TBTC Testing Feb 23, 2011 1:59:29 GMT
Post by tubbytube on Feb 23, 2011 1:59:29 GMT
This is nothing new, on most lines the T/Op can judge how close the train in front is due to the numbers of people on the platform, and the dot-matrix gives an indication of the gap behind.
As I've said before, a decent Train Operator can do everything ATO can do.
I'm sympathetic to the sentiment but in many ways the line is only as fast as its slowest driver/train and you're never going to get a depot full of 'decent' train operators. And as much as I'd rather ATO wasn't a reality, for a whole bunch of reasons, even I wouldn't claim that we can ever drive a train as precisely close to the next one as a computer.
Nevertheless I sometimes wish I could elect to drive the train manually at times. You could still run a significantly improved moving-block signalling system with manual driving. Driving the train in 'protected manual' (as we did for a few days after Christmas) was actually quite headache-inducing due to the frequent alarms and sounds and the sheer frustration of being required to adhere to crude, unexpected, speed changes and funereal entrances to the platform. But I'm sure some of those problems could be addressed with a bit of ingenuity and imagination.
I do realise I'm in cloudcuckoo land but I wish it was realised that, for all the potential advantages of ATO, there is a trade-off when staff become generally less skilled or less occupied. With the best will in the world, you cannot help but be less alert and 'switched-on' when the train is driving itself and perhaps a little less prepared to deal with problems when they occur.
I often hear it said that we're paid for what we know rather than what we do but the train op job is undoubtedly becoming dumbed down on the jubilee - the annual stock training is becoming virtually non-existent. These are worrying times.