"London’s commuters have learned to withstand vast and unpredictable challenges: track closures; signal failures; engineering works. And they have developed a thick skin. But on that particular Friday, the 11,000 of them who got off at Holborn station between 8.30 and 9.30am faced an unusually severe provocation. As they turned into the concourse at the bottom of the station’s main route out and looked up, they saw something frankly outrageous: on the escalators just ahead of them, dozens of people were standing on the left."
Transport for London recently released a comprehensive set of design guidelines for building works on their stations. I don't think I'll look at an underground station in the same way again. [more inside]
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, Transport for London have released a geogrphically-accurate map of the tube. [PDF] [more inside]
Crossrail is a 70 ish mile railway currently being built right through the centre of London. Take drone flight through some of the tunnels and watch the giant mechanical Shai Halud chomp through walls.
Southwark Park Tube Station has been rediscovered after 100 years. Workers uncovered the 'ghost station' during construction of the new Thameslink line. Although Network Rail knew the location of the site, which closed in 1915 due to the war, it was still a surprise that so much of the original 1902 structure remained intact. Southwark Park was only open for 13 years but had already made it into transport history as the home of Corbett's Lane signal box, said to be the first regular signal box in the world. [more inside]
"In the 1960s and 1970s London Transport had a flourishing international consultancy arm which made money by advising other cities on on how to go about setting up and running a metro service with a particular emphasis on advising far eastern countries how to plan their fledging metros. Rumour has it their first bit of advice was always: Never, ever run your trains in a circle!" -- So why did it take almost a century and a half for the London Underground to get rid of the Circle Line? Let Pedantic of Purley at London Reconnections explain the history of the Circle Line and why having a circle route is bad news as well as how the Circle Line was uncircled and recreated as a teacup.
You might think that Waterloo & City Line couldn’t even have a Myers-Briggs Type, being a tunnel in London with some trains in it, but you’d be wrong. Whilst the normal way to establish a Myers-Briggs Type is get someone to fill in a questionnaire, it’s apparently possible to use a sample of text to analyse the personality of the author. And while the Waterloo & City Line didn’t have much to say for most of its 115 year history, for the last couple of years, it, and all the other London Underground lines, have been tweeting. So I use samples of tweets to discover what kinds of personalities they have.
The first District line train out of Upminster in the morning is the first train anywhere on the underground network. It leaves the depot at 4.53, the only train anywhere in the system to set out from its base before 5am ... if you catch that train, you might be tempted to say ta-dah!—except you probably wouldn't, because nobody is thinking ta-dah! at seven minutes to five in the morning; certainly nobody on this train. People look barely awake, barely even alive. They feel the same way they look; I know because, this morning, I'm one of them.John Lanchester on the experience, at once aversive and hypnotic, of catching the London Underground. Lanchester's article is an extract from his forthcoming entry in the new Penguin Lines series of tube-reading-friendly books released to commemorate the Underground's 150th anniversary. Meanwhile, the Guardian have compiled a collaborative Spotify playlist of songs that mention Tube stations, for those so inclined.
Artist Yuri Suzuki has made a map of the London Underground as a functional radio circuit board. [more inside]
Infographics that give a little insight into the history of public transport(ation) in the UK.
253 is a novel written for the Internet. Originally published in 1996, it is composed of 253 stories of 253 words about each of the 253 passengers on a London Underground train, headed for a crash.
The division of post-WWII Berlin reached everywhere in the city, even underground, sealing stations throughout the long decades of the Cold War. They were the first “ghost stations”, which can now be found everywhere: the Paris Metro (previously), Los Angeles, the London Underground, New York City, and the aforementioned Berlin, remaining as entombed time capsules that are passed by millions every day.
Chromaroma launched its public beta today. The site takes Oyster and Cycle Hire data and turns it into a city-wide game, with teams capturing stations, accepting missions and having good, old fashioned, public transport based fun. Commuting has never been this enjoyable. [more inside]
500 Years of Science, Reason & Critical Thinking via the medium of gross over simplification, dodgy demarcation, glaring omission and a very tiny font.
Live Google map of trains running on the London Underground, created using the Transport for London API. From the makers of the highly-useful accessible, bookmarkable UK train timetables.
Recent work in London's Notting Hill station uncovered original advertising posters untouched since the late 1950's (via).
An excellent short film about a branch of the London Underground that was never built.
Mole Man to pay £300,000 for burrowing under home. A retired engineer nicknamed “Mole Man”, because of his fondness for burrowing tunnels under his home (video), has been ordered to pay almost £300,000 to the local council (he lives in London) after his hobby nearly caused his house to collapse (article with a few photos). William Lyttle, 77, spent 40 years excavating a maze of tunnels beneath his 20-room Victorian property in Hackney, East London, before the council intervened. "I often used to joke that I expect him to come tunnelling up through the kitchen floor," said Marc Beishon, who lives a few yards from William Lyttle's house, in 2006, when the Mole Man was first ordered to stop. [more inside]
Emma Clarke the voice of the London Underground has just been fired for recording and posting some spoofs on her own website. "Mind the gap" no more. (To spare Emma's server and in case she is forced to remove the files for some reason: External linkage to streaming mp3's of these spoofs are below) [more inside]
Harry Beck's famous map [current 287K .gif version] of the London Underground has a long history and is often praised as a definitive example of excellent information design. Many consider it unimprovable, but that doesn't stop many others trying. The latest variant is a project by Oskar Karlin, redesigning the map to illustrate journey time [warning: large, slow loading .pdf]. [partly via]
Disused Stations on the London Underground - they're there, but we don't see them. This site gives a list of places to spot glimpses of these mysterious stations, as well as details of stations that were almost built. Fascinating for a Londoner, and perhaps something to look out for if you plan on visiting the city.
Tube drivers strike and the queue system falls apart! Getting to work was bad enough thanks to strking tube drivers and crack smoking officials at Hammersmith Bus station, now how the hell do I get home?