Thursday, 27 March 2008


Yes this is a long post but I've wanted to blog about this for weeks but fear of jinxing myself meant that I wouldn't do it just incase. Now Ive done this stage I feel that it is time to blog it.

Well it happened so I can finally talk about my Jinx. Its abit plain and boring once you actually find out what it is but hey every little bit helps. Basically awhile back I applied to be a Tube Train Driver or Train Op as they call it. I got the phone interview on the 3rd March. I did stressed abit as I was told that the interview should last for 20-25mins. The total length was less than 12mins. Thinking Id blown it I waited and waited to hear back. In the end I had to ring them up for the details. They sent the email out within a few hours and it was good news, I passed. Now I had to choose an "assestment" date. This is basically a 2.5hrs in Ashfield House in West London sitting down doing tests. So I arranged my assestment and started looking at the guidance and practice materials. Even when I was away on my residental I took the practice stuff and read through them a few times at night to help me get the hang of it. Not that I really needed to as I got the general idea straight away when I got them. Having a mate print them off for me and then handing em over to me on the Tube, then watching me do them without alot of stress showed that. The saturday before my assestment I got a call which I missed from an unknown number. Turns out (I found out the sunday) that they had rung me up to comfirm I was attending and that I had all the paperwork as I was told I couldn't sit it without the paperwork. As I was in the process of moving I couldn't find my birth cerificate so I had to cancel the day before my assetment. Cue a mad rush to try and get a new birth certificate before I can re-book my assestment. Turns out I had it all along so book a new date and keep reading my materials.

The day finally arrived for my assestment. Didn't get much sleep before hand combined with a late night and early get up meant I had about 3hrs restless sleep. I also had to wear a shirt and tie for the first time since jan 2005 and I hate ties, especially when I have to do the top button up! Cue me at Stratford station at 7am, 90mins before Im due there. Luckly one of my housemates works in Hammersmith so I dont make the journey on my own. The whole time we're chatting about stuff and how I feeling. Then we arrive at West Kensington and I get off and feel very panicky. Got some water and walked down to the start of the road leading up, its only 8.05am. Damm. So after killing 10mins and likely looking very dodgy, I set off to the building. Now for those of you that have seen "The Tube", Ashfield House is where they did the track walking stuff (and actually people were going for one as I left!). I went in the building and waiting for security to give me a pass. The werid thing is that they take a picture and print your guest pass out with your nice pretty picture on it. I have got a picture but Im not going to show it as I don't wanta annoy TfL, especially at this point. So I get my pass and am told to go to the 7th floor. Now this is where I made a boo boo. I got in the lift with one of the guys who was doing the assestments and actually asked how you put the passes on. yes I know now how stupid that was but I was trying to move the wrong part. Maybe I was nervous but boy did I look and feel stupid when he barely touched it and open it. (That point I really felt stressed and out of my depth.) So once on the 7th floor I get to the room and get about 12 people looking at me as I enter and sit down. I also realise that I must be at least 10yrs younger than everyone else. In the end we are called for to produce our evidence by a really nice lady, sorry I didnt catch your name (too nervous) but thank you as you made me relax abit and got me smiling. As we were doing this a large group of people entered and filled the place up. I realised then that there must have been 40 of us doing this assestment in one go. Now seeing as they run 3 time slots thats maybe 120 people a day for 3-4 weeks. Thats maybe 800 people in a month, maybe more or less. Thats a hell of alot of people! Then the ones who had done there paperwork were called into a room for our test to start, 21 of us. Me still being the youngest. We were talking to a room that can only remind me of my G.C.S.E.'s. A small desk, chair, two pencils, one brio (red) and a rubber. This was now going to be home for the next two hours. Shit. I hate exams.

The exams are spilt up into three groups. The first is reading and understanding infomation from passages. Second is problem solving/fault finding. Then its a repeat of the first again but long and more complex. The last part of the exam is what they call SCAAT testing and is bloody hard! For anyone whose never do SCAAT, its basically a page of smallest shapes and you have to look for shapes in it. It does get more complex but its all about time as you aren't giving long before you have to change. Now I haven't gone into detail on this part as people are still being testing and Im only talking about the same stuff as my pack that I was sent as meantion above.

After the exam we are let out and I breath a sigh of relief as it wasn't easy and Ive had to push myself during the whole thing. I also got put off by one of the practice questions in the 3rd part and struggled to work through the rest of the test. I finally got through and completed the round shortly before time was up. On the whole it was a stressful experience but I feel I did well with it, now Ive jinxed myself! We were told at the end that normally we'd heard back in 5 days due due to numbers we likely have to wait two weeks before hearing anything but afther this point we should ring up to check whats going on. That means that by the 9th of April I should have heard something. The clocks started ticking again! But Im living in hope!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

DLR Closures

Well I have recently come across some closure information for the DLR. Basically theres alot of work being done over the next few years to provide 3 car trains as well as too extensions and some capatity works. In 2007 there were 2 weekend closures, this year there is 24 and a futher 16 in 2009. There is also some major station closures -

Tower Gateway closed June 2008 until Aprill 2009.

Bank closed Christmas 2009- Christmas 2010.

The Tower Gateway closure is more a pain for the DLR users but closing Bank station for an entire year is going to cause chaos. The DLR will lose its major interchange station with the Tube network. I can only hope that the newly rebuilt Gateway station can cope with the extra pressure on it, but the Jubilee will be alot busier as a result.

We should also hear from the DLR over Dagenham Dock extension as the TWA act to start is due to be placed this month. Hopefully I can follow this up soon. Just to remind of the time scale this extension is due to open late 2017.

Stations getting a rebuild include Poplar, Limehouse, West India Quays and South Quays. Tho the latter two are for the 3 car project.

