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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heritage Tube Train Tour for Father's Day

It's Father's Day on the 19th June and if your Dad is into trains, this could tick a lot of boxes. The 1938 Tube Stock is shiny & lovely and will be the first time the train has travelled to Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. It'll also be passing through more central stations including High Street Ken & Earl's Court. London Transport Museum say: "Leaving Northfields on the Piccadilly line the train travels to High Street Kensington via Earl’s Court where you will experience an unusual cross over from the Piccadilly line to the District line a manoeuvre not usually available to the general public".
1938 Art Deco Tour - Riding in the Sunshine
London Transport Museum are running three special two hour  heritage train journeys from 9.10am starting at Northfields . I was lucky enough to travel on the art deco 1938 Tube train a few years ago and it's a real nostalgic treat.

"The highlight of the day is when the 1938 Tube train will run from Hatton Cross taking a left turn down to Heathrow Terminal 4 where it will then carry on to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Terminal 5, this is known as the 'Fish Hook Move'."

1938 Art Deco Tour -  Mind the Gap

It sounds like it will be a great journey and likely to sell out quickly.

The 1938 Tube stock was one of the last units to run in regular London Underground service until 1988 (just in case you wonder why there are a lot of 1970's and 1980's ads in the cars). Tickets are £25 for adults and £15 for children £15.

Heritage Vehicles Poster at Old Street Tube

Tickets must be booked in advance on 020 7565 7298 at the Museum Ticket desk in Covent Garden or online. Full details and the timetable are on London Transport Museum's site.

Related posts
Art Deco Tube Special - Travelling in a 1938 Tube train
Photos from 1967 Tube Stock's Last Tour

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, May 30, 2011

Railway Maps of the World - Mark Ovenden Guest Post

Following the success of
Metro Maps of the World & Transit Maps of the World, map lover and railway enthusiastic Mark Ovenden has just published a new book Railway Maps of the World which is the first book to show maps from the historical & modern day railway networks from every country. It contains hundreds of images, covering two centuries of railway advertising, surveyors' plans, travel posters, satellite photos, and station wall maps and charming anecdotes.

Railway Maps of the World  launch flyer

Mark was kind enough to write a guest post for us on how he came to write the book:

"The backstory to the book was that even though I thought I had a reasonable knowledge about rail history, doing the research for this book brought it home to me about how absolutely crucial railway building was to the opening up of the great landmasses and the siting of human settlement: the Trans-Siberian and the thousands of branches across the US & Canada are a kind of "MetroLand" on a continental scale.

"It had never really dawned on me that (at least until the age of the plane) you just cannot build a large an inland city without rail track delivering heavy building materials, supplying industry and importing fresh produce and people.

"More so railways were effectively THE driving force of the industrial revolution and it's been great to re-credit them with how humanity developed the modern world because it seems like - at least during the car-dominated second half of the 20th century - many people, myself included had forgotten or lost sight of that.

"The surveying of the new railways also drove the science of cartography, gave us the world time zones and mass travel for pleasure! 

World Metro Map by Mark Ovenden

"The other great revelation from preparing the book has been what an enormous revival there is currently underway in rail construction! Though most of it is centred around high-speed with literally thousands of km of new tracks being built and planned for, there are certainly benefits to traditional lines being upgraded, more urban rail and more undergrounds also on the way."

Railway Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden

There's a great video on the BBC's site where Mark speaks about how the many miles of tracks bring us together.  Railway Maps of the World  is published by Viking.

You might also like:
World Metro Map by Mark Ovenden
Paris Metro Style - Launch event
Metro Maps & Architecture of the World
World versions of the Tube Map - From the Metro Maps & Architecture of the World Talk

; Posted by annie mole Monday, May 30, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lost Collection: Art left on Public Transport

Do you doodle or sketch on the Tube? Ever left one of your drawings behind? If so, you might see it in a Hoxton gallery next month. Friday 3rd June 2011 sees the opening of a new exhibition made up of art that's been left unclaimed on the London Underground, buses, London Overground trains and Black Cabs.

Lost Collection Poster

TfL opened up its Lost Property Office to KK Outlet who have chosen 60 drawings, paintings and photography left behind on London's public transport to display in their gallery.

KK Outlet said: "The anonymous nature of the work invites a creative interpretation from the viewer of the content and inspiration behind the work. Who were these creators? What were they trying to communicate and most importantly do they have any talent?

We’re inviting the public to cast their critical eye over this collection, discover an unsung artistic talent or even reclaim a lost masterpiece that was left on the TfL network

The Lost Collection Exhibition runs from 3rd – 30th June 2011 at KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, N1 6PB. Mon – Fri: 9am-6pm and Sat: 12pm-5pm.

TfL’s Lost Property Office is one of the largest and busiest in the UK. It first opened its doors in 1933 and currently handles around 200,000 items a year that are left behind across London’s transport network.

Found false teeth by London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum's Community Curator, Jen Kavanagh, recently got a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at the TfL's Lost Property Office.

