Thursday 7 April 2011

A gorgeous day, my first trip was up to EPP so I drove in Coded with the door open all the way there and all the way back. Nothing much on the first half, I had my meal relief at WHC and then headed EB. At MAA I was held at a red signal for a rather longer than expected so when I was the prescribed two minutes late I called up the signaller at Wood Lane but they weren’t answering.

I waited in the hope that someone might bother to tell me what was going on then tried the Line Controller. Seven minutes after I should have left I was told that I was being held because the train behind had gone defective at WHC and they were regulating to avoid a huge gap between trains. When the signal eventually cleared I was ten minutes down and all the platforms from MAA through to LIS were packed. By the time I reached LES I should have been tipping out and going up the siding at NEP but fortunately I had fairly long turn-arounds so I was back on time when I left EAB on my last trip.

I had a chat with a LOU TOp who’s been on the line for a lot longer than I have and he compared the current staff situation to the bad old days in the 70s when staffing levels were allowed to fall in order to save money. That all changed when Labour won the GLC elections in 1981 and Ken took over after which staffing levels went back up. Maggie removed LUL from GLC control in 1984 and there was another round of cost cutting which was only halted after the King’s Cross fire.

So now we have dwindling staff numbers due to cost cutting instigated by a Conservative controlled London in conjunction with a Tory government putting the squeeze on public spending and Ken Livingstone waiting in the wings. It would appear that very little has changed in the last 30-40 years, let’s just hope it doesn’t take another disaster before people realise that the Tube is worth investing in.

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