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Oct. 12th, 2005

“Passengers—er, customers are advised that there is no service,” the man at Embankment tube station corrected himself. I presume they’re fined if they don’t use the right terminology.

He was telling us that the Northern Line was suspended this evening because of “signalling problems”. Last Friday, too, we found ourselves facing a massively depleted and dangerously overcrowded service on the same line (though I’m sure strictlytrue’s journey was perfectly lovely…), again due to signalling problems at Kennington, Waterloo or Euston, depending on which announcement you believed. The sporadic nature of the service and the multiplicity of the excuses often leads the more suspicious of us to think they’re lying to us.

The thing is, they are. In fact, the trains are too dangerous to operate, as the emergency brakes have a tendency to fail completely. The fifth recent such incident happened yesterday morning. (Last Friday was another one.) Even the most hardened profiteer has to concede this might be worth taking some time out to look at. Now enough drivers are refusing to work these frankly lethal trains—whose radios, let’s not forget, are also dangerously unreliable—that the Northern Line has shut down. So why are we still being told that it’s because of “signalling problems”? Because they’ve been told what to say by their management, who are, as we know, egregious, inadequate, inveterate lying


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
(though I’m sure strictlytrue’s journey was perfectly lovely…)

No, it wasn't. You cynical old bugger. The bloody Northern line made me late on the way in, and I avoided it altogether on the way home, only to end up waiting ages for a 137 bus at Sloane Square, then watching a full one sail past.

All I'd say about the management now is that these problems have been brewing, and have existed for years and years. If the tube hadn't been chronically underfunded during the time of, and after the demise of, the GLC... well, you know the rest.
Oct. 12th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
Heh heh. Sorry. I think you should contact the Standard: "At last! I have finally experienced TUBE HELL!"
Oct. 13th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
I think that London Underground should invest it's money in making mobile phones work underground. That will go a long way to alleviating commuter misery.
Oct. 13th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
More on this here. Seems the management have been trying to deal with the problems since last Friday and have been using emergency powers to call shoddy contractors to account.

I could be reading between the lines a little too much here, but it almost reads as if the tube management tacitly support the walkout in order to force the GLA's hand on giving them more power over maintenance.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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