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How do we sort our trains?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Gigabit, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 46,401

    Location: Plymouth

    Trade union reform is the best way to deal with that, especially nonsense like the Strikes about bringing outdated railway lines up to modern practices.
     
  2. Shocky-FM

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 13, 2005

    Posts: 3,339

    All the current employees should take a pay cut, they keep getting wage increases every year and passengers are having to pay more every year.

    I've used trains a lot over the years for work, the staff are not that good, I've complained on quite a few occasions.

    That can't continue imo.
     
  3. b0rn2sk8

    Mobster

    Joined: Mar 9, 2003

    Posts: 4,064

    The average train driver earns £47k :eek:, that's some proper money for a job which isn't that hard. Hours are not great (early starts or late finishes) but its 4 weeks on 1 week off, 4 days per week.

    Considering the technology is almost there for a car, it would be far easier to implement that on a train. It only needs a forward looking system to control speed and read the red traffic lights. Some form of automatic emergency breaking system also (surprised if this isn't already installed on a modern train).

    In fact an autonomous 'driver' for a train would be an order of magnitude less complex than it would be for a car, the environment is much more controlled and there is no 'traffic'. I don't think any fancy LIDAR would be needed.

    Considering how cheap systems like Cruise, Pro-pilot and Autopilot are to put on a car there is some serious savings to be made. The unions would go ballistic....:D
     
  4. StriderX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 18,090

    But how will you shaft the driver if the train crashes in a fully automated system?
     
  5. Fiocca

    Hitman

    Joined: Jan 11, 2008

    Posts: 925

    Location: Swindon

    I'm a railway signalling designer and there is such a thing called ertms. The problem with it though is interfacing with the existing systems and implementing it is expensive. Also the more advanced level 2 version relies on the GSM network to relay information about the train back to the system and this is a bit of a pain with tunnels!

    I do design on drawings that contain systems originally installed back in the 70s and 80s still that hasn't been upgraded because it costs so much. The whole network needs ripping out and starting again really as there is only so much you can do with the existing track layouts and systems.
     
  6. b0rn2sk8

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    Posts: 4,064

    I'm not yet convinced signalling equipment would be a barrier to creating autonomous train drivers, in the same way autonomous cars can use existing roads and signage.

    Computer vision systems can 'read' existing signal lights and speed limit signs so no changes would be needed on that side. The 'drivers' would need to be retrofitted to trains only and would only 'need' cameras and radar (with redundancy), I don't think it would need any fancy LIDAR. Perhaps in the future ultrasonic sensors and camera could even be implemented for opening and closing the doors automatically.

    A system needed for a train would be way less complex than would be needed for a car and there have been working car systems on the road now for a few years. Also given there is so few rail tracks compared to roads you could easily create a 'visual' map the whole network using very little resources.
     
  7. Gigabit

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    Posts: 11,758

    So what is your point, cut driver pay? That sounds awfully like state control of industry to me.

    The staff are not to blame for the mess.
     
  8. b0rn2sk8

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    No, I never said that. But when you think about other jobs in the wider 'public' sector which are significantly more difficult, entail more risk, more decision making and need far more training (like a nurse) there is an argument that train drivers are potentially over paid.

    At the end of the day they have a very effective union that secures good multi year pay deals when the majority of the country was getting a pay cut or freeze. At the same time they hold the network to ransom to hold onto outdated working practices, the whole who opens the door thing is testament to that. If you can't see the irony of that then I think the point will be missed.

    What I was saying is that its surprising no one is even talking about driverless trains in the UK.

    If the DfT made an announcement like the below, the RMT would be on strike by the end of the week over 'safety'.

    https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/germany-to-introduce-driverless-trains-by-2023/
     
  9. Gigabit

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    We already do.

    The simple fact is on long routes, I don't think people will feel comfortable without a driver, the same way they don't feel comfortable without a pilot.

    The solution in general is to have stronger trade unions, like we used to have before Thatcher destroyed them, to get pay to where it should be, not to cut the pay of train drivers. They haven't had a real terms pay cut (unlike nowhere else in Europe except Greece and Portugal) since 2010, as nobody else should have but most sectors don't have decent unions.

    The unions don't go on strike over pay, they go on strike over passenger safety. And their worry clearly is staff will start to be cut when DOO is introduced, which will harm safety. Why does the Government think it knows better than the people who drive the trains? It's like when they say they know more than the Police, who said cutting numbers would increase crime (oops), or austerity is a bad idea (more oops), or the NHS should be invested in (oops again).
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  10. clubb699

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 18, 2011

    Posts: 610

    Location: Near Brummie land

    My trains run well thanks

    [​IMG]

    :D:D
     
  11. b0rn2sk8

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    Given this thread is about trains, I'm not sure how austerity is relevant or the police for that matter. Using technology to make a process more efficient is not comparable to cutting neighbourhood policing, you can't use technology to stop people committing petty (theft) or violent (stabbings) crime, Minority Report wasn't real.

    Not being funny but DOO has been running on UK trains for years but all of a sudden its a safety issue. In fact there is no evidence to support it is suddenly a safety issue, its all 'worries' as you even say yourself. The rail industry body which is in charge of safety says it is safe. In fact the vast majority of trains I travel on have not had a 'guard' for as long as I can remember.

    The most important line is the one I have highlighted for you 'worries'. It is clear to most people it is all about money, control and nothing else.

    Less jobs = less union subs = reduced power = reduced relevance.
     
  12. Gigabit

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    No, the company that lobbies on behalf of the train companies says it is safe. Of course the Government is going to say it is safe! They say the trains are a roaring success, we know how much BS that is.

    As I said, ignore the people on the ground at your peril. Or we might just have another Railtrack disaster again.
     
  13. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 46,401

    Location: Plymouth

    No, all the ddo railway lines, in the UK and elsewhere, demonstrate that it is safe.

    https://www.railway-technology.com/...rains-and-safety-whats-the-big-issue-5769231/

     
  14. b0rn2sk8

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    I know ignoring experts is the new normal (brexit is a perfect example of this) but this argument is getting silly. The people on the ground are protecting their own jobs, their view is far from objective.

    Like I said there is no evidence it is less safe.

    To ‘sort the trains’ the whole system needs modernising from top to bottom. For example I regularly get trains on the east coast main line and some of those trains need six people to dispatch them because the rolling stock has manual doors....

    The trains are really not that bad, outside of a small number of commuter routes which lack capacity which there is no quick and easy fix for. Most off peak trains are practically empty which is a huge problem. Slow and steady mordernisation is needed which has basically what has been happening for the last 20 years. Some things like electrification needs to be sped up though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  15. Gigabit

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    The people on the ground are the experts, they drive the trains!!!!

    Regardless, if DOO leads to a reduction in the number of staff - which is clearly what the unions are afraid of - then the staff have every right to strike.
     
  16. b0rn2sk8

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    So you admit it’s about money and not safety?

    You are correct, unionised staff have the right to strike but they don’t have the right to keep peddling this rubbish about safety when it is clearly about money and being made obsolete by a few cameras near the doors.
     
  17. Gigabit

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    Clearly for the unions it is about the eventual loss of staff when they cut the staff due to DOO. I never disputed that.

    But is cutting staff and putting them on the dole a sensible thing to do?
     
  18. b0rn2sk8

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    Except no one is being made redundant or even getting a pay cut so that argument is also mute....

    They are being redeployed to more productive roles.
     
  19. Dolph

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    Location: Plymouth

    Yes, it is absolutely a sensible thing to do. There is no economic benefit to employing unnecessary staff to do unnecessary tasks.
     
  20. StriderX

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 18,090

    Yes there is, they add to the consumption of goods and thus wider market profits... every company wants to reduce it's need to pay income to workers, but if they all do it at the same time, there's no one to buy their trashy products now is there?

    Indeed why go on a train at all if you don't have anywhere to go?