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Monday, May 30, 2005

Cutting Remarks

The hottest day of the year so far (Friday), and I found myself nosing around the small mews-like backstreets of London looking for the tube.

Why? Well, in many a tube-history book, I always kept reading about where the District & Circle line has been built inbetween Bayswater & Paddington, there had been a cutting made underneath some houses, and during construction, two houses had been taken down to allow the cut & cover tunnel to be built beneath, and to this day - a false house front had been put back in its place so as to disguise it.



The houses in question are at numbers 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens, in the cute back streets of Bayswater, but having made all the effort to go there to get a photo of it - it's quite disappointing.
I think I was having visions of being able to look through a crack or gap and see down onto the tracks, but instead everything is sealed nicely and painted over.

The car parked in the 'drive' at the front had also been there for several months without being moved judging by the amount of bird-poo all over it.

Not to be out-done, I took a gentle stroll along the side roads towards Paddington itself, walking down the roads which I figured would be on top of the tube line. And sure, enough - just as I was passing this innocious looking wall here, I heard the distinctive rattle of a C-stock type train from somewhere down below.



Being 6' 3" helped here as it meant that I could peep over, or as in this instance hold my camera over the wall and take this picture just as the train went past.



So all those moments when you're travelling on the Circle line and a ray of daylight suddenly bursts in for a second before you get plunged back into darkness ... this is one of those gaps.

There must be more of them dotted around the system, and I went in hunt of more of them up by Paddington station itself, but couldn't find any.





The Green line here shows the path of the track below the streets. You can see where it intersects with Leinster gardens east of Bayswater. The wall over which you can look down onto the tracks below is in Craven Hill.

This physical map also throws up another one of my favourite anomalies about the topological differences between Beck's map and real life.

If you're travelling from (say) Liverpool Street and want to go to Paddington to get a mainline train, most people would probably travel to Notting Hill on the Central Line and then go two stops north/east on the Circle/District. Whereas it's actually quicker to get out at Lancaster Gate, and walk the 3 minutes it takes to get to Paddington station from there.


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