Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The last commute of the year

I've worked my last day in 2010. The morning journey was fine, once more in a new "S" stock train that this time came in promptly and was not too full. The Bakerloo was good, as it normally is, and my door to door time to Waterloo was under 55 minutes. Hard to do it in less.

So of course I assumed it would be a total Bovril this evening and when I looked at the TFL website around 4pm and saw that the Uxbridge branch was suspended entirely (person "ill" on a train at Ickenham) it seemed only right and proper. But miracles can happen. Around 5pm the trains began running again. I left for home soon after when the service appeared back to normal. Or was it? At Waterloo they also have an display of the website near the escalators and it showed "Partial suspension" for the Met. Odd - had the invalid had a sudden relapse? I reached the Bakerloo platform and they began to make a service announcement but naturally my train arrived at that moment and drowned out the loudspeaker. So it was not until I reached Baker Street that I discovered it was the Amersham end that was now Ovaltined good and proper. An Amersham train drew in but they said it was terminating at Rickmansworth. No sweat for yours truly, I took it to Harrow, hoping to overtake a slow Uxbridge, failed so to do, but caught the one that I knew was a few minutes behind us instead.

At Harrow they helpfully told the Amersham crowd to take the first train as far as they could and then make alternative arrangements. Not quite like the Heathrow staff telling would-be flyers that not only were their flights cancelled but those flights that were going out later this week were fully booked (which they have indeed been doing since the blizzard whitewashed the airport last Saturday), but it had a similar sort of ring. You can't make alternative arrangements to get to Amersham and area, unless by some form of divine intervention you find a taxi waiting for you at Ricky. We are talking countryside here, towns separated from one another by miles of open fields. Hitching a ride on a passing cow might be the only way.

The problem had cleared up by 8pm - the most sensible thing for the stranded passengers to do was to go to a friendly pub for a bit.

It's not been the Met's best year. It has been increasingly prone to signal failures and defective trains.  I shall say goodbye to 2010 without regret.

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