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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.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tube Sent to Coventry's Aid

Coventry City's football team had to travel on the Tube to reach their Championship tie with QPR after their team coach became stranded.

According to BBC News, Coventry's manager Micky Adams commented "We were told the bus was stuck in traffic so we decided to get on the tube... We bought 23 single tickets at Hanger Lane station and our unsung hero was Jay Tabb, who knew we had to change at Hammersmith to go to Shepherd's Bush. I feel a bit sorry for him as well, as I did not even put him in the team." Adams added: "We took a bit of stick from West Ham and Fulham fans and got to the ground at 2.20pm."

The trip on the tube to Shepherd's Bush on the Hammersmith and City line obviously did not upset their preparation too much - they went on to win 1-0. You may however class themselves as lucky, as Hammersmith is not on the Central Line - one might assume that they actually started their journey at Park Royal.

; Posted by Chris Saturday, November 25, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, November 24, 2006

London Underground Fashion.......

Not exactly Tube Fashion Victims

Quick post from me as I'm off to Cuba later today and the blog will be left in the capable hands of
Neil and Chris while I'm away so be nice to them.

So before I go it's not Friday's "normal" victims but people who've deliberately gone out of their way to look a little unusual on the Tube.

Firstly we have the glam crowd of seventies throwbacks at glamourous Glamoursmith, who possibly could be auditioning for either Brookside or Harry Enfield's The Scousers - Calm down, calm down.

Glamoursmith Victims

Finally and incredibly well spotted by Andy Green (although he would have been hard to miss), a nice set of buns!

Buns at Queen's Park

See you in a couple of weeks, I'll be smoking large cigars, sunning myself and hoping that Castro stays well enough so we can see his belated 80th birthday celebrations!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, November 24, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not on the London Underground

More Roundels from around the World

A bumper pack of roundels today which will keep the Tube's lawyers on a nice winter break.

Ghent in Belgium Ghent in Belgium 2

Firstly two from Ghent in Belgium taken by Andrew. He said "I was staying at a B&B in the suburbs of the city, and nearby was a bar called Speakers' Corner. It's very close to Ghent's modern art museum and in the student area. They were using roundels in the windows, both straight London Underground logos, and one's adapted with the bar's name. I managed to get a couple of photos, but apologies they not that clear. I was struggling to avoid reflections from the glass."

From Belgium to San Sebastian in Northern Spain and Ian had taken the another Underground establishment:

San Sebastian

Not exactly sure what it is though!

Now moving further away from London we go East where Jacob "found this one whilst wandering around Budapest near the Moskva Square station near Buda Hill. It looked like it was a cafe using the symbol."

Moskva Square Cafe Sign

Also looks like someone was using the bin as a toilet!

Finally we go across the Pond. Sharon was in New York and took this near their Chinatown area

New York Chinatown

"It's the banner of a furniture store, I believe."

And in sunny Southern California, Julia G spotted a hair salon with a very familiar signage:

Southern California Hair Salon

Southern California Hair Salon 1

Perhaps blokes who go in there and ask for a Livingston or a Hendy rather than a number 1 or two. Or for something a bit more bouffanty (is that a word) they could ask for a David Brown.

Thanks to everyone for those and they've been added to the ever growing roundel set. I'm off to Cuba tomorrow so will see if there's anything in Havana. Please email me if you spot any roundels on your travels.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, November 23, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Welcome back Wood Lane

And the Shepherds can go to market

For the first time a brand new station on the Tube will be given a disused station name. Wood Lane will open in 2008 a hundred years after the old Wood Lanes opened in May 1908. There was one on the Central line and the other on the Hammersmith & City line. The new Wood Lane will be back on the Hammersmith & City Line between the new Shepherd's Bush station (Shepherd's Bush Market) and Latimer Road (Thanks to Moley for giving me the heads up here).

Wood Lane in The Tomorrow People

The renaming of Shepherd's Bush to Shepherd's Bush Market is to stop the confusion between the two Shepherd's Bush stations that exist. One on the Central Line and one on the Hammersmith & City Line. Mmm like the two old Wood Lanes. Are you still with me on this?

LU Managing Director Tim O'Toole said in a
press release: "The new Wood Lane station on the Hammersmith & City line is a very welcome addition to the Underground network.

"The station will play an important role in getting people to and from the new Westfield London development, the major new retail development in the area.

"The other major benefit is that passengers will be able to travel straight to the White City area on the Hammersmith & City line instead of having to change to the Central line." Good news if you work at or are travelling to the BBC.

It came as a surprise to me to learn that the last station name change occurred on the Tube in 1989 when Surrey Docks on the East London line was renamed Surrey Quays. Apparently London Underground received a load of requests to change the names of Tube stations (most recently in the news was the move to change Arsenal back to Gillespie Road) But they very rarely change them.

If you're wondering what the significance of the first picture is to this story, it's from 1970's UK sci-fi TV series The Tomorrow People. They were a group of trendy teleporting teenagers whose base "The Lab" was in a disused Tube station.

"With a hiss and a rumble the underground train moved slowly out of the station, treating its discarded passengers to a low, whining farewell as it disappeared into the tunnel. The assorted throng of theatre-goers and businessmen kept late at the office scurried for the escalators, hardly sparing a glance for the two boys in Hell's Angel jerkins who hung around a chocolate machine at the rear end of the platform. Watching until the attendant was out of sight, they immediately turned back and raised a small trapdoor hidden close to the tunnel entrance. In a moment they were bent low in a sewer-like gallery which ran off at an angle and eventually brought them to that little-known part of the London Underground which was doomed to remain forever sealed off and silent."

That little known part of the Underground was Wood Lane and you can just about make out the A-N-E from the remaining letters in the roundel.

If you want to find out more about Wood Lane, past, present and future check out Hywel Williams' disused Tube Stations site.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just another (insert M here) Monday

Monday woes on the Tube

Someone is bound to come up with all the reasons as to why Metronet are performing brilliantly and somehow are not to blame for the major delays on the Central, Circle, District and Northern Line yesterday morning which spilled (and I'm being charitable here) over into the evening, so I'm not even going to attempt to to attack them. I'll just sit back and wait for my refund to come from TfL.

Severe Delays

What I will do though is help out the Evening Standard and London Lite with some more suitable alliterations for the next time this happens - on a day other than Monday. London Lite's Meltdown Monday was good:

Meltdown Monday

But on balance I preferred the Standard's Monday Mayhem.

Monday Mayhem

Mayhem has a sort of Peter Andre and Jordan seldom heard quaintness about it (remember Marriage & Mayhem the story of their nuptials).

So for other days I'd like to suggest - Tuesday Turmoil, Woeful Wednesday or even Wonky Wednesday. Thursday - Mmmm another T. OK Traumatic Thursday. Friday's alot easier - Frightful Friday, Freaky Friday, Filthy Friday, and Friday Failure slip off the tongue. Metronet can you kindly note that Mondays and Fridays are definitely easier for headline writers, so can we stick to those days please?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, November 20, 2006

Earl's Court Platform Announcements

The next train will be calling at the G Spot

Saturday was a fairly rubbish day for travelling on the Tube. You might imagine that I would be the first person to check the realtime travel news, but I had my weekend head on, the sun was shining and I thought, nothing could be simpler than going to a factory sale at Olympia and then heading off to see my friend and her new baby. She lives in Woodside Park which is probably the furthest north I've ever travelled on the Northern Line. Remind me to check the Tube's site before I do that again.

The Sadistic Line had engineering works with no trains running between Whitechapel & Earls Court. This led to Earls Court looking like Piccadilly Circus with people looking lost and piling themselves into the first train that appeared. Trains heading towards Wimbledon seemed unnaturally popular.

Erotica on the Tube

Our platform assistant was giving minute by minute countdowns of the every train leaving Earls Court but he took great pleasure in announcing the ones heading for Olympia. "Your next Olympia train for the Erotica exhibition will be here in 9 minutes time". A few minutes later "Your next Olympia train for the Erotica exhibition will be here in 7 minutes time" and so on.

It was as though he felt those heading for the Erotica exhibition were itching to get their hands on .... well whatever you'd get your hands on at an Erotica show.... that they needed these precise blow by blow accounts.

When I left the train at Olympia it wasn't quite the hedonistic experience I was expecting with people in sexy black boots or whips charging off to the exhibition. Erotica is now mainstream with 31,000 people attending the exhibition and as the blurb says of "all ages and sexual persuasion".

The ticket touts took this to heart as it was impossible to spot likely Erotica attendees so were dashing round trying to hawk cheap tickets to everyone. A few sad looking blokes with bad highlights and leather trousers were un-enthusiastically handing out flyers for "out-there" nightclubs. And weirdly, someone who at first glance looked like they were in a foam rubber Subway Man sandwich outfit was at the gates with postcards. However, I'm sure he wasn't from Subway, the foam was definitely more flesh coloured than normal, and as for the special sauce around his cape. Mmmm, I won't go there on a Monday morning.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, November 20, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oversized Carrier Bags

Bag Spotting

Travelling on the District Line, I get more than my fair share of people armed with large carrier bags coming back from exhibition at Earl's Court or Olympia? It's normally fairly easy to quess what the exhibition has been about, but I was struggling with the bag below:

Anyone for Quick Bridge?

The Home of Quick Bridge. Mmmm, first off I thought it was an online casino or gaming exhibition and expected to see some ads for quickbridge.com appearing on the Tube next year. It could be for bridging loans, so perhaps an investment show. Or maybe even an instant bridge - a bridge in a bag - a construction exhibition. No idea - if anyone knows or wants to hazard a guess at an alternative, let me know.

The girls below were much easier with their eye-catching eye bags:

Miss Sixty Bags

They looked like upmarket bag ladies, as Miss Sixty bags have that "laundry bag" feel about them. They seem to made out of the same material as those mis-shapen, non-stand-uppable, almost useless blue bags they hand out at IKEA.

As usual, I expect to be wading through a sea of over-sized carriers on the Tube in the run up to Xmas. Still better on the floor than on the seats. If there's one thing that's guaranteed to wind me up on the Tube more than anything else it's people who put their bags on the seats next to them. If I had enough nerve I would just sit down on top of bags, rather than giving the owner a hard Paddington stare.

The Queen maybe just about, has an excuse as when pictured here it was probably only the second time she'd been on the Tube. And with a small bag like that, I'd probably just plonk myself down on the seat anyway and pretend I hadn't seen it.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, November 16, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good luck getting to work

First London bus strike in 7 years and Victoria Line part suspended

Not great news for North & South London today as bus drivers in North London begin a strike about pay and currently the Victoria Line is suspended between King's Cross and Walthamstow Central and between Victoria and Brixton due to a signal failure at Seven Sisters. There's also severe delays on the rest of the line so check out the
real-time section of the Tube's site to keep up to date.

Let's hope the bus strike doesn't spur Bob Crow into thinking it's about time that Tube workers had a complaint about something. Perhaps they could just go on strike in general sympathy.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, November 14, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'm up for a Chat on the Tube Day

Chat on the Tube Day - this Friday

If you find that people on the Tube seem to be a bit more talkative on Friday, it'll be because Hannah is organising the first "I'm up for a chat on the Tube" day. at the beginning of the year Hannah began a project where people could sign up for badges showing their willingness to talk on the Tube rather than stare into space/Metro/London Lite/book/sudoku etc etc. The idea was that you would then pass the badge onto the person who chatted back to you so that they could spread the "lurve". As far as Hannah knows badges have gone onto a 4th person.

Rolf Harris has a badge and so far 500 are out in the wilds of the Tube system. However on the 17th Hannah wants to go a bit further and get people to spend the whole day on the Tube chatting There'll be a break for a long lunch and inevitably the day will close in the pub. She says "For me the project is not simply about facilitating people chatting on the tube, but locating the purveyors of the (anti-) social construct that we shouldn't chat on the tube, but first and foremost, about simply getting people to ask questions about why things are how they are and where they fit in within this."

Here's a couple of reactions from badge wearers:

Jon said: "My mother was down to visit recently. She always likes to talk to people on the Tube, so I gave her my badge and she in turn gave it to a policeman called John from St Paul Park, Minnesota.

And I met another badge wearer. Last Monday, 'twas the Kingston Green Fair. I was there to run the Freecycle stall and I encountered a woman called Charlie who was wearing one of your badges. She's a slightly mad old stick, but very charitable

Although some people may think that you're like one of those Japanese volunteers who help foreign tourists on the subway (Heartful Japan). G-Force said "I wore the badge on the Tube on Saturday, and just kept getting asked for directions. I might have well just put a tourist information sign on my head."

Whatever reaction, Hannah needs your help and ideally a small donation to get the project

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, November 12, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, November 10, 2006

London Underground Fashion Victims

Fashion Victims on the Tube

Back to Friday's look at commuters on the Tube who're following a particular trend and there's some definite copycat fashions going on this week.

Twin Bags

Large bags are definitely trendy again, but it's weird to see two identical models side by side. Good (not) to see that the metallic look is still going strong though

Twin Bags

You'll also note the man in the foreground is following Madonna's trend of the little Kabbalah red band to ward off envious stars and looks of ill will.

Furry Uggs

Yet more Uggs, I'm not sure whether the fur makes them better or worse.

Furry Yeti Uggs

The following picture shows that we're still having fairly unseasonal weather, with some very cold snaps and yet bright sunshine all in the same day

Furry Yeti Uggs & Sandals

So we have a display of Furry Yeti Uggs and some open toed sandals side by side. What's a girl to wear?

That's it for this week. The previous victims can be found here and the complete picture gallery can be seen on the following Flickr set.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, November 10, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's in a name?

Strange Underground Station Names

Kudanshita station by Nodoca

I've just been sent an email from Robert Hulse the fab curator of the Brunel Engine House Museum and leader of the innuendo ridden Thames Tunnel Tour, who's in Tokyo and pondering on an unusual station name:

"I don't know if you have a column about signs & directions in foreign Tube stations but here is a troubling one. Whilst sorting out my 'bullet train' booking I noticed the following marked on the station map:

'Old Man's Place for Pleasure'

Of course Japan is right at the cutting edge of rail travel & customer service, but can we one day look forward to this sort of facility on LU? Or is this just an unfortunate phrasing of something quite innocent like 'Day Centre for the Elderly'...

I asked a regular visitor & commenter who knows about these sorts of things and he says it could be a literal translation of a station name. "Kudanshita Station (pictured above) translates as 'nine steps under the station'. But that's only if you read the characters together. If you read them separately you may be able to intepret the meaning as 'swan, staircase, beneath the moon, lodge'."

Obviously if we referred to our station names by their original meanings, it would mean station announcers would have to do more than the advanced mumbling we hear at the moment. Change here for the "Saxon chieftan's clearing in the forest" sounds more exotic than Wembley Park (or rather Wemba Lea Park - its orginal name). Cyril Harris's little gem "What's in a name" would be required reading and we might find that some of our station names bring up a more evocative picture of the area.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, November 09, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Not on the London Underground

More roundels not in their natural home

Thanks to Toby and Malika for sending through some more pictures to add to the collection of places where the Tube roundel has been errr, influential, to the design of some other signs around the world (perhaps that will keep the Tube's lawyers at bay)

Toby B took the following at a bar in Victoria, Vancouver Island

Central Bar Victoria, Vancouver Island

Central Bar Victoria, Vancouver Island

Malika was in Mumbai when she spotted this:

Byculla Mechanicks Mumbai

She said: "It's actually the carshed for one of the Mumbai suburban railway lines, which all use a similar roundel for station names on the platforms, as do most of Indian Railways. No idea what spelling conventions are, though!"

Thanks for those and please email me if you see any more on your travels so I can add to the collection.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, November 08, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, November 06, 2006

Misery Line

Next stop Misery

Brilliantly caught photo taken by Mr B, of some very apt graffiti on the Northern Line

Misery Tube Roundel taken by Mr B

Let's hope our artistic passenger didn't slash anything else afterwards.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, November 06, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fashion Victim on the Tube

Fashion Victim or Halloween Outfit?

It's the end of Halloween week, so we'd have expected to see some strange outfits on the tube. The lady below was kindly snapped by Sel Lawson "While I was waiting for my Northern Line train back home, I noticed this girl walk onto the platform, and within a second I had whipped my mobile out and had snapped away (discreetly of course...)"

But is this a Halloween outfit or not?

Skeleton Girl

No prizes for guessing but just the satisfaction of knowing you're right.

The previous victims can be found here and the complete picture gallery can be seen on the following Flickr set.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, November 03, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Transport night at the Tate

Free Talks & trips at Tate Britain

Two FREE transport related events which sound quite interesting tonight:

Subterranean London at 7pm - 8pm

Known by its logo, defined by lines on a map, the London Underground was such an audacious creation that no other city tried to copy it for forty years. Leading transport critic and author of Subterranean Railway: A Social History of the Tube (2004), Christian Wolmar talks through the history of this feat of imagination and construction.

And if you're still missing the Routemaster double decker bus, Joe Kerr who's a Professor at the Royal College of Art and also qualified Routemaster bus driver, will be presenting "a unique insight into the working life and history of the Routemaster, the most iconic symbol of London worldwide."

There are two bus tours of London's bridges -

18.45 Board bus
19.00 Tour departs
19.45 Return to Tate Britain

20.00 Board bus
20.15 Tour departs
21.00 Return to Tate Britain

Tickets for events are available from the Rotunda Information Desk tonight from 6pm

Have fun.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, November 03, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Terrorist employed by Tube Lines sub contractor

Abu Hazma's son worked on the London Underground

What started out as a small piece in Metro had developed into Sheriff Ken being happy to employ terrorists on the Tube, and than making a massive U turn by the time I got home.

Ken Backs Terrorist's Tube Job

In an earlier edition of London Lite "Ken Livingstone today defended the right of Abu Hazma's son to work for a Tube contractor - despite his conviction for terrorism in Yemen"

Basically Ken reckons that Mohammed Kamel Mostafa wasn't actually convicted of terrorism (he was convicted in Yemen in 1999 for plotting to kill Western tourists) and claims that he had passed Tube security checks. Using the old "not like father like son" gambit, Sheriff Ken said we shouldn't restrict Mostafa's right to work simply because his dad is a barking mad maniac who incites murder & racial hatred. Ken said ""You wouldn't say to someone 'you can't work on the Tube because your mum is the editor of The Sun. Has he broken any laws here in Britain? The answer is no. We are happy to have him working for us"

So why was his pass withdrawn when colleagues on the Tube recognised him? Why, then, still, are blokes who look a bit foreign being searched on the Tube? Why do people who swear at security scanners get hauled away by the police? You'd be right for thinking that Ken had lost the plot here. In fact within hours of the press conference the Mayor's office issued a press release in which Ken stated it had been "correct to dismiss him."

Labour MP Andrew Dismore said "It beggars belief. It wasn't like he was nicked for shoplifting. It was terror offences in Yemen. You would think the Underground would be particularly sensitive to terrorism".

Apparently not. An LU spokesman was quick to point any potential finger of fault at the sub-contractor who employed Mostafa and said it was up to them to make criminal checks. "The question of whether the checks were tight enough is a matter for the Government to address. We don't do criminal checks on every single individual who comes onto the London Underground."

I would have loved to have pictured Mostafa's possible interview:

Subcontractor - "What are your interests?"

Mostafa - "Well I don't really get out a lot, particularly in 1999, I kept myself to myself. But I do like rap".

"Mmmm interesting"

"Yep I was thinking about persuing a career in rap, but I haven't really got a hang of the lyrics. I couldn't really find much that rhymed with holy war & Hazma"

"Really. Mmmm, Hazma, Hazma, that name rings a bell. In fact you sort of remind me of someone except you seem to have both eyes and you haven't got a hook for a hand".

"Are you saying I look like a terrorist? Are you saying I look a bit foreign? Are you disrespecting my family?"

"Course not Mr Mostafa the job's yours. Now pop along to those tunnels that run under Westminster. You've got a job to do".

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, November 01, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE