Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When to ignore

My morning train today was one of the shiny new "S" stock but our driver wasn't happy. Coming into Harrow he warned us that there was trouble ahead and advised everyone to take the fast train that was coming in alongside us. I thought about it and stayed put. I don't know why, other than that I had a comfortable window seat and didn't fancy the crowded, standing, alternative. And they would save little more than a couple of minutes anyway.

We left and the fast train remained. We went more or less normally down to Wembley Park, where it was rumoured there might have been a defective train, but all I noticed was that we overtook another train on the fast track, empty and forlornly waiting outside Preston Road. And at Wembley Park we continued normally. So anyone who had left my train at Harrow was still stuck way behind, going nowhere. Possibly the train we had passed was the defective one. Or maybe it had decided to join in the fun and become defective as well.

As if that wasn't enough raw excitement for one day, at Baker Street on the homeward leg they were dispensing with trains for Watford and telling passengers inclined to go in that general direction to take the first train to Harrow. And as if to compensate there were plenty of Uxbridges. Mine pulled in to Harrow and then onward, with quite a fair sized crowd on the Watford platforms left behind to wait. Ah me. Plenty of times I've stood awaiting an Uxbridge whilst the other lot sailed through. But the stumper is this - the explanation for the problem was a defective train at Farringdon. And it is mostly Uxbridges that come up from that neck of the woods. So where did all the Watfords go?  And was this defective train any relation of this morning's casualties?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Driver in the Dark

It was strange that our all-stations London bound Met came into Harrow this morning on platform 6 (the "fast" platform) and my fears were confirmed by the station announcer telling us that the train was terminating there. As we all sighed and tutted, though pleased that there was a train on platform 5 waiting for us, we were informed by the driver that he had not known until that moment that his own journey into town had ended. He told us, rather plaintively, that the "Line Controller had not told him".

The waiting train proved to be a false hope. Due to signal failure (the reason that the first train was terminated) we crawled down the track to Wembley and I was over 20 minutes later arriving at work. However I made one good decision. As we arrived at Wembley Park there was a Jubbly coming in. I opted to stay put and you may imagine my relief when, though it pulled out well ahead of us, we overtook it at Neasden and then another immediately ahead, signifying a problem on that line as well.

Oh well, at least the weather is back to seasonal normal and the amazing cold spell that froze the country throughout December is just a chilling memory [is this some sort of pun?: Ed]

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The year begins in familiar style

So, 2011, what may be in store for us? Travelling-wise, the mixture as before, I fear. This morning I thought I might get in to my office a little earlier and aimed to catch the 8:26 from Ruislip Manor. But no. A nicely printed poster at the station entrance explained that two trains had been removed temporarily from the timetable. And, yes, the 8:26 was one of them.

A train then arrived pretty soon after but terminated at platform 5, Harrow. With a sense of timing bordering on the exquisite, a fast train on platform 6 closed its doors and left the very second that ours opened. No matter, it's fun to mill about waiting for the next train with about 1000 others. And one did come in and we all packed on and heard the following announcement "There will be a short delay while we wait for a driver". Followed by "Apparently a driver is on his way". Which, fortunately, was indeed the case. But I savoured the unspoken assumption that in some way LU was doing all us a huge favour by providing a driver and that in future we should all watch our step or they might withdraw the privilege.