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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
If you like this you'll LURVE One Stop Short of Barking, the fun and informative book about travelling
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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tube Challenge 14 - Will they beat the record?

A few weeks ago, former Tube Challenge Record Holder,
Geoff Marshall and Vicki, Anthony and Chris, set out to try to beat the record most recently broken by Mancunians Marc Gawley and Martin East.

Tube Challenge Team at  West Ham

Did they do it? Find out in the very detailed and tweet by tweet account of their efforts to travel round all stations on the London Underground in the fastest possible time.  You can also follow their general shenanigans and plans on Twitter too @to_the_trains.

Chicago Subway Challenger, Adham Fisher has written a song about Chris's route as a parody of Mylo's Destroy Rock & Roll. Called Destroy All Zones It's quite hypnotic listing of all the stations if you ever want to give it a try yourself.

Finally, in case you missed it, I was on Londonist Out Loud a couple of weeks ago talking about the Tube Challenge and a number of other Tube related bits and pieces. Enjoy!

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, July 31, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guess Where Tube 6

Continuing the series where I ask you to try to guess where on the  London Underground picture from the
London Tube Flickr group was taken from.

No post

Only one of you got the last week's which was incredibly hard. I thought the only way that someone would have got this, would have been if they were the person in the train!

This week, is one of those if you know where it is, it's pretty easy. If you don't it will be interesting seeing how people try to go about trying to guess where it is.

Once again, there's no prizes for getting it, just the satisfaction of knowing you were right. So you need to guess where it was taken from.

Try not to look at the comments in front of you before making your guess. Have fun!

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Guess Where Tube 5
Guess Where Tube 4
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Guess Where Tube 2
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Guess Where Tube Quiz
Guess Where Tube Quiz Round Two

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 28, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 25, 2011

Angel Tube's Thoughts of the Day go Online

Loving this & I suppose it was only a matter of time, but the "
London Underground Whiteboard Message" wars have hitched up a notch. Shoreditch London Overground station have regular daily fun messages captured by Boardscribe. Oval Tube have been doing Quotes of the Day in lovely italic writing for many years. Tim Pinn at Warwick Avenue Tube's cheery whiteboard messages with fun sketches have earnt him hundreds of Facebook fans and he also was nominated for a London Transport Award Clapham North Tube also has quotes of the day messages and  Kew Gardens station regulary do "On This Day in ......" boards.  Kim at Caledonian Road Tube's wonderful artwork has even inspired a song.

Angel Tube have been delighting commuters at Islington with their wonderful thoughts for quite some time. They've now decided to go online.

Angel Tube  Thoughts of the Day go online

Pop along to Thoughts of Angel and you'll see a "website is dedicated to bring you all the “Thoughts Of The Day” and “Quotes Of The Day” from Angel Underground Station.

So stay tune ... for a daily dose of fun, laughter and thoughts!

Don’t forget to comment and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

It's very early days for the site, but I'm sure they'd appreciate your follows & Likes!

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Clapham North enters Tube Station Message Board Wars
Station Whiteboard Message Wars
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Kew Gardens vs Warwick Avenue
Any questions for Mr Warwick Avenue
Tube Staff that make you Smile

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 25, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Building the Victoria Line in the 1960's

Fascinating film from the
archives of Halcrow of a British Transport film detailing the construction of the "new" Victoria Line in the early 1960's. Halcrow designed the Docklands extension to Woolwich Arsenal. "This film, Report Number 1 Over and Under, Operations at Oxford Circus, describes the route of the new line, the planning and the problems that had to be overcome from 1962-64."

Oxford Circus Tube in the Early 1960s

Interesting to see that some overcrowding issues never change!

Oxford Circus Tube 2011

We certainly didn't have it quite as bad as those people in the sixties.

