Ack, not a good night. I think I had the train of doom. I’m not sure if Metronet are able to afford exorcisms but I’d recommend it for that train. I’ve never had that many problems in a week let alone one night.
I’ll cut to the chase right away – everybody survived. I am exceedingly pleased about this.
Fortunately it all started with a fairly mundane defect. I couldn’t get a pilot light when I closed the doors. The pilot light is there to show the driver that all doors have closed securely and that nobody can fall out of the train. Should the light not show then the motors will not cut in and thus the driver cannot move the train. It’s generally quite easy to fix, you ask the customers to get their behinds out of the way of the doors and that usually allows them to close fully. In this case it didn’t and after doing some fairly comprehensive checks I had to admit defeat and also annoyance at the idiot on the train asking should he wait or take another line and would he make his connection. The answer to these questions or any other will always be ‘Don’t know, don’t care, go away I am trying to fix a train here’. Tsk.
I returned to the front of the train puzzling over what could be wrong. There was a Train Maintainer there to meet me and I explained what the problem was and showed him. He pondered and asked me to open and close the doors again. This time I got a pilot light which really annoyed me because it’s always the way that as soon as a TM gets there the train fixes itself and you look an idiot. I opened the doors again to let him off and he wandered down the platform. Of course then I closed the doors and got no pilot and had to lean out the window to yell for him to come back. A few more tries and it was working again. He tried to slope off but I am not entirely green and I begged him to stay with me a few stops in case it happened again. So off we went.
We got exactly two stops when things went wrong again. Not with the train this time but with a passenger who was sitting right on the edge of the platform. When I came out of the tunnel I thought it was a heap of rubbish or clothes lying there. Then I realised it was a person and went to emergency. Trains are very heavy and we enter the platforms at 30mph. Trains do not stop in time. This one didn’t and we shot past her with the brakes full on and me trying desperately to peer down the side of the train to see if I had hit her. When the train finally did stop I stuck my head out and saw her sitting calmly as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening with two passengers looking on in shock.
After gibbering at The Voice I got a member of station staff downstairs. By this time she had come up to my window and gazed at me. She was like a little doll, very fragile and beautiful. And unfortunately also apparently deaf/mute/foreign or a combination thereof which meant I couldn’t actually explain to her why her position was a bad one. I wrote it down on the defect log for her and she wrote back ‘sorry, just wanna go home’. We ended up with the CSA pulling her back to the other side of the platform while I drove fully into the platform and opened the doors for the presumably puzzled passengers who had no idea why I’d stopped short.
So on we went. The TM was kind enough to stay on for a few stops extra which allowed us to talk out the shock of the incident and I felt fine when he left. I think if I had been on my own I may have reacted differently – talking about it immediately with somebody who had ‘shared’ the experience was very useful. Another station and they sent a DMT to check I was ok. He said if I felt fine to just carry on and we’d do the interview about it tomorrow (yay, trip off!). Onwards!
By now I was somewhat late and The Voice called me up to tell me to call the Signaller when I reached my destination and see if he could reverse me off a platform instead of making me go into the siding and back out again. It’s much quicker to reverse and allows us to catch up. He must have felt sorry for me because he later called and said he’d done it for me and I could reverse. It’s a bit of a pain for the driver because they have to shut down and zoom to the other end of the train in order to depart quickly. But it does save time so I didn’t mind too much.
Everything went ok for a bit after that. I was driving a bit too fast and had to mentally stop myself and start driving properly again before I hit a red signal. That would have really crowned the night! The one weird thing was that at a certain station I could have sworn I heard birds singing. Not just one bird but lots, as though we were in the forest. I even opened the window and took a look down the platform to see if there was anything there. Nothing. Very odd. On my final trip I was to take the train to the depot. I got this close —> <—- and there was The Voice again. The Signaller had gone insane and was carrying out some weird shunting moves and I'd be sitting at a signal until they were done. I think The Voice was really feeling sorry for me by this point because he spoke to me like I was a human and even said good night. Maybe we'd had so much communication that he felt we'd bonded or something. Who knows.
That was pretty much it. Apart from getting to the depot and getting out my train and wandering down the walkway and then realising that because I had been told to stable it in a strange position I now couldn't walk round the end without a major hike into unprotected areas. So I had to climb over my own damn train and jump out the other side to escape. This is embarrassing. Sigh.
That's it. There's no more. I don't think there could be any more; not in one night anyway. I definitely want that train exorcised though.