She said "When we went down the store room was packed with items, all clearly labelled and neatly arranged in numbered zones. The staff work very efficiently – we watched as a call came in from the customer point upstairs, requesting an object be sent up for return. It took the staff less than a minute to locate the object and send it up in the goods lift, making for happy customers.

The LPO store also houses some more bizarre objects which have never been re-claimed, including false teeth, a grandfather clock, a stuffed fox and some prosthetic limbs. There were also single shoes, crutches and walking sticks, which make you wonder how the owners didn’t notice they had left such objects behind!

There's a great Flickr set of pictures including hundreds of lost bags & the caseload of false teeth. Geoff Marshall is also making a film about what goes on behind the scenes, which will feature many weird and wonderful stories about what is lost and found on London's transport. The finished film will be added to London Transport Museum's collection. More on their blog.

You might also like
Weirdest Things Left on the Tube
Bizarre stuff left on the Tube showcased for Lost Property Office's 75th Birthday

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, May 29, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Subway Challenge Goes to Chicago

You know those people who attempt to travel round every Tube station on the London Underground in the fastest possible time? Tube Challengers - they have a
forum. I even did a bit of one during the fundraiser for the victims of the London 7/7 bombing. Now the challenge has moved Stateside and Tube Challenger Adham Fisher, went to Chicago to ride every L rail line through every station in record time.

Adham Fisher on L Train Challenge

He's written a full account of the challenge for Chicago Now who say: "I love his account because Adham sees things so much differently than us folks who have been in Chicago for awhile. He noticed things that only out-of-towners might - things we residents take for granted."

Adham said "I started my public transport quests by riding most bus routes in and around my home city of Leicester, United Kingdom. More recently, I have tried eight times to break the official Guinness World Record for visiting every station on the London Underground (Tube) as quickly as possible - informally known as the Tube Challenge.

New York is the only other city where one can set an official record of this type (and I have not even thought about that one yet), but I have continued to visit every station or stop on various underground, bus, train and tram networks when I can and time my runs, just for fun

Here's some of the things I found most interesting about Adham's quest.

"I ask a staff member about tickets. I decide on the one I want and am poised to buy it from a machine with cash, before she tells me that the machines do not accept cash.

CTA, you need to work on that. As I am trying to avoid extortionate card charges wherever possible, she sends me across the road to buy the pass from a supermarket. Upon my return, I reveal the reason behind my many questions and strange manner - I have come from England to visit every L station in one day.

The lady is incredulous, as is the man behind me at the barrier. Perhaps this public transport fortitude is a British thing and Americans do not possess it. Apart from in New York, maybe. There is an official record there, after all. Currently 22 hours, 52 minutes and 36 seconds, in case you were wondering

Zone 1 Tube Challenge

Actually even in London there are many people who would raise their eyebrows at people wanting to complete subway challenges. I was amazed that people flew over from other parts of Europe and the US to complete London Tube Challenges.

Adham also notes "During the journey, I also will hear the voice announce such things as:

"This is [station], as far as this train goes" as opposed to the more direct and business-like "This train terminates here."

"Eating is prohibited on all CTA vehicles" - a strange rule as I do see some vending machines on the system.

And  "Gambling is not allowed," which gives me the image of someone trying to run an illegal casino in a subway carriage. At least I do not see anyone soliciting, as reported on CTA Tattler."

Smelly Food Ad

No eating!!!!! Come on. No smelly food I can understand, but no eating, what's wrong with eating a sweet or something that's not going to cause a mess?

More from Adham who says "I see two Chicago Police officers. Their department patrols the L regularly in addition to CTA staff, and issues fines on the spot if they see someone engaging in illegal or dangerous activities, like walking between rail cars via the end doors. In Europe, that happens all the time and no one cares. But I do wonder if I will be reprimanded for "suspicious behavior" (CTA host), taking photographs of every station name. Thankfully, I am not."

Police Woman on tube at Piccadilly Circus Station

Since the 7/7 attacks there has been a bigger police presence on the Tube and immediately afterward people were stopped (me included) for taking pictures. There's fewer police around now, whatever Boris might say about increasing BTP presence and like Adham, I bet a police person wouldn't stop you from walking through carriage using the end doors.

Part two of Adham's account is here and he  travelled through every L station in a time of 9 hours, 36 minutes and 33 seconds.  I'd like to thank him for sending me his report to share here.

If you've got time, take a look at the heated comments from readers in Chicago.

Like when most foreigners abroad comment on a transport system people use every day, local commuters get remarkably defensive when seeing their "suddenly beloved" system seemingly criticised.  A similar thing happened to me on my first foray onto New York's subway a few years back.  In a nutshell I concluded that NYC's was great for having air conditioned trains, but London's Tube Map is loads better than New York's, our stations are generally in much better condition and their platform indicators were really confusing, specially when I was trying to be quick in the rush hour.

"But she doesn't know this", "How can she call herself a subway expert when she couldn't understand that" was the response I got from a lot of New Yorkers on Metafilter.  It's funny how used we get to travelling on our own subways and travelling on ones overseas usually makes us appreciate our own more - while realising the subtle advantages of other systems.

