Welcome to the fun, "irreverent & informative", award-winning London Underground - Tube Blog.
Click here for other London Underground guidance. Contact me here

Going Underground's Blog
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Refurbished ... almost

I got a tip-off a few days ago that one - perhaps both - of the completely refurbished District Line trains would be out and about in operation on the Olympia to High St. Ken shuttle all day yesterday.

So I headed off to Earl's Court and loitered about, all eager with anticipation, to find that this wasn't the case, but instead one of the trains did have the one carriage that had originally been refurb'd out. So you can see here what eventually they'll all look like when they're done.

They've got nice new shiny green grab poles, modified seats, plus digital displays (not pictured) which tell you the next station, etc... Plus the doors now have a warning beep, unlike just sliding shut unprompted as they do at the moment.

I'm quite sure someone will post in the comments when we can expect to see the whole refurbished trains out and about ...

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, April 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A new take on arm-rests

Would these catch on?

I'm gradually catching up on emails I've been sent over the last two weeks and am loving an email I was sent recently by Zhang Zhi a Chinese student studying design in France.

Amongst other things he (apologies if you're a woman Zhang) said:

"My project for graduating is related to the improvement of the interior of public vehicles, mostly subway and buses..... I'm fascinated by the stations of Jubilee line which is like science fiction.....For my project, the main direction is to improve the comfort, physical and psychological. About the physical one, I work on how to improve the comfort of people standing in trains. I've sent some pictures that I've made and I'd like to have your suggestions"

Well it almost looks like a prop on Celebrity Wrestling, but you never know maybe padded or shaped armrests for people standing might catch on. Does seem to take up quite a bit of room though.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 26, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, April 25, 2005

Smelly Tube, Smelly Tube, What are they feeding you?

Tube Smells

A request from Neil Lee which hopefully someone will know the answer to:

I don't suppose you know why the Jubilee line smells of manure? I always travel from Paddington to Southwark, and its not particularly nice.

I would like to ask the same question of the East London Line from Shadwell to Canary Wooolf - the very few times I've had the pleasure of travelling on it, the carriages themselves stink of urine or something else really gross. Why is it just these bits of the Tube that smell?

Years ago there was an experiment to waft pleasant smells through the Underground system - "a fresh, watery floral bouquet of rose and jasmine combined with citrus top notes. Tiny touches of fruit and herbs give way to strong woody accents and a hint of sweetness in the base." or something to counteract the "interesting collection of odors in stations, reflecting all aspects of London life, some nice, some not so nice.". Apparently it worked better in Paris. The London Tube fragrance called "
Madeleine" was introduced at St James Park, Euston and Piccadilly stations on 23rd March 2001. It was taken out of action on 24th March 2001 as it was making people feel sick. Pity.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Expecting the worst

Covering the usual situations

Great picture taken by Dave from
funkypancake of a display board he saw on Friday at Moorgate.

I suppose it could be argued that these were just leftover signs because so many "Good service" signs were already being used, although that's probably me being generous.

Update - BTW if anyone wants a definition as to what delays are check out The Station Master's blog.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, April 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 21, 2005

ETA Boards Bug

An amusing five minutes

After my little rant in yesterday's comments I'm not apologising for using a dreaded three letter acronym (TLA arrrgggghhh) - but I think everyone knows that ETA is Estimated Time of Arrival and Geoff
blogged about the ETA boards that you can view online which show, from the comfort of your computer, when the next Jubilee or Bakerloo line train will be arriving.

Dave from alwaystouchout pointed out that someone on the london transport newsgroup, discovered there's a little manipulation that can be done:

Spot the deliberate mistakes when you're looking for the times from the following stations:



Canary Wharf

Oops - basically if you put any old name at the end of the long address at the moment it will put that "station name" in the title for the results. Ahh, you can have, well......seconds of fun making screen grabs of these and sending links to your friends. Enjoy, before the bug gets fixed.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Map translations

I just noticed today that on the
TFL map site, they've added 'Translated versions of tube map'. For one moment, I got all excited thinking that all the station names would appear in foreign languages too, before realising that "Oxford Circus" is still "Oxford Circus" whether you're English, French or Arabic!

But other bits of the map have been translated, and they're quite novel to look at, here's a bit of the Arabic one.

They're doing them in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujurati, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Turkish, Vietnamese and Spanish.

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, April 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Tunes

I should start by saying that this will probably only work for you if you have Apple's iTunes software installed on your computer.

Quite bizarrely, on the day that I updated
a page on my own website here of a comprehensive list of all 'tube related' tunes - i.e. songs which mention the underground, or underground stations, I notice on the iTunes music store that they're selling:

"I *heart* London", a collection of London based songs which feature many wierd and wonderful songs, many with tube stations in the title!