Andy, who works for Halcrow, and sent me the link to the film said "It mostly concerns the rebuilding of Oxford Circus Tube station, including the installation of the steel "Umbrella" bridge to carry traffic as the works went on underneath. Featuring arm waving surveyors typical August Bank holiday weather and a topless miner drinking from a bucket.":

Engineer at Oxford Circus Tube July 1962

Arm Waving Engineer 1962

I love how the finishing of the works had to be completed over one Bank Holiday weekend and you can really tell the sense of pride in the commentators voice that the deadline was met.

"Everyone knew what they had to do and got about doing it". "The bolts slotted together, first time of asking".

Cavendish Square July 1963

There's great footage of the workers boring through the London clay which the commentator said was "ideal for the new Tube railway".

More tunnelling at Cavendish Square 1963

As Andy says the shot towards the end with the shirtless working drinking from a fire bucket shows how hard all these guys worked to ensure the project was completed on time.

Thirsty Work - 1963 Tube Tunneller

The whole film looks like it was from another age altogether rather than just over 47 years ago. Look out for the old TV cameras and the knotted handkerchiefs on the workers heads. There's also many of those old "cut away diagrams" showing all the tunnels, intersections and how they fitted with the new ticket halls.

Watching it, I had the  weird thought  that my parents might have been, some of the people pictured standing around looking at the work take place, years before I was even a twinkle in the old man's eye!

Thanks again to Andy and to Halcrow for uploading the film on their site.

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; Posted by annie mole Saturday, July 23, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 22, 2011

Slide Stairs to The Trains

Please TfL can we have these on the London Underground? Commuters in Holland can take the newly installed "transfer accelerator" to
quickly descend the station stairs at Overvecht Station and access platforms.

"At night the slide is said to play music from Bach". That's amazing!

Overvecht Station installs  - transfer accelerator

It's part of a series of urban installations designed by HIK Ontwerpers.

Which London stations would you like to see this on? Waterloo seems to be crying out for some speedier way of making it down the stairs!

Hat tip to Alfie from artpublic for sharing this on Google+

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; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 22, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tube Panel Discussion on iTunes - Londonist Out Loud Podcast

I was lucky enough to be part of the
Londonist Out Loud Podcasts two weeks ago and got the opportunity to talk about quirky, interesting & topical London news of that week - Tube challenge, London Myths and the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings.

If you download the free podcast on iTunes The Tube challenge chat is right at the beginning. If you zoom along to 32:40 that's where I start talking about London myths &  NomNomNom - a blogger's cook-off that I've been helping to organise for the past four years. If you then fast forward to 42.08, you'll hear a plug for our charity raffle in aid of Action Against Hunger.

Londonist Out Loud Podcast

It was fun doing the panel discussion and interesting to hear my fellow panellist Olivia Armstong's views on Tube challenging too.  The London Myth I debunked was the "fact" that there 109 journeys on the Tube which are faster to walk than if you travel by the London Underground!

Thanks to host N Quentin Woolf from making the whole podcast experience a lot of fun.

Those without iTunes can listen to the whole podcast on Londonist.

Related Posts
Walker's Tube Map
July 7th - Six Years On
News of the World may have Hacked 7/7 Families phones

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 21, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Doctor Who Tube Map

Prepare to take up at least an hour of your time. I have seen a number of
London Underground maps related to Doctor Who since I've been blogging. But this one by @Crispian_Jago is simply The Doctor Who Tube Map

Doctor Who Tube map by Crispian Jago

It works best if you open the browser window to full screen mode & let all of the images take a few moments to fully load. Unfortunately at the moment it's not suitable for iPads.

Crispian says: "Hover the mouse over the main line interchanges to take a closer look at the aliens, monsters and baddies."

Detail of Dr Who Tube Map by Crispian Jago

Also if you hover your mouse over one of the 11 Doctors on the left hand side you can view their detailed line. "lock the pop-up window in place using the “s” key, so you can scroll along and view the full line" says Crispian.

Simply genius!

Hat tip to GeoffTech for telling me about this!

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 18, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 15, 2011

Next Tube calling at Harrogate via York

An ambitious scheme to utilise old London Underground trains on a commuter line between Harrogate, Leeds and York was unveiled by business leaders in Harrogate.

Unusual sight by Nicobobinus

Old District Line trains could be used to ease a lack of capacity on the route. The BBC report "These electric trains trains would prove 60% more seats than the current service, experts believe.

The use of these trains would mean electrifying the line - but not with the overhead power cables used elsewhere.

The power would come from a rail mounted a couple of feet above the track and a "current collector" would run along it, feeding electricity to the trains' motors

Commuters in the area would see the trains between Leeds and Knaresborough running every 15 minutes and between Knaresborough and York could be boosted to every 30 minutes.

Brian Dunsby the Chamber's chief executive said the idea was: "a modern low-cost ground-level electrification system, similar to that used on the Docklands Light Railway.

"This should be more reliable and much simpler and quicker to install than the conventional overhead electrical systems used on the East Coast and West Coast mainlines

If successful, the service could be running by 2014.

Old Tubes never die

Any other uses for old sub surface District stock (or indeed any old stock)  welcome in the comments.

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; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 15, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guess Where Tube 5

Continuing the series where I ask you to try to guess where on the  London Underground picture from the
London Tube Flickr group was taken from.

Guess Where Tube 5

A number of you got last week's which I thought was hard. There were some good early guesses in the right direction which I reckon helped.

This week, I'm having you work even harder. I took the picture myself yesterday and had to do a double-take when I saw it pulling into the platform. Me and a number of other passengers were about to get on the train, when we realised there was something special about it, as it had loads of people in it having breakfast and generally acting as though it was a kitchen or office and not a train.

Once again, there's no prizes for getting it, just the satisfaction of knowing you were right. So you need to guess where it was taken from and tell me a bit more about the Tube train itself.

Try not to look at the comments in front of you before making your guess. Have fun!

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; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 13, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Customer Charter Claims - How many is too many?

I'm a big fan of
TfL's Customer Charter claims system where you can claim for a refund of your single ticket if your journey on the London Underground is delayed by more than 15 minutes. Obviously they rely upon the vast majority of people doing this, but with more apps around that make it easier for you to claim, I imagine the numbers are going up.

Customer Charter Refund

I received an email from someone this morning (who shall obviously remain nameless) who asked the following: "Have you heard of anyone receiving a letter from TfL's Fraud Investigation department regarding their customer charter claim forms? I had one today from them saying that they've decided to defer the processing of any pending or future refund claims, because basically they feel I've made too many. At this point I should mention that I live on the Jubilee line...

Is it something to worry about? I'm considering writing them a letter to ask them exactly what I've done wrong, because I don't think three or four claims a month is particularly excessive. Certainly not excessive enough to write me a letter basically branding me as a fraud

He or she has a point. The Jubilee Line has been notoriously unreliable and riddled with delays and signal failures - in fact there's one on the Line as I'm writing this post.

Admittedly there are some people who do take advantage of the system and TfL should have checks in place. But surely they should check that the person's claim match up with the actual delays before issuing a scary letter from the Fraud department? Maybe they have in this case. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a number of claims a person made - before a "send scary Fraud Letter" button is activated.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this and also if TfL would like to comment, that would be great too. Thanks.

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; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 12, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 11, 2011

Special Exits for Dogs on the Tube?

Is there a special way out for dogs on the London Underground? If you're travelling through Oxford Circus Tube you might be forgiven for thinking that's the case. Eagle eyed
@LondonStuff spotted this on Saturday:

Special exit for dogs - by LondonStuff

He said "Saw this at Oxford Circus on Saturday morning - wondered whether someone's avoided the security cameras and got the dog sign up on the board without anyone noticing. Good effort if it is someone that's done that :)"

He's right the mind bloggles as to how they managed to get the dog sticker up there. Unless it is some sort of subliminal campaign by TfL? Who knows?

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; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 11, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 08, 2011

Guess Where Tube 4

Continuing the series where I ask you to try to guess where on the  London Underground picture from the
London Tube Flickr group was taken from.

Guess Where Tube 4 by Jim Bleasdale

Last week's was easy, if you lived or worked in the area, it was fairly obvious. However, if you didn't, there was enough in the picture to make you think it could have been around King's Cross.

This week, I think, will have you puzzled. It was sent in to me by Jim Bleasdale. There's no prizes for getting it, just the satisfaction of knowing you were right.

Try not to look at the comments in front of you before making your guess. Have fun!

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; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 08, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 07, 2011

July 7th - Six Years On

Possibly with thanks to the
News of the World phone hacking scandal, you're going to see and hear more from the papers, radio, blogs and websites about the 6th anniversary of the July 7th London bombings on our transport system. This time six years ago, I was blogging virtually every half an hour trying to keep people informed. Then for about two months after that horrible day, virtually every day's post was about the aftermath and our attempts to get back to normality on the London Underground.

Monument in Hyde Park to the Victims of the London Bombings on July 7 by The Londoneer

Normality happened. Not overnight obviously, but we gradually began to stop looking suspiciously at people with rucksacks, or beards, or men of a particular race. We stopped having a fast beating heart each time a train got stuck in a tunnel. Numbers of police on the Tube gradually dwindled. Eventually, we began to relax and our normal moans about the Tube were more about overcrowding, signal failures, delays, Oyster card problems and not about the worry whether we'd actually arrive at our destination in one piece.

I blogged in the past how July 7th 2005 changed me in a variety of ways, I still count my lucky stars that I'm alive and able to travel on the Tube with as much nonchalance, freedom and mobility as most other commuters.

Today, many people will remember the 52 people who were killed. The permanent memorial in Hyde Park will  be the focus. There will be a service to remember the dead from 1pm to 2.30pm, organised by Survivors of Terrorism and the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Floral tributes will also be placed by relatives and friends of the dead at the five sites of the bombings.

Let's hope that today, will not be marred by the actions of some people who do not deserve to sleep well at night. We rose above the terrorists, we can rise above people who go to extreme lengths just to create a front page story.

This should be a day to remember those who lost their lives and also a day to support all those who were seriously injured, both mentally & physically. Ordinary travellers, whose normal Tube or bus journey turned into their worst nightmare. Please take some time out today to think about them and their families.

I would love to hear your memories of Tube travel at the time, or if you have any personal thoughts on July 7th that you'd like to share. Thank you.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 07, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

News of The World May Have Hacked 7/7 Families' Phones

Quite rightly the country is shocked to hear that The News of the World hacked into Milly Dowler's phone. I awoke this morning to hear that they may have also
hacked in the phones of the families of the July 7th Bombing Victims.

London Stands United Ad in Oxford Circus Tube 2005

It's particularly sad for this news to come the day before the anniversary of July 7th - when 52 people lost their lives and so many others were injured in the terrorist bombings on the London Underground and a London Bus.

The BBC report "Clifford Tibber, a solicitor representing some of the relatives of people who died in the 7/7 bombings, said one family had been contacted and told that their phone may have been hacked back in 2005.

Graham Foulkes, whose son David died in the Edgware Road blast, told the BBC he was contacted by officers on Tuesday after his details were found on a list as part of the police inquiry in hacking claims.

Mr Foulkes, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, recalled how his family had waited for a week after the 2005 attacks for news of David.

"My wife and I were kind of all over the place, we were chatting to friends on the phone, in a very personal and deeply emotional context - and the thought that somebody may have been listening to that just looking for a cheap headline is just horrendous

I'm actually finding this quite hard to write, as many of you that were reading this blog at the time will now how negatively and then positively and emotionally, the bombings affected me.

Doubtless people will be speculating and discussing this all day. Politicians are already holding an emergency debate in the House of Commons today. Advertisers are pulling their ads from the News of the World, others are reviewing options or waiting the outcomes of police investigations. There have been allegations of payments to the police.

The whole situation is dirty, hideous and makes me incredibly sad and annoyed. If it makes me feel that way, one can only imagine how the families of the victims of July 7th are feeling.

My thoughts are with them even more today and will be with them tomorrow.

Related Posts
London Bombings Six Months On
July 7th One Year On
Tube Relief - Tube Challenge for Victims of London Bombings
July 7th Five Years On

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 06, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tube Challenge Broken by Mancunians

Marc Gawley and Martin East have officially been named by Guinness World Records as being the fastest people to travel to all 270 London Underground stations in the shortest time.
Londonist report that "the pair clocked in at 16 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds – 15 minutes faster than previous holders Andi James, Steve Wilson and Martin Hazel in 2009 – on 21st April 2011".

I love their "Press Conference" video where Marc explains the months of planning, "lots of Microsoft Excel and playing around with maps". In the video he tries to make the challenge look as "sexy" as possible, which is some mean feat. He said: "Ironically in order to make the journey fast, I had to avoid using Tube trains and a lot of commuters would agree with that strategy."

The end is a classic. When asked why he did this, with true Mancunian wit, Marc said "It was either this or try to get 40 mates into a a mini. You've seen the video and I'd probably struggle to find 40 mates to be honest".

You can find out more about Marc & Martin's challenge at TheTubeChallenge.com.

At least one Londonder, former Tube Challenge record holder, Geoff Marshall, has jumped in to try to beat their time.

There's also a new Twitter account set up for TubeChallengers - follow @to_the_trains to find out more.

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; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 05, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 04, 2011

Take That on the Tube

Even the London Underground are prepared for the "mass" of Take That fans that are going to the Fab Five's current Progress tour at Wembley Stadium, that runs till 9th July.

Take That on the Tube

I wonder how LU decide which bands are going to be popular enough to deserve a temporary Tube station sign?

I saw the sign above at Old Street Tube. Old Street, really?  I wouldn't have thought that this "hipster" territory was going to be crawling with a mass of Take That fans. But maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps all the queues of people, that look like they're auditioning for the next season of Skins, I see at nearby XOYO music venue, are going to secret gigs for Take That tribute bands.

My friend Jemimah Knight's Tube was delayed on Friday night and she asked on Facebook "If the code for fire on the Tube is Mister Sands - or similar - what's the code for girl-fight? My journey was delayed due to female scrapping." I wondered if they were Take That fans who according to some reports are fairly rowdy & "worse than football fans". So maybe this was another reason for the Tube sign?  Maybe London Underground were trying to pre-empt fights caused by their potential anger at facing long queues?

After correcting her that it's actually "Inspector Sands", there were a number of suggestions as to what the code for "girl fight" on the Tube might be. Amongst them, Paul Clarke suggested calls for  "Inspector Campbell or Inspector Cole". I thought asking for  "Inspector Vicki Pollard" had a nice ring to it.

Any more suggestions or thoughts?

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; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 04, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tube Photo of the Week

"A slice of the London Underground disappears in history ... on Pride weekend", says Nick who took this excellent shot.

Last 1967 Victoria Line Stock by  Nick

It's a Victoria Line Tube train fronted with historical signage to mark the 1967 stock making its last ever journey  (Bloo Phoenix has more photos of its last journey and many other photographers were out in force).

I love that this "old" train is pulling into a station with a poster for "Lesbians" emblazoned across the platform. The 1960's meets the 21st century.  Mary Whitehouse would have been so proud.

Update: Geofftech has made a video of the last journey of the 1967 stock, with passengers opinions of the new Victoria Line stock:

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, July 02, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 01, 2011

Guess Where Tube 3

Where was this London Underground photo taken from? I'm continuing the "Guess Where Tube" series by selecting pictures from the
London Tube Flickr Group that haven't been tagged or otherwise identified by location. Where do you think the shot below is taken from?

underground skyline

If you know the area, this one is pretty easy. But I'm banking that a number of you looking at this right now won't! Obviously I'll be proved wrong and the first person to comment will probably know where it is.

Anyway, if you're guessing, try not to look at the comments before when you make your guess. Thanks!

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; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 01, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE