My name is Henry Davison although
many people call me Bill.
I was born in London, England, U.K. (No I am not a Cockney).
I was not born within the sound of Bow bells so I am a Londoner.
I live just east of London near the end of the District Line.
I used to be employed by Transport for London,
originally known as London Transport and then London Underground,
first as a Signalman, then Regulator, then Service Controller
and then as a Service Manager before retiring in 2012.
In 1968 I joined London Transport as a
Railway Operating Apprentice
and in 1970 I became a Signalman at Kings Cross (City Widened Lines).
Since then I have been a Signalman in nearly every Signal Box/Signal Cabin on LUL.
I have also worked in five different LUL
Euston - which used to control all the Northern and Victoria lines,
Earl's Court - which controls all the District and Piccadilly lines,
Baker Street (Met) - which controls the Metropolitan line
from Wembley Park to Aldgate/Aldgate East,
and used to control the Jubilee line from Stanmore to Charing Cross.
Baker Street (Bloo) - which controls all the Bakerloo line
and Wood Lane - which controls all the Central line.
line is now controlled from Osborne House (near Seven Sisters)
and the Jubilee line is now controlled from Neasden.
In 2014 the Northern line was transferred to a new Control Room at Highgate.
At Wood Lane Service Control Centre I
was employed as a
"Service Manager" for 6 years before retiring.
Before that I was a "Service Duty Manager" (now called "Service Controller") for over 10 years.
The Service Controllers are a multi functional grade.
That is to say that they cover different roles as the need arises.
Line Control, Signalling Control and Information Control.
So one day they may be talking to the Train Operators via the Train Radio,
the next day they could be operating the Computerised Signalling System
or you may even hear their voice over the Public Address on the platforms.
If you are really bored, click Customer Information to hear how my voice used to sound.
There is now a new grade in the Control Centres - "Line Information Specialist".
These people staff the Information Desk early and late shifts.
The Service Controllers still cover this post on night shift.
True "Command & Control"
has never been introduced on the Central Line.
That is where a Service Controller would cover the three different roles
(Line Control - Signalling Control - Information Control)
at the same time but only for the areas under their control
rather than one role on a line basis as it is at present.
We still have designated roles
on the "Underground" :
The Service Controllers on the Control Desks carry out the role of a "Line Controller"
whilst the Service Controllers on the Signalling Desks carry out the role of a "Signaller".
The role of the Service Manager is to
oversee the daily running of the line on a shift basis.
They act as liaison between the Service Control Team and the stations, the trains,
outside departments (Infraco) and upper management.
The Control Centre is manned (or staffed to be politically correct) 24 hours a day, 365 days
The day is split into 3 shifts of 8 hours each. (Early 0700-1500) (Late 1500-2300) (Nights 2300-0700).
Friends (yes I do have some) often asked "What did you do at night when the trains had stopped?"
Well after close of traffic (around 2 in the morning) we often had Engineers Trains running.
These might carry ballast to a site to enable the P.Way Department to repair or renew track.
Or they might be equipped with a travelling crane needed to carry out repairs somewhere.
Then there are the night staff that maintain the signals, the pointwork, the tunnels,
the stations, the bridges, the track, the drains, the sub-stations (electrical supply)
plus all the cleaners that appear after the Underground has shut down.
Should any of these staff (or contractors) need to make repairs on or near the track then it is the Service Control Team
together with Track Access Control that grant them a "Possession" for the area that they require.
Then at around 4 in the morning, guess what? Yep, the trains start running again.
That was my daily routine, who would have it?
8 hours at home, 8 hours asleep and 8 hours with my other family - London Underground.
Now I am retired and as from June 2012 I waved goodbye to the Underground.
Do I miss it? Yes of course I do - it was a strict but great routine.
Away from work my main interests are Computers, Music and Sci-Fi.
Here are the machines that I have had the
fortune to have owned:
Phillips G7000 computer games console - still think it was better than the old Atari games console.
ZX Spectrum issue 2 - started me on the road to computing ( BASIC and ZX Machine Code ).
Atari 520 STFM - excellent computer, I gave it 2Mb memory and it flew along.
Amiga A500 - superb sound and graphics, still one of the best computers around.
IBM 286 PC - my first PC, very slow and temperamental.
CompuSys 486 DX33 - Excellent P.C. built in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
- Started as a Pentium 133 built in Romford, Essex.
Mesh Pentium III 450 - Excellent quality PC that really flew along.
Advent T9103 (3.4 GHz Pentium 4) - Purchased from PC World and lasted me 7 years.
Advent DT1412 (Quad Core i7 2600 cpu) - my current computer again purchased from PC World.
So I am actually up to date again - but sadly for how long?
My musical tastes are very wide. There is not
much that I do not like.
Classical, Pop, Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Trance, Dance, Drum & Bass, Reggae.
I love to listen or play. I play the piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, tenor banjo, ukulele and zither.
Some of the artists I have collected on either vinyl or CD :
Beatles, Moody Blues, Yes, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Queen, Status Quo,
Mad Season, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Mike and the Mechanics, Alan Parsons Project, Camel,
Grid, Prodigy, Shamen, KLF, Sunscreem, Man with no Name, Santana, Ian Gomm, Robert Miles,
Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Dannii Minogue and Angelique Kidjo. Well I was a D.J. in the 70's.
A great friend Steve Miles and myself ran ZOUNDZ MOBILE DISCO
around Hornchurch, Loughton and Epping.
We also played regularly in both the Limestone Club and The Barge Pole Public House in Thamesmead.
Those days were fun. Beg some records, borrow a van, swindle a booking, go to work shattered.
What can I say about Science Fiction? It is
brilliant, entertaining, predicts the future, best SFX.
Star Trek steals the limelight for me. It is more than a series. It is a 'soap'. An alternative reality.
This may sound daft to some of you but I know that there are many who would agree with me.
The Star Trek world (The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager),
is a whole world where you can totally immerse yourself in.
Then came Star Trek-Enterprise. At first I was not convinced due to the low special effects.
However I soon became totally into this new series and thought that it would become another classic.
Now the Star Trek world has come to a final closure and it has left me devastated.
I feel that I cannot be the only one to feel this way about the Star Trek sagas.
When I watch any part of this world I feel that I am there, taking part myself.
Some shows are all effects but Star Trek is a thinking person's programme.
It is often like a cross between Star Wars and Poirot, another two of my favourites.
I would dearly love to put some graphics and sounds from Star Trek here but unfortunately
in this world it is not allowed - see letter from VIACOM sent to anyone that defies their order.
Sad that we, the fans who have made Star Trek the great success that it is,
are not allowed to share our love for this production with each other.
I strongly believe that nobody wants to make money from this, just share a common adoration.
Regarding the two new Star Trek films, placed somewhere between Enterprise and The Original Series,
I think that they are great and could be the restart needed for the Star Trek world.
Anyhow, what about Earth: Final Conflict? It
worked for me. I thought it was excellent.
When are we going to see another series? Are these the good guys or the bad guys?
A thought, has anyone noticed that ever since E.T. hit the screens with that loveable little alien
producers have been trying to prepare us for something - the 'coming' maybe.
Prior to E.T. there was 'V' the series where the visitors turned out to be 'killer' lizards.
( Personally I did not like the remake of this series, but hey, that is just my view. )
Then there was Men in Black which told us that extraterrestrials are here already amongst us.
Then we had Earth: Final Conflict with the Taelons as our 'companions'!?
Maybe we should wake up to the idea that we really might not be alone.
Are the leaders of this world trying to prepare us before declaring this sinister news.
I think so or then again maybe I am just paranoid (hey what was that sound).
I still think The 4400 and Taken were very good and should have continued.
I enjoyed watching the The Tomorrow People ( albeit American style ).
( should really be Green Arrow ) and
Marvel - Agents of Shield.
A lot of Sci-Fi about people with "POWERS", hmmm.
Anyhow, very briefly that is me (there is more, maybe another time).
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