Monday 4 April 2011

Two weeks ago I mentioned how quiet London was and postulated that perhaps austerity was biting. I can happily report that now that spring is in the air and as most people get paid at the end of the month London shook of the cobwebs last week. Or maybe it was just that I was finishing up on the East End of the line and the residents of the London/Essex borders are just somewhat more exuberant than those out to the West.

Thursday night there were plenty of unsteady people staggering on and off the trains and it came as no surprise when I changed ends at EPP that there was a small group of passengers clustered around a young lady who seemed to be rather the worse for wear. They managed to manoeuvre her off the train and onto a bench on the platform and I assumed they were all together but when I announced that this was the last train to LES they ushered her back on board. She staggered off at LOU where she was assisted by the Super who had come up to give me the “right”.

When I was closing up the train at LES I found that she’d left two things behind; her mobile phone and an extraordinary amount of vomit, running the from one set of double doors to the other. I gingerly leant over the puddles and retrieved the phone, passed it to the Super at LES and suggested that it might be worthwhile contacting his counterpart at LOU.

Friday saw the party mood ratcheted up a notch. As I approached WER Wood Lane called me to say we were “stepping up”, where the TOp of the train ahead takes your train and you take the one behind. Some cheerful soul had thrown up inside the front car right up against the J door and it had seeped into the cab, the cleaners were going home and the TOp had no intention of going to go all the way to EPP with vomit washing around his feet.

All was well except that the perpetrator of the first mess got on the train I’d brought in, sat in the front car behind the cab door and carried on vomiting. Fortunately he’d evacuated most of his stomach contents in the first bout and the DTSM decided to grab a mop and bucket and clear up the mess themselves. The passenger then decided they didn’t want to travel after all and staggered off up the platform towards the exit.

Things were running quite late by now, I duly took over the next train but as I was about to close the doors and leave the TOp who’d brought it in signalled me to stop. He explained that someone had thrown up just inside one set of double doors, leaving a very slippery mess for passengers to negotiate. Rather than drag the DTSM out again we cleaned the mess ourselves with a fire extinguisher, not perhaps their intended purpose but bloody useful and quick.

I got through to EPP without any further delay and had reached LOU on the WB where a man in a suit got off, turned back to the open door and started gesticulating at whoever he’d left behind in the car. A group of young men came to the door and after a few angry words were exchanged the suit lunged back towards the train and started throwing punches at anyone in range. I hit the mayday button and while waiting for Wood Lane to respond the Super appeared on the platform, saw the altercation, tried to intervene and in the fracas I think he got a stray kick for his pains.

The Super managed to get the suit to leave the platform and somewhat belatedly Wood Lane answered my Mayday call. I explained the situation, they called the BTP and told me to hold where I was until they arrived. Wood Lane eventually called up the Super who explained that the guilty party had already fled, the lads who were assaulted didn’t want to hang about to press charges and I was given the all clear to carry on. By the time I reached LES the last EPP train was pulling in on the other platform which made me about 20 minutes late.

Fun and games, folks!

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