"Signing" routes and motive power

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I joined this forum over the summer, having been away from viewing trains as a hobby for over 30 years. I keep reading on threads that "Crewe drivers are not signed to XYZ route", "Piccadilly crews are not signed to work Class xxx", "Northern crews are not signed to work beyond Sheffield" etc etc.

Now, is this a relatively new development or did my teenage persona in the early 80s not know there were limitations on where crews could work or where certain types of train could go?
 
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PHILIPE

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I joined this forum over the summer, having been away from viewing trains as a hobby for over 30 years. I keep reading on threads that "Crewe drivers are not signed to XYZ route", "Piccadilly crews are not signed to work Class xxx", "Northern crews are not signed to work beyond Sheffield" etc etc.

Now, is this a relatively new development or did my teenage persona in the early 80s not know there were limitations on where crews could work or where certain types of train could go?

Simply, traincrews, especially drivers, must have detailed knowledge of a route, signals, speeds, gradients, locations of stations and regarding traction must again have detailed knowledge of the loco/unit such as handling, braking, fault finding, where everything is located plus others to be competent
 
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I thought it might be something like that, but back in the day, "unusual" workings seemed more frequent, or is nostalgia getting in the way?
 

JN114

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Now, is this a relatively new development or did my teenage persona in the early 80s not know there were limitations on where crews could work or where certain types of train could go?

Likely a bit of both -

1) Drivers in those days obviously just worked for "BR". Their day-to-day work would usually include both passenger and freight work. Nowadays drivers are employed by a specific train operator. They only need sign for the routes and traction their company operates; and there is little fiscal benefit for the train operator to train its drivers up on another operators' routes and traction for the very rare occasion where they may be called on to cover.

2) BR had a vested interest in keeping all services running; nowadays again it's generally costly to call upon the resources of another train operator to run your service for you. Hiring a driver to another operator for a few hours for route conducting can cost hundreds of pounds.

3) Human nature is generally nostalgic. I've made 1000s of railway journeys over the past 17 years of using the railway regularly; most of those journeys fade quickly in memory into irrelevance. But some of the rarer or more interesting highlights remain quite vivid; even though they make up but a fraction of percentage point of total journeys.
 

6Gman

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I thought it might be something like that, but back in the day, "unusual" workings seemed more frequent, or is nostalgia getting in the way?

It's always been like that. Two things that have changed to limit unusual workings since privatisation are:

1. Company-specific traincrew have much more limited roles both in traction and routes. For example, the TfW/ex-Arriva Wales crews at Crewe will only sign Manchester-Cardiff, Crewe-Chester-Shrewsbury (?), a bit of the Heart Of wales Line and a few diversionary routes. They will sign 150, 153, 158, 175 and (a few) might sign loco-hauled. In the old days my father (a Driver at Crewe) signed Euston, Birmingham, Hereford, Derby, Carlisle, Liverpool, Holyhead and Manchester with lots of diversionary and freight routes! His traction knowledge would cover DMUs, EMUs and at least 10 classes of loco!

2. In BR days crews could be swapped around easily to fill any gaps. Today the TOCs will charge each other stiff fees for such arrangements. (I recall needing a route conductor from Aberdeen onto Clayhills Carriage Sidings some years ago, a ten minute move. Scotrail wanted to charge us 8 hours for the cover! In the end it was cheaper to send the stock to Edinburgh to stable!)
 

PHILIPE

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It's always been like that. Two things that have changed to limit unusual workings since privatisation are:

1. Company-specific traincrew have much more limited roles both in traction and routes. For example, the TfW/ex-Arriva Wales crews at Crewe will only sign Manchester-Cardiff, Crewe-Chester-Shrewsbury (?), a bit of the Heart Of wales Line and a few diversionary routes. They will sign 150, 153, 158, 175 and (a few) might sign loco-hauled. In the old days my father (a Driver at Crewe) signed Euston, Birmingham, Hereford, Derby, Carlisle, Liverpool, Holyhead and Manchester with lots of diversionary and freight routes! His traction knowledge would cover DMUs, EMUs and at least 10 classes of loco!

