WMT - New Drivers Routes, Signing and Traction

se99db

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5 Feb 2021
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Can any current drivers (or people in the know!) who work in West Midlands Trains clarify how routes and signing works for new drivers. Do you tend to only sign the route your depot is located on (eg Bletchley for WCML) and therefore do you only learn the traction associated with that particular line. Or do you sign and learn multiple lines with multiple traction so as to allow you to operate all over the network. Do drivers ever operate between both brands at the same time within WMT (so both West Midlands Rail and London North Western), or do you just tend to stay with the one associated to your local depot?
 
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Coach Carter

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You work out of your own depot only and sign the routes and traction for your depot. The two different brands don’t cross over.
There could well be exceptions to each of these I guess, but I’ve not heard of any.
 

se99db

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Thankyou, appreciate the prompt response....this forum really is a wealth of knowledge as always
 

LowLevel

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You work out of your own depot only and sign the routes and traction for your depot. The two different brands don’t cross over.
There could well be exceptions to each of these I guess, but I’ve not heard of any.

I believe the West Midlands depots on the Wolves - New Street - Coventry corridor cover both West Midlands and LNWR work at the moment, though it is a franchise commitment to separate them out at some point. I certainly see both Green and orange ties at Liverpool Lime St on LNWR trains for example and some of those form mixed services, like the Crewe to Walsall service.
 

craigybagel

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You work out of your own depot only and sign the routes and traction for your depot. The two different brands don’t cross over.
There could well be exceptions to each of these I guess, but I’ve not heard of any.

I believe the West Midlands depots on the Wolves - New Street - Coventry corridor cover both West Midlands and LNWR work at the moment, though it is a franchise commitment to separate them out at some point. I certainly see both Green and orange ties at Liverpool Lime St on LNWR trains for example and some of those form mixed services, like the Crewe to Walsall service.

Correct. Birmingham - Liverpool services are worked predominantly by Crewe depot (LNWR) but also Wolves and New Street (both WMT). Similarly Birmingham - London services north of Northampton are worked by New Street and Coventry (WMT) but also by Bletchley and Northampton (LNWR). There are a few other examples as well. As LowLevel says, the giveaway is the ties!

If the depots really do get split as planned it's going to lead to a much less efficient railway.

Getting back to the OPs original question, it's worth pointing that at many TOCs, including this one, new drivers often start off with only signing a limited amount of routes and/or traction. Sometimes this is done through links (for example, AFAIK the junior most link at New Street only works a few routes closer to Birmingham - they don't go to the likes of Liverpool or Shrewsbury) and sometimes it's just a case of only working one or two routes for a few months before learning other routes.
 
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the sniper

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4 Sep 2007
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Can any current drivers (or people in the know!) who work in West Midlands Trains clarify how routes and signing works for new drivers. Do you tend to only sign the route your depot is located on (eg Bletchley for WCML) and therefore do you only learn the traction associated with that particular line. Or do you sign and learn multiple lines with multiple traction so as to allow you to operate all over the network. Do drivers ever operate between both brands at the same time within WMT (so both West Midlands Rail and London North Western), or do you just tend to stay with the one associated to your local depot?

There’s a pinned thread at the top of the forum which shows where every depot covers.

New drivers would not sign the stuff marked "(link dependent)" in that thread, at least. Some of the depots listed won't take trainees.

The two different brands don’t cross over.
There could well be exceptions to each of these I guess, but I’ve not heard of any.

'WMR' uniformed depots routinely work 'LNWR' services north of Northampton, excluding the stuff via the Trent Valley and Stoke. Coventry are LNWR uniformed, but IIRC half of their work is WMR stuff. I'd imagine a higher percentage is WMR work under Covid timetables. On the train crew side, the brands only really influence what uniform a depot issues. It's all just WMT operationally.

I believe the West Midlands depots on the Wolves - New Street - Coventry corridor cover both West Midlands and LNWR work at the moment, though it is a franchise commitment to separate them out at some point. I certainly see both Green and orange ties at Liverpool Lime St on LNWR trains for example and some of those form mixed services, like the Crewe to Walsall service.

Weren't they required to be prepared for splitting by the end of the franchise, if necessary? IIRC there was some wording that meant it wasn't a certainty.
 
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Coach Carter

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21 Sep 2018
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I believe the West Midlands depots on the Wolves - New Street - Coventry corridor cover both West Midlands and LNWR work at the moment, though it is a franchise commitment to separate them out at some point. I certainly see both Green and orange ties at Liverpool Lime St on LNWR trains for example and some of those form mixed services, like the Crewe to Walsall service.

WMR' uniformed depots routinely work 'LNWR' services north of Northampton, excluding the stuff via the Trent Valley and Stoke. Coventry are LNWR uniformed, but IIRC half of their work is WMR stuff. I'd imagine a higher percentage is WMR work under Covid timetables. On the train crew side, the brands only really influence what uniform a depot issues. It's all just WMT operationally.
Sorry I wasn’t being very clear with what I said. I meant in general you won’t be asked to go and cover WMR booked work for a few days somewhere if you’re LNWR or vice versa. As you say there are definitely jobs that have cross over work where you hand the train over to the other half of the franchise but that will be part of your booked work from your depot I’m guessing? No such issues at Worcester you see so I’m not sure.
 

the sniper

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Sorry I wasn’t being very clear with what I said. I meant in general you won’t be asked to go and cover WMR booked work for a few days somewhere if you’re LNWR or vice versa. As you say there are definitely jobs that have cross over work where you hand the train over to the other half of the franchise but that will be part of your booked work from your depot I’m guessing? No such issues at Worcester you see so I’m not sure.

Indeed, always start and finish at the home depot.

Wasn't unusual though for upper link New Street Guards for example to be taken off their local diagrams to cross cover Crewe diagrams, passing/taxiing to and/or from there. Cross cover on rest day work too, but always theoretically starting and finishing from the home depot with travelling time to pass to the other depot.
 

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