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The joy of Trains

SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
edited November 2009 in Commuting chat
I had to get the train this morning. First Capital Connect have cancelled 50% of their services due to a shortage of drivers. The drivers are refusing to work overtime as part of a pay dispute. It seems that 50% of services rely ondrivers working overtime. I am not sure who i dislike more - the 40k, 35 hour week drivers or a train company that reiles on overtime.

I got my train (late) but it was short formed so from Streatham onwards it was rammed and we got shouted at by people thinking there was space to 'move down'. I was wedged next to a pram and the baby decided to have a good old crying sess.

Hell. :evil: :roll: :cry:
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  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    Sewinman wrote:
    . I was wedged next to a pram and the baby decided to have a good old crying sess.
    :

    you can't really blame it.
    Were you tempted to join in?
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    They did this up here too, london midland decided to stop paying double pay to those that volounteerd to work sundays, apparently no one is contracted to work sundays and surpirsingly there were no volounteers. So no trains, they were in the poop for it.

    There is no joy in trains.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    will3 wrote:
    Sewinman wrote:
    . I was wedged next to a pram and the baby decided to have a good old crying sess.
    :

    you can't really blame it.
    Were you tempted to join in?

    At least it had a seat!
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    prawny wrote:
    ...There is no joy in trains.

    Maybe not in London, but where I am, catching the train lets me cycle to work... it's an essential part of my commute and has been for years.
    The service has improved over the last few years and some of the services are victims of their own success- The 1712 from Queen St. is mobbed these days, getting a bike on would be a major challenge most days (I'm using a locker at the other end of the line at the moment, in the past I've usually taken the bike with me to use at each end of the line).
    The details of the work end vary depending on my current contract- I've had half a dozen different destinations over the last couple of years, but the main part (home to Dunblane Station, c. 4 1/2 miles each way) has been a constant, with the time varying to suit the train I need to catch.

    Cycling instead of training isn't an option for me- it's 40-50 miles each way and I have neither the hours in the day nor the strength in the legs to ride it all!! I guess I could mix driving & cycling, but then I wouldn't be able to cool off and "freshen up" during the journey, nor read, sleep etc....

    Nope- I'm a big fan of trains.... I think it's London you don't like, London trains are worse than other trains, just as London traffic is worse :-)

    Cheers,
    W.
  • AidyAidy Posts: 2,015
    prawny wrote:
    ...There is no joy in trains.
    Nope- I'm a big fan of trains.... I think it's London you don't like, London trains are worse than other trains, just as London traffic is worse :-)

    Cannock is in London? Who knew?
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    will3 wrote:
    Sewinman wrote:
    . I was wedged next to a pram and the baby decided to have a good old crying sess.
    :

    you can't really blame it.
    Were you tempted to join in?

    you should wear headphones, although it'll obscure your awareness of other commuters


    :lol:
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
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  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    Aidy wrote:
    prawny wrote:
    ...There is no joy in trains.
    Nope- I'm a big fan of trains.... I think it's London you don't like, London trains are worse than other trains, just as London traffic is worse :-)

    Cannock is in London? Who knew?

    London is growing have you not seen it in the daily mail, by 2011 london will be the size of france and have a population of 3bn people.

    TBF the trains round by me used to be just quite bad but since london midland took over they are a bag o' shite. I caught one recently because my bike broke down, it took an hour and 35 mins to do the same journey I do in an hour and 10, and there's only 5 stops.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Aidy wrote:
    ....
    Cannock is in London? Who knew?

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no real idea where Cannock is- I was going entirely on the name of Prawny's ToC (London Midland), and leaping to conclusions... :oops:

    Still down south (ie, beyond Newcastle), though, isn't it? London Midland don't run any trains north of Liverpool.... :-)

    Cheers,
    W.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    Aidy wrote:
    ....
    Cannock is in London? Who knew?

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no real idea where Cannock is- I was going entirely on the name of Prawny's ToC (London Midland), and leaping to conclusions... :oops:

    Still down south (ie, beyond Newcastle), though, isn't it? London Midland don't run any trains north of Liverpool.... :-)

    Cheers,
    W.

    You don't know where cannock is? The second worst place in the world according to clarkson (after burton on trent but they gave us beer so not all bad) shame on you!

    Tis in the midlands it's the greenish bit between birmingham and stoke.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    prawny wrote:
    You don't know where cannock is? The second worst place in the world according to clarkson (after burton on trent but they gave us beer so not all bad) shame on you!.

    Yeah, sorry :oops: My English geography is pretty weak. It's gradually improving as we explore the canal system, so I now have a vague grasp of the top bit between Leeds and Nantwich (L+L, Rochdale, Huddersfields), as well as having spent a little time around Cumbria, Durham & York, but we havn't taken the boat any further south than that, yet...

    On (brief) reflection, I think I've almost never cycled in England...

    Cheers,
    W.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    Lot's of canals round this way. I used to race marathon canoes and my club is based on the canal. Might be worth bringing the boat down this way for an expore, I think its almost direct from llangollen to gailey where I used to train.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • RoastieRoastie Posts: 1,968
    prawny wrote:
    ...There is no joy in trains.
    Maybe not in London, but where I am, catching the train lets me cycle to work... it's an essential part of my commute and has been for years.
    Ditto. I take the train out of London every day to Essex. Always have a seat, have a nice 40 mins to myself each way to read or just watch the world go by.

    Next year, given change of office location and the stupid pricing approach on intercity services, taking the car will be cheaper. P's me off.
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    prawny wrote:
    Lot's of canals round this way. I used to race marathon canoes and my club is based on the canal. Might be worth bringing the boat down this way for an expore, I think its almost direct from llangollen to gailey where I used to train.

    That's the plan. We had the boat on the East of the Pennines originally and have moved it North, then West and now South (a bit). There's some exploring to do around Llangollen, Ellesmere Port and the Macclesfield (maybe the Lancaster, if we can timetable the Ribble link) and then the idea's to find a new base further South, which would be around your corner of the world, I think... and explore that bit.
    The boat belongs to my wife's family, though, so we only have a small say in where it goes!!

    ObCycling- it'd be handy to have a Brompton or two on the boat, it's a pity they are so expensive!!!!

    Cheers,
    W.
  • essexianessexian Posts: 187
    I travel from Stafford (not far from Cannock) to London and back a couple of times a month on business. Since the new lines south of Stafford opened I must say the service is first rate; especially if I can budget for a first class ticket on Virgin. The train takes a little over 75 minutes for 130 odd miles.

    There is also a slower service from Stafford to London on London Midlands. Whilst it takes an hour longer than the Virgin service, I can get a return ticket for only £15!

    Anyway, rant here.... I had the misfortune to travel home from Reading yesterday on Cross Country....what a pile of s...omething or other. The train was so packed there was standing room only and to the shimmy blond who sat next to me; please watch where you put your elbows!!!! :twisted:
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    OT, but I swam in that Cannock Chase reservoir once as part of triathlon. censored , it was cold.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    cjcp wrote:
    OT, but I swam in that Cannock Chase reservoir once as part of triathlon. censored , it was cold.

    This thread has gone well OT now don't worry!

    Which one? There's shedloads o reservoirs round here, there's even an underground one, but I wouldn't fancy swimming in that.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    prawny wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    OT, but I swam in that Cannock Chase reservoir once as part of triathlon. censored , it was cold.

    This thread has gone well OT now don't worry!

    Which one? There's shedloads o reservoirs round here, there's even an underground one, but I wouldn't fancy swimming in that.

    The feckin' cold one. :P

    (Not the underground one. Chasewater? Or the one that begins with "G"?
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    I've swam in chasewater, my uncle swam from one end to the other once apparently it's quite far I wouldn't fancy it.

    I grew up right by there (opposite side of the lake to all the part bits) and I used to ride my MTB around there all the time, it was round there I bust my collarbone
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • As one of those £40k, 35 hour-a-week (I wish) drivers I think I should respond to the original post. I used to work for FCC's predecessor, Thameslink, and found them to be a reasonable company to work for. FirstGroup however are a very different animal. How they keep any rail franchise is anyone's guess. The pay deal offered is a two-year deal which offers not a jot in the way of a pay rise. You may think that Train Drivers earn quite enough and I respect your opinion, but be aware that we are in a very fragile position now where the slightest mistake is pounced upon by 'wet-behind-the-ears' managers who are only too willing to slap you down if it gives them a leg-up the ladder. It's not quite "three strikes and out" just yet but it's getting there. Sure we're very well paid....better than some very deserving medical staff for example...... but that's not the point. We all strive for a better standard of living and don't take too kindly when, in real terms, the company make a derisory offer but then stand to put up fares by some considerable margin. It's the staff that make the profits. The plain fact is FirstGroup have known that they were going to be short of drivers for some time but find it easier to rely on the goodwill of their staff and it has come back to bite them. First Capital Connect have become a bit of a Train Driver Training School where new entrants get a foot in the door then up sticks to a better company after their probationary period expires. Getting up at 2 in the morning or getting home after midnight is okay but there are times when you just don't want to have to do it on your day off. That's why FCC should be looking at themselves and either recruit enough drivers to fill the agreed rosters or treat the existing staff properly. It is very easy to portray the workforce as the villains and the media have much to do with this. There are two sides to every story.
    Start Weight: 128 kilos (20.2 st) (April 17th 2009)
    Current Weight:119 kilos (18.7 st) (June 18th 2009)
    Target Weight: 92 kilos (14.5 st) (sometime mid-2010, hopefully sooner)
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    As one of those £40k, 35 hour-a-week (I wish) drivers I think I should respond to the original post. I used to work for FCC's predecessor, Thameslink, and found them to be a reasonable company to work for. FirstGroup however are a very different animal. How they keep any rail franchise is anyone's guess. The pay deal offered is a two-year deal which offers not a jot in the way of a pay rise. You may think that Train Drivers earn quite enough and I respect your opinion, but be aware that we are in a very fragile position now where the slightest mistake is pounced upon by 'wet-behind-the-ears' managers who are only too willing to slap you down if it gives them a leg-up the ladder. It's not quite "three strikes and out" just yet but it's getting there. Sure we're very well paid....better than some very deserving medical staff for example...... but that's not the point. We all strive for a better standard of living and don't take too kindly when, in real terms, the company make a derisory offer but then stand to put up fares by some considerable margin. It's the staff that make the profits. The plain fact is FirstGroup have known that they were going to be short of drivers for some time but find it easier to rely on the goodwill of their staff and it has come back to bite them. First Capital Connect have become a bit of a Train Driver Training School where new entrants get a foot in the door then up sticks to a better company after their probationary period expires. Getting up at 2 in the morning or getting home after midnight is okay but there are times when you just don't want to have to do it on your day off. That's why FCC should be looking at themselves and either recruit enough drivers to fill the agreed rosters or treat the existing staff properly. It is very easy to portray the workforce as the villains and the media have much to do with this. There are two sides to every story.

    I'm on your side mate, I can't if I got regular overtime and then my company decided that they weren't paying it anymore why would I volounteer. Sod em, if they wan't to contract you to work sundays and bank holidays then fine, if not then there has to be some incentive.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    Be fair, steering one of those huge great trains and keeping it balanced on those tiny little rails must be bloody difficult,

    and think about tube drivers, they have to do all that in the dark.
  • marchantmarchant Posts: 362
    It's been a long time since I commuted by train (thank heavens), but on a recent trip to London to take my son to an Out-patient appointment, I did rather resent the price of a single ticket only being about 30p less than the £13 return :shock: Felt like phoning Watchdog....
  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    marchant wrote:
    It's been a long time since I commuted by train (thank heavens), but on a recent trip to London to take my son to an Out-patient appointment, I did rather resent the price of a single ticket only being about 30p less than the £13 return :shock: Felt like phoning Watchdog....

    At least it was less..... there are instances when a return is cheaper than a single....
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • I find the people who work on trains are always fairly nice.

    The people selling you tickets and loitering around the station looking important seem to piss me off regardless of whether i have to deal with them or not.

    I recently had a train terminated by the 'controller' a stop short of my 3 stop journey. I walked the last part of the journey faster than the next train got there. a 15 minutes journey taking almost 2 hours was taking the piss.

    I find it ridiculous someone would plan their business on the assumption that their workers will do overtime, hire some more workers ffs. Then you wont have to pay them double pay to work. or as RockyHopperShow said, treat the drivers with respect.
  • yesiamtom wrote:
    I find the people who work on trains are always fairly nice.

    The people selling you tickets and loitering around the station looking important seem to wee-wee me off regardless of whether i have to deal with them or not.

    I recently had a train terminated by the 'controller' a stop short of my 3 stop journey. I walked the last part of the journey faster than the next train got there. a 15 minutes journey taking almost 2 hours was taking the wee-wee.

    I find it ridiculous someone would plan their business on the assumption that their workers will do overtime, hire some more workers ffs. Then you wont have to pay them double pay to work. or as RockyHopperShow said, treat the drivers with respect.

    to be fair a fair number of companies rely on overtime, the problem is when your relying too much on overtime.

    does sound like this is the case with the trains.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    As one of those £40k, 35 hour-a-week (I wish) drivers I think I should respond to the original post. I used to work for FCC's predecessor, Thameslink, and found them to be a reasonable company to work for. FirstGroup however are a very different animal. How they keep any rail franchise is anyone's guess. The pay deal offered is a two-year deal which offers not a jot in the way of a pay rise. You may think that Train Drivers earn quite enough and I respect your opinion, but be aware that we are in a very fragile position now where the slightest mistake is pounced upon by 'wet-behind-the-ears' managers who are only too willing to slap you down if it gives them a leg-up the ladder. It's not quite "three strikes and out" just yet but it's getting there. Sure we're very well paid....better than some very deserving medical staff for example...... but that's not the point. We all strive for a better standard of living and don't take too kindly when, in real terms, the company make a derisory offer but then stand to put up fares by some considerable margin. It's the staff that make the profits. The plain fact is FirstGroup have known that they were going to be short of drivers for some time but find it easier to rely on the goodwill of their staff and it has come back to bite them. First Capital Connect have become a bit of a Train Driver Training School where new entrants get a foot in the door then up sticks to a better company after their probationary period expires. Getting up at 2 in the morning or getting home after midnight is okay but there are times when you just don't want to have to do it on your day off. That's why FCC should be looking at themselves and either recruit enough drivers to fill the agreed rosters or treat the existing staff properly. It is very easy to portray the workforce as the villains and the media have much to do with this. There are two sides to every story.

    Sorry.... Pay RISE?? At a time when a lot of people have lost their jobs and inflation and interest rates are at practically zero and the economy is shrinking/growing at its slowest rate since the 1930s? Bloody train and Tube drivers need to wake up tor reality....
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    As one of those £40k, 35 hour-a-week (I wish) drivers I think I should respond to the original post. I used to work for FCC's predecessor, Thameslink, and found them to be a reasonable company to work for. FirstGroup however are a very different animal. How they keep any rail franchise is anyone's guess. The pay deal offered is a two-year deal which offers not a jot in the way of a pay rise. You may think that Train Drivers earn quite enough and I respect your opinion, but be aware that we are in a very fragile position now where the slightest mistake is pounced upon by 'wet-behind-the-ears' managers who are only too willing to slap you down if it gives them a leg-up the ladder. It's not quite "three strikes and out" just yet but it's getting there. Sure we're very well paid....better than some very deserving medical staff for example...... but that's not the point. We all strive for a better standard of living and don't take too kindly when, in real terms, the company make a derisory offer but then stand to put up fares by some considerable margin. It's the staff that make the profits. The plain fact is FirstGroup have known that they were going to be short of drivers for some time but find it easier to rely on the goodwill of their staff and it has come back to bite them. First Capital Connect have become a bit of a Train Driver Training School where new entrants get a foot in the door then up sticks to a better company after their probationary period expires. Getting up at 2 in the morning or getting home after midnight is okay but there are times when you just don't want to have to do it on your day off. That's why FCC should be looking at themselves and either recruit enough drivers to fill the agreed rosters or treat the existing staff properly. It is very easy to portray the workforce as the villains and the media have much to do with this. There are two sides to every story.

    Do some work.
  • Surely, since the railways were privatised, the public can no longer criticise train drivers for being greedy? Drivers are employed by FCC, a ruthless corporation that is in it for bottom-line profit. Unions/drivers are entitled to deal with FCC in a similarly hard-nosed, commercial manner, especially as there appears to be no goodwill on either side. In commerce, the aim is to maximise profit, nothing else.

    We should be holding FCC responsible for the disruption, because we pay ticket money to FCC, not the drivers/staff. FCC is the franchise holder, who are bound by obligations to provide a service, not the unions/drivers, who are now mere employees. When the railways were privatised, the unions and staff were basically cut out of operational decision-making (ie staffing levels, overtime rules, etc.) so they can not morally be held responsible for poor decision-making by FCC.

    If the public wants drivers/staff to take notice of public opinion, they should have kept it a public service. The railways are now privately run, so we can't really expect a public service ethos, can we?
  • rally200 wrote:
    Be fair, steering one of those huge great trains and keeping it balanced on those tiny little rails must be bloody difficult,

    and think about tube drivers, they have to do all that in the dark.

    Thanks for that, I didn't realise there was so little to my job - a job that 80% of applicants can't pass the aptitude test for, let alone see the course through to the passing-out stage. It is very easy to dissect an occupation to the bare bones, what's yours Rally200?

    On the subject of the payrise itself, I can see where you are coming from in that it is a lot to expect in the current climate but it's a bit rich to expect to have a real-terms loss of pay/standard of living when the company is all too willing to shaft the paying customer with a massive fare-rise and not pass some of the (huge) profits on to the workforce (not just Drivers note) Anyway, aren't we coming out of recession?
    Start Weight: 128 kilos (20.2 st) (April 17th 2009)
    Current Weight:119 kilos (18.7 st) (June 18th 2009)
    Target Weight: 92 kilos (14.5 st) (sometime mid-2010, hopefully sooner)
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Anyway, aren't we coming out of recession?

    Of course not! Nothing's happened to change the problems we had before the recession. The economy is still built on thin air and any improvement can only really be a short term one before things crash properly. Anyone hoping for the recession to end now hasn't really learned anything - a recovery now in many ways would be a disaster.

    As for the rail network - heartbreaking to compare the state of our railways compared to those of much of Europe but cheering to compare it to the hopelessness of organisations such as Amtrak or VIA Canada. I recently picked up the National Amtrak rail timetable, covering the whole of the USA - it's the size of Cycling Weekly. Trains are painfully slow and chronically overstaffed.......
    Faster than a tent.......
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