Train driver illnesses force changes to peak-hour services

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 07 Nov 2017 10:56
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Is V/Line that short of drivers? Seriously?

Train driver illnesses force changes to peak-hour services

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  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Did they have the fish?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkGR65CXaNA
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Is V/Line that short of drivers? Seriously?

Train driver illnesses force changes to peak-hour services
bevans
The current 27/08 tt appears to be struggling with both rollingstock availability, and driver rseources spread too thin (not enough staff to run the tt allowing for normal scale of illness).

- Trains repeatedly cancelled owing to maintenance requirements . Since when do maintenance requirements dictate cancellation of trains ona  daily basis , on a professionally managed railway  ?  Worse still VLP just direct pax to next service in peaks which all on Geelong & Ballarat are at 100 %  plus capacity already .  VLP knew how many trains are required to run the 27/08 tt and rate of VL deliveries so something is seriously wrong .

-  Repeatedly the last Down trains to Geelong , Ballarat and Bendigo are being cancelled owing to staff  illness . One has to question this excuse, given if a driver is MIA then they would normally drive more than one trip, thus resulting in multiple cancellations ?
Again if the number of trained drivers is correct, there should not be cancellations owing to staff shortages; as a well managed railway factors that into the overall staff  numbers .
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
It seems to me that V/Line are not provided anywhere near enough funding to meet the service levels PTV has set for them.

V/Line have got themselves into a position where they know this. They have a set list of services that are cancelled at the drop of a hat the second they encounter a minor problem, whether it be that they are short of staff or short of rollingstock, either way they have the same playbook and they run to it.

How else can you explain the ridiculous regularity certain services are cancelled with? Take the 1537 down Melton for instance, it seems to be cancelled at least once a week, there have even been weeks where it has been cancelled every single day. This is not the only one, just one I have personally observed. It kinda makes sense I suppose, Short run, return to Melbourne runs as empty cars, another service (1610 down Bacchus Marsh) following just 33 minutes later, I would choose that too if I had to cancel something.

----

It would seem then that we are left with 3 options:

1. The government increase the amount of funding provided to their public transport providers.

2. The government increase the fare rates.

3. Things remain as is.

No option is without its drawbacks, but you can almost guarantee that neither of the major political parties would have the intestinal fortitude to up fares and risk their balls on the line in the process, so you can forget about that one.

My bet is, things will likely remain as they are.
  steve195 Train Controller

So is it safe to assume that the $316m allocated in the last state budget for extra v/line maintenance and whatnot is nowhere near enough to fix the fundamental issues?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
The V/Line fleet is much larger than it has ever been. The timetable is runnning at a rate that has also never been seen before. Geelong peak hour trains running every 10 minutes, off peak every 20 minutes. Bacchus Marsh receiving a train every 30 minutes off peak, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon all receiving hourly trains all day, every day.

What are we up to now? 65 3 car Vlocities? or is it 66 now? On top of all of the Loco hauled sets, and the Sprinters.

SN7 was retired what 6 years ago? Apart from that set (which contained S carriages dating back to the 1930s) no V/Line rollingstock has been withdrawn from service. A few A and P class locos have been placed into storage, but officially they are still on the books, not withdrawn. Virtually all of the passenger stock that was in service 15 years ago is still in regular use, on top of that VLP have 60 something Vlocities to worry about. Add to that the added costs of running a single line and its required stock on a seperate gauge, a problem VLP didn't have to deal with 10 years ago.

So, yeah I would say that the amount of coin being spent on maintenence isn't nearly enough.

You see the thing is there isn't any political point scoring in announcing extra funding for rail maintenence, nor is there for road maintenence for that matter, which also explains the pathetic condition of some of our rural roads, but I digress.

Politicians love announcing new things, they hate announcing more money going into existing things.

As always, more proof that politicians suck.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line

As always, more proof that politicians suck.
Gman_86

Get over it...there's only so much $$ in the kitty.

M.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Get over it...there's only so much $$ in the kitty.
Vinelander

That wasn't my issue, I understand that.

My issue is the lack of interest from the politicians and the beuracracy to spend the required cash to properly maintain the infrastructure we have. They are very eager to rush out to announce a new shiny thing, but just pouring a bit more into improving what we already have might provide a more reliable service.

It is better than it was, but that doesn't mean we as a state should rest on our laurels, we still deserve better.
  N463 Locomotive Driver

What are we up to now? 65 3 car Vlocities? or is it 66 now? On top of all of the Loco hauled sets, and the Sprinters.
Gman_86
Saw VL69 in service today. So assuming they are introducing the sets in number order, that makes 69x 3 car sets (VL00-VL28 & VL30-VL69). In any event, I think the current contract will see us reach set VL75 (https://vicsig.net/passenger/rollingstock/railmotors/VLocity)


SN7 was retired what 6 years ago? Apart from that set (which contained S carriages dating back to the 1930s)
Gman_86
I thought that set only had 1940's built carriages???


Back to the topic, there is no point purchasing all this new rollingstock if V/Line don't have the staff available to run them.


N463
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

What are we up to now? 65 3 car Vlocities? or is it 66 now? On top of all of the Loco hauled sets, and the Sprinters.
Saw VL69 in service today. So assuming they are introducing the sets in number order, that makes 69x 3 car sets (VL00-VL28 & VL30-VL69). In any event, I think the current contract will see us reach set VL75 (https://vicsig.net/passenger/rollingstock/railmotors/VLocity)


SN7 was retired what 6 years ago? Apart from that set (which contained S carriages dating back to the 1930s)
I thought that set only had 1940's built carriages???


Back to the topic, there is no point purchasing all this new rollingstock if V/Line don't have the staff available to run them.


N463
N463
Two years in a row Government has given VLP record high EXTRA $ for both additional services, and additional maintenance of track and fleet .  It is an issue of  VLP not managing the staff and maintenance operations properly, than we have so many cancellations, and tarins short changed on capacity .
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

15 years ago, v/line was only a shadow of what it does today.   15 years ago v/line had so few services that running along suburban tracks wasn't much of an issue.  Spencer St Station only had the 8 (16 if north and south are seprate) platforms for v/line services and that was plently of capacity.  
Nowadays they run so many services a whole new set of dedicated tracks needed to be built and an extra 2 platforms at southern cross taking the total v/line platforms to 10 (20 if A,B and 8S are seperate) The RFR and velcoties changed the way voctorians looked at rail travel, and saw unpredented growth which no one expected and velocity production simply can't keep up.  

There have been service extensions to ararat, maryborough, regular extension to wendouree, extension to waurn ponds, extension to epsom station, the RRL, extension to bairnsdale.  On top of the general frequency increase.  

The only projects that have taken strain off v/line have been craigieburn and sunbury electrifcation extensions.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
The only projects that have taken strain off v/line have been craigieburn and sunbury electrifcation extensions.
tazzer96
So why add more and more services if you don't have the staff or rolling stock to run them?

It doesn't help the situation if you just keep receiving Vlocity sets but don't add the staff and maintenance funds to run them.

It would have been better to either employ more staff or use the new rolling stock to simply cascade some more of the older stuff out.

VLP are their own worst enemy in my eyes and just lurch from one problem to the next. I was really hoping the appointment of Mr Pinder would see an end to these dramas but I was sadly mistaken.

BG
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Is V/Line that short of drivers? Seriously?

Train driver illnesses force changes to peak-hour services
bevans
Unless proven otherwise, shortages of drivers "due to illness" should be assumed to be soft industrial action.

If morale was higher, the company wouldn't have trouble getting volunteers for overtime, everyone could do with a bit of extra $$$ in their pocket with Christmas coming up.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
That is an interesting development.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
The only projects that have taken strain off v/line have been craigieburn and sunbury electrifcation extensions.
So why add more and more services if you don't have the staff or rolling stock to run them?

It doesn't help the situation if you just keep receiving Vlocity sets but don't add the staff and maintenance funds to run them.

It would have been better to either employ more staff or use the new rolling stock to simply cascade some more of the older stuff out.

VLP are their own worst enemy in my eyes and just lurch from one problem to the next. I was really hoping the appointment of Mr Pinder would see an end to these dramas but I was sadly mistaken.

BG
BrentonGolding

It take 2 years to properly train drivers. In the meantime, retirements and unexpected deaths have made the driver situation tight.

As Kuldalai has said, extra budget has been allocated by this government so cancellations are temporary.

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
It take 2 years to properly train drivers. In the meantime, retirements and unexpected deaths have made the driver situation tight.

