Thursday, 8 August 2013

And the final delays...

Alright then: delays for yesterday and the final journey last week (before my holiday, which was very agreeable, thank you), the last day in the year since Signal Failure began.  Following this, I'll get a letter sent out and reposted here as soon as I can make the time to do so.  Updates after that will be a couple of bits and pieces I find interesting and, of course, any response received from TfL.  Stay tuned...

Last Tuesday, then, the tube from Paddington to Waterloo was a minute early, but the train to Hersham was two minutes late, so a £5 charge.

Yesterday, the journey in featured a train that was three minutes early arriving in Waterloo, but the fact that both ticket machines in Hersham were broken, and the ticket office not open, meant I lost five minutes finding someone at the platform in Waterloo to explain this to and buy a ticket from.  This meant I was two minutes late by this point.  This led to me catching a later tube than I should have been able to, and resulted in an overall six-minute delay on my way into work (including the two-minute Paddington penalty).

Last night, the tube from Paddington to Waterloo was four minutes late, causing me to miss the fast train to Hersham, and the slow train was a minute late, making a total delay of 27 minutes.

All in all, the final delays to report for Signal Failure amount to 35 minutes and £87.50 to add to the tally.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Last bits of housekeeping

Just the last couple of travel updates before our year is up.

This morning's train from Hersham to Waterloo was on time, but there was a two-minute delay on the connecting tube to Paddington, plus the two-minute Paddington penalty.  Four minutes and £10 overall.

I'm on vacation out of the country for a week starting tomorrow, so the final few posts and the open letter are likely to be delayed.  Stay tubed, though, and I'll let you know any responses received.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

End game

Did everyone have a nice weekend?  Mine was very pleasant, thanks  took the kids to a farm/play park on Sunday.  Good times were had.

Last Thursday, my journey home consisted of a tube that ran on time, and a connecting train that left Waterloo three minutes late, so £7.50 to Signal Failure.

This morning, I came in early for a meeting with our CEO (subsequently postponed by several hours, which is a little irritating, but what are you going to do?).  The train to Waterloo was bang on time, and the connecting tube even arrived at Paddington a minute early.  However, it was still Paddington, not Edgware Road, so the two minute penalty applies, netting another £2.50 for Signal Failure.

And I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised that the birthing of the new royal sprog - and the attendant hordes of media, tourists and security - did not make my journey on foot from Paddington through the hospital grounds to work any more complicated than normal.  Not that this has anything to do with TfL.

In the more exciting big picture of this blog, we're rapidly approaching the anniversary of the whole thing being set up, which is the point at which we tally the figures and send the bill to TfL.  And, as I'm likely to work from home the rest of this week, and am on vacation most of next week and part of the week after, the totals aren't likely to change much as we enter the end game.

Stay tuned for some amateur stat-crunching and recaps and, of course, I'll be posting a copy of my letter and bill to Signal Failure - as well as any replies (don't hold your breath) - for your viewing pleasure as the time approaches.

Till later then!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

I'm Peppa Pig (oink!)

Image credit:
Had a day off yesterday and, together with my wife, kids and sister, drove down to Peppa Pig World near the south coast.

My daughter's been fascinated by Peppa for months now, and we thoguht we'd better get down to the attraction before she went off her.  Despite a slow start to getting into the spirit of things, she was soon deleriously happy to be flying Miss Rabbit's helicopter, riding in Peppa's hot air balloon, and driving a tractor (from no episode I've ever seen - and I've seen them all, many, many times).  It was a good day out, though ridiculously expensive for what it was.  Still, she has some great stories to tell all her friends at the childminder's today!

So, on to the travel updates.  Tuesday night's journey home was sadly not as trouble-free as I would have hoped: a six-minute delay on the tube from Paddington to Waterloo caused me to miss the train I'd intended (no explanation offered).  Add to that a 22-minute delay on the connecting train to Hersham due to a broken-down train at Vauxhall, and I arrived 48 minutes later than I should have.  TfL owes me another £120.

This morning was more like it: despite leaving Hersham a minute late, the train was two minutes early arriving in Waterloo.  This allowed me to get an earlier connecting tube to Paddington, but since that one was delayed by three minutes, I still only got to work when I should have (according to Journey Planner), rather than early.  And there's still £5 to add for the two-minute Paddington penalty.

All in all, 50 minutes and £125 to the slate.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Delayed by three minutes on the train from Hersham to Waterloo this morning, all delay accrued beyond Surbiton (and therefore TfL's fault).  Had to get a later connecting tube to Paddington as a result, itself a further minute delayed, owing to overcrowding at Paddington.  And another two minutes for the Paddington penalty charge.  In all, I was therefore five minutes late for £12.50.

Other news is boring today.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Not every Oyster contains a pearl

Last night's journey back came with a 'tiny' one-minute delay on the tube from Paddington to Waterloo.  Unfortunately, it was enough to make me miss my connecting fast train to Hersham, so it ended up costing me (and therefore TfL) 26 minutes and £65.

In other news, Oyster Card was smugly congratulating itself on another anniversary recently.  I don't think I covered it on this blog, but it was the usual stuff along the lines of 'everyone else in the world is jealous of how awesome Oyster is and, in fact, the number one reason for tourism and general permanent immigration is people wanting to use the Oyster system'.

Anyway, Oyster's just been rapped on the knuckles by the watchdog London Travelwatch for being overcomplicated and overcharging passengers.  Have to say, I didn't get the overcomplicated charge, but then I didn't know about the pink and yellow readers confusion - it's not something that's ever affected me.  Actually, given I'm just learning about it now, it's probably affected me loads, but it's too late to do anything about that now!

'Sir' Peter Hendy, TfL chief, also seems to have recanted a whiny justification of his Olympic bonus from the official annual report of his organisation before it was published.  Methinks the lady doth protest to much.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

LULZ cats

Stop press: a more important story has been found.

An itty-bitty kitten has been found on a London Underground train.  I like cats.

Victoria the kitten
(Image credit: PA via BBC News website)

Overground, underground

Despite leaving Paddington a minute late last night, my Bakerloo Line train to Waterloo arrived a minute early, so I had no difficulties catching my intended fast train connection to Hersham.  Unfortunately, this connection was delayed by five minutes owing to a 'points failure'.  I didn't catch where this was and so, feeling magnanimous, I've decided to give TfL the benefit of the doubt and assume it happened outside of Zones 1-6.  No charge, therefore.

This morning's train from Hersham to Waterloo was a minute late (definitely accrued within TfL's area of control), and the connecting tube was three minutes late arriving in Paddington.  Plus the two minute Paddington Penalty, of course, making a total of five minutes and £12.50 to add to the tally.

Meanwhile, in the rest of London, a head-on tube collision on the Northern Line was narrowly avoided, and TfL is under pressure to answer the questions 'WTF happened?' and 'How are you going to prevent something like this from happening again?'  Labour London Assembly Transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross has praised the actions of 'a' train driver in averting disaster.  Presumably, a head-on collision involves two trains, though, so I don't know why the other train driver wasn't also praised, since I imagine he didn't just plough on as the collision wouldn't have been avoided then either...

TfL's also looking into turning some major roads into overground tunnels so that residences and businesses can be built on top of them - space always being at a premium in London.  There seem to be no plans to do this anywhere near Wimbledon, however, so mine is the only Wombles joke we'll allow.
Image credit:

Claims for accidents on the London Underground have reached £2.5m in the last four years, according to The Telegraph.  Though they don't come outright and say it (or, rather, write it), this seems to be a new record.  Obviously, domestic terrorist Bob Crow was quick to point out that if only TfL always gave in to his and his trade union's frequent and outrageous demands, this would never have happened.

And finally, speaking of strikes, Bob Crow's corralled RMT members who work on the Boris Bike scheme to strike too.  Is there any one of my readers who cares less than me, I wonder?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Defective trains and signal failures

Despite being a minute late leaving Paddington, my Bakerloo Line tube last night arrived at Waterloo a minute early, so I managed to catch my train.  That was a minute late, but only outside of TfL's sphere of influence, so it doesn't count.

The train in from Hersham to Waterloo this morning was on time, but the connecting tube to Paddington a different story.  I ended up waiting for nearly 15 minutes on a hot and overcrowded platform owing to, if I understod the announcements correctly, both an earlier signal failure and a defective train.  In the end, this delayed my journey by 16 minutes for £40.  Plus another £5 for the Paddington penalty.

