Saturday, November 29, 2008

My camera skills are getting worse

Actually, not only are my camera skills going downhill, but things have got so bad that tonight I couldn't even remember how to use my Digital SLR.

So, I proudly present an incredibly lousy video of a steam train traveling down the Chiltern Line a few minutes ago:

Why is it truncated? Because the memory card on the spare camera was full and I didn't know!

The funny thing was when a northbound Chiltern Railways Clubman stopped at a red signal on the Northbound platform just before the steam train was due. You had to smile at the sight of all the real enthusiasts really panicking as their carefully framed photographic angles were suddenly blocked. Cruel.

Autumn Pruning

I've had a really good sort out of my Blogroll.

Should you really want to, the entry called 'My Bloglines List' may give you a wider view of my interests.

Two to specifically note:
All dead or deleted blogs have been culled.

Work, sleep or blog?

To put it mildly, work is interesting at present. Very early starts, later than usual finishes and projects that have nothing to do with my usual job. All in some way connected to the unprecedented happenings in the financial services industry over the last few months.

My use of public transport has not diminished - the only problem is that I am generally dashing from A to B to C and using the down time to think, and plan how to move forward with the various projects. Usually such in-depth use of brain power isn't required. It's great fun, but something has to give.

Decent sleep is a necessity, I need to keep my job (and I enjoy it), so blogging has slipped down the to do list recently. Sorry.

The one thing I would say is that the Jubilee Line is beginning to seriously hack me off. The other day I was traveling from the West End to Canary Wharf when I had to get off the train somewhere South of The River to join a conference call, simply because the 'Good Service' Jubilee Line was actually crap. That is just one example.

Also it has been mentioned elsewhere that changing lines at Bank is not as bad or inconvenient as tfl would imply (though there are definite issues if you want to interchange at Bank Station with the District/ Circle Line platforms. On Thursday I was so hacked off with the silver line that I decided to use the DLR for the first time in months, it was mid afternoon. The interchange was so good (two upwards escalators from the DLR platforms towards the Central Line), that I shall certainly be traveling back to the West End that way for the foreseeable future.

If you have the willpower, please read Diamond Geezer's excellent 'transforming the truth' article.

Now some sleep...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So, how was the Crystal Ball?

OK, here are the results of yesterday's informal predictions:

A number of people DID turn up for this morning's first train, not realising that a replacement bus had gone a few minutes before.

1 - 0

There were issues with rolling stock, as I thought there would be. I know of at least one early train that was cancelled.

2 - 0

My 'Fast' train (a) turned up on time and (b) still had the extra carriage glued to the back. It also had plenty of seats spare. The train did stop at a couple of extra stations en-route, presumably because of the aforementioned cancellation. Fifteen minutes late into Marylebone, but that wasn't really a surprise.

2 - 1

Tonight's train(s) home had loads of spare seats and one was also longer than usual.

Now we just have to hope that the engineering work at Aylesury is completed on time tomorrow night.

Another day beckons...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aylesbury Parkway Signalling Works

Should you be using Chiltern Railways over the next couple of days, please be aware that there are major engineering works in the Aylesbury area between now and end of traffic on Thursday. As their main depot is in Aylesbury there will no doubt be the odd issue or two with rolling stock and anyone travelling to or from Aylesbury will end up on a rail replacement coach to/ from Wendover or Princes Risborough.

One thing that I do know is that some regulars will get caught out tomorrow morning, as the very first train of the day on Wednesday 19th November will be replaced by a coach between Aylesbury and High Wycombe. Having discovered this earlier today I contacted two people who usually catch the first train, neither of whom were aware of the revised arrangements for tomorrow. Oh well, that's my good deed for the day.

Full details available (for now) here.

Like children in a sweetie shop

Just recently I have taken to catching an early Chiltern Railways train that is non-stop to London Marylebone.

It is the first train of the day that has come any great distance and usually has three carriages. On Monday you are indeed fortunate to get a seat, by the time it gets to Friday you are unlucky if you don't get one.

So, this morning our little commuter club was standing by the designated spot on the platform - you know, the one precisely where your door opens without having to move unnecessarily to board. We had been chatting about this and that and simply commented, as the first two carriages chugged past that there were a few seats free today.

Suddenly, to our consternation, we realised as the train stopped that we were not stood at the rear most door of the last carriage. An extra carriage had been tacked onto the back of the train (not literally, but you know what I mean). So en-masse our band of happy foot soldiers traipsed along the platform, boarded the extra carriage and marvelled at the incredible choice of seats available to use.

We were indeed like children in a sweetie shop... choices, choices, choices.

I have never known a train at that unearthly hour to be anything other than three carriages long. It will probably never happen again, but one can but hope.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Driving to the Cinema

I can go by train to the cinema or I can drive. I could walk (though it's nearly five miles), I could go by bike (if I owned one) or I could go by bus if I was willing to wait a couple of days.

So last night I decided to drive. It had been raining fairly heavily for quite a while but, nevertheless, I was still surprised to see water fountaining up into the air out of some drains along the main road. It was a sign of how much water was running down from the hills. It was certainly an interesting drive back home later, with some stretches of road having considerable amounts of water standing on them.

I was quite pleased I didn't go by train - when I go to the cinema I like to see the credits through to the end. If I had done that last night I would have missed a train and would not then have got home until the last train. Too late, even though it wasn't a school night.

Timing shouldn't have been a problem - in my head I allow 10 minutes to walk from the station to the cinema, 20 minutes for the adverts/ trailers, add on the full film length and then a further 10 minutes back to the station. Unfortunately last night's film had 30 minutes of adverts and trailers - that 10 minutes extra would have been the reason for a missed train.

I thought there was an advertising downturn at present?

By the way, the film was 'Quantum of Solace'. If you have been hiding under a rock, it's the new James Bond film. James Bond has been with me all my life and I couldn't not see one of the new films. Bond = Big Money = Adverts.

This is not a film review blog, so I shall keep my observations short. QoS is dark, action packed and humourless. I understand that it is also the shortest Bond film to date. I enjoyed it, though thinking back, I think I most enjoyed the adrenalin packed aspects of the film as some of the story lines were confusing enough to just wash over me.