I am taking the Victoria line quite a lot nowadays. Taking the Tube in London is, in itself, quite an experience. You can see London Underground staff in their blue and grey uniforms everywhere: at the gates, on the platform and if you are lucky, they might have a hat. The whole thing carries an outdated charm. What never ceases to amaze me is the small size of the tunnels, with the trains just fitting inside. Woooosh!
The Victoria Line trains have been upgraded and a brand new Signalling system has been installed, which is great but took a long time to fine-tune. To cut a long story short, the trains still have drivers but the driving is completely automatic, the driver is here in case of an emergency, to open and close the doors, and to communicate with the passengers in case of incidents, which still happens a lot. As a result of the upgrade, trains are much faster and their speed profile is completely optimised. This also means that that they gain speed and brake much more abruptly and the ride is generally less smooth than manually-driven trains. This is obviously because the frequency of trains has increased.
I like to sit at the end of the carriage, right next to the door. It looks more like a bench actually, and you half-stand (or half-sit, depending on how you see it). We were arriving at Victoria station when the train started to brake quite violently –due to the automatic driving probably-. The young man standing in front of me -I would say he was in his early 20’s- forgot to hold the bar and fell into my arms. To be fair, he almost managed to stop falling when he was one inch from me, but the train gained speed, he lost his balance again and smoothly landed on me. He apologised profusely while I was trying hard not to laugh. Then, just to rub it in, I said “The pleasure was all mine”. He blushed -at this point I think that I was laughing. He then quickly exited the train. The whole thing made my day and I couldn’t help smiling all the time. So tell me: am I becoming a pathetic old cougar or did he do it on purpose?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London