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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Friday, April 27, 2007

Which are real Tube stations?

Guest quiz from

The man who brought you overheard on the Tube brings you a quiz

"Some years ago, before the age of blogs and when Mika was nothing but a glint in a conceptual artist's unholy eyes, I came up with a quiz to test everyone's knowledge of London. As a Londoner, I'm often surprised when I watch the news and they refer to a part of London that I've never heard of before. How can I have lived here most of my life and not have heard of an area? I mean, I've never been to Peckham, but I do know it exists. Likewise, I'm often surprised when I look at a tube map and find a station that I've never heard of before.

It wasn't a very good quiz, but I was bored at work and it seemed like a good idea. I came up with a list of 20 tube stations. Ten of them were real tube stations and ten of them were made up by me. I emailed the quiz around the office. No-one got 100%. It was a terrible shame, and indeed, some of my co-workers ended up killing themselves.

The original quiz has been lost, like tears in the rain, but I've redone it with different options. Here it is: 20 tube stations. Can you tell the real ones from the fakes? Leave your answers in the comments. And no cheating – you're not allowed to look at the Tube map or check Google (and don't look at the other people's responses). You may use only your memory, deductive process and experience. Oh, and the real stations have to be London Underground stations. No DLR or mainline stations. They count as fake stations only.

South Acton
Westbourne Grove
Newbury Road
Boston Manor
Stonebridge Park
Buckhurst Hill
Kensal Rise
Chiswick Park
Ealing Common
Alexandra Palace
Willesden Green
Woodgrange Park
Broad Street

I will supply the answers in the next few days, or when I can be bothered. Good luck."

UPDATE - themanwhofellasleep has posted the answers here. Thanks to all who gave it a try.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 27, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Batty Tube Boots

Hanging around for the London Underground

If ever you feel the need to hang upside down from the handrails on your Tube journey, your wait is now over. Dutch born
Eelko Moorer, who lives in East London has created some boots that you can latch onto the handrails as he thought it would "liven up Tube journeys".

He said: "I like the idea of doing something that gives a person a sense of relief and can cheer up lives. We had a somewhat mixed reaction from other Tube travellers. Some people were surprised, others liked it and others were appalled.." From the look of the guy in the beige suit, some people get their Tube face on and show complete indifference.

The boots took him about a week to make and they have been on display at a British Council exhibition in Italy. His objects have been described as "indulging improbable fantasies from flying like a bird to hanging and swinging like a jungle beast".

Mr Moorer seems to have had some thoughts about safety as he said: "The soles of the boots were the most difficult. I had to make sure that someone would not fall off,"

However, London Underground weren't too wild about this footwear and a spokesperson said "This is a dangerous and stupid act that could result in serious injury to not only the individual concerned but also other passengers."

Not sure I'll be seeing many Tube fashion victims in them as Moorer said "They were meant as a one-off but if someone was interested in a pair, maybe I could do one for them." Probably some bright sparks from YouTube will be putting in an order.

Thanks to Dmitri for sending me the link to the story from the BBC.

It's worth having a look at the rest of Moorer's work as there's some very weird things going on in his "Emergency Games" booklet. I imagine London Underground won't be using him to illustrate any TfL manuals.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 26, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tube etiquette - nail cutting

Photo of the week

Tube etiquette (lack of) by Chutney Bannister

Would you cut your nails on the Tube? It's a tricky one for me, as I often file my nails on the Tube and I'm sure as far as some people are concerned I may as well be openly picking my nose. But I think there's something about nail clipping that shouldn't really be done in public. Mainly because the cuttings have a tendancy to fly all over the place. Can you imagine being hit by a stray piece of nail?

Thanks to Chutney Bannister for the picture.

Have you seen anyone using the underground as a private bathroom or dressing room? Also where do you stand on women putting on make-up on the Tube? Another one of my crimes as well.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, April 25, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, April 23, 2007

London Underground curbing announcements

Only announce what is neccessary

Looks like the few bits of personality on the Tube and railway may be curtailed.
The Sunday Times reported that "rail staff are being told to cut back on intercom announcements. They have been issued guidelines warning: 'If you don’t need to say it, then don't.'