As Kuldalai has said, extra budget has been allocated by this government so cancellations are temporary.

Mike.
The Vinelander
And what is the lead time for new Vlocity units? And to a lesser extent timetable changes? Why wouldn't you synchronise all 3? That's called planning, something that my Grandfather apparantly did at Islington Workshops for the S.A.R.

BG
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Again the 1537 Melton is AMEXED .  Owing to maintenance requirements !!!  VLP really need to get their maintenance act together, the punters only have limited patience especially where they are directed to the next service that is already running at capacity .

It is understood an unexpected convergence of several events is restricting late evening driver availability in the short term, and this situation should soon self correct . Nothing to do with alleged soft industrial action .
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Again the 1537 Melton is AMEXED .  Owing to maintenance requirements !!!  VLP really need to get their maintenance act together, the punters only have limited patience especially where they are directed to the next service that is already running at capacity .

It is understood an unexpected convergence of several events is restricting late evening driver availability in the short term, and this situation should soon self correct . Nothing to do with alleged soft industrial action .
kuldalai
According to a tweet from the "V/Line Ballarat line" account, "the 1537 Southern Cross - Melton will not run today due to staff sickness", today being 10-11-17

Upon seeing this today, I looked a little deeper into the timeline of that official V/Line twitter account. Since the start of October (Monday October 2nd to be precise) the 1537 Southern Cross - Melton has been cancelled no less than 13 times. That's 13 out of a possible 29 days (taking into account that it doesn't run on weekends or public holidays). That is close to 50%.

Quite a strike rate.

FYI, the most common reason given for this train being cancelled is staff sickness. For the 1537 Melton, usually there is no replacement coach provided, rather punters are advised to clamber aboard the 1610 Bacchus Marsh instead.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
FYI, the most common reason given for this train being cancelled is staff sickness. For the 1537 Melton, usually there is no replacement coach provided, rather punters are advised to clamber aboard the 1610 Bacchus Marsh instead.
Gman_86
The same staff member(s) calling in sick 13 times in a month? Laughing

BG
  DALEK Locomotive Fireman

I wonder why it is always the 15:37 train? Is this train a quieter service?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
A train will usually run 2 services as part of 1 run. A down service (away from Melbourne) and an up service (return back to Melbourne).

The 1537 down Melton doesn't form a return service, the train returns to Southern Cross out of service as empty cars. Cancelling that service won't in turn result in the cancellation of a second service. That means it hurts their monthly stats less.

That train crew, or that train (1537 Melton is usually run as a 3VL) can then be utilised elsewhere to cover the staff illness or rollingstock shortage that has caused the shortage in the first place.

Essentially someone at VLP has decided that this particular service is expendable.

The question I have: Is there a more frequently cancelled passenger train in Victoria?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

FYI, the most common reason given for this train being cancelled is staff sickness. For the 1537 Melton, usually there is no replacement coach provided, rather punters are advised to clamber aboard the 1610 Bacchus Marsh instead.
The same staff member(s) calling in sick 13 times in a month? Laughing

BG
BrentonGolding
Have we just discovered the world's only indispensable man?
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
If it is soft industrial action, what do they want?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
My assumption would be that by "soft industrial action" justapassenger was referring more to just a general sign of an unhappy workforce that is suffering from poor workplace morale, and therefore more inclined to take sick leave when it may perhaps not entirely be 100% based on medical grounds.

In other words "I'm sick of this bulls@#t" rather than "I'm sick"

Just a guess, not putting words in anybodies mouth here.
  712M Chief Commissioner

A train will usually run 2 services as part of 1 run. A down service (away from Melbourne) and an up service (return back to Melbourne).

The 1537 down Melton doesn't form a return service, the train returns to Southern Cross out of service as empty cars. Cancelling that service won't in turn result in the cancellation of a second service. That means it hurts their monthly stats less.

That train crew, or that train (1537 Melton is usually run as a 3VL) can then be utilised elsewhere to cover the staff illness or rollingstock shortage that has caused the shortage in the first place.

Essentially someone at VLP has decided that this particular service is expendable.

The question I have: Is there a more frequently cancelled passenger train in Victoria?
Gman_86
A large number of Bairnsdale and Swan Hill runs have been cancelled or terminated early in the same time-frame.

Am I correct in assuming that V/Line counts a service is cancelled whether it is replaced by coaches or not?

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