Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Many of my colleagues do not like going all the way to Upminster, because of the trouble we tend to get at the east end of the line. Some duties have a trip to Upminster on both halves, as was my luck today.

To be honest, I'd rather do a long trip like Upminster and back rather than lots of small trips like Olympia to High Street Kensington (which is one of my most hated duties!).
My first trip out east was mid-afternoon. Very sunny and very warm. Now, at this point I should mention that you'll quickly discover I like to have a bit whinge about things... The problem is with the warm and sunny weather is that it brings out all sorts of insects. I'm not too worried about little flies, but the wasps and bees seem to get bigger every year... And more aggressive!
I'm a big softy when it comes to wasps and other stinging insects, and today being rather warm I was driving with the offaside cab door open to provide a slight breeze of ventilation. Unfortunately, on that breeze flew in the biggest bee I've seen in my entire life! With no exageration it must have been about 2 inches wide!
I apologise to any of my customers reading this who may have been on my train between Dagenham East and Dagenham Heathway, but I dropped the deadmans handle and cowered out of the way of this beast. I thought it was a humming bird at first until I spotted the yellow and black stripes (and probably the 'love' and 'hate' tattoos on its' arms).
My train came up in an emergency brake, and I cautiously tried to grab a copy of the Metro newspaper which I had in my bag. At this point, the bee was bouncing off the drivers windscreen, and my blood pressure was up beyond the safe level. Goodness knows why, but I am so terrified of these things!
Anyway, I opened the other cab door and at arms length, I managed to persuade the bee it would prefer to be outside on such a nice day.

I quickly closed both cab doors again and proceeded on my way, having been delayed for about a minute. Obviously I did make an apology over the PA, and I'm sure I heard people laughing behind the cab when I told them I'd been fighting a bee!

The other problem with the insects is they have a nasty habit of splattering themselves all over the windscreens. Unfortunately, the powers that be decreed that screenwash was not needed, so when we have windscreens with a better display of insects than the Natural History Museum, it becomes a safety hazard as we can't see the signals or any person on the track etc.
I always carry a bottle of water and an old rag with me for cleaning the windscreens, but surely in this day and age they could actually retro fit the trains with screen wash?! I've discovered that even the refurbished trains which should be entering service in a few weeks haven't got screen wash. Typical. They've made them nice and attrractive, but haven't bothered with safety things like screen wash or a light on the speedometer so we can actually make sure we're travelling below the speed limits at night or in the tunnels.

Rest Day tomorrow (Wednesday) so next update probably Thursday!


Blogger Shola said...

Good story about the bee, I enjoyed it, luckly I don't use the District line.

2:46 pm  
Blogger Tube Dude said...

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5:02 pm  

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