Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Fun Morning on the Underground

Large chunks of the underground were thrown into chaos this morning due to "Emergency Engineering Work" somewhere in the Whitechapel area.

The District Line had a chunk missing, the Hammersmith & City Line was suspended East of Moorgate, The Metropolitan Line was suspended East of Baker Street and the Circle Line was suspended.

I understand that there was a minor tunnel collapse before the trains started running (I mean MINOR) and the services were up and running by about Noon.

I diverted to the Bakerloo & Central Lines for the first time this week, only to find the both lines exceptionally busy (passengers have to go somewhere), not helped by a Bakerloo Line train being taken out of service at Regents Park.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Ultimate Blog?

What to blog about today?

  1. I traveled on the Central Line and it was like clockwork.
  2. I have just been to see The Bourne Ultimatum. It was brilliant and I thoroughly recommend it. It is a bit of a Boys Own adventure, the pace is almost none stop, there is some incredible cinematography and the storyline goes right on till the end. Also I am a convert to digital cinema- my previous experience of a digital projector left me saying 'never again', but clearly the technology has moved on and I now eat my words.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The wonders of the English language

Chiltern Railways have invested a lot of time, trouble (and money) into car parking facilities for their passengers. Warwick Parkway has masses of car parking spaces (564), Bicester has a multi-storey car park (well, double-decker) and the management of most is outsourced.

A very small number of stations have free parking, though don't all rush to use the facilities at Little Kimble as I think it has a whole four spaces.

Anyhow, with all this investment and management, it amused me to see a small notice taped over a sign at one car park entrance today. I have replicated the notice here for your convenience. While the meaning is clear, it nevertheless amused me to think how many different nuances and meanings the sign might have.

I really must get out more.

I have recently inherited a small second-hand digital camera (my Digital SLR is fantastic, but a bit big for carrying around everyday). Maybe I should start to carry the new one around with me... Just in case.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Anyone for Quainton Road?

An empty train pulled into London Marylebone Platform 2 at about 18:05 this evening with the front and rear dot matrix signs stating the destination as "Quainton Rd".

Now that's a first!

Quainton Road station doesn't appear on the National Rail 'Live Departures' website (well it wouldn't...).

It is actually the station for the The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. On Monday 27th August (Bank Holiday), Chiltern Railways will be running a special service from Aylesbury. The service will be run using their heritage Class 121 "Bubble Car" which usually operates during the day between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.

I am not quite sure what this evening's train was doing with "Quainton Rd" on the describer. I wonder whether all Chiltern Railways trains have the option programmed into their computers and whether any of them have ever been there.

Aargh... I'm now blogging like a train enthusiast.

Neglected Central Line

I am conscious that I haven't been saying much about the Central Line recently. Here goes...

My new journey to work (when I am being lazy) involves changing from the Bakerloo Line to the Central Line at Oxford Circus.

So, this morning, I was grateful to the Bakerloo Line driver announcing at Baker Street that Oxford Circus was closed due to a fire alert. This gave me the opportunity to grab my stuff and nip over to the Jubilee line for one stop down to Bond Street. Probably made no difference to the journey time as my Red Line train was able to sail through Oxford Circus without the usual long dwell time.

This evening Uncle Ken (aka Transport for London) kindly sent me a text message to say that Central Line trains were now not stopping at Oxford Circus due to flooding. Mental images then followed of a station saturated with water from an over enthusiastic visit this morning from the London Fire Brigade, but that is probably me just being over excitable.

I then had a pleasant stroll up to the Euston Road with a short ride on a No18 Bendy Bus to get me to Marylebone for the train home to leafy Buckinghamshire.

Ho hum, another exciting evening as a London Commuter.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I have in my hand a piece of paper...

The 17:53 pulled out of London Marylebone pretty much on time this evening. Unfortunately it became clear straight away that we might be in for an interesting journey home, as the train's engines stopped just as we were crossing the main points between the station and the entrance to St John's Wood Tunnel.

Not a useful place for a train to stall at the height of the evening rush hour.

We eventually laboured our way to Northolt Park (first scheduled station stop) and then stalled again somewhere between West Ruslip and Denham. Having eventually restarted, and as we approached the Tesco Tunnel at Gerrards Cross, the driver came on the PA and said that the service would be terminating at Gerrards Cross- it being the first available place with a siding and with several trains now backed up behind.

The train wasn't due to stop again except for at Beaconsfield and High Wycombe. By the time we arrived at Gerrards Cross, I estimate that we were probably about 15 minutes late.

The thing was (and the purpose of this post) that there then followed a really long station PA announcement by a man with a terribly posh voice, apologising for the problems, thanking us for our understanding and undertaking to get straight onto the telephone to establish what was going on.

The member of Chiltern Railways staff making the announcement was so clearly and completely sincere in his apology and desire to get matters sorted out, that most passengers were smiling.

What happened next was outstanding. Outstanding in that the man then came personally onto the platform and used his natural foghorn voice to advise that the next train to stop would call additionally at Beaconsfield because; "I have in my hand a piece of paper which tells the driver to stop". Priceless.

Nevertheless the next train duly pulled in a few minutes later and the man (the station manager?) walked to the front of the train and handed the driver the magic piece of paper and said "I have an extra stop for you, please stop at Beaconsfield".

Chiltern Railways are generally pretty good, though compared to many train franchises they are a bit of a toy town operation (this is good). Tonights events were really quite amusing and showed that the railway is run by humans. Well done Mr Man for accepting responsibility for sorting the problem out and for having the confidence to face the traveling public eyeball to eyeball.

I could do with a few of those magic sheets of paper, especially for a Friday night.