Monday, 6 December 2010

Don't believe the hype - train delays are awful during the recent big chills!

Despite what you hear in our popular and mainstream media train services have been extremely delayed during the recent snowfall.  On Thursday trains were delayed by over 40 minutes on the service form Ilford to Liverpool Street.  Moreover the train due at 10:45 stopped at Manor Park as it ran out of air.  Passengers were made to sit on the train for around 20 minutes and then advised that they would have to leave the train and wait for a train behind. 

No explanation was provided regrading the need for air, nor was it made clear why or how the air was lost.  In fact the public address voice seemed surprised and inexperienced in how to cope with the incident.  He made  a joke in poor taste "Don't worry it's not that bad - at least your not stranded here..ha ha", that did not go down well with passengers.

Passengers were made to wait for approximately 20 minutes in the cold of the outdoors while waiting for the next train.  I and my daughter were passengers on this service as we were invited to attend Lambeth Palace the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to discuss the work I do with the British Pakistani Christian Association with Reverend Rana Khan (one of his resident administrators).

Our advice to other local people is be wary of overground service they are more prone to delay during the winter freezes we are experiencing in recent times.  Moreover wrap up warm as you may be asked to exit and enter onto another train and the heating in the carriages does not seem to be working ?

Being a rather inquisitive fellow I looked into possible reasons behind the loss of air in the trains, which I assume is for the working of the doors, pistons and brakes.  On inspection of the tubes that cascade between carriages I noticed icicles had formed on the rubber cabling.  Perhaps the ice had ruptured the cables...?

Whatever the reasons, lets hope the rail companies find a way to avert any future incidents of a similar nature.  As the cold weather is unbearable enough without adverse events such as these that left my poor Naomi and I sporting colds for the entire weekend!!!

Click this link to check how rail and tube services are operating daily:

1 comment:

  1. As you've said, the doors and brakes are air operated but pistons ...?

    I hope you didn't mean the pistons that used to be pushed by steam! (In fairness, there are pistons in the brake cylinders, etc., that move due to the air pressure to operate the brakes, etc.)

    You missed the suspension, by the way or, at least, the part of it which looks like four large rubber tyres between the bogies and the body of the coaches.

    I doubt the cold weather caused one of the brake pipes to rupture but I know there used to be problems in cold weather with the previous stock on this line due to moisture condensing and freezing in the braking system.

    However, this stopped them entering service in the first place. Once the train is running, the problem vanishes because, as anybody who has ever used a bicycle pump will know, compressing air creates a lot of heat!

    Perhaps the compressor, which replenishes the air supply, packed up - who knows?

    I doubt that the driver had any better idea than you as to the cause of the failure and, whilst I am sympathetic to the delay and inconvenience you suffered in such freezing conditions, the assumption that the weather was the culprit was rather a rash one ...

    Have you asked National Express East Anglia what caused the problem ...?