Going underground
April 5, 2005 4:53 AM   Subscribe

What is it with the London Underground and the internet? As many MeFi posts have noted before, no other subway system in the world has quite as many websites and applications devoted to it (why is this?). Until now the bulk of these applications have been based around maps, but the 'tube' has just got an independent site that is story-based. The brand new site at www.yourstation.co.uk wants you to write stories about the networks famous stations. Each gets its own homepage, you fill it with stories or simply read those that have gone before. Want to know how Mudchute got its name? You now know where to look.
posted by MrMerlot (20 comments total)
See also
posted by the cuban at 4:56 AM on April 5, 2005

Maybe it's because it's so big and complicated.
posted by runkelfinker at 5:05 AM on April 5, 2005

We like it complicated though. It's a deliberate in-joke, played on foreigners. And by "foreigners" we mean anyone who lives outside of the Home Counties.

When I went to Toronto, I was absolutely disgusted at how easy it was to get around. What's the point in a transit system that gets you where you want to go, first time, without attempting to kill you along the way?
posted by Mr Bismarck at 5:33 AM on April 5, 2005

The British pride within me wants to answer "cos Britain rules the waves".

Then the Mancunian pride within me wants to answer "no it doesn't, Manchester leads the way"

But then the Mancunian pride wants to say "Mad for it" and "eeeeeeyaaaaaaaa"
posted by 13twelve at 5:55 AM on April 5, 2005

runkelfinker: That link is really awesome.
Its a small personal goal of mine to one day ride all the NYC subway routes to their completion. Probably been done before, but hey, a mans gotta dream, and I think it'll be fun :).
posted by Mach5 at 6:08 AM on April 5, 2005

The Home Counties?!? "Foreigners" are people who live in Zone 3...
posted by runkelfinker at 6:09 AM on April 5, 2005

Ah, I never thought I'd say it but after three years in New York (following 20 years in London) I miss the Silver Mole. On my infrequent returns to my London Flat (Zone 3, runkelfinker, you bloody snob!) I actually look forward to using it. Of course, it helps that I don't actually have to commute any more, I suppose...

The NYC subway is as grimy as hell in comparison, although the actual service is better than you'd expect from appearances. I also think the subway is more confusing than the tube. It comes as a major surprise the first time you realise that some entrances don't give full access to a station - you might end up on the downtown line when you wanted uptown. On the tube, any entrance will give access to all platforms for a given station. The other big tourist/newcomer trap on the subway is the express/local thing. On the tube every train stops at every station on a given line. Hop on an express in New York and... oh dear... you just hurtled through your station and won't be stopping for another four...

The subway map isn't as clear, either.

Nice link, btw!
posted by Decani at 6:37 AM on April 5, 2005

Possibly because the New York subway is a shithole.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2005

Nice post, MrMerlot.
posted by 327.ca at 7:51 AM on April 5, 2005

Zone 1 baby, yeah!

Great post. I love the tube, it's one of the things that i miss most when I'm not in London. I think lots of us have "special" relationships with our closest stations...
posted by iso_bars at 8:15 AM on April 5, 2005

The Transport For London Journey Planner is a fantastic site for, well, planning a journey across London. Good for foreigners of all sorts (I'm outside of zones but am Home Counties). Those 'subway systems of the world' maps look like the work of drug-addled spiders.
posted by TheDonF at 8:35 AM on April 5, 2005

What is it with the London Underground and the internet?

It's a map, that's it. Geeks love maps.

Why this map? It's practical and has a nice long history of interesting development in terms of displaying data logically, usefully. Without digging for references, since I'm at work allegedly, first significant use of a transit map emphasizing relationships or connections over geographical accuracy, early use of modern clean font, etc.
posted by scheptech at 9:50 AM on April 5, 2005

Its a small personal goal of mine to one day ride all the NYC subway routes to their completion.

Sounds like someone needs to see Dark City.... :-)
posted by dmt at 10:33 AM on April 5, 2005

Well, not everyone is crazy about the tube :) note - link goes to very rude mp3 (sung to the tune of the Jam's "Going Underground").
posted by gfrobe at 11:02 AM on April 5, 2005

I find the NYC subway infinitely harder to navigate than the tube, mainly down to the names of the lines and stations. K, F, 28 St 7 Av, and 3 Av E138 St? How anyone can say that's easier to understand than Circle Line, Central Line, Oxford Circus, Warren Street is utterly beyond me. I spend all day staring at Perl - I don't need stuff like that when I'm just trying to take a train.
posted by influx at 11:50 AM on April 5, 2005

I just added my story. See One Jumper at Tooting Broadway.
posted by terrymiles at 12:22 PM on April 5, 2005

I have no complaints about London's underground. With only one mishap in two weeks I have fond fond memories on my first visit.

However, the bus system is infinitely worse, more uncomfortable and more rigid than the tube could ever be. I got my seven day pass taken away and spent two hours down at the police station because the ticket I had was for business travelers and required a photo. Later, I found out that I never should have had that kind of pass. The clerk hoped and assumed I would never run into a snitchy transit security check during my last few days. I got the pass refund and was even given a pint chit at a nearby pub. Those Londoners, nice people.

The underground is really safe for women, until you get to the outside docks in zone 3, then its questionable.

And for some reason it seems to be tradition for pick-pockets to drop unwanted lifts near the out gates. If they can ,they let you know then see if you go to pick it up. This happed to me and so many other I complained to.
To compare people need to try the metro in Paris then there will really be something to gripe about.
posted by Viomeda at 3:50 PM on April 5, 2005

The abbreviated version for MF
posted by Viomeda at 3:51 PM on April 5, 2005

ObLondonUndergroundSong from these guys
posted by quiet at 4:24 PM on April 5, 2005

To compare people need to try the metro in Paris then there will really be something to gripe about.

Not kidding. I walked for miles in there once looking for a platform only to find when I got there that I was in the wrong place anyway because the coloured line I'd been following was the wrong shade of pink.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:27 PM on April 10, 2005

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