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April 20, 2012 3:05 AM   Subscribe

Somebody's been graffiting the Central Line. Along with the now-jailed Tox's tags, you can see some sticker fun on your commute. The artist Michael Landry has already been working, as part of the Art on the Underground project, to promote the Central Line's friendliness.
posted by mippy (77 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I travel on the line daily, but am yet to see these, sadly - only the mysterious scratched messages on doors such as 'These Doors Cause Deafness' and 'Noisy Doors'.
posted by mippy at 3:10 AM on April 20, 2012


A perpetrator of wankerscribble has been thrown in jail? Excellent.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:38 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Central Line is by far the noblest of the Tube lines. The only line where the drivers sometimes accelerate coming into stations, a moment of bravado before chunky deceleration. There is none of the fingernails-on-chalkboard screeching of the Bakerloo, no overprotective-parenting via the transparent barriers of the Jubilee, and none of inflated ego possessed by the Central's arch-nemesis, the Victoria. And whilst the Northern Line, that reliable old man steeped in wisdom and popularity, is a close contender, his schizophrenia is endearing on the best day and downright disruptive on the worst.

The Victoria Line reminds of that meme from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "Oh, you have a North Face jacket? You must go on so many adventures." Yes, in Brixton, you world-traveler.

The Central Line is selfless, humble, and efficient. It is a model line for undergrounds not just in London but worldwide. In fact, there are two underground systems in London. The Central Line. And all the others. For the Central Line does exist in a class all its own.

Is it any wonder that the Central Line is the canvas on which urban art is expressed? Shepherds Pie, Kate Middleton and This Wall seem to agree.

When you go to vote on 3 May, remember to make the right choice, the good choice, the choice that always unceasingly moves London forward, on time and with grace. Vote Central Line.
posted by nickrussell at 3:39 AM on April 20, 2012 [28 favorites]


Lock people up for tagging and then hire some useful idiot to do some pr on "acts of kindness" .
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:50 AM on April 20, 2012


Thank you for reminding me about the Acts of Kindness website, mippy. One of my favourite stories so far:
I had received some awful news and was in a state of utter shock and disbelief. I had to travel on the Tube to meet my family and friends, but could barely function. I sat in tears at Embankment station, and a woman approached and asked if I was ok. I told her I couldn't work out how to get to my destination, and she held onto me and took me there. She should have got off after two stops, but she stayed with me for an extra six stops, then even changed trains with me to make sure I got to my friends. She restored my faith in humanity at one of the lowest points of my life. She could have walked by but she didn't.
Ah, London, you're big and noisy and far too crowded but sometimes you're not so bad.
posted by fight or flight at 3:52 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that nickrussell. I'm fully in agreement.

I always tried to take the Central Line if it was even slightly convenient. It's the most efficient, most reliable line in London, by far.

What's the best way to get from Paddington to Bloomsbury? It is a secret that tourists don't know: Walk out the station and over to Lancaster Gate which is on the Central line. Zoom to Tottenham Court road in minutes.
posted by vacapinta at 3:52 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Victoria Line reminds of that meme from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "Oh, you have a North Face jacket? You must go on so many adventures." Yes, in Brixton, you world-traveler.

Is this in the film then? Those things have become super popular over the past few years - everyone seems to have one. Personally I sport a duffle coat, which is the right and proper outerwear to someone who likes to spend their holidays sampling foreign crisps.

I am slightly confused by US MeFites recommending Helly Hansen as a quality brand - my self-described 'chav' nephew sports their tracksuits, and I thought they were as non-functional and poorly constructed as all 'urban sportswear'
posted by mippy at 3:54 AM on April 20, 2012


is this in the film then?
posted by nickrussell at 3:56 AM on April 20, 2012


fightorflight - I have two not at all similar experiences.

The first was in 2003, when I was going for an interview for a job I didn't particularly want but applied because the application process involved writing an imaginative essay and I was bored with my Spanish homework on otters. (I was taking an extra course, in which I was the only student who hadn't spent a gap year in South America, so I didn't have much to talk about.) I was wearing a Chanel-rip off suit, pale blue, the kind of thing that you would wear to a wedding and not an interview - the kind of thing only a recent ex-student who had no knowledge of or interest in joining the corporate world would have worn - and changed into it in the toilets of a coffee bar at Fulham Broadway (surreptitiously - of course I couldn't afford a coffee). At Earl's Court, I realised I hadn't shaved my legs, and I had no tights, so I bought some safety razors, the economy kind, because I was a recent graduate and poor and spent all my money in the Notting Hill book exchange. The interview was terrible, and on the way back to Earl's Court, the razor nick opened up and my ankle started bleeding, but I was too dispirited to care, and sat on the little wooden bench with tears in my eyes, while two teenage girls nudged each other and said 'Look, she's bleeding!' I never wore that suit again.

Second one was in 2007. Unbelievable as it would have been to that girl in Earl's Court, I was living in London, and I was heartbroken, and everything seemed to be falling apart. I'd gone to a place to get help for what was going on in my head, panicked, and walked through unfamiliar Finsbury Park openly and violently crying to the point where I could barely see the taxis on the road; not that I had a real interest in them stopping to let me pass unharmed. I took the tube home, on an unfamiliar line, which somehow made it feel weirder. I was crying and crying. I didn't even have a newspaper to hide behind, so everyone stared until I caught their eye and they looked away again. (If I cry hard enough, my eyes go a strange luminous green which probably didn't help.) If I'd been asked what was wrong I'd probably have cried hard enough to lift me off the seat with the force of sheer misery and, of course, the English habit of Not Wanting To Put People Out. So they looked at their papers, or at the adverts on the wall, and I sat breathing hard and trying to appear vaguely normal.

None of these, incidentally, involved the Central Line at all. Which proves Nick Russell's point.
posted by mippy at 4:05 AM on April 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Piccadilly rules, Central drools.
posted by fightorflight at 5:02 AM on April 20, 2012


Central Line? The best? You've got to be joking me. With the latest upgrades, the Victoria Line destroys the Central - it's fast, shiny, frequent, goes interesting places, not just commuter-ville. And at select stations (e.g. Stockwell, Oxford Circus) its just across the platform from its sister lines, the Northern and Bakerloo.
posted by adrianhon at 5:08 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


nickrussell: that post was a work of art, but you are so wrong about the Central Line. It's shite. :-)
posted by Decani at 5:17 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the Jubilee, myself, though I admit it is not so well-designed as some lines for men in top hats.

Good art grafitti on shitty surfaces is alright with me but it is heartbreaking to see a nice clean new brick wall irrevocably fucked up by painty scribble.
posted by Segundus at 5:27 AM on April 20, 2012


The District Line is my favorite. Just because.
posted by clorox at 5:39 AM on April 20, 2012


Is this some bizarre parallel London of which of I'm totally ignorant? I've lived ten minutes from Bethnal Green station for the last four years - and I take the bus as much as possible to avoid the horror that is the Central Line. True, it's pretty reliable outside of of rush hour but still, it's so cramped and dismal my mental state can switch from absolutely peachy to JESUS CHRIST WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE levels of hysteria within five seconds of a mid-tunnel stop. The stretch between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green is plain terrifying - the drivers get a bit of a run and the subsequent speed up makes the tracks scream. It's like that subway scene from Jacob's Ladder every single morning.

Still, nice grafitti.
posted by freya_lamb at 5:42 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Piccadilly Line hands down. Mainly because it takes in some of the finest examples of Leslie Green's work. Holloway Road is hands-down my favourite station on the network - lurking beneath the general grubbiness is more of Green's work than arguably anywhere else on the network. On top of that, the station has its secrets - the almost-but-never-quite-finished spiral escalator - for example.

Interesting fact about the Central, by the way, is that it's causing LU some serious headaches right now when it comes to long term planning - they can't make it DDA Compliant. I don't mean that it can't be done by the 2020 deadline that lurks over most of the railway network, I mean that it can't be done.

Not without either reboring the whole damn thing because the Central Line's tunnels have a smaller diameter than all the others* or a massively complex and expensive overhaul. To do either they'd have to pretty much shut the entire line.

Given the traffic it carries, that's a very scary prospect and there's lots of headscratching going on at the moment about what they do about it.


*that's why it gets so hot down there - no real airflow. Half an hour on the Central in the summer is enough to give anyone 'Nam flashbacks. Even if you weren't there.
posted by garius at 5:42 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The District line is the choice of the discerning tube traveler, every time. It's not one of the deep lines so it's a spacious and airy and the older carriages have a certain wooden-floored charm to them.

The Central line, on the other hand, is a hot noisy pit, ferrying a sweaty mass of pin-stripe between West London and the City. Nothing quite like Central line in August. Vile place.
posted by fatfrank at 5:46 AM on April 20, 2012


Your favourite Tube line sucks.
posted by Decani at 5:55 AM on April 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not without either reboring the whole damn thing because the Central Line's tunnels have a smaller diameter than all the others* or a massively complex and expensive overhaul. To do either they'd have to pretty much shut the entire line.

Isn't that part of the rationale for Crossrail? Build in enough redundancy, going in the same directions between points not too far off the line, so that shutting the line down and laying on a few extra buses will no longer be the catastrophe it would have been?
posted by acb at 6:00 AM on April 20, 2012


You people and your pathetic, misguided comments. "Central line" - ? The line to the central parts of HELL, more like it. "District line" - ? The district in question is a district of HADES, I daresay. "Piccadilly line" - ? That line goes via the Piccadilly Circus of Satan's BUMHOLE. How stupid you all are and also you smell like cabbage.

There is but ONE line which GOD HIMSELF hath blessed and which doth charm the pilgrim from North to South. 'Tis a line of inestimable virtue whose customers - nay, whose GUESTS - luxuriate in spacious moving apartments equipped with all necessary and desirable accoutrements befitting those who love the golden age of underground travel. Shouldst thou purchase a ticket for transport upon this most gracious of lines, thou shall forever giggle with rapture and thy pee-pee shall be transformed by its righteous magick into the sweetest lemonade.

Bakerloo line - come get some "brown love".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:02 AM on April 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


No love for the Metropolitan? I hear they got new rolling stock last summer. Can't wait to try it out when we visit our old neighbourhood this summer!
posted by smcniven at 6:07 AM on April 20, 2012


I think the Northern Line gets a hard press from people as the "misery line". I get it every day. It rarely breaks down, it's got lots of interesting historical curios, and it goes to all sorts of nice and useful places. The only downside in my eyes that its more prone to pissheads a night (Old St, Camden, Chalk Farm, Soho, etc etc)

Unfortunately, I also get the Jubilee line every day, which is a heap of mucous-glazed turd.

It breaks down horribly almost every other day, and mark my words -- that line is going to fuck the Olympics over something rotten when there's an extra 50,000 people using it to get to Stratford every day.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 6:13 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got to see, this is one of the better derails I've ever seen on the blue.
posted by eriko at 6:17 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I came here to bitch about the Central line and then realised I was once again confusing it with the Cirlce line - the line from Hell. It comes only after you've watched three or four District line trains pass, is full of confused tourists, and inches along at a frustratingly slow pace.

There's a special place in my heart for the Northern. When I first moved to London I rode it from Warren Street to Edgware in a failed attempt to get to Edgware Road.
posted by Partario at 6:18 AM on April 20, 2012


I have used the Central Line every day for about five years, so I have often come across the work of the Central Line Noisy Door Vigilante. Here is my Flickr set of his/her work.

And here is an odd little article I wrote about the CLNDV and the noise of the Central Line in general.
posted by WPW at 6:19 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scenes from the Northern Line, weekday mornings:
1. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but one passenger pushes their way on board, to glares from those already there.
2. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but one passenger pushes their way on board, to glares from those already there.
3. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but two passengers push their way on board, to glares from those already there.
4. Train comes. Ah...forget about it.
5. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but one passenger pushes their way on board, to glares from those already there.
6. Train comes. Ah...forget about it.
7. Train comes. I push my way on board, jam myself closer to three strangers than I've been to anyone that day, even my girlfriend. Balance myself on one foot with someone's hair in my face. Try not to think about what will happen if the train gets stuck.

It's horrible. I take detours to avoid it (and catch the Victoria Line; the one true line, the line that takes you back to Brixton, if you're lucky enough to live there).
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:19 AM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Although I look out for them, sadly I have never seen any joke stickers.
posted by WPW at 6:19 AM on April 20, 2012


When I first moved here I lived in Roehampton and worked in White City, so took the bus to work. I got used to taking the bus everywhere - it took longer, but it was nice to sit on the top deck, headphones on, pretending I was in the opening credits to a film. Listening to walkman/iPod on the Underground doesn't feel right, because you see nothing. No people laughing, no dogs, no predatory seagulls, never the Animals In War ('They had no choice') sculpture as you trundle past Hyde Park a hundred feet beneath the dirt.
posted by mippy at 6:20 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't that part of the rationale for Crossrail? Build in enough redundancy, going in the same directions between points not too far off the line, so that shutting the line down and laying on a few extra buses will no longer be the catastrophe it would have been?

Sort of - but Crossrail has taken so long to get off the page (full disclosure: I wrote that) that the Central is now so over-capacity and there's so much surpressed rail demand in the East that the amount of traffic relief Crossrail provides to the Central is probably not going to be huge.

From what I hear, finally getting Chelsea-Hackney (Crossrail 2) off the ground is seen by some as the big hope, as that would help the Central more and maybe provide some options. Getting the cash for that though is going to be a major battle due to the boroughs it goes through.

The other thing to do is bundle a Central Line rolling stock upgrade into Project EVO/Deep Tube (the plan to design a new Underground train) but the thought of rolling out, in short order, a brand spanking new untested train on the Bakerloo, Piccadilly AND Central Line is, I suspect, a rather frightening one to everyone involved.
posted by garius at 6:21 AM on April 20, 2012


DLR* ÜBER ALLES.

That stands for "dinky little railway" for those of you not in the know.
posted by fight or flight at 6:22 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Piccadilly line is my least favourite during rush hour. The Central line is nasty if you're dyspraxic and have trouble standing in one position for too long WITHOUT it being on a moving vehicle, but the blue seems to always be full of screaming/giggling Italian teenagers*, sitting on each other's laps and generally being young, noisy, irritating and beautiful.

* Get off my lawn
posted by mippy at 6:22 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I came here to bitch about the Central line and then realised I was once again confusing it with the Cirlce line - the line from Hell. It comes only after you've watched three or four District line trains pass, is full of confused tourists, and inches along at a frustratingly slow pace.

"Alright everybody, your next Circle Line service is about 11 minutes away, calling at Farringdon, Kings Cross, Paddington and probably fucking Narnia."

Best late night Tube announcement I've ever heard (a busy Friday at Liverpool Street with delays on the Central a few years back).
posted by garius at 6:25 AM on April 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


delays on the Circle - now you've got me doing it.
posted by garius at 6:26 AM on April 20, 2012


The Circle line is just a way of getting tourists off the street. There's rarely any need to use it.

The Hammersmith and City line, however - now there's aggravation.
posted by WPW at 6:35 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


DLR* ÜBER ALLES.

South (and east) London represent!

The DLR is nice enough, and the stations are all shiny and new-ish--you can see bits of it in 28 Weeks Later, when it's pulling into the Canary Wharf station. (I've caught the DLR right from where Robert Carlyle is standing.)

The whole "connecting to the rest of the central London transportation network" thing doesn't seem like it got a lot of thought, though. You either get off at Tower Gateway and have to walk two blocks through whatever the weather might be like to get to Tower Hill if you want the Circle or District Lines, or get off at Bank and then do a goddamned Morlock marathon through the underground tunnels before you can change to the Central, Northern, or Waterloo and City Lines.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:37 AM on April 20, 2012


Missed them before but the intra-graffitista insults going on in that "now jailed" link are great. I dislike those boring ubiquitous throw-up tags as much as any sane graffiti fan, but there's something delicious about a prosecutor describing the accused to the judge with, "He is no Banksy." Deciding whether to prosecute based on the artistic merit of the graffiti? I love that world. Where do I sign up?
posted by mediareport at 6:41 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up somewhere where 'Ste Woz Ere 9T5' was considered top graff, so I like interesting graffiti. (Though I saw a '9T5' on the Central Line on Monday - I haven't seen a surviving 90s tag for years. I wonder who decided '9T5' was the way to indicate 1995? The '2K' coda that supplanted it made sense as that abbreviation was everywhere.)
posted by mippy at 6:44 AM on April 20, 2012


What, no love for the Überground? It's by far the best line, with space-age spacious trains and laughing at people who forget to hit the open door button.

Boris bikes are probably my favourite mode of public transport in London, but when the weather's like it is today the Überground edges into the lead.
posted by wilberforce at 6:46 AM on April 20, 2012


Typical that they'd get a prick like Eine as an 'expert' witness. As if his shite takes any more skill to do. Big two-colour letters on shutters, drawn legally at no risk? Wow, impressive! What's more, despite having plenty of time to paint his legal pieces, his can control is fucking awful.

I really really like those letters. Also the 'CHANGE' sign near Old Street, which looks like the work of the same artist. Does this make me a philistine?
posted by mippy at 6:46 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boris bikes are nice in theory, but having to spend 20 minutes at the end of your journey searching for a free docking station, further and further afield from where you needed to go, not so much.

I got a Boris bike key when they came out, but haven't used it for the past year or so. (The fact that, twice so far, the credit-card top-up mechanism mysteriously stopped working, requiring a call to the call centre to reset it, didn't help.)
posted by acb at 6:48 AM on April 20, 2012


WATERLOO AND CITY LINE

NORTHBOUND FOR BUSINESS
SOUTHBOUND FOR SIN
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:51 AM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


EINE's letters may be simple, but that's partly the point; they're a simple concept with a consistent style, which has become as much part of east London as Mein Lieber Prost is of Berlin.
posted by acb at 6:51 AM on April 20, 2012


VICTORIA LINE

SO GOOD THEY NAMED A QUEEN AFTER IT.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:53 AM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


HEATHROW EXPRESS

THE ONE PART OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL JOURNEY THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE A CAVITY SEARCH
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:58 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The really great lines are the ones that aren't on the tube map, but are on the Oyster network. Finsbury Park to Old Street? Change at Kings Cross, right? WRONG. There's a direct overland train that takes 8 minutes. It's just not on the bloody map, because it's a First Capital Connect route.

I am still angry about this.

Anyway, when's the cable car starting? Soon, right?
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 7:34 AM on April 20, 2012


You know what line doesn't get enough coverage? The Overground. They need some sexier names than "Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford". They're big, and they're clean and this summer they're getting FREEEEE wifi permanently. I wish they ran more frequently but they're not busy enough to warrant that yet.

Probably because they don't really go anywhere anyone wants to go.
posted by like_neon at 7:36 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The really great lines are the ones that aren't on the tube map, but are on the Oyster network. Finsbury Park to Old Street? Change at Kings Cross, right? WRONG. There's a direct overland train that takes 8 minutes. It's just not on the bloody map, because it's a First Capital Connect route.

Only problem is, it doesn't run on weekends or after 8pm, and when it does run, it's fairly infrequent. Perhaps it'll get Overgrounded and upgraded at some point?
posted by acb at 7:41 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


METAFILTER

SO GOOD THEY NAMED A QUEEN AFTER IT.
posted by clorox at 7:41 AM on April 20, 2012


They're big, and they're clean and this summer they're getting FREEEEE wifi permanently.

IIRC, the WiFi is free for the duration of the Olympics, and then will be part of Sky's paid TheCloud WiFi network (at a price point aimed at travelling executives with corporate expense accounts, not penniless backpackers with Android handsets).
posted by acb at 7:42 AM on April 20, 2012


The really great lines are the ones that aren't on the tube map, but are on the Oyster network. Finsbury Park to Old Street? Change at Kings Cross, right? WRONG. There's a direct overland train that takes 8 minutes. It's just not on the bloody map, because it's a First Capital Connect route.

I am still angry about this.


To be fair, its on the big London Connections map you'll find at all the stations. They added the major national rail services last year.

looks like this (warning: PDF)

Plus, as acb says, its not exactly an all-day service.
posted by garius at 7:43 AM on April 20, 2012


The Circle line isn't even a circle any more. They made it into some question-mark thing the only explanation for which is that demons have taken control and wish it to take the form of the accursed sigil Odegra.
posted by Segundus at 7:45 AM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw an 'Emergency Gravity Switch' sticker on - I think - the Victoria Line recently. Here's my Flickr link to the picture, for which many apologies on the poor quality, due to the quite awful lurching brake action on the new Vic Line trains - and the measly 2MP camera on my phone. Anyway, the sticker made me smile.
posted by Myeral at 7:47 AM on April 20, 2012


Jah Wobble used to be a driver on the Central Line.

As Wikipedia says:

"His critical stance towards the commercialisation of the music industry, compounded by heavy drinking and drunken brawls, led to his abandoning music for a short period in the mid 1980s. He then did a variety of day jobs, whilst continuing to perform and record his music in what spare time he had. These jobs included a long stretch with the London Underground.[6] In an oft-quoted tale it is related that he once, at Tower Hill Underground Station via the public address system, regaled commuters with the deadpan announcement, "I used to be somebody. I repeat, I used to be somebody."[8]"

(I know, the Central Line doesn't stop at Tower Hill.)
posted by Devonian at 7:48 AM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


For the love of God and all his biscuits, please let them not get mobile coverage throughout the Underground as is so often rumoured. I don't want to listen to flat-voiced suits talk about the 'most tangible' outcomes of their meeting, or to estuarine, splay-legged young men yack about 'yeah they were gonna get married? Like, but last-minute-dot-com they called it all off?' It's bad enough they put fucking speakers on the damned things. (I'm going to start a charity that dispenses earphones to all people who, based on their need to play their music out loud, clearly do no thave their own.)
posted by mippy at 8:00 AM on April 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


(I'm going to start a charity that dispenses earphones to all people who, based on their need to play their music out loud, clearly do no thave their own.)

We'll be sure to visit you in hospital.
posted by Optamystic at 8:02 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to start a charity that dispenses earphones to all people who, based on their need to play their music out loud, clearly do no thave their own.

90% of the time the annoying thing is that they actually have headphones in - just ones with the worst noise leakage ever.

I actually blame Apple for this. If I could go back in time and kill anyone, it'd be the bloke who signed off on those cheap headphones they give out with iPods/iPhones.
posted by garius at 8:05 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]



90% of the time the annoying thing is that they actually have headphones in - just ones with the worst noise leakage ever.


I don't think that's a bug, but rather a feature; more leakage = more chance to exhibit alpha-male territory-marking behaviour.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on April 20, 2012


I don't think that's a bug, but rather a feature; more leakage = more chance to exhibit alpha-male territory-marking behaviour.

Maybe - but if so, the big burly lad sitting opposite me this morning listening to Girls Aloud was doing a very shit job of it!
posted by garius at 8:09 AM on April 20, 2012


Given that we have so many tube fans here, riddle me this: What the hell is being done to alleviate congestion on the aforementioned Hell Line (aka The Northern Line)?

If you try and catch a northbound train from 8:15am to 8:45am from, say, Clapham Common, you'll need to wait for at least four or five trains before you can even attempt to fling yourself on board. In practice, this means that anyone within 15 min walking distance of Stockwell usually just heads straight there since they'll have a better chance of getting on board after some people have switched to the Awesome Line (Victoria).

It's not as if there are any fewer Aussies/Kiwis moving to Clapham, so it's just going to get worse. What's to be done? Where's the love for us southerners?
posted by adrianhon at 8:17 AM on April 20, 2012


I've told people to turn music down when I've had a cold and therefore any irritating noise was amplified in its irritation. MrM tries hard to avoid any carriage in which someone has a guitar out - which is why I was glad he wasn't with me on the day I took the tube home from Westfield and sat near someone playing an electric bass acoustically. Click, click, click, clickety click, click, cli-FUCK OFF. I bet it was a fucking Muse song as well.

Yeah, I should probably learn to ride a bike.
posted by mippy at 8:19 AM on April 20, 2012


sat near someone playing an electric bass acoustically. Click, click, click, clickety click, click, cli-FUCK OFF. I bet it was a fucking Muse song as well.

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH!! Thank god I wasn't there
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 8:21 AM on April 20, 2012


It's not as if there are any fewer Aussies/Kiwis moving to Clapham, so it's just going to get worse. What's to be done?

Oh sure, blame us ;-)

If you come up with a solution, let me know. My current tactic is either (a) wait until 8.55 (it usually starts to get better by then) or (b) walk to Brixton (which adds about 10 minutes to my commute vs walking to Clapham North; Victoria to Green Park vs Northern to London Bridge). [I work in Canary Wharf]

Maybe - but if so, the big burly lad sitting opposite me this morning listening to Girls Aloud was doing a very shit job of it!

Curious fact: whenever anyone drives down my street blasting their tunes, it's always some kind of soft, sexy r'n'b jam; it's never hiphop or jungle or house or grime. Why?
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:23 AM on April 20, 2012


What the hell is being done to alleviate congestion on the aforementioned Hell Line (aka The Northern Line)?

Northern Line signalling upgrade is just starting now (although its on hold during the Olympics). Means closures in the short term, but shouldn't be anywhere near the fuck-up the Jubilee Upgrade was.

Right now you've got about 20 trains an hour on the Northern Line I think. If I remember, the Upgrades (when complete in 2014) should boost that to about 25 trains an hour and drop journey times by about 20%. Basically it allows them to run trains faster and closer together.

Beyond that, the long term plan is to separate the two branches of the Line (remember, they were originally two different lines). So basically the Northern Line would become two seperate Tube Lines again.

Doing that would simplify the traffic pattern and push the number of trains they can run up to about 30tph. That's a post-upgrade thing though, and if I remember they'll need to rebuild Camden Town to be a better interchange.

Infinite Jest - you might be able to rethink your route in December. That's when the Overground's final extension opens taking it to Clapham Junction. Would probably be a slightly longer journey timewise but a far more pleasant one.
posted by garius at 8:30 AM on April 20, 2012


Garius: Ah yes, I forgot about that. Separating the lines (Northern Line and City Line?) would be a good solution. I am slightly dubious about them running faster/more frequently since I recall frequent delays when I still using it a couple of years ago, but we'll see.

I'm definitely looking forward to the final 'Orbital' Overground extension though; will be nice for Clapham High Street to have something useful to do.

Infinite Jest: The way I solved it was by cycling, and then eventually just moving the office closer to where I lived...
posted by adrianhon at 8:37 AM on April 20, 2012


The numbers do play out on separation, from what I've seen - just like they did on decircling the Circle. I know someone upthread asked what the point was on that, and it was - simply - to make it a better running line.

Made it far easier to recover the service when things went wrong, but also effectively doubled the amount of trains running down to Hammersmith on the Hammers & City branch, which has been brilliant for commuters and those trying to get to/from Westfield.

Much of the problem with separating the lines is to do with signalling - which is why it'll be after the resignalling project.

Beyond that, well, once you hit about 30tph there's not really much more you can do - because ultimately you still have to stop and put down/pick up passengers and that takes time.
posted by garius at 8:48 AM on April 20, 2012


Curious fact: whenever anyone drives down my street blasting their tunes, it's always some kind of soft, sexy r'n'b jam; it's never hiphop or jungle or house or grime. Why?

Same with pirate stations - depending on which part of the country you're in, it's reggae (I miss the Manchester one where the DJs were stoned off their faces and would stop the track in the middle to play it again because it was 'max irie son'), drum and bass or that kind of music I'd know the proper name to if I wasn't 30 and listening to Prefab Sprout on my commute. I'd love to find a classic rock or a classical one just for the novelty.

Where I grew up it was happy hardcore. Having a 'bass tube' fitted to your car apparently meant you'd made it. Every so often, there;d be a feature on Granada Reports about someone who had a car stereo that was a) worth more than the car b) had a volume level of such potency that it could kill. I blame Tony Wilson.
posted by mippy at 9:18 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Infinite Jest - you might be able to rethink your route in December. That's when the Overground's final extension opens taking it to Clapham Junction. Would probably be a slightly longer journey timewise but a far more pleasant one.

Oh thanks, I don't think I realised that was actually happening. That would work really well - Overground from Clapham High St instead of Northern Line from Clapham North. Probably wouldn't be much slower.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2012


and it was - simply - to make it a better running line. Made it far easier to recover the service when things went wrong,

Can you explain how? I'm interested in this, but don't quite follow
posted by fightorflight at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2012


I went to a conference at the Horniman two weeks ago - Shoreditch High Street to Forest Hill on the overground. It was a rail journey of the like I've never previously known in London. I floated through the city on clouds of rarified bliss. Way less wobbly than the DLR, sleeker than national rail. Empty as a blown egg (at half past nine in the morning) with all the view my eyes could stomach. If only it went somewhere useful daily!

However, I have exactly the same experience getting the number 26 bus from South Hackney to Fleet Street, just about every morning. It feels like East London's best kept transit secret.
posted by freya_lamb at 10:18 AM on April 20, 2012


freya_lamb: However, I have exactly the same experience getting the number 26 bus from South Hackney to Fleet Street, just about every morning. It feels like East London's best kept transit secret.

Shh.
posted by Lleyam at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2012


I used the Overground a lot for a year or so and it was overwhelmingly a nice experience even at rush hour. Not many closures in my branch either.
posted by ersatz at 11:22 AM on April 20, 2012


It's not on iPlayer any more, but there was a recent BBC behind-the-scenes series about the Tube which was rather good; not quite enough material to fill the six one-hour eps, but well worth the view. Recommended to anyone who has... feelings... for London's subterranean adventure playground.

I don't know that it's available by other means, but I wouldn't be at all surprised. It's a wicked world.
posted by Devonian at 12:02 PM on April 20, 2012


The central line is a beautiful line. Suburban back gardens with dogs digging for bones, pub teams chasing victory in the Sunday league, cd's flashing in the sunlight, swinging from string across allotments, and then fields, hedges, cows and ancient forest.

Or am I only person who mostly uses it to get from Stratford to Epping Forest?
posted by Helga-woo at 4:46 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Central line is 'my' line, at the eastern end towards Epping, so no, Helga-woo, you're not the only one, that's my neck of the woods too.

One day, sitting in the first carriage right next to where the driver is, I could overhear the announcements from the control room and the conversation between the driver and another LT employee in the cab. When we were between South Woodford and Snaresbrook I heard a message they received from the control room saying that Chancery Lane station was closed because of 'an incident'. We set off. I heard one guy say to the other "Aren't you going to tell the passengers?" "Yeah, when we're leaving St Paul's".

One morning I had to run for the train as it came in. Unbeknownst to me the driver was a friend of mine, and as I sat down he said "Good morning Jan, no need for you to run, I'd have waited for you." Everybody glared at me. How dare I draw attention to myself at that hour of the morning?! I hid behind the Metro until I got off at Stratford.

The DLR rocks, though. Little toytown trains that run by magic.
posted by essexjan at 12:01 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and once, years ago, we were stuck between Leyton and Leytonstone, where those terraced houses back onto the line. The woman next to me nudged me and pointed, and in one of the upstairs windows of a house, behind barely frosted glass, a naked man was drying himself. We sniggered, and then the train moved off.
posted by essexjan at 12:05 PM on April 21, 2012


This thread makes me really miss London.
posted by subbes at 6:12 PM on April 25, 2012


Scenes from the Northern Line, weekday mornings:
1. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but one passenger pushes their way on board, to glares from those already there.
2. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but one passenger pushes their way on board, to glares from those already there.
3. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but two passengers push their way on board, to glares from those already there.
4. Train comes. Ah...forget about it.
5. Train comes. It appears to be completely full, but one passenger pushes their way on board, to glares from those already there.
6. Train comes. Ah...forget about it.
7. Train comes. I push my way on board, jam myself closer to three strangers than I've been to anyone that day, even my girlfriend. Balance myself on one foot with someone's hair in my face. Try not to think about what will happen if the train gets stuck.

It's horrible. I take detours to avoid it (and catch the Victoria Line; the one true line, the line that takes you back to Brixton, if you're lucky enough to live there).
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:19 PM on April 20


Pro tip: don't live at Clapham North.
posted by Decani at 6:49 PM on April 28, 2012


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