Getting From The Lord Mayor’s Show

Each year in November the new Lord Mayor of London is installed. This is the Lord Mayor of Dick Whittington fame, not the Boris variety. There have been lord mayors since 1189, 821 years ago or, to put it another way, since the first year of the reign of Richard the Lionheart. There have been 683 lord mayors and the Golden State Coach has been used for the last 253 years of them. The procession that accompanies the installation of the Lord Mayor is the world’s oldest civic procession.

South West Trains haven’t been around for quite the same time but long enough to understand how to run a rail service. How then, on one of the days of the year when people from London and the south east of England want to see the procession and the fireworks display, can South West Trains put on 4 coach trains on some suburban train services? How can Transport for London allow so many underground lines to be affected as well?

Leaving London after the fireworks had ended at about 5.30pm, was fun to say the least. Yes, you would expect it to be crowded and busy as people made their way home. But what can the visitor think when something, so established, so big in its appeal and so well televised can’t cause train operating companies to put on a normal full 8 coach train to take people in and back?

Let’s be generous. Let’s say they weren’t expecting many people so 4 coach trains were laid on earlier in the day to take people into London. Surely the volume of tickets sold would make them conclude that there would be too many people for 4 coach trains on the return journey? If it did, South West Trains didn’t heed it. More likely they ran 4 coach trains because they always run 4 coach trains on Saturdays without having the wit to think.

Underground lines were affected by engineering works on at least 8 different lines. The Circle, Jubilee and Victoria lines were completely closed. Didn’t Transport for London realize that there was a high profile tourist event happening? Does no-one co-ordinate these things?

Visit London is responsible for attracting visitors. Maybe they should have words about the effects of sardine crowding on the likelihood of people coming again to such a big tourist occasion. It’s easier to attract a satisfied visitor to return than persuade a new one to come.