After a longish delay just on the edge of Putney station this morning, the guard came on the tannoy wearily to remind passengers not to pull the emergency alarm. This was after he’d had to trek through the carriages looking for the culprit and reset the alarm to release the brake so we could travel the 50-odd yards that was needed to get the train onto the platform so the doors could be opened.
The problem, it seems, wasn’t impatience to sample the delights of Putney or an emergency or even school children, but crowding – leaning up beside the doors at the wrong angle can apparently activate the alarm if you’re not careful. I wasn’t in the same carriage so wasn’t able to indulge in any finger pointing, tutting or baleful stares, but having had a look at the alarm in our carriage it does seem to be very badly sited – right at shoulder height, where a backpack could easily catch under it and trigger the alarm. Oh well. Better than having it out of reach of anyone but the really tall, and certainly better than the time when three drunks having a party on a Chingford train (a word of advice: if you can, always avoid the Chingford train. Even if you live in Chingford) missed their stop, realised as the train was pulling out, yanked the alarm down and the doors open and then rolled out of the still moving train leaving nothing behind them but a sour smell and a very annoyed driver.