Monday, August 31, 2009

Some good news

A cursory glance at the Departure Boards for the Bakerloo Line would suggest that the 4 day suspension of service in Zone 1 (for engineering works) is over. That means that Bakerloo Line trains are once again running to all destinations.

Now for a depressing thought. Today (31st August 2009) is a bank holiday in the UK. The next time we have a bank holiday, you will have hopefully finished any Christmas shopping you were going to do.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Perfect Storm

Actually, that perhaps ought to read "The Perfect Millpond".

A bit like an unusual alignment of the planets, today we have;

- August
- School holidays
- A Bank Holiday weekend
- Friday
- The second day of no Bakerloo Line in Zone 1

I can report that this currently means loads of seats on Chiltern Railways' trains this morning, plus loads of space in their expensive car parks.

Oh, and traffic was flowing well just now through the roadworks on the North West bit of the M25. That will definitely change later.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bakerloo Line Closure - Zone 1 - 27 August to 30 August 2009

Don't forget.. the Bakerloo Line is closed for engineering works from today (27 August 2009) through to Sunday in the whole of Zone 1.

This means, no underground trains from Paddington through to Elephant & Castle today, or 28 August 2009 or 29 August 2009 or indeed 30 August 2009!

For now, Chiltern Railways have a useful link to the closure leaflet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Along the Central Line

Nowadays, it is something that I don't do very often - that is, travel "Along the Central Line".

There are four reasons for this:
  1. I no longer live two hundred yards from Northolt Underground Station. Northolt is on the Central Line in Travelcard Zone 5 - it used to be a simple journey to Tottenham Court Road station, the nearest station to where I usually work.
  2. Tottenham Court Road is currently in the early stages of a major rebuilding programme, as part of the building of Crossrail. This means that it is a little more difficult for me to enter and leave the station than was previously the case, so I tend to go elsewhere.
  3. I walk a lot more now than I used to. As most of my tube journeys are confined to Zone 1, walking is often a realistic option.
  4. One of my frequent journeys is from the West End (London's central shopping district) to Canary Wharf, the upstart business district in the East End. Escalator works at Bank station mean that travel via that station is often impractical, so I tend to go via Waterloo which means that I use the Jubilee Line in preference.
So, Saturday saw me traveling from Central London back out to Northolt.

It seemed that half of the Underground system was out of service this weekend due to engineering works. My journey down from Marylebone caused me to see; the closure of the Southern bit of the Metropolitan Line, the closure of the Jubilee Line and the closure of the Southern bit of the Victoria Line.

It was therefore of some relief that my journey out to Northolt was hassle free, quick, quiet and actually pretty enjoyable.

A couple of weeks ago, I'd heard on the radio one evening of serious road congestion in Northolt due to a serious fire.

Spot the difference:

Although the picture I took on my phone (below) is pretty rubbish, you will probably be able to tell that "serious fire" is probably a bit of an understatement.

The Plough in Northolt is currently closed.It was never my favourite pub, but for 18 years it was what I saw when I looked out of my window. For that reason alone it is sad to see it in it's current state. I suppose thatch and modern city life don't really mix.

Hopefully the brewery will rebuild and reopen the pub. Only time will tell whether or not it is improved.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

View from the back window

There I was, sitting slouched on the sofa, watching The X Factor. Shhh - don't tell anyone. The patio door was open and I heard a whooshing noise.*

No surprises - you can probably see the picture. Anyhow, this picture of a hot air balloon taking off in the Chiltern Hills in rural Buckinghamshire, was taken from my bedroom window at eight o'clock this evening.

I hope it wasn't going too far as it was beginning to get dark.

*Whooshing - The unmistakable noise of the burners used to chuck hot air into the balloon.

Friday, August 21, 2009


... said Zebedee. "Time for bed." said Florence.


Just been to cinema for fourth time in eight days. Guess I'm seeking value from my Unlimited Cineworld card. One good, none bad.

No more people watching today - the station is deserted.

Mustn't forget to switch off the alarm clock off when I get home. Two days of not getting up at Stupid O'clock.


Misplaced Geography

Another train... More people.

This time a middle aged American tourist and his teenage son. Laptop and GPS charging on the free onboard electricity.

They seem to be under the impression that Dover (Castle) is near Weymouth.


Am I Living in a Soap Opera?

OMG. This time, I am sat on a Chiltern Railways train from Marylebone back home to Rural Buckinghamshire.

Chiltern have substituted the usual posh Clubman for a slightly slower Turbo.

Surrounded by a mother and four daughters. Ages range from about 10 to 15.

All very well behaved, except for the eldest girl who has just had a blazing row with her mother about how many times she can see her boyfriend this weekend.

Chill. Chill. Chill. It's the weekend!

Unreasonably Grumpy

Yes, that's me this morning. Unreasonably grumpy.

It's Friday. Yesterday was a good day at work. The film I saw last night was OK. I got plenty of sleep...

What's the problem?

The train is sparsely populated and the two guys sitting next too me haven't stopped talking for half an hour. That's all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lazy writing

One thing that I really dislike is companies and organisations being lazy when disseminating information for general public information.

Sometimes that laziness simply leads to information being wrong while quite often it leads to over-spin.

Overnight, my Bloglines RSS Feed brought me a news release from Saracens, the Rugby Union club at which I am a season ticket holder.

Saracens play at Wembley Stadium, against Northampton Saints, on Saturday 12th September. It should be a good afternoon out.

The news release is all about how to get to Wembley. It is more or less the usual pre-pack of blurb put out by Wembley. Among other things, it extols the virtues of the Metropolitan Line and the Jubilee Line.

The only problem is that both of these lines will be seriously affected by engineering works on 12th September, meaning that they are pretty useless if traveling from Watford, where Saracens usually play.

The engineering works are mentioned in a set of comprehensive asides, but so far down the article that you can only see them if you subscibe to the website! Grrr.

+Posted in a rush from my mobile+

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to steal a train

This morning, I caught the Bakerloo Line down from Baker Street, before the ambient temperature got too high.

The air conditioning at work broke down. Very old fashioned method used to cool the building. We opened the windows.

Ice creams on the house this afternoon.

Meandered my way back to Marylebone. Tube Avoidance.

No. 18 bus along Marylebone Road uncomfortably rank and full.

Train like an icebox. Cancelled.

All shepherded to an alternate train several hundred yards away. One extra carriage, not quite as cool, nine minutes late.

Looks like we stole the 1751 MYB to HWY which I note has been cancelled.

+Posted from my mobile+

Monday, August 17, 2009

Escalators at Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is going through a major escalator refurbishment programme.

The latest phase has meant that it has been a slight inconvenience getting to or from the Bakerloo Line. However all escalators to/ from the Bakerloo are now running - they've now moved to one of the lower Piccadilly Line sets, which is likely to cause slightly more inconvenience at busy times. Progress.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hoorah for U2

U2 were playing at Wembley Stadium on Friday and Saturday evenings.

I went to the cinema, by train.

Upon my return, I expected to have to wait 30 minutes for a train. However, Chiltern Railways had a special timetable running to help cope with the estimated 86,000 concert goers.

Impact? I only had to wait six minutes for a train. Good result.

Oh, and the train was busy.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bakerloo Line - Upcoming Weekday Closure

I spotted some posters at Baker Street on Friday that advised of some significant engineering work that will affect the Bakerloo Line on weekdays at the end of August.

From Thursday 27 until Sunday 30 August, inclusive, the Bakerloo Line will be suspended between Paddington and Elephant & Castle. This means that the line will be closed South of Paddington on two weekdays, which will no doubt catch many people unaware.

The word on the streets is that the work is towards reinstating the crossover at Piccadilly Circus. This will enable trains in the Southbound platform to reverse back over onto the Northbound Line. I do not work for London Underground so cannot confirm that this is the case.

I have no idea when or why the crossover was removed, but if it is to be reinstated it must be good news long term, as it will improve operational flexibility for the Bakerloo Line in times of stress.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Silent Running

This is the GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe running fast and quiet (with no rolling stock) on its way back to Tyseley this evening. The rolling stock went back up the line about an hour before.

The train would have done a reversing manoeuvre around the Greenford Triangle, so that it was facing in the right direction.

Tootling up and down the line - More Steam

GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (a steam train) has been tootling up and down the Chiltern Line today.

It went this morning from Marylebone to Stratford-Upon-Avon this morning, calling at Beaconsfield on the way. It then came back late this afternoon and the engine, sans carriages, is now whizzing its way back up to Tyseley in the dark.

This video is of the train leaving Beaconsfield at about 7.20pm, on its way towards London.

Man on Wire

I've just seen a BBC Trailer to advise that "Man on Wire" is on BBC2 tomorrow night (Sunday 2nd August 2009) at 9.00pm.

If you didn't get the chance to see this film in the cinema or on DVD, I cannot recommend too strongly that you ought to watch or record the film tomorrow night.

I saw the film at a special screening at my local cinema earlier this year, immediately before the Baftas and the Academy Awards were dished out. I found it quite mesmerising. Hence the plethora of awards.