Shortage of [73ts] trains Nov 27, 2016 13:36:49 GMT
Post by North End on Nov 27, 2016 13:36:49 GMT
I've never had dealings with the Picc stock, but had experience as a guard/emergency motorman on the District and Met in the early 1970s and 15 years as a BR driver. There's always been a problem with leaves on the line. In the old days when everything has prober brake blocks that rubber the wheels, the problem wasn't quite as prolific as it is today with disc brakes and regen/rheo braking on everything. I was one of those who had to suffer the first of the BR stock with regen brakes, the 508's, and had some worrying experiences with them not stopping where we wanted them to. The wheel slide protection worked too well, so well in fact that they had to put a panic button on them to isolate the WSP equipment. This then locked the wheels and the train would eventually stop!
We weren't given any formal training as the problem in the 1980s hadn't really been "invented". Part of the solution was to fit trains with sanders, which seems to have had some effect. I don't think driver "training" will have much effect. when you are dealing with anything computerised such as the WSP equipment, when computer says no, then no matter what the driver does will alter that!
One of the incidents I had on the SR was driving a 508 into Hampton Court, a dead-end terminus, I slowed the train to 15mph for the crossover entering the platform, applied the brake in the platform, the WSP operated all the way down the platform until the train mounted the sand drag. I was powerless to do anything. the whole episode was covered up and I was told not to report it, so I didn't.
I would suggest that "cadence braking" suggested by someone above would not work on modern stock; this is in effect what the WSP equipment does. Maybe it is doing its job too well, and if the stock is fitted with an over-ride/panic button, then this is what's causing the flats as the WSP is effectively cut out, allowing the wheels to lock. You couldn't do cadence braking with Westinghouse braked stock you only had 3 brake applications with that! With the EP you can, and you can with the vacuum brake and distributor type air brakes.
There is no easy answer. My niece has recently passed out as a night tube driver on the Picc, would she have any idea how to drive a train in autumn? I doubt it. You can only learn these things by experience, and experience cannot be taught in training schools, and I don't believe the current "take them off the streets" policy works. Sorry, but call me old-fashioned, but this view is taken by a lot of us from the 'old school", with main line drivers calling the newbies "boilies", boiled in the bag, ready in 5 minutes!
Edited to add that rheostatic/regenerative braking has the opposite effect of putting flats on wheels. I slid through Stoneleigh one day on a 508 using the rheo brake; all driven wheels were actively going in reverse when I hit the platform and could be heard doing so! I stopped at the 12 mark..and an 8 car platform! Flats are only put on by the EP/Westcode brake causing wheels to lock up.
The only real way to avoid is to drive appropriately. Know the line, know the gradients, know where and when issues are likely to occur, and drive accordingly. It's still possible to get caught out, but it shouldn't be happening to the extent that it evidently is.