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20 Minutes interchange

Change at Charing Cross

Change at Charing Cross

After yesterday’s scribbled on signage, we found another subtle – but possibly more important example today.

With the Bakerloo & Northern Line not stopping at Embankment station, signs are advising people to walk to Charing Cross from Embankment instead to pick up services there. What isn’t clear though is that they’ve temporarily made the two stations an official Out of Station Interchange (OSI) as long as that is, you don’t spend more than 20 minutes dithering about between the two stations to make the change.

Something that perhaps got missed off the official poster, so someone has scribbled it on, in biro as an afterthought.

For a complete list of OSI’s there’s a list on the excellent Oyster-Rail page.

Twenty minutes

Twenty minutes


21 Mar 14

Just write on the sign …

Aldgate East at the weekend, and due to engineering works there were no Hammersmith & City services running.   So you get a neatly written sign or poster explaining your alternative routes?

Errr, no – instead someone has got their dry-marker out, and decided to scribble all over the existing signage.  Not easy to read TfL, not easy to read at all

It's like a whiteboard

It’s like a whiteboard

20 Mar 14

Working Timetables … Online at last

The WTT (Working Timetable) is the stuff of legends in LU/TfL circles.  They show the exact time and number of each train movement, and for many years TfL didn’t like to admit that they existed.

Then there was a phase where you could order a copy by request under the Freedom of Information Act, but they made you go and pick up paper copies (unbound) from them at 55 Broadway in person.

Then they denied that electronic copies in PDF format existed, even though we’d seen them. Even within TfL, not all employees could see them – on their internal system you had to have be granted specific permissions to gain access to the share/folder where they were.

Eventually via the What Do They Know website, people were able to request to receive them, and it’s maybe because they were inundated with requests that they’ve finally relented …

We have no idea why they tried to keep them so secret for so long, but all we do know now is that with the coming of the new TfL website – they are finally publishing working timetables online, for download in PDF format – finally! At this page here.

Working Timetables Download Page

Working Timetables Download Page

19 Mar 14

C-Stock Explorer

With the last few C-Stock trains left on the network, you can now buy tickets on the LTMuseum website for one of two ‘send off’ events to say farewell to these trains.

The first event is on Sunday 13th April, and will travel on parts of the network that it doesn’t usually go along – including parts of the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Line.  More details and how to book are over here on the LTMuseum Site.

C-Stock explorer

C-Stock explorer

There is also then rumour of another event taking place later on in the year on the 29th June, where the last ever C-Stock will run over lines long associated with this type of train – from Hammersmith, to Moorgate, Wimbledon and Barking.

We suspect there are two tours because of the limited numbers of seats available on a C-Stock train, and they don’t want anyone standing – seated passengers only – on these tours.

18 Mar 14

Not Just Leinster Gardens

It’s becoming less of a secret now about the false façade at Leinster Garden – all because the underground dug its way through leaving the anomaly in its wake.

But here’s another architectural structure of note – all due to a tube line down below.   Get out at South Kensington and walk two minutes around the corner to Thurloe Square, and you’ll find this – a house on the South Terrace that narrows to just a few feet in width.

Thurloe Gardens

Thurloe Gardens

thurlow2It’s a real house, someone lives inside – and there are rooms which are wider at one end and much narrower at the other. And if we move to the right of the bins and peer over the wall we can see why – the cut and cover District and Circle lines are behind the house down below to the east of South Kensington station.

We believe they were in place before the house on the South Terrace was built – and it was simply squeezed in, the builders preferring to have a narrower house rather than a space with no structure altogether.

thurlow3There are a few places like this on the Underground, and so we’ve started putting a map together of them all showing you where they all are …



17 Mar 14

Tube Fashion

Another Saturday, another alternative tube map .. this time a freshly served up new one as the Stylight website brings us the fashionista tube map.

“All the fashionistas flock from Covent Norgaarden station to get to London Fashion Week’s Somerset House, and after a long day of shopping in the West End, they relax with a drink in the Jimmy Choo-dge Street area, before catching a train home a few stops down the Conde Northern line at Waterlooloo Guinness – London: style capital of the world.”

Fasionista Tube Map

Fasionista Tube Map


15 Mar 14

Wimbleware 7’s

We took a trip out on the Wimbleware branch yesterday to check up on the progress of the roll-out of the S-Stock to the line.  It’s served by eight ‘C’ stocks normally, and so we made a note of how many  were still being run by C’s and how many new S7’s we saw.

S7 at Earl's Court

S7 at Fulham Broadway

Four is the answer … although we did spot a C Stock in the sidings at Parsons Green as well, which looked all fired up and ready to go if needed.

Which means that the days of the ‘C’ stock, really are getting close to being numbered! Any day now, there will be an announcement for a rail tour for the final run of these units, the S’s will be on the Edgware Road to Wimbledon line, which means they’ll then start to make an appearance on the rest of the District Line proper …



14 Mar 14

Miss Underground

Here’s a person with an Instagram feed that we’ve been following for a while, but this week discovered that ‘Behind the Brand’ had made a video all about her, so it seemed almost rude not to link to it.

Jess MacDonald has made it her mission to photograph her way all around the tube, catching the Underground when it’s at its most intimate and artistic – lots of beautifully composed shots of of the old Victorian system at its quietest. The video explains all …

You can follow her on Instagram here, and on Twitter here.

13 Mar 14

Last Wooden Escalator

The accessibility works to turn Greenford into a step-free station have picked up pace, and we got word that yesterday would be the last day that the sole-remaining wooden escalator on the Underground would be running, so we popped down to have a look.

Greenford Escalator

Greenford Escalator

Unfortunately, it transpired that the up-only wooden escalator had already been turned off a couple of days ago (we think it last ran on Sunday), and there was no last chance to ride it.

The new up escalator on the far left hand side from the bottom was running, complete with a friendly member of TfL staff pointing it out to people who were failing to read the sign and were going to trudge up the stairs instead.


Closed Off

They’re replacing the middle stairs as well”, they told us.  What with  – new stairs?  (Actually, it will be wider and with tactile paving). But work apparently starts today on removing it and will be replaced with what’s being called an incline lift – a lift that works along the angle of an escalator.  It’s meant to be for those with accessibility issues, but it’s going to be such a novelty having one at a tube station that there are going to be people who go there just to take a ride on it.

Actually, if you want to know what an incline lift is like – there is already one in London here, it’s just not at a station.


Do not enter!

“Can you see what’s different about it .. it’s made of wood!” said a mother bending down with her small child and asking and answering a question all in the same breath.  Most people just walked on past, some it seems realised the significance.

So, farewell to our old wooden friend – the sole survivor in the wake of the 1987 King’s Cross fire, as another little piece of Underground history disappears.


12 Mar 14

Facebook Mapper

Here’s a fun thing that we found out about yesterday … make your own custom tube map based upon your friends, using Facebook.

Hop over to the Underground Mapper website, where if you login using your Facebook account it looks at your list of friends and works out how they’re connected and who knows who – and then you get your own personalised tube map, with all your friends listed as stations on it.

Underground Mapper

Underground Mapper

David Johnston who created the site got the idea when he realised that people at his work always got moved around on various projects, and always wondered how a map might look if everyone was assigned a station like a tube map, if each line were a project.

Analysing someone’s Facebook data was something that was quite easy to do via the Facebook API, which can be accessed and the data pulled for making a map, once a user has given their permission.

David says that people are quite often surprised about some of the connections between their friends that the map reveals.

For a small fee, they’ll even make you a large poster sized version which they’ll send to you. Perfect gift idea? Or just one for the tube geeks!? Follow them at @ugmapper for more.

11 Mar 14