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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
If you like this you'll LURVE One Stop Short of Barking, the fun and informative book about travelling
on the London Underground.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Back in London

Back in The Smoke

Well I'm back and I must say a big thank you to Neil and Geoff for looking after the blog while I was away. It's nice to see that they didn't get into fights with anyone and traffic levels were maintained (despite Geoff's worry of the
Sara Cox effect). In fact you all seemed to be making more comments that you normally do with me and there was more traffic on Wednesday (perhaps people had heard about Geoff's legendary puns and were looking forward to more.....whatever).

Anyway, if they (and you) are up for it, I'll get them to contribute more regularly, now that they have "house keys".

It's Bank Holiday in the UK today, so no commuting stories. When I came back from Gatwick on Friday though I noticed lots of CCTV's in open display at Victoria station (in the entrance from the mainline station to the Tube). I hadn't been to Victoria for quite a while, or I normally don't have a huge bag breaking my shoulder and am usually zipping up the outer stairs quite quickly, but I'd never noticed them before. Someone's bound to tell me the one on the outer staircase has been there for ages.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 30, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

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.

; Posted by Anonymous Friday, August 27, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sex and drugs and delays to all destinations

So, Geoff flew off to Amsterdam at 6.30 this morning to score some charlie and have sex with hookers. At least I THINK that's what he said - maybe it was "see my mate who gave me 50p". Whatever.

I was walking through Greenwich last night (as you do) and I got a phone call from the very same Geoff who started telling me about a "one under" (person under a train) at Liverpool Street on the Central line yesterday morning. Of course, poor old Geoff gets the Central line from White City every day and apparently the service was still in a mess at 6pm. He was incredulous as to how the line could still be in a mess several hours after the incident. "Surely you just scrape them off the track and start running again". My sentiments exactly.

Now although we all complain about these delays, this is where line controllers really earn their money. They have to decide how many trains to take out of service to ease congestion whilst making sure there are enough trains to fit all the passengers (sorry, customers) on. They are helped by the existence of reversing sidings at Liverpool Street and Marble Arch as well as one to the west of the remains of British Museum station. These enable trains to run from Liverpool Street westbound to Marble Arch and then turn round and come back, effectively acting as a central area shuttle service.

The same system cannot, however be applied to the area of railway track south of London Bridge mainline station. Yesterday morning a truck hit a railway bridge near New Cross station and drove off without reporting it. The problem is that this bridge carries the main line from Kent via Lewisham and any closure of the tracks will cause chaos. So they closed the tracks - well they had to really. There was a huge lump of bricks missing from the supporting arch!

Now, the area between Lewisham and London Bridge is very congested at the best of times in the morning - I know this because I catch the 06.59 from New Cross to London Bridge every day and we always crawl very slowly through South Bermondsey as we wait for the trains ahead to clear the station. Well, you can imagine what happened when they re-opened the bridge and all the trains waiting south of New Cross tried to get into London Bridge. The problem is that they're not the only trains wanting to go there.

Between New Cross and London Bridge three other lines run in and join the main section of track - the Greenwich branch, the New Cross Gate branch and the one that comes up from Victoria (via Queenstown Road). That's a lot of trains in the rush hour and that's why northbound Thameslink services don't run through London Bridge between 07.16 and 09.30 - there's simply not enough room and priority is given to South Eastern trains.

Here's some good advice - avoid London Bridge like the plague after 4pm. In fact, avoid it altogether unless you're a calm individual who can handle waiting ages for trains in a sea of people and then standing up in very crowded carriages when you get on - if you get on. I don't use London Bridge on the way home. Instead, I get the DLR to Deptford Bridge which takes 23 minutes from Bank and runs on time 99.9% of the time as you'd expect with computer controlled trains. Honestly - it's the most reliable piece of railway track in London.

