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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Saturday, December 31, 2005

London Transport Heroes in New Year's Honours List

Station staff member and Tube driver amongst those recognised

So it's not all complete doom and gloom for London Underground station staff (and please try not to give them a hard time today, it's not exactly their fault they have selfish, fat, miserable dullards as union leaders - although if I were them I'd join a different union - sorry mini rant over). Today the Queen recognises people who have made a significant contribution to the UK, and the New Year's Honours this year, rightly recognises the fantastic work undertaken by paramedics, emergency workers and London Transport staff on July 7th when 52 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the attacks on our transport system.

"MBE recipients include David Boyce, the station supervisor at Russell Square Tube Station, 'who despite the potential danger ran into the tunnel and provided first aid'.

Tube driver John Boyle, the first on the scene at Aldgate station, and British Transport Police Constable Deborah Russell-Fenwick, who tended to the injured on the scene of the Tavistock Place bus blast, both receive an MBE.

William Kilminster, a London Ambulance Service paramedic who braved appalling conditions to attend the bombed train between King's Cross and Russell Square, also receives an MBE.
" See
Channel 4 News for more on this.

I'm sure we would all like to thank the many other London Transport staff, tranpsort police and emergency services who helped on this horrific day.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 31, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

World's Hottest Urban Blogger!!!!

Ooops, I seem to have won an award -
World's Hottest Urban Blogger

World's Hottest Urban Blogger - 2005Well, no iTunes, as I didn't win the Urbs' World's Best Urban Blog, although mightily pleased to have come second (which meant narrowly beating the great Gothamist - no idea how I managed that). But, thanks to all your votes and support, I am now the World's Hottest Urban Blogger! I was pleased to fly the flag as the only UK finalist in both categories. I must thank my rather attractive Yahoo! Avatar for making me look a lot better in cyberspace than I do in reality.

More news when America wakes up, so I can find out more about what being the Urb's World's Hottest Urban Blogger actually means (Do I have to write a cheesy acceptance speech like in Miss World? Do I get a little crown and a sash? When do I get my FHM modelling contract?). But once again, thanks to everyone who voted and I'm delighted to have finally won an award for this blog!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Jubilee Line Suspended for longer train upgrade & Tube Strike Latest

No Jubilee Line between 26th and 30th December (correction 29th December)

Don't forget there will be no Jubilee Line service between now and the 30th December (inclusive) while they get the
longer trains with the extra carriages up and running. Update - amazingly this has re-opened ahead of schedule.

Earlier in December I was on the Jubilee Line going to Canada Water and at Waterloo at the far end of the platforom they had some interesting signs which nicely illustrate how from early January, more people should be able to get onto the trains. It will allow "an extra 6,000 people to travel each hour when the Tube is at its busiest"

Jubilee Line Extra Carriage Sign

Check out the Tube's website for more on the upgrades.

New Year's Eve Tube Strike Latest - 28th December Update

So the Jubilee Line will be up and running just in time for the station staff to go on strike at mid-day on New Year's Eve for 24 hours. For more on the New Year London Underground Strike see my earlier post. There is a slim chance that this could be averted as both parties say they are still willing to talk. Rail union leader RMT's Bob Crow said "we will make ourselves available for talks if the company shows it is prepared to negotiate seriously" and the London Underground said "We remain ready to talk to the RMT at any time to resolve this issue.....If the strike does go ahead, London Underground will seek to run services where it is safe to do so."

As usual I will keep you posted when I learn more. The very latest appears to be London Underground (LU) proposing talking to ACAS, the arbitration service, on the 29th but with RMT saying that as far as they know, no union officials will be there! (See Bloomberg News for more on this) Meanwhile, LU is urging the RMT to attend the talks on Thursday. While you wait for them to get their acts together, you might like to pop along to this post for more on the arguments behind the New Year's Eve Tube strike and join the discussion in the comments.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Hoorah for the January (post Xmas) Sales

I love post Christmas Sales

Just got back from some of that shopping, where you go out to buy a handbag in the sales and come back with five candles, two cardigans, three tops, two camisoles, one jacket, two handbags, a suedette reversible throw, some filofax innards for your filofax and...... a reduced price wooden toy Tube train, as mentioned as one of the
Xmas Gifts the day before Christmas Eve.

Reduced Price Wooden Tube Train

The two toy London Underground carriages were already a bargain at a fiver and now they're even more of a bargain at £4

Get down to an Early Learning Centre near you before they sell them all!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, December 24, 2005

On the Twenty Fourth Day of Christmas.....

My Tube Love gave to me

Some London Underground Travel Sweets

Today's the day that a lot of people will be driving home for Christmas or taking long train journeys home, so what better way to keep your concentration or refresh a yucky mouth, than to suck on some London Underground travel sweets.

London Underground Travel Sweets

These were available in Whittards for £3 a tin.

I'd never really seen the point of Tube travel sweets until now. With the proposed New Year's Eve London Underground strike more people will be taking to their cars and National Rail so they may need them there. But I was particularly interested to see that the flavours of these sweets seemed to be aimed at RMT union leader Bob Crowe - bitter lemon and sour grapes!

(See the Twenty Third day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thames Tunnel Wapping Tour - Today

Robert in full swing at the Thames Tunnel Wapping TourWapping fun if you've done your shopping!

Almost forgot to mention that today is the last day for 2005 of the truly brill innuendo ridden Thames Tunnel Tours at Rotherhithe and Wapping, held by Robert Hulse.

So if you've smugly done all your Christmas shopping or if you fancy going to Wapping anyway, you can have an expertly guided tour of Brunel's twin tunnels and his Wapping Shaft!

Tickets are £5 each and you also need to have a valid zone 2 ticket/travelcard/Oystercard to travel between Rotherhithe and Wapping. It includes free admission to the Brunel Museum which apparently is "decked for Christmas Shopping". Tours leave every hour on the hour from 1pm till 4pm from Rotherhithe London Underground Station - for more details - click here or call 020 7231 3840.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Festive Cheer on the Piccadilly Line

Santa girls collect for children's charities

Just to lighten up from the proposed
New Year's Eve Tube Strike, when me and Neil were travelling back yesterday on a crowded Piccadilly Line train, a couple of girls got onto the Tube dressed as Santas with collecting buckets. They were collecting for children who will be in hospices and hospitals over Christmas and it was warming to see that the majority of people in the carriage gave them some money.

Santa collecting money on the London Underground

A Very Merry Christmas to you all and I'll probably be back on the days between Xmas and the New Year! Have fun!

Oh and if you've enjoyed the blog over the past year, please vote for it and me in the Urban Blogging Awards - I'm up for World's Hottest Urban Blogger, which I seem to be in first place for at the moment and World's Best Urban Blog, where the blog is currently a close second. Voting is open until 26th December - Boxing Day. Many thanks!

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, December 23, 2005

A not so Happy New Year thanks to striking Tube Staff

No Tubes on New Year's Eve - Evening Standard Front PageNew Year's Eve London Underground Strike on

News just in that the talks between RMT and the London Underground have broken down, so short of some miracle happening it looks like the first of two 24 hour strikes will be going ahead on New Year's Eve.

"RMT officials and Tube chiefs failed to reach a deal in the dispute through the conciliation service Acas.

"London Underground station staff have also voted for another 24-hour walkout starting on 8 January

"The Institute for Advanced Motorists said it thought the strike, which is due to begin at midday, could increase the risk of people drinking and driving because of the lack of public transport."

The full story is on the BBC and for all of our opinions and discussions check out yesterday's post.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Twenty Third Day of Christmas.....

My Tube Love gave to me

Wooden London Underground Tube Train

Many thanks to regular commenter Fimb for sending the penultimate of the London Underground related Christmas gifts. It's a Toy Wooden Tube Train from the Early Learning Centre and as Fimb says it is a bargain for a fiver.

Packaged London Underground Wooden Toy Tube Train - taken by Fimb

Although it's on the Early Learning Centre's website, Fimb took the above picture showing that it's still available in stores now, so if you need a last minute gift pop over to your nearest branch. I love the caption on the website though:

"2 tube train carriages to take the city people to work."

With the rate the RMT are going with the New Year's Eve threatened London Underground strike, two carriages is probably all we will be getting in the New Year.

(See the Twenty Second day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Fashion Victims

Last Tube Fashion Victims of the Year

It was a bit light on fashion victim spotting on the London Underground this week, mainly because there are a lot fewer commuters around as it's the holiday season. Also lots of people were in black tie or party gear and so there weren't too many people around I could see in clothes that really "screamed" fashion victim.

So we only have one this week, a teenager wearing some "interesting" trousers:

Juicy Trousers

And just in case you couldn't get enough, she's ready for her close up, Mr DeMille:

Juicy Pants close up

I particularly like the length of these "leisure pants" and also the way that the general cut of them makes her .... er... arse (why split hairs when you are obviously wearing something designed to make people look at it?) look a load bigger than I'm sure it is.

Check out last week's London Underground Fashion victims here and there's also a Flickr set for them.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

A moment's diversion.....

Getting to know you meme

I'll update the blog with the New Year's Tube strike news as and when I hear, but in the meantime you may fancy doing the blog challenge or meme on my non Tube Blog. Either put the results on your own blog (let me know if you do), or leave them in the comments area below.

Have fun!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yet another Tube Strike Threat (updated - Tube Strike on)

New Year Tube StrikeNew Year's London Underground Industrial Action

With more ridiculous predictability after the threats of the Christmas strike we now have threats of a New Year Tube strike. It's probably very unlikely to happen but you can learn more about it on the BBC site. "Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) members are expected to vote for industrial action which could take place on New Year's Eve. The RMT fears the planned closures of ticket offices, as more people adopt Oyster cards, could lead to job losses.

But Tube bosses said they were redeploying staff to more "visible positions" and there would be no cuts

The London Underground say that since the introduction of the Oystercard, one million fewer paper tickets are being sold every week. Although I can't say I've noticed any shorter queues since the Oystercard made its merry way into some commuters lives.

"Because of this reduced demand on our ticket office, we are deploying some staff to more visible positions on stations and platforms," said the spokesman.

Watch this space or Google News for further updates and the latest, but I have sneaking suspicion that it will be resolved fairly quickly and may not even reach ballot stage.

UPDATE - I was wrong. It has reached ballot stage and members voted in favour of the strike - check out the full story on Yahoo News and BBC News

"The strike is set to begin at midday on New Year's Eve and finish 24 hours later. The second one-day action will begin at 6:30 pm on January 8.

A spokesman for London Underground said they would run a service where "it was safe to do so," without elaborating

No Tubes on New Year's Eve - Evening Standard Front PageSo much for the free New Year's Eve travel sponsored by Nat West, if there's hardly any travel at all. Let's hope it does get averted by LU in the meantime.

UPDATE - Friday 23rd December - 8.30am - The talks are taking place between the RMT and the London Underground later today at Euston. Yesterday Ken Livingstone (the Mayor formally known as Red Ken) condemned the strikes saying that the RMT's plan conflicted with a "groundbreaking deal" it signed last year. The deal meant that RMT tube station staff would effectively work a 35-hour week.

