Rail Replacement Shortages due to HGV driver shortages

43066

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I get what your saying but if we continue to get pay freezes (fair enough really) I don't really want to see eveey other career get humongous payrises. This then drives up inflation and all of a sudden I cannot afford the mortgage.
Decent pay is one thing but 56k for lorry driving is too far. It took us as train drivers many many years to slowly and controllably get to where we are paywise, it certainly didn't happen overnight. The economy is already being run by total clowns, things have the potential to get much much worse yet.....

I expect what will happen is the current spike in wages will draw more people into the industry, which will then have a cooling effect over time as the supply of HGV workers increases (as you rightly say a job that can have people trained in three weeks will be more vulnerable to spikes than jobs with much longer training periods).

We probably as a society need to accept that we will have to pay more for certain things, simply because we’ve become over reliant on certain industries paying appalling salaries and we are all guilty of that as I’m sure everyone on here uses some kind of gig economy service.
 
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Bletchleyite

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But surely this just leads to high inflation and prices go up anyway and the man now earning 50k is still at the bottom as everything now costs twice as much and his great new salary is no longer quite so great. I'm all for decent wages trust me, but we are talking about paying lorry drivers 56k for a job requiring 3 weeks of training.

It would all settle with a bit of short term pain (which would indeed involve some inflation).

Pay rates are based on demand, not how hard the work is.
 

notadriver

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I get what your saying but if we continue to get pay freezes (fair enough really) I don't really want to see eveey other career get humongous payrises. This then drives up inflation and all of a sudden I cannot afford the mortgage.
Decent pay is one thing but 56k for lorry driving is too far. It took us as train drivers many many years to slowly and controllably get to where we are paywise, it certainly didn't happen overnight. The economy is already being run by total clowns, things have the potential to get much much worse yet.....

Agreed. As a PCV driver I get around £11-£12 an hour. HGV drivers usually a few quid an hour more. I don’t think it would take a huge amount of training to learn how to drive an HGV as I’m already a PCV driver. But to say HGV drivers are worth 56k - no way.
 

43066

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Agreed. As a PCV driver I get around £11-£12 an hour. HGV drivers usually a few quid an hour more. I don’t think it would take a huge amount of training to learn how to drive an HGV as I’m already a PCV driver. But to say HGV drivers are worth 56k - no way.

Fundamentally both industries are probably underpaid at the moment, and are in line for an adjustment upwards. Both will still average out at a lower wage than something like train driving, because the training for both is so much shorter, and barriers to entry lower (perhaps with the possible exception of things like petrol tanker driving which I understand has long paid in the £40-50k bracket because of higher licensing and training requirements).

Ultimately those doing roles where employers can train up replacements within two or three weeks are always going to have less bargaining power than those in jobs with higher entry requirements and longer training periods.
 

Robertj21a

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I get what your saying but if we continue to get pay freezes (fair enough really) I don't really want to see eveey other career get humongous payrises. This then drives up inflation and all of a sudden I cannot afford the mortgage.
Decent pay is one thing but 56k for lorry driving is too far. It took us as train drivers many many years to slowly and controllably get to where we are paywise, it certainly didn't happen overnight. The economy is already being run by total clowns, things have the potential to get much much worse yet.....
So 56k is too much for a HGV driver, but ok for a train driver?
 

43066

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Agreed. As a PCV driver I get around £11-£12 an hour. HGV drivers usually a few quid an hour more. I don’t think it would take a huge amount of training to learn how to drive an HGV as I’m already a PCV driver. But to say HGV drivers are worth 56k - no way.

And further to my last - is the £56k a basic salary or basic + overtime, joining bonuses etc.? You need to compare basic salaries, otherwise it’s apples with oranges.

We all know train drivers who are earn £100k+ (there’s a handful at my depot based on current rest day counts) but that’s through doing huge amounts of overtime (up to 100 extra days per year in some cases!) and would be about the limit of what can be legally achieved according to Hidden.
 

irish_rail

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So 56k is too much for a HGV driver, but ok for a train driver?
Absolutely. Driving a train takes a minimum of 12 months of training and that's before all traction and routes are added on top. There are very stringent rules and regulations that must be followed, and these are enforced far more rigorously than out on the roads.
Not to mention the 500 people sat in the carriages behind the train driver all relying on him or her to get them A to B.
How many lorry drivers get chased up over losing 2 minutes of time somewhere? Train drivers are under an incredible level of scrutiny these days.
And then there's the rule book which is forever evolving and changing and the train driver needs to keep up with all this.
Safety critical communications with the signaller are also unlikely to be faced by the average HGV driver. And I could go on and on.
 

Robertj21a

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Absolutely. Driving a train takes a minimum of 12 months of training and that's before all traction and routes are added on top. There are very stringent rules and regulations that must be followed, and these are enforced far more rigorously than out on the roads.
Not to mention the 500 people sat in the carriages behind the train driver all relying on him or her to get them A to B.
How many lorry drivers get chased up over losing 2 minutes of time somewhere? Train drivers are under an incredible level of scrutiny these days.
And then there's the rule book which is forever evolving and changing and the train driver needs to keep up with all this.
Safety critical communications with the signaller are also unlikely to be faced by the average HGV driver. And I could go on and on.
I wonder if some HGV drivers might point out that they have to steer around numerous obstacles, know what route to follow, react to idiot drivers/pedestrians on the road, maintain tight schedules, sleep in cabs overnight.... etc etc.
They might feel that a train driver only goes where a signalman allows him to go....

Some might suggest that it's not as clear cut as you indicate.
 

CyrusWuff

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Chiltern interestingly left a few stations unserved - Denham Golf Club was certainly one but not the only one - is this normal or was it due to being unable to get taxis for the small roads?
Wembley Stadium - West Ruislip (inclusive) are generally left unserved during Engineering Works, as there are alternative routes available via the tube and buses. (Plus the Sudburys aren't served at weekends anyway).

I believe Denham Golf Club and Seer Green & Jordans are usually dealt with by "on-demand" taxis from Gerrards Cross or Beaconsfield due to having significantly fewer passengers than Denham, Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield.
 

Horizon22

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I think the query is more how does it get to the point where it gets to needing people doing RDW to cover for those days. Have they let too many people take annual leave at the same time?

Indeed - you would have thought that all the drivers Saturday leave would be agreed up front at the start of the year so the situation on being reliant on overtime would not arise.

They haven't. This is the same shortage that they have on the weekdays due to the well known issues (Covid sickness [less of an issue now], driver training delays caused by Covid and the general annoying reliance on overtime), just there's a higher % saying 'No' on a Saturday than Monday - Friday.

Absolutely. Driving a train takes a minimum of 12 months of training and that's before all traction and routes are added on top. There are very stringent rules and regulations that must be followed, and these are enforced far more rigorously than out on the roads.
Not to mention the 500 people sat in the carriages behind the train driver all relying on him or her to get them A to B.
How many lorry drivers get chased up over losing 2 minutes of time somewhere? Train drivers are under an incredible level of scrutiny these days.
And then there's the rule book which is forever evolving and changing and the train driver needs to keep up with all this.
Safety critical communications with the signaller are also unlikely to be faced by the average HGV driver. And I could go on and on.

Comparing any job to any other job in different sectors is always futile. There's no benefit to comparison because there are independent issues in individual sectors that can dictate wages. It's like comparing a plumber or an electrician to a train driver or an HGV driver, or a headteacher (which are all around the £60K mark) and it gets a bit nasty when you start considering who is "worth it". One part that dictates salary is market demand, hence the current huge rise in HGV salaries.
 
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Kite159

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I wondered why on the 12th SWR were only running a more limited bus service between Andover to Gillingham, which called at all the stations. Rather than having multiple buses with one generally running non-stop to Gillingham.
 

JN114

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Wembley Stadium - West Ruislip (inclusive) are generally left unserved during Engineering Works, as there are alternative routes available via the tube and buses. (Plus the Sudburys aren't served at weekends anyway).

I believe Denham Golf Club and Seer Green & Jordans are usually dealt with by "on-demand" taxis from Gerrards Cross or Beaconsfield due to having significantly fewer passengers than Denham, Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield.

I can’t recall scheduled road transport ever calling at Denham Golf Club during engineering works - buses always would go straight from Hillingdon / Denham to Gerrards Cross
 

Dieseldriver

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Indeed - you would have thought that all the drivers Saturday leave would be agreed up front at the start of the year so the situation on being reliant on overtime would not arise.
There are quotas for ad hoc leave. Example, depot A has a quota of 5 Drivers allowed on a week day, 3 Drivers allowed on a Saturday, 2 Drivers allowed on a Sunday. If I try to book a Saturday off in three months time and there are 3 Drivers who have been granted ad hoc leave ahead of me, tough, I won’t be granted it and I’ll have to work.
 

dk1

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There are quotas for ad hoc leave. Example, depot A has a quota of 5 Drivers allowed on a week day, 3 Drivers allowed on a Saturday, 2 Drivers allowed on a Sunday. If I try to book a Saturday off in three months time and there are 3 Drivers who have been granted ad hoc leave ahead of me, tough, I won’t be granted it and I’ll have to work.
That’s roughly the same here. Around 16 can be on block leave (week/fortnight) then 4 are guaranteed loose days on top of this regardless of whether all diagrams are covered. As long as all diagrams are covered everyone else who has applied for the day off after this will also get their leave granted by the roster clerk. Anybody declined will still stand a chance as the duty traincrew managers (DTMs) will do everything in their powers to keep everybody happy.

