Damn the gods

"Have you seen what's happening out there? Have you even bothered to look?"

"They need to be reminded of the order of things. Turn them on eachother."

"One day, somebody's going to have to make a stand. One day, somebody's got to say enough."

Since we first began writing about the problems of soggy newspapers and absent cash machines, Brockley has made great strides, in many ways.

But one of the most aggravating, retrograde steps is also the most pointless.

The gate to the southbound platform of Brockley Station.

Why oh why oh why?!

Every night, half of the people on every train from London decant when it reaches Brockley. And every night they are forced to walk up the stairs and then down the stairs so they can be processed via the ticket office. Except when someone in the ticket office decides to listen to the desperate buzzing of commuters standing by the gate. Sometimes they open it. Sometimes they don't.

As we stand there, wondering whether we should just start walking to the stairs or hang on for one moment more in the hope they open the gate, we can't help imagining the ticket office as Mount Olympus and the staff, the gods who play with our fates. Will they push their button and let us through - or are they busy seducing Athenian chicks? Who knows?

Because the rules by which they decide to open the gate are seemingly so arbitrary that we never know quite when to give up waiting - which wastes even more time.

If you do throw in your lot with the ticket office, you'll often find commuters backed up down the stairs, as the office struggles to cope with the sheer weight of numbers, which means they throw open the gates anyway, thus rendering the whole exercise (designed to check people's tickets) futile.

Long-term, the station is due to be remodelled. Short-term, TfL, whose own figures predicted that the number of people using the station would treble due to the introduction of the East London Line, need an urgent rethink. The simplest solution would be to keep the gate open in the evenings.

We're going to contact TfL to make them aware of the issue. If you share our frustrations, please post your comments here. If not, then it's obviously just us and we apologise for wasting your time.