Wednesday 27 October 2010

My deepest apologies for my unforgivable tardiness but I have had various personal and domestic upheavals to deal with since last writing and subsequently the muse deserted me. Not that much has happened, last week while the rest of the Tube seemed to go into complete collapse the Central Line carried on serenely. Oh yes, we are “The Man”

Sunday started off quiet enough, a single body asleep, woke him up and had to explain just where EPP was; ahhhhh, an “overshoot” virgin. At LOU I directed him towards the buses and saw him boarding the 20 heading back into town as I left the station.

In the morning I took the first train up to EPP, changed ends and when the signal changed pushed the Auto start buttons; nothing. I switched into Coded, tried the handle for brake release; still nothing. Even though I was getting codes I tripped the ATP MCB just to be sure but still nothing. I closed down and opened up again; yet more nothing. I tried Restricted, ah, brake release. I called up Wood Lane, they asked me if I done all of the above, were equally bemused and gave me authority to proceed down to THB in RM.

EPP to THB is 2.54km, a journey of two and a half minutes if you get up to line speed, 85kph. It takes a bit longer if “overspeed trip” activates the emergency brake if you venture above 15kph and as EPP to THB is all downhill this means you have to keep applying the brake at regular intervals. When I arrived Wood Lane called up to say they’d had a word with the train maintainer who’d prepped the trains at LOU that night, they suggested that there might be a loose connection on one of the brake test buttons and I should give them a few prods. I dutifully did and hey presto, we have forward movement in Auto.

And my immediate question was if the Train Maintainer “suspected” there was a loose connections on one of the brake test buttons why the hell didn’t they fix it when they were working on the train Sunday night?

Monday night went smoothly enough but Tuesday morning after I’d crawled into RUI depot I got onto the train, completed the brake test and only realised I’d got onto the wrong train when the shunter called me up. A quick hop next door, brake test and off we go, fortunately I always walk in a bit early so no time lost.

But it was Tuesday night that the fun really started. Going WB I was held at WOO while an empty train came over the points and went into the sidings. Had I not been held I wouldn’t have seen the man walking along the path at the side of the EB track. Now he could have been P Way but he wasn’t wearing a hi-vi and on the whole P Way don’t wear suits. I opened up the cab door and asked him where he was going.

Obvious drunk he demanded to know why there wasn’t a gate for him to leave by so I informed him that he was on the track and directed him back towards the platform. This was greeted with a torrent of abuse regarding my parentage and my sexual orientation, some of which may or may not be true, I have done many things while under one influence or another some of which I can only vague recall but as I am the second of three children I think it fair to say my parents were most certainly married when I entered the world.

After that things went fine although I was running around 4 late until I reached MAA. Ahead of me the last EAB had been stopped by signal failure and had lost codes over the points E of QUE. As it was a “controlled” area the TOp needed authority from Wood Lane to continue but Wood Lane couldn’t confirm that it was okay to proceed as they had lost control due to the signal failure. The normal procedure at this point would be for the Super at QUE to get onto the track and physically secure the points but they couldn’t do that as the train was already over them. With all this going on I was told to hold at MAA and they worked things out. I kept the passengers informed the best I could and we finally got moving around 01:00 by which time NHG and SHB had closed as all the staff apart from the Supers had finished their shifts and gone home. Larks, eh?

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