Finally, I also realized I forgot the two-minute Paddington penalty in yesterday's calculations.  Another £5, bringing the total to 20 minutes at £50.

We haven't had one in a while, so here's my current Tube Bingo card for the week.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sunny evenings, strikes, and sycling

Made a journey on Friday after all in the end - went out to Clapham Junction for a friend's birthday celebrations in a lovely beer garden just off the beaten track.  Everyone in the party except me, it seems, suffered from hay fever, so I'm not quite sure why a flowery beer garden was chosen, but I certainly appreciated it, and have never in my life seen such a worthy supply of tissues and antihistamines.  Nice.

The journey in, however, was a minute delayed, due to sitting outside of Clapham Junction station for a platform to become clear (at least, I assume that's why - obviously no explanation was given).  There was also a minute's delay coming back, and I have no idea what caused that one.  Two minutes and £5.

This morning, I had another jaunt to the Passport Office.  The train arrived at Vauxhall a minute early, though it didn't let me catch an earlier tube from there to Victoria.  The tube, incidentally, was one minute late for another £2.50.  Following my (this time successful) appointment, the tube from Victoria to Paddington was two minutes late (and horrifically overcrowded).  £5.

So, in total that makes five minutes £12.50.

Also in the news today is yet another strike threat from the RMT.  This time, it's about the plans to axe around 100 'guard' jobs from certain overground trains.  Everyone's favourite shit-stirrer Bob Crow was typically melodramatic:
"The news that millions of passengers are to be put at risk through plans to throw guards of [sic] London Overground trains on north London routes will send shockwaves through transport services."
And finally, if you live in Kensington & Chelsea, expect significant transport problems, as well as your car being towed if you dare to park along the route of a bicycle race in the borough.  Because bike races are more important than the convenience of borough residents or those who need to travel through the borough.  At least, according to our beloved floppy-haired leader Boris Johnson.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Roll on summer!

Four-minute delay on the tube from Paddington to Waterloo going home last night.  Caused me to miss the fast connecting train home to Hersham.  The train I did manage to get on was one minute late, though that was outside of TfL's network.  Nonetheless, the overall delay to my journey caused by TfL's tardiness was 27 minutes, which equates to £67.50.

It looks like a glorious weekend and week coming up, so I'll leave you with some good news, for a change: TfL's rolling out some more air conditioning.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Fwah fwah fwah fwah fwah fwah

About yesterday: I forgot to add the two-minute penalty for my morning's journey into work owing to having to get off at Paddington instead of Edgware Road.  That's £5.  Yesterday evening, I was delayed by two minutes on the tube from Paddington to Waterloo, though it didn't affect the connecting train I took.  That train, however, was also two minutes delayed for another £5.  No explanations were given for any of this.

This morning, the train from Hersham ran to schedule, while the tube was three minutes late for £7.50.  Some form of explanation was offered for this, but it was completely inaudible.  Actually, it sounded sort of like the adults always do in any Peanuts cartoon.

Seven minutes and £17.50 in total.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hello again!

Sort-of refreshed from two days off, despite the 5 a.m. start my son and daughter delivered to us this morning, and with some good news: both the train and the connecting tube into work this morning were on time.

Long may it continue.

Elsewhere, we read that TfL has launched a revamped web site.  Indeed, I noticed something different about it when I logged in this morning, namely that the fonts were all messed up.  Good work!  Incidentally, I'm not just being rude here, it looked nothing like the picture shown on The Drum.  It looked exactly the same, just that the fonts were all over the place.

Finally, if you commute to London from any of the stations between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town, Chingford, or Cheshunt via Seven Sisters, you might want to think about moving home before 2015, when TfL will take over these routes and screw them up.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Last one for a few days again...

I'm working from home again today and have next Monday and Tuesday off, so this is likely to be the last update for a little while (enjoy the quiet while you can).

My  Bakerloo Line tube to Waterloo from Paddington yesterday was three minutes late.  This caused me to miss my connecting train, though that wasn't as bad as it could have been since the intended connecting train was a slow train, and the one I caught instead was a fast train.  Nonetheless, when you add the three minutes the fast train was delayed by (owing to having to wait for a late train to enter Waterloo before we could depart, apparently), that made me seven minutes late overall for £17.50.

There's other news out there today, but I judge it to be boring.  Have a nice Friday and weekend, y'all.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

In which Signal Failure supports Bob Crow's position

Tube from Paddington to Waterloo was on time yesterday, but the train suffered delays owing, sequentially, to a late departure from Waterloo because of a previous train being held at a red signal, and then congestion at Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, and Wimbledon.  Got home five minutes late in the end for £12.50.

This morning, the train from Hersham was a minute late by the time it arrived in Waterloo, and the tube to Paddington accrued three minutes from there.  Plus the two-minute Paddington penalty charge to make another 5 minutes and £12.50.  So 10 minutes and £25 in total.

And finally, whoever would have thought I would find myself agreeing with Bob Crow?  But he said:
"With transport taking a massive hit in the spending review, and with jobs cuts and fare increases looming large, it is outrageous that the top brass across TfL are raking in combined bonuses of £2.5m."
And he's right.  This was in reference to the news that TfL has been splashing around serious amounts of money for its senior staff because they didn't manage to cause any massive cock-ups during the Olympics last year, when there was a record number of passengers and a 20% reduction in delays.  I do have to wonder, though, whether there was a record number of passengers anyway, or if it's only because of the Olympics boost.  Because if it's the latter, then they're basically using the Olympics twice as a justification.  And potentially three times because they don't state how delays are calculated.  For example, if they were based on reported delays per passenger, likely a lot of Olympic visitors didn't know or couldn't be bother to complain (not to mention the regular commuters, who have learned it's rarely worth bothering to complain about delays), thus reducing the ratio.  Possibly that information is somewhere out there, and if anyone has more time on their hands than me and would be willing to check it out, I'll happily post an update/correction to the proceeding.

In for a particular windfall was head honcho "Sir" Peter Hendy, who got a £319K bonus on top of his £331K salary.  Nice work if you can get it.

Peter Hendy
(Graphic credit:

But much as I don't feel TfL staff in general deserve all the perks and pay they already receive (as mentioned one or two times in this blog before, I believe), it's hard to see how liberally dousing the bosses with cash can be reconciled with refusing to give any more to the staff on the ground (r under it, as the case may be).

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Your passport to TfL

So yesterday morning I made a little detour on the way into work to get a passport for my newborn son.  We're attending a wedding in Berlin at the end of July, so need to use the Fast Track service to make sure the passport's ready in time.  I won't bore you with the details of the bust that appointment proved to be, but I will bore you with the transport details: train from Hersham to Vauxhall was two minutes late (inside TfL's network).  Didn't affect the connecting Victoria Line to Victoria, which was a minute early.  Four minute delay taking the circle line from there to Paddington after my appointment (Circle line train simply didn't turn up when it was supposed to).  Five minutes overall for £12.50.

Going home that night, the tube from Paddington was two minutes late arriving at Waterloo, so I missed the fast train home, and the slow train was four minutes late (within TfL's network).  Meant I was 31 minutes late overall for £77.50.

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo was bang on time - nice one - but the tube to Paddington was two minutes late.  And another two because it was Paddington, not Edgware Road.  Four minutes for £10.

So, overall since the last update, TfL owes Signal Failure another £100 for 40 minutes of wasted time.

Elsewhere, TfL has refuted claims it might sell the "mind the gap" announcement to some stupid drinks company.  Though the sponsorship money this would raise (reputed to be six figures) could be used to cut/maintain fare levels or fund network improvements, I have to approve of TfL's decision:

"This is a safety critical message and we have no intention of changing this for commercial sponsorship. We have been clear about this with Frank PR [representatives of drink firm Upbeat - ed.]"

Monday, 24 June 2013

Was there something special about 20th June?

I ask because I got a massive spike in readers for some reason, despite having posted noting for three days and not having posted anything else until now).  About that: I thought last week was going to be a good one for updates because I had a trade show to go to for a couple of days, which involved me travelling more, and on a variety of different routes, across the TfL network than I normally do.  Sadly, fate conspired against me and I developed a rather violent GI infection on Tuesday night, so wasn't able to complete any journeys after that.  Even more unfair, it wasn't due to any trade show parties - just one of those things!

Still, I'm back at work now, and in the office again from tomorrow, so you'll see a couple more updates before the month is out.

