Saturday 20 October 2012

When I booked on Thursday we had an on-going points failure at WOO which meant that trains couldn’t go WB from there to LES, instead they were going up to EPP, back down to WOO, reversing off the platform and then round the Loop to HAI to head off into town. I was spare but due to the number of uncovered shifts I was given a whole duty to cover within about five minutes.

I picked up on the EB but hadn’t reached SNA before Wood Lane announced that the points failure was fixed and we were running WB again through WOO. This was yet another denizen of the Control Room who can barely make an intelligible announcement who shall be referred to as “Errrrrr”, as this precedes every announcement and then reoccurs with an annoying frequency. Shortly after another voice contradicted this by informing us that a train would be going through to test the points and when I approached WOO it was only just passing the section with about half a dozen grim faced technicians in hi-vis stood in the Cess observing its progress (the Cess is what we call the area either side of the track, so called because its lower than the bottom of the sleepers in order to provide drainage; think cesspool, cesspit).

The announcements came thick and fast from Wood Lane with at least three voices telling us pretty much the same information. I got stuck outside LOU for a while and by the time I left EPP on the way to EAB I was 10 minutes down, by the time I reached LES I’d added another two minutes and by the time I made LIS it was 15. That was when someone decided to turn me at WHC but as there was a timetabled WHC train behind me I was going to tip out on the WB platform and go up the siding to the west of the station.

When I got to WHC there was no sign of any station staff so I started to close up the train myself. I closed up the front four cars and walked through the interconnecting doors to the fifth car to discover that someone had closed up for me, which would have been pleasant enough were it not for the two gentlemen still sat in the saloon deep in conversation. Despite English clearly not being their first language, possibly not their second or third, I explained that the train was not going to EAB and then managed to attract the attention of the member of station staff who’d closed the doors.

They operated the “butterfly” to release the passengers and I went up the sidings wondering if perhaps I should have checked the last three cars to see if they’d left anyone else on board. If that member of station staff had been on the platform when I arrived I’d have simply followed procedure, closed up the front two cars and then left the rest. Once I’d discovered the passengers on board I would have had to call Wood Lane to report a carry over and to get authorisation to bring them back over the shunt signal.

Just shows you how easy it is to make a mistake when the pressure is on, I made a huge one a while ago which I will tell you all about one day when I recover from the embarrassment. And I’m not talking about the beer, tequila and red wine that left me with my head over the toilet for two hours in the early hours of Friday morning. Or passing out in bed next to my mate Alex the carpenter afterwards; apparently we made a lovely couple. Thank you, sweetie, for having pity on us, not taking a photo or posting it on Facebook, especially as it was your bed we were in and you had to sleep in a chair; a big bunch of flowers coming your way.

That’s me done for a week or so, I was meant to be flying to the USA today but due to family illness my American friend is unavailable so rather than seeing Morrissey live in Pittsburgh from premium seats I’m stuck in London. Happy travelling, kiddies.

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