Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Last Post!

Yes, the time has arrived to pack up my PC and prepare for moving back north. I will update the blog once I'm back in my new job driving buses to keep you all informed how it's going and whether my wife has a boy or a girl!
Speaking of my wife, she got bit by a dog while out walking our dog yesterday. It took a chunk out of her hand so after a trip to hospital, she now has to wear a sling for a few days and take loads of anti-biotics.
I wish I knew whose dog it was, I'd go and have a 'quiet word'.

Anyway, at the time of writing (approx 6am) I only have two more days at LUL, and I'm spare both days. If I don't get any jobs to cover, that means that I'll have officially said goodbye to Upminster and the east end, to Richmond and Wimbledon and indeed to the entire District line.
It's a bit sad really. I will miss the job, despite my moanings. But even more, I will miss my colleagues. I've made so many friends from all grades of staff while I've been down here, and I know some of them read this blog, so to all of you THANK YOU!

AOL have switched off my broadband connection in readiness for my move, so I'm now on a very slow dial-up connection. I'm on packing my stuff... I didn't realise I had so much! Mainly clothes which are still in plastic bags from the last time I moved!! They'll need washing when I get them up north!

It seems that a couple who currently live in a downstairs room in this house are wanting to take over this room when I move out. That would bevery useful seeing as my landlord is insisting I continue paying rent until my contract expires if someone doesn't take over the room. I've already cancelled his direct debit, so I hope they do take the room!

So, on Saturday I will take the train back to Newcastle, then hire a van from a local company, come back down with my daughter on Monday, load up the van, pick some stuff up from my sisters in Essex then back home. Monday will be a busy day! People keep asking why I don't get a one-way van hire, but they were asking huge amounts of money! Hiring from my local company is only £35 a day, where a lot of the one-way hires were asking about £200! Even taking into account my train fare back to Newcastle and extra fuel, it's still cheaper!

Seeing as I won't be able to do my review of the year, I thought I'd do my six-month review of the year!

Overtime claimed due to late stabling because of signal failure:
74 minutes
(2005 = 723 minutes.)

Overtime claimed due to late stabling because of drunks:
18 minutes
(2005 = 165 minutes.)

Overtime due to incompetent signallers (this is where they put you into Ealing Broadway platform then simply forget about you, or leave you at a red signal for ages somewhere between Ealing Broadway and Ealing Common depot):
128 minutes
(2005 = 508 minutes.)

Trains with broken windows:
(2005 = 4.)

Drunks unconscious on train at terminus requiring assistance either from BTP or other station staff:
6 (4 since the World Cup started!)
(2005 = 18.)

Incorrect routes set for me by signaller:
(2005 = 5.)

Number of near-misses (people trespassing or pretending to jump in front of me):
(2005 = 4.)

So you can see that things have improved since last year! I know that last years figures are for a twelve month period, but even so, there are definite improvements, especially in the broken windows and near misses.
Sadly the signaller incompentence figure is still quite high. Every single night for the past few weeks I've been claiming overtime for that reason.
The other night I got 25 minutes of overtime because of it! Firstly he holds me in Acton Town platform (heading towards Ealing). I call the controller on the radio, he informs me to wait and the signal clears.
On leaving Acton Town, I get held at the next signal, although the adjacent line is cleared (usually used by the Picc line). It is after 1am so the last Picc has departed. I call up the controller, and again he tells me to wait. The signal on the Picc goes back to red, and mine clears.
He holds me in Ealing Common platform. Controller tells me to wait... Signal clears.
He holds me at Hanger Lane Junction. Controller (sounding sick as a chip) tells me to wait. Signal clears.
He holds me at the home signal to Ealing Broadway. Plats 7 & 8 are occupied but platform 9 is empty. I wait a few minutes before using the signal phone (I thought the controller would have a fit if I spoke to him again!). The signaller tells me to "wait for the signal" and hangs up on me before I have chance to ask why he hasn't cleared for platform 9.
Another few minutes pass, then the train in platform 7 departs. I sit for another minute then the signal clears... Into platform 9 which he could have cleared at the start!
Then we (myself and one of my colleagues in platform 8) are held in the platform for ten minutes before he lets me go. Then he held me at Hanger Lane Junction again.

By the time I stabled, I was 25 minutes later than booked, and was very lucky that the staff cab waited for me.

Something needs to be done about this. I mentioned I'll miss my colleagues, but I'll certainly not miss the Earl's Court signallers!!

Anyway, that's it for now, and that's it from London! My next post will be from the North East.

Take care of yourselves.