A most excellent journey home tonight. Not!
As usual, I was on the 18:20 from London Bridge. We got to New Cross on time at 18:26, called at Lewisham without incident, and then headed on south towards Grove Park, the next booked stop, where I get off.
Only we ground to a halt about a mile before Grove Park, opposite the driver's mess at Grove Park depot. Bah. After a short while the driver announced that there was a points failure immediately ahead of us, and we wouldn't be going anywhere for a bit. Then he came back on to announce that they were going to have to fix it before we moved, implying that we wouldn't be going anywhere for quite a bit. "Botheration", as my neighbouring passenger didn't put it.
After a few more minutes of sweltering in the evening sun he announced that we'd be reversing back to Hither Green (a station we pass through without stopping), where this train would terminate. Oh, and to add to the joy, this points failure was affecting all trains on the line, so we'd need to await further instructions. doubleplusbotheration, as Hither Green has naff bus links, so it's a pain to do anything from there other than walk. And it's 2 miles.
Now, as you can sort of see from Google's satellite photo, there are actually 4 parallel running tracks there, so I was already questioning the accuracy of all this - we were on the down slow, but the down fast should be fine. Which the driver confirmed by annoucing that the plan was now to reverse back up to New Cross (about 6 miles), change ends, and come back on the down fast. Rah! So we set off, cross briefly onto one of the side loops (which I think I've never been on before), from that over to the up slow to regain the correct direction, and passed through Hither Green without stopping on platform 4.
Because on the other side of the island (platform 5, the down fast) there is the next service to Grove Park, offloading passengers with the doors open.
Just stop here please, let us get off, cross over, and stand for 3 minutes back to Grove Park.
But no. We slowly head all the way back to New Cross (where we were able to get off, not that anyone would want to), pull into the reversible platform at 19:00. The driver changes ends, and we set off back at 19:05, making all the stops "as scheduled". Albeit 33 minutes late. (And at 17 minutes the 18:20 is about the slowest train from London Bridge to Grove Park. The fastest takes 11 minutes)
Southeastern, please stop doing Connex impressions