As for what little there is to report on from last week:
  • Monday night, I arrived at the Bakerloo Line platform at Paddington at 18:08, but had to wait until 18:15 for a train to depart (no reason given for this, but it appeared to be to do with station crowding).  This made me 10 minutes late arriving at Waterloo, so I missed the connecting fast train to Hersham, arriving there four minutes later than the later train was scheduled to (all within Zones 1-6).  This made me 30 minutes late home altogether for £75.
  • Tuesday morning, the train from Hersham into Waterloo arrived a whole four minutes early, though at that time it didn't let me take an earlier connecting tube than planned.  The tube did, however, run perfectly to time
  • Coming home Tuesday night, I went from Custom House (DLR) to Waterloo, which involved changing to the Jubilee Line at Canning Town.  According to journey planner, I was 14 minutes late on this journey.  Amazingly, this didn't cause me to miss a connecting train.  I'm not quite sure how that happened.  The train arrived back at Hersham one minute early, but that minute was gained outside of TfL's sphere of influence, so no refund
All in all, then, 30 minutes and £75 added to TfL's tally last week.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Half time

UPDATE: forgot to add two minutes to the tube journey for having to use Paddington instead of Edgware Road.  That's another £5.

The train from Hersham to Waterloo this morning was a minute late arriving - gained within Zones 1-6.  Not much, but as a special additional treat, however, the train was half its usual length at only four carriages.  Reading higher up the platform as I was, this almost caused me to miss the train entirely, and made the rest of the journey a disgusting, sweaty and crowded affair.  Apparently, the train had developed a fault somewhere near Southampton - one that could only be solved by cutting its length in half or else cancelling the service.  So I suppose I should be grateful, though it seems difficult.  Not TfL's fault, I know, but I've been known to enjoy the occasional gripe...

Meanwhile, the tube connecting me to Paddington was also a minute late, so we add a total of two minutes and £5 to the tally.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Bridge over troubled water

Working from home as is usual on a Friday, so will just round off the week with this post: yesterday evening's Bakerloo Line from Paddington to Waterloo arrived a minute early, which was nice.  That was still one minute compared to being able to set off from Edgware Road, and it didn't change the connecting train I could take, but still.  Nice.  The train was three minutes late, none of which was accrued within TfL's network, somewhat surprisingly.

In a bit of non-personal news, TfL has decided to splash on a new bridge across the Thames.  Naturally, it will be placed in East London, which for years has been underserviced and crying out for a third bridge, with an impressive economic case behind it and supported by the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry in central London, where you already can hardly see the river due to the unearthly preponderance of bridges.  It's also a 'floating garden bridge', whatever that means, but it will cost £60m, so I'm sure it's good and definitely worth another fare increase.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The perils of integrity

Despite being a minute late setting off from Paddington, last night's Bakerloo Line arrived on time at Waterloo.  Of course, if I'd been able to go from Edgware Road, I would have arrived still two minutes earlier and been able to catch the fast train from there to Hersham, so that's a black mark right there.  The train I did catch was on time, but that's still a 26-minute delay over if I'd been able to use Edgware Road.  I guess in fairness I can't really charge for that, though.

This morning's train from Hersham to Waterloo was two minutes early in arriving.  This enabled me to get an earlier connecting tube so that I arrived four minutes early in work.  But we subtract two minutes from that for the Paddington-Edgware Road thing.  Nonetheless, that's two minutes and £5 credit to TfL.

No interesting news elsewhere still...

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Been busy again

Big radio silence, eh?  It's been busy at work!

Still is, in fact, so this is going to be a very quick one: yesterday morning's train was six minutes late arriving in Waterloo (all withing the TfL network).  The tube was two minutes late, and that made me five minutes late to work overall because it was a later tube than I could have taken had the train been on time.  And then I add two minutes more for it being Paddington, not Edgware Road, that I had to travel to.  So seven minutes overall for £17.50.

Last night, the tube was actually two minutes early arriving at Waterloo from Paddington, but that only put me on an even keel with how the situation would have been had Edgware Road not been closed.  Further, it didn't let me catch an earlier train, so no real effect on my journey.  The train to Hersham was then two minutes late, accrued within Zones 1-6, so that's £5.

This morning, the train from Hersham was six minutes late by the time it arrived in Waterloo.  Two minutes of that was outside Zones 1-6, so only four minutes charged.  The connecting tube was two minutes late.  Plus another two minutes for it being Paddington, plus another two minutes to account for the earlier tube I could have taken had I not incurred the four minutes delay on the train, so six minutes in all.  Making 10 minutes in total for the journey and £25.

Altogether since the last update: 19 minutes and £47.50.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Despite ample opportunity to burn the evidence, Fire Brigade shows TfL how to do it

Everything perfectly on time for my journey home on Wednesday evening.  I had they day off yesterday, and am working from home today, so no personal updates till next Tuesday (I'll be working from home Monday too).

In the non-personal travel news, London's Fire Commissioner sets an example for the TfL bosses in the wake of their expenses scandal.  I particularly like the phrasing from
"Commissioner Dobson’s expenses are dominated by a fixed special payment made in lieu of any monthly mileage or standard travel claims and which is paid 'in recognition of the on call requirements placed upon the Commissioner.'
"That all seems reasonable because fires, as the Fire Brigades Union has told us a few times, don’t happen at regular, predictable and scheduled times. Unlike presumably the meetings of senior TfL officials who get a free Oyster card yet still need taxis to get through their schedules.
"Also wholly absent from the Brigade management’s claims are toy vehicles, hotel Wifi and magazines."
This morning in the car, I briefly overheard on Magic FM a story about the UK having the worst and most expensive rail service in Europe.  I wasn't really paying attention at the time, hence my vagueness.  I've been unable to track it down, so if anyone knows what I'm talking about and point me in the direction of a link, I'd be very grateful, since this will scupper TfL's draconian attempts to control the news agenda and remove detrimental stories...

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Little to report

Nothing in particular in the TfL-related news caught my eye this morning, and last night's journey home was fairly uneventful, with just a two-minute delay on the train from Waterloo to Hersham - only one minute of which was accrued within Zones 1-6 (for £2.50).

This morning, the train into Waterloo was actually two minutes early, despite sitting just outside Surbiton for a while to let a different, delayed, train pass us.  That allowed me to catch an earlier tube, which was delayed by a minute, but still arrived two minutes earlier than the one I was supposed to catch would have done.  That looks like two minutes back to TfL, but for the fact that I had to use Paddington instead of Edgware Road, thus making for a journey two minutes longer than necessary in any case.  Nil points, as they say on the Continent.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Today's post brought to you by...

This morning's journey in came with a two-minute delay to the train from Hersham, cause by it sitting somewhere between Surbiton and Waterloo (i.e. within TfL's sphere of influence).  'Luckily', the connecting tube was also running two minutes late, so I still caught that one.

Nonetheless, that puts me in work two minutes later than advertised on Journey Planner, and another two minutes for having to travel further to Paddington, rather than Edgware Road (owing to that station's unnecessarily long closure).  £10.

On the lighter side, could all tube stations be about to be renamed after new corporate sponsors (as in the case of the O2, formerly the Millennium Dome?  No.  Not by the looks of things...

Still, if anyone has any particularly good suggestions - and they have to be better than these weak jokes - feel free to leave them in the comments!

Friday, 31 May 2013

An alarming story

Just can't be bothered to think of a better pun for that title, sorry.  But I do have an excuse:
  1. Lat night's journey home involved a passenger pulling the alarm on a tube train several stops in front of mine.  This caused a five-minute delay, which in turn caused me to miss my connecting train.  That would have been a slow train, and I caught the next fast on instead, so only six minutes late overall (the fast train was two minutes late as well), but still annoying.  £15.
  2. This morning, the front left tyre of my car burst impressively on returning from drooping my daughter off at daycare.  By the time I'd sorted everything out, I'd missed several hours of work.  Now, admittedly I work from home Fridays, but I had a lot to do, so this was not ideal
  3. Just to really rub my nose in it, my laptop crashed, so I lost the first hour's worth of work too!
I'm just about ready to write today off...

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Fine by me

Despite a three-minute delay on the tube from Paddington to Waterloo (on top of the two-minute delay caused by having to use this station due to Edgware Road [Bakerloo Line] seven-plus month closure), I made the fast train back to Hersham last night.  It was on time - a pleasant change!  Interestingly, the reason given for the (ultimately inconsequential) delay on the tube was that pickpockets were operating at stations between Oxford Circus and Embankment.  That's another new one on me!  Presumably they were stealing timetables from the tube drivers...

This morning, the train was also on time, and the connecting tube even arrived a minute early at Paddington.  That's still two minutes late compared to alighting at Edgware Road, so it's a one-minute delay overall, but not bad.  Just £2.50 to add to the bill this morning.

In the news today, TfL looks close to taking over from the Metropolitan Police the responsibility for stopping motorists from entering cycle lanes and advances stop lines (bike boxes).  Drivers may soon face up to a £60 fine and three points on their licence for being naughty.

While three points on the licence seems more than a tad excessive to me, I think the fine is a fine idea (ha!): cyclists do need better protection on London's streets.  I hope TfL will publicly commit to using monies gained from these fines to further improving life for cyclists in London.

What I'd really like to see, however, is some token at policing things the other way too: far too often I see cyclists ignoring dedicated cycle lanes to cause road havoc, cycling across zebra crossings instead of dismounting and walking, ignoring various traffic signs and more.  Anything that prevents motorists from behaving like raging dickheads is great for cyclists safety, but let's not pretend there are many, many cyclists who need to learn they don't own the road.  This will make life still safer for cyclists, as well as for pedestrians and, yes, drivers.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Another day, another delay

Last night, due to Edgware Road (Bakerloo Line) closure, I had to travel from Paddington to Waterloo on the tube.  The ticket gates at my most convenient entrance were broken, so I lost five minutes trying to locate someone to explain the situation to and get myself in without having my Pay-as-You-Go Oyster card penalised for fare evasion.  This meant that, even though the tube was on time (well, two minutes late compared to what it would have been had I been able to board at Edgware Road as I used to), I missed the fast train from Waterloo to Hersham.

The train was then two minutes late, though the delay was accrued outside of Zones 1-6, so doesn't count.  Still, that made for a 26-minute delay overall (£65).

This morning, the train was a minute early to make up for it, which would have allowed me to catch an earlier tube, had it not been two minutes late.  Arrived at work one minute earlier than planned nonetheless, so that's £2.50 back to TfL for a grand total of £62.50 to Signal Failure.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Bank Holiday's over!

After working from home Thursday and Friday, and then the bank holiday, there's not too much to report - though I will bring you up to speed with last Wednesday's journey home and this morning's into work.

Last Wednesday night, the tube was two minutes late, causing me to miss my connecting fast train to Hersham.  The train I took was on time, but of course that still made me 26 minutes later overall than I would have been had I been able to catch the fast train.

This morning, the train was a minute early arriving in Waterloo, though that didn't let me catch an earlier tube connection.  The tube was marvellously on time, but of course Edgware Road is now closed until December on the Bakerloo Line, so the journey took two minutes longer than it should have.

Total of 28 minutes and £70.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


...I am working from home today, since both my son and daughter are now ill and I want to be able to give my wife moral support, even if I can't dump the laptop and help full time.  It also means I'm on hand to provide cover and make things like trips to the GP or pharmacy far less stressful.

Although I won't, therefore, be giving you any personal travel updates today, I promise to check out TfL-related news regularly and keep you up to date with anything interesting.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Robin Thatcher or Margaret Hood?

Bit of a late update, this one, but nonetheless, my trip home yesterday unfolded as follows: a five-minute delay on the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo cause me to miss my connecting train, and the train I did take suffered a further three-minute delay: 29 minutes late home in total.

This morning, the train didn't quite make up for its three-minute delay last night, but arrived in Waterloo two minutes early.  The tube was on time, so this saved me three minutes in total arriving at work.  I make that 26 minutes and £65 to add to the tally in total.

In other news, more posturing and strike threats from Bob Crow as politicians dare to suggest reviewing a pensions system that sees the taxpayer contribute six times as much as the TfL employee.  Said Crow:
"Try it and you'll see the biggest wave of industrial action on the London Underground in 30 years.  I have a very small penis."
OK, fine: that's paraphrasing, not quoting.  Seriously, though: I thought Thatcher had broken the trade unions?  Looks like she missed one.  Any politicians reading this care to pick up where she left off?  Seriously, I doubt anyone (except TfL employees) will give you any flack for it.  In fact, you wouldn't really be a new Thatcher, more a modern-day Robin Hood.
Where's Thatcher when you need her?
(Image credit:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Breaking news: my station's closed for seven months!

Barely have I finished my update when the following email appears in my inbox.  I'm grudgingly impressed that TfL is using customer data analytics to figure out I'm a regular user of this station and could benefit from this update (assuming you all didn't get the same email).  I'm less impressed with the four days' notice, though of course it doesn't actually affect me too much - Paddington is just as easy for me to use as Edgware Road to get to work.  Of course, it adds an extra minute or so to every journey to and from work in waiting for one extra stop...

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause - no, wait: that phrase is not included...

Illegible drivel

I know, I know: more silence from Signal Failure.  I was working from home Friday and Monday, and it was busy, so no time to do any updates.

Such as they are: Thursday night's trip home was completely free of delay on both legs of the journey!  This morning, despite a red signal holding us up, the train arrived in Waterloo on time.  The tube, however, was three minutes late, so that's a compensatory £7.50.

Elsewhere in the news, publicity around TfL's £53m reserve of cash from unused Oyster cards has forced the company to write to a number of newspapers to detail to travellers how they can get their money back.  Of course, even being effectively forced into it is a pretty meaningless gesture, since I'm sure the vast majority of these cards have been lost or mistakenly thrown away or eaten or belong to foreign visitors, or whatever.  I could be proven wrong of course - we'll see!

Another bizarre story is that TfL is auctioning off street signs as they are 'upgraded' as part of a campaign called 'Legible London'.  I've never found the street signs particularly illegible, but maybe it's not a complete waste of money.  Still, if the auctions cover the cost of the replacements (a big if, I bet), who am I to complain?  And presumably if anything's left over it'll be used to keep ticket prices down, right?  I wonder how many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will creep in with the new signs.  Feel free to send me your pictures!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Late again

A minute's delay on the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo last night caused me to just miss the fast train to Hersham I'd planned to take.  Then, the train I was able to take was two minutes late within Zones 1-6, making me 28 minutes late overall.

Coming into work this morning, the train was again two minutes late, again with the delay accrued within Zones 1-6.  This made me miss the intended connecting tube to Edgware Road, and the one I was able to catch was seven minutes late, owing to being held at a red signal.  That adds another 10 minutes delay this morning.

In total, then, since yesterday morning, that's 38 minutes' delay for £95.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Choo, choo!

Well, the crisis at work seems to be over for the time being, or at least dying down enough to let me add in the last few travel updates:

Monday night, my tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo departed two minutes late, caught up a minute to arrive just one minute late.  I was able to catch my intended connecting train to Hersham, and that was a minute late (though only outside of the TfL network, so doesn't count).

Yesterday morning, I came into work much earlier to help deal with the issues there.  I was rewarded with a train which arrived a whole minute early in Waterloo.  This didn't let me catch an earlier connecting tube, but the tube was running on time, so no delay.

Yesterday evening, a faulty elevator made me miss my tube, holding me back some six minutes - and the tube itself that I caught in the end was a minute late.  This made me miss my connecting train, though the train I was able to take was at least on time.  Still, that makes 26 minutes and £65 in total.

This morning, the train was again a minute early arriving into Waterloo.  Again, it did not mean I could catch an earlier tube but again that tube was on time, so no delay and no charge.

No news of note that I've been able to catch related to TfL.  Hopefully, normal service at Signal Failure has now resumed.

Monday, 13 May 2013

This is going to be quick

As Monday started poorly at work and is set to be HUGELY busy over the next 48 hours at least.

Two minutes early arriving into Waterloo from Hersham this morning.  This let me get an earlier connecting tube to Edgware Road, though it was delayed by a minute.  Still arrived two minutes earlier than I otherwise would have, however, so £5 goes back to TfL.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Just because

Just because it was a bank holiday this week.  And because I appreciate you all reading my drivel.  And because of the very late post the day before yesterday.  Just because you didn't get to have lobster and I did.

Just because of those things, I'll break my usual habit and update yesterday's travel home on a Friday:
  • Tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo was three minutes late, causing me to miss my connecting train
  • The next connecting train from Waterloo to Hersham was five minutes late - nine in total, had I been able to catch my intended train.
  • Overall, this adds nine minutes and £22.50 to TfL's bill

In the meantime, the terrorist Bob Crow is organising more tube strikes.  Enjoy.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Cramped conditions no longer!

A few more trips taken yesterday than normal...

(Image credit:
Had a team dinner last night, so travelled from Edgware Road to Oxford Circus to visit Burger and Lobster in Soho (I had grilled lobster with garlic butter, thanks for asking).  The tube was on time.  So was the tube taking me from Leicester Square to Waterloo for the train home later that evening.  And so was the train home from Waterloo.  Three in a row!

This morning, the train got to Waterloo two minutes early, despite leaving Hersham two minutes late.  The tube to Edgware Road was two minutes late, which rather spoiled that perfect run of competence, even if it did mean I ended up at my final destination a minute earlier than I would have had everything been running on time.  Still, fair's fair, and I owe TfL £2.50, which has now been removed from the organisation's running tab with me.

And there's more welcome news this morning (actually, yesterday, but I was in a rush then): London Overground will receive a 25% capacity boost as TfL invests in new train carriages from Bombardier Trains.  You'll have to wait until the end of next year to feel the benefits, though.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

Phew!  Another busy work day in another busy week.  In other words, sorry this post is coming so late in the day.

By way of apology, I will be brief.
  • Tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo last night: two minutes late.  Made me miss connecting train
  • Connecting train to Hersham: six minutes delay, owing to three (count them!) three separate 'passenger actions'.  Added to delay of this being a later train than it should have been, total of 10 minutes
  • Train from Hersham to Waterloo this morning: one minute late.  Did not affect the tube I took, so no charge
  • Tubes from Waterloo to Blackfriars (aha! I had a meeting there: you thought it was going to be Edgware Road again, didn't you?  Confess.  CONFESS!): on time arriving, despite departing a minute late
  • Tubes from Blackfriars to Edgware Road: three minutes late
Total to add since yesterday morning: 13 minutes and £32.50.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Finally: an end to the confusion over whether cyclists are subject to the rules of the road!

Hello again,

I trust you all had a pleasant bank holiday weekend?  Mine was spent blessedly free of delays by avoiding public transport and spending time with my family.  And it very nearly continued into the shortened week...

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo was delayed by a minute.  No explanation was offered, but it seemed to be caused by the train moving very slowly as soon as we passed Surbiton (i.e. came within TfL's circle of influence).  This would have made me miss the connecting tube I had Journey Planned on, but since that was also delayed (by two minutes), this wasn't a problem.  So a two-minute delay overall then, for £5 this morning.

Elsewhere in the news, BikeRadar reports on a trial for traffic lights for cyclists.  They've been talked about for some time, and I'm interested to see how they'll work out, since in my experience bike riders tend to ignore pretty much all traffic lights, signals, pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes, and vast swathes of the highway code.  Will these be any different?  Could it really be as simple as that cyclists are too stupid to understand road signals that don't have a picture of a bike on them?  Only time will tell, I suppose, but despite my sarcasm, I do hope they'll be a success.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Small mercies

Just a short update today, as I'm working from home again - sitting out in my lovely garden office, alternating with on the patio furniture by the pond, resplendent with irises, populated by newts and visited by shimmering dragonflies.  Enjoying your day at the office?

Anyway, tube was fine coming home yesterday.  Actually, I don't know if it was, since I accidentally deleted my record of the journey.  But the train left Waterloo nine minutes late for no particular reason that I could make out, though they were of course very sorry for the inconvenience this delay caused. It was eight minutes late by the time we arrived at Hersham, so I suppose we at least gained that one minute back.  Be grateful for small mercies and all that...

'Just' eight minutes, then, and £20.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

I've got your delays right here!

No issues with my tube ride yesterday, but the train to Hersham was delayed nine minutes within Zones 1-6.  This was explained first as we sat on the platform in Waterloo waiting to leave as waiting for the signal, then outside Earlsfield as a slow moving train in front of us that would clear up after Surbiton.

This morning, both the train and the tube were on time.

So that's nine minutes and £22.50.

It's a busy day today (hence the late update), but I can't resist commenting on the news that TfL delays are massively down in recent years (the lowest since records began, I hear).  This has prompted ITV to ask 'where are the delays?'

Right here, ITV, right here...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A crippled sense of empathy

Admittedly, that title could apply to me, but in this case it does not.  We're all accustomed, no matter how much we hate to see it, with the selfish wankers we call our fellow commuters pretending not to see heavily pregnant ladies and giving up their seats for them.  I have to admit, though, that last night's journey home gave me something new...

Edgware Road Bakerloo Line tube station is one of those deep ones that's served by lifts.  Two, huge, clunky, and slooooow lifts.  Normally, I take the stairs because of this (at least going down), but yesterday I was feeling lazy.  I came to the lifts to find one of the lifts was just departing - the door was closed.  Around 15-20 people had already started queueing at the other one.  But the first lift had not yet departed!

The reason for this soon became plain: a man on crutches had gotten one of those crutches caught in the closing door.  He was unable to get them out, though he was frantically trying.  The lift was prevented from departing.  Despite this, the crowd of people waiting for the second lift merely stood by and watched him.  And let's remember that the second lift had not arrived yet, so helping him would not have made them miss their lift, even if we granted that this was a good enough reason not to help a fellow human being in trouble.

And despite the fact that the first, full, lift was prevented from departing by this, not one person in that lift bothered to help either.  Not one.  Nor did anyone inside the lift pus the alarm button, nor anyone waiting for the second lift call to a station guard for help.

Instead, I had to shoulder my way through them all, drop the several bags I was holding, stick my hands into the crack in the lift doors and use my not inconsiderable weight to wrench the door open enough for the man to get his crutch out.

Now, I'll grant you that the only possible way this man got his crutch stuck in the first place was by shoving it into a closing door to try and hold it open long enough for him to enter, which makes him a stupid prick, but I am astounded by the callousness of everyone else in that station at approximately ten past five yesterday afternoon.  You know who you are, and I fervently hope that you're one day stuck in a situation where no-one will help you either.  Twats.

Anyway, moving on: the tube was one minute late.  This caused me to miss my connecting train to Hersham, so I got next one.  It was four minutes late - three within TfL's network.  Overall, this made me 29 minutes late against my TfL Journey Planner advised time of arrival for £72.50.

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo was one minute early.  It didn't let me get an earlier tube, and the tube I took was two minutes late.  Another £5.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Son of Signal Failure

Well, I'm back.  Son of Signal Failure was born on Friday, 19th April 2013 at 06:44.  Hence lack of updates in some considerable while.  Mother and child are doing well.

In view of this momentous occasion, and because I'm feeling a little lazy, I am waiving delay charges to TfL for my travel home on Thursday, 18th April.

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo was delayed by a minute within TfL's sphere of influence.  This didn't matter, because the tube I would have been able to catch had the train been on time was delayed by two minutes (three by the time it got to Edgware Road), so I was able to catch it after all.  Still a three-minute delay, however, so that's £7.50.  Glad to see I didn't miss any big changes in my absence, then!

I've obviously missed a lot of news while I was out of service, and I'm afraid I don't really have the time to summarise it all now (I may backtrack in later posts), but I will offer this one tidbit: if you're still marting from the 10th consecutive fare rise from TfL, you can rest easy in the knowledge the organisation is sitting on a £900m budget surplus, none of which will be used to cut, or even freeze fare hikes.  Lovely.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Goodness me!

A lot of people were waiting for this post, weren't they?  At least that's what my stats show.  I was at a meeting from 8 a.m. until now, but I hadn't forgotten about you!  Nor have I (yet) entered into Fatherhood squared.

So: on to the updates!  Tube was on time yesterday afternoon, taking me neatly to Waterloo in time to catch my connection to Hersham.  This, however, was three minutes late - all within Zones 1-6, so that's £7.50.

This morning, the train from Hersham was a minute late arriving in Waterloo, despite being a minute early to leave Hersham.  This means, even though I can only charge TfL for the one minute late I was, TfL actually cost that service two minutes once it entered the TfL network.  Nice.

The connecting tube was delayed by nine minutes, owing to a fire alert at some station or other.  It sounded like they said Queens Park, but that's not on the Bakerloo Line, is it?  Well, go figure.  All I know is I spent a godly amount of time sitting in tunnels listening to semi-inaudible announcements about fires.  That's three strikes on the Tube Bingo card to add to the strike on non-explanations I've received all week.  Still no Bingo in the frame though.  I guess the £30 Signal Failure's earned since last night will have to be compensation enough.

What else is on today's fab menu?  As part of its continuing plan to suck all the joy out of the universe, TfL's line closures will disappoint fans of The xx.  The band has had to reschedule and relocate its upcoming gig because your friendly evil London transport Czars have made it next to impossible to get to or from the venue.  If only Justin Bieber had thought to blame his recent lateness on tube delays, perhaps he wouldn't have pissed off so many of his fans!  Or, more accurately perhaps, their parents.

Also in the news, remember that satisfaction poll for the cable cars that TfL has been promoting selected snippets of but refusing to share in its entirety?  It cost £150,000.  This is, apparently, equivalent to what TfL would have earned from 35,107 full-price fares on the gigantic folly fairground attraction beloved transport service.

And speaking of satisfaction surveys, no-one likes the Boris Bikes anymore after TfL doubled the price.  (OK, I admit 'no-one' was an exaggeration.)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Celebrating pretty much a week of only minimal delays

It has to be admitted that TfL have been doing rather well for the last week or so.  Even today, with Thatcher's funeral on, my commute was not that bad.

Let's start with last night: tube was a minute early arriving at Waterloo.  That didn't let me get an earlier train, but the train was only a minute late arriving at Hersham, and that delay accrued outside of Zones 1-6, so it doesn't count.

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo again arrived a minute early.  This was spoiled slightly by a two minute late connecting tube (the one I would have been able to get anyway had the train been simply on time).  So TfL still ends up £5 down, but that's practically a win for the organisation!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The long and winding road

Yesterday afternoon's tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo was a minute late, but this did not cause me to miss my connection to Hersham, which ran on time.

Train was two minutes late coming into Waterloo this morning, which made me miss my connecting tube.  The tube I ended up taking was also a minute late by the time it arrived at Edgware Road, making me four minutes late overall: £12.

At Kensington Olympia, a rare show of TfL listening to common sense: TfL has backed down form plans to put up ticket gates to block a public right of way used by residents of the area as a shortcut to their homes.  See, the bridge can apparently also be used as an entrance to the tube station, and 10% of people dodge fares here as opposed to the average 2% elsewhere.  I don't know who gave TfL the right to arbitrarily block paths that are public rights of way if it feels like it, but he or she wants his or her head examined: this was always bound to be abused.  Still, crisis averted for those of you who even know what I'm talking about.  And for those who don't, this is an important victory: if they get away with it there, they could get away with it near you too.  I'm reasonably confident without seeing any evidence whatsoever that TfL's eventual plan is to put up ticket barriers at your front door so you can't even use their streets and pavements without paying. 

Somehow, George Harrison's song 'Taxman' springs to mind:
"If you drive a car I'll tax the street, and if you take a walk I'll tax your feet"
Wasn't about TfL originally, of course, but I'm also relatively certain that's what George really meant.

Elsewhere, conservatives in City Hall have called for a ban on strikes by tube staff, something Signal Failure wholeheartedly supports.  Presumably this renewal of calls to crush the trade unions comes as a tribute to Margaret Thatcher's death.  Instead, the Tories say, strikes should be replaced by 'compulsory independent meditation' - which I assume is a typo (read it now before it's corrected or else don't bother telling me later I can't read).

That's it for this morning, really: the rest of the TfL-related news is more about travel around Thatcher's funeral, and another article from the HuffPo which doesn't credit me as its source (which I'm pretty sure I am, at least in the same way I'm sure of George Harrison's mind and TfL's plans for personal house arrest).

Monday, 15 April 2013

A late birthday present

This morning's train was a whole minute early into Waterloo, presumably in honour of my birthday yesterday.  It didn't affect which connecting tube I could take, but that tube was a whole minute early too, so TfL has clawed back £2.50 from the overall tally this morning.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Alright then: just one more

My tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo yesterday evening was delayed by a single minute, but this was enough to make the difference between catching my train and not.

Fortunately for TfL, that train was a fast one, so the overall delay had only lengthened to five minutes by the time I reached Hersham, my final destination.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Your last (planned) post this week

Last night's tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo was a minute late.  It didn't make me miss my train, but as that was two minutes late Signal Failure still nets £5.

This morning, the train to Waterloo was on time, but the tube to Edgware Road was a minute late for another £2.50.

In the wider world, TfL puts itself above the law by installing a Boris Bike junction in Wandsworth without bothering to wait for planning permission.  Irritatingly, there are no signs as yet they will even get a slap on the wrist.

TfL is also planning on dealing with the extra passengers expected for the London Marathon (donate for my friend and fight Parkinson's disease here) in the same way they dealt with the Olympics: by asking people not to use the network.

Finally, a little warning/reminder that my paternity leave could literally start any day now (though a few days' grace at least are likely), so don't be surprised if everything goes dark here all of a sudden as I'll have other things on my mind.  Well, you're probably used to it by now as I've been training you recently.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Image management, by TfL

Good morning.

Yesterday's journey home featured an on time tube, but a connecting train to Hersham delayed by five minutes owing to overcrowding.  But overcrowding caused by a very special piece of incompetence.  You see, the train from Waterloo to Woking (Hersham is a stop on that line) is normally eight carriages long.  Last night, however, the decision was taken to disconnect half the carriages from the train while stationed at Waterloo, and send only four coaches forth on their usual journey.  Apparently, this is because the carriages were needed by another service.  And let's remember that the line I travel was recently shown to be the second busiest in the country.  Yeah, the carriages were needed elsewhere.  That makes sense. 

I was going to get me revenge by travelling first class this morning on a standard ticket, but the train was too full to make my way to the first class carriages.

Instead, this morning's standing-room-only journey into Waterloo was delayed by a minute, causing me to take a later connecting tube than planned, making me three minutes late overall.

That's eight minutes in total since yesterday morning, or £20.

And finally, TfL gives another good example of How Not To Do PR: embarrassingly, I missed the Cable Car satisfaction survey results announced earlier this week, but the summary is that a few cherry-picked results showed satisfaction scores of 93 out of 100.  Why do we think these results are cherry picked?  Because TfL is refusing to provide anyone with copies of the original report to check it out for themselves.

Now, releasing news from a research report or survey a bit at a time is hardly uncommon practice in PR - after all, you've paid good money to create some news hooks and you want to eke them out over time to maintain positive momentum.  But the thing is, that's something private companies can do with private funding.  This survey was paid for with public money and is being promoted with public money.  Forcing people to fill out Freedom of Information requests to get hold of it has got to call your motives into question.  And let's not forget TfL has a history of unreasonably withholding the most basic information about itself as long as it possibly can for no good discernible reason.  What is this organisation trying to hide?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Aren't we all keen?!

Lots of people seemingly waiting for a post this morning in the absence of one yesterday.  I elected to work from home so I could get just that little bit of extra sleep before starting after the stag weekend.  If you've come here for pictures or stories of that weekend, you are going to be disappointed as normal stag do protocol applies: what goes on tour, stays on tour.

Though I will break that just the tiniest bit to let you know that Saturday night was considerably more successful than the Friday night was.  Which wasn't hard, given that the groom needed to be put to bed at 20:30.  Some of us are getting old...

On to the travel news: this morning's train from Hersham to Waterloo was actually a whole minute early.  This did not, however, affect which connecting tube to Edgware Road I could take, and that leg of the journey was delayed by a minute: £2.50 duly charged to TfL's account.

Elsewhere, I see that mobile phone network O2 has finally joined the tube station Wi-Fi bonanza (after EE and Vodafone), piggy-backing on Virgin Media's 120 station banquet.  Hasn't stopped them advertising the fact as if they came up with the idea in the first place.

I also note TfL has been wasting money unnecessarily renaming streets.  Isabel Street is now called Van Gogh Walk, in honour of the fact the artist once lodged in a house near there for a year.  I've noticed over the years a distressing tendency for blue plaques to pop up on buildings where someone famous once did something as simple as spend a night, or might possibly have seen once on his or her way past to somewhere else.  Puts me in mind of The Young Ones again, and Neil's cry of despair that his amp might be used to block an axe-wielding maniac's entrance to his room: 'Jimi Hendrix once pissed on that!'

Jimi Hendrix once pissed on that!

Surely it can't be far behind for a blue plaque to mark the site of a house where Liam Gallagher once puked...

Friday, 5 April 2013

A surprise Friday post!

I have eschewed my normal option of working from home on a Friday, since my office is near to Paddington rail station, and I want to catch a train to Reading later to attend my friend Noj's stag do.  Otherwise I'd have just had to come in past the office later anyway, so it seemed pointless to stay at home.  Especially since my daughter is at home all this week owing to the childminder's holiday, which means I would have gotten little work done in any event.

That said, I think I'll miss her like crazy: she was especially sweet and well behaved yesterday.  And, naturally, she's chosen this morning to re-enter a 'Daddy' phase, the morning when I'll be gone nearly the whole weekend.  Oh, well: good luck wife!

Now, on to the travel extravaganza: the 17:15 tube from Edgware Road was a minute late arriving yesterday afternoon, and two minutes late by the time it got to Waterloo.  However, I make no charge, since it did not cause me to miss my connecting train to Hersham.  That train, believe it or not, arrive a whole minute early, so I need to refund TfL £2.50.  I won't deny it's galling every time I have to do that, but I can always comfort myself in the knowledge that, while I've once or twice been deposited at my final destination one or two minutes early, I have never ended up there 10-15 minutes, or even one or two hours early.  Whereas when it comes to delays, this blog is a testament to the fact that, while that's not usual, it's far from unheard of.

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo arrived a minute late, but since that minute's delay was incurred before the train even reached Hersham (i.e. outside of TfL's sphere of influence) I will not make a charge.  The connecting tube, however, was two minutes late, and the only reason I could deduce for this was a knock-on effect from the partially suspended, severely delayed Central Line, which was caused by a person under a train.

So altogether, Signal Failure's up another £2.50.

There's TfL-related news elsewhere in the world today but, frankly, it's boring.  So I won't reproduce or summarise it here.

Likely to be no more updates now till next week.  Have a good weekend everyone: enjoy the snow, and please don't speak too loudly to me on Monday morning, in case I'm still nursing a hangover...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Welcome to China, Thailand, South Korea and The Philippines... readers to this blog, so far as I know...

Has TfL finally got its act together?

A two-minute delay on the tube yesterday caused by being held at a red signal did not cause me to miss my connecting train home to Hersham last night, which arrived on time, so I will make no charge despite the ineptitude.

This morning, the train arrived in Waterloo a minute early, though this was not enough to allow me to catch an earlier connecting tube to Edgware Road.  The intended (and travelled) tube arrived on time too, so there's no charge at all for this morning's commute either.  Has TfL finally got its act together?  Only time will tell...

What else is new today?  Well, my old journalist friend (though I'm sure he'll barely remember me, if at all) Jack Schofield reports through ZDNet that we may after all be able to pay for TfL transport through near field communications ticketing on our smart phones in the near future.  This is, of course, in complete contrast to previous mutterings by TfL that I have covered in the past.  Jack also gives an uncharacteristic and gratuitous plug to O2's TrainTravel smartphone app, which is essentially the Trainline app branded by O2 (i.e. you can buy tickets on the app but you still have to go and collect a paper ticket before travel).  Now, I'll admit I have a horse in this race, but that's a development that seems a complete waste of time to me, bringing as it does nothing new to the table.

Aside from that snide aside, it's pretty quiet today.  Anyone read any good books lately?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

You win some, you lose some. And some try and kill you.

Yesterday: tube on time, train three minutes late: TfL owes me £7.50.

This morning: train two minutes early, tube on time, making me three minutes early to work this morning as I was able to catch an earlier tube than I otherwise would have.  Credit TfL's account by £7.50.  Net balance since yesterday: £0.

Also, London buses are involved on average in two incidents with cyclists or pedestrians every day.  I guess TfL's so busy trying to kill Londoners that it took its eye off the ball with respect to my habitual morning delays.
(Image credit: Simgallery)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Thanks to those of you who bore with us...

Another loooooong gap to mind in Signal Failure's engineering works update schedule: should have warned you all beforehand, but I was on holiday last week, helping my wife get the house ready for the arrival of our second child later this month.  As a consequence, I did no travelling on the tube or indeed other parts of the TfL network.

As you can imagine, it's been a busy day back at work after that brief (for me at least) hiatus, so this is just a quick update.

Last Thursday's (I work from home most Fridays, remember?) travel home from work saw a two-minute delay on the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo, and the train to Hersham was also two minutes late.  Just two minutes overall for that journey as I didn't miss my intended connection.

This morning's train was two minutes late arriving at Hersham, but that's outside TfL's network so it doesn't count.  It had caught up a minute by the time it arrived at Waterloo, which was still a minute late but made no difference to the connecting tube I took.  And that arrived a minute early.

So, one minute overall since last Thursday morning, which gives just £2.50.  A slow week indeed!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Another quickie

Journeying home yesterday, the tube was on time, but there were five minutes' worth of delays within TfL's zones on the connecting train from Waterloo to Hersham.  £12.50.

This morning, the train from Norbiton to Waterloo was two minutes late, causing me to take a later connecting tube to Edgware Road than planned.  This, however, arrived a minute early, so the overall delay remains at two minutes for another £5.

Seven minutes and £17.50 in total.

Fairly quiet on the news front again today, with most of what I see being endless repetitions of the tedious story that Kate Middleton received a 'baby on board' badge from TfL when she, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bake Street tube station for some sort of event to mark 150 years of the tube.  (Which confuses me, because weren't all those celebrations over and done with weeks ago?)

I'm not linking to any of the stories because I don't want to encourage that sort of 'journalism'.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Just a quickie

My trip home yesterday was relatively uneventful.  The tube ran on time, but the train was four minutes late arriving at Hersham, all within the TfL network.

This morning, I left the car at Hampton Court station after dropping my daughter off at daycare.  The train from there to Waterloo was two minutes late.  The connecting tube was on time, but it was a later tube than the one I should have been able to get, so I arrived two minutes late overall.

No reason was given for any of these delays.

Since yesterday morning, that's a total of six minutes and £15.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Retail nightmare

So this is pretty cool: just posting this already means I've equalled the number of posts I wrote last week.  It can only get better from here!

Yesterday's journey home didn't go too well.  The 18:04 and the 18:07 from Edgware Road to Waterloo were too crowded to physically board, while the 18:09 didn't turn up (either that, or the 18:13 I did board was the delayed 18:09).  Got to Waterloo at 18:28, which would have been a minute late even had that train been the 18:13.  That's a 10-minute delay over the 18:04, and caused me to miss my connecting train to Hersham.  The next train arrived in Hersham seven minutes late, five of which were gained in the TfL network.  So, in all, I got to Hersham 34 minutes later than I should have.  That's £85.  No reason was given for the tube delay, though the tube driver did shout several times at people to stop leaning on the doors.  The train delays seem to have been due to 'a shortage of carriages'.  WTF?  Where did all the carriages go?  That was careless of South West Trains to lose them like that!

This morning, I caught the 08:20 from Norbiton to Waterloo after dropping my daughter off at the childminder's.  It was delayed over the course of the journey by 20 minutes, owing to speed restrictions in various places within TfL's network (not that I could hear the train driver's inaudible explanation).  I'm translating that to 'we're delayed because we're going slowly' - which, of course, was caused by earlier problems.  A bit of searching online has unearthed the reason 'problems found on the track', which I'm calling an electrical fault.

Needless to say, this caused me to take a later connecting tube to Edgware Road than I otherwise would have, itself one minute delayed.  All in all, I got to work this morning 33 minutes later than I should have for another £82.50.

Total delay since yesterday morning: 67 minutes; £167.50.

Elsewhere in TfL's own little universe, the Evening Standard reports on another ill-thought-out plan, this time to introduce more cafes and shops to tube stations.  What's wrong with this, you might ask, and I'm glad you did.  Here's my little list off the top of my head:
  1. Most stations are already severely overcrowded in rush hour.  Is it really a god idea to encourage people to linger and get in the way all the time?  TfL wants to emulate the success of such institutions in overground railway stations to raise additional revenue, but whatever else its faults, tubes run every few minutes.  You don't typically get people missing a tube and waiting half an hour for another one, so that sitting down in a cafe seems like a good idea
  2. Maybe the stations will get a huge revamp, so people aren't always in the way while sipping their new coffees?  OK, but that means months - if not years - of building works inconveniencing all customers.  Also, who's going to pay for the redevelopment?  That's right, you and me.  And somehow I doubt that, even if the additional revenue exceeds TfL's wildest dreams, we'll see recompense in the form of falling ticket prices.  No, there'll always be new update works to do.  I've an idea: how about spending the money earmarked for retail development on improving the service instead?
  3. Indications are that there are no plans to greatly enhance the size of stations to accommodate the cafes and shops.  Instead, TfL is going to rip out the ticket offices because, since the arrival of the Oyster card, ticket office use is down 65%.  So obviously, the 1/3 of passengers who do use the ticket offices don't need this service, right?  Chances are, most of those 35% are tourists, and while it's tempting to say 'stuff them', tourism is a major source of income for the capital and, indeed, the country.  TfL are happy to make life difficult for them, thus increasing the chances they won't come here anymore, thus helping to plunge the economy ever deeper into its death spiral
  4. I had more, but I've forgotten them whilst getting angry writing the previous three points
That's it for now, except to leave you with this week's Tube Bingo card to date. 

