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Author Topic: Shortage of train crews on Great Western Railway since September 2017 - ongoing discussion  (Read 188872 times)
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1305 on: December 15, 2019, 07:24:07 pm »

GWR Twitter response seems to consist of "Sorry, we've got a crew shortage, you can catch the next train"

Interesting also that they are advising that they are "trying to source" road transport - they've known that this was going to happen for days, if not longer - why was this, at the very least, not put in place in a timely fashion?

Many of you know that I manage the relationship between GWR and the Coffee Shop and I thought it would be helpful to give you an idea of where we are today.
 
I can’t respond to every comment on here but recognise the issues being flagged about Sunday availability of crews. Any cancellation is not acceptable but we have been working hard to get Sundays included in the working week for all GWR colleagues with some progress but we recognise there is more to do.

Regular contributors will be aware of what we are doing to bring Sunday into the working week for all staff. The issue is absolutely understood and the evidence shows the new contracts we introduced last year are  having a positive impact on the overall service, although we recognise that is no consolation to anyone impacted today. The timetable itself is working well, but it doesn't insulate us against the challenges any train operator faces on a day to day basis. We are running the majority of services today and current ppm is over 90%.

Most of the short notice cancellations today relate to work at our Swansea depot which has historically not been a place we have recorded many issues.  This is due to the availability of Swansea drivers with the relevant route knowledge to run services on the Vale of Glamorgan diversionary route.
 
We are trying to reduce the impact where possible and your contributors have mentioned some of these activities.
 
We have plans to continue minimise the impact in the short term and to address the issue in the longer term.

Caroline can you advise as to whether this situation is going to be repeated next Sunday, when demand is likely to be even higher & the situation even more critical, given the restrictions at Paddington w/c 23/12?

Do you have a sufficient complement of drivers available or will there be similar mass cancellations/curtailment?

What is the advice for passengers planning/who have already made arrangements to travel to/from Wales/the West on 22/12?
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phile
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« Reply #1306 on: December 15, 2019, 08:56:16 pm »


All Swansea drivers, except for an odd one perhaps, have route knowledge via the VOG.     There are some that are worked by London or Bristol drivers  who do not.
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RichardB
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« Reply #1307 on: December 15, 2019, 09:56:04 pm »

The 1903 has just left at 1935 and the 2003 is now cancelled again...... Roll Eyes
Leaving that late it may have picked up some early arriving passengers for the 2003 who I bet were breathing a huge sigh of relief that they arrived at Paddington early.

I was travelling back from Ealing to Plymouth yesterday evening.  I intended to get the 19 35 from Ealing Broadway to Reading, then the 20 03 ex Pad to Plymouth.  When I got to Ealing Broadway, there was an announcement that the 19 35 was cancelled.  I thought - right, to Paddington.  I got the 19 30 from Ealing and was walking across the Paddington concourse at 19 40ish when I saw that the 20 03 was also cancelled. 

Luckily the 19 45 Swansea was still in the station so I rushed up to it, quickly checked the Bristol Parkway arrival time with the Train Manager stood waiting to close the doors and knowing I could connect there with the last CrossCountry, jumped on it.  I thanked my lucky stars I had done so as I really didn't fancy spending the night in London or a long taxi trip. All went well and I got back to Plymouth at much the time as if Plan A had worked out.  I was lucky, helped by me knowing my way around the network a bit. 

I know these things are difficult but, to my mind, if at all possible, the 19 03 should have been held back further and not left until 20 03. 
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« Reply #1308 on: December 15, 2019, 10:24:03 pm »

As far as negotiations are concerned we are not able to share details of this for wider discussion until we have done a deal.  We will, of course, keep you informed when a deal is confirmed.

Thank you.  I wasn't asking for any details other than whether it is still expected (or hoped) to be resolved as planned for next December.  We face another summer of significant cancellations on Sundays next year sadly - my feeling is that any extra staff numbers will be outweighed by the additional trains in the timetable - but hopefully that will be the last one if a deal can be done in time.

We hope that it will be concluded as soon as possible.

As soon as possible.... what a joke, this has been going on for years, other grades were given new deals and contracts for 24/7 working many years ago, removing the age old BR constraints and giving staff decent pay and conditions, why have GWR (and other TOCS) have been so reluctant to negotiate the same deal with ASLEF is the question..... 
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CarolineCummins
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« Reply #1309 on: December 16, 2019, 03:31:04 pm »

GWR Twitter response seems to consist of "Sorry, we've got a crew shortage, you can catch the next train"

Interesting also that they are advising that they are "trying to source" road transport - they've known that this was going to happen for days, if not longer - why was this, at the very least, not put in place in a timely fashion?

Many of you know that I manage the relationship between GWR and the Coffee Shop and I thought it would be helpful to give you an idea of where we are today.
 
I can’t respond to every comment on here but recognise the issues being flagged about Sunday availability of crews. Any cancellation is not acceptable but we have been working hard to get Sundays included in the working week for all GWR colleagues with some progress but we recognise there is more to do.

Regular contributors will be aware of what we are doing to bring Sunday into the working week for all staff. The issue is absolutely understood and the evidence shows the new contracts we introduced last year are  having a positive impact on the overall service, although we recognise that is no consolation to anyone impacted today. The timetable itself is working well, but it doesn't insulate us against the challenges any train operator faces on a day to day basis. We are running the majority of services today and current ppm is over 90%.

Most of the short notice cancellations today relate to work at our Swansea depot which has historically not been a place we have recorded many issues.  This is due to the availability of Swansea drivers with the relevant route knowledge to run services on the Vale of Glamorgan diversionary route.
 
We are trying to reduce the impact where possible and your contributors have mentioned some of these activities.
 
We have plans to continue minimise the impact in the short term and to address the issue in the longer term.

Caroline can you advise as to whether this situation is going to be repeated next Sunday, when demand is likely to be even higher & the situation even more critical, given the restrictions at Paddington w/c 23/12?

Do you have a sufficient complement of drivers available or will there be similar mass cancellations/curtailment?

What is the advice for passengers planning/who have already made arrangements to travel to/from Wales/the West on 22/12?

In previous years we have experienced challenges with traincrew availability at Christmas and we are doing everything we can to maximise their availability for next Sunday (22 December).  Recently recruited drivers are signed up to the new terms and conditions, which include a commitment to work rostered Sundays, and the majority of LTV and West drivers are also signed up.  The HSS drivers are not in that position and negotiations continue to explore how we might get Sundays in working weeks.  If we anticipate any issues on Sunday we will let you know later in the week and we will, of course, ensure that customers who are planning to travel are aware.

I should note that engineering work over this last weekend restricted the number of available drivers.  These engineering works will not be taking place this weekend (21/22 December).

Yesterday we tried to ensure there were not big gaps in the service either by reinstating some services or providing road transport. If a similar situation arises next Sunday we would plan to do the same to ensure we keep customers moving.
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GBM
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« Reply #1310 on: December 16, 2019, 06:47:53 pm »

May I express my thanks to Caroline for taking on the forum.
A thankless job but how good that GWR are willing to do so officially.

For many years there's been a few extremely regular 'insider contributors' and to those I also express my sincere thanks.
Then Mark joined and took on an occasional slot for questions.
Now perhaps Caroline will take on a more regular role.

May the usual 'insiders' please continue their very informative role as well, in case Caroline's role is "cut back" with budgetary constraints/role changes/etc.
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« Reply #1311 on: December 16, 2019, 07:12:08 pm »

Good to see few, if any, cancellations due to crew shortages today.  Hopefully that bodes well for the rest of the week and into the New Year.
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« Reply #1312 on: December 19, 2019, 06:28:32 am »

A quick look at RTT this morning for this coming Sunday. Compared to this time last week pretty much a full service scheduled apart from a handful of Paddington-Cardiffs cancelled late morning/early afternoon and Cheltenham-Paddington services terminating at Swindon in the morning so it looks much better as it stands.

edited for clarification of Cheltenham-Paddington services terminating at Swindon morning only.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2019, 09:09:51 am by Timmer » Logged
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« Reply #1313 on: December 19, 2019, 07:26:25 am »

Double pay being offered again...
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1314 on: December 20, 2019, 03:56:12 pm »

Double pay being offered again...

