Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things that go bump

I had a little moan about the Metropolitan Line yesterday and on my way home last night with the Bakerloo doing its usual excellent thing and my Uxbridge train waiting for me at Baker Street, I thought I might have been a bit harsh. But no. Arriving at Rayners Lane we were informed that there was a signal failure ahead that might delay us. The faulty signal was the one at the platform on Eastcote and a man in an orange safety jacket was peering at it anxiously. Our train driver was reassuring, explaining he was going to go past it anyway and we would feel a bump so anyone standing should sit down. We moved off, there was a jolt, not particularly heavy as we were doing barely walking speed, caused by  the train emergency brakes coming on as the safety system kicked in. Then there was a wait until the air pressure was restored and  we lurched down the track to Ruislip Manor in a curious stop-start form of motion.

It is a long time since I was last in a train that had to bump through a stuck signal. At times like this you realise how antiquated the Tube systems are. The driver knew it was safe to proceed, obviously the Line Controller had authorised it yet still he could not override the train's braking systems and we had to continue crawling until we left the section controlled by the failed signal.

And speaking of failure and things that crawl along, England's shaky World Cup bid reaches make or break time this afternoon. Will we be derailed or off down the fast track? More on this later...

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