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Friday, August 28, 2009

Archway renamed to Whittington?

Islington residents have got a sort of yes from Boris Johnson in their bid to rename Archway London Underground station. However, he told them not to hold their breath as it would be very costly. Walter Roberts has been campaigning for some time to get Archway Tube named after on of London's much earlier mayors, Dick Whittington.

Archway Tube by MackenzieBlu

Roberts told the Islington Gazette "The Dick Whittington legacy is one of inspiration, courage, dedication and the first great English romance.

"If London's most famous son gets a Tube station named after him, it would point many tourists in the direction of this Gateway to the North in a way Archway can't as it sounds dull as ditchwater. The name Archway is irrevocably linked to the suicide bridge and the dreadful Archway Tower which is loathed as one of the worst examples of contemporary architecture.

"It falls to reason therefore that the area would benefit commercially and culturally if the station is renamed - perhaps as Whittington Cross or Whittington Stone.

Thanks to John Bull from London Reconnections for the hat tip to this.

TfL are less enthusiastic about the change and said "London Underground receives a number of requests each year for the names of Tube stations to be changed. The cost is substantial and it's time consuming." You may remember the many requests to change Arsenal's name.

A spokesman for the Mayor said "As well as changing signs along the line, there are the costs of changing maps and announcements.

"Given the pressures on Transport for London's budget, it seems unlikely that the names of Tube stations can be changed in the near future

I don't want to rain on the residents parade, but that sounds like a NO to me. However, if it somehow became a yes, it sets an interesting precedent for changing names of Tube stations to be associated with famous people & stopping them sounding "dull as ditchwater".

Which ones do you think need changing and any celebs you think they should be named after?

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 28, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Face Behind The Station

Regular readers will know that on this blog, I love to try to highlight the more human side of the London Underground and show that Tube staff have personalities. Well it's good to see that Maria Cox has undertaken a massive photography project with a similar objective. She visited every station on the network and took a photograph of a member of staff.

The Face Behind the Station by Maria Cox

"There is more to the London Underground than getting from A to B," she says, "there is a friendly face at every station, often ambiguous and lost in the hurly burly of working life. Many commuters take these people for granted, often giving them abuse, but I have been struck and very impressed by how friendly and important to the safe working of the tube network the Station Supervisors and other underground employees are."

Alongside each photograph is a biographical piece about them, so you can find out their likes and dislikes, famous people they've met on the Tube and strange incidents they've encountered.

The Face Behind the Station by Maria Cox

Thanks to both LDN and Vikki Chowney for the heads up to this!

Hopefully her project will be exhibited on the network but you can find out more about The Face Behind the Station and see more pictures here.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 27, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

End of the World on Northern Line

Great spot by
Kate Matlock at Old Street Tube this morning:

End of the World at Old Street Tube by Kate Matlock

Looks like the people who write the temporary signs are getting more of a sense of humour. Last week we had Northern Line delights.

Perhaps this policy of not so quietly veiled sarcasm is the new norm on the Misery Line?!

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 26, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No "Man Sitting" on the train badge

Female commuters in Boston have got so fed up with "man sitting" on the trains, they've designed a badge and sent an
open letter to the MBTA hoping that something will be done to stop it:

No Man Sitting Badge

"We've designed a badge for public transportation customers to wear in order to encourage passenger civility. We hope to raise awareness of fellow passenger's comfort with this visual reminder.

"Often, we believe, some T-riders aren't aware that they're taking up three seats with their knees. Of course, there are many other discourteous behaviors, like occupying additional seats with your belongings, but the particular posture depicted on our button is the most commonly complained about offense found in our survey of T- passengers.

"We hope you will adopt this button to display or distribute as a way of encouraging courtesy among your riders. If you contact us we will provide you with some of these buttons for your use.

Thanks to Charlotte Cooper for the heads up to this!

Go for it ladies and let us know if it's a success over in Boston. If so I'll start a similar campaign for the London Underground.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tube Map shows hottest spots

TfL have revealed the hottest spots on the London Underground to identify the areas which need the most cooling. The heat map compiled on July 28 - the hottest days of last year, showed the Central Line was the warmest. Luckily it was already coloured red. That part of the network was above 30C (86F).

Tube hot spots

The baking Bakerloo Line was the next hottest. Between 4pm and 7pm, most of its stations were in the highest temperature band, although things got cooler the further south you went. Even in the coolest stations the temperature hovered at about 25C.

On the map the green areas show 26 degrees, moving up to 29 degrees in the yellow areas, with the read areas at 32 degrees centigrade.

In previous tests, temperatures in some carriages during the summer have exceeded 35C, which would make the network officially unfit for transporting cattle.

The Underground hotspots can be seen on this map and more information is on The Times.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 24, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fat Seats on the Tube?

Baffled underground bosses in Sao Paulo, Brazil say that some seats they've introduced for large passengers aren't being sat on. If they were on the London Underground I wonder how many people would also ignore them? The special chairs at the stations, which are twice as wide as normal chairs and can support passengers up to 550lbs, are supposed to trains cope with rising obesity rates.

Obese Underground seats in Sao Paulo

But no one is sitting in them. Could be the following: "A sign above each seat shows a cartoon of a roly-poly passenger saying "Priority chair for obese people." said Metro.

Fat Seat Sign

"It may be that they don't want to think of themselves as fat or they resent being put in with pensioners and the disabled," said one manager. Well it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that out.

Any sign saying "large people welcome" or "fat people sit here" isn't the most subtle approach.

Why not just have the seats and let people gravitate to the ones they're more comfortable sitting in? With cut backs on the Tube, perhaps we'll see seats of half the normal size saying "Priority seating for size zero's".

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 21, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Delights of the Northern Line

Someone on the London Underground got too excited about showing people the way to the Northern Line. Tom S spotted this enthusiastic sign on Sunday:

Northern Line  this way by Tom

You could just hear the commuters not being able to believe their luck. "No surely the Northern Line can't be this way. I've been searching for it for ages. And now you're telling me that I'm almost there. Come on everyone, we've been told it's this way. Hoorah! Our delightful journey on it can now begin".

Maybe the Tube are doing a PR job for it, and trying to brighten up the Misery Line.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 20, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gingerbread man on the Tube

Lovely story & picture from Cole R, which really illustrates why people are mad to travel on the London Underground in any sort of bulky fancy dress:

Ginger Bread Man Tube

He said: "I happened to catch this on the Central line. The poor girl in the suit was quite hot and tired (as she fell asleep fairly quickly). The whole ride was quite amusing, though I felt a bit bad for her. She struggled throughout the ride as we all watched her try and get on the Tube in the clumsy feet, figure out what to do with her Oyster card (which was in her suit's hand), and get comfortable in a seat that clearly wasn't designed for someone of her build at that point.

Once she fell asleep, everybody that got on the Tube felt inclined to surreptitiously pull out their camera and snap a shot of it. The tourists loved it the most I think. My shot is above.

I suppose this suit kind of embodies how a lot of us feel travelling on the London Underground. Tired, hot, clumsy, struggling and not knowing what to do with our Oyster card. She should be seen as the patron saint of Tube travellers.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 17, 2009

Design a new Tube moquette

Think you can design something that will be sat on by millions of Londoner's bums? TfL are running a competition to design some new London Underground seat upholstery for the Piccadilly Line. Full entry details are available on
TfL's site.


TfL's brief says that: "The design will require applicants to take into consideration certain utilitarian elements, as required by public seating, such as being commercially viable, having a repeat pattern, and not being too small to cause 'dazzle' or 'strobe' visual effects.

However entrants are also encouraged to challenge conventional ideas of traditional seating fabric designs where possible

I'm not sure what those conventions are but I imagine the design's "wear and tear" will involve being able to soak up booze and crisp crumbs and have the ability to hide footprint & vomit stains. Something I'd also love for the Piccadilly Line moquette is an anti-bag resting repellent (it covers all the Heathrow stations). It would sound an alarm or leak out a flourescent paint whenever it came into content with luggage or the base of a rucksack or large bag.

If there's anything else you'd like to see on Tube upholstery, I'd love to know.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 17, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Time Travelling on the Tube

I love the precision of the wrongness of this sign that
Luke Bozier took on the London Underground

Photo taken by Luke Bozier

Luke said that this wouldn't happen anywhere but London. I think it's something that wouldn't happen anywhere but the Tube. They seem to have a thing on joking about the time. Remember the energy saving April Fool at Wood Green station with the clocks being decommissioned to save power. I wonder what the point of having clocks on the Tube is?

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 17, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 14, 2009

Censorship on the Tube?

What's wrong with this poster advertising Quentin Tarantino's new film on the London Underground?

Censorship on the tube by James Cridland

I've walked past this poster for the last few weeks and thought it was a cryptic trailer to deliberately not show the film's title - Inglorious Basterds. I was expecting to see a reveal with the film's name. However, James Cridland's most likely hit the nail on the head here and said:

"What's missing from this picture? Ah, yes, the name of the film... couldn't have people seeing "Inglorious Basterds" now, could we?"

I'd love to know why the Tube thinks the word Basterds is so offensive. Specially considering the ad with the film's title is carried in Metro and thelondonpaper which are handed out freely at Tube stations.

I'm also surprised the distributors bothered advertising it at all if they couldn't use the film's title. Although perhaps they think Tarantino's name is big enough to not need the title as well. There might be something fun about going to the cinema and saying "Can I see that film with no name that I saw advertised on the Tube?"

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 14, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watch out for children on the Tube

Were the staff at Covent Garden Tube trying to say something about the size of children coming through the station?

Children & Luggage use large gate taken by Tom W

Tom W spotted this on Monday and also heard the following announcement from the driver of a District Line train: "The next station is Victoria. Change here, surprisingly for the Victoria line, Victoria coach station and suburban rail services. Making sure you take all belongings, luggage and children with you when leaving the train".

Joking aside, some of you probably heard about the child that actually slipped through the gap on the London Underground last week, but was fortunately rescued by a commuter.

Metro managed to find the 'guardian angel' who originally just disappeared after rescuing the four year old at Acton. Tochukwu Mokah said "The mum was screaming. She had already got on to the train and I could hear the train doors trying to close. I lay on the platform and put my hands in the gap. I knew I had to get him out – he was on the track."

It is amazing that you don't hear of more children falling through the gaps. There are obviously lots of "Mind the Gap" announcements, signs and warnings on the platform, but there seems to be little advice or signage about keeping children close by on the Tube or even holding their hands when you get on the Tube with them. A lot of kids I see are quite over excited when they travel on the London Underground. I've also seen a couple of instances of kids who are dawdling being left behind by their parents as the sliding doors close.

Has anyone else seen any signs aimed at kids on the Tube? Or have you seen any particularly unruly kids & wished there were some signs for them?

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 13, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

London Underground Tube Map Shower Curtain

Blimey, people have been asking me for years whether they could get hold of a London Underground shower curtain, and now thanks to the brill
@LDN, I've found out there's finally an official one.

London Underground Map Shower Curtain

It seems to only be available from the US at the moment. Freshomes site says "The London Underground and Izola have collaborated to release the first ever officially licensed London Underground shower curtain. Printed on 100% PEVA, the curtain is virtually odorless and won't offend the senses with the odors often associated with plastic shower curtains."

Izola who produce the curtain have rightly cottoned on to the fact that loads of people from the UK will want to buy this. It's $29 but "Please note to all London residents that your order will be automatically converted into UK currency. The cost of the curtain including shipping is approximately £30 depending on your exact location. Please feel free to email info@izolashower.com if you have any questions."

Happy showering!

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Photo of the Week - Tube Aliens

Just some err.. average commuters on the Northern Line. Thanks to Colin for taking this

Northern Line Commuters by Colin

He said "I was travelling on a Northern Line Tube from Chalk Farm to Embankment last Sunday and saw these 3 strange people on the Tube train, and thought you might be interested for your website."

Colin actually started talking to them (brave move) and knows the back story to why they were dressed like this. He hasn't got back to me yet, but I kind of like to imagine that they had landed from a distant planet and were truing out the London Underground for the first time.

They'd have probably been quite surprised that in typical Tube style, hardly anyone has noticed them as being remotely out of place!

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 10, 2009

Masks on the Tube

Despite all of the swine flu fears, I'm quite surprised I haven't seen more people wearing masks on the London Underground. I imagine it's because most people know that wearing masks
don't really protect you against the disease. I was close enough to one guy on Friday to take the picture below and I wondered how many of you had seen people with masks on the Tube?

Mask on Tube

Dave Hill from the Guardian read a blog post from an American tourist who was totally convinced that the "Stay Cool in the Heat" posters were all about Swine Flu.

She said about the bullet points, they "had nothing to do with the heat anyway. The bullets fed the hype and fear about swine flu (which the media there is freakin’ out about). It's important in advertising, as it is with slides, to make sure you’re communicating one clear message. The call-to-action to 'keep cool' might as well have said to wear surgical masks too."

It's amazing how things get mis-interpreted, although perhaps the guy wearing the mask read the "Stay Cool" posters that way as well.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 10, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Animals on the Underground

This is more like a zoo on the London Underground as the fab
Animals on the Underground site as put all of the animals seen on Tube map into one image.

Animals on the Underground

They're still inviting people to find other animals by staring at the map in a strange "Magic Eye" type of way until you can spot a cat or a cockerel, stag or snail, whale or wallaby. Nice way to while away the time when you're waiting for a train.

Must dig out my animals on the underground vest as we might be in for a warmer weekend.

Animals on the Underground Vest and Hipster Knickers

Thanks to LDN for reminding me the animals still exist and are still being found!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 06, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

£695m upgrade to Victoria Tube station

One of the London Underground busiest & most congested stations is going to have a major upgrade. The Secretary of State for Transport recently approved a major upgrade for Victoria station following a three month public inquiry. When complete, the upgrade will increase the size of the station by about 50 percent with a new ticket hall (see artist's impression below), lifts and additional escalators to ease congestion, and step-free access from street level to all platforms and for interchange.

Victoria Station Upgrade - artists impression

This will be music to your ears if you're one of the 80 million people who use it every year and like me have spent time standing outside the barriers waiting for the congestion to ease.

Trying to get onto Tube by Uminski

Subject to Transport for London's Board approving the £695 million funding for the project this Autumn, construction will start in 2010, but it will take about seven years to complete.

For more on this see TfL's press release.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 05, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tube Line Song Mugs

We know how the London Underground has inspired lots of songs over the years. Well EMI Music Publishing have got together with TfL to produce some mugs and T-shirts featuring lyrics from songs about London & the Tube lines they feature on.

EMI Tube Line mugs

The range features lyrics written by EMI Music Publishing's songwriters including Suggs, Pete Doherty (from both Babyshambles & Libertines era), Eddy Grant, Ronnie Laine and Sir John Johns (aka Andy Partridge).

Interestingly, the video for The Libertines' 2002 single 'Time For Heroes' shows both Doherty and then-bandmate Carl Barat jumping over the ticket barriers - seemingly without having bought tickets - at an overseas underground station. But let's pass that by!

Libertines Time for Heroes

Each lyric features on the mugs & shirts in two individual designs – one based on the classic London Underground font & and map and one inspired by the song, its genre and era (see the mugs on the right or on this link).

EMI Music Mugs

"London and music are inextricably linked, and a huge number of songwriters across all genres and time periods have been inspired by our capital city. We're thrilled to become the first music company to work with Transport for London, and to link the music of our writers with music fans in this new and interesting way." said EMI's VP of Sales Melanie Johnson.

The mugs & T shirts can be bought online at TfL's shop.

It would be great if other music publishers got involved if only to have some Duffy inspired Warwick Avenue mugs, as they'd make a great gift for the cheery guy at Warwick Avenue station.

Let us know of other Tube or London lyrics you think would make a good mug and maybe one day you'll see them!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 04, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 03, 2009

Answer to DFS Tube Ad

You've probably seen a new ad campaign for furniture shop DFS on the London Underground with some punnage based on Tube stations to promote its sale:

DFS Tube Ad

I spotted an interesting response by Charliedotgilbert on Flickr.

Tube advert by charliedotgilbert

Glad he got that off his chest!

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 03, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE