Thursday 10 January 2008

Meltdown underground

People who live and work in London complain about transport. A lot. You can't get anywhere without it, but yet it never seems to work. I don't have much to compare with as I've not utilised the public transit in enough other cities; but overseas visitors are always telling me how great our network is. I suppose it is fairly well integrated... it would just be so much better if it wasn't always breaking down!

Today is an example of how it all goes wrong. I arrived at the Jubilee Line at 8am (only half an hour after a left home). I got down to the platform and was delighted to find a train on platform two. These are trains from central London that terminate early and go back again! Nice and empty, which meant a seat for me. We sat there for a while and then came an announcement "All trains to central London are being held at this station due to signalling difficulties in the Green Park area". So we sat and sat and sat (a good 15 or 20 minutes). Then the announcement changed "The Jubilee Line is suspended between Finchley Road and Waterloo in both directions due to a signal failure at Green Park". Oh dear. Not a disaster though as evasive action can be taken pretty easily from Waterloo. The train at platform left and our driver assured us we would be next. Another train came and went. Our train was taken out of service (bah). All the time suggesting that we might like to get the train to Stratford and try the Central Line (as if). Eventually I got on a train heading into London. We crawled to Canary Wharf. We waited (some more). We did the same to Canada Water and to Bermondsey. Enough I thought. I can pick up the Northern Line at London Bridge. Without a map though I didn't realise that at London Bridge I'm on the wrong branch of the Northern Line. London Bridge was chaos. The platforms were being closed and they weren't allowing people into the Underground. I gave up and went overground, and after a train and two more buses I eventually arrived at the office - 2 hours after I left home.