Some short-term changes have been made to our shifts this week due to covid self-isolating.
This has resulted in me being on-call tomorrow, off on Sunday (waiting for confirmation on whether or not I’ll cover a colleague’s shift), spare on Monday and Tuesday, working Wednesday, spare on Thursday and then my 5 day weekend.
Today, I had to take a train into Cricklewood sidings and through the wash.
We don’t come here very often so it’s another reason why maintaining route knowledge is vital. Over the last two years, Cricklewood depot has changed considerably and it’s important that we’re aware of those changes (speeds, signalling, new “roads” etc).
The driver I relieved earlier was the driver whose key I cable-tied to loads of stuff, so I thought I’d bring it out to him for our exchange.
He found it funny, but those cable ties are on pretty tight…
For the last couple of days, our jobs have been amended due to engineering works. For the whole bank holiday weekend, we’ve only been running Rainham to Dartford.
Because of this, my job on Saturday and Sunday had no work for the first few hours so I got to come in later. Today’s job however, has work from start to finish for 8.5 hours. I’ve been spoilt by the last couple of days 😂
I’ve just started my shift at work after catching up on some sleep during the day.
Statistically, train drivers are more likely to make mistakes immediately before and immediately after taking annual leave, so I’ve ensured I’m fully refreshed and ready to go.
Today, I drive to Rainham, up to Luton, have a break and then drive back to Gillingham before berthing my train at the old Rochester Station.
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.
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.
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 😂
“On call” today (since 05:30) and for the first time ever, there’s absolutely no chance of being called in because no trains are running 😁
I was supposed to be early spare at work tomorrow (05:30) and one other person is the late spare. Everyone else rostered to work tomorrow is “on call”, because we don’t have any trains running from our depot due to widespread engineering works.
I had a chat with our resource manager and asked if I could be “on call” too, seeing as I’ll be of no use to the northern part of the network (there’s 4 depots on the northern part of the network).
I’m now “on call” tomorrow 😬
Tonight, I berthed my train in the Rochester Down Loop. The Rochester Up and Down Loops are at the “old” Rochester station, which closed in 2015 after the “new” station was completed 500m closer to Rochester.
Nowadays, the platforms at the “old” station are accessed via a series of locked gates and walkways.
More information on the “old” and “new” Rochester stations can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochester_railway_station?wprov=sfti1 https://maps.apple.com/?ll=51.389040,0.506890&q=Rochester%20railway%20station&_ext=EiQpzLEmEMyxSUAxADiQa3E44D85zLEmEMyxSUBBADiQa3E44D8%3D
It’s not often that things get as disrupted as they did yesterday but when it happens, it definitely keeps you on your toes!
I forgot to mention that prior to the disruption, two little scroats thought it would be funny to pull two emergency egress handles at Slade Green on the way to Luton. This delayed me by 7 minutes as I had to go back and reset the handles (one was in the rearmost carriage).
All in all, yesterday was a break from the norm.
I’ve been offered overtime for tomorrow and it’s the perfect little job.
Travel to Luton, have a break and drive a train back to Gillingham before taking it into the depot for the night.
It’s a “special” turn (not a regular job, but a one-off or very short-term job created due to a temporary timetable or a change in staff availability) which is 7 hours long.
Husband (almost), father, train driver, animal lover and creator of this Mastodon instance.
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