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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Monday September 25, 2006
03:48 AM

Underground bad hair day

[ #31115 ]

An "interesting" journey in today. I walked from Charing Cross to Embankment Station as usual, only to find that the Bakerloo line was suspended - defective train at Oxford Circus. Bah. Switch to plan B - Northern then Central Lines, as Marble Arch is as close to the office as Edgware Road.

Northern Line was fine, Central Line train pulled in at TCR as I was coming down the stairs, but got it, so rah!

Then we got to Bond Street, and the doors didn't open. The driver came on the PA to say that he couldn't get the doors open. The ventilation system went silent. "Ah, he's rebooting the train", I thought. [not sure if Central Line trains need this, but I'm told that some trains on the big railway do so, partly because some systems are running on Windows 98. Digression.]

But this didn't seem to be the case. He repeated the apology, then said that they were going to open the doors manually. What this turned out to mean was that the station staff opened one set of doors on each coach, and we all got off, because the train was now "defective". Fortunately it was less defective than the Bakerloo Line's train as at least this one could move and therefore get itself out of the way.


Although things are usually far less "interesting" than this, and long may it stay that way.

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  • The brand new Siemens Desiro trains (class 444/450) run by SouthWest Trains are running Windows 3.1 or possibly Windows NT3.1, they have the distintive Windows 3.x era boot screen after what looks like DOS Booting...

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • It could be Windows NT 3.51, which had a similar look to it. Which was possibly the best OS ever produced by Microsoft. In terms of performance and reliability on the hardware of its era, it was pretty rock solid. If you didn't load it up with flakey device drivers, it just kept on going.
      • I originally thought it was NT3.xx too - I didn't think they could be stupid enough to run a train on Windows 3.1. It's the old blue Windows boot screen, pre Windows 95 or Windows NT4 for sure. However I'm tempted to believe it's actually an older DOS based version of Windows, because after the BIOS POST sequence you see a lot of DOS style text stuff going on before the Windows boot screen, and the application it's self looks like a DOS application anyway...

        Windows NT 3.51 was pretty stable. Version 4 is

        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
      • Then they decided they needed to move the graphics stuff from userland into kernel space in order to make it go fast. Famous last words…

  • I've heard that the correct London Underground term for your experience, is that you were de-trained.

    Somehow, this brings to my mind a picture of attaching some Frankenstein skull cap, and your knowledge gets sucked out.

    • Actually that reminds me. De-heating. Or at least, making the Underground cooler. A few weeks ago it occurred to me to wonder "where is the heat coming from?"

      Does tube stock use regenerative braking? I see that everything 1995 and later says that it has regenerative braking [], but does it use it? Networkers have regenerative braking but cannot use it [] - I wonder if LU upgraded their substations, or whether "regenerative braking" remains a nice little tick in a box on glossy reports...