Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 10 - Choo, choo trains

I woke up fairly tired from the weekend on Tuesday morning and pressed snooze on my alarm four times. Basically, I need to leave the house about 8.10am at the latest to be able to be in at work about 8.45am. So with this I set my alarm to go at 7.55am.

What I didn’t expect was a delayed train and a suspended line.

Firstly, Network Rail, or the common expression, Overland. This is the train that runs, well, overland. So stumping up to the platform in pretty foul weather and equally so mood, I hurled abuse at no one in particular when the announcement came on that the 8.13 to Waterloo was cancelled due to leaves on the rails. Now you all know my sheer confusion that leaves stop a train, but apparently there is an anti-slipping mechanism that as soon as the train slips a touch, the brakes lock up.

But all is hear to save it! A new system tells train drivers when there are leaves on the rails so they can switch off the brake locking system. I never knew that you could simply switch the system off – thanks Network Rail – you lazy turds, for cancelling trains with the excuse of leaves, when you fully well knew you could still find a way to operate, albeit slower.

Also, the newspaper piece where I read this reported that: “the technology receives updates on wind conditions every three hours – crucial because strong gusts spread leaves across tracks – and receives these updates every 30 minutes. Now I don’t know about you, but in my experience strong gusts of wind come along a little more often than 30 minutes! And when there is a chance of leaves being blown on the track, a ‘leaf squad’ is mobilised to spray a gritty substance on the line.

So let me get this straight. In a country known for strong winds, storms and a fair few forests around the greater London area, there is a leaf squad who go out and attack these leaves by spraying a substance on the tracks. Here’s an idea – coat the tracks in this solution for all year round ‘no leaf problems’ morons. No wonder you’re not getting you bonuses this year: Network Rail bonuses cut by crash
Network Rail has released its annual figures showing a pre-tax profit of GBP1.48bn, compared to a loss of GBP232m for the year-earlier period. The company has reported that it has slashed bonuses for staff across the board following the fatal train crash at Grayrigg in February. Network Rail has apologised for the crash, which killed an elderly passenger and injured a number of others.

So you kill some people, outlay a bunch of money on some technology that may or may not work all the while raising prices in London at a rate of 35% over two years and in regional areas it is cheaper to get a return flight than it is for a one-way train ticket, and you make a profit – wow – you’re smart.

Second, this is how well I have adjusted to the UK. After the debacle with the overland I finally got on, only to be greeted with the message on the trains that the Waterloo City Line was down and to look for other means of transport. Now, when a voice of authority or someone who should know the facts tells you something in the UK - ignore, ignore, ignore and check it out for yourself. So before I decided to search for the closest hot air ballon I decided to investigate. Sure enough, on closer inspection, the Waterloo City Line was not down and had never been down. However, there were bugger all people on it as they had obviously listened to the announcement - tourists!

Anyway, a typical day at work ensued. However, I decided to book a four day road trip to Ireland at the end of June and continue my regional tour of the UK with a weekend in Cambridge to wish Emma goodbye on her trip back home.

Finished up work and went to meet Reuben for a drink. Reuben is a large Kiwi and is the Head of Media Relations at Aon, the main rival to my old company Marsh. So we used to have many running battles and competitions, but always a laugh afterwards. He was trying to recruit me when I took this job, so I often invite him out for a drink in the full knowledge that he will always pay for me.

A stumble home at 11pm and back to bed, ready for the half point of Wednesday.


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous LaLa said...

Que pasa?


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