Misleading Bullshit

Aslef, like all unions really do punch low.

It comes as train drivers’ union Aslef claimed the Great Western Railway driver whose service hit the wires and caused the issue was an operations investigations manager drafted in due to a strike and paid £500 for a short shift to keep services running.

While this claptrap makes for good headlines – not least because the person was strike busting – anyone inside the industry, including whoever said this, knows it is bullshit on stilts. Trains don’t drive into overhead power lines. The power lines are suspended from above the track (unless you are on the Southern, but let’s not go there). Unless the train was able to leave the rails and career into the gantry, or take flight, there is no way this could have been caused by a train striking the power lines – it’s why we have a mandated loading gauge for traction on any given line.

This deceptive, disingenuous – nay, say it as it is – lying by the unions is very much why I utterly despise them. They are incapable of playing with a straight bat. GWR for all their faults will not have put someone in the drivers’ seat who lacked the necessary underpinning competence. They might have not driven very recently or regularly, but they will have been signed off to drive that traction and will have had the relevant experience. And, having walked back into a signalbox after a break, the competence fade is overstated in my observation.

An Aslef spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The problem is that many of these managers haven’t driven a train for a long time and their competence is not what it should be.

‘We saw the result yesterday. Significant damage to the railway infrastructure, passengers put at risk, and serious disruption to the rail network.

‘But, I suppose, as an operations investigations manager, he is uniquely qualified to investigate his own actions and what went wrong.’

You sanctimonious, lying tosser. Ready to turn any incident into political point scoring. Aslef really are a bunch of amoral scumbags.

What actually happened is much more mundane. The train’s pantograph struck an object that had been blown or thrown onto the overhead cables. Nothing whatsoever to do with a manager driving the unit.


  1. I’ve recently been watching quite a few You Tube videos about classic cars. The history of any of the cars always include production being continuously interrupted by strikes. The Leyland cars seemed to be the most affected but no makers seemed to be immune to the blight. In quite a few cases the strikes resulted in the factory in question being closed and the brothers being put out of work. The rail unions don’t seem to have moved on from 1973 when all of this stuff was going on.

  2. We’ve had a meetin’ of t’committeeee, we’ve passed a resoloooshun. EVERYBODY OUT!


  3. ASLEF can hear the distant rumble of driverless trains approaching. Their motto is ‘Not in my cushy number’s lifetime’.

    • In your dreams. While the technology exists and the DLR uses it, such systems are built from the ground up with this in mind. The national network has thousands of miles of differing systems, some of which are still using semaphore signalling. To redesign and upgrade the technology and replace the traction would make HS2 look like a walk in the park. It’s not happening any time soon.

      • But easier than driverless cars and Elon says they’re coming by 2020. Erm… I mean 2022… How about 2024? 2030? 2040? 🙂

        • Oh, I dunno. Driverless cars don’t require a whole infrastructure design and replacement. You just put them on the public roads where they can kill even more vulnerable road users than they already have.

  4. Quite recently P&O Ferries sacked most (if not all) of their UK crews because of RMT membership. A manager at P&O said that holding any meeting with RMT about anything was completely unproductive and a waste of time. As far as the umion was concerned, meetings were for table thumping, not negotiating.
    Train passenegers will continue to be screwed over by RMT and ASLEF members because the employers do not have the balls that P&O Ferries have.

    • My experience echoes this. I had another taste in the early days of covid. Network Rail were worried that they would have a shortage of signalling staff if the pandemic was as bad as they were being led to believe. They contacted people like me who had retired from the service with a view to refresher training so that we could step in. I was more than happy to do this. Not least, it would get me out of being locked down.

      I spoke to one of the guys I knew locally. He is now a union rep. That went well. Apparently, I would not be competent (bullshit – you don’t forget the principles and can quickly refresh after a break) and I would be stealing jobs. It was a temporary arrangement designed for sick cover, but that was how the RMT was selling it – stealing their jobs. Never mind mucking in to help out and keep the system running.

      I hate the bastards with a vengeance.

  5. “it’s why we have a mandated loading gauge for traction on any given line”

    Like the one they didn’t use to run the overhead leccy into Bath Spa?

    – but they did all the rest, lowered the track in Box tunnel, built all the gantries, provided a load of proper plylons to extend the supply at BAtheaston etc., etc?

    • I wasn’t familiar with that decision. I’d pretty much retired from rail work by the time they got to Bath Spa. However, there will still be a loading gauge and it will be fit for the traction using that part of the line. They may have altered the rules of the route as a consequence, however.

  6. It was quite windy that day, and having been held up several times in my c2c commuting days by plastic bags being blown onto the overheads, I have no hesitation in believing this was the likely cause.

    Why didn’t GWR push back against this false claim?

    • Why didn’t GWR push back against this false claim?

      I do wonder. Likewise Network Rail should have shot it down. While the public might be fooled, railway people won’t be, because it is obviously false.

      My own experience with operating companies and NWR is that they are riddled with cowardice when faced with the unions.

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