Anyway, enough of this crap. Today's picture is one I took as I walked through Greenwich Park at dusk yesterday. The building in the middle is the Royal Observatory and the green line is not a Pink Floyd concert but a laser which is fired into the sky along the Greenwich Meridian. So you too can have one of those Homer Simpson moments as you stand beneath it saying "Look, I'm in the same timezone as you, now I'm an hour behind you, now I'm in the same timezone as you again" before someone slaps you for being an idiot.

Quite spooky isn't it? (I promise tomorrow's entry won't be about commuting!)

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, August 26, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The 19th hole

The 19th hole - in golfing terms - is (of course) not a real hole on the course, but the bastion of golfy-manliness and relaxtion with your favourite tipple, after a long game out on the green.

For some reason, it occured to me that the
London Transport Museum, is - to me - the 19th hole of the tube. It's the unnofficial 276th station, and even has its own cheerful 'Museum' sign made up using the standard LU roundel and font, and is part of a bench that you can sit on outside the museum, located in Covent Garden.

I found myself there briefly this morning, buying gifts for some friends that I'm about to visit overseas at the weekend, and I could think of nothing more appropriate as something that I would give to someone as a present than something with a tube logo on it.

The friend I'm going to see has two daughters - aged 4 and 7. And at first I thought that it would be good to get some T-shirts emblazoned with the Underground logo. But when I looked, the only things that they had in childrens colours and sizes were t-shirts that said "Mind the Gap" on them. On a t-shirt. On the front of a t-shirt. On the upper part of the front of a t-shirt. Are you getting my drift yet?

On a mature female, this would be funny as the 'mind . . . gap' gag works rather well on a fully-breasted female, but on minors? Surely that's a bit sick, isn't it? Well I thought it was, decided against it, and went for the safer 'teddy bear' option instead.

Obviously whilst I was there I couldn't resist buying a coloured 'line' mug to complete my own personal collection, as I didn't have the orange East London line one - but don't even get me started on why they don't have any brown coloured ones for the Bakerloo line!

I leave the shop and walk to Holborn to get the Central Line to work. I sit on a seat on a platform, staring right at the big sign in front of me that clearly showed all the stations that trains called at in this direction ... Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, and so on.

A little old lady shuffles along and sits down next to me. Three minutes later as the train is pulling in, she taps me on the shoulder and says "Is this the right train for Oxford Circus?".

Now the 'Neil' inside of me wanted to say "No, you want to get the one after this", or perhaps "There's been a large map clearly in view for the last couple of minutes - why don't you look at that?", but then the nice Geoff inside me said "Yes, it is.. in two stops time!", and waved two fingers at her in a really helpful manner, and then jumped on the train ahead of her... went to sit down, and realised it was the last seat, and so stopped, turned and made her sit on it instead. See how nice I am? Neil would've gotten her changing onto a Thameslink train and ending up at Farringdon.

Speak of the devil, my partner in tube-grime is back tomorrow on this blog, and on Friday as well - no more me as I'm away as well - but I think that Annie's back at the weekend. If she asks any of you how you think we've done, please give us a glowing report and a gold star. It'd be nice to make another appearence at some point in the future.

I'm just gutted that Guinness World Records still haven't got back to us with offical confirmation of our time, otherwise I was going to use the excellent pun "Tubelation!", here to really make you groan ... but I can't, ah well.


; Posted by Anonymous Wednesday, August 25, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


What is it with people and trains?

I'm going to rant about this because it really annoys me that people are so stupid or, at the very least, find it difficult to engage their brains when entering a station.

Every day I arrive at Farringdon station on a Moorgate-bound Thameslink train. Now just south of Farringdon station the line splits in two. To the right is the Snow Hill tunnel for trains towards Blackfriars and London Bridge and, ultimately, Brighton. To the left is the short run down to Moorgate and the end of the line.

As my Moorgate train pulls into the station the platform is awash with people wanting the London Bridge train. 99% of them use the station every day; I recognise their faces. The train has a little window on the front which says "Moorgate". The platform indicator says "Moorgate". The station announcer says "The train arriving at platform 3 is for Barbican and Moorgate only". The train driver, upon opening the doors, says "This train is for Barbican and Moorgate only".

Now this is failsafe, is it not? Every possible precaution has been taken to make sure that people don't get on the wrong train right? Well, no. Now it should be obvious from the fact that the train is empty that it is going to Moorgate and the fact that most of the people on the platform don't get on it should hint that it's not going down the busy branch to London Bridge.

So on gets your typical commuter - mid-30's, woman, talking on her phone not paying the slightest bit of attention to anything around her. And she breaks off to ask me (the only person in the front carriage) "does this go to East Croydon?"
Sometimes I say "yes" because I'm mean. Other times I say "why don't you look at the screen and listen to the announcements like everyone else?"

Occasionally, you get the person who doesn't ask where it's going and suddenly looks confused when Barbican station appears and not City Thameslink. "Excuse me, where's this train going?" "Moorgate." "Shit" they say. To which I reply "well the driver DID say at Farringdon."

One thing that IS likely to confuse passengers however, is the arrival on a tube station platform of a freight train pulling stone wagons. Not many people see these elusive trains on the underground but I was at Camden Town the other day and a strange looking set of lights was coming down the tunnel towards us accompanied by a noise that definitely wasn't a tube train per se. It turned out to be one of those yellow things they use to cart the freight wagons around. Amusingly, the indicator board said "Check destination on front of train" as if it was actually going to stop and let people climb into the wagons. It was obviously going to the section of the Edgware branch north of Hampstead where they were doing engineering works last weekend.

I managed to take a picture of it but I have to admit it's probably the most useless picture I've ever taken as I didn't use flash and the train was accelerating away as I got the camera out. But here it is anyway:

(And not a pun in sight).

; Posted by Anonymous Tuesday, August 24, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 23, 2004

Holiday Schmoliday

So here we go then - a whole week of no Miss Mole to fill your daily diar-tary (geddit?) needs with all things tube-esque, which means that my myself and Neil get to take over for the next five days to entertain your "10 minutes on the web at lunchtime, honest" web browsing moment of the day, and (we like to think) give your life some meaning.

Whilst Annie heads up north to bonnie Scotland for a wee while on holiday, it's poignant to note that the holiday season looks finished for us southerners, as I woke up to breakfast TV news to see a weather forecast predicting rain, rain, and more rain for the rest of the week. Nice!

Following the weather forecast on the TV was the travel news, so I paid particular attention (naturally) to any tube issues in case I was affected.

Let's put it this way - I couldn't have been more affected if London Underground had rang me up personally this morning and said "Hey Geoff - which services would you like us to disrupt to make your journey into work today most problematic?", and then for me to rattle off a list of services and stations - which then did come out of the TV towards me without me having to do that!

My nearest tube station for work is currently White City. Well due to 'overrunning engineering works' there this morning, all Central Line services were subject to delay.

I also live in South London, and often go up the Wimbledon branch of the District Line - not this morning I couldn't though, as due to a signal failure, all services between Wimbledon and Putney Bridge were suspended. No matter ... I can take a train to Vauxhall and get the Victoria line, can't I? - Not today! As due to flooding, there was also no service between Brixton and Victoria.

Still ... battle to work I did, and ended up getting a District Line train where at Sloane Square I got this excellent photo of what I thought was a scandanavian looking gentlemen. And he'd hung his jacket over the handle of one of the interconnecting doors. I'd never thought of that before!

What I did think of was how the carriage was quite empty, and he stayed asleep for quite a few stops. A less discerning person might have thought "I know, i'll nick his jacket" and run out of the train with it just as the doors were closing ... but instead I just took a picture.

He was still on the train when I got off and changed at Hammersmith. I wonder where he was heading - Hanger Lane on the Central Line perhaps? (Think about it...)

More pun-tastic tube fun with Neil tomorrow, no doubt!

; Posted by Anonymous Monday, August 23, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 20, 2004

Guest bloggers

While I'm on holiday......

Bollox to all this, I'm off to Edinburgh (with apologies to
Green Fairy). While I'm away the blog will be left in the (hopefully) capable hands of Neil n Geoff. I'm not quite sure what I'm letting myself in for, and also not quite sure what you'll be letting yourself in for, but whatever happens it will be interesting.

I've never let anyone look after the blog before and it does feel as though the instructions I've left them are ones you would leave to people looking after your potted plants/cat/baby etc.

Please be gentle with them and I'll "see" you after the Bank Holiday.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 20, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Yesterday's Metro Momento

Bear with me, it's Friday

In yesterday's Metro I was reading a story about hospitals who are sending doctors' letters to be typed in India because the NHS can't attract secretaries. I would imagine it's more a case of being too poorly funding to pay secretaries a half way decent salary. So even the NHS is doing the call centre route of outsourcing to India.

Anyway, there have been some misunderstandings in the letters as some of the Indian workers' grasp of English medical terms is "poor" (not surprising, I haven't got a great grasp of English medical terms either). One letter went out which should have reported that the patient had the ear problem "eustachian tube malfunction", but it said they were suffering from "Euston station tube malfunction".

Isn't that a real illness we all suffer have from time to time and I didn't think it was just limited to Euston?

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 20, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Satellite Tube Map

Top map

Just in case anyone says to me "Have you seen this?" which happens more than you'd think (although don't stop saying it, sometimes I haven't and I'd hate to miss a little gem)

A couple of weeks ago I came across this brill image of the geographical tube map superimposed on top of a NASA satellite image of London.

NASA London Underground Tube Map

Simple yet bloody effective. The Circle line really does look like a whale on here. Mr Gardiner has even done a night time version too just after he gave me the last mention in his blog!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 19, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

EastEnders or The Tube?

Reality TV on The Tube

Not sure whether it's classed as reality TV or "fly on the wall documentary", but the new series of
The Tube starts tonight on ITV1 at 7.30pm (I think it might only be on in the Carlton region).

The Tube TV Series starts tonight

I caught the last series on cable as it missed it first time round and it was a cracker. All credit to the Tube really, as some of the characters on it were hardly glowing beacons of customer service and they definitely chose people with character rather than those who would just toe the party line. (Miranda and Darren were personal favourites of mine).

There was a slim chance that I might have been on it this time as I was having fairly regular chats with the production team at Mosaic - but I spose the idea of someone taking the odd picture of people on the tube or sitting at computer writing about the Tube was not quite rivetting enough for them at the end of the day.

Tonight's episode "follows the British Transport Police's anti-graffiti unit as they go on the trail of TOX, the Tube's most elusive graffiti vandal" and there's also filming of Tube staff tackling fare dodgers.

Check out the rest of the series here.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 19, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Meeting Neil n Geoff

A night on the Tubes

Well I finally got to meet the intrepid
Tube Challengers Geoff n Neil and fortunately they didn't insist that I give them the quickest route from Richmond to the Barbican, or even insist that I leg it up and down escalators and work out the best carriage to get on to be nearest the exit for Waterloo when we travelled home.

We met (sadly, at my suggestion) at The Head of Steam pub at Euston and I think they were slightly disappointed that I wasn't quite as Tube geeky as suggesting this railway themed pub would appear. I was a bit worried that the pub would be full of trainspotters but at 7pm it was full of the usual commuter types having a last bevvy before going home.

By the time we left though there was only one other woman in the pub besides me and the remaining men did have strange trainspottery looks about them. There was an old bearded guy at the bar wearing a Circle Line Pub Crawl T shirt and we were accosted by a man on his way to the toilets who enigmatically said "I know what you're doing" then disappeared into the bowels of the pub.

Although he didn't look remotely like Mystic Meg on the way back from the loo it appeared he wasn't as mad or as drunk as he at first appeared.

Anyway, Geoff n Neil were a good laugh. Geoff can talk for England and Neil has one of those encyclopediac type memories and would be perfect to have on your team in a pub quiz. Yeah, of course we talked about the Tube Challenge and blogs and stations and fairly geeky stuff. But there was also chats about chavs and The Standard and relationships and Big Brother and wife beaters (or bottles of Stella). I also got to show off my credits and pictures in Mecca's book One Stop Short of Barking (which you can actually get from Amazon now).

Back to the mysterious Mystic Meg bloke, who Geoff n Neil did a good job of ignoring first of all, but when he came back from the loo he said "You're planning that Tube Challenge you are". Actually Mystic Meg wouldn't really need to be worried about her day job as the table had a fair amount of Tube maps on it it and Neil had been doodling on bit of paper doing flow diagrams on the Circle Line.

But more weirdly this guy had actually done the challenge himself 30 years ago. He didn't really look old enough to have done it thirty years ago, but he had, just for fun. So there I was in the middle of a reasonably animated discussion about whether it was easier to do it thirty years ago than today (more stations now, but the Tube website helps with journey planning). Geoff and the guy swapped email addresses and I'm sure we'll hear more from him.

When we left we all wistfully wondered whether in thirty years time we'd be sitting in a pub bumping into people who were planning a Tube challenge in 2034. Wonder if they'd manage it any faster?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 17, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 13, 2004

Friday Afternoon Fun

London Underground complaint emails

My friend Kathryn led me to a fairly bizarre and hysterical exchange of emails which started off as a general rant or "a veritable sileage heap of bile" by a "Mr Pond" to a range of companies including London Underground, Virgin Trains, Sherrif Ken, Connex, DLR and others. To their credit Ken and the London Underground were the only people who replied.

The reply from the Tube was very funny, but it appears that there was someone (Comrade Paul) in the background pulling strings, as one of the email replies had the full exchange of "not to be seen by the public" emails behind it. Comrade Paul was acting like Cyrano de Bergerac and penning the responses for Patrick Green (Paddy) in Customer Services and it makes an excellent read.

From the first curt official response "If you are disastisfied with London Underground's services I suggest you avoid using them. Perhaps you may also consider a stress management course."

It all calmed down and amazingly became quite jokey and friendly, and but from the email which should never have been seen, not only was Comrade Paul involved in writing suggested responses but a guy who calls himself Shteve (sic):

I would not encourage Mr Pond. I suspect that not only is he a homosexual, he is also a paedophile. He enters into dialogue with strangers because he sees it as validating his existence and therefore his activities......

Naturally things escalated after this email was inadvertently seen.

So if you have a spare 20 minutes -
read and weep.

Moral of the story - always check the bottom of your emails before you forward a reply to someone else.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 13, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Someone must know how to get these

No talking - penalty stickers

Moog left a comment yesterday about these stickers:

No sitting sticker taken by me

"I was in London on Saturday, and I saw 2 dead funny stickers..they were both like proper 'stop' stickers for smoking, etc, but one said 'no talking: penalty �200' and the other said 'no eye contact: penalty �200' my friend said it must be the gorillas...but what does that mean?"

No talking sticker - Originally seen on funkypancake

I think she means Guerilla marketing. Someone's either trying to confuse the hell out of tourists or it's just emphasising all the wonderful official rules we have on the Tube.

Has anyone seen any others or got any other theories on them?

From isthisyou's fotolog

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 13, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Air Conditioning in 2009

Curse of Metro

I don't know what it is but the last time The Tube did a press release on air conditioning on the tube, the weather was shite (
St Swithins Day, they were asking for trouble). Today Metro have a piece on air conditioning on The Tube and this morning it would have been easier getting a gondola to work as it was chucking it down (although I spose it is still hot).

