So far, I have heard Boris say “Hi folks” whilst waiting for trains at Blackheath. I’ve heard him say “Hi folks” as I interchange at London Bridge. I’ve heard him say “Hi folks” at Charing Cross whilst making my way to the underground. I’ve heard “Hi folks” as I scurried through at least three tube stations.
And I could just about get by with the occasional grumble on Twitter to maintain my sanity. But today, after hearing it three times at three different stations, I took a bus to Sainsbury’s. The bus was full. It was too hot. Everybody was standing. And then, along came the aristocratic old Etonian who read Classics at Oxford calling me his “folk”.
I’m not his folk, and he isn’t mine. I never will be. It was only on the bus when I realised what a disaster the “Hi folks” recorded messages are. They make you feel as though you are living in a police state. I feel like I’m being told how to think, without any control over when I hear it. It’s the same message everywhere, and it doesn’t change. It’s relentless. And it’s starting to terrify me.
I realise that we live in a democracy, and that we’re lucky to do so. But playing the announcements everywhere with such ease demonstrates that most of the equipment is in place to remove our democracy at any time. All the machinery necessary to tell you how to feel, and what to think is sitting there, and is ready to go. And that scares the life out of me.
And it’s weird, because that Tannoy system has probably been set up for years, but I’d never noticed it until I heard it on the bus for the fourth time today.
Charing Cross photo by Flickr user Mike_fleming. Booming Boris Johnson from Wikipedia.
Another interesting story on the Blackheath Village Residents Group site:
Network Rail has distributed this letter to residents living close to the station, advising that work will shortly be underway to lengthen the platforms to take 12 coach trains.
Didn’t they extend it to take 12 cars back in 2010?
I’m using the excellent new FixMyTransport to persuade Southeastern to get SouthEastern to re-open the sliding blue door!
Who wouldn’t love a website with the tag line “Euston we have a problem”?!
Can anyone explain to me why it would be a good idea to permanently close the side exit from Blackheath station by barricading it with a bannister? Tired commuters on their way home used to love gasping out into the open air. It makes no sense to keep it locked, and makes us miserable!
Please come and support me at
PS – The shortened version is bit.ly/openthisdoor which would probably fit on a sticker :)
A steam train is set to chug through Blackheath on Sunday morning. More info on 853blog, and IanVisits. (Video shows the 2009 appearance by YouTube user Vickyanand)
“Just happened to be waiting for a train the other day at Blackheath station when a steam train came rushing through. It was the Cathedrals Express (apparently travels to Cathedral cities) – managed to get a pic – came out OK for a rushed mobile pic I think, quite evocative of a bygone age”
A trainspotting friend of Chris’ then added:
“It is fantastic – this is Tornado, the newly built steam locomotive – between trips on the main line, it is sometimes kept at Hither Green – probably it was on its way back from central London and was taking a long way round via Dartford so that it could be turned and would end up facing in the right direction.”
Just when you thought it was safe to commute, here is the ultra-short camera person, out again, to terrify Blackheath’s commuters with unflattering “up the nostrils” shots. Will the transport injustices never end?!
Here’s the last, strangely shot package, in almost exactly the same format… I reckon the producer lives in Blackheath…
If you’re coming home from Charing Cross tonight, the last train back to Blackheath is at 20.32. Yes, you read that correctly. We have less than an inch of snow, and our last train is before the watershed. From their website:
London Charing Cross to Dartford via Bexleyheath
The first service departs London Charing Cross at 0702 calling at Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst and Dartford. Services leave at 02 and 32 mins past the hour through the day. The last service departs at 2032.
Or you can take an Interchange Opportunity at Lovely Lewisham by taking their last train, which leaves Charing Cross at 2036.
Also, according to this site:
All Southeastern ticket holders can use High Speed services at no extra cost and tickets will be accepted on London Underground on reasonable routes
As Brenda pointed out on another post:
A harrassed member of staff was reported as saying the reason they are running a reduced service today and tomorrow is if they try to run a full service & fail, they’re liable for penalties and we can claim refunds.
If they run the reduced service they’ve advertised, then they’re not liable.
Perhaps we could send the SouthEastern executives to India to speak to the Railway King?
I got on the train yesterday at Blackheath. It was packed. I stuffed my bag under a chair to get it out of the way. More people got on, so I moved down. Then a seat next to me became free, so I sat down. The train was still packed to the end of the journey. When I looked for my bag, it was gone. And it had my passport in it. The passport that I need in order to get married next week. Oh god.
So, I spent a miserable morning talking to the Met Police, the Transport Police (who are completely separate), SouthEastern Trains, SouthWest Trains (who also do not talk to each other), and the passport office.
Amazingly, out of all these institutions, by far the most effective and helpful was the passport office. I now have a new passport, and every time I look at that terrified, miserable passport photo, I will be reminded that, yes, I am an idiot, and that, yes, I really should listen to Mrs Bugle when she says hold on to your bag on the train.
And to the lost property man at Waterloo station- a bag that has been thrown away by a thief doesn’t have any uniquely identifiable DNA that proves which Train Operating Company was being used when it was stolen. If I’ve had a bag pinched at Waterloo East, perhaps you should at least pretend to give a damn when I tell you about it at Waterloo Main Station?