Monday, August 08, 2005

A Magnificent Return to Form

Only a couple of days ago I wrote "Now I can return to my core activity of moaning about the Piccadilly. Stand by for the first such bulletin." and blow me if the gallant lads and lasses of the Underground didn't respond superbly. Signal failure caused me a 25 minute delay this morning, only the second day I've travelled on the Piccadilly since it reopened to full services after the bombs. And good to see that the usual confusion about the cause of the delays was working at full strength. As we came to a halt at Park Royal our driver thought there was a problem between Hammersmith and Barons Court. Not long after, with nothing else to do as we waited at North Ealing, he thought the fault was at Acton Town. Later on he revised his story - it became a fault at Turnham Green and we would be running down the District Line tracks. Then he opined that we would be terminated at Acton Town (That sounds rather more sinister than it should) but that a train should be waiting for us to take us on. What of course happened was that we got out at Acton, waited, another Piccadilly came in and terminated and then we all got on a third train that proceeded at normal speed down the Piccadilly tracks.

Actually all credit to the driver who did at least keep us informed with whatever line he was being fed from the Controller. The problem is that, when things go wrong, nobody really knows what is happening. "Signal failure" is always trotted out as the excuse - this seems to be used to deflect away any criticism of the people running the trains. They might as well call it "Act of God" and then they won't have to take any blame at all. Why can't they bypass a dodgy signal and just drive slowly through it? I dunno.

Anyway at least we won the second test. The finish on Sunday, with Australia needing to score 107 and two wickets left, was the most exciting and nail-biting cricket I have ever seen. And to win the game with just 2 runs needed for the Aussies to tie, when they had picked up so many easy byes and both Flintoff and Harmison was sending them hurtling down - it was an exquisite moment of disbelief. Something to give one a little comfort whilst sitting in an immobile train wondering when it might start moving again.

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