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Jubilee Celebrations

Jubilee Celebrations

Trying to be reasonably topical in these stories, I thought I'd recount my experiences of this holiday period, and the time around them.

But I have to say that my notebook remained thankfully clear of specific events that affected our contribution to the celebrations.

That's not to say that there were not occurrences that affected our service, rather that they happened either when I wasn't on duty, or, if they did, they didn't really significantly affect me!

As is (I think) well known, London Underground ran a service through the night on the night of the main celebrations. I was, however, not affected by this, as I was rostered on both Monday and Tuesday for early turns.

One thing that was noticeable as I came down the platforms on these days was the number of people who were obviously heading into Central London to view the various events. Flags were much in evidence, as were Union Jack type articles of clothing.

During the day (and particularly in the peak) very little sound comes from behind you as you're driving occasionally the sound of a mobile phone and even that annoying sound you hear from people's walkmans! Occasionally you can hear snippets of people's conversations so be warned if you're planning on sharing details of your life and you're sitting right behind the driver remember he can probably hear the details too!

But these days were different. There were many families on board and a constant buzz of conversation and lots of excited kids! It was a very pleasant atmosphere. The stations in the central area were busy and, I'm pleased to say, there seemed plenty of station staff in evidence to help with moving the throngs along the platforms.

There were obviously people using the system who were unfamiliar with it, so lots of questions were being aimed at just about everyone wearing an Underground uniform. But they always seemed to be accompanied with a friendly smile and an almost apologetic approach that they didn't know where they were going!

So the trains were busy, but not packed. The time spent at stations was probably longer than normal, as there were parties covering all age groups, from the very young to the very old, so allowance had to be made to be made for this so that push chairs and so on could be loaded and unloaded. The atmosphere was genial though, and no one seemed to get pushy in the way that often occurs during the rush hour.

Monday had been uneventful up to the point when I booked off duty at about 1500 hrs. My own trains had been on time throughout my duty and pick ups and reliefs all occurred pretty well as booked. But during the latter part of the day there was a shutdown between Barking and Upminster because of a cable fire at Upney. Beyond that I can't really comment further, apart from I know it did impact on the service, though for how long and to what extent I don't know!

Tuesday started similarly. I was first 'spare' at Acton Town and was given the first half of an early turn to cover. This was all straight forward enough, but on my way back west I had just left Mile End when my train was subjected to a flood of water coming through the tunnel roof! I duly reported this and, I found out later, so did a number of my colleagues! When I arrived at Earls Court for my meal relief at about 0945 the service was still running through the area.

I was told by the DMT to have my meal break and it was sometime in the next half hour or so that the word came through that the service had been suspended between Whitechapel and Bromley-by-Bow because of flooding between Mile End and Stepney Green.

So we were ending up with trains and crews in the wrong place. Trains at the west end of the line were being reversed at either Whitechapel (if booked for Upminster), Tower Hill (if booked for Barking) and Mansion House (if booked for Tower Hill). The situation was also critical enough in terms of train and staff availability that the Olympia Service was suspended altogether. I presume trains at the east end of the line were being reversed at Plaistow.

I booked off duty at about 1330 and the situation was unresolved, though I know the service was restored later in the afternoon, but, by all accounts, took a considerable time to recover. Not surprising really, as the suspension had been considerable and prolonged. I don't know what alternative advice for travel was being given for those travelling to and from the east end of the line, but I would guess that the C2C services from Fenchurch Street were a prime carrier to Barking when customers could rejoin our line.

Wednesday saw a resumption of the normal weekday timetable and, again, I was working an early turn.

My impression was that passenger volumes were down, so I guess that many had extended their holiday period. My first run was to High Street Kensington, then Wimbledon, Upminster and back to Earls Court for my meal break. All uneventful, and I had my full turn round time at Upminster.

However, as I had headed east I had heard that there had been a signal failure at Gunnersbury, and a person ill on a train at Aldgate East. None affected me going east, but my westbound trip was delayed and I was about ten minutes late arriving back at Earls Court.

My second train was a little late when I picked it up on the eastbound platforms at Earls Court, but I made good time to Upminster and left to head back west to Earls Court still about ten minutes late.

I was running very close to the train ahead and so passenger numbers were small. However, on arriving at Becontree I noticed a member of the public waving to attract my attention. On investigation she turned out to be an off duty member of staff and informed me that one car on the train had been vandalised three fire extinguishers had been let off and seats pulled up. So I had no choice but to take the train out of service.

I informed the Controller, who had me met at Barking by a Train Technician who verified the damage and confirmed my decision.

So I ran empty all the way from Becontree to Earls Court where I was due for relief. He would then take the train on to Ealing Common Depot for a 'changeover'.

So that was my Jubilee holiday at least I got to see the Gig at the Palace on the TV in the evening though.


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