Sheriff Ken said, "These moves have been agreed and safety validated for 40 out of the 44 station groups. London Underground have also given the unions categorical assurances that there will be no staff cuts.

"There can be no justification for the RMT now reneging on its agreement and trying to ruin New Year's Eve for thousands of Londoners."

UPDATE - Friday 23rd December - 3.40pm
Just heard on the radio that it looks as though there has been no resolution in the dispute, so unless some miracle happens it really looks like there will be no Tubes on New Year's Eve. This has been confirmed by BBC News.

I hope NatWest ask for their money back for sponsoring the free travel.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Twenty Second Day of Christmas

My Tube Love gave to me

Some London Underground Fridge Magnets

London Underground Fridge Magnets

Yet another gift that you can buy at most tourist shops in London. Obviously you don't have to use fridge magnets just for your fridge, but for filing cabinets and .... er..... well..... er... filing cabinets.

I particularly liked the chunky rubbery feel these ones had, even though the font was a bit much to be desired.

I got a set of four for £5 which was a bargain!

(See the Twenty First day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Toothing on the Trains?

First Dogging now Toothing for Train and Tube Commuters?

Thanks to Station Supervisor, The Great Orme of
London Underground Life I came across a story about a "craze" that is supposedly taking over the UK, in an attempt to make life spicy for commuters!

"Bored UK commuters are arranging impromtu rumpy-pumpy via their Bluetooth phones and PDAs. The new craze - known as "Toothing" and certain to displace dogging as the sexual flavour of the month - began on a London commute when a flirtatious bluejacking escalated into a meeting in the railway toilets.

According to a report on Reuters the first toother was a chap called Jon, who also goes by the exceedingly clever handle "Toothy Toothing". He says that he was flirting with a fellow commuter via Bluetooth for a couple of days on his normal train journey. Eventually, she suggested nipping into the lav for a quickie, and toothing was born

"Bizarre as this sounds, Jon estimates that there are thousands (yes, thousands) of toothers on trains in the UK. The message boards on his site are certainly busy."

Mmmm. This whole thing sounded remarkably dodgy to me and with a bit of digging around I found out that it was all a hoax:

"Dozens of news organizations, including Wired News, (and the Daily Mirror - see the end of their article - "Websites have sprung up dedicated the craze, including some devoted to using it to hook up with strangers for no-strings sex.") were duped by pranksters claiming to be practitioners of "toothing," in which strangers in the U.K. were meeting up on commuter trains for clandestine sexual encounters. The liaisons were supposedly organized through messages broadcast via Bluetooth phones and handhelds. However, one of those involved now says the story was an elaborate hoax. After first creating an online forum, the pranksters persuaded friends to fill the site with scores of salacious, but fictitious, stories."

Check out Wired for the full story.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Giant Milk Carton Spotted on the London Underground

And you thought the
Tube Santas were weird....

Version-3-point-1 left a cryptic message yesterday about me not receiving something about a milk carton on the London Underground. I asked her to explain and she did a little more by re-sending me the following:

From Version3point1

From Version3point1

Version-3-point-1 then explains that it was a fancy dress outfit which caused more than a a few looks when she got on the Tube with it:

"Mike refused to both stand and sit next to me on the Tube. Embarassed by me and my costume, he still managed to take photographs of me. I was glad I managed to cheer up some of the other passengers too. I spied some people getting out their mobile phones to take pictures as I tried to keep my balance in the milk carton."

Read the full story here.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

When Mince Pie Eating was Illegal

Step away from the Mince Pie, step away from the Pie

On the Tube last night after coming home from yet another Christmas night out (
Mecca's Publisher's Jo Hemmings' Birthday Party - if you're interested - and it's my ex employer Justgiving's Xmas Party tonight), I saw some drunken people tucking into some Mince Pies on the Piccadilly Line. In the days of Oliver Cromwell, it's likely they would have been punished for doing this, as I learnt on the radio that Oliver Cromwell banned mince pies.

"Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Council abolished Christmas on December 22, 1657. In London, soldiers were ordered to go round the streets and take, by force if necessary, food being cooked for a Christmas celebration. The smell of a goose being cooked could bring trouble. Cromwell considered pies as a guilty, forbidden pleasure. The traditional mincemeat pie was banned."

The DJ, Jamie Theakston took this a bit further as he reckons that the law hasn't actually been repealed, so we could all find the police knocking on our door on Xmas Day sniffing out Christmas goodies!

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Twenty First Day of Christmas.....

My Tube Love gave to me

A London Underground Map Apron

For the cook or washer upper in the household

London Underground Map Apron

I have no idea where or even if you can buy these online, but if you are feeling brave enough to step out into the West End to some of those great tacky tourist shops you should be able to see an apron like the one above. Amazingly, I snapped this one at Portobello Road market in Notting Hill at the weekend along with some other Tube tat which looked way, way out of place amongst the trendy second hand or hand painted, hand dyed, made with Peruvian goats' hair gifts that you commonly find in Portobello Road.

(See the Twentieth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Santas on the London Underground

Santas go mad on the Tube

I must thank one of my colleagues for letting me know that it was
Santacon in London on Saturday. To the unitiated Santacon is not a day when we all go out and con Santa, but a day when lots of Father Christmases from around the world congregate. Quite why they do this is beyond me (although there is some information about the whys and wherefores on Santarchy). But let's just say there must be a lot of traumatised kids around seeing so many Santas in one day.

They were in full force on the London Underground as you can see from the pictures from David Bradshaw and NK Guy below (thanks guys for letting me use your pictures)

First we see Santas racing up the down escalators complete with Oystercards:

© 2005 NK Guy; used with permission

Then they fill the Central Line with Festive Cheer

© 2005 NK Guy; used with permission

One of the Santas is sadly left behind on the platform

© 2005 NK Guy; used with permission

Also a group/gaggle or soiree of Santas at Bond Street Tube Station, complete with a Robotic Santa for the 21st century

© 2005 NK Guy; used with permission

On the Northern Line they seem to go a bit wild on the Tube, obviously drinking too much egg nog at this point

© 2005 David Bradshaw; used with permission

In the evening, a bit tired with all their antics they hang around St Paul's Tube station:

© 2005 NK Guy; used with permission

THEY ROCK! Click on the pictures above to see more of what they got up to in London. Thanks again to NK Guy and David Bradshaw for letting me post these pictures.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Twentieth Day of Christmas.....

My Tube Love gave to me

A copy of
Underneath the Underground: Further Tales by Anthea & Wendy Turner

Today is the last day to order from Amazon to get your pressies in time for Christmas, so the book above is the only one from the series available with a 24 hour delivery against it. "The only one from the series", I hear you cry. "You mean chirpy TV presenting sisters Anthea and Wendy Turner wrote more than one book about the London Underground?" It's true and they're really rather good!

Detail from Underneath the Underground

Underneath the Underground: Further Tales is the 2nd book of a series that chronicles the adventures of a group of mice who live on and beneath the tracks of the London Underground. But these aren't the dirty mice, we know and er.... hate, but little cartoon characters who wear nice clothes and have names like Neil, Nigel and Nancy.

Underneath the Underground by Anthea & Wendy Turner

Just in case you think it's a move for the sisters to break into the children's book market (which it probably is), the series is dedicated to The Humane Research Trust, a registered charity which raises funds to develop alternative methrods to the use of animals in medical research. So you can buy these books and feel you're doing your bit for charity too!

(See the Nineteenth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, December 19, 2005

On the Nineteenth Day of Christmas

My Tube Love sent to me

London Underground Shot Glasses

Phew, after all of the very good discussions we've been having over the weekend about the public inquiry into July 7th (or lack of one) and Tube drivers attention whilst driving (or lack of attention), I feel like a drink. What better way to enjoy your favourite shot or strong tipple than in a London Underground Shot glass

London Underground Shot Glasses

"Don't drink and drive - use the tube! This set of 6 solid shot glasses are presented in their very own Tube. Made in the UK and a licensed London Underground product, these glasses are suitable for all types of spirits. 6 shots with the following messages: 'Not in Service' 'Zone 1' 'Danger 630 volts' 'Hold Tight' 'Mind the Gap' 'Emergency Alarm' - a really great gift." - say e-directory.

You can buy these at the London Transport Museum shop, however, if you want to buy them online in time for Xmas delivery, your last chance to order is today 19th December from this site - e-directory (telephone - 08700 273432) - where they are being sold for £14.99 which is a very good discount over the usual £21.99 price from London Transport.

(See the Eighteenth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Monday, December 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sponsored Walk for July 7th Victims

Almost six months on and remember the Victims

I was reminded by
Caroline that I promised to blog her sponsored walk:

"On January 7th , six months after the attacks both I and a group of friends plan to walk the Circle Line from Edgware Road Station at 10am passing through the areas affected in the blast: Russell Square, Tavistock Square, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and ending in Aldgate East. At Tavistock Square I plan to hold a small memorial for those that lost their lives or were injured on July 7th.

Please show your support and join the circle solidarity walk, or alternatively sponsor us through this site. To sign up and become a team member please contact me at: circlesolidarity@thebergers.co.uk

The walk, is now only a few weeks away. So far I have raised £1,300 for the victims and hope to reach my target in the coming weeks. Many thanks for your support

Best of luck Caroline and hopefully everyone remembers that on August 25th with Tube Relief a group of 65 tube challengers (including many regular visitors to this site, and even I took part in a bit of it), travelled around all stations on the London Underground to raise money for the victims and also show terrorists that they weren't afraid of travelling on the tube for the fun of it. So far we have raised over £11,000 for the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund and I'd like to take this as an opportunity to thank everyone who sponsored us too.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, December 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Spies warned of Tube Attack & MI5 Ruled London bombers were not a threat

Sunday Times & Independent report of leaked documents uncovering London Underground attacks

Completely coincidentally, I've just finished writing a post about The Underground Conspiracy, a great read about drug running on the Tube, when I heard on the radio, that The Sunday Times have discovered that "Spymasters warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that Al-Qaeda was planning a 'high priority' attack specifically aimed at the London Tube.

"A leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which oversees all spying, is the first definitive evidence that the intelligence services expected terrorists to strike at the Underground.

The disclosure will fuel critics' suspicions that Blair decided to rule out a public inquiry into the bombings last week because it could expose intelligence failings at the highest level

Well, there's a surprise. Only a few days ago we were discussing the lack of a public enquiry into the July 7th attacks and now there maybe yet another reason why Tony Blair doesn't want one!

"Ministers and senior security officials have insisted that there was no warning of an imminent attack ahead of the July 7 bombings, in which 56 people died.

While technically true, the leaked document dated April, 2003, will be seized on by critics to show that ministers failed to disclose that they knew Al-Qaeda was targeting the Tube. A statement in September 2003 by the prime minister and Sir John Stevens, the then Metropolitan police commissioner, that a suicide attack was 'inevitable', did not name the Tube as a specific target.

"The Tories demanded the government publish the whole JIC document and disclose what other intelligence there had been about threats to the Tube. Patrick Mercer, the party's homeland security spokesman, said: 'This leak underlines our demand for an independent inquiry.' "

MI5 ruled London bombers were not a threat

And as if we didn't need more arguments to have a public inquiry, Ian has sent me a link The Independent who revealed: "Two of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people in the July 7 attacks were scrutinised by MI5 last year but were not considered to be a threat.....

Shahzad Tanweer, 22, who detonated a rucksack bomb on the Tube train at Aldgate, is believed to have been indirectly linked to an alleged plot to build a bomb in 2004. It has already been established that the suspected mastermind, Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, had been known to security services.

The disclosure that a second of the four bombers had come to the attention of MI5 is likely to increase pressure for a public inquiry into the London attacks and any failures in intelligence. Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, is resisting setting up a wide-ranging independent inquiry, instead opting for a more limited "narrative" led by a civil servant. The Independent has also established that there are so many new terrorist suspects coming to the attention of the security agencies and Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch that there are not enough officers to investigate them all


In the meantime Rachel a survivor from the King's Cross carriage that was blown up is demanding a public inquiry and urges that we sign a petition to show our support. If you believe that we should have an inquiry, please sign and also publicise on your own website or blog too.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, December 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Eighteenth Day of Christmas

My Tube Love gave to me

A copy of
The Underground Conspiracy

No, nothing to do with the Stockwell shooting or cover ups, or public enquiries or lack of public enquiries on the Tube attacks, but a brilliant children's/teenager's book with a story set on the London Underground:

The Underground Conspiracy

It's a shame that The Underground Conspiracy by Catherine Storr was first published in 1987 as it meant it didn't get the sort of publicity it would get now, of a children's book crossing over into adult territory, and a great read for adults and kids alike.

The story is about Jass, a teenager who loves to travel round on the Tube, just for fun. However, her underground activities land her into quite serious and frightening trouble, when she is blackmailed into carrying packages around on the system she knows so well. It's basically drug running on the London Underground which is a remarkably sophisticated premise for a children's book, and I really urge you to read it. For tube geeks you'll see how her extreme knowledge of the London Underground system comes into play.

It's also a great gift for friends and family who may like "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" (which incidentally has a great London Underground section which describes an autistic teenager's very first Tube journey - he loses his pet rat on the tracks, almost electrocutes himself rescuing it, gets on the Tube and notices every single sign, ad, person and piece of upholstery). Like The Curious Incident, The Underground Conspiracy for a while has that same naiviety of a teenager mixed up in an adult mystery and not quite knowing how to handle it.

(See the Seventeenth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, December 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Animals on the Underground Clothing

Animals on the Underground Clothing has arrived!

Animals on the Underground Vest and Hipster Knickers

Last week I posted about and ordered some fab Animals on the Underground clothing, where animals have been "found" in the London Underground Map. My "Hound" vest and hipster knickers arrived yesterday. They rock!!! This hipster knickers are possibly the most comfortable pair of pants I've worn and are really soft.

So hoorah to Nick Thomas and the team from animalsontheunderground for getting them to me so quickly.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, December 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On the Seventeenth Day of Christmas

My Tube Love gave to me

Some London Underground Map kitchen or bathroom tiles

Hoorah, it's the weekend, that time when men (well mostly men) have thoughts of home decoration and home improvement (or cleverly have these thoughts put into their heads by wives, girlfriends and partners). So if you are handy with a bit of grout or if you want to put your wife or girlfriend or boyfriend or partner off the idea of you ever being let loose on the tiling front, pop over to
art meets matter and buy these tiles.

London Underground Tiles

However, don't get too excited, you may need a small mortgage if you are thinking of tiling the whole bathroom with them. These tiles are £59.99 per set of six - nice!! (Thanks to Fimb for providing the updated pricing and stockist information)

(See the Sixteenth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 17, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, December 16, 2005

Northern Line Train operating with no Driver?

London Underground Union defends drivers' actions

Can't find any information on this at all on the net at the moment, but apparently in last night's Evening Standard there where "shocking" pictures of a Northern Line train which had been operating with no driver. Also another set of pictures were published of drivers operating trains whilst reading and paying no attention to the tracks in front of them between High Barnet and Totteridge & Whetstone. Driver's union Aslef have defended their drivers' actions, by saying that no one has ever died from a train operator reading a paper whilst "driving their train".

I heard this guy, Steve Grant, on
HeartFM news saying that a few months ago Tube staff were being praised as heroes (in fact Tony Blair praised them officially earlier this week) and now The Standard are raking up stories about them not paying attention at the controls. Well, I actually think The Standard have a point. I often see trains pulling in where the driver has been reading a paper or having a cup of tea, and it doesn't exactly fill you with confidence and helps to fuel the argument that Tube drivers are overpaid for what they do (Tube Drivers can earn around £35,000). I suppose the trains are designed to work with little driver intervention sometimes, and the union official is right about the fact that no one has died because of this.

Any thoughts or any more news on this?

UPDATE - Just had a chance to look at District Dave's Forum which has been discussing this since yesterday and it appears, the train with no driver picture didn't exist, but there were others:

Colin said: "I walked down to Tower Hill station from Fenchurch Street, on my way into work and see all the SubStandard (nickname for The Evening Standard) signs emblazoned with "train with no driver - see amazing pictures". As it was only 20p I thought sod it I'll buy a copy rather than wait and find one later. Gets about three pages in to see three pictures - all with drivers in the cab. So they're false advertising then. Of course anyone else doing that would have a story written about them. The pictures show a driver drinking a tea/coffee, a driver reading something and, admittedly a little concerning, a driver with a very young child in the cab. Any of these activities could quite easily occur at any platform. Considering how clear the pictures are, I'm astounded that the trains are actually moving - especially at the claimed 35mph."

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 16, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Sixteenth Day of Christmas

My Tube Love gave to me

Some London Underground clothing for my dog!

As an introduction to my weekly London Undeground Fashion Victims, now your dog can also feel like a "Fashion Victim". Yesterday's Metro had a feature on Xmas gifts for people's canine companions, but again they left out some top clothing for dogs with a London Underground theme.

Here's the feature:

Dog Coats in Metro Newspaper

So why didn't they add this top coat?

Dog coat in London Underground Upholstery

I think the dog looks rather fetching in his/her District Line moquette /seat upholstery coat. Hopefully they have some left in the London Transport Museum shop as they are no longer on their website.

And shame on Metro for missing this excellent Mind the Gap Dog T-Shirt

Mind the Gap Dog T Shirt

However one of my favourite things for pampererd pooches is this wonderful dog umbrella!

Dog Umbrella

(See the Fifthteenth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 16, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Fashion Victims

London Underground Fashion goes Pantomime

I believe that this weeks London Underground Fashion Victims were playing homage to that great Christmas tradition of the Panto. The footwear on these ladies has more than a nod and a wink towards some great pantomimes.

Dick Whittington Boots

Firstly, we have a lady who was definitely getting on a train towards Waterloo so that she could follow Dick Whittington's steps and "turn again" to City Hall, home of our current Mayor of London

Dick Whittington Boots

I know that these turn ups on boots are very popular right now, but for me the jury's still out. Every time I see a person in them, I feel like slapping my thigh and saying, "Why there young Dick, which way to London?"

Peasant Boots

These boots would probably be very appropriate for a peasant extra in something like Jack and the Beanstalk

Peasant Boots

Beyond Description

The following boots really defy description for me, but I think that some pantomime director would be able to find a good use for them

Boots that are beyond description

Aladdin Shoes

She must have been a bit cold in the shoes, as I only snapped this woman last night. But full marks for going out in December more or less in a pair of sandals

Aladdin Shoes

Particularly loving the way these shoes turn up at the toes. All she needed was a genie's lamp and she would have been set up.

Metallic Boots

Not exactly pantomime, but I couldn't resist adding these metallic boots. We've had a lot of discussion over the weeks about (in my opinion), hideous, metallic bags, which I am STILL seeing all over the place. But this was the first time I had spotted some Metallic Boots

Metallic Boots

Perhaps they could be used in a show like Faye Tozer (out of Steps) new "musical" Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens!

Check out all previous London Underground Fashion victims here and there's also a Flickr set for them.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 16, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Have mince pies and a chat about the Jubilee Line extra carriages

New London Underground Jubilee Line Extra Carriage AdSeven Cars Trains on the Jubilee Line and Sharing Xmas delicacies

If you fancy a free mince pie and the chance to have a chat with some London Underground staff about the new seven car Tube trains pop along to Canary Wharf station between 4pm and 7pm this afternoon and evening. This was in this morning's Metro although I can't find anything on Metro's news feeds.

Regular readers and people who know such things will know that the Jubilee Line will be getting longer trains from January 2006, and here's your chance to ask those involved whatever you want to ask.

Have fun!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

No public inquiry into London's Transport Attacks

Should there be a public investigation into the 7/7 attacks?

According to the Government there shouldn't. According to the victims' families there should.

Yesterday, the Home Office confirmed that there would be
no public investigations into the attacks in London where 52 people were killed and hundreds more injured. Tony Blair said: "I do accept that people of course want to know exactly what happened, and we will make sure that they do.

"We will bring together all the evidence that we have, and we will publish it so that people, the victims and others, can see exactly what happened.

"But I really believe that at the present time, if we ended up having a full-scale public inquiry when actually we do essentially know what happened on July 7, we would end up diverting a massive amount of police and security service time, and I don't think it would be sensible

We wonder at what time it would be sensible? Is there ever going to be a good time to do these investigations? The Home Secretary apparently consulted Scotland Yard on the implications of issuing the file to the public, possibly in an edited form.

Any report published by the Home Office would be the first official overview of the atrocities, which killed 52 innocent people on the London Underground at Aldgate, Edgware Road, Russell Square and King's Cross, and on a bus at Tavistock Square. So as usual, it's left to rumours and speculation and more mystery over what happened. The words "cover up" "Nanny state" "we know best" "You only need to know what we want to tell you" and "Blair is a fooking idiot" easily spring to mind.

In the meantime, the families of the victims and the survivors themselves are demanding answers. BBC News interviewed a number of survivors and family members of people who were killed. As regular readers know, blogger Rachel was on the King's Cross carriage when the bomb went off and her moving account of her survival and the aftermath has kept us all enthralled. In the interview she said, that ordinary people need to know the answers to their questions

"Apparently it will take too long, be too expensive and only tell us things we already know.

We have spent a thousand days in Iraq and £3.1bn. Is that too long? Is that too expensive? Is the link between Iraq and 7 July what we already know? Of course it is.

Ordinary people, not politicians take the buses and tubes each day. Ordinary people pay the price for wars and policies politicians implement.

We have questions, we deserve public answers

Fortunately Rachel is not going to keep quiet about this and on her blog she says:

"Even if you don't like the questions, don't like the answers, think you know the answers already, Mr Blair, it is us, not you, who are paying the cost for this, every single bloody day. If the cost of answering questions makes you squirm, then too bad. We voted you in, we pay for you and your wars and your policies to be implemented and you say you act 'in our name'. We run the risks on the trains, the buses, the streets each day. You answer to us, the public and if I could shame you into answering us now, my God, I would."


In the meantime Rachel has set up a petition which she urges you to sign a petition to show our support. If you believe that we should have public inquiry, please sign and also publicise on your own website or blog too.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Fifthteenth Day of Christmas.....

My Tube Love gave to me

A copy of
What's In a Name

What's In a Name - London Underground Station Name Origins

A fab little book which explores the origins of every Tube and DLR station name. The amazon reviewer gives a typical entry:

"DEBDEN takes its name from a natural location of the area and is recorded as Deppendana in the Domesday Book. It is derived from the Old English DEP, 'deep' and DEN, 'valley' - which means simply 'the deep valley'. It was recorded as Depeden in 1227. The station was opened by the Great Eastern Railway as Chigwell Road on 24 April 1865, and re-named Chigwell Lane on 1 December 1865. It was again renamed as Debden on 25 September 1949 when first used by Underground trains."

It's great how you get other information including the year the station opened, and the name changes that have since occurred. There's also black and white photos of many of the stations or their immediate surroundings.

I also like the cover with the strange mis-spelling of station names - "Holeburne" "Pynnor" and "Dolly's Hill". A bargain at £4.95.

(See the Fourteenth day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

OHMIGOD I'm currently 2nd in World's Hottest Urban Blogger

Blimey, thanks for voting but keep 'em coming

I just noticed that I'm actually second now in the category that I was actually most surprised to reach the finals for "
World's Hottest Urban Blogger". So in honour of the occaison I went out put on a strappy top and had another image made of me, which hopefully the guys at Gridskipper will update.

Still not doing too bad for the final category on this page - "World's Best Urban Blog" and am amazed to be the only UK blog in the finals for that.

Remember, voting is open until the 26th December and please continue to vote, even if you've already voted, multiple votes count!

Thanks so much!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Three Tube Mice on the London Underground

Which Tube Line has the most rodents?

Coming back from my book group last night I was waiting at Piccadilly Circus, on the Piccadilly Line, heading towards Heathrow and I saw three mice. They weren't all on the track, two were. But one was scuttling around on the platform near the signals where the front of the train would be (the bit that is cordoned off). Sadly I have never been able to take a picture of Tube mice, as the little bastards are way too fast.

Mecca's book -
One Stop Short of Barking claims that Waterloo (northbound on the Bakerloo Line) is a particularly good place to spot mice, and says that they are most likely to be found wherever more food wrappers are dropped.

In her book she cites a station assistant announcement to a couple of kids who were peering at some mice on the track:

"'This is an announcement for the two children near the edge of the platform. Please do not stare at the mice under the tracks, as they are in fact Albanian killer mice and very dangerous. Please stand well back from the platform edge'

As the kids stopped looking and sheepishly backed away, the same voice came back over the system: 'This is an announcement for the mice on the station: "Eek, eek, eek, eek, eek!' Thank you

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

On the Fourteenth Day of Christmas

My Tube Love gave to me

Animals on the Underground Underwear

Some of you appeared to be a bit disapproving of the the Mind the Gap thong suggested on Friday as a London Underground gift. Well, particularly when it came to the idea that the thong might be unisex, and the idea of men wearing it didn't go down brilliantly.

Worry no more, as the excellent Animals on the Underground site has come up with two perfect pairs of underwear for gentlemen and the laydeez. I blogged Animals on the Underground quite some time ago when it was launched by someone who "found" animals "hidden" in the Tube map. Since then the site has gone from strength to strength and has now surpassed itself with these fab men's trunks with an elephant strategically placed

Animals on the Underground Mens' Trunks

We also have some "fishy" ladies underwear just so the girls don't feel left out

Animals on the Underground Hipster knickers

I was a bit worried that you might not be able to order them in time for Xmas, so I called Nick Thomas the guy who runs the site and he said that if you order by this Friday 16th December, they will do their utmost to try to deliver for Christmas. They also do T shirts, babygro's and bibs, and christmas mugs.

They rock - big time!

UPDATE - Bless Nick Thomas, as he's actually added this post to their news section, I just discovered it when buying myself some Hound dog hipster knickers! I'm now bumping up by order to thirty quid so I get free postage! Cheers Nick!

(See the Thirteenth Day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

On the Thirteenth Day of Christmas

Poster for London Underground Horror Film CreepMy Tube Love gave to me

A copy of Creep on DVD

Loads of you, I'm sure, have heard of the latest London Underground horror flick Creep which came out in cinemas in late January 2005 and indeed a group of us went to see it on February 4th - check out our reviews of it.

Tube purists will find a lot of holes to pick in it (see all the locations used in the film), but as a scary movie based on late night Tube commuting, it's pretty good.

"Funded by the UK Film Council, Creep was directed by ex-EastEnders scriptwriter Christopher Smith and stars German actress Franka Potente, who appeared alongside Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity. Critics have called it the best horror film set in the capital since American Werewolf In London.

It plots the fate of a smart young woman who leaves a party to find a less boring one but never arrives. Drunks and sewage workers are shown being dragged into Tube tunnels and cut up with a chainsaw. It was filmed in three disused stations - Down Street near Green Park, Strand and Aldwych
." said The Evening Standard

Ironically, the London Underground ad for Creep was for a short while banned because it was thought to frighten passengers.

But The Evening Standard "intervened" and the ban was lifted. How The Standard quite managed to do this is anyone's guess, and perhaps the whole thing was a publicity stunt to get PR for the film!

Anyway for £5.97 through amazon.co.uk it's a bargain!

(See the Twelfth Day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, December 12, 2005

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

My Tube Love gave to me

The promise of
Hellgate: London in 2006

Computer Game on London Underground - Hellgate:London Screengrab 1

Lara Croft at Aldwych StationThe London Underground has been featured in PC games before (disused station ((Aldgate - correction)) Aldwych(!)), is in a Lara Croft game) and I'm sure there are tons and tons of games that I have missed, but Jon Choo emailed me about the soon to be released Hellgate: London which has strange demonic creatures prowling London and the Tube and blasting the hell out of each other. A review of the game in PC Gamespy says:

"London turns out to be the perfect city in which to set a demon-infested dungeon crawl. This sprawling city has seen its share of disasters, and it's been rebuilt again and again since Roman times. Aside from the baffling mix of centuries old architecture, London also boasts multiple underground networks. Everything from Roman aqueducts to a mail train network to the famous London Underground and World War II bomb-shelters. These sprawling underground networks make for perfect dungeons."

The makers of the game Flagship also agree: "Set in the near future, London is caught in the aftermath of a demonic invasion. Mankind has been driven into the sanctuary of the Underground in order to survive, desperately hoping to one day regain a foothold in the rapidly decaying world above."

Computer Game on London Underground - Hellgate:London Screengrab 2

You can see a video clip of the Hellgate:London here (Quicktime). From a first person view you pass a bus stop with the London Transport roundel on it, then go into the Tube system, down an escalator where you face the demons on the tracks.

(See the Eleventh Day of Christmas Gift here)

; Posted by annie mole Monday, December 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

You're Beautiful IS about the London Underground

James Blunt's Subway song IS about the Tube

At the risk of getting lots of totally predictable comments from
Ian and Anthony (yes I know you don't like James Blunt, you really don't need to tell me any more), Geoff sent me an email to say that Blunt's hit single You're Beautiful is based on James Blunt's encounter with an ex-girlfriend on the London Underground.

I've blogged my love of this particular James Blunt song a number of times (here, here and here). The song is about that passing encounter you might have with a stranger on a subway, where you pass them, and think "Mmm, he or she is hot" and you know you'll never see them again.

The lines "she smiled at me on the subway, she was with another man" do actually refer to the Tube. James Blunt was on BBC on Saturday night and according to Geoff ""Goodbye my Lover" is about a girl, THE girl for him that dumped him that he believed was 'the one' and he couldn't believe it when she ended it. It turned his world upside down.

"You're beautiful" is then about when he saw her for the first time a few months later after she'd dumped him. It was on an underground train in london, they met eyes for a second - a lifetime flashed by - he said - and then she turned away, got back with her new bloke and they got off the train, and he's never seen her since."

UPDATE - Just to dispell the rumours that I fancy James Blunt or think all of his songs are brilliant - I don't. In my opinion You're Beautiful is an excellently written love song and deserves all the plaudits. However, I was sent a link to a truly funny and wonderful spoof of the video to You're Beautiful, entitled You're Gullible. You can even throw rotten tomatoes at James while he sings. James Blunt (like Jamie Oliver) is certainly one of those people that you love or hate! Well done to the eclectech guys for actually doing something funny and entertaining though, rather than just bleating on about how much they hate something.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, December 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Naked Train Drivers, Copulating Train Drivers

And who said driving trains was dull.....

Sadly (or not, depending on your overall opinion) this didn't happen on the London Underground but on National Rail. Train drivers on Midland Mainline, which operates trains across the East Midlands and into London, have apparently been daring each other to do wacky things on the train. However, the latest escapade involved a pesky driver getting sacked for stripping naked and taking a picture of himself while driving a train at 125mph.

Train's naked Driver Sacked - Metro

When I first read this in Metro I thought it was hysterical, but I spose today, now that I've seen more reports of it and realise it's probably not the most responsible thing in the world, to be in charge of a high speed train with 400 commuters and stripping off to have a lark with your mates!

However, I also found through The Sun, that a couple had been found well... er.... copping off with each other in a state of undress in the driver's cab of a train.

Detail of cartoon in The Sun

The Sun in a rather outraged fashion reported that "A SHOCKING video of a train driver having sex with a woman in his cab sparked fury last night. The tape, handed to The Sun, shows him groping the brunette, stripping off her clothes and performing sex acts....."

"It emerged on the day we revealed another driver had been sacked for stripping naked in his cab in a high-speed game of dare. At least FIVE other Midland Mainline drivers are said to be trying to out-do each other in shocking antics.

But the Derby-based company insisted the driver in the steamy train sex video was not one of their employees. The new 53-second mobile phone video shows the uniformed man putting passengers' lives at risk as he abandons the controls to romp

Ah, how I love the word "romp".

The article continues "One furious railway worker accused the drivers of 'playing Russian Roulette with passengers' lives'." Andy Reid, Labour MP for Loughborough, Leics - which is served by Midland Mainline - said: "This is a serious issue. Some people might see this as a bit a laugh but I think most passengers would be worried if they knew the driver of their train was not fully in control. There is a time and a place for pranks and behind the wheel of a train travelling at 125mph is not one of them."

The Sun - ever the public watchdog and I'm sure in an attempt to find the evil sex crazed driver, rather than in an effort to get an exclusive scoop and sell more papers close the article by asking "DO you know the driver? Call The Sun on blah, blah, blah, blah."

; Posted by annie mole Monday, December 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE