Thursday, October 20, 2016

Plan B fails

I ceased real commuting some years ago but I regularly take the train from beautiful Ruislip to Finchley Road. Today I was nice and early for the departure from the Manor. We stopped short on the approach to Harrow, with another train on the fast line also stopped. Potentially a bad sign, suggesting congestion ahead. We eased into the platform and the driver told us the other train was going first. So almost the entire trainload crossed the platform. So far no problem. Except he did mention something about a track problem...

No sooner had we pulled out of Harrow than we were told our train was now stopping at Wembley Park. We arrived, about three hundred people piled out and we all played the same guessing game - was it worth taking a Jubilee? The Met driver announced that it was possible the train behind would be running normally but he didn't sound very confident.  A Jubbly arrived and almost everyone got on. This is my normal fallback in the event of a problem on the Met and it usually works.

Except today it did not. We reached Dollis Hill (and if a station in London could be described as the middle of nowhere this surely must be a good candidate), stopped and were informed that there was a suspect package at North Greenwich and all Jubbly's were being held. Oh Joy. Naturally the Mets began running again but from this station all one can do is watch as they thunder by on the fast track. I decided to return to Wembley Park. Good plan.  A minute after I took my seat in a Stanmore-bound train, almost everyone from the inert southbound joined me, the driver no doubt having advised it. Presumably they could maintain a reasonable northbound service?

No. We sat at Dollis Hill for a long time due to "the trains ahead". Eventually we moved off, we all crossed over at Wembley Park and got back on the now normally running Met and back again past Dollis Hill (southbound still stuck there) and so on to my destination a mere 35 minutes late.

The only laugh was when the driver of the northbound Jubbly at Dollis Hill made his third announcement about the ongoing delays and suggested we all take local buses instead. Yes. Good plan. When I got home I checked if such a journey were possible. It is. London Underground  TFL's website allots 54 minutes to a trip that takes 7 minutes on the Jubbly and about 4 on the Met. We won't be bothering, thanks.

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