November 2009 in Freight Operations
A reporter would like to highlight two concerns regarding the shift design for certain turns and the facilities on offer during personal needs breaks (PNBs).
Firstly, the reporter is concerned about the length of some turns and the potential they have to cause fatigue for drivers, especially if there is then a requirement to drive a company van back to the depot, before driving back home. One particular example is turn RY47 from Rugby to Neasden. This is an 11 hour shift, which includes driving a van from Neasden back to Rugby during the morning rush hour, and then driving home. For many drivers this is a strain and increases the chance of having an accident on public roads.
The reporter suggests that risk assessments should include van driving, in addition to train driving. At the moment, there appears to be no way of differentiating in fatigue terms between an 11 hour turn, and an 11 hour turn plus four hours of driving. This doesn't make sense under closer scrutiny.
Secondly, the reporter is concerned about the lack of available facilities when drivers need to take their PNBs. This is apparent at locations such as Acton, Croft, Brierley Hill, Neasden and Cricklewood. Drivers are rostered on for 11 hour shifts on a train and are said to be able to take PNBs at a convenient time - however, access to a PNB facility is not provided.
The maximum length of any diagram is 12 hours and this can include vehicle driving. Motor vehicle driving times are calculated for diagrams but on occasions it may take longer to travel back by road due to unforeseen circumstances. At a large majority of customers premises PNB facilities are made available for Freightliner Heavy Haul staff if they choose to use these. Toilet facilities are available at all sites and if a driver has to take a PNB in his cab flasks and fresh wipes are supplied.