More merry mayhem just as I was starting, this time the culprit was a signal failure between MIE and BEG and the line was suspended LES to LIS in both directions with all WB trains reversing at LES. I kept busy fielding passenger questions until one of the trains set off EB and made room for my train could come in. The TOp I was relieving had no idea where they wanted me to take it and though I did try calling Wood Lane they were obviously busy so I had no choice but to sit and wait.
After ten minutes I was told to go to EPP and then come back to LES again. Twenty minutes after that I was finally on the move and on the way up I passed a queue of eight trains stacked up all the way past WOO but absolutely nothing after that. This meant that when I returned I would be the first train WB from EPP for well over half an hour.
As I pulled into EPP, one hour after I’d started, Wood Lane announced that hopefully the problem was fixed and they were going to run a “test train” through the section. Thankfully it worked but I was held at EPP for another 20 minutes before they let me out again and the platforms were understandably crowded.
I still had no idea of where I was meant to be going, I still had LES up on the front and it wasn’t till five minutes after I’d arrived there that I was told to do a mainline shunt and go back to HAI via NEP, which was nice as that was where I was due to have my meal break in half an hour. There was general confusion as TOps who were due to get off at LES were arriving to find that the TOp who was supposed to relieve them was somewhere else on the line and the DTSM on the desk had run out of spares long ago.
The problem with the mainline shunt is that it blocks the WB line out of Plat.2 and as that was where the only WB train was, packed out with the passengers I'd picked up, it would have made sense to get me out of the way asap. Instead I sat there and stared at the headlights on the train facing me for a good ten minutes while trains went by EB. Eventually they let me go and I got to HAI almost on time, possibly the only TOp who was!
By the time I’d finished my meal relief everything was running to timetable or near as damn it though I was held at WHC for about ten minutes while the train in the middle platform had the green light but no one in the cab; obviously there were still TOps wandering lost out there.
Just be glad it didn’t happen Friday.
In Photos: London In 1984
15 hours ago