Tuesday, 11 September 2007

standing at the station

I don't get the metro very often any more.

It used to be my easiest means of transport from A to pretty much any letter of the alphabet, but house and job moves have meant that it's not so helpful for me any more. I do believe it's a shame. If you look at the map showing the zones, you can see that the metro leaves great chunks of the Tyne and Wear area uncovered. I'm in one of those areas that the metro isn't much use to.

Today, though, I needed to make a journey easiest served by the metro. I changed at Monument (one of the underground stations - most stations in the metro system are above ground), waited at Platform 3. Monument is the only station in the metro system with four platforms; Platforms 3 and 4 are relatively close to the surface but 1 and 2 are deeper and standing on 3 you can hear the deep shudder of the trains passing by beneath your feet.

I used to spend a lot of time waiting at Platform 3. I remember when there used to be digital clocks glowing red at the front of each station, and when they took them away. I still can't understand why, except to think that without clocks it's less obvious when trains are late. Shocking reasoning, if so.

The trains passing through Platform 3 have come from St James. That's the end of the line (or the beginning, if you prefer); if you watch the signs in the tunnel at you approach St James you can see the sign light up to tell the driver which platform you're going to and go to the correct door, saving, ooooh, seconds on your way out of the station. The drivers walk to the other end, get into the other cab, go back to Monument. It's only a couple of minutes' journey.

The sign at Monument saying that the train is due doesn't light up til the train leaves St James. D used to say that you couldn't hear the train coming til after the sign had flashed up, but I could, on quiet days.

I used to know exactly where to stand on each station to be closest to the exit when I got off the train. Not at every station, of course; just those I alighted at most often. I went to the wrong end of the train today and had to walk the full length of the platform at Monument to get to the stairs to get to Platform 3. Strange how you forget these things, things you didn't even need to think about, when you don't need them any more.

PS Still ridiculously busy, but glad I found five minutes to post between appointments. I wrote a list of all the people I need to email to arrange to meet up with at lunchtime. It's long. I'm going to be busy til the end of October at this rate. All I want is a night off where I don't spend it thinking about all the things I should be doing, but again, that might be a while in coming.

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