I made the mistake last night of leaving my new office at Farringdon at 5:30pm for the return to beautiful Ruislip. Exacerbated by extensive roadworks that funnel pedestrians into a narrow corridor of pavement, the crowds who knock off at that time formed a dense mass of marching commuters blocking the access streets to the station. I hoped that most of them would be using the national rail services but few went into the gleaming new station entrance that serves those lines; the rest piled into the old Victorian station and crammed down onto the tube platforms that were already full.
A reasonable service was running, or so it seemed and soon after a full-to-the-bilges Hammersmith left, a fast Watford arrived with just enough space for your correspondent to squeeze into. This train then had its terminus changed to Harrow - no sweat for me because I have to change there anyway but not so much fun for my Watford branch travelling companions. It almost goes without saying that as we arrived at Harrow, coming into the platform normally reserved for Uxbridge bound trains, there was a Watford train adjacent, and of course this train moved off exactly as the doors opened on my train.
Oddly enough, most of the debarking passengers stayed on the Uxbridge side, and when our train arrived a few minutes later there were loads of us waiting; the arriving train was also packed so it was standing room only the rest of the journey. I gather there had been a problem in the morning with a defective train but I don't know whether this had a persisting knock-on effect. I had been mildly affected by that one as well - arriving at Harrow on my inbound journey I had hoped to pick up a fast Aldgate train. One arrived on cue. The announcer said it was an Aldgate, the train's external display said it was for Amersham [the opposite direction: Ed] and, as everyone crossed the platform to board, the driver told us it was terminating there and we all got out and went back to the slow train.
I have not yet managed to switch effortlessly to an Aldgate at Harrow on this, my new regular commute but who knows, this happy event may well occur soon and when it does you, my loyal followers, will be the first to know.