Friday, 14 July 2017

A RailSport Rundown

This past weekend the yearly Railsport Games took place, and this time they were held in Loughborough for the first time, having previously been held in Blackpool almost since their inception over 15 years ago. New sponsors Rail Media organised a quite spectacular weekend of sport which brought together entrants from a number of TOCs, FOCs, and railway stakeholders and sponsors.

As has been the case over the past few years under LOROL, Arriva Rail London sent athletes to take part in some of the events, having had extensive success in previous years for both the 5 a side football and darts competitions (singles and doubles). A change in venue and some questionably shaky dartboards (of which complaints were made with the organisers) were just a couple of factors that may have hindered the ARL athletes progress this time around though.

Former singles & doubles runner-up Alan Jessup-Peacock (Control Shift Manager) was drawn against ARL driver Paul Spreckley, Wayne Jones (Network Rail) and Gordon Trimby (Great Western Railway) in group one. Close matches were had by all members of the group, but the experience of the elder competitors from NR & GWR won out, with Alan only winning his game against Paul, who tragically lost all three of his group games.

Drivers Aninder Chana, John Morris and Jason Pearce all suffered similar fates, with both Chana and Morris just missing out on progressing from their groups by finishing third. Pearce finished second in his group (beating Morris in the process), but fell to eventual winner Derek Ralston (Mersey Rail) in the quarter finals.

In the doubles competition Alan & John were paired together in group 1, whilst Paul and Aninder were paired in group 2. Sadly, despite some fantastic scoring (Paul Spreckley hit a tasty maximum at one point), both pairs failed to progress through their groups

The ARL 5 a side football team got off to a shaky start, not helped by the fact some late injuries led to the squad being depleted. They lost their first game 3-2 against LUR Manchester, but soon responded with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over RSSB. The same scoreline was reversed against JACOBS in the next game, with ARL losing to a last minute goal.

A win was needed in the last game to progress from the group and make the quarter finals as ARL took on (eventual winners) Irish Rail 5’s. With just minutes to go ARL had taken a 4-3 lead, but some questionable officiating decisions from the referee (at least in the minds of ARL and those of us watching, as the Darts team were able to cheer the lads on at points), saw things take a turn for the worse. A last minute equaliser and then injury time winner for the Irish Rail team saw them end the ARL challenge to retain their title.

With Rail Media behind the games, it was a much bigger spectacle this time round, but understandably there were teething problems as well. Next year the games will be back and will hopefully see the return of winning ways for the Arriva Rail London team.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Not Much Has Changed

So nearly 4 months ago I wrote a blog about work, about the reorg that was going on and what may lay ahead for myself and all those I work with. Since then my blogs have been consigned to verbalised ones, I've found it a hell of a lot easier (surprising myself) to waffle on for 15-20 minutes at a time rather than sit down and type out a page of words.

Anyway, time has passed and some of the changes have kicked in at work, but there's still a lot to do, more people to put into jobs and a hell of a lot more training to do, and I'm still in the job I was in at the start of all this. My mind hasn't changed, I'm not moving up the ladder, I'm still stepping down, but this won't be for another couple of months given how slow some things seem to be moving!

Morale at work is understandably low right now in places, there are a few high moments don't get me wrong, but there's plenty dragging people down, especially in the control room. Changes to teams and set-ups can do that, the uncertainty of how it will all end up is undoubtedly playing on peoples minds. Of course, doing the simple things wrong like paying people incorrectly isn't helping things along either....

I was sceptical when the new overlords took over, and haven't seen much to lighten my scepticism just yet, but I guess it is still early days. They've been running the show for around 9 months now and there is a long way to go yet, maybe when things are all settled, the new jobs are filled and the departments around the company aren't running with vacancy upon vacancy then the mood will change.

I can't be totally negative though, some of the new faces being brought in are encouraging and look like they will provide a much needed boost to the atmosphere around there, and it's good to see a number of people progressing and moving up as a part of the re-org, including 5 of the 6 in my team (which I feel quite proud of actually). Give it another 6-9 months and we'll see how it all falls.....

I keep saying that I need to get back to my blog writing with a bit more regularity, especially now that another football season is about to start and the Concord Rangers match-day programme will need another fresh bunch of words each week. So let this be the start of another bunch of blogs to pollute the tinterweb over the coming weeks!

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