London’s Most Useless Information No.1
I think we’ll have a new column. To kick it off, here’s where the idea came from ten years ago on this very site…
So, an age-old mystery has at last been solved. Passengers on the London Underground always stand on the right and tut in annoyance when anyone does the opposite. An old film recently unearthed for the London Film Festival revealed why.
Unlike modern “comb” escalators, where the end of the moving stairway is at right angles to the direction of travel, older “shunt” escalators ended with a diagonal so that the stairway finished sooner for the right foot than for the left.
The idea was to allow passengers to keep their left foot on a moving stairway as they stepped off with their right. Passengers who chose not to walk down the escalators were asked to stand on the right so that anyone wishing to overtake them at the end would be able to take advantage of the extra section of moving stairway.
Further pointless bits of London trivia will be revealed every now and again. One day I may take a broom to my mind and sweep all the mental shavings into a Bryant & May London guidebook.