You might also like
400 Mile Tube Challenge
Tube Relief 2005 - Tube Challenge in aid of London Bombings Charitable Relief Fund
Zone 1 Tube Challenge
First Impressions of New York Subway
Uptown Downtown on New York Metro
New York Transit Museum

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, May 26, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Disney and the Tube Lounge

If you like
Roundels not on the Underground, from next March you can experience Roundels on sea. London Underground becomes the inspiration for part of Disney's new cruise ship - the Disney Fantasy. Disney Parks blog said: "The Tube at Europa, the adult entertainment district on the Disney Fantasy, transports guests to a vibrant metropolitan club via the London Underground." Not literally via the underground but you know what they mean.

Disney's Tube Lounge

"Guests “Mind the Gap” as they walk across a Tube route map, lounge among mod furniture, pose by a red English phone booth, dance atop an illuminated Union Jack dance floor and enjoy cocktails at a bar inspired by Big Ben and London’s many train stations."

The £560million Disney Fantasy, will carry 4,000 passengers, on week-long Caribbean cruises from Florida.

The mind boggles as I try to picture Disney's conception of cocktails inspired by "London's many train stations". Maybe they'll include:
  • "The King's Cross St Pancras - a royal combination of spirits, which we can't promise will aid your digestion but will tickle your tastebuds".
  • "The Finchley Road and Frognal - this green delight inspired by The Princess and The Frog would make the perfect toast for Tiana and Naveen's wedding".
  • "The Cockfosters - based on a beer popular with the English, this will have you dancing the Hokey Cokey in no time" 
  • "Euston - you'll have 'no problem' drinking this atmospheric cocktail which will rocket you into another space"
Any more thoughts most welcome!

Hat tip to Alex, Mark and PkrUno for letting me know about this.

Related Posts
London Transport Museum Cocktails
Roundels not on the Underground

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, May 25, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, May 23, 2011

Old Street Tube in Whiteboard Message Wars

Hipsters hold onto your hats (or flat caps, beanies or whatever the current Hoxton headwear of the moment is), as Old Street London Underground station are taking on
Shoreditch London Overground station in a battle for "Message of the Day".

Old Street Tube Message of the Day

I saw the above on the way into work this morning. Good to see this starting (I hope it's a start), but I expect they'll need to be a bit more like the ones at Shoreditch to cut it with commuters at Old Street. It is after all home of Silicon Roundabout (London's version of Silicon Valley - sort of) and as TimeOut magazine tweeted not long ago "#lifeinlondon is going out in Shoreditch and becoming convinced that Skins is a documentary".

Still apart from the lack of apostrophes it's a good start and I'm looking forward to seeing how they develop!  I'll keep a record of the Old Street Tube's Messages of the Day here.

If you'd like to see what Shoreditch station have been up to, their message boards have been catalogued by board scribe. Here's the latest:

You might also like
Station Whiteboard Message Wars
London Transport Award Winners (featuring Mr Warwick Avenue)
Kew Gardens vs Warwick Avenue
Any questions for Mr Warwick Avenue
Tube Staff that make you Smile

; Posted by annie mole Monday, May 23, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, May 20, 2011

South Kentish Town Tube & John Betjeman

Update: 27th May 2011:  Last night passengers were
stuck on train for three hours just outside of Kentish Town station - spooky in light of the following story on South Kentish Tube a week ago! Read on.......

Just when I thought I'd heard most urban legends about the Tube, something pops up that I initially had no recollection hearing about before. Thanks to Swirlythingy who left a comment in response to London Transport Museum's new "Underground" Map commission (blogged earlier this week), I learnt that John Betjeman had written a short story based on a true event about a man getting stuck at South Kentish Town London Underground Station a few weeks after it had closed in 1924.

John Betjeman lookalike on Northern Line by Annie Mole
John Betjeman lookalike I spotted on the Northern Line last week

In reality when the doors opened at the closed station, the man got off, but quite soon realised his mistake and managed to jump on the train before it left. But one should never let the facts get in the way of a good urban legend.

Enter TOT a London Transport staff magazine which published a poem in 1933 about the event. The writer had a whale of a time with this incident and created a "Mr Brackett" who was stuck in the station for four days and only survived by eating the posters on station walls!

Here's part of the poem:

"When morning came he started on his hands and knees to crawl,
And made a lot of progress 'till his forehead hit a wall.
Then he sat and chewed a poster which was advertising "port",
But the paste upon it proved a most unsatisfying sort.
All day upon the platform Mr Brackett quietly fumed,
His mind was full of pictures of the day he'd be exhumed;

He managed to escape by burning more posters to create a signal attracting the attention of a Tube driver.

Fast forward to 1951 and John Betjeman, former Poet Laureate and London railway lover, wrote a story about South Kentish Town, broadcast by BBC's Home Service, and changed the name of the man to Basil Green.

Some extracts follow: "This is a story about a very unimportant station on the Underground railway in London .....

