Thursday, September 27, 2007

And the Reason for all the Housekeeping...

Most of the commuters who use my local station will have been totally unaware of the reason for all the tidying up....

Well yesterday afternoon there was a visit from The Duke of Gloucester who formally opened the station museum (which is actually the waiting room on the London bound platform).

There is an account of the visit in one of the local papers and, by all accounts, His Royal Highness seemed to be genuinely interested in the community work in and around the station. I have previously met the Duke (and separately the Duchess) so, whatever your views on the Royal Family, my personal view is that they work incredibly hard to support local communities around the UK.

The Station Museum waiting room at Saunderton does tend to be locked outside of the morning peak hours. If anyone wants to have a look at the information boards etc I should be able to make contact with someone to arrange to open up for you, obviously with advance notice. I hope I don't live to regret this offer! I may be contacted at centraluseratgooglemail[changetheobvious]dotcom.

Perhaps our rural stations could be improved across the network by somehow arranging regular royal visits.

Be warned, there is only one train (Chiltern Railways) an hour in each direction at the weekend and no public facilities. There are however loads of walks in the area and a reasonable pub just down the road.

Well, that's my life of incognito blogging well and truly blown!

Circle Line & Hammersmith & City Line both Suspended

This morning the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines are each totally suspended. In addition there is no service on the District Line between High Street Kensington and Edgware Road.

This blog is not constantly updated, so please visit the tfl website for up to date information.

The Real Time Map shows the huge impact of these suspensions.

It is apparantly all down to 'Health & Safety'. The BBC website states the issue as being around the "Traction Brake Controller". I don't work on the railway, so may be wrong, but I think this is (or is connected to) the "Deadman's Handle".

It looks as though I may be on the Central Line today!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's to be done about the Jubilee Line?

When I first moved to London, I used to commute in every day from Stanmore which is at the Northern end of the Jubilee Line. My Father would go all the way to the other end (Charing Cross) while I would get off at the penultimate stop, Green Park. The service was good.

Please note: The Jubilee Line does not go to Charing Cross anymore (unless you are Jason Bourne). The line has now been extended on from Green Park to Stratford via Canary Wharf (and lots of other interesting places).

I should point out that I am talking ancient history here. The Docklands Light Railway had not yet opened, London City Airport had not opened and not a brick or girder had been laid at Canary Wharf.

Now, I quite regularly have to go to Canary Wharf. If I am going from home, I will pick up the Jubilee Line from Baker Street. Quite frankly traveling from the West End to Canary Wharf sucks.

This morning I was at Baker Street by 7.25am and the Jubilee Line was packed. I've done the same journey loads of times this year and it is always heaving. Yuck.

The problem is, there are just too many people using the Jubilee Line at peak hours. It isn't going to get any better, because they keep on putting new buildings up in Docklands. More buildings = more commuters.

I don't know what the answer is, but it must get worse before it gets better.

Unexpected Station Refurbishment

Although I still use the London Underground most days, my local train station is now most definitely in a rural location. Leafy Buckinghamshire to be precise.

Two weeks ago the footbridge at the station started getting repainted. Last weekend the footway and stairs on the bridge were re-covered and the steps got bright new yellow lines. Over the last few days all of the posters have been renewed. The grass banks adjacent to the car park have also been strimmed. Oh and a few strategically place plants and flowers have appeared. There was even a member of Chiltern Railways' staff at the station at 6.30am this morning.

If I didn't know better, I would think this all rather peculiar...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Really Bad Evening for Chiltern Railways

This evening there was a 'Track Circuit Failure' in the Willesden Green area, affecting all Chiltern Railways' trains out of London Marylebone. It affected services from 18:00.

I travel to Buckinghamshire, to a little country station in the middle of nowhere. The various combinations of subsequent cancellations and early terminations conspired together to mean that my destination temporarily disappeared out of the psyche of Chiltern Railways. That and an alleged ban on the use of Special Stop Orders meant that I got home 75 minutes later than I should have done.

One Customer Charter Refund request on the way.

The problem is now fixed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tube Strikes Suspended

The good news is that the RMT suspended it's strike action very late last night, so in theory that's that.

The bad news is that they left it so bloody late that, this morning, the same three lines are running (Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly) on London Underground. Currently (07:00 am) there is no service running on any other line. Live travel updates are, as usual, available.

The whole way this industrial action has happened has really pissed me off. I expect tomorrow that I will wake up to find dinosaurs wandering around Hyde Park. I do not know anything about what was discussed at yesterday's negotiations between the parties concerned. However (and I am genuinely sorry if this annoys any of my regular readers), I think the RMT lives in the dark ages and their whole approach to industrial relations sucks.

Also, I note that the industrial action is 'suspended'. It's like a sword of Damocles hanging over London.

I shall now get back in my kennel, take a deep breath and then go to work. Grrrr.

Good morning!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

There are No Cities in Scotland

The statement that "There are No Cities in Scotland" is not presented as a fact. It was however presented as such by two teenage girls overheard in conversation on a train last Friday.

I should point out that the two individiuals had just boarded a train at Liskeard ("the main urban centre in south east Cornwall"), population approx 8,700. As locals they were clearly very worldly-wise and I was prepared to defer to their knowledge of Scotland.
View Larger Map

Having traveled directly from Edinburgh (Scotland) to Cornwall just a few days before, I had a reasonable idea that there are some cities in Scotland. Nevertheless I realised that I needed to check and double-check the position. Obviously anything heard in conversation must be considered accurate unless proven otherwise by the power of the internet thingy.

A new Label has been allocated to this post.

For the record there are a number of cities in Scotland, the most obvious of which are Edinburgh and Glasgow. More may be found detailed here.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Industrial Action on the London Underground

In case you have missed it, major industrial action is taking place on the London Underground at present.

Only three London Underground Lines are working: Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly (though the Piccadilly is a bit dodgy in West/ North West London).

All other London Underground Lines (including the Central Line) are suspended. The industrial Action is due to finish at 18:00 on Thursday 6th September, though a normal service is not expected to resume until Friday morning.

The Docklands Light Railway is unaffected and all National Rail Services are similarly NOT affected by the industrial action.

Real time information is available here, via the tfl website.