The Weird World Of The Tube Olympics

Bryant and May, London

 For much of the first Bryant & May mystery series, my elderly detectives worked on the first floor of Mornington Crescent tube station. What they may not have known was that since 1960, people have been attempting the break the world record for visiting all 273 tube stations in one go. The earliest record was 20 hours, 27 minutes. The most recent that I could find was 18 hours 25 minutes. There’s a set of rules laid down by the Guinness Book Of Records, but that’s just the start – there are the annual Tube Olympics, and various alternative versions of this exhausting and fabulously pointless game, including the ABC challenge (stations visited in alphabetical order – current record 5 hours 20 minutes) and my favourite, the Bottle Challenge (2 hours 13 minutes). See below to see why it’s called that.(And let’s not even get into the rules of the ‘Mornington Crescent’ game!)


As an addendum to this, check out the official world tube record holder at, where you’ll find many more wonderful tube lunacies (including my personal favourite, his upside-down tube map, which is simple yet strangely comforting), as well as Geoff’s own theory on how shoppers could park properly, something which marks him out as a very optimistic person!

2 comments on “The Weird World Of The Tube Olympics”

  1. Steve says:

    Surely as years go by the task becomes more difficult! I’m not a Londoner myself and had no knowledge of this game. However, my friends and I have, in the past, done the Monopoly Board pub crawl,only using tube as transport. It’s more sensible to do it in in reverse though. Starting at Whitechapel (we never did Old Kent Road, not sure why) sober is mildly terrifying, as is arriving in Mayfair incoherent and bladdered.

  2. The curent doyenne of such pursuits is the marvellously monikered Tubewhore, who is blogging (with piccies) her attempts to collect the whole tube map. It’s turned into quite a project, and she even gave a lecture on it at Goldsmith’s recently. Chris, you’d love her.

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