Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ground. To. A. Halt.

A Saturday in Central London to have a nice and relaxed lunch with Lucy, Optimistic Reader, and one of Lucy’s ”Metlabians”. It’s always fun to finally put faces to bloggers after months of online correspondence.

Of course the really fun part was getting there to meet them and then getting home afterwards. Just in time for the start of tourist season, London Underground have started planned engineering works across the tube network that will carry on through to September. For today they shut down the Circle Line, the section of the District Line that shared the same tracks, and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line that goes through the heart of Central London.

Things won’t be much better above ground from Monday when Thames Water start digging up most of Central London to replace 40 miles of pipes. Excellent! Especially since the company has admitted they don’t know where a lot of the pipes that need replacing are.

By September the streets between Oxford Street and Bloomsbury Way in the north down to the Embankment in the south, Soho and Haymarket in the West to Chancery Lane and Aldwych in the east will be dug up. And the projected end date when everything should all be back to normal? March 2010! Oh, good grief.

After seeing Lucy off at Paddington, I caught the Bakerloo line down to Piccadilly Circus and stopped off to see my little Virgin Girl who was feeling delicate after a night out mixing her drinks. Then I got the Piccadilly Line to Kings Cross for the Thameslink back to Mill Hill.

Just shy of Kings Cross the train ground to a halt. The driver informed us there was a signal problem. A few minutes later he came back on the intercom and explained the there was a fault with the points. Forty minutes later he walked back through the train after explaining we would have to reverse to the previous station.

He drove the train as far as he could. Then the passengers had to troop through the carriages, through the front carriage of the train behind, parked in the station and already emptied, and out onto the platform. Getting to the steps leading to the lifts a third empty, stalled train nosed into the station.

A points failure, maybe. But it didn’t explain the dozen police officers waiting on the platform, the officers up at ground level and the vans lining the street.

Sat in the carriage, immobile, I was only concerned that I’d be home in time for The 50 Greatest TV Dramas on Channel 4, and the opportunity to catch tonight’s total lunar eclipse.

So the moral of the story is, if you’re coming to London sometime this year, bring good walking shoes. Because all modes of transport in the city are going to be well and truly buggered.


At 7:08 pm, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

Oh, that’s who you meant by “the girls”.

I get it now...

At 12:51 am, Blogger Sal said...

I was heading for Kings Cross from the National Theatre on Saturday and got diverted three times -thank goodness I left plentyy of travelling time! Good walking shoes needed indeed.


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