Ever heard of the band 'Faces'? No, me neither, but apparantly they have a song called 'Richmond'. This and other such London Tube-esque delights are all available for download. I've just got a copy of a song called 'Notting Hill Gate' which I'll now be humming to myself the next time I'm waiting there for a bleeding District line train to arrive!

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, April 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Canary Woolf

Next tube in 26 minutes?

You probably know I use the DLR each day and just as you come down to the entrance to the line from Bank, there's a massive sign which proudly boasts that there's trains running to Canary Wharf every five minutes. I only need to go one stop so it's pretty immaterial to me how many trains go to Canary Wharf as I can get any train. The platform indicator said the next train was bound for Lewisham in 4 minutes. After three minutes passed it changed its mind (if platform indicators have minds) and the next train was one for Canary Wharf in 26 minutes.

We all piled on and the driver (yeah, yeah, I know there aren't drivers on DLR trains), train operator or whatever ever the official term is for people who work on the DLR, said rather wryly "This is the Canary Wharf train and hopefully we will be leaving sooner than in 26 minutes".

It hung around for a minute or so and then started to leave and stopped. DLR guy then sighed over the tannoy "To whoever has their bag in the doors, please just pull the bag out of the doors, so we can leave in less than 26 minutes. It's simple isn't it? Yes? No? Yes?" (I think he was related to either Marjory Dawes or Geoff). He was having a bad day, but we finally left.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Theydon Bwaaaas

"I think LU should promote it more", I wrote the other day when commenting on how they hadn't made much about the fact that off-peak and after 7pm, the most you'll pay for an Oyster Prepay single is just �2.

So I was pleasantly suprised when I saw a specially written sign telling people just that - the fact that it would be cheaper for them to get an Oystercard.

And where did I see this ... King's Cross? Oxford Circus? Victoria? One of the many busy and bustling hubs of the tube? No! At Theydon-bleeding-Bois, many miles out of town on the Central Line in the depths of Zone 6.

I went there for two reasons. One because, being say to me "Oh so you've been everywhere on the tube then" (world record holder 'n' all that), and whilst, yes, we've been through every single station, I've never got out at a lot of them to see what's there!

So after meeting
Quin Parker when doing his Zone 6 thing last weekend, I felt the urge on my day off to travel out to somewhere that I'd never got out at before, and Theydon Bois was just that station.

And I'll tell you this .. there's not much there! Except a car park, and a country lane, oh and the cute station itself, along with the ticket seller eyeing me up suspiciously as to what I might be doing there on a drizzly Friday afternoon.

As part of my on-going quest to make a note of a carriage/door position for every single station (Fifth carriage, third door down going north if you're interested) I made a note of that as well, took a couple of photos, and then scooted back into town.

; Posted by Anonymous Saturday, April 16, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 15, 2005

Dancing beans and rasta hats

Two mysteries to be unfolded

I should have put a "bollox to all this, I'm off to ExCEL" message on the blog as from Wednesday I was off at the London Marathon Exhibition until Saturday, so no time to blog properly. However, I wanted to leave you with two requests/puzzles (and Geoff is kindly keeping you all entertained while I'm otherwise engaged).

Following the Tube's announcement that new uniforms are being introduced over the coming months (blogged last
Thursday), I found out that 100 to 150 Rasta hats are also being produced in the new Tube colours and material. But has anyone ever, ever seen a Rasta station assistant or even driver for that matter? Anyone? And if you have where?

Also there's apparently another London Underground Quiz doing the rounds. I've not been able to find it on t'internet, but someone emailed me to say:

"I am doing a quiz which features forty questions leading to underground stations as answers. I have completed thirty nine but I am stuck on the last one. Some of the clues feature in your on-site Tube quiz but any help with the following would be greatly appreciated.

�Site of dancing beans�

My nearest guess is Bounds Green but it does not really fit."

I'm way too tired at the moment to think of this for more than five minutes, but I'm sure someone out there has the answer.

Off to bed now - early start followed by another 12 hours on my feet smiling at people.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 14, 2005

50p mystery

Once again, I'm opening myself up to the risk of people saying "But we already knew that!" but being a new user to Oystercard - I didn't, and I bet there are some of you that didn't know this either.

At the risk of being stalked, you can see from my Oyster card usage screen below that I travel between Wimbledon and White City a lot, which is a Zone 3 to Zone 1 journey.

According to
the TFL website this should cost me �2.50 to do this, but no! Look closely and you'll see that at certain times it only cost me �2.00.

