Monday 21 November 2016

Slow News Month

I was reminded last night of an incident in my Conductor days that became somewhat farcical. It was Friday afternoon peak and some considerate soul had lobbed a bike onto the track at New Cross, which had promptly welded itself to the live rail. Chaos. I was due to work the 1730 Cannon St - Broadstairs service and ended up working the 1708 at 1752. I think. Still not sure which train I actually worked but anyhow it was a little full, and I had to make extra stops at Newington and Teynham to compensate for a cancelled service.

The problem I had was the 1730 normally split at Faversham, with the back 4 coaches of the 12 splitting and forming a service back to London However since stock and staff were all displaced no one had a clue what was happening. I warned my passengers in the back 4 to move forward just in case. As it happened control wanted the train to split but there was no driver to do it. So while I was on the phone to control attempting to find out something to tell my passengers a door opened and a lady beckoned me. The conversation went as follows;

"Why haven't there been any announcements telling us what's going on?"

"Because at the moment I don't know myself - that's why I'm on the phone trying to find out".

"So why haven't you made an announcement telling us you don't know what's happening?"

"Because if I was making an announcement saying I had no information I couldn't be on my phone trying to get information with which to make an announcement!"

"I see, so you can make extra stops at Newington and Teynham but life stops at Faversham?"

"Only intelligent life, love"

Yes I reported myself but I learned my lesson and basically this post is to tell you I have nothing to post about! Nothing is going on. Nothing! It's not made easier by the fact that VOSA have decided to change their website and it's now seemingly impossible to check developments on a daily basis as it was previously. This is leaving everyone in the dark, managers and bloggers alike and is very frustrating.

Despite all the "we'll crack it this year" promises the process of leaves detaching themselves from trees has once again flummoxed Network Rail and trains galore are being cancelled, delayed or crocked by slippery rails. Not news as it happens year in year out and is all rather predictable unless you work for Network Rail.

So with nothing going on I thought I'd share with you a couple of sites a few of us have added to the badges on our anoraks. The first is an outstanding webcam sited on a restaurant overlooking Miami Airport. If you like planes you won't be disappointed. Every passenger jet you can think of including the gigantic A380 Airbus. Add to that live Air Traffic Control feeds and it's easy to get hooked. It's free unless you decide to go Premium and you can take a look by clicking here.

I then discovered another airport cam on the same platform, and while not as busy the Juliana International Airport on the tiny Caribbean island of St Maarten has got to be the most hair raising on the planet. The end of the runway is only the width of a road away from a popular beach, and leads to sights like this, which was taken from the beach. Duck everyone...

The Maho Beach Cam gives great views of the beach, airport, and thrill seekers literally being blown into the sea by the jets taking off. It's so popular the Sunset Bar, where the cam is sited even has a noticeboard advertising the arrival and departure times of the big jets. You can access this cam by clicking here.

Last Tuesday I spent a couple of hours in a field with some Highland cattle - as you do -  to try and get some picturesque videos of freight trains currently on diversion down the Medway Valley Line. Here's what I got in very gloomy light.

And that's it. If anything actually happens I'll let you know. In the meantime there are plenty of webcams to keep you amused. Take care.


  1. Is it Good News surely that BB are adding afternoon services to their Beccles Town Service? The one where I seem to recall they tried a bright idea a few months back; and still without a subsidy in sight I assume. It does make me think that if the support is as great as we think for a ring fenced charge for passes to support rural transport, why don't we try the on-line petition route? Just 10K sigs to get it debated in parliament. Any better ideas? And a golden opportunity to prove my scepticism wrong!!! Surely an irresistible proposition!!!

    On the other side of the fence (OK, great gulf of a ravine, perhaps) in Essex the good news seems to be that First have decided to compete with themselves (X10), and milk the passengers for even more money in the process. Well, what's the alternative? It seems to be screw the Developers for a bung and add even more empty buses to the ever-more convoluted, congested (and hence unreliable) town services. [Silent scream]. But at least Essex CC seem to be getting the idea, now using social services drivers (in minibuses) for the hospital P&R. Lower cost AND a better service. I like it.

    1. Funnily enough just before I read your comment I had sent Andrew Pursey an email saying how good it was extra journeys had been added to Beccles Town service, and yes it does prove what a community can do.

      However I did say at the time that this was a unique set of circumstances with a local operator and its local community coming together. It has worked in Beccles purely because Borderbus and the Pursey family are based there and well known. I would be surprised had First, for example, had the same success with the same approach.

      I like the idea of a petition, will give it thought and consult blogging colleagues throughout the land as it will need to be a national campaign.

      As for Essex? At least you have more buses there to complain about!