Metro train drivers stood down over South Yarra track dispute

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 27 Jan 2020 13:50
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The entire issue seems to stem from the new track configuration at South Yarra recently completed.



Metro train drivers stood down over South Yarra track dispute

Sponsored advertisement

  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I have always understood that drivers "learn the road" before running a timetabled train over it. A video presentation will not give any feel of how much speed washes off on an upgrade; how many brake applications will be needed on a descent, how much throttle is needed and so on. Only a driver on the track can assess this. The video idea is as silly as saying that I can drive a V8 Supercar around Sandown because I've done it on video.

I have a gut feeling that Metro is deliberately playing silly burghers.
  Fatty Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I have always understood that drivers "learn the road" before running a timetabled train over it. A video presentation will not give any feel of how much speed washes off on an upgrade; how many brake applications will be needed on a descent, how much throttle is needed and so on. Only a driver on the track can assess this. The video idea is as silly as saying that I can drive a V8 Supercar around Sandown because I've done it on video.

I have a gut feeling that Metro is deliberately playing silly burghers.
Valvegear
They're not driving a 3000 tonne freight train through there. The hill is still the same. The curves are still very similar. The only real changes are signal locations and that section is already so signal heavy that it won't make any real difference to driving through there. This is more about Metro and their attitude towards training than anything else.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Signal sighting also needs to be familiarized before hand.
  Fatty Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Signal sighting also needs to be familiarized before hand.
route14
As I said, this is a very heavily signalled section. It's not like they pop up around a corner after you've been doing a 100km/h for a few kms. There was a signal every few hundred metres before the work and there's still a signal every few hundred metres.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
As I said, this is a very heavily signalled section. It's not like they pop up around a corner after you've been doing a 100km/h for a few kms. There was a signal every few hundred metres before the work and there's still a signal every few hundred metres.
"Fatty"
So, get them out there to learn it. It's a simple, effective action. Metro is trying to change established safety procedures in an area where the driver carries the can for any safety breach.
The Fair Work Commisiioner would not have the slightest clue about hands-on train driving and, in my opinion, is not qualified to comment on the issue.
  Madjikthise Deputy Commissioner

As I said, this is a very heavily signalled section. It's not like they pop up around a corner after you've been doing a 100km/h for a few kms. There was a signal every few hundred metres before the work and there's still a signal every few hundred metres.
So, get them out there to learn it. It's a simple, effective action. Metro is trying to change established safety procedures in an area where the driver carries the can for any safety breach.
The Fair Work Commisiioner would not have the slightest clue about hands-on train driving and, in my opinion, is not qualified to comment on the issue.
Valvegear
And this is the crux of the matter, drivers are ultimately responsible. How many times have we seen truck drivers held responsible because of management pressure to just keep driving or that those worn out brakes will be ok for a few more loads.

This is the wedge that splits apart safety procedure slowly but surely. It started with Mitcham with just the change in grade, then it was Reservoir with a change of grade, home signals and points, now it's South Yarra with extra home signals, additional points, additional tracks and change of grade. Ultimately Metro will want the same procedure for a completely new line that nobody's ever seen before.

And as Valvegear said, "The Fair Work Commissioner would not have the slightest clue about hands-on train driving" and is very likely to approve such procedure inappropriately in the future when Metro asks because "they did it for this short section so it should be fine."
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Now up to 50 drivers stood down.  I fear this is getting very messy.  Metro Trains might've kicked an "own goal" by trying this tactic.  Metro and the RTBU need sit down together to work something out fast.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Why did this matter go to Fair Work anyway? Surely it is a more appropriate matter for The Regulator? It all seems too specialised to be covered by what is, of necessity, the more generalized FWA. Would FWA be asked to rule on an air safety matter, or a navigation thing with shipping? Have they engineering knowledge to deal with boiler construction?

And then what happens if FWA makes a ruling and then trains crash (always a predictable risk)? Is the driver who claims he was forced by FWA to drive when he felt uncomfortable to then be charged?
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
How big is the driver pool?  With up to 50 drivers laid off, are those remaining required to do overtime to maintain the service?  If so, is that not also a safety hazard?
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

How big is the driver pool?  With up to 50 drivers laid off, are those remaining required to do overtime to maintain the service?  If so, is that not also a safety hazard?
Lad_Porter
So if 50 drivers have been stood down, we can assume that a certain number of drivers have accepted the training and driven through?

let us see if metro have the guts to starve them out, this is Jackboot Johnnie and the wharfies all over again.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Or did they just watch the video and began driving?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Apparently 700 train drivers are mentioned in a Fair Work Commission application today....

As I said - it's getting very messy very quickly.
  Madjikthise Deputy Commissioner

How big is the driver pool?  With up to 50 drivers laid off, are those remaining required to do overtime to maintain the service?  If so, is that not also a safety hazard?
So if 50 drivers have been stood down, we can assume that a certain number of drivers have accepted the training and driven through?

let us see if metro have the guts to starve them out, this is Jackboot Johnnie and the wharfies all over again.
theanimal
Those that accepted the training will also have to accept responsibility for any incident that occurs due to them missing something that changed in the new section. Metro is unlikely to accept any wrongdoing due to inadequate training.

The correct term should be "stood aside", they are still getting paid but Metro makes them stand in the corner like naughty little boys and girls. So not only are they still paying the driver, they are also paying overtime for another to cover the shift.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Serious delays on those lines over today probably linked to driver revolt.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Driver revolt?

I think you mean company miss-management.

I have never driven a train, but if my boss told me to take an unroadworthy truck out onto the road, I know where I would tell him to stick that truck.

