Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stop that train!

The Docklands Light Railway – which recently celebrated its 20th birthday – is an amazing system running across East London. I’ve used it a couple of times to get in and out of London City Airport.

View out the window of DLR - Photo from Furlow Roth's Flickr stream

It’s a driverless train – so passengers can sit right at the very front of the train and look up the track. However, there is a conductor on-board – the Passenger Service Agent – and that’s where this sad funny tale begins.

While the DLR trains chug up and down the tracks all by themselves, the PSA is on board to deal with passengers at the unmanned platforms, and to assume control (using the locked away controls) should something go wrong.

An online report at the Londonist suggests that on Tuesday morning, the PSA of one particular Bank-bound DLR train, was standing on the West India Quay platform waiting for passenger to embark. But rather than stepping on board and then hitting the button to trigger the doors to close and signal to the control system that it was safe to move on to the next stop, the PSA reached in and hit the door close button ... while still standing on the platform.


So the doors shut, and the train moved off to Westferry, the next station, where it opened the doors to allow the unsuspecting passengers off the train. And then it dutifully sat at the platform with its doors open, waiting for the non-existent PSA to hit the close button.

“Eventually a slightly out-of-breath Passenger Service Agent arrived, having presumably just legged it from the previous station, and resumed control of the situation. The train was thus able to resume its journey to Bank, as if nothing untoward had happened.”

Thanks goodness nothing went wrong between stations. Update: Docklands Light Railway confirmed the incident.

(Thanks to Furlow Roth for the photo.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know those stations. He's had to run down 4 flights of stairs ( the lift takes longer), run down the side of the Marriott hotel, along the front, past the cinema, round the bend and then go under the road bridge (all this time he's running parallel to Westferry Rd but in the wrong direction), then run back up Westferry Rd, cross over (dual carriageway), run up 4 flights of stairs to the platform. It's about half a mile.