Dear London Underground: Why, oh why, 2 black lines?!

From wikipedia:

[The Northern Line] carries more passengers per year than any other Underground line; 206,734,000 passengers per annum. The Northern line has two routes through Central London and two to the north, making it one of the more complex lines on the system.

I may have been here for just over a year, but I made a rookie mistake this morning. After the precious Victoria Line became suspended I got off at Euston and took the wrong branch of the Northern Line, and ended up going 30 minutes out of my way. The infuriating thing is that at Euston, both lines go south! Come on London underground, did you run out of colours?! Why two black Northern Lines?!! You’ve still got the likes of charteuse and magenta to colour in our little map.

Let the Chaos begin..

Fresh off the BBC website:

Tube strike travel chaos expected
Tube passengers are braced for travel chaos this week after unions confirmed a 72-hour strike by maintenance workers would start on Monday.

This should be a fun few days. I can’t even imagine what the streets will be like, and Jason has our camera!

When they say TUBE ..they really mean: hot stinky oven

Here’s an idea.
You know all that gold crap locked up in Buckingham Palace:

Ya, that obscene pile of gold. Why not sell it (auction it off, melt it down… I don’t care) and use the proceeds to put new trains on the London Tube that are perhaps AIR CONDITIONED!? Surly one family doesn’t need that much gold in their occaisonal home?! (To the Brits who read this, I’m sorry… I just don’t *get* monarchy. It seems dumb)

It’s June now. Riding the Tube to work is like taking a 45 minute joy ride in a crockpot.
I think it might be time to take the bus again.

As Seen On the Tube

With my very own eyes earlier this week…

An old man pulls out of his pocket a giant wooden cross about the size of package of bacon and quietly, but visibly, prays for each and every passengers soul. What was particularly interesting is that he only prayed for us whilst we were in motion. At every tube stop he quietly put the cross back into his pocket and stood in silence until we were in motion again.

Silly Tube Names

When I first got here looking at the Tube map provided me with endless amusement. I was certain that half the names were based on dares. Aside from the obvious ones that clearly raise eyebrows (Cockfosters, St. Johns Wood and Shepards Bush) there were other ones that made me giggle like: Burnt Oak, Tooting Bec, Gallons Reach, and Hornchruch (which when the Brits say it sounds too much like whore in church…). I used to sit on the tube and wonder things like exactly who are the Seven Sisters?! And what would i find at the station called Mudchute?! (these were the days before I discovered free newspapers and their trashy gossip columns).

But today… I was looking at the tube map at Gloucester Station (pronounced Gloss-ter because that doesn’t make any sense, so obviously it should be pronounced that way) and I noticed that the names don’t even phase me. It’s kind of sad actually. I’m shifting out of my tourist mind frame.

Curses to you, Victoria Line

Old faithful, the trusty Victoria Line failed me again this morning. I arrived at Kings Cross to find the platform heavily backed up and an announcer encouraging people to move down and ‘use all available space on the platform’.

1st train arrives, I don’t even try to get on, I figure the crowd will pass soon, and the next train is about 1 minute away, no sense in getting pushy.
2nd train arrives. Surprising to me it’s just as rammed as the one before.
3rd train comes and goes and I realize if I want to get to work anytime soon I will need to get aggressive. I also realize that the heat inside one of those trains must be unbearable with all those people, so i remove my overcoat.
4th train comes. I almost make it on, but some fat lady successfully deters me with her fowl b.o stench. Well played.
The 5th tube arrives. Success! I manage to shove myself in. I ride the next 3 stops with my left arm pressed against some woman’s flabby chest (although it provided excellent impact absorption on the hard stops) and my right rib being jabbed by someone’s blackberry. I could actually feel his thumb scrolling along my ribs. eww.

Trip in this morning took just over 40 minutes. That’s quite a while for 5 stops!
And yet again, wish I had my camera. This morning would have made for some funny pictures!

God Bless the Tube

“Please be advised that the Victoria Line is suspended between Warren Street and Brixton due to a possible fire at Green Park Station”.

That is JUST what I want to hear right before trying to get on a Victoria Line train. No worries, I live at Kings Cross. 6 tube lines run through this station. I’ll just get onto the Piccadilly Line or the Northern Line. So I walk around the corner towards the tunnel to those two lines.

“Attention, please be advised that due to the suspension on the Victoria Line, the Piccadilly Line and Northern Line are experiencing severe volume, passengers are encouraged to take an alternative route”.

Awesome. Just as the announcement finishes I arrive at the entrance tunnel to find them pulling the gate down and closing it! Severe volume indeed! I actually laughed a bit. This would never happen in Toronto. I also cursed that I didn’t have my camera. The tube workers (or maybe they’re police officers?) wear really bright neon yellow vests. In a dingy tube tunnel this amuses me. I also realized today at work that I really should have a camera at all times. We have some crazy art in the office, and since it’s an old building with lots of little corridors I discover something new everyday (yesterday I learned we actually have an original Andy Warhol painting in one of the meeting rooms!).

But I digress. The point of this post is that I had to take the dreaded Circle Line to work and ride half that circle of central London too! It took me about 50 minutes to get to work. Now seems like a good time to mention that Jason’s train commute to Cambridge is only 45 minutes

I did a quick Google News scan to see if I could find a picture to add to this post. Sure enough there is none. Because a delay like this isn’t news. It’s just an average day on the tube.