Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Been A While!

Well, I had a great time up north although I never stopped working! I've laid laminate flooring in the living room, stripped the wallpaper and applied new to two bedrooms and painted the bathroom and laid new lino!! Dealing with drunks on a Friday night has nothing compared to dealing with a heavily pregnant wife who wants the house put right before the big day!!

Speaking of the big day, the baby is due on August 2nd. I have therefore put in my notice to London Underground, and will be leaving the job on June 30th. I will then have a week off and start my new job (in fact it's my old job back on the buses again!) on July 10th.
This will mean a substantial drop in wages and mean I have to work a lot more hours than at present, however at least I'll be with my family again, and I'm sure we'll cope financially with only having one lot of bills to pay instead of two.

I'll keep posting of anything exciting which happens between now and then, and afterwards I'll have to decide on whether to keep the blog going under a new name or just scrap it.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Expect Severe Delays!

Just a warning for those of you who usually use the east-end of the District... Metronet have taken an emergency engineering possession to deal with the problem of the overheating rails. Unfortunately, because it's an emergency possession, there is no specific timetable in place, so it will be a very hit and miss service up towards Barking today and Sunday I think.

Friday was a bloody nightmare for me! I managed to stable almost an hour late thanks to some drunken prat at Earl's Court managing to break one of the train doors.
I always get annoyed when people hold the train doors open for their friends, but this dickhead tonight managed to cause a long shutdown in platform 2 while we tried to repair the door. We had trains stuck out in the tunnel coming from Wimbledon and a train in platform one who couldn't go because I had been given the route, but couldn't move because of this door!

Eventually the train technician came over and got it closed and I set off (with the technician in case it happened again). Luckily it didn't, but by the time I got to Mansion House and back to Ealing Broadway then into the depot, I was very late and very stressed!

However, the perfect cure for stress is a holiday which leads me nicely to my next topic: It's holiday time again!
I'm away from today (Sat 6th May) for approximately two weeks, so this will probably be the last entry until my return.

Take care of yourselves and see you all in fortnight!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Metronet Disgrace

Well, what a cock-up today was! It wasn't just a few temporary restrictions in place... ALL parts of the District line above ground were subject to a blanket 20MPH restriction.
This was due to the fact that Metronet had failed to treat the tracks in preparation for the hot weather. According to the BBC London News, All LUL senior managers are absolutely furious about it, and I'm not surprised. As usual though, it was us in the front line who got the flack for it.

Can you imagine having to travel all the way from Upminster down to Bow Road (where we enter the tunnel) at 20MPH? The average speed is usually 45MPH so it was taking almost an hour to do this journey.

To make matters worse, the controllers were still sending loads of trains all the way to Upminster. Bearing in mind that trains were opnly travelling at 20MPH, it took a long time for the train in front to clear the signal sections, so we spent more time sitting at red signals than actually moving!
It would have made a lot more sense to reverse more trains back west from Barking rather than trying to keep up their 'mileage quotas'.

It wasn't just the east end of the line... As I said earlier, ALL external sections were subject to this restriction!

I hope someone gets a damn good bollocking for this, but (call me cynical if you wish) but I suspect nothing will happen to anyone at the top of the Metronet tree.

Goodness knows what's going to happen if we have any more hot weather before Metroshite have had a chance to treat all of these rails.

By the way, PLEASE don't blame train drivers or station staff! We can't do anything about it! We don't like running late, we don't like running slow and we don't like being diverted at the last minute but we only do as we're told.

A Bit Of Hot Weather..

As I type, the outside temperature is apparently 26 degrees Celsius (which is almost 79 in Fahrenheit for those of us old enough to remember that scale). I'm just getting ready to go to work, but I know I'm going to be running late all day before I even start! How do I know this? According to the TfL disruption info, we have severe delays occurring due to temporary speed restrictions.

These restrictions were also imposed yesterday, which wasn't nearly as hot as today and are caused by the tracks apparently not being able to cope with the heat! This happens every year as soon as we get a bit of sunshine, as it's apparently to do with sections of long welded rail expanding (I'm no scientist!) but surely there must be a solution?

In the winter we get frozen points and the 'wrong type of snow', during wet weather we get track circuit and signal failures due to the damp, and in the summer we get buckling rails! This doesn't just affect LUL, I remember hearing similar tales of woe from the mainline too.

How do they cope in other countries which have extreme temperatures?

Anyway, I'll let you know what happened when I get in from work tonight!