Thursday, January 25, 2007

Water shortage

The glorious day of steam have returned. Consider this reason, posted by London Underground today on their website, for closing Bounds Green station – “no water supply”.  Now this cannot be anything to do with staff because plenty of stations operate with no staff at all at certain hours, my home station at Ruislip Manor being one of them. And by the same token it cannot be to do with fire safety because, if this were a concern, then there would not be any unmanned stations at all. So I assume that it is because the trains need to take on water there.

I picture Bounds Green as a little halt, near the village of the same name, with a quaint Victorian brick waiting room, toilets in a little wooden shed, faded posters advertising long-lost railway companies like LNER or the Somerset & Dorset and a trolley with a few battered old luggage cases propped up against a wall where a machine dispenses chocolate bars for a penny.  Birds twitter in the nearby fields. Cattle crop the grass by the sidings. There is a distant whistle. A man wearing coal-dusty overalls and green-peaked cap consults his fob watch and ambles out toward the water tower. He looks up. He scratches his head. He jogs back to the platform, lifts the phone, winds the handle and in a rustic accent informs someone “higher up” that there is no water. The response is immediate. The station is closed and as the train approaches the attendant waves a green flag, gestures to the tower and the train continues on its way.

Later in the morning the message vanished from the web site so it seems either they found some water to put in the tower or maybe they cancelled the steam trains and ran one of these beastly new-fangled electric johnnies instead.

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