Do you have a source? It's not because of covid that import checks have to be done, it's because of Brexit. I'm not sure about the claim that European hauliers can't do an internal UK job on their way back to the mainland (I think that's what you mean?) but I'd say that's nothing to do with Covid and everything to do with Brexit?

(Or maybe I'm totally misunderstanding what you mean - it's been a long day being stranded at St Pancras with no way home!)

What I meant was it was the same Covid that meant the UK left the EU energy buying group so now our gas prices are going through the roof
I didn't vote for Covid or to 'Get Covid Done' and I never believed the £350,000,000 for the NHS on the Covid bus.
 

TEW

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2008
Messages
5,446
Can also confirm this was a problem with SWR's replacements between Guildford and Petersfield over the weekend, with some 3 hour gaps in the service between stations. Certainly not good.
The weekend before was similarly problematic too. Seemed to be a lot of different operators to normal being used as well.
 

Furryanimal

Member
Joined
4 Jun 2018
Messages
70
Location
Cwmbran
Hope this doesn’t affect the replacement buses between Shrewsbury and South Wales.
I’m following my rugby team to North Wales on October2nd!
Avoiding the bus by detouring via Birmingham going up.But I’ve no choice but to spend three hours on a bus coming back.
 

irish_rail

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2013
Messages
1,986
Location
Plymouth
Bus drivers are leaving the proffession in droves to become lorry drivers for much more pay (and who can blame them).
Root cause, as ever, Brexit! Thank-you very much the 52 percent!
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
68,705
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Bus drivers are leaving the proffession in droves to become lorry drivers for much more pay (and who can blame them).
Root cause, as ever, Brexit! Thank-you very much the 52 percent!

Or put otherwise (and I voted Remain) companies will no longer get people for poverty wages, which means we have to readjust and pay people a wage they can actually live off. It's short term pain but I very much see this as a long term gain - a genuine levelling rather than a political one. Always good when it's an employee's market - we're just talking about other industries' staff getting the benefits that railway staff have had by way of their strong Unions.

I have never, ever supported the "race to the bottom" approach of bringing people in who will live on poverty wages sharing beds in HMOs. That is not good for anyone. I'm more than happy for immigration - people coming to the UK because they want to make a proper life here because they like what the UK offers - but not for yet another symptom of "race to the bottom" which this sort of economic migration represents.

It intrigues me that most Remainers tend to be left wing and believe in e.g. European social constructs, yet they currently moan about not being able to get things that were only on offer because of wages that were bordering on exploitation.
 
Joined
23 Jan 2013
Messages
154
Location
Eccles Signal Box
If there are several pre-planned engineering possessions taking place at the same time affecting several different TOCs, there will inevitably be a scramble to find enough operators with enough vehicles/drivers to cover everything. In which case it's often the TOC who offers the highest rates or is more proactive at ringing round operators that has the most comprehensive service, and the others get "sorry we've nothing available" when they call.
 

Top