Connect

Suspended Due To Static

Published on: Tue, 17/06/2008 - 13:33

Yesterday evening, management's failure to fix the Northern line train radio led to the Edgware branch being suspended.

For years, there has been an intermittent problem with the radio on the Edgware branch, where static become such a problem that it is hard or even impossible to hear messages. Although one-to-one and OPO alarms are OK, it can become impossible for the control room to do a general call that includes the branch.

Controllers and drivers have been complaining about this for ages, but management have done diddly squat to fix it. Apparently, because of PPP, it is always someone else's job to mend it.

Rumour has it that the problem started right about the time that work started to install Connect. It is possible that there was some cable damage in the Hampstead area.

But yesterday, the static problem was so bad that general calls to the Edgware branch could not be done, so the decision was made to staff all platforms on the branch - something of a struggle, given the appallingly low staffing levels. Drivers, noticing the problem, kicked up a fuss, and so at 7pm, management had to agree to suspend the service.

The lesson from this fiasco - you can't even trust management to fix the bloody radio! They had better do so soon - because the consequence of a train radio failure could be a lot worse than a service suspension.

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Communication Breakdown

Published on: Mon, 10/09/2007 - 17:48

With a person on the track near Paddington, a driver was told by the Line Controller to remain at Royal Oak. The driver then got another call on the Connect system - which shows an 8-digit code rather than a caller ID - telling him to reform and giving authority to proceed, which he did.

Fortunately, the Supervisor at Paddington was aware of the situation and held the train there, thus averting a potential tragedy.

Which all goes to show two things - that Connect remains a total disaster area; and the importance of the availability of station staff to the safe running of the railway.

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It's Training, But Not As We Know It

Published on: Fri, 18/05/2007 - 15:03

Even though many of the problems with Connect have still not been resolved, LUL is pressing ahead with training drivers in how the system 'works'.

Only it appears that they are not even doing the training right! You are supposed to get four hours' training on the base set, then another one to two hours on the hand-held radios. So how come some managers feel they can slip this into a TeamTalk session, or give you less than an hour's training at the end of your duty when you've come off your train?!

Tubeworker can do the maths. Six hours training means a whole duty, so no driving on that day. Anyone - whether a driver or any other grade - who feels that their training was not good enough should refuse to sign it off, refuse to use the kit and demand proper training with a day off the job to do it.

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Con Nect

Published on: Thu, 22/02/2007 - 19:13

Maybe you thought that the problems with Connect would have been overcome by now. Think again.

Recently, a driver needed to get the juice off at Upney following a one-under. After three unsuccessful attempts to send a Mayday message to the Controller on Connect, he had to give up and use his personal mobile phone!

How on earth does LUL think it can bring this in across the whole system when this sort of problem persists?

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Connect Chaos Continues

Published on: Wed, 27/12/2006 - 17:18

And now it's time for ... Connect Phase 2! Oh yes it is.

With barely a pause for breath - let alone a chance to assess the numerous things that have gone wrong so far - management are ready to go full steam ahead.

But hey, why worry about the odd problem? Like, for example ...

  • The driver-to-driver function still not being disabled.
  • There are still problems with contacting the person you actually want to speak to. Just ask the driver who was at Whitechapel, wanting to talk to the District controller, actually talking to the East London Line controller, with his radio showing him talking to the Met controller!
  • The problem of losing Mayday calls when moving from one section to another still not being resolved.
  • Major concerns about 'ambient listening' - which should really not be allowed except in the case of an emergency.
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Dis-Connect

Published on: Tue, 24/10/2006 - 16:37

Tubeworker has kept reader informed of the numerous stumbling blocks along the road of Connect. And they continue to stumble.

Five days before the new equipment was due to go live on the District Line, they finally got round to doing operational testing on the road with local health and safety reps. And it all went pear-shaped.

The problem? When a train moves from one section of the Connect track into the next, the kit crashes for a short while as it searches for a new signal. So you might miss that all-important code red, or not get to send that mayday message.

And this project has been going for how long? A clue: It used to be known as 'Connect 2000'.

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Who Put That Switch There?

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2006 - 14:20

Monday evening, the District Line was suspended for half an hour, H&C and Circle also suspended, and delays continued well into the evening.

The reason? Loss of train radio from Earl's Court. The reason for that? The Connect project had installed a changeover switch on the desk during the night, but not got round to telling anyone who actually works in the Control Room. Unsurprisingly, the switch was accidentally operated.

No doubt Connect will eventually bring us fabulous new communication capabilities. But its installation has been a litany of chaos (check here, here, here, here for previous hiccups), trampling round the job without regard to those of us who work here. It's another example of why workers would make a much better job of running things than management do.

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Connect Kit

Published on: Sun, 10/09/2006 - 11:39

Staff at several stations are discovering to their alarm that Connect equipment has mysteriously appeared on their station. At Seven Sisters, AC condenser units on platform 3; at Elephant & Castle, kit with hydrogen-producing batteries in two of the station's rooms.

Naturally, staff have valid safety concerns about this equipment. Safety reps need to be forcefully on the case, ensuring that Connect and LUL have established the correct permissions (unlike at Seven Sisters!), and that they are properly consulted before the equipment is installed.

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