All cancelled or starting/finishing short due to crew shortage.


15:58 Cheltenham Spa to London Paddington due 17:56
16:30 London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa due 18:30
17:37 London Paddington to Paignton due 21:16
18:03 Weston-Super-Mare to London Paddington due 19:44
18:57 Plymouth to London Paddington due 22:29
18:58 Cheltenham Spa to London Paddington due 21:01
20:28 London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa due 22:34
10:41 Great Malvern to Brighton due 16:13
12:42 Great Malvern to Weymouth due 17:06
13:00 Cardiff Central to Penzance due 18:40
13:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 16:44
15:28 London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa due 17:31
15:30 Warminster to Worcester Foregate Street due 18:23
16:30 Bath Spa to Bristol Parkway due 17:22
17:02 Brighton to Bristol Parkway due 20:56
17:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 20:50
17:58 Cheltenham Spa to London Paddington due 19:57
18:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour due 21:49
21:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Bristol Temple Meads due 00:15
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CarolineCummins
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« Reply #1315 on: December 20, 2019, 04:05:38 pm »

As promised, here’s an update on Sunday’s services for you and the situation is improving all the time.  This update is also being shared on our website and through social media.

Changes to trains for Sunday 22 December – UPDATED

An amended timetable is in place affecting some journeys between London and Bristol Temple Meads, and London and Swansea. Where trains are able to run they are expected to be busy.

Customers are advised to travel early and should check their journeys at https://www.gwr.com/plan-journey before travelling as some changes will be made at short notice.

The usual compensation arrangements are in place should customers be delayed and ticket restrictions have been lifted allowing  customers to travel on an earlier or later service.

How will this affect my journey?

In order to keep passengers moving, from midday services between London Paddington and Swansea will be hourly.

On the route between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads an hourly service will also be in operation from late afternoon.

The amendments have come about because of the unusually high number of rail staff are not available to work. While newer GWR contracts include Sunday working, not all railway workers are contracted to work on Sundays. GWR is working with colleagues and trade unions to make Sunday contracted hours more consistent across the business.

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1316 on: December 20, 2019, 07:37:20 pm »

.......on the Friday before Christmas......got to be one of the most brainless ones to cancel.

18:04 London Paddington to Penzance due 23:07
18:04 London Paddington to Penzance due 23:07 has been cancelled.
This is due to train crew being delayed by service disruption.
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« Reply #1317 on: December 20, 2019, 07:52:27 pm »

There was a special 1Z92 1925 Padd to Penzance scheduled but that was cancelled as well.  The 1835 Padd to Plymouth was 30 odd minutes late leaving and is running behind the 1904 Padd to Penzance.......

You couldn't make it all up (well, it seems GWR can). Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 09:49:03 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged
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« Reply #1318 on: December 20, 2019, 08:00:11 pm »

There was a special 1Z92 1825 Padd to Penzance scheduled but that was cancelled as well.  The 1835 Padd to Plymouth was 30 odd minutes late leaving and is running behind the 1904 Padd to Penzance.......

You couldn't make it all up (well, it seems GWR can). Roll Eyes
My sister in law is on the delayed 1835 which as you expect is rather full. Another delay repay claim about to go in. She reported, as you’d expect, that Paddington was very busy.

Sensible that the 1904 was allowed to go ahead as the 1835 stops at more stations on route.
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« Reply #1319 on: December 20, 2019, 08:21:58 pm »

It looks as though the Freight train failure at Theale earlier in the afternoon disrupted all the Paddington Inbound train crew that work out again some 35 minutes later.  In the 'old days' such services would be terminated at and turned back on time at Reading, but since the new timetable the platform occupancy there has almost no slack so keeping a train there for 30-45 mins wouldn't work.

I'm dreading my trip up and back from the far-Southwest on Sunday 29th December.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 08:33:51 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged
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