“Well, you are early,” the Train Manager says to me as I come downstairs to ask what is happening with my train. “I could just call you on the platform if there is an issue”.
“I am giving myself plenty of walking time, my meal relief has finished but I can see my train number isn’t running yet”. I wonder why me trying to do us both a favour is so controversial…
“I have no idea. I will call service control... Hello controller, I am ringing about Train 420. I have the driver here… Oh right, yeah, I did make a note. OK, that’s fine”.
She hangs up and goes over to a sheet of paper. “Yeah, sorry, actually it won’t be on the platform. Go to the depot and bring it out for your time going east”. “So it was worth me coming down and asking then?”. “Well, I still could have just rung you on the platform”. “But if it had been in the sidings then that would have just slowed everything down, but anyway…”
I see J on the platform and moan to him about the pointlessness of trying to do the sensible thing. “I think what it is, drivers have been called to the desk before when their relief isn’t over, and then they have a row, so they just don’t like doing it”.
“Yeah, they aren’t wrong to ignore it then, but the point is here I had finished my time and went down on my way to pick up. I know they aren’t great, but sometimes you do wonder how much they actually get of the job”.
J laughs. “You expect too much. Some of them don’t even know what the station abbreviations all are or what the Duty Book is actually telling us. Anyway”, as a train comes in, “this one is me. Have a smooth one”.
• Jay Dawkey is a driver on London Underground