The Null Device


This evening, I caught the train up to Luton to pick up my sister and see her safely to London. My sister has been travelling around Europe for the past month or so, and flies back to Australia tomorrow, after flying in from the Croatian Riviera this evening. Her flight was meant to arrive at 22:25, though arrived a bit early. I caught the 21:35 train up, thinking I'd meet her when she gets out of immigration.

At about a quarter to ten, the train stopped in a tunnel just south of West Hampstead. A minute or two later, we were informed that the train driver has been asked to stay there because of "an incident" on the tracks ahead.

About 10 minutes later, we were told the nature of the incident. Apparently, somebody had climbed the signal gantry on the line, right near the high-voltage overhead power lines.

The train managed to get clearance to go into West Hampstead to wait there, where the driver announced that emergency services had been dispatched. About half an hour later, we managed to make it to Hendon. We waited yet longer there, to be informed that the lunatic was in the signal gantry and refusing to come down. Well, they didn't use the word "lunatic", as it'd be politically incorrect/insensitive, though in my opinion, as soon as someone climbs up onto an overhead power line above a railway and refuses to come down, the odds of "lunatic" being an inaccurate characterisation of them diminish sharply. If they do so in front of the train I'm on, I can think of several other words—much less kind ones—for them as well.

Eventually, we were given the all clear to go ahead. The nutter had apparently left the signal gantry, though was still on the loose somewhere, undoubtedly with a wild gleam in his eye. Presumably the men in white coats were searching the area, tranquilliser darts at the ready. In any case, the train limped through the affected area slowly, before finally building up speed, and making it to Luton exactly an hour late.

anecdotes personal railway 0