I have decided to have a whinge, using my short story Bakerloo Line Train (available from Amazon…great ghostly read!) as an inspiration.
The subject? Good old London Underground.
I’m sure many grimace at the sight of those two words, whilst others have a rosier view of our Capital’s premier transport system, but as someone who uses it five days a week, rush hour both ends, I believe I see a good cross-section of what makes ‘the Tube’ tick…or not, should there be signal failures or someone fainting on a train.
Granted, more than 50% of the time, it works fine, with commuters flowing onto trains, trundling to their destinations with only wind-blown Metros and faulty platform monitors to worry them, but is the ‘majority’ of the time good enough, with a system so old it should really be at the forefront of international transport systems, considering how long we’ve had to tweak it?
My answer…is no, no it is not. Blame-wise, I’m not really interested – it’s probably some greedy, pantomime villain politician refusing to spend the cash – I just know that it’s a little bit of an embarrassment. Of course, the Underground gets away with it relatively scot-free due to it being essential to London, and also due to tourists not knowing any better…perhaps putting a half-hour delayed Jubilee Line train down to the Capital’s ‘quirkiness’. Gotta love London, with its museums, West End, and parks. And yes, I do love that side of London, but for all the terrific days out, ALL are tempered by the travel to-and-from.
Are there any solutions before the dreaded Olympics hit us? Doubtful. We will blunder our way through, no doubt, annoying millions but not really caring. I, for one, despise being caught like a rat in a trap, cramped in a can of worms, two hundred feet below ground. Was this the way humans were supposed to live? Can’t we – with all our technological wizardry we’re so ready to boast about – make travel less like a descent into Hell?
I’m dreading the day my train loses power in a tunnel and I have to walk, lurching like Quasimodo, through the darkness to safety (perhaps I’ll get paid £40 for doing it?).
Moan almost over. One final thing. It doesn’t help that London is far too cramped for its size, but I’d like to visit other nations’ capitals and see how their transport systems fare…I’ve heard good things about the Germans’. Or are there horror stories lurking out there too?
Oh, and I’d love to one day actually visit the signalling system…just to witness its ‘failure’ disease, and see if I can send it to any doctors to find a cure. Poor signals.