Met Line Tube drivers worried about “lack of training”
Train drivers operating new S Stock trains on London Underground’s Metropolitan Line are worried that they aren’t receiving enough training, reports say.
In a submission to the CIRAS, the confidential information reporting system for the rail industry, a member of London Underground staff raised concerns about how much training drivers new to the S Stock received before going out on passenger service.
Conversion training for previously qualified Met Line drivers lasts for ten days: eight days of theory and practice on the simulator, and two days of ‘road training’ under the eye of a qualified instructor. The CIRAS report suggests that some drivers are uncomfortable with only receiving two days of supervised practical training before being sent out alone.
In contrast, new drivers spend two weeks learning theory and continue with their practical road training until their instructors feel they are ready to drive solo.
Responding to the report, a London Underground spokesman said: “Before training started, a training needs analysis was completed to identify risks associated with the new stock. Subsequent ‘real time’ evaluations have been carried out to establish the optimal stock handling times; this included extensive Trade Union consultation.”
“The Train Operators [drivers] are already route familiar and therefore only need to learn the stock elements” added the LU spokesman. Both the Victoria and Jubilee lines have exactly the same training regime, as both lines have received new trains in recent years.
Met Line drivers are particularly worried about the small amount of time they spend learning how to handle defects with the S Stock. Defect handling training is critical because time spent sorting out a problem – such as the doors not opening at stations – causes delays to the service.
All Metropolitan Line trains are fitted with Correct Side Door Enabling (CSDE) equipment which only allows the train driver to open platform-facing doors when stopped at the right point.
However, the receiving aerial for CSDE signals on S Stock is smaller than the old A Stock’s, meaning drivers must stop on exactly the right point in order to open the doors. If they aren’t close enough to the stopping point, the driver must override the system – which means that doors on the first and last cars of the train will not open.
Drivers continue to worry that without supervised practical training on how to deal with such problems, unnecessary delays to the service will increase.
S Stock trains are entering service on the Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines over the next few years. Bombardier Transportation, of Derby, are delivering 191 new trains to replace the three existing fleets running at present.