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Booking On Points


There are four points on the line where the crews report for duty - all have similar management, organisational and administrative structures so the following is a 'generic' look at the way these are organised.

I'll then go on to describe the individual depots and any variation to the normal facilities and functions.

Each depot has a TOM - the Train Operations Manager. The TOM is in charge of the depot and it's staff - he (or she) is the boss, the 'Employing Manager'

Next in the chain are the Duty Manager (Trains) - of which there are several at each depot, and at some depots several may be on duty at the same time, fulfilling a variety of functions. These vary from the 'Desk Man', who is responsible for booking the drivers on for duty and allocating any work as needs to be covered, there may be one (or more) carrying out administrative tasks - such as arranging training, allocating duties for drivers who will be carrying out 'leave covers' and so on.

Each Depot has one or more Administration Staff who are dedicated to administrative tasks in support of the TOM, the DMT's and the drivers! They are often the unsung heroes in the depot and contribute enormously to its smooth running!

They deal with a plethora of work - everything from ordering stationery to maintaining the staff files and records (which is a major matter), working out how many drivers can be on each leave period and ensuring coverage is maintained, dealing with the transfer of drivers to and from depots and so on.

Then there are the Train Operators and Instructor Operators. Much is said elsewhere about their work, so I'm not going to go into any more detail here - I'll only be repeating myself!

But on a relevant point, I'll clarify the responsibilities and reporting structure as it relates to Instructor Operators. In some way they are responsible to two masters, depending on whether they are just doing their driving duties - in which case they are responsible to the DMT's at their own depot, or if they're involved in training - in which case they are responsible to the Line Standards Manager. Yes! Another new name - and one I'll try to cover elsewhere!

I hope the following diagram will help to put all this into some sort of context.


So, I've covered the depot structure, now I'll try to give a picture of each of the ones on the District Line.

The line has a total of about five hundred drivers, and these (very roughly) are divided between the four depots. Some are larger, some a bit smaller.

Upminster is the furthest east and is located in the buildings to the east end of the station platforms. It is pretty much as described above in terms of its staffing structure. The accommodation includes locker rooms, messroom and all the usual other 'facilities' one would expect in most working environments.

The one thing it lacks is a canteen - so if you're due to take a mealbreak their you need to either take provisions with you or find a cafe or whatever outside the station.

Also within the buildings is the Upminster Signal Cabin - more about this in another section!

Access is gained to the train depot by means of a walk from these buildings into the train depot - and quite a step it is too!

During the day a number of crew changeovers occur here.

Upminster Depot Traincrew accomodation.  The 'Booking On' point is on the first floor, the messroom and locker rooms are on the ground floor.  The signal cabin can be seen on the first floor level at the left of the building.  Access to the train depot is by the walkway adjacent to the far set of rails and by exiting from the right of the picture!

Barking comes next as you head west. Again, the facilities are similar, and there is a canteen there too.

The facilities are also shared with the Hammersmith & City Line, for whom it is also a booking on point.

In addition to the DMT's as described above, there is also a 'Mobile' DMT whose job is just that - he will go out to any incidents, investigate any reports of irregularities about the line and attend such events as signal failures to assist in keeping the railway running and to keep delays to a minimum.

Also based at Barking is a Train Technician whose job it is to meet trains at the request of drivers to attend to any faults which develop. Many are comparatively minor and can be addressed whilst the train is in service. If he cannot sort the problem he will request the Line Controller to arrange for the train to be changed over.

In the case of both the Train Technician and Mobile DMT, they each cover the east end of the line from about Tower Hill eastwards. Their roles are repeated at Earls Court for the west end of the line.

There is not a train depot at Barking, but there is a large sidings complex to the east of the station, again accessed by a walkway from the east end of the station platforms.

During the day there are quite a few crew changeovers and reliefs booked to take place here.

Earls Court is our next port of call. Often called the Crewe of the District Line it is the busiest station on the line and the most used in terms of crew changeovers - more occur here than on the rest of the line combined!

Every train in passenger service is scheduled to pass through the station on every trip. It can be used to reverse trains from east to west - from platform 2 - (and there are trains at the beginning and end of traffic that do) as part of their timetabled moves) and it can also have trains reverse from west to east from platform 3, though this is done in cases mainly that have arisen through delays - there are no such moves timetabled.

Until quite recently the crews were based at Parsons Green and Earls Court was their secondary location, but Parsons Green has now closed as a train crew depot. The accommodation has been partially refurbished and this continues at the time I write this.

A high proportion of Acton Town duties also start or finish (or both) at Earls Court.

The canteen is also the busiest by far on the line.

Again the description of the staff structure above applies, although at the moment (as part of the refurbishment) the TOM and Administration staff are accommodated at Ashfield House (West Kensington).

Earls Court itself has no 'direct' sidings or depot, but its early morning service trains are either stabled at Parsons Green or in Triangle Sidings - this is in walking distance from Earls Court via the streets outside the station - there is no walkway at track level.

Above the passageway towards the Warwick Road exit from the station is located the Control Room and Line offices (and those of the Piccadilly Line too) - I'll cover these in more detail in the next section.

Finally we come to Acton Town. Once again, the structure and accommodation are similar to those already described. Again the accommodation is getting a little worn, but there is a rebuilding programme due to be started imminently as I write this.

Access to Ealing Common Depot is by the walkway from Bollo Lane opposite Acton Town Station.


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