diamond geezer

 Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The latest Bow Road update

There are currently two functioning 'next train' indicators on each platform at Bow Road, one old and one new.

To your left is the old 'next train' indicator on the eastbound platform. It's probably about 30 or 40 years old, it relies on ancient lightbulb technology and, for the last umpteen years, it's correctly told us the destination of the next eastbound train. To your right is the new 'next train' indicator on the eastbound platform. It's been in place for the last two months and it relies on fantastic new 21st century electronic technology. It's only recently gone into active service, but alas it's not providing accurate information. My camera can't photograph the flickering display but, trust me, yesterday it was displaying 'Upminster' no matter what the destination of the next eastbound train, even if that train was only going as far Dagenham East, Barking or Plaistow. Which is a bit rubbish.

The situation on the westbound platform isn't much better. The old 'next train' indicator could only tell us whether the next train would be on the District line or the Metropolitan line. This is rather remiss because the Metropolitan line hasn't served this station for the last 15 years - the Hammersmith and City line took over in 1990. The new 'next train' indicator manages to name both lines correctly. It's also able to tell us the destination of the next District line train, although that's only of practical value to anyone travelling further than Earl's Court (which is 17 stations up the line). But, alas, the new indicator is actually less efficient than the old. Watch the two indicators simultaneously (as I did yesterday) and you'll see that the new indicator flashes up details of the next train five seconds later than the old one. Which is also a bit rubbish.

It's always useful to know how many minutes it will be until the next train arrives, and also the destinations of the second and third trains due into the station. They can provide all this information for passengers at Mile End, the next station along the line (and have done for years), but the old 'next train' indicators at Bow Road couldn't tell us any of it. Guess what. The new 'next train' indicators don't show this information either. The displays still only provide a minute's notice before the next train whooshes into the station, and there are still no clues as to what trains might be queueing up further down the line. The new 'next train' indicators are in fact no more functional than the old, they're just newer. Which is more than just a bit rubbish, it's a criminal waste of money. Yet another one. But then we're used to that here at Bow Road. You may have read about it in the paper...

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