Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Platform Ping-pong

Damn. My rant has been deflated just as I was starting it...

Arrived in Wet Hamster just after 18:00. Board reporting that the 17:36 was due at 18:29.  I learnt my lesson yesterday and didn't assume that I would have time to grab some food.

Today's picture shows the crowd on the footbridge.  Many people have learnt how much they can trust the boards and wait until they can see the train before commiting to a platform.

So at 18:19 a train pulls into platform 4. I can see it is full, as are the platform and the stairs.  I don't even make it past the top step before the train pulls away at 18:22.

Just afterwards (within a minute) a train arrives on platform 2.  Of course platform 2 has just been drained by people trying unsuccesfully trying to get the train that just left.  I am towards the front of the crowd when I get down to the platform and even manage to get on the train quick enough to snag the last seat in the carriage.

As I write we are stood still after having just left the platform with no clues when we might move, but I'm in the warm and have a seat which is pretty good going.

While I'm waiting I'll backtrack a little.  I have been checking the live departure boards online which I hoped would give me an edge.  The boards at the station had been disabled and were just displaying an "Dear flock, our trains are screwed.  Wait patiently like the sheep you are." message.  The online info wasn't looking quite so bleak.

Tonight's excuse?  A broken down train at Farringdon stopping all through London services.  Yes, that's right, a single faulty train has managed to bring one of the busiest commuter lines to a standstill. Again.

Has it been snowing recently? Not for nearly 24 hours.  This must be another case of a train with a leak. This is England.  This is outside.  Wet should be standard procedure.

I did a bit of research earlier.  The injury claim vultures reckon that neglecting to grit in stations, carparks, etc is a carcass worth circling around. There are long standing regulations that can be leveraged for litigation. The grit embargo on the platforms has the potential to blow up in their faces but no matter how much I want them to suffer, there are two problems: people would need to slip badly enough to get hurt and any penalties they pay would end up coming out of the cattle's pockets.

Back in st albans at 19:00. Amazing how such a screwed up system can get me back home so quickly.