It's a shame that this might be spilling over to the Tube. Many of you know that my stock in trade on my sister site www.goingunderground.net has been collecting the funnier announcements that Tube drivers make and The Times' reporter got in touch to see if he could quote some for the article. Over the years hundreds of these have been sent to me and I think most people like them.

But apparently "Passengers on many overground lines object to the proliferation in information bulletins. They complain that electronic announcement systems, station staff, guards, drivers and buffet stewards compete for Tannoy time."

I must admit that I object to the voice of doom announcements which begin; "Ladies & Gentleman this is a service announcement..." and then when you're getting ready to hear about something of major importance, it's a message about holding onto your bags because there are pickpockets, or that there are no delays. Perhaps it's such a rarity that there are no delays we need to be told about it.

What do you think? Should the ad-libs such as "What part of stand clear of the doors don't you understand?" be cut. Or the driver who told the "minging" woman to move away from the doors as the hairs on her legs were getting stuck in them. What about a driver who tried to lighten the delay by getting the passengers to pass the time by singing 'Ten Green Bottles'? Have you heard any good announcements lately, and which do you think should be banned?

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 23, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 20, 2007

London Underground Fashion Victims

Fashion Victims on the Tube

Once again Friday's look at Tube Fashion Victims, TFV's or travellers spotted on the Underground with a style that they've made their own.

Multi glasses

Only one victim this week. As regular readers know, I really can't udnerstand why people wear sunglasses inside. Particularly people who wear sunglasses on the Tube when they're in a tunnel. Particularly when they're trying to read. Particularly when they need real glasses as well.

Multi glasses

Simply too many glasses.

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

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 20, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Time Out Tube Special

Time Out Tube SpecialThis week's Time Out has a gloriously psychedelic and slightly Ann Summers-like front cover heralding its 11 page celebration of the London Underground.

From the lead editorial "As you struggle grim-faced up yet another broken escalator, indulge not the old gripes about the grime and crime. Succumb instead to Underground love....Think too of the men in stovepipe hats who died so that you could make it to work without mounting a Penny Farthing bike". They kindly acknowledge this blog, Geoff's mashed-up Tube maps and Hywel Williams' classic ghost station site amongst Tube websites to bookmark.

Time Out London Underground SpecialHighlights for me, from this "celebration" are an interview with Tim O'Toole LU's managing director who claims to have "the best job in London by far", despite his stomach clenching "every time we have a signal failure or a train is down". He must take a lot of Rennies then.

Diamond Geezer tackling the Tube's shortest journey - Leicester Square to Covent Garden - 50 per cent longer by Tube than at ground level. "But it had been the down and up which had devoured my time and not the 45 second Tube ride".

I was disappointed to learn that Bumper Harris the one legged escalator tester at Earl's Court was a myth ("The London Transport Museuem has no evidence to back this up") - although I'm still not convinced by this.

There's a look at how the Tube measures up to subways in Tokyo, Paris, New York, Moscow, Berlin and er Glasgow. Sadly of the five, Glasgow's has never featured in a film, although it is part of a pub crawl in Iain Banks' novel Espedair Street, where characters have a whisky and half of Heavy at every stop.

The "Old Tube trains never die" feature is fun. I knew old carriages put out to rest had made it over to the Isle of Wight and even as office space in Shoreditch. But didn't know that a Jubilee carriage would become Great Ormond Street Hospital's new radio studio.

Old Tubes never die

There's a 150 old history of the Tube, a photographic flavour of the ends of Tube Lines and and of course a homage to Harry Beck creator of the iconic London Underground Map.

Not included in the "Tube Love" fest (but a good antidote) was Micheal Hodges' Slice of Life feature on drinking to get through a Tube journey. He believes that not only do we stop acting like British people "when we sink down below the city streets, we stop smelling like British people... We have to get drun, it's the only part of our humanity left to us, the one thing that cows and rats can't do and we can".

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 19, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

London Underground Dinner Party

Fine Dining on the Jubilee Line

Forget the stunt about ski-ing down the escalator at Angel, these diners on the Jubilee Line managed to have a full dinner party and gradually get the whole carriage involved:

Is there something about the
Jubilee Line that encourages dinner parties? When the line was officially opened in 1979, London Underground themselves entertained surprised commuters with a meal and a string quartet

Jubilee Line Opening May 1979

I imagine this was just a happy co-incidence.

What I particularly like about the the 21st century dinner party is how people can't help being sucked in. True, at the start there's the normal "Ah there's a herd of elephants running through the Tube, I'll pretend I haven't seen them" Tube reaction. But the tone lightens as more people arrive and just start behaving as if it's a real dinner party - except one where beggars come up to you with notes about their troubled families, tourists decide to take a picture for the folks back home and strangers come in to grab after dinner chocolates.

Brings a whole new meaning to the "please consider others when eating food" posters though. Probably not exactly what TfL had in mind.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, April 18, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Old coal mine to test new Tubes

As we get nearer and nearer to warmer weather it's good to hear further steps towards air conditioning on the Tube. Or rather further steps to testing air conditioning.

Tube Fan

A former coal mine at the town famous for its pork pies, Melton Mowbray, in Leicester is going be the test-bed for new stock. Mark Loader of Metronet said of the former Ashfordby Mine: "The test site will enable us to really prove the reliability of these new trains. We'll be able to simulate six months to a year's service in only one month. That means a more reliable train for Tube travellers when they enter service."

If all goes welll, the air conditioned trains are due to begin service on the Metropolitan line from 2009.

But this begs the question, are they going to use Londoners or Midlanders as guinea pigs? Who's likely to be a better control group for withstanding heat?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 17, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wrapped Tubes

Tube Wrap

If you're travelling on the Piccadilly Line, look out for some "wrapped" Tube trains as part of the Platform for Art series. I saw my first one on Friday morning and being half asleep I just thought that someone had gone a bit mad with red paint, as the artwork was a bit too subtle for my eyes. Apart from graffiti and those eye boggling trains for Yellow Pages, it's apparently the "first ever work of art to cover an entire tube train".

The piece has been designed by artist Jim Isermann and wraps the full length of one Piccadilly line train in vibrant geometric pattern that resonates within London Underground's distinctive design heritage.

What resonated most with me was being slightly stumped when I left the train on the opposite side to see a blue wrap.

Wrapped Piccadilly Line Tube

Wonder why the doors are left red?

The Platform Art website invites you to leave comments on the art and also rather strangely "a real or ficticious anecdote".

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 16, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tube Strike called off

11th hour talks. RMT happy. Metronet not commenting, but the Tube Strike's all off

Jubiliant RMT leader Bob Crow said "This is the sensible outcome we sought for from the start. Our Metronet members deserve congratulating for standing solidly together to defend their organisation, jobs and conditions and to prevent further dangerous fragmentation."

Check out the
BBC for the full story and the post below for what the dispute was about.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 13, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 12, 2007

3 day Tube Strike from Sunday

Three Day Tube Strike from Sunday

A three day strike by more than 2,000 Metronet London Underground maintenance workers is set to begin at 6pm this Sunday (April 15th) after several days of talks failed to resolve the disagreement. The dispute revolves around plans by Metronet to transfer around 250 workers to train maker Bombardier Transportation as part of an effort to introduce new trains and improve reliability.

RMT union members had voted by a majority of 750-60 in favour of the strike. Negotiations continued but inevitably failed. Union leader Bob Crow said "It is a great pity that after we suspended the overtime ban scheduled for this week to enable those talks to take place, the company has not taken the extra step towards us that could have resolved the dispute."

Metronet's workers maintain the Bakerloo, Central, Victoria, Waterloo & City, Circle, District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and East London lines.

Mark Cooper from Metronet remained optmistic and has asked RMT to continue the talks: "In recent weeks we have worked hard to reach an agreement with the unions. We remain available for talks at any time. The planned strike action will lead to disruption for the three million people who use the Tube every day. It is unnecessary and unwarranted.....

At the request of the unions we have reduced the numbers of staff that will transfer to a minimum – but we owe it to the travelling public to push ahead with plans that will improve services.

"Should the RMT go ahead with this action we will do all we can to minimise the disruption to the travelling public."

We'll wait and see if he's right.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 12, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Picture of the Week

Why are they never there when you need them?

Glad I bought a ticket this morning... by Coderkind

I have no idea what West Kensington did to deserve this, but I love this image by Coderkind. His caption is also brill "London Underground begin a massive anti fare-dodging campaign, but deploys all the agents to the one station" (and yes, yes, we know they're not revenue collectors, before some bright spark comments otherwise).

The picture was added to the Flickr London Tube group, of which I happen to be an admin of. So I'm going to try to highlight a picture from the group each week that catches my eye. Feel free to join the group if you've got any shots of the Tube you'd like to add.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 12, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No Tube Skiing

It's err..official

I've seen a number of video responses to the
Angel tube escalator ski stunt, but this is one of my favourites. Designer Lee Washington thought that he would give the impression that Transport for London had created no skiing stickers for the escalators.

click to play - opens in a new window

He set about designing a red circle with a line through the silhouette of a skiier and
printed them onto stickers. Last week he and a couple of mates went to Angel tube station put the stickers in conspicuous places and recorded the whole event for YouTube.

I think it's quite a sound idea, remember the woman falling drunk through a glass roof, suing her landlord for not telling her to dance on it. You could almost see people trying to repeat the skiing stunt, and then suing TfL if they broke their neck in the process and complained that there were no signs saying it wasn't allowed. Lee's saving some uneccessary litigation.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, April 11, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Blogs of Note

I should go on holiday more often or blog less more often. Came home from a long weekend in the Lake District to find that the Blogger team have deemed
this blog blogworthy

Blogger's blogs of note

Without meaning to sound churlish, this is personally a bigger deal than getting into the Metro Blog Awards Travel shortlist (which is also very nice and thanks to everyone who nominated me). When you've used a blogging platform for over four years, it's great for the people who create the platform to recognise what you do with it. So many thanks Blogger team.

Shortlisted in the Metro Blog AwardsNow I just need to bribe Ed Hall the travel judge at Metro, although, how it can compete with a blog by a Scottish night bus driver, is beyond me. Best of luck to my fellow shortlistees - Disgruntled Commuter - who's just been moaning about Metro readers, Phileas Blog (top name), and Mindhorn.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, April 11, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Commuter Clubbing at Victoria Station

Really, really pleased I wasn't trying to get a train from Victoria last night. Looks like hundreds of people turned up for the "rave", flash-mob. Here's a few pictures from Flickr folk:

photo by April Angell

Loving the look of disgust from the woman behind in April Angell's picture.

Majoracana's gives you an indication of the amount of people there

photo by majorarcana

Micheeky has a great set of the event including what looks like the countdown to 18.53 below

photo by micheeky

She said "the mobile clubbing went on about an hour and half until the POLICE got involved!"

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 05, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mobile clubbing at Victoria Station

Station Flash Mob

I'm always usually the last person to hear about these things, but for some reason I've found out that there's going to be a mass gathering of people with iPods, walkmans, personal stereos at Victoria Station tonight at 18.53. Don't ask me why it's 18.53 precisely.

Mobile Clubbing at Liverpoool Street

Here's the instructions if you want to join or alternatively avoid:

Arrive at the station around 18.40

Walk around and get in your groove

Spread out throughout the entire station (wonder if it will spread to the Tube station)

No dancing before 18.53

At the instant the clock strikes 18.53

Dance like you've never danced before

Try not to dance in one place

And dance for as long as you can

More details at www.mobile-clubbing.com/

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, April 04, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE