Strike 2 - John C. Kirk
Jul. 20th, 2007
03:21 pm - Strike 2
Well, that didn't go quite according to plan. Following up on my earlier post, I tried to head into work, but I only got as far as Clapham Junction before I had to turn around and come back home. Normally that round trip would take me about an hour, but today it took 2½ hours. I phoned into the office and checked that no urgent problems have arisen in my absence, so I've arranged to take the day off as a "duvet day" (i.e. using up my annual leave on short notice). I have plenty of holiday left, and at least this gives me plenty of time to finish off Harry Potter book 6 before I pick up the new one tonight.
On my way out, the rain had stopped, so the roads were starting to dry up a bit; I still had to splash through puddles, but the water level was below "wellie height", so that was good. I saw that the DIY shop downstairs had put sandbags around their front door, while a barbers nearby were sweeping all the water out of their shop and using towels to mop the floor. The buses were running but were quite bunched together, e.g. I saw two from route 312 travelling in convoy, and three from route 60. The trams were completely out of action, presumably because part of the line was still submerged.
At East Croydon station, the boards said that the 11:10 and 11:12 trains were expected at 12:44 and 12:45, but they turned out to be delayed for longer than that, and other trains were cancelled altogether. The computerised departure boards on the platforms were out of action, and trains were leaving from different platforms, so the staff had to announce this themselves. Also, the underground subway was closed off. I caught the train to Clapham Junction, but it went an unusual way (via Crystal Palace), so a journey which normally takes 10 minutes actually took 25 minutes.
At Clapham Junction, this train was supposed to carry on to Watford Junction (via West Brompton and Kensington Olympia), but it sat there for ages because they were waiting for a member of staff to turn up. Normally I like to change trains at West Brompton, to save a long walk between platforms, but in this case I figured that it would be quicker to do it at Clapham instead. So, I walked down to the other end of the station, and waited for the train to Willesden Junction. There was a train at the platform, but it was out of service, and the departure boards were showing information that was a couple of hours old. There were a few automated announcements about the importance of buying tickets before boarding trains, but the only things we heard about this route were "This route is delayed due to flooding at West Brompton, we'll let you know when we have a departure time."
I considered trying to take an alternate route, but I figured that it would be difficult to get to Victoria, and since the Bakerloo line staff are on strike today that's going to put even more pressure on the remaining lines.
The staff also recommended that people should avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary, so I phoned the office and checked that things were ok there. I then came back to East Croydon, although I had to wait for quite a while at Clapham for the train to leave, and several other people said that they'd been redirected back and forth between trains. The staff seemed a bit harried, which is understandable, and I saw one guy being told quite firmly that he couldn't take his bike onto the train (given how crowded it was).
Back in Croydon, the water has all dried up, and the buses/trams are running again, so you wouldn't know that there had been any flooding if you hadn't actually been here.
Anyway, if you're now at work, I wouldn't really advise you to rush home early; you're probably better off waiting for the problems to get sorted out (even if that means working late), and at least that way your train won't be packed out.