Bank holiday-itis. My first train was ten minutes late to begin with so by the time I got to Epp I should have left WB and it stayed like that. We had an emergency handle pulled down, smoke in a tunnel, a stalled train, anything that could go wrong did. As I headed up to Epp for the last time it was pissing down and I knew if I was late finishing I would miss the bus, leaving me with the choice of waiting for the next one or getting soaked walking home.
On my last trip east I received a call from the Control Room at Wood Lane, which normally is bad news but not this time. We have a neat little trick called a “stock and crew”, where the driver of one train swaps with another going in the opposite direction. One of the Spares from Lou had been sent to spend his entire evening constantly swapping trains at ThB then driving them up to Epp and back just to get everyone else finishing as near to normal as possible; it saves on paying us overtime
Normally a stock and crew will be done at a station with an island platform but where that isn’t possible you have to bring both trains into the platform and then use the bridge or tunnel to get to the other platform and your new train. Some daring souls will pull one train into the platform, bring the other up so the cab doors are level and then hop across the gap, which is very naughty, thoroughly reprehensible and should not be attempted by anyone.
Anyway, I swapped trains at ThB and was running to timetable for the first time that day. And then when I got to Les they were reversing a late train on the platform I was meant to go into and I was stuck outside, making me late again. Naturally I missed the bus but thankfully the rain had stopped so I walked home.
Best Of Londonist: 19-25 February 2024
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