Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Relatively Slow Month

Crikey, that's the first month of 2012 gone already!

At one point I didn't think I was even going to make 2,000 rail miles for the month, particularly as I was abroad for a week. I didn't even travel to the airport by train!

Anyhow, here are the numbers for January 2012:

Miles Travelled
Chiltern Railways

London Overground
Total for Month

Initial travel plans lead me to believe that there will be a bit more variety and distance next month.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Light Bulb

Near where to I live, there is a light bulb. It lights the road and path under a railway bridge.

The light bulb is dead. It is an ex light bulb. It is no more.

Without light, the path under the bridge is pitch black at night. I mean dark, really dark - you could bump into somebody walking in the opposite direction.
  • A neighbour (who originally arranged to have the light installed, and arranged the funding), says that the railway company agreed to maintain the upkeep of the light. He asked me to report the fact that the light had died, to the railway company.
  • The local manager at the railway company declined to fix the light, saying they have no recollection of the agreement to fix it.
  • I then telephoned the Network Rail Help Line. They tell me that as the bridge is a road bridge, the light is likely to be the responsibility of the 'Highways Authority'.
  • I dig further and establish that the District Council maintain very few lights, but that the most likely authority will be the County Council.
  • I speak to the County Council. A very helpful lady zooms in on her map and tells me that they have no lights, for which they are responsible, in our area.
  • We live in the middle of nowhere.
  • The nice lady tells me, with some conviction, that the light will be the responsibility of the local Parish Council. She even provides me with a telephone number for the Parish Clerk.
  • I leave a message for the Parish Clerk, outlining the problem.
  • I then see a senior manager from the local railway company (the actual person who allegedly agreed to maintain the light, some years ago). He re-affirms that there is no corporate memory of the agreement and again declines to help.
  • A conversation then follows with the Parish Clerk, who confirms that the Parish is not a 'Lighting Authority' and maintains no lights whatsoever. He follows it up with an email.
  • I then write to our County Councillor seeking guidance, for I know not what to do next.
  • The neighbour who original told me that the light is broken, then tells me that the light is definitely wired in to the electrics at the nearby station and, indeed, is controlled by the same timer that controls all the lights on the station platforms.
  • We go to look at the light and somebody decides to buy an appropriate light bulb from "Light-Bulbs-R-Us" or similar, and repair the light.
Is this a sign of the 'Big Society'?

I know who I think should repair the light. Any thoughts?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Parliamentary Train

Thanks to the tip-off by Diamond Geezer last week, today I travelled on the 10.02 Southern 'Parliamentary Train' from Kensington Olympia to Wandsworth Road.

As described by DG, it is indeed a weird feeling to board a train when the public address system explicitly tells you that the train is not in public service.

The only real difference between my journey and that experienced by Mr Geezer last week is that the train guard explicitly spoke with every passenger on board, before the train left Kensington Olympia, to make sure that they really meant to be on the train.

That would be me and a couple who like me, seemed to be on the train simply so as to make the journey that has no real purpose.

We left on time, called briefly at West Brompton and Imperial Wharf, before passing over the River Thames and then crossing a maze of railway junctions, somewhere South of the river.

We stopped for seven or eight minutes adjacent to the carriage works for the Venice Simplon Orient Express, before eventually pulling into Wandsworth Road station a minute early at 10.19.

If the point in travelling is the travel, then the journey was a short success. If the point of travel is to get to your destination, in this particular case, I wouldn't bother, but then I virtually need to use my passport when venturing as far South as Wandsworth.

I did travel North from Wandsworth Road, but back to Victoria. However I note that Ian Visits has previously made the afternoon return trip on this rather unusual, once a a weekday there-and-back train service.