Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lockdown - Day 1

So it begins....the vast overblown security net that has been thrown around London for the Olympic Games but I wasn't going to any of the events today - I was going to visit my Dad in Orpington.

No problems until I reached London Bridge - now, changing from the Jubilee Line to British Rail is simple - through the gate, up on to the station concourse and then find the platform.

Not anymore...the first thing is you have to go out of the Tube station and walk back up Tooley Street and turn into Station Approach (and you can guess it was raining). Then instead of entering the station at the normal place, you have to walk all the way along the front of the station before you are allowed in (still raining). Then, to reach Platform 5, you can't go the usual way - no way, Jose - you have to walk along Platform 7, up the stairs, over the footbridge and down the other side onto the platform.

A two or three minute cut-through is turned into a ten-minute odyssey. Now, were there thousands of people coming through the other side - no, not a soul !!

The other thing was or were the sheer number of security and "travel advisors" around the station, the vast majority of whom were standing around doing nothing at all. If you want to know why employment is up and GDP is down, go to London Bridge station and count the number of overstaffed, underemployed "advisors" and "security" milling around bossing people about and enjoying their two weeks of fame and money.

Only two fast trains per hour to Orpington on a Sunday (no enhanced service, Southeastern Trains).

After a very pleasant lunch, I head back. I get off at London Bridge but decide to walk across the river to Monument. Fine, no problem. On the eastbound District Line platform, the board is showing two trains to Tower Hill and one terminating at Plaistow (can't imagine why). The platform is already busy at Monument - at Tower Hill it is dangerously overcrowded but no staff to be seen (another triumph for LOCOG and that oaf, Boris Johnson).

I decide to forget the Tube and head for Fenchurch Street where I just miss the 4.20 and have to wait another 20 minutes for the next outgoing train (no enhanced service, C2C). I head back to Tower Hill - the eastbound platform is still overcrowded, there are no trains at all showing though the station announcer admits there are "Minor Delays" on the District Line. I head back to Fenchurch Street a second time but am there in plenty of time for the 4.40 Shoeburyness service.

Tomorrow's just another day, Suggs once opined, but on the evidence of today, the Tube is going to struggle and the vast numbers of young and confused security and advisory staff (the girl at Monument who had no idea about the one-way system being planned for tomorrow) are entirely useless.

I'm dreading the journey to work and even more the journey home. Being trapped here for two weeks doesn't seem so bad after today.

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