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Once again, the tube's on strike - John C. Kirk

Jun. 10th, 2009

11:29 pm - Once again, the tube's on strike

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As other Londoners will know, London Underground are on strike again. This doesn't directly affect me, since I use the Overground trains, but there has been a knock-on effect, even at off-peak (ish) times.

When I arrived at Clapham Junction this morning, there was a huge crowd of people on the overbridge, and the British Transport Police weren't letting anyone onto the platform. When the train arrived, they waited for all those passengers to get off (using the underpass), then they let a certain number of people go down to the platform at a time. On the platform, we weren't allowed to just get onto the train: instead, they made sure that the furthest carriages were full up before they'd let anyone onto the nearer carriages. This worked out fairly well, in terms of making best use of the available space, but it was also a bit slow, so the train was about 10 minutes late by the time it left (originally due at 09:47).

In the evening, I caught the 19:20 from Kensington Olympia, heading towards Clapham Junction. This train really was packed out, even though there was another one a few minutes behind it. I remember a phrase from a book I read a while back: it mentioned passengers on a crowded train, and described them as "closer than lovers". That's a bit of an exaggeration, but it is weird to be standing back to back (or bum to bum) with a complete stranger, when I can feel the warmth of their body through the clothing. (It's also tricky to describe it without sounding like a pervert!)

Ah well, hopefully things will get back to normal soon. In the meantime, I'm gradually increasing the distance that I cycle every day, so eventually I may get to a point where I don't need to take the train at all.

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