Wednesday, December 6

Playing The Trains

The Central Line has been running pretty poorly lately. I can't remember the last time a full week of ten journeys have been quick. Coming in today, we had yet more Central Line blues, and the trains and platforms were equally packed with people desperate to get into work.

Now I'm used to this. Having been using the trains for almost ten years now, you learn to deal with it. There's nothing you can do and panicking or running around like a headless chicken won't get you to your destination any faster. Plus, why would anyone want to get to work on time? A delay means more time to read or play DS, so I don't suffer too much (although I must admit University was a time when I would rather get to lectures on time).

Nevertheless, I thought I'd be smart this morning. Faced with a packed platform and 12 minutes on the board indicating the wait for the next train (which I was unlikely to get on to), I thought I'd try going the other way one stop in order to get a head start on the rest of the guys. It's not something I've done before so at the very least I wanted to know whether it was a good tactic or not.

It wasn't. By the time the Eastbound train had arrived, there were only two and four minutes left for the next two Westbounds respectively. The first passed us on the way to the next stop up; the second just left as I (and the few others who had the same idea) ran to catch it. Bummer.

The next train was 12 minutes away but the board said that it was terminating anyway. However, after it had emptied, it continued travelling westbound - presumably to regulate the service at the next stop, that is the one I had deserted fifteen minutes earlier. If only I had waited there I would have been greeted with an empty train! Double bummer.

The next train had genuinely terminated. The train after that was too full to get on to (although some desperate souls did try with varying success). Triple bummer.

Finally, four trains and thirty minutes later I got on to a relatively empty train, and finally got back to where I usually depart from, already half an hour down. My only two consolations was that I got a seat for all my trouble and managed to get my teeth into Phoenix Wright 2.

So no. It's not a strategy I'll be trying again any time soon. It's a boring tale, sure, but I'm only recording it to remind myself of the lesson learned: that there's no point in playing the trains. Those in charge are probably in a better position to get you where you want to so just do as your told and you'll be fine. Just make sure you have a good book/game with you at all times!