Hardly anyone used the station at all. I should think about three people a day. Every other train on the Underground railway went through without stopping: 'Passing South Kentish Town!' Passengers used Camden Town Station to the south of it, and Kentish Town to the north of it, but South Kentish Town they regarded as an unnecessary interolation, like a comma in the wrong place in a sentence, or an uncalled-for remark in the middle of an interesting story. When trains stopped at South Kentish Town the passengers were annoyed .......

Then progress came along, as, alas it so often does: and progress, as you know, means doing away with anything restful and useless."

South Kentish Town by John Betjeman

He wrote about the closure of the station: "All you noticed as you rolled by in a tramcar down the Kentish Town Road was something that looked like an Underground station, but when you looked again it was two shops, a tobacconist's and a coal-merchant's. Down below they switched off the lights on the platforms and in the passages leading to the lifts, and then they left the station to itself. The only way you could know, if you were in an Underground train, that there had ever been a South Kentish Town Station, was that the train made a different noise as it rushed through the dark and empty platform. It went quieter with a sort of swoosh instead of a roar and if you looked out of the window you could see the lights of the carriages reflected in the white tiles of the station wall."

"Basil Green" like Mr Brackett before him gets stuck at the station and tries to make his way out. He climbs up a spiral staircase, no luck. He explores the lift shafts thinking that might work out.

"I don't know whether you know what the lift shafts of London's Underground railways are like. They are enormous - twice as big as this room where I am sitting and round instead of square. All the way round them are iron ledges jutting out about six inches from the iron walls and each ledge is about two feet above the next. A brave man could swing himself on to one of these and climb up hand over hand, if he were sensible enough not to look down and make himself giddy."

That doesn't work either and he beds down for the night with the Evening Standard as a pillow. The full story which you can read online here doesn't have an ending, so you're left wondering how Mr Green will make his escape.

J.E Connor wrote in London's Disused Underground Stations that the story was broadcast on the radio again in 1961 and was the subject of a TV programme in 1997 "which inferred that it was “true”."

Betjeman's London and London's Disused Underground Stations
As you can tell from my pictures above, I own both London's Disused Underground Stations and Betjeman's London which has the short story in it. I even found little post-it notes attached to the story. But if you'd had asked me yesterday, had I heard of the story, I'd have said no. Must be a sign of old age. Soon I'll be ranting at  young policemen on the streets: "Don't tell me what to do laddy, I've forgotten more than you'll ever know".

Anyway I'm pleased to discover both books again and Connor's book will definitely be re-read with interest.

You might also like
Old Tube Stations could be Re-Opened
Spooky  Spooky Spooky
The End of the Line - Subway horror story anthology
Bumper Harris was my great, great grandfather

; Posted by annie mole Friday, May 20, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photos from 1967 Tube Stock's Last Tour

On Sunday 15th May number of London Underground enthusiasts got to travel on the last* of the 1967 Tube stock before it gets put into pasture. It was a mammoth 6 hour tour and I really don't like Tubes enough to stay on them that long.
IanVisits has written a post about the whole experience.

Browsing through the London Tube Flickr group I spotted some lovely pictures of unexpected details taken by Antje (aka Trowbridge Estate) on the tour.

Defect Report Log - 1967 Tube Stock  by Trowbridge Estate
Defect Report Log - 1967 Tube Stock by Trowbridge Estate

The Victoria line blue tit by Trowbridge Estate
The Victoria line blue tit by Trowbridge Estate

More of her photos from the tour here.

*OK Not technically the last. From IanVisits who reported that Victoria Line Manager, John Doyle "was able to confirm that the last 67 Stock to run along the whole line will be on Friday 27th May as engineering works mean they can’t travel past Seven Sisters after that date, but a few will still ply their trade along the rest of the line for a couple more weeks.

The very last train ever on any part of the line will be around the middle of June. Was supposed to be the end of June/start July, but engineering works means they are probably going to bring the final trip forward. Details to be confirmed

More Heritage Train Journeys

A quick reminder that there are still places left on this Sunday's (22nd May) 1938 Tube Tour. London Transport Museum said tickets can no longer be purchased online as postal delivery cannot be guaranteed in time for the event. However, tickets can still be booked via the booking office on 0207 565 7298 and collected on the day from Harrow on the Hill (until 10:30), Amersham and Rickmansworth. Tickets may also be purchased in person on the day from those stations.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, May 19, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

London Transport Museum Commission new "Underground Map"

I know there's lots of map geeks who read the blog, so don't think this is yet another Tube or London Underground Map (there's plenty of those to go round). However, this newly commissioned map will be a map about London's Underground. It will include the transport network but also everything else that's subterranean, from pre-history to the contemporary.

Stephen Walter map by Rooney
Stephen Walter map by Rooney

Artist Stephen Walter had produced a amazingly detailed a hand-drawn map of London's surface, called The Island Series in 2008. This was made up of words and symbols mingled with geographical information to form "a celebration of place". It was on display last year in The British Library's Magnificant Maps exhibition.

On London Transport Museum's blog Stephen said "I would like to have noted the lost rivers of London in ‘The Island.’ The continuing flow of waters that now find themselves diverted and channeled through a system of pipes underground still ending in the Thames. These are the very routes of our city. When London Transport Museum came to me for a new idea, I thought of it straight away – An Underground map of London where I could finally include those lost rivers and develop my own Tube map."

