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Friday, August 27, 2004

Spot the difference

OK, let's test your powers of observation as we play "Spot The Difference".

I was idly standing on the eastbound platform of Barbican station the other day when I happened to overhear a conversation between two teenage girls whose knowledge of tube, I deduced, is very sketchy.

Now for those of you who don't know, Barbican station is served by three lines - The Metropolitan, the Hammersmith and City and the Circle. The Circle and H&C lines use C-Stock trains and the Met uses A-Stock trains. Both types are virtually identical with a couple of obvious differences:

A-Stock trains have 8 cars; C-Stock trains have 6.
A-Stock trains have traditional seating layouts; C-Stock has sideways seating.

They're the main two ways of identifying one over the other. To the untrained eye they are identical when viewed from the outside as they approach the platform.

So there I was waiting on the eastbound platform for a train to Moorgate and an Aldgate train pulled into the station (A-Stock Metropolitan line train). One of the girls turned to the other and said "We're going to Plaistow innit? Is this our train?" to which the other replied "No, ours look more like a Central line train innit."

I struggled for a while to work out what she was talking about. Why not just look at the platform indicator board or the map on the wall to work out which train you need? Since all of the trains which run over this piece of track are near-identical in appearance I failed to see how she could possibly mistake a C-Stock train for a Central line train. Mind you, she didn't appear to be particularly bright in all honesty. (They could have asked me where it was going but I would have told them to cross over to the westbound and catch the next Met line train to Amersham).

So, I invite you to judge for yourselves. The first picture below shows a C-Stock train (the one they needed to get to Plaistow on the H&C line) and below that is a 1992 Stock Central line train which, surprisingly only runs on the Central line. (OK, the Waterloo and City too if you're going to be picky).

Can YOU spot the difference? It's a tough one. Answers in a comment.


C-Stock train


1992 Stock train


You'll be pleased to know that Annie's back next week so thankyou to her for letting myself and Geoff rant about our troubled lives for a week and I'm sure you'll see us around somewhere in the future.


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