Have a fun day, everyone!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Mind the gap

The gap (in posting) was this time caused by a nightmare morning on Thursday that involved hideous traffic and forgotten laptops.  I elected to work from home in the end, and did the same Friday (as I usually do), thus causing Signal Failure's (lack of) service to rival TfL's! 

Apologies.  Let's get you all caught up.  Wednesday evening's journey home consisted of a one-minute-delayed Bakerloo Line to Waterloo.  It did not cause me to miss my connecting train to Hersham, so I can only charge for the six-minute delay in that service, all accrued within TfL's zones.

This morning, I dropped my daughter off at childcare and took the train from Norbiton to Waterloo, something I am exceptionally grateful for, since I see on South West Trains' web site that there are delays of up to 45 minutes on my usual line from Hersham to Waterloo, owing to 'icy conditions'.  Presumably, this is the same ice that bedecked my car's windscreen - so solid I didn't even need to scrape it off, just passed the windscreen wipers over it once.  I'm amazed I survived this harrowing ordeal.

But I did not escape entirely unscathed: I lost five minutes on that initial train journey, causing me to take a later connecting tube to Edgware Road than planned, itself delayed by a further two minutes - both times apparently due to nothing more than moving exceptionally slowly.  In all, this made me five minutes late.

So, since last week, a total delay of 11 minutes for £27.50.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A lot to cover

Sorry for the lack of updates: work and life have been busy in the offline world.  Bonus for you is a bumper crop of updates!

Monday morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo was a minute late.  The connecting Northern Line tube to Leicester Square (I had a long meeting in Covent Garden) was on time.  Coming back, the tube was a minute early, but this didn't affect the train I could take, which was on time.

Yesterday, I took the train from Norbiton to Waterloo (four minutes late) and the Bakerloo Line to Edgware Road (one minute late: six minutes late overall if I could have taken the tube I would have had the train been on time).  Going home, the first tube was too overcrowded to physically get onto, and the next a minute late (making me four minutes late overall.  The train was on time, and was the one I would have got onto anyway, so no charge for the earlier delay.

This morning, I took the same route in as yesterday.  The train was three minutes late, the tube four - seven minutes late overall if the train had been on time and I'd been able to catch an earlier tube.

So, since the last update, that's 13 minutes and £32.50

In the news recently, TfL boss 'Sir' Peter Hendy is busy gloating about his knighthood for managing to get TfL to work properly over the Olympic period (what about the rest of the time?).  Without even getting started on the cheapening of the knighthood institution (as if it needed more cheapening) by doling them out to people for doing a couple of weeks' good work, the gall of the man is incredible.  Describing his own rise from bus conductor 37 years ago, he glibly tells 'young Londoners' that he sees no reason why they can't accomplish as much as he has too.  I couldn't have put it better myself, though at least he had the decency to recognise it was other people's hard work that got him the knighthood, even if he didn't do the decent thing and refuse it for that reason.

If you're an app developer, or aspiring one, you could enter TfL's not-at-all-a-PR-stunt competition to develop an 'accessibility' app for the TfL network.  Of course, if TfL really cared about making the network more accessible, it would talk to the affected people, build up specs, and commission professionals to just do the work.

And finally, another story about TfL blighting the landscape to line its own pockets with nary a thought for locals.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Incomplete journeys, people under trains, and the crusade against pavement advertising

A minute's delay on the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo didn't cause me to miss my connection to Hersham, which ran on time.  No score draw.  Interestingly, the delay on the Bakerloo Line was described as 'severe' and owing to a person under a train as reported here, but as regular readers will know, this length of delay or longer is pretty much the norm for my journey on this very line.  It's never even been mentioned before, which leads me to the conclusion that any kind of incident is automatically reported as a delay as some sort of self-protection mechanism, regardless of whether the service is actually affected or not.  By contrast, if there's no incident, delays of pretty much any length are pretended not to have happened.

What else have I got for you today?  Well, there's the news (to me at least) that more than 54,000 journeys a week on TfL's network are never resolved as incomplete, meaning that those journeys are charged the maximum fare.  Granted, some of them may be deliberate fare dodgers, but the majority are likely not to be.  TfL goes out of its way to protect this revenue stream, refusing to answer Freedom of Information requests on technicalities.  Eventually, last year, they did introduce a way for those who've registered their Oyster card details online to check for incomplete journeys, but they were careful not to publicise this, and the web site doesn't alert you to an incomplete journey - you have to go in regularly and check.  The good news is you can now sign up to and get those notifications: don't let TfL steal money to which it's not entitled!

On the other hand, TfL earns my appreciation for crusading against pavement billboards.  They're always in my way - and being a marketer by profession, I have a higher tolerance than most for intrusive advertising, so when they piss me off, it's time for them to go.  Of course, the 'health and safety' reason TfL's given for this crusade is bullshit, but that's by the by.  It would be nice to see them simply say they're fucking annoying and have to go, but that's political correctness for you.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

TfL doesn't care what you think

A minute's delay last night on the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo left me pegging it for the connecting train to Norbiton to avoid leaving my daughter forlorn at the child minder's, but I managed it, super sportsman that I am.  The train arrived in Norbiton two minutes late to net Signal Failure another fiver.

This morning's train from Hersham to Waterloo, by contrast, ran on time, but the connecting tube to Edgware Road was a minute late again.  £2.50. 

So that's three minutes and £7.50 in total since yesterday morning.

Elsewhere in the wacky world of TfL, the organisation we love to hate is inviting suggestions for how to improve its service.  But not from you, since customers couldn't possibly have anything useful to say on the matter.

I reported a couple of days ago how TfL was being urged to stop people travelling, and scoffed at the idea of selling them on that idea.  Seems I scoffed to soon, since Boris has confirmed a part time travel card will be considered.  Of course, the key word there is 'consider', which means precisely fuck-all.  It's a nice way of pretending to look at a suggestion before rejecting it.  Still, I've been wrong before (I think once when I was seven years old), so I'll suspend judgement for the moment.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Well played, TfL

The tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo last night was a minute late.  Didn't cause me to miss the connecting train to Hersham, though, so I won't charge for it.  I will charge for that train being a minute late, however.  £2.50.

This morning, the train from Hersham actually arrived in Waterloo four minutes early.  This allowed me to get an earlier connecting tube to Edgware Road, which ran on time, so I arrived three minutes early at my final destination (work).

Taken together, that means I have to refund TfL £5.  Well played, TfL.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

TfL urged to stop people from travelling

Yesterday's tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo was on time.  The connecting train from Waterloo to Norbiton was one minute late.  £2.50.

This morning's train from Norbiton to Waterloo was seven minutes late.  The connecting tube from Waterloo to Edgware Road was one minute late.  This made me six minutes later over all than I should have been, could I have taken the connecting tube I was scheduled for by Journey Planner.

On to other things: there's an interesting article today about how TfL should do more to encourage working from home, and to make commuting more affordable for part-time workers.  I haven't read the full scope of this report, which is available for download, but the main recommendation appears to be a three-day-week travel card.  I'd love that personally, as it would fit right in with my working lifestyle (at the moment, a season ticket or paying one-off fees is much of a muchness to me, so the cost savings could be brilliant).

However, I do find the overall concept quite amusing.  Essentially, they're trying to recommend that TfL discourage passengers from spending so much, or at least to incentivise them to spend less on TfL, which amounts to much the same thing.

While I'm obviously all for bashing TfL, given that it's a business which makes money from selling travel tickets, I'm not sure how the Conservative group on the London Assembly thinks it can sell this gem of an idea...