Oh & that guaranteed 4 is of course only valid whilst the TOC has a Rest Day Working agreement with ASLEF.
 
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pepperpot80

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Anyone who is interested in the view from the bus operators' (and drivers') side may wish to read the well-established thread discussing the PCV driver shortage issues in our Bus & Coach Forum. Some food for thought there.

Mod note - discussion has been split off from the Transdev Blazefield and First Greater Glasgow threads

But how long will a few months be? The national driver shortage is plainly linked to the HGV driver shortage and the latter are better paid with their own office (cab) and a far more limited risk of catching CV19 - I can only imagine the shortage of bus drivers will worsen.

(apologies to SCH117X - this post just happens to be the first in the split thread)

Rail Replacement was always going to be a casualty of the issues currently affecting the bus sector, which are quite a bit more complex than an exodus to HGVs, Brexit, and worsening pay / terms & conditions for PCV drivers over time, though each of these are playing a role.

Some other primary causes are ongoing major delays to applications for (and delivery of) new PCV licences by the DVSA, the last few drivers handing in notice on return from furlough, recruitment freezes earlier during the pandemic, not to mention some bumpy changes to central government support arrangements for bus operators. All of the above is leading to less Rest Day Working availability, causing bus operators struggle to keep their own registered services running, and thence... "no, we don't have the buses and drivers to run your RR service".

That's aside from all the weekend car traffic across the country (arising from re-scheduled events, festivals, warm sunny September weekends, etc.) that will have been bringing some attempts to run any kind of bus service, let alone rail replacement, to a standstill.
 

43066

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Indeed - you would have thought that all the drivers Saturday leave would be agreed up front at the start of the year so the situation on being reliant on overtime would not arise.

Most train crew annual leave is rostered into pre arranged blocks for exactly that reason: predictability. Non rostered “ad hoc” leave can be requested but can be denied in certain circumstances (at my depot there is a quota of three who are guaranteed it each day, on a first come first served basis. Anyone lower than three will simply have the request declined if their work cannot be covered).

There is always a element of unpredictability as to how many drivers will be available each day. If someone goes sick, or has an incident and is taken off track, their work has to be covered until they resume. This is done using spare drivers (ie drivers who rostered to work that day, but not allocated a job), failing that rest day work volunteers, or “standby” (who are rostered to sit in reserve in the depot) as the last resort. Standby is used last as they’re the last line of defence against cancellations, and once they’ve been used they’re gone.

Then there are other restrictions: even if you have volunteers rest day work can only be allocated in accordance with requirements to have 12 hours between shifts, the fatigue index etc. Spare drivers have a maximum agreed movement (which varies) and cannot be allocated anything outside their rostered times +\- movement. Movements off spare need to be posted up within agreed timescales (72 hours at our place) And of course it goes without saying the crew need to sign the appropriate routes and traction!

When all the above has failed, that’s when you get down to crewing ringing round asking people for favours, often for a sweetener. The success of this depends entirely on goodwill, whether people have made plans etc.

In short, it’s a complicated business!
 

alf

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Absolutely. Driving a train takes a minimum of 12 months of training and that's before all traction and routes are added on top. There are very stringent rules and regulations that must be followed, and these are enforced far more rigorously than out on the roads.
Not to mention the 500 people sat in the carriages behind the train driver all relying on him or her to get them A to B.
How many lorry drivers get chased up over losing 2 minutes of time somewhere? Train drivers are under an incredible level of scrutiny these days.
And then there's the rule book which is forever evolving and changing and the train driver needs to keep up with all this.
Safety critical communications with the signaller are also unlikely to be faced by the average HGV driver. And I could go on and on.

I read on another forum that the old London & South Western railway (now SWR land) turned station porters into motormen (drivers of the new 1918 electric trains from Shepperton, Hampton Court, Hounslow, Epsom & Staines to Waterloo)
in 4 weeks, not 12 months.

And on The Monday of the fifth week they were driving packed electric trains with 800 passengers into the then 17 platforms at pre 1923 Waterloo.
Apparently no public outcry about safety.

So why can’t it be done in 4 weeks now, specially as we have video aids?
 

Horizon22

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I read on another forum that the old London & South Western railway (now SWR land) turned station porters into motormen (drivers of the new 1918 electric trains from Shepperton, Hampton Court, Hounslow, Epsom & Staines to Waterloo)
in 4 weeks, not 12 months.

And on The Monday of the fifth week they were driving packed electric trains with 800 passengers into the then 17 platforms at pre 1923 Waterloo.
Apparently no public outcry about safety.

So why can’t it be done in 4 weeks now, specially as we have video aids?

