I was supposed to do my training for ATO (Automatic Train Operation) and ETCS (European Train Control System) a couple of weeks ago but this got pulled at the very last moment… I literally turned up for the training only to be asked whether or not I received the memo about the cancellation. No, I did NOT receive that memo 😂
I’m hoping I’ll get on a course in September.
Anyway, I hope you’re all keeping well. Hopefully, normal service will be resumed on my part shortly…
How are you all doing?
Sorry it’s been a while since my last toot, but I’ve been so busy with work and life.
I’m currently on 3 weeks of annual leave and really feel like I deserve it. We’ve got a few trips planned for the next 3 weeks, which I’m really looking forward to!
Last week I had to do my first routine refresher course for work where I was reassessed on EVERYTHING to make sure my competency was up to date. I passed with flying colours so don’t have to do that again for 3 years 👍🏻
For tonight’s little bit of overtime, I travel to Luton (via high speed services) to drive a train back down to Gillingham.
Total on-shift time is 4hrs 40mins, so a lovely bit of work to do on a rest day.
It’s route knowledge like this that we need to maintain for that one time we end up having to do a move that we’re not ordinarily familiar with.
The booked taxi arrived early (a new, electric London Black Cab) and the driver was keen to get back home to Essex after dropping me off, so I ended up getting home 40 minutes earlier than I was due to book off at the depot 👍🏻
I’m working overtime again tonight, but covering part of a Luton job only.
However, Smithfield Sidings only has a third rail power supply, so before reaching City Thameslink we must remember to disable the automatic power changeover as we may forget that the pantographs have raised or muck around dropping them again. We also need to contact the signaller whilst at City Thameslink to confirm that the pantographs are down so that we get given the signal to proceed into the sidings.
We only use Smithfield Sidings during times of disruption or when there’s literally nowhere else to stable a train so it’s unusual for this to be part of a booked job.
I’ve never actually taken a train in or out of Smithfield Sidings before (despite “signing it”) so this was something new for me.
Usually, when travelling north we must stop at City Thameslink to raise the pantographs and switch power supplies (we use 750v third rail south of City Thameslink and 25kv overhead lines northwards).
I was offered overtime for last night late yesterday afternoon, so I accepted.
I had to drive a train to Luton, have a break, drive back down to Dartford and then run empty to Smithfield Sidings before travelling to Blackfriars and getting a taxi back home.
Smithfield Sidings is located in the tunnels between City Thameslink and Farringdon. It has two roads which can each accommodate a RLU.
It’s my last early turn today (yay!).
03:12 start; walk to the depot, prepare a unit, bring it out into Gillingham station, drive to Luton, have a break and then drive back to Gillingham.
We had heavy rain last night and even at 03.00, it’s really muggy and misty. The smell in the air is amazing.
As I type this, it’s now beginning to rain again.
Before leaving the sidings, a fire alarm went off in the accessible toilet, which had previously been locked out due to a fault.
I went back to check for fire and it was a false alarm.
On the way to Dartford, the same fire alarm went off again so the fire alarm system had to be isolated. This means the train can’t enter service.
I took the train empty to Gillingham where the driver due to relieve me would take it empty to the maintenance depot at Cricklewood.
Today, I was 03:15 spare.
I offered to cover the last bit of a night driver’s job which meant he got to go home to bed 2 hours early.
Taxi to Plumstead sidings to prepare a train, drive empty to Dartford and then in service to Gillingham where I’d be relieved.
I was booked to leave Plumstead sidings from the south end but my route was blocked by another train, so I had to depart via the north end and do a shunt into platform 1 at the station.
There was a power failure near Greenwich earlier so I had to divert from Charlton, staying on the Up North Kent though Blackheath and then stopping at Lewisham before continuing on to London Bridge.
I’ve not driven this diversionary before (I know it from route training videos) and was surprised at how long Blackheath Tunnel was 😂
This made me 13 minutes late at London Bridge so I was instructed to run fast from St. Pancras to St. Albans to make up my time.
Very early start today (03:44). I had to prepare a unit and bring it out of the depot and into the platform at Gillingham.
I drive to Luton, have a break and then drive back down to Gillingham.
I’ve been playing around with the lidar on my phone and used it to make a quick 3D scan of the cab in one of our trains (class 700).
Today’s job is a long one but broken up sufficiently.
Drive Gillingham to Rainham to Gillingham, wait an hour, drive Gillingham to Rainham to Gillingham, wait 2 hours, drive to Luton and straight back to Dartford before travelling back to Gillingham.
I managed to do a colleague a favour in the first break and did his last turnaround for him, so he got to go home 30 minutes early.
So far, I’ve driven 3 trains but not really gone anywhere 😂
We’re on the beach at Carbis Bay today.
We’ve been really lucky with the weather this week ☀️
Husband (almost), father, train driver, animal lover and creator of this Mastodon instance.
This is a private instance for family and friends only.