TFW Shortage of Train Crews 23/08 and Bank Holiday

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sw1ller

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Noticed two 158’s parked up at Shrewsbury all day. As per usual. Will be the same tomorrow. Don’t know why they don’t just tie um up to something to give more capacity.
 
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Llanigraham

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Finding drivers who can trundle up and down the Valleys or between Wrexham and Bidston in a 150 should be a doddle compared to that.
How many drivers form elsewhere do you think have the route and traction knowledge?
How long do you think it takes to get those knowledge's?
 

Mintona

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How about people who've recently retired or otherwise left the industry, guaranteed work frequently enough to maintain their proficiency?
If I’d recently retired from 40 years of driving up and down the valleys I can think of better ways to spend my retirement than driving up and down the valleys.
 

Tom Quinne

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If you’d spent 40 yrs on the Valleys you’d not be strapped to a bed in a mental hospital !

God knows why anyone would want to come back to the industry after they’d served their time, once I’m done I never want to see a train again! 26 yes 3 months to go !
 

Envoy

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I was out and about on the Valleys today, and another problem was that nearly EVERY service was formed of just 2 carriages (apart from a 2x Pacer combo on the Rhymney - Penarth circuit) from what I saw. Plenty of 14x working solo on the Valleys, and 153s on Maesteg to Cheltenham. Virtually all trains I went on (and I went on a lot) were severely overcrowded, and delays started to stack up, initially via Taffs Well, then on the Rhymney line resulting in some stations getting skipped and on time trains having to wait at passing loops for delayed trains, and then becoming delayed themselves. TFW have had lots of angry tweets today too (trains also busier than normal due to Pride event in Cardiff)
So, Pride event in Cardiff & fine weather meant huge demand for travel. Once again, the railways just cannot deliver. As I said in another post about the GWR cancellations - including the westbound ‘Pembroke Coast Express’ terminating at Swansea due to lack of crew - best to use the car if you have one!
 

dk1

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If you’d spent 40 yrs on the Valleys you’d not be strapped to a bed in a mental hospital !

God knows why anyone would want to come back to the industry after they’d served their time, once I’m done I never want to see a train again! 26 yes 3 months to go !
I don't mind seeing trains anytime & will use them as much if not more than I do now & have done since starting almost 35yrs ago. What I never want to do again is enter a driving cab.
 

Parallel

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So, Pride event in Cardiff & fine weather meant huge demand for travel. Once again, the railways just cannot deliver. As I said in another post about the GWR cancellations - including the westbound ‘Pembroke Coast Express’ terminating at Swansea due to lack of crew - best to use the car if you have one!
Indeed. Someone complained about the use of 2 car units on the valleys on Twitter and was told, sorry, no extra capacity available - But they then pointed out that this was a reduction in capacity. I also used a 175 today that was packed, so was stood in the vestibule. The panels in the vestibule were 60 degrees centigrade (measured by a temperature sticker on them) - No idea what was going on behind them!
 

PHILIPE

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Indeed. Someone complained about the use of 2 car units on the valleys on Twitter and was told, sorry, no extra capacity available - But they then pointed out that this was a reduction in capacity. I also used a 175 today that was packed, so was stood in the vestibule. The panels in the vestibule were 60 degrees centigrade (measured by a temperature sticker on them) - No idea what was going on behind them!
Can we keep on thread, please. I tried to give you the tip last night as this leads to the same thing being posted in 2 different threads. Hope you don't mind me mentioning this but this one is about shortage of train crews. There is a separate ongoing TFW unit shortage thread here:-

https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/atw-keolis-amey-wales-stock-shortages.166304/page-64

Again, apologies for pointing this out but better than it it run too far
 

Dai Corner

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Unions at most depots would not permit this.
They'd rather see trains cancelled than see Bill who retired a couple of months ago cover a duty nobody else wants to do and earn a few quid to treat his grandchildren?

If I’d recently retired from 40 years of driving up and down the valleys I can think of better ways to spend my retirement than driving up and down the valleys.
I can see that taking Tornado or a Western for a spin on the main line is a more attractive prospect.
 

dk1

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They'd rather see trains cancelled than see Bill who retired a couple of months ago cover a duty nobody else wants to do and earn a few quid to treat his grandchildren?
Blimey that's going a bit deep. Everything has to be fair and above board. I doubt that poor old Bill is short of a few bob.
 

Llanigraham

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They'd rather see trains cancelled than see Bill who retired a couple of months ago cover a duty nobody else wants to do and earn a few quid to treat his grandchildren?
Bill who retired a couple of months ago probably wouldn't want to come back to work a weekend instead of spending it with his grandson. Plus he will have lost all his certification to drive and his route knowledge in that time.
And I haven't even started on the problems the management and the roster clerk would be getting into.
 

Dai Corner

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Bill who retired a couple of months ago probably wouldn't want to come back to work a weekend instead of spending it with his grandson. Plus he will have lost all his certification to drive and his route knowledge in that time.
And I haven't even started on the problems the management and the roster clerk would be getting into.
Ok, maybe he's had has grandson all week while his son and daughter in law were at work and could do with a change. Or being with his wife 24/7 is becoming a strain. Do certifications and route knowledge expire that quickly? I thought it was more like six months? How do the railtour drivers manage?

Why should it be problematic to get a casual or agency driver in? It happens happen in other industries all the time.
 

scrapy

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Ok, maybe he's had has grandson all week while his son and daughter in law were at work and could do with a change. Or being with his wife 24/7 is becoming a strain. Do certifications and route knowledge expire that quickly? I thought it was more like six months? How do the railtour drivers manage?

Why should it be problematic to get a casual or agency driver in? It happens happen in other industries all the time.
Most TOCs allow job sharing, aimed at keeping qualified drivers in the industry longer. The take up however is low.
 

CambrianCoast

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Indeed. Someone complained about the use of 2 car units on the valleys on Twitter and was told, sorry, no extra capacity available - But they then pointed out that this was a reduction in capacity. I also used a 175 today that was packed, so was stood in the vestibule. The panels in the vestibule were 60 degrees centigrade (measured by a temperature sticker on them) - No idea what was going on behind them!
That’s where the exhausts are :)
 

Llanigraham

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Ok, maybe he's had has grandson all week while his son and daughter in law were at work and could do with a change. Or being with his wife 24/7 is becoming a strain. Do certifications and route knowledge expire that quickly? I thought it was more like six months? How do the railtour drivers manage?
Talk about clutching at straws.
As far as I understand it certification for a driver is 6 monthly, and if someone retires I doubt that they will have done anything about it during their last 5 months. Ergo, not allowed.

Why should it be problematic to get a casual or agency driver in? It happens happen in other industries all the time.
How is that agency driver or guard going to get his route and unit knowledge?
How is he going to keep it up to date?
As far as I know no TOC or FOC employs such people in those roles because it is just no feasible to do so.
 

Dai Corner

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Think about how it could be done, rather than why it couldn't.

Talk about clutching at straws.
As far as I understand it certification for a driver is 6 monthly, and if someone retires I doubt that they will have done anything about it during their last 5 months. Ergo, not allowed.
If they were thinking of doing some part time work after retiring they'd make sure they kept up their certification.


How is that agency driver or guard going to get his route and unit knowledge?
How is he going to keep it up to date?
As far as I know no TOC or FOC employs such people in those roles because it is just no feasible to do so.
How about people who've recently retired or otherwise left the industry, guaranteed work frequently enough to maintain their proficiency?
 

ComUtoR

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Think about how it could be done, rather than why it couldn't.



If they were thinking of doing some part time work after retiring they'd make sure they kept up their certification.
How ?

They are retired. They are no longer employed by the TOC and the TOC will no longer keep up their competencies or medical standards. They can't just walk back and drive a train when they wanted or just drive a route to keep competence.

By doing any of the above they are not retired. They would be part time/flexi time or in some way still contracted to work.
 

Dai Corner

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How ?

They are retired. They are no longer employed by the TOC and the TOC will no longer keep up their competencies or medical standards. They can't just walk back and drive a train when they wanted or just drive a route to keep competence.

By doing any of the above they are not retired. They would be part time/flexi time or in some way still contracted to work.
See my post above yours.

Call it 'retired from full-time work' if you prefer. Many people do work on a casual basis for their former employers. My father did, my stepfather and I did. Mum did similar work fir a different employer.
 

6Gman

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They'd rather see trains cancelled than see Bill who retired a couple of months ago cover a duty nobody else wants to do and earn a few quid to treat his grandchildren?
No. They (the unions) would rather the TOCs employed extra full-time, permanent staff, rather than use casual staff. (Which they can't anyway for the reasons pointed out by others.)
 

Dai Corner

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No. They (the unions) would rather the TOCs employed extra full-time, permanent staff, rather than use casual staff. (Which they can't anyway for the reasons pointed out by others.)
As a passenger, I'd rather they did employ sufficient staff to cover the service without rest-day working or overtime. I still think it's more a matter of 'won't' rather than 'cant' when it comes to casual staff though.
 
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If you combine the intricacies of employment law with the rules and regulations of safety critical railway staff, you will find there is an absolutely zero chance of such an idea being possible to implement. Wiser folk than us would have tried by now believe me.
 

Cardiff123

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I think that if the travelling public knew that in 2019 that TOCs relied on train crew working overtime to make sure that every train in the timetable ran, including every single train on Sundays, there'd be outcry.
There can't be many other industries that rely as heavily on overtime and goodwill from staff to run a full service as the rail industry.
Do European countries have these same problems?
 

Cambrian359

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No. They (the unions) would rather the TOCs employed extra full-time, permanent staff, rather than use casual staff. (Which they can't anyway for the reasons pointed out by others.)
They are not reasons they are excuses to prevent someone from being a causal worker,please tell me why it would be so bad for someone to to just do a couple of shifts a month when they semi retire?

2 posters on here have now said the unions wouldn’t allow it,is this because it would lessen the disruption during strikes if they had a group of casual workers to call on to minimise disruption?

Also,who pays the wages ? The TOC or the union? So if the toc wanted to employ a reserve of casual semi retired staff for a few shifts a month who kept up their safety and competency training why would this be such an issue for the union?
I am quite baffled to say the least.

I realise this is somewhat off topic now, but it is a tactic that could help minimise crew shortages at key times.a can do attitude is needed instead of an ‘union wouldn’t allow it’ attitude.
 

ComUtoR

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See my post above yours.
Which explains nothing. You can't just retire and then 'keep up your certification The industry is heavily regulated and rightly so. There are many many hoops to jump through before you can just go drive a train.

Call it 'retired from full-time work' if you prefer.
You are either retired or not. Retired is different from going part time or reduced hours.

Many people do work on a casual basis for their former employers. My father did, my stepfather and I did. Mum did similar work fir a different employer.
Different industries have different rules.
 

ComUtoR

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They are not reasons they are excuses to prevent someone from being a causal worker,please tell me why it would be so bad for someone to to just do a couple of shifts a month when they semi retire?
They will need :

Regular medicals and a medical pretty much each time they returned to work.
Retain all uniform and equipment.
Keep up to date on rules, traction, operational notices etc.
Competency records
Safety of the line record
Attend safety briefings
Regular OTMR (black box) downloads and records.
Issued with all publications.

Effectively they remain an employee.

Imagine the fallout if there was a serious incident and it transpired the Driver had only driven a train twice that year and only turned up that day to book on a drive.
 

Cambrian359

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They will need :

Regular medicals and a medical pretty much each time they returned to work.
Retain all uniform and equipment.
Keep up to date on rules, traction, operational notices etc.
Competency records
Safety of the line record
Attend safety briefings
Regular OTMR (black box) downloads and records.
Issued with all publications.

Effectively they remain an employee.

Imagine the fallout if there was a serious incident and it transpired the Driver had only driven a train twice that year and only turned up that day to book on a drive.
Fair enough once or twice a year could be an issue, but surely if someone was doing a couple of shifts a month and the toc was willing to swallow the costs of keeping someone up to date for a couple of shifts a month it surely could be done?


Edit*autocorrect error
 

Dai Corner

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Fair enough once or twice a year could be an issue, but surely if someone was doing a couple of shifts a month and the toc was willing to swallow the costs of keeping someone up to date for a couple of shifts a month it surely could be done?


Edit*autocorrect error
Agreed. That's why I put in the caveat about working often enough to keep up their competencies.

Oh, and nobody's yet answered my question about how railtour operators manage to run tours with heritage traction over obscure routes.
 

ComUtoR

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Fair enough once or twice a year could be an issue,
How much is enough ? There are reasons why there is such a high degree of competency management. It is keeping the railway a safe place and ensuring the people who work there (not just the Drivers) are up to a safe standard.

but surely if someone was doing a couple of shifts a month
You are either working or not. If you are going to do a few shifts a month then you are still very much part time and employed by the company. Part time and reduced hours is something that is already happening. TOCs already have links where people only work 2/3 days a week and even restricted working hours; such as an 'old mans link' The question becomes how much can that be extended and at what point does it become unsafe.

Coming back on an ad hoc basis after leaving isn't plausible, sensible or safe. Consider the medical standards alone. If you were retired or casual for a few months and got sick or took medication or needed glasses then you no longer conform to any medical standard. As an employee I am required to inform my TOC any time I'm sick or need anything medically related. This is recorded and should I have something as simple as conjunctivitis I would need a medical before I was allowed to drive again. Same with hearing infections you need a medical before returning to work. If in the odd few months I was off work and my eyesight deteriorated, what would happen if I came back to drive and was under the eyesight standards ? My glasses would also need to meet the TOC and RSSB standards. As an employee, If I need to take any medication of some sort I have to declare it. Certain medications, again, need to be reviewed by occupational health and given the all clear before I am allowed to drive.

and the toc was willing to swallow the costs of keeping someone up to date for a couple of shifts a month it surely could be done?
The cost of employing Drivers and maintaining their competency and standards is immense. For someone who chose to retire or left the company then I doubt very much the company would accept that cost.

What would be possible and IS happening is that you could employ part time Drivers or employ specifically for restricted hours. The cost would also be exorbitant but it would be possible. TOCs already do this with people who are slowly moving towards job shares etc. But they are still very much employees. Any suggestion that people can leave and return on any kind of casual basis is pushing the realms of fantasy.

TOCs are very sensitive to costs. They rely on overtime because it is cheaper. Even if there were part time and casual workers, they would still need overtime because it would be cheaper.

A thought just popped in to my ickle head. If you had a 'casual worker' who only worked 1/2 days a month. Isn't that much the same as someone working overtime ? The TOC is just as reliant on someone working a few extra hours a month on an ad hoc basis. Almost the very definition of overtime. :/
 
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