The Tube Gets An Upgrade

Christopher Fowler

'Take Every Englishman And Twist Him By The Neck'

I spend far too much of my time in London's tube system. From the age of two I'd been taken on tube trains at regular intervals (although my mother had preferred the old trams) and by my eighth year I was on them by myself. At sixty I got my official Old Person's pass to go wherever I liked on the system at no cost, but there are still stations that remain a mystery, like Theydon Bois, which I might just go and visit out of curiosity. In the early days of London’s Metropolitan Line there was waiter service. Staff dished up full English breakfasts for their city-bound clients. This, clearly, was not the Metropolitan Line as we know it today. They even loaded horses for hunting and pigs for market into the carriages. After the horrific bombing of Bank station in 1941 a Hungarian doctor was called to the scene and said; ‘You English cannot appreciate the discipline of your own people. I have not found one hysterical patient. If Hitler had been here for five minutes he would have finished the war. He would realise he has got to take every Englishman and twist him by the neck – otherwise he cannot win the war.’ The tube has something like forty eight ghost stations. Some were regularly announced by the guards who walked through the carriages, and the call of ‘Passing Brompton Road’ was often heard. Much better than the driver shouting 'We're being held at a red signal' every time the train stops for a moment. Strand station (later Aldwych) became the home of the British Museum’s Egyptian mummies during the war. Now it’s used in period films because it still has its original tiling. It can be visited during the Open London weekend. The dinky underground system that's just for London's letters and parcels was opened on 5 December 1927, with parcel traffic running between Mount Pleasant and Paddington. Other branches and diversions expanded the route. The Post Office railway played a pivotal role in the transportation of mail in London and continued until 2003. Now called the Mail Rail, it can be ridden for fun (it doesn't look fun) when you visit the Postal Museum, something I have never got around to doing despite the fact that I can walk to it from my flat. North End station was constructed but never made it the surface because people in Hampstead didn’t want the disruption. It now has a house on top of it, No.1 Hampstead Way, but you can apparently access the station via a lift in the house. There's a section on the tube in the upcoming 'Peculiar London', although I leave the real detail work to the many enthusiasts who are out there. With the new purple Elizabeth Line about to open this month, making the lateral crossing of London a whole lot easier, the map of the London Underground is about to get more complicated. It's better late than never. The budget for the line grew from £14.8bn to £18.8bn and the opening date slipped so many times that it became hard to keep track. Some doubted it would ever open. Now it finally arrives on May 24.    
Posted in


Stu-I-Am (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 13:07

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You would think for the extra £4bn to construct the Elizabeth Line, they could have reinstated platform pubs --- at least at Liverpool Street where there originally was one. How better to properly celebrate Platinum Jubilee Year.

Roger (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 13:42

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm not sure, Admin, but I think the Elizabeth Line - how much better an Elizabethan Line, with threats of hanging, drawing and quartering for fare-dodgers would be - is like Paddington's Heathrow express and we can't use our geriatric cards on it/

Nick (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 19:06

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Having been born, brought up, and still resident in Harold Wood, I despair at the dressing up of a perfectly good railway line as somehow some part of the tube network, just because the mid-section of it runs under London. Call me a curmudgeon, but it has always been the Liverpool Street line to me, and shall remain so! ;-)

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 19:15

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

@admin If you do make it to Theydon Bois after dark, don't forget a torch. Of its few claims to fame, other than being the least visited station in its zone --- its Epping Forest village prides itself on not having street lighting. I believe this is known locally as 'ambience,' rather than municipal frugality. Who knows, you might even be awarded a rosette from Tfl for being the last biped to actually reach the station. On the other hand, the Theydon Bois Book Festival could be exclusively yours..

Jan (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 19:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The trains for the Elizabeth Line have been ready for ages and I have spotted them not too far from Willesden Junction station and toward Wormwood scrubs - when I have been riding back and forth between the Acton Overground station near the level Xing towards Willesden junction on the Overground line -running from Richmond to W.J. I've been trying to photograph the signal box which was originally the site of Acton Wells Station. There was a spa once not too far from there location - difficult to believe in an Acton Spa isn't it? There were once massive laundries at Acton utilising the waters from the Acton Wells and much of the laundering for major London Hotels was done in Acton.

Now the Station you refer to in Hampstead North End is also referred to as Bull + Bush there was a control room there which housed the co-ordination centre which would have been responsible for closing the major doors within the tube system had the Thames flooded the tube network.

This obviously became less important after the construction of the Thames Barrier. This station was also a major civil defence base which would have come into full operation in case of nuclear war. If I remember rightly it's the deepest station on the whole of the tube network.

I've visited Theydon Bois indeed Bernie and myself rode on the last ever tube journey that ran from the outer edges of the central Line towards town and I think we possibly alighted there. To my shame I can hardly remember the closed stations name EPPING + ONGAR maybe? Think local enthusiasts are trying or have succeeded in reopening the Station and running a service. This mystery station closed on.the same day as Aldwych. (We ride on the last ever tube from there also)

Now I suppose you are going to accuse me of being some sort of London freak/ TFL geek.
How you reach such conclusions is beyond me. It really is.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 20:06

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

@Jan Well, it does keep you off the streets (more or less).

Jan (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 20:11

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It's not a full opening of the Elizabeth Line on the 24th you know Chris. I've got to say parts of the project have been fantastic.

That modern Farringdon station opposite the Farrringdon I used to commute into Holborn is gob smacking..

On the quiet I reckon they have had a fair few problem with the Tyburn you know in the Central area near Brook Street. Often the problems cited aren't necessarily the only or necessarily the main issues. If people don't really grasp that London's water table is rising best leave it like that

Helen+Martin (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 20:43

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A rising water table could indeed provide some serious navigational problems.

Jan, my husband rode the last Interurban from Marpole to New Westminster when Vancouver shifted "from rails to rubber" in 1958.Doing so is an essential act n'est ce pas?

P.G. Bell (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 22:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I can recommend the Postal Museum as a fun afternoon's diversion; it's not very big, so only takes a couple of hours to get round. It's split into two separate buildings on opposite sides of Phoenix Place, with Mail Rail underneath the (still active) Mount Pleasant sorting office. Not a great experience if you're claustrophobic, as the system was never designed to carry passengers, so is very cramped. It's tone and presentation are very broad (ie. "child friendly") but it's still a fascinating close-up look at a bit of London that would otherwise be inaccessible. And they do guided track walks in the evenings sometimes, which I'd like to try. The other half of the museum is more traditional, and charts the history of the postal service from Henry VIII to the present day, with a nice look at the graphic design side of things. I've done a few author events there in recent years (my books revolve around a magical postal train, plus it's just around the corner from my publisher's offices, so it's something of a no-brainer) and the staff have always been very welcoming and supportive. In fact, a friend of mine helped get the place up and running, from the planning stages to opening day. She and I used to operate roller coasters together, of all things.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Wed, 04/05/2022 - 23:31

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I do recall an aphorism about a rising water table lifting all dustbins. In any event, Jan can probably confirm this (if not Him, then who ?) --- but I seem to recollect that each tube station used to have a different tile design (and colour ?) to allow those unable to read staton signs --- whether because of illiteracy or presumably, intoxication --- and recognize where they were. However --- the 64,000 question remains (at least for me...) --- how the tube lines got their colours. Sounds like one of those Dr.Seuss books,

Jan (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 06:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The different colours for the lines is both a now essential way to navigate the whole network and trace how the lines interconnect and a hang over from the very 1st of London's underground "cut and cover" underground railway lines being constructed by private companies.

The Metropolitan, and District Lines both being early. Therefore when they became part of what would morph into London underground and later TFL it was convenient to stick with the companies original choice of colour to distinguish the tube lines from each other. The company colours also assisted with the mapping of the system. Especially when The iconic Harry Beck's map of the tube was adopted. The lines being traced in contrasting bright colours became an essential part of Beck's creation which is not really a map dependent on the geography of the lines its a plan almost a thought plan. A real change from The original maps of the developing system which are proper shockers. I think the real dependence on colour comes with Becks incredible ideas.

The difference in the tiling work both above and below ground again originally stems from the piecemeal private beginnings of the system. The not deep level but just slightly below ground Circle, Hammersmith + City line platform @ Baker Street has been pretty much restored in such a way that the original design is very evident and in its way especially the design of the Windows admitting light down onto the platform is quite wonderful.

The deep level tubes used tiling and continue to still use tiling design which emphasises the locality of the station Baker Street being big on Sherlock Holmes. An areas fame not necessarily needing to be rooted in reality!
This same idea runs throughout the central part of the network and beyond.

Part of being on the tube network is accepting that a high number of the passengers are strangers to the system half being essentially lost. To really keep their minds occupied and to emphasise to them where they are the system uses both tiling design the tiling pictures and info on platforms for example + reassure them they are on the right platform and track by the constant use of the colour which ids the tube line. This also works really well when their plastered.

There's whole separate stories about the designs of the stations of the later deep level tube station lines especially the Piccadilly Line outer stations.

Jan's not a him Stu but I can see what with my weird obsessive interest in stuff you would assume why!

Here I'm missing the morning repeat of Classic Corry here.

TrevorP (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 11:20

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I believe that one will be able to use The Freedom Pass on all sections of the Elizabeth Line except maybe the Paddington to Heathrow link. This is the current case with Freedom Pass use on TFL tube and trains.
No doubt this will be clarified soon.

Peter T (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 11:54

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A wonderful feature of the London Underground system is the use of compass directions to indicate the directions of the trains. Certain cities strangely assume vistors to be familiar with the locations of the obscure suburbs where the lines terminate.

Roger (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 12:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It was the Epping-Ongar branch of the Central Line, Jan, with stops at North Weald and Blake Hall. It only had half the power of the rest of the line, after it was electrified, and had to be run separately, which didn't help. I think it had the last steam trains on London Transport. Blake Hall was the least-used station on LT - not surprising as the nearest house was a mile away. A failure of “if you build it, they will come”.
It's said that every time LT wanted to close the line hundreds of people turned up to look at it so it stayed open a bit longer, until they finally have up.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 12:41

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

@Jan Jan --- I do apologize for regendering you. Knowledge clearly does not depend on chromosomes and it never did. Fell into the still too usual trap. I have donned my Salford Lads Club sackcloth and will shortly be looking for ashes to apply. However, please do me a favour. Just so I never forget, please end your future comments with: 'I am woman, hear me roar.' Or change your name to Sholto.

A Holme (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 13:10

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is why I love this site.

snowy (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 13:17

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Now that Jan has done all the hard work, I can cheekily jump on her coat-tails and get a free ride, [at least until she spots me and chucks me into a nettle patch].

Harry Beck's design is a classic of visual communication, a distillation of a horrible wiggly mess into just the parts that are useful. To do it he took a tangle of threads and straightened them into a form that is easy to read and understand.

And there was a lot of mess to sort out, before the railways had merged to became 'The Underground' they had all been entirely separate and fiercely competitive Railway Companies each with their own livery/colour scheme. [Some of these colours may have carried over into the 1908, [pre-Beck] colour map, but there were problems - there are always problems....]

Some companies used the same colours as each other, [passing off/stock paint work is cheaper than a special], not that it would really matter that much when everything was sooty. And then there were the difficulties of actually printing in colour: labourious, complicated and expensive. Each of the four colours needs a separate plate, separate inks and then they all react with each other on the paper slightly differently, and then if one plate is a fraction of an inch out the whole thing looks like stripey psychedelic nightmare and the print run has to be scrapped.

The forgotten man in this story is Fred Stingemore, a talented artist, it was he that changed the 'map' into a 'diagram' with regular spacings for the stations.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 14:42

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And as we approach the final jump in the 'Down the Tube' --- snowy has taken the lead by a half-length -- but Jan is gathering for the final push. I seem to have lost track of Sadiq Khan's grand plans to redesign the Underground map. Wonder if that includes correcting the obvious anomalies in the map or simply naming/renaming ? Or --- as is often the way of politicians --- none of the above.

Cornelia Appleyard (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 14:42

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Jan, you aren’t the only woman to be fascinated by the Underground.
My sister and I had a map on our bedroom wall, and played a sort of pre ISIHAC version of Mornington Crescent.

Paul C (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 15:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Riding on the tube after dark the film Death Line (cannibals preying on passengers) always comes to mind along with in American Werewolf in London. Maybe I'll take the bus.......

Jan (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 17:39

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You know Roger I reckon what kept EPPING and Ongar going for such a long time was it's relative proximity to the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker. You might be thinking that's a bit of a wacky old theory but there has been a long standing link - a pretty close linking in truth - between the Tube system and that of civil defence or for to be clearer the evacuation plans for the government departments!

In particular the Northern and the Victoria lines feature in "civil defence" but the Central line tube played its part. The most well known feature being in the N.E. Loop of the Central Line which was under construction and which was utilised to become a Plessey factory constructing aircraft during WW2. I would like to say this was the Roding Valley but am not 100% about this at all. Are there trains chugging about round EPPING + Ongar again now by any chance? I would like to think so.

Snows I have never heard of this Fred Stingemore finger his name likely kept him at a distance from the acknowledgement list. Poor old lad.

No worries about the regendering .

I could really witter on at length about the secondary/civil defence aspect of the tube system. But you'd soon all be dozing"Beneath the City Streets" says a fair bit about this topic if you are interested.

Roger (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 18:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

https://www.eorailway.co.uk/ for info, Jan. Blake Hall is a house now, but there's an Epping Forest Station.
I'd have thought Ongar was so remote you didn't need a nuclear bunker. One joke about the line was that the staff didnt have uniforms but wore woad.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 19:05

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

For those of us who simply can't get enough about the London Underground. Or perhaps the NY Subway System, the Paris Métro or even (sigh --- at one time) the Moscow метрополитен --- or can. Yes --- you there face down on your keyboard. How about a system that connects the undergrounds/metros/subways of just about every major world city ? Well, a design collective called ArtCodeData has done it --- at least put together a map showing it with 214 underground systems, 791 lines, and 11,924 individual stations. Now, let's see --- change at Madrid for...

You can play around with the map on the ArtCodeData site, but I won't push my luck here with a another link (other than the map).


Joel (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 19:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

i thoroughly enjoyed using the u-bahn and s-bahn in berlin...the subways in new york are an "adventure"...the metro in dc was pretty clean...never used the los angeles metro...now, due to where i live, no car...no movement...subways can be fun

Jo+e (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 21:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Talking of free rides an older aspect of the tube was being able to use it without any form of payment. Whilst known as fare dodging and reprehensible if you are older than a certain age, when you're a boy this is merely naughty and you are just a scallywag. A virtue of no money, curiosity, enterprise and adventure. However there was, possibly still is, a secret world of emergency exits, no entries and dark passages that bypassed various lifts, barriers and provided a far more thrilling way to travel than a pensioners travel pass, which has the same result. Also a good deal quicker at peak times.
Unfortunately I can't comment on the exit strategy at Theydon Bois.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 00:00

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks - as always - Jan and Snowy for the Tube history lessons and the creation of the Tube Map. I looked up Frederick Stingemore. It was very interesting reading. The map business reminded me of a book I read called "Mrs. P's Journey" - about Phyllis Pearsall who set up the Geographer's Map Company and created the well-known A-Z (Zed) of London. The pages eventually fell out of my first copy and I had to buy a new one - which I still have and use to follow Bryant and May's wanderings about the City.

snowy (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 00:45

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It may tickle you to learn that one of the machines used to bore the tunnels on the 'Elizabeth Line' was named Phyllis especially in her honour, 'she' cut the Royal Oak to Farringdon section.

Jo W (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 06:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Not much to celebrate here in my part of London. It takes a bus ride or a long walk to get to a railway station and then a thirty minute or so train ride to get to the nearest underground line. :-(

Liz+Thompson (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 08:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I recall vividly that "free" rides on the Tube were distinguished by furious races up or down interminable and badly lighted stairs, followed by stealthy exits onto the platform whilst attempting to look innocent and not out of breath.

Peter T (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 11:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Plessey actually made electric, electronic and control components for aircraft. A complete aeroplane would be something special to emerge from a London Tube line. I think they flattened the floor but still had a rail system to move things along the space imposed production line.

The underground railway system is one of the many things that London owes to the clay on which it stands. London has its clay, so does Oxford. Cambridge was sadly lacking until a professor invented it as a mathematical model.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 12:14

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks, Snowy. It's been awhile since I read the book, but I was impressed by her determination. "She" certainly would have been able to bore her way through the earth to cut the Royal Oak to Farringdon section.

Alan R (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 16:17

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The decorative but skilful "street art" concept developed and once used by NY City to decorate their trains and carriages, leaves the Tube somewhat dull in comparison. NY City have replaced their "Art Trains' with shiny stainless steel models that repel paint. Maybe this has left a gap in the market for London to pick up on. It is amazing what can be done with just a spray can of Scarlet Enamel and a pot of black paint. I suggest checking out the informal skate park, under the arches close to the London Eye for inspiration. But I have to admit this is more Wanksey than Banksey.

Jan (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 17:28

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Yes you're right there Peter it must have been components rather than full aircraft. I actually think that they turned out some of the stuff used up at Bletchley Park the Enigma gear in that same underground factory. They certainly made radio equipment for bombers.

I used to live at the other end of the Central Line near Greenford in Middlesex many many years ago back in the mid 80s.

I went back to Greenford a few years back and saw one of the oddest contraptions. I have ever seen operating in the tube system, this really weird lift that sort of moved in an odd diagonal manner it looked like Dr. Who's T.A.R.D.I.S sliding up and down an escalator frame. This thing was well odd. I can remember there was an old wooden escalator @ Greenford and of course they ripped out all of the wooden escalators from the underground sections of the tube after the Kings X fire it seems TFL thought it would be a laugh to insert this sliding about a slope lift rather than another escalator. It was fine to travel inside but a very strange watch. In fact I think there's videos of it on U tube it's startled the general public that much.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 17:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks again, Jan. I remember the old wooden escalators from my first trip to London in '71. They fascinated me because escalators in the States were metal by that time - at least the ones I was on in the San Francisco Emporium.
I was never on a lift as you described, but I remember being sort of thrown off kilter with the ones where the door that you entered the lift wasn't the one you exited from. Then there was the lift at Nell Gwynn House where a woman's voice announced - "Doors Opening - Doors Closing". My nephew loved that!

Helen+Martin (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 19:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Does the Tube system actually go as far as Reading or is it a rail line that has just been called a Tube line? (For Canadians of a certain age Reading and its distance from anywhere else is a matter of vital importance?

Jan (not verified) Fri, 06/05/2022 - 20:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The Elizabeth Line is basically a mainline railway originally named Cross Rail Helen.

Although it runs underneath central London and stops at or close to existing tube line stations it's a main line railway really Helen.

It's function is to funnel long distance commuters into the capital and to reduce the pressure on main line termini by delivering travellers directly into the centre of town. There's already a lot of long distance commuting going on + it looks very much like the powers that be are trying to widen the range of commuters willing to travel considerable distances to work within the Capital.

There are already a lot of "overground" - normal rail services - which run for some considerable distance underground within non tube rail tunnels the ones I am most aware of being from both N and NE of the Capital serving the home counties and East Anglia and they are bringing folk in to work mainly in the City of London.

There's a second Cross Rail planned but judging by the delays to this 1st project I don't reckon it is likely to be named the Charlie Line or even the William rail route ......what's the name of William and Kate eldest ? That's likely what they will call it!

Helen+Martin (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 06:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Oh, dear, I think his name is George.
I certainly remember the Cross Rail project starting and all the doom and gloom that were forecast about it.
It's the Tube/Underground only when it actually runs underground but it's a railway when it's above ground and running on rails? Not being picky, just looking for clarity.

Jan (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 07:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

No it's not a tube line H it's a mainline railway that runs underground in the centre of town. I know it's all a bit dopey sounding but that's about the extent of it really.
There are already a number of non "Tube" railways which run for considerable distances underground but do not feature on the Beck map and are not classed as Tube lines.

You can't assume Reading has become a London suburb just cos CrossRail/The Elizabeth line starts there

Look at it in a different way S.E. property prices have become inflated to such an extent that many people in order to achieve a reasonable lifestyle for themselves and their families choose to live at considerable distances from the Capital but need to work in London.
The Elizabeth Line is aiming to be an efficient way to funnel folk in. Reducing stress on mainline termini and the tube lines running from them.

Oddly enough in the meantime Covid has happened and has changed work patterns in such a way that the necessity of commuting up to town on a regular basis may have changed forever.

Jo (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 07:53

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

My own feeling is that The Tube is really only The Tube when it lives up to its name as is in a tube. There has always been something a bit strange emerging from darkness into daylight when you're on a train and like a fish out of water when seeing one. But I think only two lines are totally underground, Victoria and Waterloo & City. Could be proved wrong on that one. One saving grace of the old underground trains being in darkness was that you couldn't see the full extent of how disgustingly filthy they were. I think the Northern Line won this particular prize.

snowy (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 11:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The key to untangling the confusion of what is and what isn't 'The Underground' is to remember that it is a 'Brand' and not a definition. It was coined in 1907 as a name for a collection of separate railway companies brought together by a shady Philadelphian ex-convict.

[Charles Tyson Yerkes Jr. for 'twas he, had a career that be most politely described as chequered, if one is willing to overlook the small matters of Bribery, Blackmail and bankrupting the City of Philadelphia].

snowy (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 12:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And just to add to the confusion, most of the London Underground is not underground and some parts of it are not even in London.

On the question of 'Underground' vs 'Tube', there is a slightly technical answer, if the tunnel was built using 'cut and cover' it's an underground line. If it was 'bored' through the ground and lined it's a 'tube' line.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 13:06

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've probably got this mixed-up in my head, but there's the DLR which I seem to remember walking a long way underground to get to - maybe under the River for all I know - which adds to the list of terms.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 13:15

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

There was also the decision - in the early 2000's I think - that each tube line would have it's own fabric design for the seat cushions when the seats - or at least the cushions - were replaced with more modern (?) designs.

Jan (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 13:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I think that's a bit of an oversimplification Snows of course cut and over was the only way TO BUILD commercially for any distance at the the time the network was first created. The deep level tubes were created later the private rail companies didn't immediately leap at Brunels shield which created the first tunnel beneath the Thames . I can see where your coming from though.

Jo yes you are right on both counts both Waterloo and City "The Drain" and the Victoria Line are completely underground although the Victoria Line defies Snows argument about deep level tubes in that it's not really that deep towards its N.E. end.

Roger (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 14:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

LT's own definition of "tube" vs. "underground" (and quite a lot of the underground is above ground or even elevated) is whether people are allowed to take unfolded bikes on it.

snowy (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 17:17

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Jan, the exact and precise difference was explained to me once, at great length... but after the first 8 minutes my attention drifted, [and I began to ponder how I could politely escape, and then it got into vaulted tunnels vs circular somethings and I felt my will to live draining away].

[The colour theming of stations/lines and the iconic tilework seems to have come from the work of Leslie Green appointed architect to the U.E.R.L. in 1903. Need to dig in a bit further...]

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 18:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The stewards are currently reviewing the comments but, it initially appears that we have a photo finish between favourites snowy and Jan in the first running of the 'Down the Tube.' Its already being compared to the spine-tingling 2012 Grand National, at first thought to be the first dead-heat in its 180+ year history, but won by a nose. We may also see the closest ever finish here. Watch this space.

Helen+Martin (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 19:28

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have recommended this posting and the comments to my husband who also remembers viewing the construction signs for CrossRail when we were in London in 2014. The total construction time is beginning to sound like that of a medieval cathedral.

mike (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 19:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

When I grew up in London nearly everybody called it the tube.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Sat, 07/05/2022 - 20:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Apparently there's to be a run off for the 'Down the Tube' crown. The question for snowy and Jan, now at the start line, is: how, why and when did TfL choose its rondel logo ? And they're off...