our wonderful transport system.

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Saturday 28 November 2009 10.31pm
Many years ago, when I worked in the City, a French coleague of mine would, with good reason, continually complain about our transport system. I couldn't attempt to estimate the number of times he and I would mount the stairs at Fenchurch Steet Station, (this was before the escalators were installed,) only to see a wall of commuters staring blankly at the equally blank indicator boards and listening to a monotone voice over the p.a. offering feeble apologies for the disruption to that evenings service. My French buddy would throw his hands in the air and exclaim how he couldn't understand how us English could put up with such terrible service. He would go on to say that if it happened in his home country the public would simply not put up with it; there would be riots in the streets! Twenty years later and nothing has change.
Fact: In global terms England is a very small country.
Fact: It can take longer to travel from one side of it, or from one end of it, to the other than it takes to fly the Atlantic. The last time I visited New York, (3000 miles away,)I drove fifty miles to Heathrow Airport, boarded the plane, flew the Atlantic and then got a taxi from JFK to my hotel, all in just over eight hours. Today, my wife boarded her tain at 3 p.m. in Hereford and, over seven hours later, she is still not home. She was turfed off of the train at Reading, due to a signal failure, and had to wait twenty minutes on a cold, wet platform for another one. That one scratched and crawled all the way to Slough, where she and her fellow passnegers were again told to get off. Another fifteen minutes later she got on another train and that one, eventually, crawled in to Paddington. She then discovered that the District and Circle lines were not running due to engineering works. When I spoke to her last, about twenty minutes ago, she was stuck in traffic on a bus in Regents Street en route to Fenchurch Street. Assuming the trains from there are still running, she will have a fifty minute journey home to Westcliff. Her estimated time of arrival, (please God,) is somewhere between 11.30 and midnight. I recall someone once saying that if our transport sytem was efficient, our comedians would go out of business. Sometimes it gets beyond a joke.
Saturday 28 November 2009 11.38pm
Mrs. Chalkey has entered the building!
Hereford to Westcliff.....180 miles.
Travelling time by road, (according to AA Route Planner,) 3 hours 45 minutes.
Travel time by public transport, 8 hours 40 minutes!

'Let the train take the strain.'
Sunday 29 November 2009 7.01pm
Crumbs!
Sunday 29 November 2009 9.25pm
chalkey wrote:
My French buddy would throw his hands in the air and exclaim how he couldn't understand how us English could put up with such terrible service. He would go on to say that if it happened in his home country the public would simply not put up with it; there would be riots in the streets! Twenty years later and nothing has changed.
I recall someone once saying that if our transport sytem was efficient, our comedians would go out of business. Sometimes it gets beyond a joke.
La plus ça change Chalkey, la plus ça change.
Your French copain was right, the English are world champion moaners but rarely can they be stirred to action, (poll tax riots being an exception).
There was a program on TV a week or so back that showed the virtually identical upgrade work being carried out on the Paris Metro as is being done on the Underground System here. The glaring difference being that the trains in Paris have not stopped running at all while the work is being done, there were shots of passengers alighting and walking around guys drilling holes on the platforms while in the background electricians were stringing cables along the walls.
The Health and Safety clowns would have a fit over here if they saw that!
Monday 30 November 2009 10.17am
Now there's another meaty topic, 'Health & Safety.' Because we've become such a litigeous society, (yet another thing we've copied from our American cousins,)we're not allowed to break wind without wearing a tin hat!
Monday 30 November 2009 1.17pm
Or a gas mask!
Monday 30 November 2009 5.04pm
Jan, believe me, when I break wind you'd be better off with a tin hat!
(I think we should stop there.)
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