During the Covid-19 pandemic, when Tube drivers were on sick leave or self-isolating, what consideration was given to using the 140 underused Crossrail drivers to drive Tube trains?
TfL Rail train drivers are employed by the operator, MTR Elizabeth line, to operate the service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL). All drivers employed by MTR Elizabeth line are either undertaking rostered duties, including driving passenger trains on surface sections of TfL Rail and undertaking training on other sections so they are able to drive over the full length of the future Elizabeth line, or are involved with testing of the new Central Operating Section.
Train drivers on London Underground are employed directly by TfL. The trains operated by MTR Elizabeth line are not the same as London Underground trains. For a TfL Rail train driver to drive a London Underground train, they would require training on:
The time and cost of re-training TfL Rail drivers to drive London Underground trains would have been neither sustainable nor physically possible for much of the pandemic, given social distancing requirements.