Well, we've now been booking on and off at Earl's Court again for about a fortnight now, and I don't like it one bit! It's not so much the extra travelling time, it's the fact I have to make sure I read my duty book correctly to see if I'm supposed to be at Acton or Earl's Court to book on!
I still have to go to Acton every day first anyway, as this is where I book off on a late duty (after stabling the train in Ealing Common Depot) and I leave my equipment bag (which is quite heavy) in my locker. So I need to pick this up before I then go to Earl's Court to book on.
One thing I've noticed more lately though is the crap service offered by the Piccadilly line on the Rayners Lane branch where I live! A wait of 15 minutes is not uncommon. As soon as there's a sniff of a problem on the Piccadilly, which is quite regular lately, the Picc controllers divert loads more trains towards Heathrow and seem to forget they have a Rayners branch.
During the signal failures at Arnos Grove last week, I waited almost 25 minutes for a train into work. It's incredible how a failure at the other end of the Picc line can have such a knock-on effect. Obviously I understand how it happens being in the business and having seen it first hand, but it should be the job of the line controller to ensure that there's still a decent service being offered to us Rayners branch punters as well as the Heathrow ones!
Not a lot been happening at work to blog about lately really! I had to run a train out of service on Monday night from Barking to Ealing depot due to some drunk puking all over one of the carriages.
I suspected something was wrong when I was heading towards Barking and people were getting off the front carriage and getting on the one behind, or looking into the car then changing their minds and running for the car behind. This immediately made me think that something was up in the first car, but as I was close to Barking (where I was due to terminate anyway) I just continued allowing for extra time for people to change carriages if they so wished.
Anyway, on arriving at Barking, I went into the first car and was almost sick myself... The overpowering stench of alcoholic vomit literally covering the floor of the entire car!
If the person who did that amount of puking is reading, I'd suggest you go to your doctor: there must have been about 20 pints, mixed with the obligatory 'chunks'!
There's no way I could risk running that back in service due to Health & Safety considerations (passengers slipping or possibly catching some disease from the fluids) so I had to run empty back to Ealing.
On the mainline when I used to run empty, the signaller would give you priority a lot of the time as he knew you weren't going to be stopping anywhere, so I'd go non-stop down the fast line to wherever I was going. Unfortunately on LUL, running down the fast track overtaking stopping trains isn't an option! Therefore I was following directly behind a service train which was stopping at every station as normal, so my average speed running empty was probably about 15mph!
It's nice not having to worry about passengers on the train, but it's a lot of stress having to follow another train and go from one red signal to the next, especially late at night!
By the way, my wife has had her first scan at last! The baby (and my wife) seem to be absolutely fine and officially due on August 2nd. My birthday is on 31st July, and my mums 60th (she'll love me for saying that!) is on August 9th, so it will be a great birthday present for us!
I'm up north in May for a fortnight to sort out various things, including seeing my old boss on the buses to see if I can get my old job back. Shouldn't be a problem, although it'll be a hell-of-a shock going from driving trains and getting reasonably well paid for it to going back to driving buses (which I hated) and getting reasonably well UNDERpaid for it. However I don't have any other vocation behind me, so I don't have much choice and I can't stay down in London leaving my wife and my baby up north!
I'm sure everything will work out nicely, and of course I'll save a fortune in only having one set of bills each month instead of two like at present.
Anyhow, enough ramblings! I'll keep you posted if there are any more developments on my moving back up north or of course if there's anything worth blogging about at work!!