Sunday, August 4, 2013

Service Change: London, Part 2 - Other Tube Lines (Including the First Subway in the World!)

The Piccadilly Line (see last Service Change) was the only tube line in London that I took to the end. This post is a showcase on the other tube lines that I took for a few stops.



As usual, you can click on the map to make it larger.
Hammersmith and City Line: The Hammersmith and City Line is one of the most useless lines, in my opinion. Starting at Hammersmith, it follows the Circle Line up to Liverpool Street. Shortly before the next stop, Aldgate, it breaks off and then follows the District Line to Barking. There are no solo portions on the H&C except for the short portion between Liverpool Street and Aldgate East. I only took the line two stops, anyway (from Kings Cross St. Pancreas to Barbican), but it was still an experience because I got to ride on the "S" Stock.

The "S" Stock is the newest train type in London, and its purpose is to give a unified fleet for all of the "subsurface lines." The H&C, as well as the Circle, District, and Metropolitan Lines are classified as subsurface, meaning their tunnels are wider and shallower than tube lines (whose tunnels are bored into the ground and very narrow). This means that the trains are mercifully wider than on standard tube lines.

Anyway, "S" Stock trains feature air conditioning, better accessibility, and improved customer information. Interestingly, you can also walk through the whole train, and on the inside, it's practically just one long car. That's pretty much it for the Hammersmith and City. I didn't really take it for a long enough distance to judge it properly, so all I can say to the H&C is: sorry.

A Hammersmith and City Line Train at Edgware Road using the older "C" Stock.
The "S" Stock train leaving Barbican.
The interior of an "S" Stock train, looking towards the back.
Central Line: The Central Line is the longest line in London, the longest journey being from Epping to West Ruislip. There are also branches to Hainault (via two different routes) and Ealing Broadway, the branch I was on. If you remember from the last post, I mentioned going to Acton to see the London Transport Museum Depot. Well, since my mother is an avid walker, she wanted to explore Acton. We ended up walking to the center of town, where there were bustling fruit markets and a large fair event. We ended up deciding to walk to a completely different Tube station, as there are a fair amount in Acton. We walked through a lovely suburban part of town before reaching West Acton station on the Central Line (which got terrible signage).

West Acton Station.
Kind of a useless map, isn't it?
The Central Line uses nice, modern trains on its route. Seeing as the Central Line is a "tube" line, the trains are again quite narrow. It's above ground until White City, when it sinks below the surface through Central London. We got off at Holborn, where pictures of artifacts at the nearby British Museum adorn the walls.

Three views of Central Line trains at West Acton.
Bakerloo Line: I have no idea what the heck a Bakerloo is. The line serves Baker Street station, so I suppose that could be the origin of its name? Don't ask me. The Bakerloo Line starts at Elephant and Castle in the south, cuts through Central London, and then parallels with the London Overground line to Harrow and Wealdstone. The line used to go all the way up to Watford Junction, but now the London Overground handles that service. The trains look similar to the Piccadilly on the outside and the inside. However, Bakerloo Line trains don't have the cute little armrests on the Piccadilly. Instead, they just have weird red protrusions out of the seats which do not give any rest to your arms whatsoever. Kind of annoying, but the trains are nice (and cramped, of course) overall.

A train at Baker Street.
A train at Piccadilly Circus.
Interior of Bakerloo Line train.

A huge gap at Piccadilly Circus station.
Sherlock Holmes design at Baker Street.
 Northern Line: The Northern Line is one of the most complicated lines on the system: trains can run from Morden to Edgware, Mill Hill East, or High Barnet via Waterloo or Bank. The line also has the longest continuous tunnel on the system (East Finchley to Morden via Bank), the deepest station (Hampstead), and the station with the longest escalators (Angel). I only took the line three stops, unfortunately (sorry, Northern Line!), from Kings Cross St. Pancreas to Camden Town. Northern Line trains look very similar to Piccadilly Line trains, but the interior is a little different.

