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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Monday, June 30, 2003


No sooner had I spoke about travelling back from Gatwick with an average sized rucksack on the tube yesterday - today I was unfortunate enough to get on the Piccadilly Line that had come in from Heathrow, where there seemed to be the annual convention of backpackers from Oz reunion. I have never seen such large backpacks and they proceeeded to congregrate on the floor in front their owners taking up the space of four adults or at least ten small children.

One of the owners of the backpacks whistled to it and it leapt upon his shoulders as he left the train proceeding to stamp heavily on my foot as he left. I left after him and watched him nearly concuss half a dozen people as he made his way upstairs.

Do you not realise you have something the size of a Smart car on your back? Do you not think this might be a tad inconvenient to travel this way in the rush hour?

For more on this check out my
ramblings on the main site.

Oh do behave

; Posted by annie mole Monday, June 30, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Came back from a weekend away today and unusually got the tube home from Victoria after the delights of the Gatwick Express. Normally have too much luggage to bother with the tube after a flight and get a taxi from Victoria but with just a rucksack and with it being Sunday it was reasonable today. Rather pedantic announcer at Victoria though as there were severe delays on the District Line and he was giving us minute by minute announcements about moving down the platform, taking the next available train, standing back from the doors when they arrived etc etc. Was about to show my husband the brilliant "rule" about
where to get on so you're near the doors - which the guy from LBC referenced in his blog below. It worked. Stand by the MIND THE GAP floor signs - nine times out of 10 you'll be in front of the doors.

A brilliant transportation website linked to this blog recently and I learnt that on buses in Iceland they attach paperbacks on the seats so that people have something to read. What a fantastic idea. Unlikely to last for a second if it was on buses or any other public transport in London - unless they were books by someone very very dull.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, June 30, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Back in the UK and a remarkably "pleasant" journey into work. Well train came more or less straight away and my connection at Glamoursmith (Hammersmith) was very fast too.

Haven't noticed any major eye opening differences whilst being off for two weeks. While I was away my blog and other bits of Going Underground were quoted on a
late night radio show on LBC which was quite fun. However as it was on the classic graveyard shift of 1am till 5am (I have visions of Alan Partridge talking to one man and a dog), I've not been swamped with traffic.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, June 26, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

No entries for a couple of weeks as I'm on holiday to a sunny Greek Island. Hoorah!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, June 10, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, June 09, 2003

Carling are taking over the Underground!

Well they certainly seem to be behind this busking business. Not only have the sponsored all the buskers "platforms" and posters but at certain stations (Piccadilly Circus and Waterloo - are the two I've spotted), there are giant TV monitors with little adverts from Carling about concerts they are sponsoring and also this morning a little black and white slide show of the pubs nearest to Piccadilly Circus where you can buy pints of Carling. I would love to get hold of the guys behind this campaign as they have money to burn it appears. So guys from Carling if you want to attract commuters and you've got a few quid to spare out of your marketing budget, there's some spare ad space on my main site..........

Mail Rail tubes going - who cares?

I can't believe there is so much press coverage about the demise of these trains that travel the tube network with London's mail. Hardly anyone knew about them in the first place and now it seems that hundreds of people, including some bods from London Assembly are up in arms about the fact they'll be closed down at the end of the month. The system is thought to be losing about �250 million a year- close it down - it's clearly not cost effective. The
BBC website asked for possible uses of the train instead as it seems that it might be sold off to a commercial company. Some of my favourite suggestions for its use from that feature are below:

* To hold the politians and civil servants who made the train unprofitable.
* Make it into a tourist attraction (mmmm lovely views of tunnels, dirt, dust and shite)
* A luggage check in procedure for people using the Heathrow/Paddington Express
* A pub crawl
* Sell to Dr Evil so he can transport his henchmen to and from his underground lair
* With the four foot height limit, it is not suitable for commuter traffic, but it could perhaps be used to ferry parties of young children on school runs.

I love that idea

; Posted by annie mole Monday, June 09, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, June 06, 2003

Did my ears deceive me?

Travelling up the final escalator at Piccadilly Circus today I heard a loud announcement over the tannoy with a woman speaking in what sounded like Japanese. When I came out thorugh the barriers, I expected to see London Underground staff creasing themselves in laughter as they'd played some vast late (or early) April Fool's Joke. But nothing, the all looked as bored, disinterested and miserable as usual. So perhaps this Japanese woman is a permanent fixture. Strangely there was no English translation as I'd love to know what she was asking us to do.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, June 06, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Petition to Keep the Tube Open Longer

Yep you heard me correctly. More delays, more frustration, more drivers announcements but also easier and cheaper ways to get home on Friday and Saturday nights after you've been out on the razz. A friend sent me a link to this today and in the spirit of GoingUnderground it went up on the site like a shot.

sign the petition to keep the London Underground Open longer

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, June 04, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Heckling buskers....it's not big or clever

Saw the most bizarre sight on the way home of a busker being heckled by a drunken bloke on the District Line. I'm not a great fan of buskers who make their way along the carriages of the train and if I have a walkman I put it on the minute they appear, otherwise stare into the pages of a book or paper as though it's the most interesting thing in the world and try to imagine they are not there.

So when the talentless (formerly pink haired) busker who does the District Line got on about to wail out REM's "Losing my Religion" for the thousandth time, I inwardly groaned. Although not quite as loud as the inner groan, when the man sitting in the seat nearest him said:

"You're not gonna sing are you?.....You're not gonna play that guitar?

Pointless rhetorical questions.

Egged on by his equally drunken mate, the drunk then proceeded to "sing" along with the busker in the lines of:

Busker: "I thought that I heard you laughing"

Drunk: "I thought you needed a wash"

Busker: "I think I thought I saw you try"

Drunk: "I think I'm gonna need a shower"

Fortunately, this only lasted two stops, which "I think I thought" was two stops too many.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, June 04, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Firstly, welcome if you come to this blog from
Neil Gaiman's blog which hundreds of you have - wow!

Secondly, big thanks to Neil for linking to the blog yesterday and to the driver's quotes on the main goingunderground.net site too. Never had so much traffic to the blog so I'll have to watch what I say from now on ;-)

Metro Newspaper moment

Reading in more detail about the Chancery Lane tube accident. It's quite disturbing yet fascinating to read about train crashes when you're on a train yourself. I was in two minds whether to report on this - with so many new people coming to the blog, I was tempted to go down the usual route of weird, unusual and funny things spotted on my daily commute from Kew Gardens to Piccadilly Circus. But then I thought WTF, it's important, people could have died and safety is normally taken for granted on the tube, that we should sit up and at least think about what happens when things go wrong.

Fortunately January's accident didn't lead to any loss of life, but it did lead to closure of the Central line for months and months. The parts of Metro's front page report which really disturbed me were as follows:

1) Why was full service only returned two days ago?

2) OK, I joke a lot about driver's announcements, but the poor driver of this train must have been really disturbed and hit the wrong button when calling the line controller and the words "mayday" and "fire" came over the normal public address system.

3) When people were escaping the staff did not have torches or megaphones and no one could see exits properly because of the thick dust.

4) There would have been no escape route at all if the derailed train had blocked the platform exit.

Anyway enough said - from a practical point of view expect to see nothing on the tube's official site about today's report from the London Assembly's transport committee, except for the "helpful" note that the claims refund telephone line is now closed. A few months ago I reported on my main site about an email doing the rounds encouraging everyone to try to make a claim as the London Underground were giving refunds to all people affected by the closure of the Central Line, even if you didn't use it every day.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, June 03, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE