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January 24, 2013 4:50 PM   Subscribe

There are two types of subway riders in the world. Those who wonder, during an idle moment at a station, if they could beat the train to the next stop; and those who attempt to do so. Observe.
posted by heyho (81 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
And here I thought it was going to be someone trying to beat it between Covent Garden and Leicester Square on the Picadilly Line. That would be an interesting challenge, the depth of the stations notwithstanding.
posted by chimaera at 4:54 PM on January 24, 2013


Jean Henri
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you can do this, I think it means your public transit stops are poorly placed.

But I'm just an asshole who thinks people complain too much about the north end of Chicago's Red Line when they don't have much of a concept of how different it is from the south end, so this is sort of my dead hobby horse that I continue to beat.

Also, I am old and out of shape so just watching that made me exhausted.

Did anybody else, when they noticed this was at The Atlantic wonder if Go Pro was the new Scientology?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was exhilarating, like a bite-sized Run Lola Run.
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:08 PM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's nothing -- I've watched the same mariachi band appear in my subway car at least 3 times going downtown on the 1 train in Manhattan, and they're carrying instruments.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 5:09 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


My only experience with an underground train system is the one in London, so I watched this entire video with the expectation that he was going to get tackled by police officers and arrested at any minute.
posted by anaximander at 5:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


If you can do this, I think it means your public transit stops are poorly placed.

Well, most people aren't sprinting the streets of Paris, so there's that, but you're probably right. He crossed all of one intersection.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:16 PM on January 24, 2013


Awesome. Now do Rosslyn to Foggy Bottom.
posted by The World Famous at 5:17 PM on January 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


Frog One is on the subway...no wait, he's off...
posted by ShutterBun at 5:18 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not entirely a new idea (it's been done in Glasgow), but fun to watch!
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:20 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the kind of goofy waste-of-time project that made the internet great.

But seriously, why are those stops so close to each other?
posted by skewed at 5:23 PM on January 24, 2013


Awesome. Now do Rosslyn to Foggy Bottom.

Are we doing requests? Sweet!

Pacific to Canal on the N train. Good luck.
posted by etc. at 5:32 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I bet you could do the St George to Musuem in Toronto.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:34 PM on January 24, 2013


Are we doing requests? Sweet!

West Oakland to Embarcadero.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 5:35 PM on January 24, 2013 [27 favorites]


In Madrid, this stunt could probably have been attempted between the Sol and Sevilla stations, at least before the new Sol station.

The oldest lines in the centers of cities often have stations very close to each other. I'm pretty sure this could be shown if we were to plot pairs of adjacent stations over time.
posted by kandinski at 5:35 PM on January 24, 2013


Awesome. Now do Rosslyn to Foggy Bottom.

I've always wondered about the Metro Center-Gallery Place one myself. I mean, you can see the next station through the tunnel! Apparently WMATA agrees and wants to put in a footpath between the two as well, although the estimated date is sometime by...2040.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:37 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


skewed: "But seriously, why are those stops so close to each other?"

Looks like these 2 stops form a connector for about 4 different subway lines.
posted by mannequito at 5:37 PM on January 24, 2013


I'm sure you could do this, if you really bolted, between Back Bay Green Line stops in Boston. But I have no sense of time or distance, so I'm not a good judge of these things.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:37 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man beating a Green Line trolley on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston - while dressed as a hamburger.
posted by adamg at 5:41 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Could probably do this in Chicago without setting foot outside.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:43 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to beat the SF Muni under Market Street from the Civic Center stop to the Embarcadero stop all the time. It was nice when I got out of the office on 7th street in time to take the underground streetcar, but if I was pressed for time to make the ferry I could do it on foot quite a bit faster.
posted by straw at 5:46 PM on January 24, 2013


Man beating a Green Line trolley on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston - while dressed as a hamburger.

Ah, my alma mater.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:47 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, my alma mater.

Hamburger U?
posted by zippy at 5:53 PM on January 24, 2013


There are a lot of spots in Manhattan where this would be very feasible, most notably 3rd Ave to Union Station on the L train and just about anything on the 6 (though the 6 is very efficient, to it's credit. I remember around 10 years ago when the Daily News did a series of races like this between the 6 local train and the 4/5 express train and found the 6 to be faster.

In Brooklyn, you could do it pretty easily from Clark St. to Borough Hall if it weren't for the damned elevators at Clark.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:57 PM on January 24, 2013


But I'm just an asshole who thinks people complain too much about the north end of Chicago's Red Line when they don't have much of a concept of how different it is from the south end, so this is sort of my dead hobby horse that I continue to beat.

Are you talking about how the Red Line stops like every single block in Ravenswood?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:58 PM on January 24, 2013


This is a lot like walking around the museum listening to people... "Oh, I could paint that." Do it, prove it, and please post it to MeFi. And while you're at it, please wipe out like that guy did because that was my [+] part. I mean don't hurt yourself just to please me, but it adds a certain something to the challenge, I feel.
posted by heyho at 6:02 PM on January 24, 2013


Apparently my brother-in-law pulled off something similar back in the 1970s in suburban Sydney. Citybound train pulled into Wiley Park station, and on a whim he leapt from the carriage and sprinted to Lakemba station, where he re-boarded. About a kilometre between the 2 stations.
posted by misterbee at 6:06 PM on January 24, 2013


He can run through as many Metro stations as he wants but he will never escape the smell of human pee.
posted by chococat at 6:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm sure you could do this, if you really bolted, between Back Bay Green Line stops in Boston.

I came close to doing this once between Park Street and Downtown Crossing via the Winter Street Concourse. Without even trying I managed to make it to within sight of the same Red Line train just as its doors closed. I imagine if there's enough people at boarding/departing at both shots, you probably have a fairly decent chance of making it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:14 PM on January 24, 2013



But I'm just an asshole who thinks people complain too much about the north end of Chicago's Red Line when they don't have much of a concept of how different it is from the south end, so this is sort of my dead hobby horse that I continue to beat.


What drives me insane is that Chicago can always bring back the leapfrog system to solve this problem.

These stations are close together. Bring back the A&B system
posted by ocschwar at 6:15 PM on January 24, 2013


Man beating a Green Line trolley on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston - while dressed as a hamburger .


If Boston doesn't give the Green Line traffic light priority, tehre should be riots.

(Yeah, I'm making my todo list for when I become the nation's enlightened despot.)
posted by ocschwar at 6:17 PM on January 24, 2013


I don't know whether it counts because it's a glorified bus that the MBTA pretends is equivalent to the other rapid transit lines, but according to possible original research on Wikipedia you can do one better on the Silver Line:
The inbound route makes a stop above ground at the entrance to the World Trade Center stop, proceeds to Silver Line Way, and then goes underground for a second stop at the World Trade Center. If the headway between buses is as close as seven minutes, it is faster for travelers in the rear bus to disembark at the above-ground WTC stop, walk down the stairs, and then board the bus that used to be in front of them than to remain on the bus they started on
I try to limit my exposure to the Silver Line, so I have no idea if this is possible.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:29 PM on January 24, 2013


If you can do this, I think it means your public transit stops are poorly placed.

Or that speed is not the point of public transit. It's certainly not why I use it.
posted by DU at 6:32 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know about faster, but I used to find it much more pleasant to stroll across the river from London Bridge to Bank, while the accepted wisdom seems to be that packing in like a sardine and huffing armpit juice is somehow better than walking outside.
posted by pompomtom at 6:36 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


New York version
posted by djb at 6:40 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


We look forward to seeing imitators splattered all over the street.
posted by arcticseal at 6:44 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


You could easily do this between Beverly Road and Cortelyou Road on the Q in Brooklyn. I'm not sure there's even a full train length between the stations.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:46 PM on January 24, 2013


Now I'm curious if I could beat the F train to Prospect Park if we both start off from Jay St. I bet that's doable. The train would have the advantage of speed but I'd have a straight route.
posted by greenland at 6:47 PM on January 24, 2013


How about Exchange Place to WTC? (It could be a triathlon!)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:53 PM on January 24, 2013


What's the over/under on whether Montgomery to Powell St BART is doable?
posted by zippy at 7:17 PM on January 24, 2013


Cute, but could we not make this a "thing"? Subways are security paranoid enough without dudes wearing strange devices running through turnstiles for lulz.

Remember? http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-07-23-london_x.htm
posted by Skwirl at 7:20 PM on January 24, 2013


Now I'm trying to think of all sorts of possible routes on the NYC subway where one could try this. There seem to be two possibilities super short routes, or odd routes (places where there are big turns for the trains or necessary slow-downs). For any of them the placement of the exits is critical, since certain routes have shallow cut and cover tunnels with long platforms allowing for easy up and outs.

Short Route: 14th St. to 18th St. on the 1
Short Route: Franklin St. to Canal St. on the 1
Short Route: Vernon Jackson to Hunter's Point on the 7
Short Route: 21st to Court Sq. on the G, the G goes slow here going into its last stop. Also, because it is the last stop, you will definitely catch it.

Odd Route: Park Place to Chambers on the 2/3. That turn might give you a bit of an advantage.
Odd Route: 50th St to 7th Ave on the E (getting out of the Times Sq Stn would probably hinder that one.
Odd Route (bonus for 2 stops): Court Sq. to 33 St. on the 7. You sprint up Thomson Ave while the train makes a big long curve through Queensboro Plaza first.
Odd route: City Hall to City Hall on the 6. You run out, and then run back in while the train loops around in the old City Hall station.

It's a fun mental exercise, but the actual act looks like you are asking to be plowed over by a cab as you sprint across the street with your multi-cam motorcycle helmet situation weighing down your dome.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 7:20 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cute, but could we not make this a "thing"?

The London Police made a tragic error in 2005. It would be a shame if we couldn't breathe a bit easier seven or eight years later.
posted by zippy at 7:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you can do this, I think it means your public transit stops are poorly placed.

Before deciding on that, ask how busy each of them is: if the alternative is twice as many people flooding out of a single stop and half of them trying to cross a busy street, I'm okay with having two stops fairly near each other.
posted by Etrigan at 7:31 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet you could take this to the next level and run three stations in Vancouver where the Skytrain (actually underground at this point) curves around in a kind of hook: Stadium-Chinatown to Waterfront. Seven blocks and you would have 4 minutes. Unfortunately, Waterfront is the end of the line, so it would be even sillier. Maybe on the first train of the morning, so there isn't any traffic.
posted by ssg at 7:33 PM on January 24, 2013


Fine. You don't care about security. But are we also forgetting the moral of this ditty: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/weirdnewsvideo/9706822/Train-safety-cartoon-Dumb-Ways-to-Die-becomes-a-online-hit.html

I'm trying to get to work. Get off my lawn.
posted by Skwirl at 7:47 PM on January 24, 2013


21st to Court Sq. on the G, the G goes slow here going into its last stop. Also, because it is the last stop, you will definitely catch it.

That's part of my regular route to work! I hereby vow that I shall try this.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


In San Francisco, I've done an odd variant where I've gotten off the Muni Metro at Civic Center, ran upstairs and then back down again to BART, taken it to Embarcadero, ran upstairs and back down again, and gotten on Muni again to go down to 4th st, beating my original Muni train by a good amount.

This says more about munifail than anything else. The Examiner has done whole series' on racing transit vehicles on foot.
posted by zachlipton at 8:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Awesome. Now do Rosslyn to Foggy Bottom.

Is this an Iron Man competition now?
posted by empath at 8:14 PM on January 24, 2013


I bet you could do the St George to Musuem in Toronto.

Assuming no delays due to TTC nonsense, I say this can't be done anywhere in Toronto. You could maybe do it by skipping a stop: St. Andrew to King.
posted by dobbs at 8:17 PM on January 24, 2013


Erf. Trying to watch that split-screen video just makes my brain start flailing about and spinning in circles. I may have been among the first of the MTV generation (11 when it debuted), but I feel old…
posted by Lexica at 8:20 PM on January 24, 2013


You could try doing this in Melbourne, but the new billion dollar ticketing system might not let you through the barrier.
posted by mattoxic at 8:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Chicago we have three speeds of Metra riders.
Slow. Sloooow-er and WHAT THE F@CK!??
posted by Smedleyman at 8:25 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


ticketing system might not let you through the barrier.

Just wave something greenish at the gumby, and say 'ticket is shitfucked, again'. They'll sigh and let you through.
posted by pompomtom at 8:45 PM on January 24, 2013


Ha! I did this once in Chicago between the Jackson and Harrison stops on the Red Line. It's like...I don't know, a block and a half? Not very far. This guys' was much...MUCH...more impressive.
posted by 3200 at 8:49 PM on January 24, 2013


Not sure if this could be done in Calgary; downtown where the stops are close, the lights are synchronized so if the train is stopped, the cross streets perpendicular to the track have a green light. (Actually, now that I think of it, at 2 AM with no traffic, you could probably do Centre St to City Hall.)

By bike, it could be done in two ways, I reckon: Bridgeland/Memorial to Downtown West once the new bridge is up, taking advantage of the grade separated pathway. And probably from Lions Park to Sunnyside, again assuming modest traffic.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:52 PM on January 24, 2013


I've done this on the Chicago Red Line too, but it's nowhere near this intense. There's nothing stopping you from running along the platform between Jackson and Monroe, and if you're just watching your train pull away, it sure beats waiting.
posted by Zaximus at 9:18 PM on January 24, 2013


The A/B system sucked in Chicago during cold days, because they ran the same number of trains and so you could potentially be outside much, much longer. There was nothing worse than waiting on the Addison stop having *just* missed your train, so you have to wait for the next one to go by before your train arrived again, then get off at an A/B stop and wait outside again for the train that would let you off at your final stop. Gah. Maybe if they did it only when the temperature was above freezing.

The north side of the Red Line, though? THat was great. IT seemed like I could live in any apartment anywhere near the Red Line and there was a stop within walking distance during sub-zero weather. That's worth some extra wait time any day of the week. not being able to fit on the train and having to wait for another one, not so much.
posted by davejay at 9:20 PM on January 24, 2013


downtown where the stops are close, the lights are synchronized so if the train is stopped, the cross streets perpendicular to the track have a green light.

I have a vague memory of running from the old 10th Street station to the old 8th Street station in the 90s, when there was no synchronization of the lights on 7th Avenue. And less traffic.

Could probably have done 3rd Street East to Olympic Plaza as well. (Neither of those stations exist today)

And probably from Lions Park to Sunnyside

I would be seriously impressed by that!
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:29 PM on January 24, 2013


On second thought, that actually probably is doable on a bike. It's downhill the whole way. I mean, not that I could do it.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:33 PM on January 24, 2013


Wall Street to Bowling Green is totally doable.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:04 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't remember exact stations, but there are a few spots on the L line where you can look down the track and see the next station. Like it's barely more a train length.

21st to Court Sq. on the G, the G goes slow here going into its last stop. Also, because it is the last stop, you will definitely catch it.

The problem with Court Sq. is choosing your entrance wisely.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:13 PM on January 24, 2013


I can't remember exact stations, but there are a few spots on the L line where you can look down the track and see the next station. Like it's barely more a train length.

This is why I was saying 3rd Ave to Union Square. I seriously think this is maybe the most doable in Manhattan, at least. The 3rd Ave exit is simple and spits you directly where you want to go, and there are a range of Union Square entrances one could experiment with for fastest reboarding. Also, there's only one or two intersections to navigate.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:54 PM on January 24, 2013


Although there are a number of stations that are fairly close together in central London I think this would be tough because of their depth. Also because of the damned tourists who insist on standing on the left side of the escalators. A machete would help.
posted by Decani at 12:49 AM on January 25, 2013


And here I thought it was going to be someone trying to beat it between Covent Garden and Leicester Square on the Picadilly Line. That would be an interesting challenge, the depth of the stations notwithstanding.

Barbican to Mansion House: 14 minutes by walk and about 15 minutes by the Circle line. Running, and jumping over confused tourists on escalators might improve speeds. :)
posted by the cydonian at 12:59 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Edgware Rd to Paddington might be doable. Particularly if the train does what it often does at Edgware Rd and just sit there for 10 minutes.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:07 AM on January 25, 2013


Not entirely a new idea (it's been done in Glasgow)

Five years later:
"We are the second people in the World to complete this challenge! And we did it on the first attempt as well, we're rather proud of ourselves."
posted by iviken at 1:47 AM on January 25, 2013


My only experience with an underground train system is the one in London, so I watched this entire video with the expectation that he was going to get tackled by police officers and arrested at any minute.

I started laughing out loud here at the office slow day when I saw him jump out to cross the busy street... right next to a cop car. that didn't stop or say anything to him. Welcome to France. (Notice he had a spotter. Parisian drivers are crazy. As a point of comparison: they're similarly insane here in Nice, and my friend in Perth warned me before going there, that Perth drivers were insane. I found Perth somewhat tame; more block-headed impatience than outright murder potential. In Paris and Nice: "what are you talking about red light I'm driving too fast to see the lights and my swerving blocks them anyway oops gotta get on the sidewalk here to pass the lazy Twingo in front of me in this one-lane street but no biggy there's only one pedestrian coming my way".)

Also chuckled at the blasé expressions of all the people he zoomed past, orange t-shirt in winter among the Parisian winter uniform of black wool coats.

As for the stations, yeah, those two are closer together than most. One point of the Paris metro, though, is that you never find yourself more than a 10-minute walk from a station. It's true, and very practical.
posted by fraula at 2:37 AM on January 25, 2013


I could see this being done on the DLR, off at West India Quay, and an all out sprint to Heron Quay. With the short dwell time at Canary Wharf, it could be totally doable. With enough dwell, you might even make it a stop further.
posted by generichuman at 3:06 AM on January 25, 2013


According the French Wikipedia, the Station Cluny - La Sorbonne was opened in 1930 and then closed in 1939 because it was too close to the other stations. It was one the many ghost stations of the Paris Métro, a time capsule from WWII. It was reopened in 1988 in order to provide a connection with other metro and RER lines. So it's indeed too close to Odéon though nobody's complaining since both stations are in a very crowded area full of students, shoppers, tourists and moviegoers.
posted by elgilito at 3:59 AM on January 25, 2013


This is why I was saying 3rd Ave to Union Square.

Actually, I wonder if 3rd to 1st might be easier. Less of a crowd, and it's only two long blocks.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:13 AM on January 25, 2013


etc., I would regularly beat the train from Union Square to Atlantic/Pacific on my bike (via the Manhattan bridge). Drop of my fellow traveler at the station, hop on my bike and meet her at the 4th and Pacific street exit on the other end. The Q was tough, but doable, while the N and the R were trivial to beat -- I could get a coffee at NuNu or Linger while waiting in Brooklyn.
posted by autopilot at 4:29 AM on January 25, 2013


I've had to outrun the PAT bus here from one stop to the next when the asshole driver slams the door in my face and drives off. Fortunately traffic moves so slow here that outrunning it isn't too hard.
posted by octothorpe at 4:42 AM on January 25, 2013


Switching from Metro line 2 to 3 or vice versa these days in Budapest, I often cut a couple of stations off and walk along two blocks of Muzéum Körut rather than brave the Habitrail crowd at the usual connection in Deák Tér. I think I lose five minutes, but it's worth it.

I haven't tried it at speed like this guy, though.

Amazing that he had to stop and pay - and still made it.
posted by Michael Roberts at 5:10 AM on January 25, 2013


man.. I thought this was going to be a Kontroll "rail running" imitation.
posted by edgeways at 5:48 AM on January 25, 2013


I say this can't be done anywhere in Toronto. You could maybe do it by skipping a stop: St. Andrew to King.

Actually I think St. George to Museum is feasible. What you need is quick access points from platform to street but not a ridiculously fast platform-to-platform time for the train (so Osgoode to St. Andrew wouldn't work). Because the Spadina line has to make a long slowish turn between the two stations, and the entrances are at the right ends of the platform, I can see it.

Other option would be the the Shuter St. exit of Queen Station to Dundas (northbound only), since its only one block.

I'm thinking way harder than I should be about testing this (with someone that can run faster than a sleepy panda, unlike myself).
posted by dry white toast at 6:44 AM on January 25, 2013


But seriously, why are those stops so close to each other?

Because in the dead center of cities, trip destinations and connections to other lines are so dense that in rush hour, there's enough passenger volume that a higher number of access points and platforms are required to avoid heavy congestion in the stations.
posted by dry white toast at 6:49 AM on January 25, 2013


You could probably do this on the Market-Frankford El line all through Center City Philadelphia, and you don't even have to pop your head above ground. 15th St. to 13th St. and 13th St. to11th St. would be your best bets.
posted by snottydick at 7:30 AM on January 25, 2013


man.. I thought this was going to be a Kontroll "rail running" imitation.

Me too. But then I think about that scene every time I ride the subway.
posted by Bektashi at 10:00 AM on January 25, 2013


What about the third and fourth types of subway rider? Those who never wonder, during an idle moment, if they beat the train to the next stop and those who having never wondered that, never attempt to.
posted by juiceCake at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2013


I am concerned for the safety those who are in the third group, but not the fourth.
posted by pompomtom at 1:52 PM on January 26, 2013


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