Some thoughts on Monday morning’s Jubilee Line meltdown

8:45am, North Greenwich station. Off to work via Stratford, then...

1. Isn’t the Jubilee Line meant to be fixed by now?

2. Why does over-running engineering work at the north end of the line, in Middlesex, screw up the whole line, particularly its depot is in Stratford and it’d run perfectly well without that other bit over the weekend?

3. Why don’t the line controllers reverse more trains at North Greenwich when things go wrong? That’d mop up some of the crowds and get things moving at the very least.

4. Isn’t the Jubilee Line meant to be fixed by now?

5. Why don’t more passengers take a bit of responsibility and cross the platform and go via Canning Town, West Ham or Stratford instead? It’d free up a bit of room for people who need to get to Canary Wharf. The delay’s not massive, trains heading that way were largely empty, and unless you take a c2c train at West Ham to Fenchurch Street, you won’t get charged for entering zone 3.

6. This is going to happen during the Olympics, isn’t it?

7. Who’s in charge, Boris?

8. Isn’t the Jubilee Line meant to be fixed by now?


  1. Yup, I don’t think any of that is unfair.

    What’s the point in having easily-configurable, so-called state-of-the-art, non-driver controlled trains if they then don’t get reversed to minimise congestion.

  2. Well, who’s the school swot, then?

    None of that changes the fact that the Jubilee seems even more brittle whenever there’s a mishap – a balls up at one end of the line shouldn’t effectively knock out the rest of it.

  3. …and for some peculiar reason yesterday morning Charing Cross bound trains diverted via Lewisham (0824, 0841, 0903) after Charlton missing out the Greenwich line, but Cannon Street trains still made it, albeit rammed, so I for one along with other Maze Hillites and Westcombe Parkers…. added to the misery at North Greenwich. I cunningly headed towards Stratford to change and come back again – sorry if you were still waiting at North Greenwich

  4. Darryl, a screwup at one end of ANY line will knock out the other end – a train breakdown at Shadwell on the DLR immediately comes to mind as an example.

    I disagree about the brittleness of the Jubilee Line. There is that perception from the newspapers whenever something happens (because they want to sell papers). Objectivity is better. I rely on that line weekdays and weekends as a heavy user. In 2011, I applied for refunds everytime there was a 15 minute delay or more, or if there was a complete breakdown. The tally at the end of the year for refunds was about £15. That’s about 8 journeys on an Oyster Card at roughly peak times. If you consider an annual pass is over £1,000 now for Zone 1-2, that’s pretty good (though it can always improve). This is personal experience, of course. The casual user may be more lucky or unlucky, depending on circumstance.

  5. Such breakdowns happen everywhere and all the time. From personal experience, I can solemnly swear that Dutch, German and US lines are often subject to serious and sudden delays due to incidents in some distant part of the network.

    And that’s not including the especially fragile tram services where anything from a minor shunt with an unobservant motorist, a breakdown, jammed points or a troublesome passenger will shut down the entire line for hours.

    It’s the nature of rail transport, innit!

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