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Monday, March 26, 2012

Final episode of BBC2's The Tube Documentary - Fluffers, Ghost Stations & Rats

The sixth, and sadly, final episode of BBC2's documentary on London Underground staff goes "Down in the Tube Station after Midnight" (with apologies to The Jam) tonight and looks at what happens in the four-hour window when the power is off.
The Tube, a six part series airing each Monday at 9pm, takes a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day running of the Underground. Tonight's episode focusses on overnight maintenance.

Hard Days Night by Peter Macdiarmid - Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid
Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid

The film crew follow a number of Tube workers "from hard-working Bulgarian cleaner Vladimir, who is amazed that the British government pays for people not to work, to 23-year-old Harry leading his gang of 'fluffers' picking fibres and lint from the tracks."  Fluffers is not what you might be thinking about the more modern day use of the term referring to adult films, but was (and apparantly still is) the name given to people who clean all of the fluff from Tube tracks.  This was very much a female occupation in the past & they were also known as Fluffies. The picture of the women below was taken in 1955.

Photographed by Dr Heinz Zinram, Dec 1955 - London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum says: "They are using special fluffer brushes that helped them collect the dust and fluff from around the rails. This was important because if the dust built up, it could affect the trackside equipment or cause fires. Fluffers went to work every night once the electricity to the tracks had been switched off."

Angel Fluffers - From Heart of the Angel

Even in 1989, thanks to Molly Dineen's Heart of the Angel film, it seemed these cleaners were mainly female. It'll be interesting to see how many women (if any) are amongst the cleaners featured tonight.

A pest controller, Mick, is also called in to investigate a smelly problem at Hounslow Central and emergency response worker Roy gets inside one of the Tube's disused 'ghost' stations, Down Street.

Down Street by Wyrmworld
Down Street by Wyrmworld

There's a huge fascination with abandoned "ghost" Tube stations and I've been lucky enough to go on an awesome tour of  disused Brompton Road station.

Brompton Road Platform 1 by Annie Mole

Tickets for semi regular / annual tours of Aldwych Tube run by London Transport Museum always sell out very quickly, so I imagine that tonight's episode will be intriguing and entertaining finale to the series.

Related posts
Down in the Tube Station after Midnight
Heart of the Angel on DVD - Meet the Tube Fluffers 
Alastair Campbell, Mandy & Down Street 
Photos of Ghost Tube Station Brompton Road Tour
Old Tube stations could be Re-Opened 
5th episode BBC2's The Tube Documentary - Rush Hour, Fainting, Failures & Pigeon Control  
Upgrades feature on 4th episode of BBC2's The Tube
Video of TfL's Lost Property Office from BBC2's The Tube 
Ticket Inspectors feature on 2nd episode of BBC2's The Tube
Tube drunks highlighted in first episode of BBC2 series - The Tube 
Tube staff star in new BBC2 Documentary Series 

; Posted by Annie Mole Monday, March 26, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon