Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One to forget

Not a good journey on the tube today. I made one of my (now infrequent) commutes from beautiful Ruislip to Farringdon. All seemed to be going well as the air-conditioned "S" stock train, destination Aldgate, arrived at Baker Street. Alas, appearances can deceive. We remained at the platform for a while. Our driver informed us that due to signal failure at Kings Cross we might be delayed a while longer. Then, after several minutes, he told us that our train was terminating where it was and if we wished to continue we must use the Circle Line.

With these grim words about seven hundred people abandoned ship and thronged up the stairs to change trains. There was a wait until a Circle train arrived - it was almost totally full so not many could squeeze on. Fortunately there was another close behind with enough room to take us. And just as well because not only were the station staff making announcements that if we did not all move down the platform they would close it to prevent overcrowding (no hint of an apology that it was their system that had failed, it must have been that it was all our fault for actually wanting to travel) but twice during the wait it was announced that a good service was operating on all lines. Twice, whilst the Met suspended service from Baker Street and there were severe delays on the Circle and Hammersmith lines (as was posted on the tube website not very long afterwards).

But of course the best was to come. We made good progress up to Kings Cross, stopped just short and then limped in. And having limped out, we stopped in the tunnel and waited there for some ten minutes. Today was perhaps the hottest so far this year, about 30c in London. The Circle Line trains are of venerable stock that is not air-conditioned. On arrival at Farringdon, about half an hour late, sweating and uncomfortable, I could reflect on how nice it is not to have to make such a journey on a regular basis.

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