Saturday 18 December 2010

On Saturday it snowed. Lots. When I booked on the job was completely up the wall not so much due to the weather but because of a signal failure. While we could send trains from HAI to LES we couldn’t get them LES to HAI so all HAI via NEP trains were being sent up to WOO, round the loop and then back WB; fine if you wanted HAI but a long haul for anyone travelling to stations between NEP and WAN.

In order to ease the congestion caused by all the trains going up the EPP branch to WOO I was instructed to take over a train coming into Platform 3 and reverse it back WB to EAB. The only problem is that for some strange reason when you go WB off Platform 3, normally the EB platform, you get Platform 2 on the CCTV. As I was unable see what I was doing I had to call Wood Lane to observe my departure in order to ensure that there were no accidents while I was leaving. So I was late starting and got later as I made my way to EAB, finally getting there 20 minutes after I should have left.

When I came back EB the signal failure had been sorted but even so by the time I reached HAI I had lost another ten minutes and was made even later by a points failure. After a hold up between LES and LEY I was a long way behind the train in front and the platforms were filling up. By the time I’d reached MIE my train was full and passengers were having to wait for the train behind me. I was getting later and later and still had to go to EAB before I got off for my meal break at WHC.

As I left MAA Wood Lane called up and announced “White City only for relief” which I understood to mean that I would be relieved at WHC but when I came out of the pipe and was directed to the middle platform I realised that they’d meant that the train was terminating there too. I don’t think my passengers were too impressed when I told them that the train would not be going any further. Sorry.

I had slightly over the half an hour minimum for my meal relief before I was due to pick up my second train but when I checked to see where it was it was noticeably absent. I asked the nice helpful DMT on the desk what they wanted me to do and he told me that he’d find me a train to take back east. Sure enough about an hour later he called me up to tell me that I should get a train out of WHC sidings and do my last EAB and back to LES.

So off I trudged in the snow down Wood Lane and then down deep beneath the Westfield Centre. Thankfully I came out on time, got to LES on time but the TOp who was due to take me off was somewhere else on the line and there were no spares available. Now we can’t just leave trains sitting on the track so if was no TOp to relieve me I would have to take the train onto HAI, put it into the depot, walk out and then get a train back to LES, at least another 40-45 minutes to my day. While I would have been paid overtime at that point all I wanted to do was go home. Fortunately there was a TOp waiting to go west in need of a train so they made mine into theirs and I made my escape.

As well as the weather effecting the Tube there the two strikes on the Northern and Bakerloo. As predicted the Bakerloo Line was the worst effected, only running north of Paddington while with only the RMT drivers at Morden Depot on strike the Northern Line was running a “good service”. Still no word on Boxing Day.

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