Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Day 203 - Crush

Dear sir or madam,

I am writing to tell you about an incident that has occured as a result of what I assume is an unexpected operational issue affecting the DLR services to Lewisham from Limehouse. Your timetables on the website doesn't indicate that the times have changed, but the reality on the ground is that the service has changed considerably.

My wife and I have been using the same service for years and as I need to get to Blackwall, and she needs to get to Cutty Sark, we are extremely well aquainted with the usual patterns of trains to all destinations. In the past few weeks, the patterns of trains has significantly changed.

There always used to be roughly two Lewisham trains to every train for Beckton or King George V, and rightly so, considering the huge numbers of commuters that need to get to Canary Wharf and beyond. Recently, there seems to have been two Beckton or King George V trains to every Lewisham train.

I am not asking because I am a trainspotter but because whatever has caused this change in the timetable has not only made it far more difficult for my wife to get in to work on time but has twice now caused her considerable distress due to massive overcrowding on those trains that do arrive. Here is a quote from the email she has just sent me about her journey today. For your information, we arrived at Limehouse DLR at 8.28 this morning.

"Had a nightmare journey once again. Had to let 3 Lewisham trains go because they were too full for me to get on. I decided to get on the 4th. Although I was trying to keep a bubble of space around me and the baby, more people were trying to push their way on and crushing me. In the end I turned round and shouted at the people behind me that I was seven months pregnant and to stop pushing me and started crying. A lady who was sat down then passed word through the crowd for me to come and take her seat, which was very kind. Problem is I had already got really freaked out and claustrophobic so I couldn't stop crying and was still crying when I got to work (at 9.15!)"

Your committment to pregnant women through the 'Baby on Board' badges has been much appreciated and I am sure that TFL would be appalled to hear that a heavily pregnant woman could suffer such distress on their service, and particularly when I tell you this is the second time that crushing due to extreme overcrowding has caused my wife to be distressed in the past few weeks. My wife is an extremely level-headed person even now she is pregnant and I have no doubt that her fears were not just 'a pregnant woman being a bit over the top about something', but a very real fear for the safety of her and our baby.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could investigate whatever has caused this disruption to your normally good service and look forward to hearing your views on this highly upsetting incident.
Yours faithfully,


  1. To add insult to injury, I received this from K____:

    "Went out to get some food and tripped over a broken paving stone. Managed not to fall forwards and squash the baby flat but there was a certain amount of undignified sitting on bottom in street. Have twisted my leg off.

    Think I should have stayed in bed today :("

    I am going to escort her home, as she can't be trusted to bring all her limbs with her...

  2. Hugs to mum-to-be.
    When I was pregnant, I slipped on a can of spray paint (dont ask...) & fell down my porch steps.

    A grown woman with skinned knees & palms, and a big ol' belly...not cute.

    But, the larger you get, the harder it is to see what's under you, to maneuver your new "being", and gauge space that you'll need adequately.

    Take a day off mum-to-be.
    Stay in bed. Eat whatever you want, and just focus on growing that baby!

  3. poor you. fell over in front of WH Smiths in southend when pregnant with Clara, and then puked on myself (can't remember what caused the fall, but remember the humiliation). Also fell again when I leant on something which gave way - straight onto backside - I remember EXACTLY how the old cocsyx felt that day! So 100% sympathy - some days you just want dad to be to be pregnant instead, don't you. electronic hugs coming your way right now. got the warm fuzzies yet? love t+2days and already fed up!

  4. oops - really should spell check before posting ...