I picked up a train after grub and noticed that a piece of cab equipment had a big yellow patch on it. I leaned over for a closer look. A sticker! And written on it was ‘Danger! Do not touch this yellow area. Risk of electric shock.’ Eep! I toyed with the idea of refusing to drive it but I couldn’t be bothered with the kerfuffle and reports which would have to be written. So I took it up the road and pondered. What kind of electric shock were we talking here? If it was of the 630v variety then I’d just stay over here on my side of the cab and ignore the thing completely – it is irrelevant to driving so there’s no problem there. But…a lot of our equipment runs from 50v and this was one of them. So it could conceivably give a nasty nip and then I’d get a week off work chilling out. Unless of course the wiring has really messed up and it has somehow come into contact with 630v. Hmmmmm. It was rather trying for me as anyone who knows me will understand. Putting me in a tiny room with a big yellow label saying ‘do not touch here’ is akin to torture for me. Decisions decisions. In the end I sat it my corner and it sat in its one for the duration of the evening. I didn’t want to touch it and disappear in a puff of smoke.
Later in the evening I noticed a teenage boy get on the train with a bicycle. We are not allowed to take bikes into the tunnels since they are rather difficult to clamber over in an evacuation. So I did an announcement explaining this and asking him to put it on the platform. A few tumbleweed rolled past and I did another announcement pointing out that the train would not be moving until the bike was on the platform. Still nothing. Sigh. I called The Voices and let them know what was going on and went back to eject the kid myself. Nothing in the first car. Nothing in the second car but an off-duty CSA. Nothing in the third car. I was rather puzzled as I could have sworn the kid got on towards the front of the train. I kept walking up the train casting suspicious glances at the passengers to see if one of them had stuffed a teenager and a mountain bike up their jumper. Nope, no bike on this train. He had completely disappeared.
I slowly walked back down the platform wondering if I was going nuts. Where had that bike gone???? As I got to the front again the CSA popped his head out. “He was in this one but I told him to get off and he went out that exit”. In the time it had taken me to secure my cab the kid had disappeared. Grrrr. I could have killed the idiot CSA for not thinking to tell me the first time I passed. Ah well. Onwards!
I finished the night and headed for home. I saw a homeward bound train on the opposite platform but I figured I couldn’t get over there in time so I didn’t rush. As it turned out I did manage to get on the back of the fairly crowded train and not wanting to sit with the peasants I started walking through the cars towards the front cab. Its fairly common practice for staff to do this and I managed to totally freak out a young woman the other night by doing the same thing. Our trains have a cab in the middle so only people with the magic key can pass through. So I entered the cab, ignoring the train secure alarm and closed the door to stop it. It also sets off a warning light in the front cab so I didn’t want to hang about in there too long in case the driver got worried. Opened the door to exit, again ignoring the train secure alarm and made to walk through the third door which gave entry to the next car. There was a woman standing there leaning on the door since naturally nobody would expect anyone to suddenly walk out of the middle cab. She didn’t hear my excuse me so I reached through the open window and tapped her on the shoulder. Never have I seen anyone jump so high in all my life. We should be signing her up for the next Olympics. So on I went, only stopping to agree with her boyfriend that yes, I had just dropped from the roof and we were employing a new, James Bond style of traindriver these days.
Tonight there were no surprises for the passengers and I reached the front cab with no problem. I don’t really like to bang on the door when somebody is driving so I sat down to wait til the next station. Once we reached it I could hear the train being shut down. Most odd. The door opened and a colleague came out. “I think someone’s jumped on the back of the train” he said and set off down the platform to check. I wandered into the cab and sat watching him in the platform mirror. As I sat there two thoughts occured to me. 1) There are some extremely foolish people in this world and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to jump on the rear footplates of a train and 2) The driver must have had extremely good eyesight to see this happen because I couldn’t even make him out in the gloom at the end of the platform.
Eventually he made his way back to the front. “Nobody there”, he reported and opened up the train again. “I must have been imagining things or they disappeared or something”. I laughed at him and mocked him to the extent he deserved before congratulating him on his eyesight. “Oh, I didn’t actually see them”, he said, “I just saw the train secure light going on so I thought somebody had entered the rear cab”. Ah. Oops.