Monday 27 February 2012

A thoroughly uninteresting week was brought to an end with a fight at HAL; roughly halfway down the train two gentlemen spilled out of the car and onto the platform with fists flying. At one point they were both on the floor and for a moment I thought they were about to fall onto the track.

The Station Super and their friends managed to drag them apart with one on the platform while the other was hustled back on the train so I closed the doors and set off. When I got to WER the one I’d taken with me apologised for the blood in the car, which was nice.

To add to all this we had engineering work between LIS and WOO/NEP which meant that I started Saturday by getting a taxi to LIS to pick up the last WER train. After I’d stabled that I got another taxi to WHC, picked up my colleague who been on the last EAB, onto HAI where he got out and then onto LOU. In the morning I trundled up and down the line between EPP and WOO a couple of times before jumping into yet another taxi to take me back to where I’d started.

In all I spent as much time sat in a taxi as I did on a train and crossed Shoreditch High Street twice; it would appear that the late night bar and club business in the area is doing very nicely.

Monday 20 February 2012

Very little to report apart from the rain on Friday making things very slippery in Auto and in Coded, the train missed the stopping mark at WHC WB and then I missed the stopping mark at WEA WB. Whoops.

The staff shortage continues to bite, I had to start a shift by getting a train out of WOO sidings when it should have been out on the line already, at WHC and LES trains were left in the middle platform and the service run around them because there was no one available to take over from the TOp who was finishing their shift, plenty of "No Cover Available" on the sheets at WER and LES.

The good news is that about half a dozen trainees started at Ashfield House this month and a few more are on trains under the supervision of the IOps. The bad news is that rumour has it they’ll only be here for the Olympics and then move to the Northern.

Further information on the “trespasser” at SOR, when BTP arrived they found that the gentleman was so “disturbed” that they called for back up with a taser. I’m sure I’m not the only one to see the irony in asking for a device that incapacitates someone with electricity when we have plenty around on the track.

The Bakerloo had it’s own trespasser on Saturday, the line was shut down for quite a while between Stonebridge Park and Harrow and Wealdstone for a dog on the track at Kenton. Awwwwwww.

Friday 17 February 2012

Despite it being half term the Central Line was reasonably peaceful until yesterday. Wood Lane got a report of “youths” throwing stuff onto the track from a road bridge around EPP and we were told to make the journey up from THB in Coded “at a speed that allows you to stop short of any obstacle”.

Fortunately it was mid-afternoon with good visibility so we weren’t crawling along, THB to EPP is 2.54km (1.57 miles to us old people) and takes about three minutes doing 85kph. As the only road bridge on that particular stretch is the one that carries the M25 it wasn't much of a surprise when I didn’t find anything blocking the track.

Later we had a report of a “trespasser” up at SOR which not only shut the Central from NOR to WER but also halted the Chiltern Line out of Marylebone. This was a real incident and one of my colleagues suffered a “near miss”. The “trespasser” was eventually safely removed from track and I was one of the first trains through judging form the amount of people who crammed on board.

Many thanks to Ian Sergeant for alerting the world that the phantom balloon animal maker has struck on the Northern Line. And no, Ian, the identity of the perpetrator remains a mystery.!/crooked_cottage/status/168808521238982659/photo/1

Friday 10 February 2012

I’ll be back next week but a little piece of travel related news caught my eye.

In a recent meeting at City Hall GLA member for South West Tony Arbour (C) stated that:-

“It is a fact, is it not, that relatively few Londoners actually use London transport in any way. Most people don't use London transport with any sense of regularity and isn’t it a principle of Conservatism and taxation that those people who pay for a service and receive a service are the ones who should pay for it.

Isn’t the great thing about a reduction and a freezing of the precept is that it goes to everyone rather than those who receive a specific service.”

He was heartily supported by another great friend of private motorists Brian Coleman, Barnet and Camden (C), but Boris said he'd need to look at the figures. When he does he’ll discover that every day there are around 8.4 million trips on Tube, rail, DLR, bus, tram and taxis and that over the last ten years the only forms of transport to see a decline are cars and motorbikes.

It seems to me that for a lot of people this year’s Mayoral Election will be a simple choice between Boris’s reduction of the Mayor’s share of council tax, saving every London household an average of £3.10 a year and Ken’s fares cut which he estimates will reduce annual ticket costs by around £250.

If the voters choose Ken in May then I would imagine Mr. Arbour will conclude that all those people who don’t use London Transport were unable to vote as their polling stations were too far away or they couldn't find anywhere to park.