2. In BR days crews could be swapped around easily to fill any gaps. Today the TOCs will charge each other stiff fees for such arrangements. (I recall needing a route conductor from Aberdeen onto Clayhills Carriage Sidings some years ago, a ten minute move. Scotrail wanted to charge us 8 hours for the cover! In the end it was cheaper to send the stock to Edinburgh to stable!)


Crewe TFW also sign Birmingham International, Chester to Shrewsbury - Yes
 

Puppetfinger

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I know many will laugh at this, but shouldn't the DfT step in and prevent the rediciulous situation occurring as described by 6Gman where a TOC charged 8 hours work for a 10 minute job? All they are doing is adding complexity unnecessarily in the name of profit and only really benefiting their coffers. Surely this circumstance is something the DfT so prevent from happening.
 

221129

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I know many will laugh at this, but shouldn't the DfT step in and prevent the rediciulous situation occurring as described by 6Gman where a TOC charged 8 hours work for a 10 minute job? All they are doing is adding complexity unnecessarily in the name of profit and only really benefiting their coffers. Surely this circumstance is something the DfT so prevent from happening.
Why would the DfT get involved in what is a commercial agreement between 2 private companies? If Scotrail in this case had to pay a driver for a full shift to just do that work then why shouldn't they ask for their costs to be covered?
 

Wilts Wanderer

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The DfT view will reflect the general ideological position of a right wing government in this country that 'the market will sort itself out.' So in this example the market has determined that a route-conducted shunt onto Clayhill Sidings is less efficient than an Aberdeen to Edinburgh ECS move (edit:- and presumably some other balancing arrangement the other way!), despite the fact we all know that's complete rubbish and this nonsensical output is caused by the very much inefficient and artificial construct the privatised franchised railway is, fragmented in nature and derived from erroneous idealogical guff the DfT imposes in the first place!
 

GusB

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2. In BR days crews could be swapped around easily to fill any gaps. Today the TOCs will charge each other stiff fees for such arrangements. (I recall needing a route conductor from Aberdeen onto Clayhills Carriage Sidings some years ago, a ten minute move. Scotrail wanted to charge us 8 hours for the cover! In the end it was cheaper to send the stock to Edinburgh to stable!)
That's crazy. If this is a frequent move, surely it would be more cost effective to include the move to Clayhills as part of the route knowledge?
 

HLE

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Here's a question for those that scoff at a driver getting 8 hours pay for 45 minutes work.

Would you go to work for 45 mins? I wouldn't, it would take me longer to travel to and from!
 

221129

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Here's a question for those that scoff at a driver getting 8 hours pay for 45 minutes work.

Would you go to work for 45 mins? I wouldn't, it would take me longer to travel to and from!
Exactly! I'm not going in on my day off for 45 mins pay when it takes me double that to get there and back
 

Wilts Wanderer

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Here's a question for those that scoff at a driver getting 8 hours pay for 45 minutes work.

Would you go to work for 45 mins? I wouldn't, it would take me longer to travel to and from!

Exactly! I'm not going in on my day off for 45 mins pay when it takes me double that to get there and back

You're both missing the point. Nobody is suggesting that a 45-min turn should be issued, quite the opposite in fact. What is ludicrous is that the current system results in drivers not knowing local routes in the Aberdeen area as part of their route card. If they did, there would probably be a choice of several drivers available to do this shunt move without booking out an additional turn.
 

6Gman

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You're both missing the point. Nobody is suggesting that a 45-min turn should be issued, quite the opposite in fact. What is ludicrous is that the current system results in drivers not knowing local routes in the Aberdeen area as part of their route card. If they did, there would probably be a choice of several drivers available to do this shunt move without booking out an additional turn.

It was a one-off move.
 
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