Metro helpfully tell us that "because the Tube was designed and mostly built long before air-conditioning was thought of, any solution will not be cheap or simple".

Granted we are dealing with a system that is old, but that doesn't stop us from having tons and tons and tons of other "expensive and complicated" improvements that the Victorians didn't have on the Tube.

Metro continued to say that "New fleets of trains for the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and East London Lines are planned under PPP contracts and, when Transport for London too responsibility for running the Tube it insisted air cooling be included in the design. However, these trains will not start running until 2009".

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 10, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 09, 2004

Monday's Metro Momento

Olympics on the way

After the excitement of Big Brother, we'll now have many more weeks of watching half dressed sweaty people cavorting around on TV and in honour of the Olympics, Metro pushed out a tongue in cheek guide to the commuting Olympics, claiming that "negotiating your way through ticket halls, escalators and labyrinthine exit routes demands a level of athleticism to match that of Olympic contenders".

My personal favourite from the five was the Ticket hall hurdles as I've seen a number of people jump over the barriers. The "Method" according to Metro is to:

"take five steps back, crouch in the starting position and launch yourself over the barrier, making sure you flash your ticket at the guard as you pass".

Other sports were the Tube Triple Jump (leaping onto the Tube just as the doors are closing), the Travelcard Triathlon (poor multi-disciplined people like me who sometimes use train, bus and tube in a single day), Commuter Sprint (obvious) and Routemaster Relay (like the commuter sprint but legging it onto the old routemaster double decker buses).

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 09, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Circle Line Party 3

Short report from Geoff Marshall

I wasn't there but hundreds of people turned up to the Circle Line Party on Friday night including intrepid tube challengers
Geoff n Neil. You can see from Geoff's pictures below that despite the efforts of the British Transport Police, that people looked as though they were having a good laugh and it must have freaked out the tourists and regular commuters.

Circle Line Party - round three

Geoff said: "Neil & I were on the first Circle line train that came through (clockwise) at it stopped at Sloane Square .. For a good 10 minutes, delaying all the other trains! When we realised they were turning everyone off, we hopped on a train going east back to Victoria, where the circle line train behind was there with MORE people on board partying away! But they also then got chucked off by the BTP. Then when services resumed, they announced that no trains would be stopping at Sloane Square, obviously to stop all of those that had been de-trained at SS getting back on the next clockwise circle service.

However! The last I heard was Neil telling me that all those chucked off at Victoria, simply got on the next ANTI clockwise circle service at Victoria, and they were still partying hard at Blackfriars which is when I last heard from him!"

Party on the Tube

More pictures will doubtless be posted on the Circle Line Party site.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, August 07, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 06, 2004

Afternoon teaser

Close yet far

Someone's just left a message on the board for my main site asking for the names of two tube stations that are less than a kilometre apart but would take over an hour to reach by tube.

The most well known are two that come up in Bill Bryson's book Notes From a Small Island. Bank and Mansion House. If you didn't know better you'd go to Bank, take the Central Line train to Liverpool Street, transfer to the Circle Line and continue for another five stops to Mansion House and emerge 200 yards down the street from where you started. But I'm not sure that would take over an hour. Or maybe it would.

The handy
walkways tube map has lots of these little routes where it's quicker to walk than use the tube, so I suppose it's bound to be one of the ones one here.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 06, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Chav alert

Well it is Friday

It's hot, the tube was like a sauna this morning, the office is like a sauna right now (yada, yada, moan, moan), but it's almost lunchtime and I've just been looking at the
chavscum.co.uk website.

Part of me thinks this site is evil - well 1% of me does, but there's a massive part which just loves looking at pictures of "Britain's new ruling class" of which David and Victoria Beckham are King and Queen of.

So imagine my surprise when I spotted that a contender for July's Chav of the Month was spotted sprawling on the tube, with his feet on the seat opposite:

This bloke has chav written all over him.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 06, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Oh those Russians

Moscow Policeman Shoots Subway Passenger for Free Ride Attempt

Blimey, I have seen lots of people blagging a free ride on the Tube by sticking closely to the person in front of them when going through the barriers (is this called bunking in or
barrier squeeze - see point five???) and many people who look way over sixteen going through on child tickets, just don't try doing the same thing in Russia as you could get shot.

This was on Heart FM's news this morning in one of those .....and finally stories:

"Rustam Baibekov, a migrant worker from Tajikistan, was detained by the policeman as he was trying to pass the turnstile with his friend on a single token at the northeastern Sokolniki subway station. The policeman asked if he had any money for a fine or any registration, and it turned out that Baibekov was not only in Moscow illegally, but had no money on him.

Upon hearing this, the policeman drew his service pistol and shot Baibekov in the mouth

Fortunately the guy survived and the policeman has been charged with attempted murder. Although "Medical inspection has shown that the policeman was sober, although he slightly smelled of alcohol. In his own words, the policeman drank a glass of beer in the morning, before work,"

Check out the full story in Mosnews.com.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 05, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Circle Line Party

Round Three

I normally find out about these parties earlier than now, but Spacehijackers and some other guys and gals are organising another
Circle Line Party which I found out about today thanks to Geoff Marshall (might get Geoff and Neil to help me with the blog more regularly as they seem to be very enthusiastic at the moment).

The idea behind the party is that people just turn up on the Circle Line on Friday and have a party. That simple. It's sort of like a flash mob for those who know what flash mobbing is (loads of people turning up "randomly" in a place where they're not normally expected). It's all very jolly and good natured but the element of "randomness" takes normal commuters by surprise.

At the last one there were pole dancers (plently of poles on tube carriages), music, booze, streamers etc etc. Anyway the timing is all kept pretty last minute so head off to the site on Friday morning if you want to find out more about exactly what time it'll be taking place.

Love the lyrics to Going Underground being used in the introduction to the site.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 04, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Wrong kind of rain

Only an hour and a half to get home

I was expecting far worse - even though it wasn't raining in Old Street although the sky was very very grey and a few of us had seen lightening, there were already reports that the transport system was screwed because quite a bit of London had flooding.

Onto the Tube's website I saw that the District Line was already suspended between Turnham Green and Richmond, although I wouldn't have needed to have been Mystic Meg to have guessed that in advance. You only need a slight bit of drizzle for the District Line between Turnham Green and Richmond to be suspended. So, it was bus and British Snail home. Waterloo was completely choc-a-bloc and the Underground was closed at Waterloo too, but by some stroke of luck I got a reasonably fast train out.

Coming back from my meeting at Tooting Broadway though I saw an reasonably appropriate poster for tonight's wet weather. If there were a few giant sized sink unblockers perhaps that might ease the flooding.

I wonder if this will cause a
diplomatic incident between plumbers and London Transport though?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 03, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Spies and Sparrows

Nearly got caught today

I was desperately trying to take a picture of a woman's rucksack on the seat next to me with the intriguing words "From the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister" on it. The idea of someone who works in some capacity with John Prescott (former transport minister) making their whole rucksack take up a seat was just surreal. But I was just too close to her, and I realised that although she wasn't exactly giving me funny looks directly, she could see what I was doing (or well trying to do) in the reflection in the window opposite. After a couple of stops with me looking totally suspicious she moved to a seat further up the carriage as she must have thought I was a complete maniac, was going to steal the bag or thought the bag had some government secrets in it (or all three). So sorry folks, sometimes being too close to people is a disadvantage for these shots.

And the sparrows - you know I've been trying to collect more pictures of those Yahoo ads - this one is not on the tube but apparently is very near to New Cross Station - so sort of counts and was taken this morning by Neil - out of
Neil & Geoff's Tube Challenge.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 03, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE