That was the comment I got when driving today. We’d hi-jacked a train in service and one of the guys was allowed to drive it for a bit. After a while the instructor said did I want a go. I think he has possibly never had a more reluctant sounding ‘yes’ before. Today I was feeling really bad though as it turned out not because I was worrying about stuff but because I have some sort of bug. Which may explain my excessive freaking out from yesterday. Today I was quite content to sit and watch the others drive whilst I tried not to throw up.
Still, it was fun driving and I got to show off my mad westinghouse skillz. Westinghouse is a brake found on conventional stock and one which I’ve always liked using. It’s a lovely smooth brake and although it can be very difficult to master the knack it’s worthwhile. The other guys had come from modern stock and had no experience of using it. It seems that coming from modern stock leaves them at a slight disadvantage when it comes to driving conventional. When I looked at our stock books I thought it was similar to what I was used to if not slightly easier. A colleague from the same line agreed with me. Those from modern stock were freaking out at circuit diagrams and the idea of changing fuses.
Something else I noticed over the past couple of days was their seeming obsession with stopping diamonds. Where I come from you stop at a point where you can see either the platform monitors or the full length of the platform in the mirror. If you don’t know the platform then you just trickle up to it and once you’ve decided you’re there you put lots of brake on. Simples. But with modern stock you have in-cab monitors so you have to stop precisely on the diamond on the track and naturally they have kept this idea as nobody has told them different. When I was driving I hammered right up to the platform and then slowed down to come in at the standard LUL 30mph. This led to the exclamation of ‘That’s confident!’ from the other trainees. But as I pointed out, come in fast then knock off the speed fast and let it roll and everything is fine. I’m still not at what I would consider normal driving standard but I don’t think that the job training is going to be a problem for me.
I do feel at a distinct advantage. One of the others was driving before me and kept having to ask what the signals meant. Part of this line is network rail and part LUL and the signalling changes. If you are not used to it then it does take a moment of thought to work it out. And obviously nobody wants to accidentally go hammering through a danger signal while still in training. So he kept it fairly slow even when (I could see) there was nothing for miles ahead of us. In contrast I wound up and kept the speed on. 😀
So today was much better aside from being ill. We toured a few out of the way places and went so far north it snowed. Then we came back and toured another depot which looks lovely. Then we knocked off early and I came home to sleep it off. 🙂