Monday, April 11, 2011

Mediocrity returns

As usual, no sooner do I write that the Tube is doing ok, an opinion I let loose on the world only yesterday, than everything goes wrong. This evening I missed my northbound Bakerloo at Waterloo by a whisker - really, no exaggeration, my hand was in the door when it closed and rather than risk getting jammed, I pulled back. Never mind, I thought (ah, sweet rashness of youth), there's another one in a minute. See there it is in yellow and black on the departure board.

Several minutes later there was no train and the board no longer showed any times against the next four arrivals. Now I had carefully timed my exit from work to get to Baker Street at a time when two Uxbridges run in quick succession. When the Bakerloo finally arrived, it was likely I would miss them. Arriving at Baker Street, after a slow journey due to the overcrowding, it was clear that I had. The next was due out in 10 minutes.

A fast Chesham arrived and it might have overtaken the second Uxbridge (which my invaluable London Tube live app on the phone showed to be about five minutes ahead) but it was so very full I gave it up and took a Watford that was starting from platform 1 instead. No problem getting to Harrow where I joined plenty of others waiting for the Uxbridge (Why, oh why, can't we have a fast service now and then?), And we waited. After about 8 minutes I checked my app again and there was the Uxbridge, just leaving Preston Road, still 6 minutes away. The announcers were now mournfully telling us that there delays on the Bakerloo due to - wait for it - signal failure on the Queens Park to Harrow & Wealdstone section. I don't know why they don't scrap those signals and have a man with a red flag cycle down the track in front of each train. I'm sure it would be faster.

So I arrived home 82 minutes after leaving work, on a journey that should have taken no more than 55. Or 60. Still massively over the 15 minutes you need to claim a refund. And that, my friends, is what I will be doing as soon as I complete this post. Which is now.

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