It’s not the Destination, it’s the Journey

13/5/2015

Richmond – Willesden Jct – Euston – Return

The point of travelling is to get from point A to point B, but as the old saying goes, sometimes the journey is more important, or in this case more interesting, than the destination.

All the interest on the outward journey came at Willesden Junction. It’s been a while since I’ve been here so I hadn’t seen the latest accessible addition before, a new style of ramp for the Underground. These ramps were first seen at Kilburn nearly 12 months ago and have been rolling out since then. This is a step forward, but it’s significance is somewhat undermined when you realise only 3 of the 25 stations on the Bakerloo line are step free, all 3 are also served by the Overground and Willesden Jct is the most southerly

The other thing I noticed was a young family who joined me on the platform waiting for the train. They were obviously a new family. The baby was so small it could only have been a few weeks old, and the Rolls Royce of a pushchair was immaculate and obviously brand new. There was one other indicator that the adults were new to parenthood, tiredness. It’s not that there were any obvious signs, neither parent was yawning or anything. The give away was very subtle. The young baby was clearly unhappy and was making this fact known in the only way babies have, by crying. This little bundle of joy had quite a pair of lungs and had mastered the trick of circular breathing so it appeared that the cries were constant. In an effort to placate the wee mite Dad had picked it up and was cradling it while he bounced and swayed in the universal parental dance of desperation. Meanwhile, Mum was standing holding the now empty pram, staring into the middle distance and absent mindedly rocking it back and forth on autopilot, the practised action of an exhausted Mother. I hope they get some good sleep soon.

The return trip was not nearly so interesting, though much more frustrating. I arrived into Euston nearly 10 minutes before the trains scheduled departure time. Of course the size of Euston meant that by the time I got to the platform and found a ramp wrangler there were only 4 minutes left which were not enough time, I was told, to notify ‘control’ (as company procedure dictates) and get me on the train. As a result I had to wait a further 20 minutes for the next service.

How would you feel if being at the train 4 minutes early wasn’t enough time for you to board? That’s a daily reality for disabled and older people across London.

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About Alan

I'm an Economist, Geek, Campaigner & wheelchair user who's been using all forms of public transport for 20+ years.
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