Today’s transport news and comment

1730: Delays on Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines (London24)
– GLA Tories refuse to back cycle investment (
– West Coast Main Line fiasco to cost £50m (BBC)
– New tube iPhone app proves a hit with commuters (Metro)
– Emile Sandé films new music video on underground (Sun)
– Will there always be a tube map? (Londonist)


Friday Cocktail: Sazzernach

SazzernachIt’s five o’clock on Friday and you’ve been working hard all week. Before you catch the last train home, treat yourself to a commuting-inspired cocktail. Go on, have one for the road.

This week: the East Coast Main Line, the high/low road that links Scotland and England.
Continue reading

Today’s transport news and comment

– Signal failure at King’s Cross causes rush hour misery (Standard)
– Rail chaos continues out of King’s Cross (Standard)
– London Midland “damaging economic prospects of commuters” (Redditch Advertiser)
– Doubts raised over Woolwich Crossrail completion (London24)
– £10 million extension plans for boat services (SE1)
– RMT protest this morning over safety on Bakerloo line (London24)
– Bigots on buses: why do we put up with them? (Guardian)
– Best places to commute by boat (Telegraph)
– Video: “This train is for all de Brixton crew” (TNT)


Central Line: Woodford – Loughton/Hainault via Grange Hill
– 23/24 Feb / Embankment replacement / Bus replacement service in operation

Circle Line: Entire line
– 23/24 Feb / Track and drainage replacement

District Line: Earl’s Court – Aldgate East
– 23/24 Feb / Track and drainage replacement

Metropolitan Line: Rickmansworth – Amersham/Chesham
– 23/24 Feb / Track improvement / Bus replacement service in operation

Northern Line: Camden Town to Edgware until 0900
– 24 Feb / Line upgrade

London Overground: Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction
– 23/24 Feb / Track maintenance / Bus replacement service in operation

To see TfL’s tube map of affected services, click here.

Five reasons why First Capital Connect is crap

The survey that said that First Capital Connect was the worst train company in the country was a hollow victory for this disgruntled commuter. A veteran of the Bedford to Brighton line, I’m here to reveal the inside reasons why passengers stumble off an FCC train with a glazed look in their eyes and mumbling “never again”.

1.  12-carriage trains

What do unicorns, Big Foot and 12-coach trains have in common? They are mythical beings that only crazy people have seen. First Capital Connect basically had a train-gasm in December when they announced that 12-coach trains would be running on the Bedford-Brighton line.

Guess how many 12-coachers run a day on the Thameslink line? Nope, you’re wrong. It’s eight. Four each way. On a service that has four trains an hour. Whenever I see a sign for ‘our new, longer trains’, I suddenly realize how a man with a tiny penis feels when he’s bombarded by ads for cock-lengthening pills.


2. The inhumane seating arrangements

FCC trains are unique in that the seats are laid out in fours and sixes, with the rows facing each other. An evil genius then measured the space between them so there isn’t quite enough room for two sets of legs. The result? You feel as if you should have had at least three dates with the person opposite you before you get that intimate. I was forced to interlink knees with a tall chap this morning – I wasn’t sure whether I should pretend it wasn’t happening or ask whether he preferred missionary or doggy-style.

At least he gets the arse end.

3. The ancient rolling stock

Commuting on the Thameslink route is a bit like being a rent boy – every evening you’re inside something rickety and slow that was old even before you were born. Most of the rolling stock has been on this line for 25 years.  This means a ride rougher than Paris Hilton after a night out and heating that leaves the carriage either hotter than the surface of the sun or as cold as Jeremy Kyle’s smile.

4.  Fickle train planning

When there are delays, you are at the mercy of the train gods.  My evening journey is from Farringdon to Leagrave, neither of which is considered to be an ‘important’ station. Consequently, it is often FCC policy when the trains are running late to just miss out these stations – as if they just stop there normally because they like the view. Similarly, they like to surprise us commuters by sending a 4-coach station instead of a normal 8-coach one in the middle of rush hour. I swear I have heard manic laughter while trying to avoid two Kindles and an Evening Standard from being shoved up my nose because of the crowd.



5. The colour scheme

Imagine, if you will, the inside of dead man’s oesophagus. That is the exact shade of pink used all over First Capital Connect trains. And I thought it was the jolting that made me feel ill on my morning journey.


The 10 best station pubs in London

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras Image:

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras

All too often, when you’ve mis-timed that crucial station dash (who knew King’s Cross had three levels?), or a friend lives in a godforsaken corner of the earth with three trains a week, what you need is alcohol. Forget sticky-tabled chain coffee shops; these are the ten best places in London to sip a G&T whilst watching the departures board.

Click on the placemarks below for descriptions and links.

Don’t live in the metropolis? Check out my ten best pubs outside of London.

Cables make a break for it at St Neots

There’s more chaos in the Home Counties as overhead cable failures at St Neots bring the East Coast line to a standstill. Here are the best of the tweets:
  1. RT @lbc973: Issues with overhead power lines at #StNeots affecting services from King’s Cross to Peterborough. Updates from @AndyMcTravel this morning.
  2. It’s going to be another grim day on the East Coast Main Line #StNeots
  3. NEWS: Some passengers have spent the night stranded at London’s King’s Cross station because of overhead power problems at #StNeots.
  4. Train just left Kings Cross…no one knows – including 14 East Coast Staff on board where we go from Peterborough #stneots #headlesschickens
  5. You know things are bad when Leeds Bradford airport tweeting people to remind them that BA fly to London #StNeots
  6. At least someone’s excited this morning…

    Continue reading