Swansea Mum's Horror as Daughter is Left Alone

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Hyphen, 19 Feb 2013.

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  1. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    The issue for some of us is that the child's mother does appear to think it matters whose fault it was, and unfortunately is so blind to the possibility it may have been at least partly her own fault that she felt it appropriate to contact a national newspaper - and one well known for hysterically exaggerating the truth - in order to slander the railway and its staff. She makes numerous allegations against the Guard, the catering steward and the train itself, some of which are highly likely to be false (door defective) and some of which are plainly nonsense (Conductor 'refused to go back'). I realise she may not have known that the train could not 'reverse', but would suggest that had she waited for the train operator to look into things she might have found this out. She helpfully poses for a photo sporting the standard-issue 'gormless innocence' face as if that cements her place as one of society's victims, all the while failing to grasp the irony of preaching about how concerned she was for her daughter. Even a good number of the Fail readers managed to see what was wrong with her bleating nonsense. Why is it acceptable for her to do that? Even if the staff on board were as hapless as she alleges, that does not equal the story she appears to have told, and would have been far better dealt with by corresponding properly with Arriva and allowing their procedures to do their job. The crew may have acted inappropriately, and if they did I would hope it will be dealt with. However, in light of the generally poor and reactionary nature of what has been written, it's impossible to take any sort of educated view on that unless proper facts are provided.

    I have no sympathy for people whose first reaction is to offload all responsibility for something onto somebody else, and even less so when their next priority is to go shouting their dubious story about. How can Arriva now be expected to conduct a proper and impartial investigation in the light of national media attention? The sad reality is that this woman will probably receive the grovelling apology and thick wad of compensation/travel vouchers that she was doubtless hoping for, rather than a simple "Sorry for our part, but you are also responsible" that anybody with any guts might feel was more appropriate.

    So please forgive those posters here who work on the railway and may seem a tad unsympathetic, but strangely we tend to get a little irked by the ever increasing chunk of society who seem to think it is our job not only to transport them but also to take personal responsibility for their actions, their absentmindedness and now it seems also their children.
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2013
  2. trainophile

    trainophile Established Member

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    Excellent post BestWestern, hear hear. It's in every sector of life these days, the victim mentality. It even seems to come with a standard 'hard-done-by' facial expression.

    I just hope ATW don't take all the mindless arrogant criticism to heart. Despite some of those comments in the Mail, I have never found their train staff anything but pleasant and courteous. (Wish I could say the same for [some of] the ticket office staff, but that's not relevant to this discussion).
     
  3. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    That's fair enough - good to see a common sense view where it's appropriate. Wrong direction movements aren't exactly flavour of the month around here at the moment though! Either way, I just wanted to suggest in my original post that it's not as easy to set back to the platform as some comments make it sound. Perhaps I was exaggerating the associated risks a little though ;) .
     
  4. swj99

    swj99 Member

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    Interesting that the comment which said,

    has 781 negative ratings (at the time of writing).
     
  5. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    From reading the comments on here, it seems quite easy to work out which other members I'd like to go for a drink with, and which are likely to conform to the 'trainspotter' stereotype.

    If a single line, with this being the only train in section, I don't see why the train couldn't set back with permission. The following post explains it better than I can:



     
  6. Lewisham2221

    Lewisham2221 Member

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    There are a handful of rail staff on this forum who seem to defend 'the railway' no matter what, and I tend to disagree with their attitude.
    Also
    There are a handful of non-staff on this forum who will seemingly automatically become anti-'the railway' at the second there is even the slightest suggestion that 'the railway' could be at fault. I also disagree with this attitude.

    I would suggest that people falling into the latter category have never worked in a customer facing role and had a false complaint lodged against them...
     
  7. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    And there are also a handful of people on this forum who constantly moan about railway staff defending the railway no matter what, when actually most staff do no such thing. It really is quite tedious. Maybe if certain posters on here opened their minds a little, they might learn something - instead they prefer to snipe at those of us who are rail staff just because we happen to be able to offer a different perspective. It's quite pitiful, and makes me question the point of this forum.
     
    Last edited: 21 Feb 2013
  8. Lewisham2221

    Lewisham2221 Member

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    I agree.
     
  9. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    Train could have set back into platform if given permission by the signaller to do so, as some times happens if train over shoots the platform.
    What we dont know from article is when pax com was pulled how far from station the train was.
     
  10. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    It's possible that the Signaller may have said yes, but it's equally possible that Control may well have said no. Those who sit in offices making decisions tend to be rather nervous about things that are a little 'out of the box', usually because somebody who previously used some initiative was hanged for it. Equally, some Drivers may not be willing to stop and make the request if they don't feel there is sufficient reason, or if they believe that there is another service behind for example. We simply don't know here, and probably never will. We all seem to be agreed though that a phone call should have been made, whether to Control or the police.
     
  11. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    We also have no idea if there was another train (even at that time, there may have been) which had already entered the block containing the station platform by the time the passcomm was pulled.

    "Train reverses to pick up one child and is rammed by later service, large numbers of fatalities"
     
  12. Get-Pulled-Off

    Get-Pulled-Off Member

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    Unless their are catch-points or a level crossing involved, or a following train is can't be stopped by a controlled signal in rear in time, there is nothing physical to stop a train from making a wrong direction move back to the station. What a few posters have correctly mentioned is that TW7 lists 10 occasions when a wrong direction movement can be made, and this is scenario is not one of them.

    I don't subscribe to the Daily Mail's hysteria that there is a nonce hiding in every bush, but there are far more risks to a young girl than just abduction. They may become panicked, distressed, run after the train (by road or rail), trip, fall, anything. They maybe very cold as well. If the posters who say a train can't make a wrong-direction movement because the rules don't permit it can look the mother and father in the eye and say "sorry about what happened to your 9 year old, but the rules didn't allow me to carry out that move", then fair enough. I couldn't though.

    Consider what has happened in this case, about the negative publicity (whether deserved or not) in the national press, the fuss, the drama, the 8 pages of debate with what happened on my panel where we just got on with, and a quick call to Control to let know what was going on to be met with a simple "yeah no worries", and only a few minutes delay to the train.

    What we didn't do is sit around arguing about whether he did or didn't press the button and who's fault it was!
     
  13. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    Do you work for Daily Mail headline dept by chance? what we are talking about here is a controlled move carried out under direction from signaller.
    To me a 9 year old child "alone" on unstaffed platform IMO constitute a risk to life or injury of that child then act accordingly, reports can be written up later as judge at Liverpool said in summing up railway employees have a duty of care to public.
     
    Last edited: 21 Feb 2013
  14. Get-Pulled-Off

    Get-Pulled-Off Member

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    Most signallers just get on with it then tell Control what they've done afterwards ;)

    How would a driver know if a service was behind or not? Its the Signalman who ascertains whether it can be made safely or not. If he's not willing to set-back then it will never come to my attention in the first place.
     
  15. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    To address your points;

    Certainly in my experience, the Signaller today is no longer always 'king', and in a situation such as this it would essentially be down to control to grant the final permission even if the panel said it was fine. That's not to detract in any way from the Bobby, of course he is in total control of his line and if he says 'no' then it isn't going to happen, but if he says 'yes' that doesn't always mean control will agree with it.

    As for dealing with the mother, I would much rather her daughter was safely on the train of course, but in the circumstances being discussed I would be quite comfortable informing her that we weren't able to go back but the police have been informed or whatever - it wasn't me who was charged with supervising the child after all.
     
  16. Lewisham2221

    Lewisham2221 Member

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    Thank god I don't work for him :roll:
     
  17. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    Neither is Control king either sometimes you have to take charge of situation give Control a SitRep on incident & your plan of action for resolving it.
     
  18. Get-Pulled-Off

    Get-Pulled-Off Member

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    You're kidding, right? Control are NOT rules trained. They do not have any authority to give permission, or deny permission, for a Wrong Direction move to be made. Read TW7. Persons concerned are "Driver, Signaller". Nowhere does it say "Operations Control".

    They may try to interfere, but that is the reason why I say a decent signaller will get on with the job in hand, then tell Control what has happened afterwards. Control may say what they want, or prefer to happen, but they do not tell me what I can and can't do. If they believe I have broke the rules then they will contact either my LOM during working hours or the "On-Call" LOM out of hours, and he will investigate.

    I can tell you with confidence though that Control do not go around looking for rules violations. Most of the time if nothing has gone wrong they are quite happy not to ask any awkward questions and even more often they are the ones suggesting a course of action that could be best described as "interesting".
     
  19. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Hmmmmm, if I arranged a wrong direction move with the signaller and driver and failed to ask my Control for permission, I can guarantee you I'd be having a discussion in the office on the matter!!!
     
  20. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    It's certainly sometimes best to make a decision and get on with it first, then tell Control later - where there are no complications (ranging from catch points to following trains) anyway. By the time you've got through to them and they've thought about it enough to say 'no', you could have made the move. As long as the request has come from the Driver, I'd be reasonably confident that the delay minutes would go to the TOC: unfortunately, that's the main reason for passing such decisions up the tree, rather than the safety implications (which I too am quite happy to use my Rules knowledge to work out for myself). Please don't read from my initial, admittedly pessimistic, reply that I wouldn't consider allowing the movement if it was safe to do so - I rather like to think that I'm capable of a common-sense approach within the constraints of the Rule Book! It's obviously often not possible to even consider the possibility though, for various reasons already discussed.
     
  21. Get-Pulled-Off

    Get-Pulled-Off Member

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    Does that mean you're a Guard then?

    The rules surrounding Wrong Direction movements are only applicable to Drivers and Signallers. I repeat, Control do NOT have the authority to approve or deny a wrong direction move, only the Driver and Signalman. Inform them, if you like, but you should not be taking any direction from them.
     
  22. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    They certainly don't have the authority to approve a wrong direction move, but I'm reasonably confident they can refuse to allow their crew to do so regardless of what the signaller says. Ultimately, if you take a decision having been told not to do so by Control, you'll be the one with a Form One, not the controller.
     
  23. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    The buck as been shifted from train crew to controller as your driver tells control your plan of action but they refuse the move on what ever grounds, if anything untoward was to happened to the child as in this incident who is then liable for interview by BTP.


    The conductor was quite correct. You just simply cannot stop a train and turn it back - it is not a car. All she needed to have done is contact the conductor, who would have contacted control who would have contacted the station immediately. Somebody would have been with the little girl in a few minutes, guaranteed. I'm actually surprised the young lady didn't have a phone on her!

    - Keithypops, Wigan, United Kingdom, 20/2/2013 18:09
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Mildly amusing comment from one DM reader only 50 years behind the time as regards Dr Beechings plan for unstaffed stations.
     
    Last edited: 21 Feb 2013
  24. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    They don't have the authority to say 'yes' or 'no' to the movement from a Rules point of view, but if it was something more disruptive than a handful of minutes I'd certainly listen to them if they objected from the point of view of keeping the trainset moving!
     
  25. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    I completely agree, apart from the bit about shifting the buck. Ultimately, the company working instructions state that you work to Control's instructions. Personally I find suggesting in a positive manner to them what you want to do and explaining why usually gives a favourable outcome! If they say 'no' though, that's that.
     
  26. TG

    TG Member

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    second star on the right and straight on until mor
    right... from my point of view, having seen this kinda thing happen quite a few times...

    the mother probably got to the doors AFTER the guard had already hit the close doors button and given the tip to the driver... she then pulled the passcom and started screaming at the guard to set the train back (this is a movement which is not allowed) she'd have probably been yelling that the door wasnt working, when it was, the fact is, she didnt get her family and luggage ready in time and missed the stop.... we only have one version of events here and when going to the press, she's not going to say "i didnt get to the doors in time" is she, so the story gets dramatised.....

    this is similar to an incident which happened to me a few years ago.... mother missed stop 'cos she was faffing with her luggage AFTER we had stopped (another pax told me this!) kid got left on the platform, i called the station staff to inform them that there was a lost child on their station (after been screamed at by the mother, i walked away from her, after telling her i would sort it and been sworn at like it was my fault!) the little boy who was left on the platform was escorted back to mother at the next station by the BTP shortly later after been looked after by the station staff....

    the mother then wrote in to my train company and said how horrid i was and that i did nothing to help and i had a go at her for pulling the passcom.... see what i mean, i had helped, but she still wrote in with a completely INACCURATE version of events!!
     
  27. Get-Pulled-Off

    Get-Pulled-Off Member

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    We all work to the RULE BOOK, not Control's instructions. Ours certainly are not rules trained, and have no authority to make or refuse decisions made by the people detailed in the right hand column of the appropriate module.

    Control may take a strategic role as to turning your unit round short etc but they should not be interfering with how the movement is performed on the ground. You wouldn't do something that contravened the rule book despite Control 'instructing' you do it, would you? Where does it stop, do you ring Control to pass a signal at danger? Examine the line?

    I don't know where this paralysis of decision making is coming from on the Railway, and why every decision has to be referred to Control? Is it a fear of making a decision, poor rules knowledge, or wanting someone else to take responsibility?

    In my scenerio it was so wonderfully refreshing to talk to a driver who wasn't afraid of making a judgement call without referencing Control with it. We both took a decision that a young girl's safety was the most important thing, and just got on with it. I shouted over to my SSM - "1A00 is setting back to x station a young girl has been left behind and its pretty late at night" .... he replied "yeah no worries I'll tip Control off" .... rings Control "1A00 is returning to x station a father has been split up from his young daughter and he's frantic" ...... "Yeah no worries".

    8 minutes later the train is on the move again, the young girl was safe, and Control can get back to following the live updates from BBC Football. We certainly didn't make the national news...

    Can we no longer make an on the spot decision to delay a train 8 minutes to ensure the welfare of a young child? Or are we should a risk-adverse and callous society that we just say "no, more than my jobsworth that..."
     
  28. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    I don't think it's poor rules knowledge (at least I hope it isn't), but I don't think anyone has suggested that Control be asked whether the rules allow the movement to be made (anyway, we've already agreed that, to the letter, they don't). I think there is a fear of making a decision though, and that - in my admittedly still fairly limited experience - is generally because everyone's scared of a phone call from 'delays at York' rather than the safety implications! I do find it a little disheartening to hear of colleagues who find it necessary to ring the TRC to seek permission to run a freight early, even though there's nothing to follow until after its booked time - and I understand that comes back to a few O-codes being thrown at them on previous similar occasions, completely unjustifiably in my opinion. I've already given up seeking guidance from the TRC unless it's one of those situations where you're going to stuff something quite heavily whatever you do.
     
  29. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    No, we work within the rulebook AND the Working Instructions. Any unusual move that will delay a train ultimately needs to be sanctioned by Control. You may not like it, I may not like it, but that's how it is. In fairness to you, I'd rather take a minor b#####king for delaying a train 5 minutes than see a young girl stranded. This is all of course assuming it was safe to make a wrong direction move in the first place though!
     
  30. gazzak

    gazzak Member

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    Get-Pulled-Off, if there was a "like" facility on this forum I'd have just clicked it. A wonderfully refreshing and full of common sense post. Thank You.
     
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