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.