Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A game of chance

It’s an odd feeling to be going resolutely against the tide. This morning I took my usual train to Baker Street but as I descended the stairs toward the Bakerloo line I was aware of far more people than normal coming up the other way. As I reached the bottom an announcement informed me that there were “severe delays on the Bakerloo line due to signal failure”. (It’s always signal failure, unless you get the very rare but always intriguing “passenger action”).
My escape route in this particular case is to take the Jubilee which runs conveniently parallel to the Bakerloo all the way to my destination of Waterloo. So I continued on to the Bakerloo platform from where there is easy access to the Jubilee avoiding the worst of the crowds. There was a train at the platform with a few determined passengers sitting still whilst others continued to detrain. The platform announcer told us that we could board if we wished but we might be in for a long wait. It always pays to keep an eye on the signals and, as I reached the end of the platform where there is a short tunnel to the Jubilee, I saw the light turn green. I boarded the train at once. The announcer also noticed it and opined that though the train might shortly depart, it would be slow and we would be taking a gamble.
I took the gamble (staking possible holdups against the certainty of a jam-packed Jubbly) and stayed put. We left almost at once with the train nearly empty. There was no delay at all and we proceeded at normal speed to Waterloo, the train staying blissfully devoid of crush because everyone was undoubtedly packing into the trains just ahead of us. As I left the station they were still repeating the mantra of “severe delays”. Well, not for this particular commuter there weren’t.

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