He's currently developing ideas for the new subterranean map and wants your input so it can be a "peoples' map". He said "When thinking about London Underground, most people will relate to the Tube system and their memories of events whilst on it, or to a crypt, basement or tunnel." He'd like to delve deeper into the questions of what the ‘underground’ means to people and how it might be interpreted.

There's a series of interesting open questions on the museum's blog to inspire some thoughts. They include:

What rumors of ‘secret’ underground infrastructure have you heard about?
What does the ‘underworld’ mean to you?
When you think about what is underground in London, what do you see?
What is your concept of what is ‘underlying’?

So let your mind wander, think about all the things that interest you about what's under London. For me it's secret passageways, secret tunnels, hidden bunkers, sewers, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, ghost and disused stations like The Mail Rail and Aldwych, mice and rats, The Thames Tunnel, 'real' underground ghosts, mad troglodytes, travelling beneath the river, night shift workers, plague pits, what's being uncovered in Crossrail's construction, scary thoughts of getting stuck in the Underground when it's closed for the night (I could go on and on).

But let Stephen know whatever it means to you. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone's thoughts get represented on the map. If it's anything like The Island it'll be amazing.

You might also like
Slightly Disturbing Tube Map
Middle Earth Tube Map

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Roundels Not on the Underground

It's been some time, but Roundels Not on the London Underground is back. Many thanks to everyone who's been globe trotting and sending in pictures of the Tube Roundel not in its natural habitat.  As it's been a while, there's a bumper collection below.

A couple from the UK to start with, starting with one that's closest to home.

Pasty Underground by Alan Perryman

If the Tube ever wanted to run a line of pasties they could learn from this Cornish cafe.  It's certainly err... simple. They sell pasties and the basement shop is ever so slightly underground.   Alan aka @grimnorth spotted this last month in Polzeath.

Redcar Roundels by CdL Creative

Lots of rogue roundels spotted in Redcar by CdL Creative.

Returning to the culinary theme which continues in Essen, Germany where @Centralman saw the roundel gracing a pizza place.

U-Bahn Pizza by @Centralman

Staying in Germany and one actually seen on a station!

Where the Berlin U-Bahn Meets The London Underground by Vicchi

Gary aka @vicchi said "While at Wittenbergplatz U-Bahn station, I noticed a familiar London Underground Tube roundel style sign. The small brass plaque underneath the sign explains that it was donated by London Transport in 1952 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Berlin's U-Bahn system."

Moving eastwards a lovely shot by Nuria of a shop in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Roundel in Bratislava, Slovakia taken by Nuria

Joana found the following in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Rejavik Roundel - spotted by Joana

Maybe Reykjavik has more than its fair share of roundels thanks to Damon Albarn's bar which has been spotted by a number of you in the past. Barry who went a few years back said "It's quite surreal experience to travel to the Arctic Circle and find all these LU roundels all over the place, but then Reykjavik (and Iceland as a country) itself is quite a surreal place."

There's definitely a trend for using the roundel as a bar sign as the following photos show.  The first was spotted by James B in Copenhagen.

Roundel in Copenhagen

Mark Baldwin spotted this on holiday in Neapoli in Greece.

Playground spotted by Mark Baldwin

Also spotted by Anne who has a close up.

Playground Roundel in Neopoli - spotted by Anne

Travelling outside of Europe we go to Brazil and a spot by Drew.

Pub in Sao Paulo, Brazil spotted by Drew White

He said "I spotted this "Pub" in a small town near Sao Paulo, Brazil - a murky, misty day, sadly, but it still looked quite a fun 'stop' at which to alight!"

Finally, I think this is the first roundel sent from a desert. It was spotted in Nevada's Black Rock Desert by Derek.

Roundel at Burning Man by Derek Frankforth

He said "Here is a roundel on a art piece at last year's Burning Man. BTW. Piss Clear is a reference to the unofficial Burning Man daily newspaper that ran for 13 years, until a couple of years ago. I believe it is now available as a book."

Thanks so much to all of you.  I'm always amazed at the places the roundel has been seen and very grateful that you've taken photos of them for the blog.  The collection of Roundels Not on the Underground is on my Flickr set.

Please keep looking out for them on your travels and I'll post the best here.

Some Related Posts
Roundels Not on the London Underground
Roundels Not on the Tube
Roundels Not on the London Underground
Roundels Not on the Tube

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, May 14, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Roundels on the River: Serco Prize For Illustration

Look out for a new poster on the London Underground this week. It's Anne Wilson’s ‘Winding Through the City‘ which won first prize in the Serco Prize for Illustration on Monday evening.
London Transport Museum is home to an exhibition of the best 50 entries to the competition run in partnership with the Association of Illustrators. The brief was to "submit images that feature the River Thames as an exciting and varied place for Londoners and visitors alike."

An Average Day on the Thames - Matt Oxborrow

The exhibition runs until 3rd June 2011 and has some wonderful illustrations on display. The Thames is such a part London's iconic images that there was an outcry when it was temporarily removed from the Tube map.

Matt Oxborrow's "An Average Day on the Thames" was my personal favourite, as I loved the idea of people floating down the river on roundels. He's also illustrated a whole range of Londoners who might use the Thames for work or pleasure.

It was interesting to see so many interpretations of the Thames many of them showing a vertical West/East divide, rather than the more familiar horizontal division.

Anne Wilson and her 1st prize entry ‘Winding Through the City'

I liked Anne Wilson's winning entry and it was good to see how well it worked on London Transport Museum merchandise, that was on display. The detail on some of the other illustrations was amazing, but I'm not sure how well they would have transferred to mugs, mousemats, bag and posters.

I'm a sucker for retro looking things and particularly liked Matthew Bromley's Explore The Thames for this reason.

Explore London, explore the Thames - Matthew Bromley

Andy Potts' London Flow worked really well with a simple colour scheme and various modes of transport literally flowing through the river.

London Flow - Andy Potts

5 o'clock Thames - Madalina Andronic

I loved the fairytale detail in Madalina Andronic's 5 o'clock Thames. She was standing next to me when I was taking a picture and I asked her how long it took. "Three days", she said. I don't think I could complete something like that in three years!

There's a few more pictures on my Flickr set of the exhibition. If you look closely in one you'll see the reflection of IanVisits who also came along the opening and has written a blog post with his impressions too.

To support the exhibition on Saturday 21 May at 3pm London Transport Museum Senior Curator, Claire Dobbin, will give an illustrated talk "Poster Art and the River Thames" about how the River Thames has featured in over a century of London Transport posters. The hour long talk is £8 – or free to annual season ticket holders (you're advised to phone 020 7565 7298 in advance to reserve your place).

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, May 11, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tube Strikes Off

You may have read reports earlier today that London Underground had negotiated with the RMT to suspend strikes due to start on 16th May. As the saying going, "It's not over till the fat lady sings", so now the railway union's equivalent to the fat lady has spoken. The
RMT have finally confirmed London Underground's position and the Tube Strike is off.

Bob Crow on the Bakerloo Line

Bob Crow said "This dispute has only ever been about securing justice for our members who have been unfairly dismissed. As a result of this agreement Eamonn Lynch can return to work with his continuity of employment and standard of living protected.

“We now also have an agreement to enter into further discussions with relation to Arwyn Thomas aimed at resolving his unfair dismissal case in advance of his Employment Tribunal.

“As a result we have agreed to suspend the action to allow those further discussions to take place over the next week."

Earlier the BBC and other sources reported, London Underground's MD Mike Brown, who said "Following a meeting with the RMT leadership this morning, the RMT have withdrawn their threat of industrial action, and we have avoided significant disruption for London."

Related Post
Tube Strike Dates Announced for May and June

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, May 09, 2011

Northern Line Extension to Battersea - Have Your Say

Today TfL and Treasury Holdings are starting a public consultation to hear local views on the proposed extension of the Nothern Line from Kennington to Battersea Power Station.

Proposed Northern Line extension from Stefen Cz's post on Albert Square and Saint Stephen's Association blog

In November 2010 Wandsworth Council gave approval to plans to revamp Battersea Power Station. Two new London Underground stations were  part of the package - one at Nine Elms and one at Battersea. If the private sector funded 3km extension goes ahead, locals in Battersea would be less than 15 minutes by Tube from the West End and the City.

Michèle Dix, TfL's Managing Director for Planning said: 'We're very much behind this private-sector funded project, which will not only support the proposed development of the Northern line extension but become an important transport link for people in the Battersea and Nine Elms area.

'We are really keen to hear what local residents think about these proposals for the Northern line extension
.' Around 40,000 leaflets are being sent to households and businessesin the surrounding area asking people for their views on the project, the location of stations and other infrastructure associated with the extension.

A couple of years ago, I went along to a walking tour Battersea Power Station and at the time only one new station was proposed.

Proposed Tube Extension - Battersea Power Station

The public consultation ends on Friday 17th June.  TfL and Treasury Holdings are holding three exhibitions about the Northern Line extension throughout the rest of May from 18th May. Details are on TfL's website.

Subject to funding and further planning permission the Northern line extension could be completed in 2017.  I wondered where the cash would be coming from for this, when I first blogged last year and London Reconnections make a detailed prediction of how it could all be funded.

Related Posts
New Tube stations planned with new Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station Tour & Tube Plans

; Posted by annie mole Monday, May 09, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, May 06, 2011

Spoof Stickers on the Central Line

If you travel on the Central Line you might have seen some unusual stickers on the in carriage maps. They're the work of "
Stickers on the Central Line" hoping to get people to do a quick double-take or at least raise a smile.

 Shepherd's Pie from Stickers on the Central Line

Started on the 25th April they wrote "At 13:54 Stickers on the Central Line took its first steps. After months (well hours) of planning we were finally ready. Armed with stickers we boarded the 13:50 from Epping to West Ruislip and unleashed phase 1 onto an unsuspecting public."

From Stickers on the Central Line

The stickers are pretty inventive and each one comes with a commentary on the blog. I love the explanation for Lille: "It is a little known fact that between Woodford and Buckhurst Hill there is a lightly used tunnel which provides London Underground commuters direct access to the Paris Metro. Providing you’re not in a hurry, you can just sit back (if you can find a seat), relax and simply show your passport when the border guards pass through the train."

As well as the blog, there's also a Facebook Group where you can record your spots and send in ideas for stickers.

Thanks to the many people who let me know about this and hat-tip to @Londonist on Twitter where I first saw it mentioned.

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; Posted by annie mole Friday, May 06, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cally Road Tube Artist Inspires Song

Love this story of how the
Caledonian Road Tube artist has inspired a Holloway musician, Eoin Quiery, to write a song about her. Kim Kalan's lovely artwork and cheery messages on whiteboards have have been brightening up the ticket office at the London Underground station for around a year. She was "gobsmacked" to hear she was going to be immortalised in song.

Caledonian Road Artist Inspires Song - Photo by Dieter Perry

The customer service assistant who is a novelist in her spare time and is currently looking for an agent for her first sci-fi fantasy book. She sketches up to two drawings a week, working on them in her breaks, when the station goes quiet and at the end of her shifts.

Eoin Quiery, @eoinquiery, said: "The pictures just cheer everybody up when they are making their way into a work on a dreary morning. It's great to see somebody with such a positive attitude. I wanted to capture her positivity in the music."

He will record the song later this month with his acoustic rock band Burning Wheel, who are working on an album.  You can read more about this story here.

Hat tip to Mark Baldwin who read about this in Muswill Hill New Journal.

Please keep the stories about Tube staff that make you smile coming in.

Related Posts
Tube Staff that make you smile
Caledonian Road Tube Artist
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; Posted by annie mole Thursday, May 05, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tube Strikes Dates Announced for May and June

Update - June 9th 2011 - More
Tube strikes are now planned for June & July 2011 over this issue. 

Update - May 10th 2011 - Tube Strikes Are Off - You may have read reports that London Underground had negotiated with the RMT to suspend strikes due to start on 16th May. Now RMT have finally confirmed London Underground's position and the Tube Strike is off.

Earlier the BBC and other sources reported, London Underground's MD Mike Brown, who said "Following a meeting with the RMT leadership this morning, the RMT have withdrawn their threat of industrial action, and we have avoided significant disruption for London." 

Here's the earlier post with some of the background:

RMT driver members are to take six days of strike action starting from 16th May 2011 in a row over the sacking of two Tube drivers. The strikes will effectively disrupt the London Underground over a period of two weeks, with RMT leader Bob Crow saying the action will have a "major impact" on services.

6 Days of Tube Strikes on the Way for May June 2011
64% of members voted in favour of strike action over the dismissal of Arwyn Thomas, a Bakerloo Line driver and Eamon Lynch, a Northern Line driver. Both men have taken a case of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.

The driver strikes are currently planned for between nine and 24 hours from Monday 16 May to Friday 20 May and again from Monday 13 June to Friday 17 June.

Bob Crow said: "It is the abject failure of LU to recognise that their policy of victimisation of union activists has been well and truly rumbled both in the employment tribunal and in their own depots, and it is that harassment and bullying that has left us with no choice but to name these dates for strike action ".

Jubilant members from the union added on website RMT London Calling "This is a major achievement for the union and shows that drivers across the whole of the combine and in every depot are determined to stop the victimisation of our fellow drivers. Never before has the union escalated an individual case across the whole of the Tube network.

Support for RMT campaigns combine wide are normally based on pay issues, terms and conditions or safety. To gain the support of our driver members the length and breadth of the combine for these two individuals is a fantastic show of solidarity for our victimised work mates. This result sends a clear message to LU bosses that drivers have had enough of the abuse of procedures and the oppressive management regime in force

They continued "However much you try to keep your head down and get through your shift, the oppressive breath of management is there, scorching the back of your neck. Eamonn and Arwyn’s sackings are not random: they are part of a management strategy to remove RMT from the workplace and, with it, any resistance to what they want to do to you."

Although this round of strike action is not about pay, they added "Whilst they are receiving gongs such as 'train operator of the year' and boasting that we are moving more people in living history, they want to reward you with a multiyear pay cut! With inflation running at over 5%, interest rate rises on the way and cost of fuel and other living costs going through the roof all they have offered is 4% for the first year and RPI + 0.25% for the following 4."

At time of writing there is no statement about the proposed strike on TfL's site but they told the BBC that it's "absolute nonsense" to suggest the two men were dismissed unfairly due to their union activities.

Talks are continuing, so there is a chance the strikes may get called off, however with such a majority in favour of the industrial action it's unlikely the legality of the strike will be challenged.  Watch this space as more news comes in and in the meantime get prepared for disruption from the 16th May.

Update - 6th May 2011 -  Earlier today one of the sacked drivers, Eamonn Lynch won his claim of unfair dismissal, so now Bob Crow's demanding an immediate meeting with TfL

He said "With the clear parallel with Arywn Thomas's case, there is now an urgent need for London Underground to meet with the RMT to set out a plan for a return to work that can avoid plunging London into two blocks of strike action that everyone knows will lead to massive disruption. The tribunal has found in favour of the RMT, justice has been done and now we need to meet with the company to finalise arrangements that can enable us to move forwards as quickly as possible."

London Underground Managing Director, Mike Brown, said 'We will, of course, study the Employment Tribunal judgment and carefully consider our next steps. Whilst the Tribunal has made a finding of unfair dismissal, it has also found that on the 9 August 2010 Mr Lynch breached an established and significant safety rule and was in part culpable or blameworthy for his actions.'

Waiting next steps with baited breath.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, May 04, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Stars Wars Day - Subway travelling Stormtroopers

In honour of Star Wars Day, "May the Fourth Be with you" and all that, I wanted to remind you of how Stars Wars characters invaded the Subway. Sadly they haven't reached the London Underground yet.

Last year, the crazy team who brought
No Pants/Trousers Subway Day to the world, Improv Everywhere, decided to re-enact the first Princess Leia / Darth Vader scene from Star Wars in a New York City subway car.

Like them, I was amazed at how many people got out their camera phones and actually paid attention to this.

They said "One thing we learned is that almost every human will immediately take out their camera when they see Darth Vader. We've done lots of crazy missions on the subway over the years, but I have never seen so many people taking photographs of our performance. How can you not take a photo of Darth Vader? It's impossible to resist!"

Hat tip to @manima for spotting this.

Darth Vader OK, OK, a Storm Trooper appeared to be studiously ignored when queuing for a subway ticket in Toyko.

Densha Trooper
More on the Toyko sighting here.

Will someone in London put ImprovEverywhere's thesis to the test? Can we rely on Tube commuters to studiously ignore Darth & Co?

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, May 04, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

London Transport Awards 2011 - Winners

Last Thursday, I found myself at an awards ceremony dedicated to London Transport. It had all the usual features of awards ceremonies: lovely food, glitzy room, people turned out very smartly, large screens, comedy host and big name after dinner speaker (
Ken Livingstone in this case - introduced as "our once and future Mayor"!). I had wondered how you could give "awards" for London Transport and part of me expected nominations for "Best use of an Oyster Card", "Best Excuse for Jubilee Line Suspension" and "Lifetime Achievement for Escalator Services", but this wasn't the case.

Tim Pinn - Nominated for Frontline Employee of the Year - London Transport Awards 2011

The awards were for people who were "making a real difference to transport across London". Although "people" in most cases meant "organisations", it was was lovely to see that there were some awards for individuals, such as "Frontline Employee of the Year". Two London Underground staff were nominated & two bus drivers from First London Buses. I was personally delighted to see Tim Pinn (aka Mr Warwick Avenue), who was nominated not just for his cheery white board notices, but his "excellent rapport with customers" and that he "always takes time to ask after family members and share a joke with them. He is constantly on the lookout for customers who may need assistance and always greets customers as they pass." Mystery shopper & customer feedback demonstrate "he is always active in his willingness to provide impeccable customer service and leave a very positive impression of LU on customers".

I met Tim after the ceremony (he didn't win the overall prize, that went to Dagenham Driver Phil Hiett), and Tim was charming, bubbling over with enthusiasm and a naturally likeable man. You can see why he was nominated and it was great to see a Tube member of staff who has a Facebook page "We love extraordinary Tim Pinn", for all the right reasons.

I didn't meet the other LU nominee, Andy Cutting, line specialist at Baker Street, but learnt that he was behind solving problems with customer information at Edgware Road "by advising that the key to improving this area was by improving communication between the signal cabin and the station team" leading to a reduction in complaints.  The drivers were nominated for competent driving (obviously) but also charity work and awareness of the community.  Phil had spotted an elderly pedestrian who was disorientated and took her to the nearest police station so she could be cared for.

In our everyday commutes, its all too easy to think of all London Underground or bus staff as 'faceless' individuals, jobsworths or strike happy union members,  who really don't care about us.  Obviously people don't just work to win awards, but  it's pleasing to know there are are a lot more people like Tim around and good to see them publicly recognised - not just through awards but in the press, on blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook pages.   If you have any stories of Tube staff that make your day, I'd love to hear about them.

Kings Cross St Pancras LUL Customer Service Team of the Year
All of the winners and nominees for the London Transport Awards can be found here. Other London Underground related awards went to Kings Cross St Pancras for LUL Customer Service Team of the Year, South Quay for Rail Station of the Year (beating King's Cross St Pancras Tube, Streatham Hill and Mitcham Junction) and London Overground won Public Transport Operator of the Year.  The Oyster Extension to National Rail won the award for Excellence in Technology and Innovation.

Thanks very much to the press team at TfL for inviting me along the awards and for being great company at dinner!  Thanks also to John Bull at London Reconnections for being an excellent drinking partner and fount of knowledge for all things London Transport related.  There's a few more pictures from the Transport Awards here.

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; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, May 03, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE