The fragile state of our railways is on show again, as the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton (with the loop through Wimbledon) suffers a third day of disruption after drivers started a work-to-rule over pay. Like a drunk woman flashing her knickers, the TOCs' reliance on staff working "rest days and overtime" is fully exposed for the second time in as many months.
Aslef are balloting members over a pay deal of 0% this year and 3% next (deadline's 9th December, and with a 7 day warning period, expect strikes just before Christmas to match the tube), but members are seemingly also expressing their displeasure by sticking (completely legally) to their contracts. We cannot believe our rail arteries have been set up to run on staff goodwill, and that the system can only function if drivers work on what should be days off. We're sure they get paid well for it, but wouldn't we all prefer to be on a train driven by someone properly rested?
Don't even expect compensation from First Capital Connect over the chaos; they've implemented an "amended timetable" (i.e., fewer trains) which is a way of wriggling out of fines and customer complaints. This timetable isn't being publicised anywhere as far as we can see though; so if you're planning to rely on FCC to get you home or to Luton or Gatwick airports in the near future, you'll need to check their live running information, give yourself plenty of time and cross your fingers.