person under a train

The Tube is an endless source of entertainment for us, and frankly I am surprised I don’t blog about it more (although it is my masthead. Wait, what’s a masthead??). Maybe it’s like you had to be there. Or just read this devotee’s blog.

tubeEvery day, Transport for London (TfL) is very good about giving updates on the status of all their Tube lines. This is a great thing, and from a notice perspective, far superior to our last homeland of New York City. The problem is not in the delivery of the message however, it’s in the message itself. On any given day, there will be a number of things wrong that will close down stations, prevent travel on one or more lines and generally frustrate the American out of you.

What you’re supposed to hear is the lovely accent of an English woman saying “The Jubilee line is running on a good service“. The grammar alone is confusing and hilarious to me. Status: A good service. All lines have a good service. You are a good service. Your mom is a good service.

Instead what you hear is: “Apologies ladies and gentleman, there is quite a bit of congestion through the city today (and by today I mean every single day of the week)” or “Due to flooding (even though it hasn’t rained in weeks), Camden Town station will be closed” or “the Metropolitan line will not be running due to a disabled train” and our personal favorite:

“The Circle Line will not be running between Liverpool and Edgware Road due to a person under a train.”

Again, strange grammar aside, descriptively it’s not clear what this person is doing under the train. Are they spraying graffiti? Trying to mess with the breaks? Still sleeping? OR ARE THEY DEAD? CRUSHED BY THE SHEER WEIGHT AND VELOCITY OF THE LONDON UNDERGROUND.

The thing is, what TfL means is the train ran someone over. And for me it’s another thing to love about this country. Instead of an American-style announcement like “The Circle Line will not be running due to an earlier accident“, we get: A PERSON UNDER A TRAIN. Why depress people so early in the morning? What about the small children that might hear the announcement? Well you know what small children- LIFE IS HARD, PEOPLE ARE UNDER THE TRAIN, GET USED TO IT.

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5 Comments

Filed under culture clash, london, travel

5 responses to “person under a train

  1. I don’t know how to say this gently, so here goes. The person is under the train not because they had an accident, but because they jumped in front of it.

    I’m sorry. Perhaps I shouldn’t have told a pregnant woman that.

  2. mira

    Is the TFL a line you call? An announcement given while you are standing in line, I mean, in queue, for the train?

  3. yael

    In America we would still say “accident”… we wouldn’t say “the line is stopped because of a suicide”! We love euphemisms.

    TfL is the govt org that runs all public transportation in London. It’s a love-hate with them.

    A good service.

  4. Maddo

    thank god for iota to remind you that you were born under a rock. iota, this doesnt mean that yael was born under a rock; but she was born in a barn.

  5. snosh

    good grief, goldie charlie brown utt caplin!

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