Possibly because safety standards are slightly more stringent and trains slightly more complex than 100 years ago...
 

Dieseldriver

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I read on another forum that the old London & South Western railway (now SWR land) turned station porters into motormen (drivers of the new 1918 electric trains from Shepperton, Hampton Court, Hounslow, Epsom & Staines to Waterloo)
in 4 weeks, not 12 months.

And on The Monday of the fifth week they were driving packed electric trains with 800 passengers into the then 17 platforms at pre 1923 Waterloo.
Apparently no public outcry about safety.

So why can’t it be done in 4 weeks now, specially as we have video aids?
I’m assuming you’ve been through the basic Train Driver Training course? If not, I highly recommend it, it might well open your eyes slightly...
 

the sniper

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I read on another forum that the old London & South Western railway (now SWR land) turned station porters into motormen (drivers of the new 1918 electric trains from Shepperton, Hampton Court, Hounslow, Epsom & Staines to Waterloo)
in 4 weeks, not 12 months.

And on The Monday of the fifth week they were driving packed electric trains with 800 passengers into the then 17 platforms at pre 1923 Waterloo.
Apparently no public outcry about safety.

So why can’t it be done in 4 weeks now, specially as we have video aids?

It'd be interesting to know if that is actually true Alf. Regardless, what industry today doesn't aspire to follow the safety standards of 1918?

You should become a Driver, sounds easy. Having read the University station thread it seems you're an incredible mind, confidently able to make the completely infeasible, feasible.
 

MattRat

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What do you expect? People don't want to be paid peanuts, generally, unless they come from a country with even poorer wages. Companies will just have to learn to live with it, now that they can't rely on what might as well have been slave labour from foreign countries.
 

al78

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I wonder if some HGV drivers might point out that they have to steer around numerous obstacles, know what route to follow, react to idiot drivers/pedestrians on the road, maintain tight schedules, sleep in cabs overnight.... etc etc.
In other words what just about everyone else driving a motor vehicle on the public road has to do (athough only a subset have tight schedules).

What do you expect? People don't want to be paid peanuts, generally, unless they come from a country with even poorer wages. Companies will just have to learn to live with it, now that they can't rely on what might as well have been slave labour from foreign countries.
It is the consumers that will have to learn to accept an increase in the price of goods and services if we want higher wages (as if the UK isn't an expensive enough place to live). Companies will pass the cost of higher wages onto customers, which they can do without losing demand if everyone else has to put prices up.
 

Bletchleyite

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It is the consumers that will have to learn to accept an increase in the price of goods and services if we want higher wages

And it is quite right that we do, the only other viable option being a considerable increase in Universal Credit. It's just not fair to have people working full time jobs who, as a couple, can't even afford to maintain a basic household. An end to the "race to the bottom" in pay is nothing but a good thing - shame we can't end it in other ways too, e.g. importing cheap disposable rubbish from China and food we can perfectly well produce here.
 

Robertj21a

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In other words what just about everyone else driving a motor vehicle on the public road has to do (athough only a subset have tight schedules).


It is the consumers that will have to learn to accept an increase in the price of goods and services if we want higher wages (as if the UK isn't an expensive enough place to live). Companies will pass the cost of higher wages onto customers, which they can do without losing demand if everyone else has to put prices up.
The comparison was with what some might believe a train driver actually does......
 

MattRat

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It is the consumers that will have to learn to accept an increase in the price of goods and services if we want higher wages (as if the UK isn't an expensive enough place to live). Companies will pass the cost of higher wages onto customers, which they can do without losing demand if everyone else has to put prices up.
Well, what I want is immigrants not being taken advantage of by being paid less than a citezen would be paid in the same role. It's honestly pretty racist.
 

whoosh

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I read on another forum that the old London & South Western railway (now SWR land) turned station porters into motormen (drivers of the new 1918 electric trains from Shepperton, Hampton Court, Hounslow, Epsom & Staines to Waterloo)
in 4 weeks, not 12 months.

And on The Monday of the fifth week they were driving packed electric trains with 800 passengers into the then 17 platforms at pre 1923 Waterloo.
Apparently no public outcry about safety.

So why can’t it be done in 4 weeks now, specially as we have video aids?

Probably because squaring up any mistakes with the Signalman is not available anymore because of signal box data-loggers, radio and phone voice recorders, forward-facing cameras on the train, a black box on the train (On Train Data Recorder), and all the passengers have cameras on their mobile phones to dob in anything they think is wrong.

And the training legacy of Michael Hodder...

A totally different world then, yeah?

So.... proper, thorough training, would massively reduce any risk, and bad press, and possibly lethal outcomes, wouldn't it?
 

philthetube

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Hulleys and Blackpool transport are two which are cancelling their bus services so two companies who will not be available for any RRB work, I am sure there are others.
 

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