Saturday, 11 December 2010

Yesterday was timetable and while it was busy as Friday evenings usually are the passengers seemed, well, older. Lots of middle aged people on the platforms rather than the usual 20-somethings out clubbing. By the time I reached HOL on my last trip EB I was packed out and left a few people on the platform who were obviously searching the cars for space. CHL and STP were the same. What was going on last night?

Being crowded there were a few interlock losses, something I’ve been meaning to write about and have been asked by Katie; thanks for being considerate with the rucksack, if only more were like you.

Okay here’s roughly how it works. All the doors (except the interconnecting doors between cars) have a thing called interlock which tells the train when they are closed and it is safe to move. This is indicated in the cab by a little blue light on my “dashboard”; the door closed visual or as we call it the “pilot light”. Those of you old enough will know why, those of you not ask your mum. If the doors come open the interlock is broken, the motors cut out, I lose the pilot light in the cab and I know that a door or doors are open somewhere on the train.

All doors have a bit of give so that if someone/something is trapped between them they don’t totally shut but if someone leans on the door in just the wrong way, like when the train starts moving and you all lean backwards, it will come open just a tiny bit, you lose the interlock, the motors stop and the train for want of a better word, jerks. The person/persons leaning are thrown forward, re-establishing the interlock, the motors kick in, the person leans on the door again, repeat process until they finally stop leaning on the door and we can get moving as normal.

It has been known for young ragamuffins to do this on purpose as a form of entertainment but being of somewhat advanced years I fail to see the enjoyment derived from such shennanagins. Occasionally the TOp will tire of being jerked around and will kindly request that the passengers stand away from the doors. Actually what they want to say is “get your great big fat arse off my f***ing doors” but we aren’t allowed to say that over the PA.

Obviously if the little blue light stays out for more than a second or so we get a bit worried and if it repeatedly happens to the same car then we get really worried as that means we may have a faulty door, in which case that train is going out of service and you are all going to have to wait on the platform to see if you can squeeze onto the next one.

So please treat our doors with respect and move you big fat arse when asked


  1. Haha, thanks for the answer. :)
    I've actually heard people blame the driver for the jerking - seemed ridiculous, as it's pretty obvious the poor bugger is at least as frustrated by it as the passengers!

  2. Happy to clear that one up, any other questions please feel free.