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Annie Mole's, webmaster of Going Underground, daily web log (blog).
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on the London Underground.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mobiles Underground

Argh!

The Evening Standard lead story today (early editions) is that all tube stations are to get mobile coverage 'within three years'. So the last bastion of peace and quiet away from the crazy frog will be no more... Once again - I repeat - "Argh!"

This is London - Mobiles on the tube


Actually, I've just found the BBC news website running this story here about it (from last week) which also additionally talks about one station being used next year as a test - and it will have wireless internet access as well. Anyone know which station that might be?

Update from Annie

Damn I was just about to blog this when Geoff had beaten me to it. However if The Standard had read the Torygraph they could have used the following headlines

COMMUTERS SAY NO TO CRAZY FROG HELL ON THE TUBE

or

PHONEY PHONE FIBS FAVOUR MOBILE MANIA

Apparently according to the Sunday Telegraph only 14% of commuters questioned were in favour of mobile phones at all stations and not the "inflated" 83% which tube bosses gave to the phone companies so they'd invest in the operation. Perhaps there were two surveys? Who knows (or cares really - as you can do anything you like with statistics and you only need a couple of thousand people to reply to a survey to make it valid)?


; Posted by geofftech Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/mobiles-underground.html

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.


; Posted by geofftech Monday, May 30, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/cutting-remarks.html

Friday, May 27, 2005

Quick question?

Northern Line tunnel size

Everyone seems to think I know lots of stuff about the Tube, but I don't really, well not much useful stuff anyway. But I'm sure you can answer this question from my old colleagues:

"We were arguing about the various lines at lunch today and one of the guys started rambling about the Northern line, and how he seemed to think that because the carriages seem smaller to him, the tunnels of the Northern line must be smaller in diameter than those of, say, the Piccadilly or the Central. The rest of didn�t believe him, but who knows......is he right?"

Well is he? I'm off to have a Solero and sit in the garden.

Phew wot a scorcher - part two

Yay - The Standard are able to use their favourite headline

THOUSANDS IN TUBE HELL

as three tube trains got stuck in a tunnel at Baker Street. It's no laughing matter though really as it is absolutely sweltering today. The Standard report:

There was panic as the trains became jammed near Baker Street when a set of points buckled in the heat. More trains were stuck in a knock-on effect.

Five ambulances were put on stand-by as distressed passengers rang the emergency services from the carriages.
"It was chaos, people were in a real state," said one LU worker.


The ordeal, which lasted up to an hour, came as the temperature in London reached 31.1C - almost 90F - on what is the hottest day of the year so far."


Expect to see lots of station staff running around in very hot uniforms putting up signs about remembering to take bottles of water on the Tube with you.

In the meantime, I think the sun has gone to culture secretary Tessa Jowell's head as she reckons London definitely has the best transport infastructure to cope with the 2012 Olympics. Hmmm, has she travelled on the Tube recently?


; Posted by Annie Mole Friday, May 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/quick-question.html

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Blimey what happened this morning

Severe delays everywhere

Fortunately I have today off but heard on the radio just now that loads of the lines had severe delays this morning due to signalling problems, signal failure and in ones instance "passenger action" - I love that term, as it always makes me feel as though the passengers are going on strike or having some sort of demonstration about the service (that'll be the day)

Anyway check out the real time travel delays (sorry) -
travel update boards for more on this and expect The Standard to be trumpeting away in full force and demanding explanations tonight.


; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, May 26, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/blimey-what-happened-this-morning.html

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Phew wot a scorcher

It's going to be hot

Yesterday when I got into work I moaned so badly about how OUT the weather forecast was as it was miserable and wet at the start and only warmed up later in the day. Today is supposed to be a fabulously hot day and supposedly we have a heatwave on the way, which means lots of alarmist Evening Standard headlines like the one below



I love Standard headlines and DarrenS has been making a collection on the best ones. Not surprisingly the Tube features in quite a few of them.


; Posted by Annie Mole Wednesday, May 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/phew-wot-scorcher.html

Jubilation!

TFL officially announced yesterday what we all knew had been coming for a while ... there will be a seventh car added to Jubilee liine train from January 2006.

Full press release from TFL here

They're also bringing in four new trains, but the line will be closed completely for five days in December between Christmas and New Year whilst the platform extension work is carried out.


; Posted by geofftech Wednesday, May 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/jubilation.html

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

No swearing on the Tube

Share Anthony's tale of woe

A cautionary tale from
Dustmeister Anthony:

"Yesterday morning, I was exiting St James's Park tube station on my way to a quantum physics exam. I had a cold, so my head felt blocked up and I felt thoroughly tired. On the stairs out of the station, I was stuck behind a trainload of rush-hour people. I should have tried to get on at the right door, but the train was so full that I just went right to the front. I saw a couple of policemen (sorry, I should use the PC term [geddit?!], police officers) walking along the opposite platform towards the ticket hall. It felt like my revision had been futile and this was the end. Destroyed by physics. Dropped under severe quantum pressure.

Eventually, i reached the ticket barrier and chose my gate. Approaching the gate, the bloke in front put his paper ticket in, but it didn't work, and I had already touched the Oyster card. The gentleman in front went straight through the gate on my ticket, and that was the last straw.


"Oh, for fuck's sake," I said, a little too loudly.

The policemen were standing on the other side of the barriers. One of them turned around.

I tried walking further into the ticket gate, but it closed on me. Walking toward the gateline SA, who appeared to be smirking, as if he knew what was going to happen next, I explained,
"He went through on my Oyster card," and touched the card on the reader beside the open gate where he sat. He motioned me to go through. The policemen had taken up battle positions on the other side of the gate.

"Excuse me, sir, could I have a word?" one asked. He brought me aside.
"Certainly," I replied.
"You can't use that kind of language in public, alright? It could get you arrested."
"Yeah, OK. Thanks."

He then let me go. That set me up nicely for my exam. Thanks, Transport Police.

And the fare-dodger?

As far as I could tell, he got away!

Morals: Don't swear in public: travel on the Tube for free instead!
"

My two pennyworth on this is that the policemen must have been pretty bored (or Anthony was wearing his dustmask and they thought he was a danger to the public). If I was cautioned for the amount of times I said "Oh for fuck's sake" on the tube, I would be spending my days with Kat Slater, languishing in jail.

Plus, what's the Oystercard error code for "someone blags their way in front of you" or "tailgates" (I think that's the official term) you?


; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, May 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/no-swearing-on-tube.html

Monday, May 23, 2005

No smoking

Was the irony lost?

I wonder if the person sticking up this "No smoking" sign felt any sense of irony or saw any type of joke?

No smoking Sherlock - taken at Baker Street


Thanks for Dave from Funkypancake (who took the original picture) for pointing it out and wondering if the words "And that means you too Sherlock...." should have been added to the sign.


; Posted by Annie Mole Monday, May 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/no-smoking.html

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Zone 1 Challenge

A good time had by all

Congrats to the winners of yesterday's
Zone 1 Challenge and the results (well, the top 4 out of the 18 teams that took part) are below:

1st Hakan & Patrick (66ft under) - 2h 56m 51s - How come two guys from Sweden managed to do this faster than the locals I'll never know?
2nd Erin & Peter - 2h 57m 5s
3rd Geoff 'n' Neil (they're not miffed - seriously) - 2h 57m 24s
4th Anthony (Dustmeister) & Adham - 3h 1m 59s

Here's a couple of pictures of the drinks in the pub afterwards.

Excellent T shirt from the Tubers - Tubas



And no entry would be complete without a little bit of dust:



From an outsiders point of view it was all good fun, even though I only turned up for drinks at the end. I particularly liked the way credit was given to all of the challengers including last year's winner, Steve Paull plus to Jack Welsby who was the previous all stations record holder.

Other highlights were not being able to escape Anthony selling copies of his CD (two quid a bargain), megaphoned announcements by Neil n Geoff as each person left the pub, Neil n Geoff's frequent insistence that they weren't trying to win, and the bemused look of the barmaid trying to clear the tables of loads of tube maps and used dustmasks.

There's now a full report of the day on Geoff's site n Neil will be reporting in full when his piccies are back from Jessops - although some cool black and white pictures on Neil's blog. You might also want to check out the discussions on the Tubechallenge forum.


; Posted by Annie Mole Saturday, May 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/zone-1-challenge.html

Friday, May 20, 2005

Late night nutter

Shut your legs

Coming back from a free
Faithless rave last night (fantastic evening, free booze, free gig what more could a girl want), I was on one of the last trains from Piccadilly Circus. It was one of those carriages where there weren't two spare seats next to each other, but I motioned to my friend to sit in the seat opposite, but for some reason she preferred to hover by the door. So into the seat oppososite comes tall grey suited man with an umbrella who sat with his legs as wide apart as his possibly could, and just to complete the picture and add to the laddish pose, popped his small umbrella between his legs.



This cartoon from an old Metro says it all really. The poor girl who was sitting next to him made herself as small as possible and scrunched up against the glass barrier. He was giving her rather.....well....er...strange looks, for most of the journey, so she did well to avoid eye contact and generally ignore him.

Some money fell out of his pocket, probably due to the strain on his trousers with his legs thrust so far apart. So then he pulled the rest of it out and counted it on one of his outstretched legs. There were some crumbs amongst the money, so he decided to eat those. The effect was particularly charming.

Fortunately he got off at Earls Court, but unfortunately the girl sitting next to him got off there too. I only hope he didn't hassle her on the way out.

So come on guys, I know he was extreme, but why the need to sit with your legs open on the tube? It's nothing to do with height cos I've seen short guys do this. And it's not just lads or nutters I've seen a huge number of blokes who feel compelled to sit legs akimbo.

While I'm in moaning mode - earlier in the month I moaned about annoying ring-tones including the hideous Crazy Frog ring-tone, so for anyone who hates them, enjoy this anti crazy frog link (be warned contains strong language)

Finally, good luck to the zone one tube challengers who set off at mid-day. At least it won't be as hot as the day you did it on last year. See you in the pub later.


; Posted by Annie Mole Friday, May 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/late-night-nutter.html

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Concern, CS Gas, Closures and Cake

Happy Thursday

Too much doom and gloom on the Tube at the moment, despite yesterday's figures about increases in travellers and trains (however you want to look at them - good debate guys - keep the comments coming in)

Anyway looks like we're getting nearer to industrial action on the east end of the District Line from the 23rd May due safety concerns. Yobs have been pelting trains with bricks and stones and according to union Aslef attacks on the line have increased by 50% over the last year. Staff think that striking is the way to go here whereas LU say they're doing as much as they can to tackle safety. It's grim whatever. More on this on the
Beeb's site. UPDATE - This has now been called off....hoorah!

Also Dustmeister Anthony Smith sent me a link which reported of some CS gas being set off at Ealing Broadway station yesterday. Fortunately no one was hurt and there appeared to be no sense of panic. Amazing. I would have been totally freaking out, but I spose you wouldn't actually suspect gas immediately and just think, "urgh, funny smell, better get a move on". More on this on the subdued report on the Beeb's site. Plus a much more alarmist report from The Standard (now there's a surprise)!

Just to add to the happiness it appears that my line the Waterloo and City line which is used by me and 39,999 other commuters each day could be shut between four to six weeks. Sections of the Northern Line would also be closed for months to clear a backlog of repairs. More on this in the Standard.

On a happier note, it's the Zone 1 Tube challenge tomorrow (with many regular visitors and contributors to this blog taking part - including Neil, Geoff, Anthony Dustmeister, Chris Green & Stephen Knight). It starts at 12noon OUTSIDE Oxford Circus tube station in Argyll Street. And if you're not taking part, there will be drinks in the Horse and Groom, Great Portland Street at the end (from 4pm/5pm????), with cake provided by Helene. Hope to see you there to congratulate the winners, and listen to tales as to why the losers lost.


; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, May 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/concern-cs-gas-closures-and-cake.html

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Record numbers use the Tube this year

976 million passenger journeys

Whether we love it or loathe it, we seem to be using the Tube in increasing numbers as London Underground published figures yesterday saying that there was a 3% increase in travel.

According to yesterday's
press statement "LU also ran more trains then ever before, clocking up a huge total of nearly 70m kms - That's the equivalent of 1,735 times round the world, or 90 trips to the moon and back."

Sometimes on the District Line it can feel as thought it would be faster to travel to the moon and back or do a round world trip.

Speaking of round the world trips, I must report on that photographic exhibition that was on/may still be on at Piccadilly Circus where a woman catalogues how many miles she's been travelling on the tube and then sends a postcard of her in the equivalent place she could have been too if she's travelled in a straight line - like Brighton or Edinburgh or whatever. Cool idea.

Anyway Sheriff Ken is patting himself and the team on the back as result of the figures: "We all know that years of neglect have taken an enormous toll on the Tube's performance, but these figures show the new management team are starting to make real progress."

The statement continues: "In addition to providing more Tube service, the quality of service has also improved, for example by giving passengers more information on how the Tube is running.

Passengers have clearly noticed, as LU customer satisfaction scores have improved and are also at record levels
."

See it's official - The Tube is Good.


; Posted by Annie Mole Wednesday, May 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/record-numbers-use-tube-this-year.html

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Healther to travel by Tube, says new report

OK Dustmaster what do you have to say?

Woke up this morning to be greeted by the news that it's better to travel by London Underground than on the road.

A team of "experts", writing in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found "any harmful minerals were well below levels allowed in the workplace.

The number and size of dust particles was measured at various Tube stations and in drivers' cabs and then tested for toxicity levels.

Compared with outdoor air, the researchers found that dust levels were high in mass on the Underground, but low in terms of particles.

The researchers said that weight-for-weight the risks from Underground dust were much more comparable to iron oxide welding fumes than to particles in the air outdoors
."

Well there you go then. Anthony you have no need to wear your dustmask anymore.

The boffins from the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, concluded "risks of serious disease of the lungs or heart from exposure underground would be very low, and probably difficult to detect,"

"Above ground you will breathe traffic fumes, below ground less of that but some iron oxide."

They said Tube commuters at risk from dust inhalation should not be seriously concerned, but that efforts to reduce dust concentrations should continue.

Read more from the Medical News Today. Now how's that for an official source.


; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, May 17, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/healther-to-travel-by-tube-says-new.html

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bags of fun

What happens when an apparantly un-owened bag gets reported to LU staff? Can any of those of you that read this explain?!

Going home last night I found myself on the eastbound platform of the Central Line at Oxford Circus, and spotted this - a bag seemingly owned by no one just sitting there.





So I had the "Do I ignore it, or report it" dilemma (but took a photo of it so that I could blog it!), and had decided to ignore it and was merrily making my way to the Bakerloo line platform when a wave of guilt hit me thinking "Well supposing it IS more than just someones old bag of stuff" and despite the fact that there are big cheery posters telling you to report these kinds of things - I still felt like I was a bit silly reporting what was a harmless bag of crap when I made like a good citizen and reported it to the nice SA up at the barriers.

"Thanks" he said, "I'll get it investiagted" and was then momentarily phased when I showed him my picture of it that I had on my camera.

I sped down to the Bakerloo to get the train home, but just wondered who or what would have actually investigated that bag in incidents such as this. Would he have looked at it himself? Got the station supervisor to do it? Or asked the Transport Police?


; Posted by geofftech Sunday, May 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/bags-of-fun.html

Saturday, May 14, 2005

This, that, the other, something else, and a bit more.

My turn to also blog having not done for a while - but no childrens books for me, just a few intruiging things that I'd been meaning to pick up on for a while.

Was at Piccadilly Circus yesterday, so that I could make a note of exactly where the 'secret' stairwell is between the Northbound Bakerloo line platform and the Piccadilly Line platforms, and I can tell you exactly where it is - third carriage down, fourth door back!

Ok, so it's not exactly secret - but from the Bakerloo side there is NO sign that says 'Piccadilly Line' or anything - you have to explore it for yourself. Try it the next time you want to make a swift change from Bakerloo to Piccadilly. If you're coming from the Piccadilly Line, then it's the second carriage, second door no matter which direction you're travelling in! And then up the steps and you'll see it to your right.

Whilst at the station, I also remembered to check out this excellent view - something you don't often see - the two Bakerloo line platforms side by side which you don't normally realise is there because the dividing wall is in the way. And yet walk up to the northern end of the northbound platform and you can look back down upon the southbound.

There were new system maps up and about too, with Queensway nicely crossed out - and I even took in a trip down the Central Line just to make sure the train didn't stop (it didn't), but I did see three confused people stand up to get off ... and then panic a little when the train didn't stop until in a moment of niceness, I told them to change at Notting Hill, go one up to Bayswater and they're in the same place.

The Wembley Park works are obviously still causing confusion as I spotted a whole bunch of these stickers about the place clearing up which train people should get for the Met line.

Also - rather amusingly - I discovered that my work (BBC) pass confuses the Oystercard barriers!

It uses the same technology and the gate reader things you've put a card against it, registers something, but then gives an error 76 (anyone know what that is?). My Oystercard though failed to register the BBC touchpad though for letting me into the building. Pah.


; Posted by geofftech Saturday, May 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/this-that-other-something-else-and-bit.html

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Then and Now

Hi folks,

I haven't posted in a while on here but I was reading my nephew's Thomas The Tank Engine storybook earlier and felt compelled to offer Uncle Ken a foolproof way of dealing with delays and cancellations on the tube.

The story I came across goes like this:

One morning, The Fat Controller was hard at work when The Stationmaster appeared at his desk. "I'm sorry to bother you, Sir," he said, "but one of our passengers is demanding to speak to you!"

A red-faced man greeted The Fat Controller outside his office. "I want to make a complaint," he said angirly. "This morning's train was late. What are you going to do about it?" The Fat Controller apologised, "I will look into the matter right away, Sir."

"We always try to provide a Really Useful service for our passengers. I will make sure this doesn't happen again!" he added. The Fat Controller went to The Yard to speak with the engines. "Lateness is something I will not put up with!" he said.

The Fat Controller

In the afternoon, The Fat Controller made up new timetables that would make the engines run on time. "There will be no excuses for lateness in the future!" he thought.

At 6 o'clock, The Fat Controller had finished his work. "I've solved today's problem," he said. "I think I deserve a Really Long Rest!" So he finished his tea, picked up his hat and headed off home in his blue car.

The End

Forward wind 50 or so years and the story would have gone something like this:

One morning, The Jobsworth Station Manager was telling a staff member off for being one minute late for work when when a Station Assistant appeared at his desk. "I'm sorry to bother you, Sir," he said, "but seven hundred of our passengers are demanding to speak to you!"

Seven hundred red-faced commuters greeted The Jobsworth Station Manager outside his office. "We want to make a complaint," they said angirly. "Every morning our train is late. In fact, come to think of, EVERY train is late ALL day and is usually overcrowded and crawls very slowly to its destination. What are you going to do about it?"

The Jobsworth Station Manager sighed and said, "I'm sorry Sir, you'll have to apply to our Refunds and Complaints department who will be happy to furnish you with form FCUK1 which, upon completion, should be sent to the processing office in Durham. From there, it should take approximately 6 to 8 weeks for your claim to be verified, by which time I and my fellow LU employees will have ceased to care owing to our extremely anal nature and our propensity to go on strike at any given moment if we feel we are being unduly harrassed by members of the travelling public, thus making us overly stressed out and unable to complete our duties to the satisfaction of all concerned."

"We always try to provide a Really Useful service for our passengers but due to chronic underfunding of the network in the last 100 years, we cannot guarantee that the service will run on time or that your train will be less than 10 years old and not have enough room to swing a cat in. I can't promise this won't happen again - in all honesty it will happen again this evening and then tomorrow morning and so on and so forth until a train derails, whereupon we will suddenly take an interest in safety and pretend to be doing something about it for a few weeks to allay the public's fears. This will result in line closures and replacement bus services - your London Underground tickets will be valid on local bus routes." he added.

The Jobsworth Station Manager

In the afternoon, The Jobsworth Station Manager made up new rules for the staff such as "no smiling", "no speaking English" and "no Sir, you can't take your bicycle on the tube" that would make everyone's life as needlessly difficult as possible, in order to give himself a sense of his own importance. "There will be no excuses for anyone to have fun whilst travelling on the Underground in the future!" he thought.

At 5 o'clock (and not one second later), The Jobsworth Station Manager had finished his work. "I've solved none of today's problems by complicating the matter further," he said. "I think I deserve a Really Big Payrise!" So he finished his tea, picked up his hat and headed off home in his blue car, before being stopped by the police for driving in a bus lane and not having paid his congestion charge for the last 6 weeks.

The End.


; Posted by Neil Thursday, May 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/then-and-now.html

Underground Masker (Stand on the Right please) Tube Challenge Song

Listen and Enjoy

A very large file welcomed me this morning in my in-box, but it was well worth it. Not sure how many of you know that the next
Zone 1 Underground Tube Challenge takes place on the 20th of May. Obviously Geoff n Neil will be taking part, but other regulars to this blog including the .....how shall I say it..........slightly deranged .........Dust man Anthony Smith. Anthony has penned a magnificant song in honour of the occasion. Underground Masker Stand On The Right Please (District Line Dub) - It's a long download but go for it - you'll be humming the catchy riff for the next hour.

In case you fancy singing along (or you haven't got headphones in the office), here's the lyrics:

"Welcome to Tube Challenge Club
It's the District Line Dub!

Come Tube running with the Underground bandits!
Bring a mask and a packet of biscuits
Bring your log book
Bring your plasters
I'm the man, King Challenge, the Zone One MASTER!
The blaster!
The Master Masker!
Compared to me there's nobody faster!
I'm on a Tube race, I won't mess around
That's why you're on the surface and I'm underground!

COMIN' AT YA!
On a Jubilee train!
Stanmore to Baker Street's the route in my brain
I'm the Theydon Bois boy, I'm the Ruislip Ragamuffin
Snoop Grenny Greenwich, gonna knock out your stuffin'
From Edgware to Epping, that's what I do
I'm on a Tube Challenge, I'm telling you!
COMIN' AT YA!
Changing lines with my expertise!
Escalator tourists, stand on the right please!

Chorus:

(Tube challenge) Stand on the right please
(Tube challenge) Get out the way. x4

Doooown in the deep-level, what do I see?
A Bakerloo driver who's looking right up at me.
I say "What?" I say "What?" I say "Queens Park?"
H&W's the stop-for-me
I'm the champ'ian!
The Marylebone man!
If I don't do all stations then nobody can
I need Wembley!
I'm the Zone D Thunderer and
You, Mr. Driver, are a Bakerloo blunderer!

A big white train comin' up from the GROUND
I write in the logbook as I travel northbound
I run overground
From Ickenham to Ruislip
And head down to Heathrow international flight-strip
A Guinness World Record is what I need
It's all just a question of running at speed
It's all just a question of travelling with ease
So 'scuse me, out the way, stand on the right please.

CHORUS

When your train's on time and you're ahead for a while
Smile, smile, smile, it's an Underground trial
But if the train's late,
Keep your head straight,
And take the first service from Notting Hill Gate
I'm a focused machine when the signal turns green
I can cross platforms quicker than you could ever dream
Like a beast released from Aldgate East,
For the sake of the record, stand on the right please!

CHORUS ad nauseam
"

Cheers Anthony. It's a classic.


; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, May 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/underground-masker-stand-on-right.html

Monday, May 09, 2005

It'S NOT fair

Why do I always sit opposite these people

Coming into work this morning I thought I was sitting opposite a character from a sci fi film or book. He had obviously tried to blend in with commuters by wearing a brown pin-striped suit, trendy glasses and had nice smart haircut. The only thing that made me think sci fi and wonder if he would spontaneously combust or "meltdown" was that he had some green gunk coming out of his nostrils. No matter how hard he sniffed, which he did pretty frequently, the green gunk continued to make its appearance. I didn't have a tissue on me, as I would have seriously offered him one as I was beginning to feel quite ill.

Poor guy though. I'll never forget when I had a massive sniffing fit on a train (no gunk or streaming), but someone had obviously had enough and thrust a tissue into my hands. I was pretty mortified, but at least I didn't look like an alien.


; Posted by Annie Mole Monday, May 09, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/its-not-fair.html

Just like buses......

Three turn up at once

To those of you who occasionally look at the "blogs that mention mine" section to the right (yeah, I did this before the term blogrolling was phrased) you might have noticed some blogs from people who actually work for London Underground. The one by
District Dave has been up some time and isn't really a blog. But in the last month there must have been some sort of blogging section added to the LU staff rule book, as we have three (count 'em) three blogs by tube staff - two station assistants (The Station Master - and The Station Cleaner) and a District Line driver.

All three have been running for just over a month and they give a good insiders' view about what it's like to work on the Tube. So as with this blog they get their fare share of drunks, delays, posts about uniforms, posts about station and drivers' announcements, posts about "Baby on Board badges", posts about people travelling to Kylie concerts and all sorts of other day-to-day stuff. How long they will continue I don't know (especially as The Station Cleaner seems to be having a dispute with the powers that be at the moment), but they're all good reads and The Station Master posts some cracking pictures sometimes (see the one below for example)

Drunk on the tube


I'm sure they won't mind me saying (well they probably will, as they read this blog), but they all provide quite a contrasting read. The Station Master is generally upbeat and, like this blog, covers general tube trivia and odds and sods as well as his daily job. The Station Cleaner is more political and cynical (well he sounds like he's having a tough time right now) and District Line driver's is also fairly upbeat too.

Enjoy.


; Posted by Annie Mole Monday, May 09, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/just-like-buses.html

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Oystercard tool

Pre-paid - is it right for you?

As many of you know I keep pretty quiet about Oystercards cos I haven't got one. Geoff has one now and he seems to be making the most of it and I think Neil has always had one. But I was sent the following email from James Cridland who's built a little something that means you might be able to work out whether it's worth your while getting one:

"Annie... did you know...

...if you just commute between zone 1-4, it's cheapest to just get an Oyster pre-pay card. It beats everything else - including an annual travelcard. Sometimes, an Oyster pre-pay also beats a monthly travelcard too - for zones 1-6, you could save yourself over a grand by moving from monthly travelcard to Oyster pre-pay.

I've knocked together an
Oystercard calculator to help people see the relevant costs - a fiendishly ugly page, but quite interesting, nonetheless. Hope you enjoy it. I might smarten it up one day.

Have fun
"

Well I actually do commute between zones 1-4, but because I use my travelcard a lot on weekends and bank holidays and on my holidays itself - the calculator didn't seem to make pre-pay any cheaper than my annual card - also cos I get a mainline train from Richmond they don't accept Oystercard Pre-Pay on it anyway. But I'm sure it will be helpful for other people, and thanks for sending it in James.


; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, May 05, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/oystercard-tool.html

Rabbitting on the Tube

Giant Rabbits

Sometimes when you're faced with images like this on the tube it can ever so slightly freak you out.



Dave from
funkypancake, sent me this piccy and said:

"Here's what greeted me at one stop on the Central Line. Was it just luck the poster and the doors just aligned like this? It did look quite fanastic planned or otherwise!

Thankfully there were no people in the way so I managed to capture the moment in all its glory.

I've no idea what the poster is advertising
."

I used to get welcomed by a similar image of a giant baby (advertising Child Trust Funds) looking through the windows when I got on the tube at the DLR at Bank.


; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, May 05, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/rabbitting-on-tube.html

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Ticket holders......a new trend

From New York to London

Quite some time ago I spotted that the New York Subway had some specially designed clothing and jewellery based on their Metro tickets or tokens. The item I most liked was a pair of pretty hot boots with a little plastic pocket to hold your metro ticket. Bizarre place to put a ticket and I'd love to see people faffing and hopping around at the barriers pulling out their tickets.

So imagine my surprise when on Bank Holiday Monday, during a little mini bloggers meet to see H2G2 (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - see reviews by
Neil and Chz), Helene from stroppycow, told me how on the way in she had seen a couple of guys on the tube playing Tetris on their mobys, mirroring each others movements like an old married couple, but one of the guys had his travelcard tucked into his sock. Eagle eyed Helene had even taken a picture of this.

Anyone else keep their travelcard in their shoes or socks? Perhaps I'm missing a trick.


; Posted by Annie Mole Wednesday, May 04, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/ticket-holdersa-new-trend.html

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mind the Gap Ringtone v Crazy Frog

Which would be more annoying?

Someone sent me an email asking where they could get hold of a Mind The Gap ringtone. I'm sure there's not a site where you could officially or even un-officially download one, but aren't there some whizzy mobile phones around that can just record any sound you like and then you can use it as a ringtone. In which case you'd just need to stand at a station like Bank or somewhere else where there was a particularly noisy rendition of
Mind the Gap and then Robert's your mother's brother.

There's even some ringtone making software around where you can transform any CD track or mp3 into a ringtone for your mobile phone.

I think you would then incur the wrath of anyone who was within striking distance of you whenever your phone went off. Particularly, if you were on a train at the time. In time this ringtone could potentially become even more annoying that the "popular" Crazy Frog ringtone, which fortunately I've never heard outside of a TV set.


; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, May 03, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon
http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2005/05/mind-gap-ringtone-v-crazy-frog.html
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