Puzzled by this I asked the guy at the ticket office who explained that if you travel using PrePay Oyster after 7pm in the evening (as my journeys were) then it becomes even cheaper. The most you'll ever pay - even on a Zone 1 to Zone 6 journey - is two quid! Good eh? And if you ask me, LU don't publicise this enough, so I thought I'd do it for them here.

Anyway, I picked up a 'fares' leaflet at the station which did indeed confirm this if you scrutinised it enough, and then went back to the TFL website (which I think is badly organised and very confusing to use) to find the same info and eventually after much digging around managed to do so - but it's not that obvious.

Looking back at my usage screen, all the �2 journeys are indeed after 7pm in the evening ... except for one! It still think there was a Wimbledon to White City journey made on Friday 25th March at 11.48 in the morning (you can see it in the picture above), and it still only cost me two pounds. I have no idea why.

Do I owe someone 50p? :-)

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, April 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I know the tube is meant to be hot in the summer...

... but, it's not really summer yet is it?

Couldn't resist another candid photo on my way in on the Central Line this morning. This chap was wearing, well - they were more swim-wear really than proper shorts really, and I just found myself thinking "Er.. that's very nice mate, but it's not really hot and summery yet is it?"

He got off at Shepherd's Bush.

I'd betcha anything he was either an Aussie or a Kiwi :-)

; Posted by Anonymous Wednesday, April 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

District Trauma

I have to say, that as a somewhat seasoned tube-traveller, it probably pissed me off me more that most when I don't make a smart move on the tube and miss my train. But it's not my fault when LU don't help your case either.

Coming home last night on the District, there appeared to be no Edgware Road - Wimbledon service, even though there were no announcements that anything was wrong, and the 'Good Service' signs were all in place.

I ended up taking a Circle Line train to High St. Ken which is rapidly become my least favourite station, all due to the confusing and mysterious Platform 4 from which Olympia trains sometimes arrive at, and leave from.

That's right four platforms (Have a look for it next time you're there!), which is really unobvious as it's tucked away hardly signposted at all. In fact, there's a big permament sign that says "All Olympia Trains Leave from Platform 3". Next to that there's a changeable sign that lights up saying "Next train to Earl's Court leaves from platform..." and tells you which platform.

Well last night, about me and 20 other people thought we'd been clever by thinking that we'd get the Olympia train from Platform 3 to take us round to Earl's Court, only to then realise and see that it left from Platform 4 - the train beside us.

Getting to Earls Court then involved getting the next Circle Line train to Gloucester Road instead, and then a westbound District, where - ironically - a train then came down from Edgware Road heading for Wimbledon. I was just about to get on it when a train came in on the adjacent platform also going to Wimbledon. Oh no - not this again! The old "Which one will win the race to the signal" dilemma, which I've lost before.

I took my chances and opted for the non-Edgware Road train. I got on and sat down, to be then vaguely aware of a guy talking loudly to a station assistant on the platform. I think he was probably berating him about the lack of Wimbledon service, and why he didn't know which train was going to leave first.

The guy (a Travelling Worker on A Train, or 'TWAT' for short) got on the the train and ... "Yeah, and you're an igorant bastard" he said back to the SA, who then seemed to politely reply with something I didn't catch. "Ah.. don't be such a fucking wanker" said Mr. Twat which made everyone in the carriage look up at him.

I left it a couple of stops and then took a candid photo of Mr Twat-man. Anyone know who he is? I just wondered. He got off at Southfields.

At least our train 'won' the race though, despite leaving Earl's Court a couple of seconds later. We got to Wimbledon first, althought I missed my South West Trains connection by three minutes, and had to wait almost half an hour making me much later than normal getting home. I didn't swear at anyone though...

; Posted by Anonymous Wednesday, April 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dust, anyone? Dust? Dust?

Dust closes Waterloo & City Line.

Had a slightly convoluted journey this morning as I heard on the radio before leaving home, that the Waterloo & City was closed. I hoped that by the time I had arrived at Waterloo that it would have re-opened, but nah, no such luck, it was still closed. However, the board had the slightly worrying sign outside saying that it was closed due to "Dust".

I wondered quite how much dust would have to be on the tracks or whatever, to close the actual line down (admittedly the line is only a small piece of track running between Waterloo and Bank). A few weeks ago I had been sent an anonymous "in the public interest" email which in a nutshell talked about dangerous levels of pollution and asbestos and other nasties found on the Waterloo and City line. The anonymous person had apparently sent the report to me and other London bloggers and sites to bring it to the public eye.
I didn't blog it at the time as I thought it was a bit weird and possibly the long report was an elaborate (but dull) wind-up.

But now I'm not so sure. Searches on t'internet reveal nothing (apart from a pretty old story on the Beeb). But they wouldn't as the report I was sent was supposed to be "leaked" or not for the public eye. Has anyone else heard anything about dust levels on the Tube - or have the fluffers gone on strike on the Waterloo and Shitty Line? Our resident dust expert Anthony Smith will surely have something to say about this.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

My Station

This sounds like something Microsoft would brand. "My Tube", "My Underground" or similar.

Introducing ...
YourStation.co.uk where you can click on the cheerful coloured blob that represents your station, or maybe just a point where you were passing through on your journey and had a story to tell about it.

Go and have a look and you'll see what I mean - just don't let it detract you from reading this blog too much!

; Posted by Anonymous Monday, April 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 08, 2005

Tube Flip Flops

I wish I had smaller feet

My only ever so slightly flippant comments about the old London Underground uniform becoming a collectors item yesterday, followed by
Mark Garth's comments about expecting to see the uniform on ebay, has meant that I've just had a quick look on ebay to see what's available.

Despite my love of t'internet, I must be one of the few people I know who has never bought or sold anything on ebay. I've looked on it loads of times. I think I even registered on it once, but never got round to bidding or getting my credit card out or resurrecting an ancient PayPal account. But I think I may well sell the London Underground jumper from yesterday's post.

The trouble with putting London Underground clothing in the search in ebay is there's a brand of shoes called London Underground. So when you think you might be getting some real Tube Doc Martins with the tube roundel on (see PixelDiva's pic below), you end up with the other London Underground Doc Martins.

Not for sale on ebay - Picture from pixeldiva's great show project

As yet I've not seen any staff clothing on ebay, but in the search came across these cool Tube flip flops.

London Underground Flip Flops

Unfortunately, I have really big feet (size 7 or even an 8 in some shops), so I wouldn't be able to squeeze my tootsies in them. But anyone who has size 5 feet you have three days to nab them. Just right for the balmy weather that's heading our way this weekend.......

Watch this space for when I get round to sorting out ebaying the jumper.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 08, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 07, 2005

How long does it take to build a tube station ... ?

... a lot less longer than it does to replace the lifts at them, I bet.

Didn't something like this happen at Elephant & Castle recently? When that was first built, it took six months, but when E&C was refurbished it almost two years or something silly.

I can't help but think that the scales of time involved with Queensway are also a bit screwed - they're closing it for a year as from Sunday 8th May (although it's interesting that
the article on tfl.gov.uk says that it will be open in 'Summer 2006', and summer to me means June/July/August which is therefore OVER a year long) just to replace the two lifts that are inside.

A year to replace two lifts? Really? Ah ... and it's being done by Metronet. The same people that brought you yesterday morning's rush hour delays and disaster, that was branded 'Embarassing if not disgraceful' by Bob Kiley.

Oh well, at least it will make my journey between Oxford Circus and White City a few seconds quicker, as the train will slow down but not stop as it passes through.

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, April 07, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

New Tube Uniform

In the next few months the sky blue/turquoise blue/tube blue (no idea how to describe this blue) uniform will be a thing of the past and new navy blue uniform will be gracing the bodies of London Underground workers.

This London Underground jumper will be a collector's item

According to the
LU "The first staff to wear the uniforms will be on the Central, Waterloo and City and Bakerloo lines on April 25. The uniform change will be completed by July 4......The latest update takes advantage of new and improved fabrics, as well as incorporating modern clothing classics, such as a fleece and polo shirt." I actually thought I'd seen them in advance of that date, as yesterday I saw a woman outside the Waterloo entrance of the Waterloo & Shitty line wearing a reasonable blue fleece. It wasn't quite navy, but certainly looked different from the normal tube blue.

Years ago I remember that Jeff Banks was brought in to design the new uniform for LU staff, but as he was also responsible for designing the Brownies new uniform, I suppose it was no surprise the staff ended up looking a bit like grumpy Thunderbirds puppets.

Not sure who the new designer of the uniforms is, but if their idea of "modern clothing classics" is a fleece and a polo shirt, we should be in for some great trendy apparel. But don't worry we'll only have another five years to put up with the design.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 07, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Top Photo

Sorry still haven't got round to getting my camera sorted out with batteries and the DLR and Waterloo and Shitty Line are probably filled with people who would sue me if they saw me taking piccies of them, but came across a cool tube picture today on
flickr taken by adamh who says "I almost got the face lined up correctly!":

I also like the woman with the baseball cap on the left who looks like her head is about to fall off.

More public london underground pictures from flickr here.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 05, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE