Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Get a grip

Posted in Customer service, Infrastructure, London, Metro by Chairman Pip on 8 June 2012

Having had a wet Jubilee weekend, commuters in London had to contend with a very soggy commute going back to work thanks to Thames Water. In case you hadn’t heard, engineers checking for leaks managed to break a water pipe that flooded the Central Line tunnels, causing a total suspension between Stratford and Leytonstone, as well as massive delays to the rest of the service. According to London Underground, the 2 million litres of water that got in caused so much damage thatthere was a genuine fear that the tunnel might have collapsed, which would not have looked good 50 days before the start of the Olympics. Of course, any major disruption is bad, whether it’s the fault of London Underground, or the unions, or someone else. But surely, even though it causes disruption, the best thing is to not let it get to you. Which is why I was a little incredulous when, while reading the coverage in the newspaper, I came across this:

I spent four hours trying to get home. I felt suicidal, quite frankly.
Kenneth Thurtell, 27

Really? You wanted to end your life because it took you four hours to get from Holborn to Leytonstone? I dread to think what Mr Thurtell might have done had he gotten caught up in the disruption over the last few winters, with people stuck on trains in the middle of nowhere, without power, overnight. Sure, we all complain, but there should usually be an alternative. I’ve often said that a sensible thing to do is have an alternative route worked out so that, if you find that there’s disruption, you can get your way to where you need to be. It may take longer, but you’ll be in control and, if you need to be somewhere at a certain time and can’t because the disruption was unforeseen, people will understand. But really, get a feckin grip. Taking four hours to get home is not something to get so stressed over that you feel like ending it all.

“Tube users face miserable commute home after Thames Water admits flooding Central Line tunnel”

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3 Responses

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  1. Claire said, on 9 June 2012 at 12:52 am

    I was beginning to think you’d gone off railways! This must be your longest gap between entries.

    2 million litres of water – that’s a lot of water. I wonder how long it took them to get it all out.

  2. Graham said, on 9 June 2012 at 7:19 am

    An alternitive, which is often overlooked is to walk. OK in this case it would be quite a way nearly, 7.5 miles if you walked all the way, but it would have only taken 2.5 hours!
    By just knowing which stops are near to either end of your journey it can help, in this case by going to Leyton Midland Road (20 min walk) or Leyton High Road (10 min walk), Mr Thurtell could have been at Leytonstone in about an hour.
    I would recomend trying the routes out from time to time, either in full or by using bits of the route for other trips. Work out various routes by setting up pretend route blocks (from one or two stations being closed though to whole lines being closed), by doing so if there is a strike called on this line or power outage on that line or even both, you will know the route to get home or to work in an acceptable time frame.
    Even go to the lengths of working out which buses to catch!

    • Chairman Pip said, on 9 June 2012 at 10:04 pm

      To me that seems both sensible and logical. To our suicidal traveller, one wonders where his brain took him.


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