Well me actually. As mentioned on Tuesday, I was packed off on a plane to London yesterday, rising at 5am to arrive at MIA early as requested (complete with passport — not looked at) only to be delayed by an hour because of fog down in the Metrollops, though why the 6.30 flight left pretty much on time I can’t say.
Anyway, I arrived at the London City Airport a little after 9am and jumped on the special bus to take me to Canning Town tube station wondering why I was the only passenger. As I stood on the platform waiting for my train I got my answer. The tannoy blared, “We’re pleased to announce that the Docklands Light Railway extension to the City Airport is now open.”
The ribbon had been cut the day before by The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Transport Minister Karen Buck (who she?) and various Olympic medal winners.
When it came time for the return trip, I toyed with the idea of trying the new DLR service, but figured I’d stick to the tried and tested bus route method, but when I arrived at Canning Town and asked one of the blokes in hi-vis vests where it was, he looked at me as if I was daft.
“The new railway’s open man. It been all over the local news; you musta seen it.” I obviously looked ‘local’ to him which I’m not sure is much of a compliment. “You kin ketch the No 29 or maybe take the LDR.. er DLR.”
So I did. Up several sets of escalators then on to platform 3 where the train leaves from. There it was and on I hopped and the train pulled out. Two or three stops I reckoned, but station after station hoved into view and none that looked as if it might have an airport attached.
Why I hadn’t checked out the stylised route map over the door, I don’t know. Normally I’m paranoid about this when on the underground, checking off each stop as I pass it and counting the number of stops to my destination.
It was then I realised that there are two DLR routes from Canning Town and I was on the one to Beckton wherever that is. (Oh, here it is.) So feeling lost and a complete prat, I got off at Cyprus and the University of East London and got a train back to Canning Town to start all over again.
The only consolation was that time wasn’t a problem and I caught my 5.30 flight okay. And that other people were making the same mistake in reverse. That’s why a look of panic crossed the face of a young student as we approached the Pontoon Dock station. At least I’d like to think so. My personal dignity and all that…