Richmond – Earls Court – Kings Cross – Lincoln
(In the style of a very tedious and short episode of 24)
Mission – To cross London and catch the 19:06 train to Lincoln. You have 90 minutes to complete the mission. The expected journey time, according to TfL is 45 minutes. Go.
17:37 – Miss bus to Richmond
17:48 – Bus due. No sign.
17:51 – Bus arrives, ramp deployed. Board bus. Ramp won’t retract correctly.
17:53 – Bus moves off, with ramp alarm still sounding.
17:54 – Arrive at next stop. Ramp deployed again. Still won’t retract correctly. Bus moves on, alarm still sounding.
17:55 – Arrive at next stop. Driver turns off ignition to perform ‘hard reset’. Alarms eventually stops.
17:56 – Bus departs stop.
17:58 – Bus Arrives Richmond Station.
18:00 – Reach Underground platform. Ramp Wrangler requested at ticket gate. Calls made to book assistance at Earls Court.
18:05 – Underground train departs. I’m not on it.
18:06 – Ramp Wrangler arrives.
18:15 – Depart Richmond
18:30 – Arrive Earls Court
18:35 – Depart Earls Court
18:50 – Arrive Kings Cross
18:55 – Reach assistance desk at Kings Cross. Assistance can’t be arranged in time to get me onto the train.
19:05 – Train doors close
19:06 – Train departs sans me.
18:06 – Abandon journey. Return home.
Without the delays caused by failing technology, and needing assistance and authorisation to travel I would have made the connections easily. Being able to simply move between and board the various services without delays mean five minutes is ample time to catch them. It’s not enough time when you use a wheelchair.
Having said that, the fault for this failed trip lies with me. I know how long these delays add to a journey, and I know from painful experience that it’s important to leave an additional safety factor for cock-ups and delays.
That doesn’t, of course, mean I’m happy about it.