A ‘hustle alarm’ is a thing.

Unfortunately this alarm does not signal a highly sophisticated scam conducted by a gang of lovable, wise-cracking transatlantic con artists on an unsuspecting but unsympathetic ‘mark’.

On your marks...

On your marks…

It is in fact the alarm that sounds a few seconds before the doors shut so that staff can laugh at travellers weighed down with kids and luggage as they make a last ditch attempt to board the train before they become one with the doors as they close slowly and determinedly on them.

Sadly, I’m unable to attach a photo of this sound at present.

The Perfect Storm – London-style.

As if a tube strike wasn’t enough, a decidedly un-British monsoon and a power surge in New Southgate tunnel conspired to hamper my commute home. Having to walk to King’s Cross as there were no buses due for ages and you can imagine the crush when they eventually arrived/sailed straight past. So then waiting for the 6.44, at 6.44 there was no sign of the front 4 coaches that always arrive separately and join uncomfortably.

So very cleverly, avoiding the crush of the people waiting on Platform 9, I snuck round the top and back down a deserted Platform 8 and took this pic.

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point

So then checking my National Rail app on my phone, I saw the platform had been announced for the 6.53 – Platform 7. I could walk to the ticket barrier end and round that way, but I had the brainwave of getting the lift up to the walkway and down. Easy. Except a few others had the same idea and when the 2 guys and their very muscular dog got in with us, the computer lady said we had to reduce the weight. It took a little for the 2 chaps with the dog to work out what this meant, but the penny dropped and they wandered off.

So we left nearly on time and we seemed to be home and (getting) dry. Then the main carriage lights went off and we were reduced to a crawl. The driver, bless him, used the tannoy to tell us a power surge in the tunnel had buggered the train. Luckily it seemed to get fixed and we carried on… Look no wonder I don’t post on this blog any more. So tedious! Yes I KNOW that was the point…

First Capital Connect – still running round in circles.

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Hardly surprising the engine’s overrunning. It doesn’t know if it’s coming or going…

London. Hanging by a thread.

Most of the time things just work. We don’t question them. We take them for granted. We don’t see them. It’s the way things are.

It’s only when things go wrong that we question them. They become noticeable by their absence.

Overhead lines. You never hear announcements about them working perfectly, but to be fair, the majority of the time they’re quietly getting on with the job in the background. Overhead.

But the other evening, they jumped from obscurity to centre-stage when they stopped working. It meant that trains couldn’t safely reach King’s Cross. For a long, long time that evening it was a station with thousands of stranded commuters and no trains. Not one.

Departures board at King's Cross

Ignore the 'on time' trains. They weren't.

It’s at times like this that you come to realise that it really doesn’t take much to bring these systems to standstill. One simple random glitch can affect thousands of families, ruin plans, cause chaos, cost time and money. More to the point, this father won’t get to say ‘night night’ to his little girl this evening.

With no trains out of town, your options are severely limited. A guy next to me got his mate’s taxi firm on the phone. No joy. Coaches? Where do they go from? Wouldn’t they be rammed too? A city perhaps running beyond full capacity, London really is hanging by a thread, a fragile set of connections at the mercy of anyone with serious intentions of creating havoc.

Blimey.

Do not feed the platform.

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Is this the start of an asphalt zoo? Possibly not. These are sitting at the north end of Platform 1 (I’m sounding like a station announcer now).

Presumably someone in a hi-vis vest will come along and free these slabs and make them part of the existing platform.

It’s not like there are slabs that are crumbling. There are a few older ones dotted about but that helps me position myself corredtly so I’m right in front of the doors when the train stops. Two steps to the left of the two brown slabs to be precise.

Come Monday I won’t know where I am…

Roary vs toothbrush

According to First Capital Connect, it’s now officially winter. They’ve rejigged the trains so they give themselves an extra few minutes to get into Kings Cross.

My morning 7.07 train has become the 7.04. That shaves 3 minutes off my morning routine. So is that 3 minutes less watching Rory The Racing Car slacked-jawed with my daughter or do I skip brushing my teeth? This is going to need some careful thought.

... or brushing my teeth.

... or brushing my teeth.


... or watching Roary The Racing Car.

... or watching Roary The Racing Car.

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