Friday 7 January 2011

Sorry for the delay in writing but then Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was riddled with lateness. I was on the last EPP – WER and as with all last trains we hold at a platform until a member of station staff gives us “the right” to proceed to ensure we connect with last trains on other lines if required and that passengers aren’t left stranded.

Things started badly, I was over on Plat 1 at EPP which is the other side of the bridge from the entrance/exit. When the signal cleared the platform was bereft of staff, I waited for a minute, gave a blast on the train whistle just in case they’d forgot and when no one appeared called up Wood Lane. They tried to contact the Station Super but to no avail; EPP was unstaffed. Later I learnt that this had been announced earlier but it would appear that when they had a changeover of shifts at Wood Lane this information had not been passed on.

As I was now late there were station staff waiting for me all the way down the line except for SNA which was also staffless. This isn’t unusual, it’s not a busy station so I didn’t bother hanging around and just carried on. At MIE I got held while the last WB District Line caught up and then at LIS the CSA kept me there ages while stragglers made their way down the escalators. Had I been on time they would have missed the last train but that didn’t seem to inject any urgency in their efforts to get on board or in the CSA to get me moving. After that the station staff were more than happy to move me along as the sooner I left the sooner they could shut up shop.

There are two routes into Ruislip depot from the platforms at WER, either through the wash, literally a huge train sized car wash type affair, or 24 road which runs between the wash and the WB running line. 9 times out of ten they send you in through the wash before going into the yard, you pull up to the “Stop” boards, wait until the shunter tells you where to put the train then go slowly through the wash while it cleans your train.

24 road is covered by a shunt signal so after you get your destination from the shunter you have to wait till this clears. I’d got so used to going through the wash road that when they put me on 24 I nearly SPADed the shunt signal. Tiredness and lack of concentration on my part; don’t think they would have sacked me but I’d have probably been on a corrective action plan and a 12 month warning.

As I walked into the yard at the start of traffic I noticed an engineers train in the platform at WER. I prepped the train and waited to be called up by the shunter to the outlet signal. The minutes went by and I tried to call the shunters’ cabin without any joy. I suspected that I was being held while the engineers train was brought in and sure enough five minutes before I was due to leave WER EB I saw it rolling into the yard. A few minutes later I was called up and went straight out onto the platform, eventually leaving six minutes late.

With a little careful pruning of dwell times I was making up the lost minutes until I ran up against a red signal on the approach to QUE that to the best of my memory has never been red unless there was a train in the platform. Having waited the required two minutes I called up the signaller at Wood Lane who was unaware that the signal was at danger and cleared it. So I finished late, not the best day.

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