I’ve previously written about how my homeward journey requires a stop at Ruislip and the crossing of the platform bridge in order to catch a train back to Ruislip Manor, that station’s westbound platform being under repair. In the wet of the gathering autumn a fresh hazard looms menacingly. The steps of the bridge are prone to gather leaves and wet leaves are about the most slippery objects I know. The danger of somone debarking from a westbound train and racing for an eastbound train (you race because you simply have no idea when the next one might be), slipping on the steps and falling amidst a heap of flailing bodies of one’s fellow commuters (OK, yes, I admit that I’m the “someone” I have in mind), where was I, yes, this seems like a real and present threat.
So should I simply walk more slowly up and over the bridge? Easy to say. Hard to do, when just as one is ascending, an eastbound train appears and you know that you need to move a little bit faster to be sure of boarding. These train drivers don’t hang about, you know. They can see that a westbound train has just disgorged its load of homecoming commuters and they know that some of these will wish to hurry over the bridge and take the train back east. Occasionally the odd sympathetic driver holds the doors open for a few seconds longer. Normally they pull out as quickly as regulations allow, leaving irritated passengers still scrambling down the stairs of the bridge.
This nightmare of moral and physical ambiguity (a little exaggeration here surely: Ed) should come to an end around January when down t’manor is completed and my commuting reverts to normal. Let us hope so. Lives may depend on it.