Monday, October 22, 2007

Not Living Along the Central Line

There are pros and cons about living in the Buckinghamshire countryside and having to commute into London every day.

I took this picture at seven thirty this morning from my study. Other than changing its size for uploading, the photograph is unaltered. I don't recall a similar view from my flat Along the Central Line.

Definitely one of the pros of living in the country.

One of the cons is that I am almost at the stage of giving up on the idea of getting on the Central Line (eastbound) at Oxford Circus in the morning rush hour. It is a total pain and I usually end up letting at least one train go.

When I lived out at the Western extremities of the line, I had a simple rule- if I couldn't get a seat, I didn't get on. In more years than I care to think about, you could count on your fingers the number of times I let a train go, so as to not break my little rule.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sliced, diced or squashed?

Last night I managed to catch a fast train out of London Marylebone, first stop High Wycombe.

We were haring along between Beaconsfield and High Wycombe when the train suddenly decelerated rapidly and came to a stop. It was a strange place to stop - regular commuters on any line get a feeling for these things.

After about three minutes the train started to move again.

As we approached High Wycombe, the driver advised us over the intercom that he had felt it necessary to stop the train, because three boys had been stood between the rails on the opposite line throwing stones. Unbelievable!

Trains often travel a 75 miles per hour along that stretch of line. If you get hit by a train, the train will always win.

And to think, the school half-term holiday had only started a couple of hours before.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Abandoned Station

Well, it is now a couple of weeks since all the fun of the royal visit to my local station. All that new paint, fresh posters and general spit & polish.

Would it surprise you to know that every single poster relating to weekend engineering work is now out of date? No, I thought not.

Clearly every bit of budget that Chiltern Railways allocate to this corner of Buckinghamshire was spent in all the excitement of trying to impress.

Well that was a waste of time

This morning the Central Line was suspended between Ealing Broadway and North Acton, first thing.

In my little mind that says that the service oughtn't to be disrupted too much for the rest of the line, as trains can reverse as required at White City, North Acton or Northolt.

I knew about the suspension before I left home out in the sticks.

By the time I got to Marylebone, the earlier problems had been resolved, but the service was now suspended Westbound Only between Leytonstone and Liverpool Street. Now that is (in my view) more serious as not only is that stretch of line used by tens of thousands of people at around 9.00 am, but it is relatively slow to reverse trains at Liverpool Street. Big gaps in the service were therefore therefore likely to occur in the central area, particularly Westbound.

So... why the flipping heck did I even bother to catch a Bakerloo Line train to Oxford Circus with a view to changing onto the Central Line. It was chaos. I ended up emerging into the daylight, mole like, at Oxford Circus and continuing my journey on foot at street level.

My journey from Marylebone to work took me 35 minutes. Any other variation of public transport would have been quicker, as would walking the whole way. I knew there were problems, so why the flipping heck did I even try?