Oh the DLR will be creating its own Platform for Art program.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Stratford Station - Update

Mini update on Stratford station works. The posters on the Jubilee concourse have been removed and show the foundation for the new Central line platform. One thing that comes to mind is how wide the space for the new platform is going to be. The concrete stairs over the NLL platforms has been destoryed with the top part now being under the steel of the new platform. Outside the old railway engine has gone on his holidays for a few years as they ramp up major work on the station.

Just to remind people the works include a new northern ticket hall, new gateline on the east side of the Jubilee concourse linking to the new footbridge into the shopping center. This is as well as a new Central line west bound platform (Central London) and the re-opening of the 1940's station entrance to provide better access. The new NLL platforms will also be build to the north of the station as well.

Monday, 10 March 2008

March 2008 Tube Map

Another month and another Tube map from TfL. Seems like they like to print these maps off like mad. The basic changes are

Victoria Line closure boxes are changed to enclude more detail so anyone getting these maps knows the Victoria Line closes 10pm monday-friday night untill november 2008.

Terminal 5 on the Piccadilly line is now a full line and no longer under construction. Red text states opens 27 March 2008.

East London Line replacement bus service ELP is removed and replaced with a white outline (just like National Rail services used to be done) with the number 381. This is due to the replacement bus service being dropped as I have reported before.

Basically the rest is the same as February's map and contains the same mistakes in a few places as the November 2007 map in reguards to the LO lines. Hopefully when the scanner gets fixed I can show off the maps rather than just write about them.

On a final note theres no more posts now until next weekend as Im away! Can't wait!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Wrong Stick?

I wonder what happened here?

Seems as a
promotional event they got one of the new Javelin trains into Stratford Market Depot on London Underground's Jubilee Line. As you can see from the two pictures they managed to fit a bus in there as well. The depot is LU's newest on the eastern end of the Jubilee and on the edge of the Olympic site.

All good and well now as a
promotional event for the 2012 London Olympics but these pictures show a white Javelin with a tellow nose rather than bule with a yellow nose. Does this mean that SouthEastern is repainting all these new trains once they have finished testing them? Why didnt they just have them painted when they were making them?

Just incase you don't what the Javelin's are all about they are the the new high speed trains. Basically the only way they could get Kent's councils to drop any challenge to building the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) or HS1 as it now known was to promise to provide high speed trains from Kent towns to Central London using new trains with a maxiuium speed on HS1 of 140MPH. Quite an improvement for some people, I.E. Ashford will drop from 83mins to 37mins, Some towns will only get minor gains like Chatham goes from 47mins to 43mins. But with connections to Stratford and St Pancras International means the Kent traveller willing to pay extra for this service will have great onwards connections. For me it means I can visit my mums in about an hour with one train compared to two Tube trains and one train for about 2hrs 30mins. Quite a saving for the extra 30% they will be charging. But we have to wait till decenber 2009 before these trains will run. This is partly because Stratford International isn't safe to let passengers use as its currently in the middle of the Olympic building site construction. This won't be helped when it opens in december 2009 as it still won't have an links to anywhere really. The DLR extension isn't supposed to open to mid 2010. I can see it now, people walking the half mile as the nice new shiny DLR train run in test mode empty. Or will the DLR work its magic and have the extension finished ahead of time again?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

TfL Engineering work on the 2nd March 2008

2nd March 2008
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu
Bakerloo Line/London Overground
No service between Stonebridge Park and Harrow & Wealdstone due to Network Rail engineering works. No service on London Overground between Wembley Central and Watford Junction

Central Line
Shepherd's Bush station closed untill November 2008

Circle Line
Suspended all day with no replacement bus service operating.

District Line
No service between Earl's Court and Whitechapel. The is a limited lare night bus operating between South Kensington and Aldgate East, see stations for details

Hammersmith & City Line
Enhanced service all weekend on the whole time

Northern Line
No service between Camden Town and Kensington via Moorgate and Bank. No replacement bus service

Piccadilly Line
Southgate station closed for refurishment

Victoria Line
Northbound services not calling at Euston

No service fro Bank/Tower Gateway to Poplar/Canary Wharf. Also no service from Stratford to Canary Whaft. Replacement buses operating

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Which way?

This is a sight quite a few people travelling around Stratford have seen, especially on sundays. Im still not 100% which way the Central line replacement buses go towards Liverpool Street but this sign is shortly before Angel Lane (so takes you Leyton station direction).

The Central Line is off around here (between Liverpool Street and Leytonstone) because of platofrm works at Stratford. New platform is going to be connected to the Jubilee building and provide two platforms to wait for your Central London train.

The Jubilee Line has been off due to testing from Stratford depot to North Greenwich of the new signalling system due to be in daily operation in 2009. The same system is due to be operation on the Northern in 2011 and the Piccadilly 2014 (from Tubelines).

The DLR is off due to 3 car work on the route to let the extended trains run as part of the improvement project. This is going to continue untill 2010 if all goes to plan (as is typical with the DLR).

One line that isn't on here is the London Overground (North London Line) between Stratford and Hackney Wick. Im not 100% sure but it could be connected to the works for the Olympic site with the new Overground Platforms as well as the new DLR track through the area.

TfL engineering work on 1st March 2008

1st March 2008
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu
TfL engineering work on 1st March 2008.

Central Line
Shepherd's Bush station closed untill November 2008

Circle Line
Suspended all weekend due to engineering work

District Line
No service beween Earl's Court and Aldgate East

Jubilee Line
Suspended between North Greenwich and Stratford for signalling work

Northern Line
Suspended between Camden Town and Kennington Via Bank.
Highgate station closed.

Piccadilly Line
Southgate station closed.