Another busy old day in the office, the overnight rain had done its best to destroy the network and as I walked in a tree was falling on a train outside New St station. As Birmingham expected the massed workforce to make their way in, the railway infrastructure wasn’t there to allow them too. I did the noble thing and manned the Short term planning desk and kept my head down. Not long after, rafts of the Salop lines found themselves flooded and reaffirmed my good decision to continue training on the new schedule input system.
Planning trains isn’t an easy job, planning trains at short notice in between planned trains can be quite frustrating, the system in place to enter these very short term planned moves has been around for five decades and relies upon programming code, knowledge of railway geography and a lot of guesswork. These days the vagaries of guesswork and poor planning are punished. Every delay is someone’s fault, every delay costs money and faults and costs need avoiding wherever possible. There are also the instances where long term planning hasn’t managed to find a valid path for requests, these requests are hidden under the table and then faxed through at the last moment in the hope that someone else gets the blame for it going wrong.
So enter an all singing and dancing system, designed by experts to take away the guesswork and geography using clever algorithms and shit like that. I tried it before my failed flying lesson on New Town Row and it was pants, pants to the point of the tutor not getting the system to load at all, another attempt saw it load then crash. So I was interested to see how it had developed over seven months.
On the whole I was pretty impressed, it looks very pretty and the page is fairly well thought out for something not designed by the people who use it. There are a number of advantages in that you can work on more than one request at a time and it isn’t as easy to delete hours of work by pressing the wrong key. It is fairly intuitive and actually works out how much time to add, which will save me a lot of paper. It seems the problem was the geography and guesswork issues, it can’t do them, take them away and it is fine. It is a lot slower than the old system on the easy requests but I think it leads to a more accurate result, as long as you can guess how much time is required and where you are. I love progress, it is great.
I will continue looking at the system tomorrow as I am covering the job on Friday, even more so after the weather forecast overnight.
Tomorrow we are off to collect a file of family history stuff to continue the research into the family tree. I am looking forward to getting a few questions answered and progressing further back, the relatively recent history is more difficult than the older stuff as it relies upon memories rather than fact, a number of which have already proven incorrect. It is actually very interesting and a whole lot less dangerous than bicycle acrobatics