The safety and training procedures that are in place are there for a reason. For Metro to think they can side step them is downright dangerous.

The Metro manager responsible for this should be looking for a new job.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
As I said, this is a very heavily signalled section. It's not like they pop up around a corner after you've been doing a 100km/h for a few kms. There was a signal every few hundred metres before the work and there's still a signal every few hundred metres.
Fatty
Spoken like a Metro manager! Having driven through this new section the reality is somewhat different to the simplistic picture you're trying to paint. Signal types and locations have changed in what is a very visually busy area, including one that does almost pop up around a corner. If this particular signal does meet the minimum sighting distance it must be by the smallest of margins. Part of route knowledge is also knowing where to look for the next signal, and this is particularly critical for this section with two up and down lines next to each other. Mistaking a proceed aspect on the through lines when you're on the locals isn't going to end well. Curve location + direction, curve speed, geometry, and line speed have also changed. You've also neglected to mention that there are alterations at Caulfield as well with a change in some signalling positions, speeds, and the addition of route indicators. You may scoff at this but there has been recent incidents where a relocated signal has caught experienced drivers out, so mistakes can and do happen.

Having pilots available should have been planned from the start by Metro and this whole debacle could have easily been avoided. You only need to look around their network at the poor positioning of new signals or the amount of existing ones obscured by foliage etc to realize that they don't give two hoots about drivers or safety.
  Fatty Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I'm not scoffing at anything - just giving my opinion as a non-Metro driver who has driven that section many times.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Why did this matter go to Fair Work anyway? Surely it is a more appropriate matter for The Regulator? It all seems too specialised to be covered by what is, of necessity, the more generalized FWA. Would FWA be asked to rule on an air safety matter, or a navigation thing with shipping?
hbedriver
'Cos the Regulator may (should) have a few more clues about this, and may not have come back with the answer Metro wanted
  footscrazy Station Master

If being a spark driver is such a difficult job fraught with concerns of missed signals and route knowledge issues perhaps we need to begin considering automating out network.

MM1 would be the obvious place to start...  I believe it's already semi automatic in the middle section....
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Why did this matter go to Fair Work anyway? Surely it is a more appropriate matter for The Regulator? It all seems too specialised to be covered by what is, of necessity, the more generalized FWA. Would FWA be asked to rule on an air safety matter, or a navigation thing with shipping?
'Cos the Regulator may (should) have a few more clues about this, and may not have come back with the answer Metro wanted
Lockspike
Assuming that he came back with an answer at all this side of 2030.
  Lockie91 Chief Train Controller

If the training was soo poor and there truly was a safety concern the RTBU could of raised this with the ONRSR (National Rail Safety Regulator) which is the governing body for all rail safety compliance in Australia.

Clearly it’s more of an issue with Metro then the actual safety. Furthermore, there is  40km/h TSR between South Yarra & Hawksburn. Over 200 drivers have driven through the less then km of track and they haven’t raised any concerns.

Seems we have 50 or so old fashioned unionists. The RTBU is a disgrace. While all this has been going on don’t forget that the RTBU is at war with both V/line & Yarra Trams. Don’t put it past them to try and apply even more pressure to the government.

Despite the RTBU claiming the dispute with YT was not about pay and about conditions a spokesman yesterday said in The Age ‘Full Time workers will loose money if Yarra Trams hires more PT workers’ I don’t blame them, I’d be p/off too if I had been picking up 10,20K worth of overtime a year and my employer decided to hire a Part Timer. Overtime is not a given, contracts are 38 hours a week. Any overtime is a bonus.

It is however nice to see the labor government putting its foot down and not getting into bed with its union mates.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Regardless of your point of view, you also have to read this in the context of Metro’s ongoing attempts to deskill and deunionise the driving grade. A quick refresher:

They want to introduce a new position of Train Operator qualified to shunt HCMTs around depots. That means a new EBA, containing virtually none of the conditions the drivers have successfully fought for over the decades. The Loco Division is understandably furious but they have few allies for historical reasons as well as present-day realities. The ETU for example has cheerfully signed on in the hope its members will be in line for the Operator jobs.

They want further sectorisation of the network and drivers to be trained in only a few lines. This has already occurred to an extent; most drivers now are trained on either the old Hillside or Bayside network, and only a handful of Flinders St drivers are current on both. There are clear benefits for Metro here who save on training and have further leverage to reduce conditions in future EBAs.

So when they refuse to adhere to a long-standing protocol like this in the face of union opposition, you can be sure it’s part of an overall strategy. If drivers can be trained by video on a short section, it’ll be easier to convince the FWC they can be trained on a longer one the same way. And for the union, that means lower skills, fewer trainers, and yet another one of their conditions gone.

That’s even without thinking about the broader PT pay dispute. IMO it’s a mistake to link this too closely with the trams, since the Loco Division are something of a law unto themselves within the RTBU. But when a similar argument is brewing at V/Line? Yeah, you can be sure they’re related.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
As p-i-m-m has pointed out, you can bet Metro management has an agenda on this issue. Private operator - reduce costs ( read labour, leave, super et al) by reclassifying existing staff, but, of course, retaining executive bonuses.

"Our first priority is safety" - yeah Metro; go tell that to your Bank Managers, they'll fall about laughing.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Driver revolt?

I think you mean company miss-management.

I have never driven a train, but if my boss told me to take an unroadworthy truck out onto the road, I know where I would tell him to stick that truck.
Gman_86
There is (presumably) nothing wrong with the trains.  The analogy should be if your boss told you to take a roadworthy truck on a new road with which you were unfamiliar, or which may contain unknown hazards.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: bevans, theanimal

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.