A Northern Line train.
Interior of a Northern Line train.
You can see how busted these doors are if you look closely.
The First Subway in the World (Including District Line and Circle Line): I ended up taking the first subway in three chunks: the Hammersmith and City Line from Kings Cross St. Pancreas to Farringdon, the District Line from Paddington to Edgware Road, and the Circle Line from Edgware Road to Kings Cross St. Pancreas. I barely took the District Line at all, just two stops on the self-contained service from Wimbledon to Edgware Road. District Line is the line with the most stations (60), as well as one of the most complicated. It runs from Upminster to Ealing Broadway OR Richmond OR Kensington (Olympia), and then the self-contained service mentioned before is also part of the District.

The District Line is a subsurface line, and most of it uses the "D" Stock of trains. However, on the self-contained portion that I took, the "C" Stock is used because of reduced platform length (the "C" Stock is also used on the Circle Line). It was interesting being in a "C" Stock train, because I've actually been in one virtually, in London Underground Simulator. Since it's a subsurface train, the width of the train is luckily a more standard size.

At Edgware Road, we had to get off and wait for a Circle Line train. The Circle Line is, as the name suggests, a loop around London. However, in 2011, they extended it to Hammersmith, thereby eliminating both the continuous loop and the Hammersmith and City Line's usefulness.

A nice before and after picture from http://metro.co.uk/2009/03/05/a-new-beginning-for-the-circle-line-518126/.
The first subway was originally used by steam trains, so there are quite a few above-ground portions because they needed ventilation for the steam. Many of the stations on the first subway are relatively cathedral-esque. It's amazing how so many commuters can travel on this part on the system and not realize how historically significant it is...

Paddington Station.

I love the font on this countdown clock!
I love this picture!
Quite a bit of...wiring here.
The wide interior of a "C" Stock train.
Baker Street station on the first subway.
Great Portland Street station.
Euston Square station is more modern.
 That's it for the London Tube, but we're not leaving London just yet. Next time: London buses!

6 comments:

  1. Baker St to Waterloo, or Bakerloo, for short.
    Love this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I see! I never would've guessed that! Thanks a lot!

      Delete
  2. I like your blog a lot. When I was a kid (really a long time ago) I rode MBTA a lot, but now I've moved away. I was sort of surprised to see on your blog that the numbers of the buses haven't changed in forty years. I used to ride the 1, 71, 72 and 73 to get where I needed to go (either school, or work). I used Harvard, Central, Kendall and Park stations a lot. My wife and I are just back from vacation. We stayed in a guest house near the deepest tube stop in London, and we rode the Northern Line into the center every day.
    --- Eric Cornell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the nice comment! Did you read my review of the 1? http://milesonthembta.blogspot.com/2013/03/1-harvardholyoke-gate-dudley-station.html

      Delete
    2. Yes I read and enjoyed your review of the 1. I used to take it home from Red Sox games. Just after the game ends in Fenway, the Green Line is too crazy crowded, so I walked from Kenmore to Mass Ave, and got on the 1, then changed for the 71 or 73. I'm hoping you'll review one of the trackless trolley bus lines, soon (71, 72, 73, and another one, I've forgotten the number, that heads north and west on Mass Ave from Harvard Station towards Arlington). I grew up riding those, and have good memories of their herkyjerky acceleration, and their quiet hum. What I didn't know then is that trackless trolleys are fairly rare -- not so many cities have them. Here's another MBTA memory -- the distinctive smell of Park street station, along the green line. It's sort of mechanical smelling. I think it may be the small of the grease they use on the axles of the green line cars or something.
      --Eric

      Delete
    3. I've taken the 71 a few times, but I haven't reviewed it yet. The fourth trackless trolley line is the 77A, which heads up on Mass Ave and terminates in North Cambridge. The normal 77 goes all the way up to Arlington. I've mentioned before, I believe, that I LOVE trackless trolleys, though I don't really know why.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...