Race The Tube: Can A Person Run Faster Than A London Underground Train?

If you haven’t already watched the video above, do it now! It solves the age old question: “Can someone actually run faster than a tube train?” Want to find if they can?

Then watch as James Heptonstall races a circle line train between Mansion House and Cannon Street while his friend Noel Carroll stays on-board and films the dramatic conclusion.

Update: For an even more impressive feat watch as the same duo complete the even more ambitious run from Moorgate to St. James’s Park to beat the train. Not to take anything away from achievement, but it should be noted they don’t follow the circle route directly, but instead take the most direct route. Still pretty incredible it can be done.

Walking The London Overground: Done, and I Think I’m The First!

Kentish Town West

Photos of Kentish Town West taken 10 hours and 59 minutes apart on my final walk

On Sunday September 14th, 2014 I completed walking the London Overground as part of my ongoing attempt at walking the Tube (done), Overground and DLR. I believe I’m the first and, at this point, only person to have walked all of the London Overground (unless of course anyone knows of anyone else).

In a slight shift of focus, I’m now aiming to be the first person to walk the entire Standard Tube Map, which means I’ll also have to add the Emirates Airline into the mix (and more Overground if I don’t finish before the end of this year). Fortunately, mainline trains and the tram network don’t make it onto the map, which saves me walking them.

Overground Walk Stats

Total distance walked: 109.45 miles (176.14km) – 27% of the Tube’s distance
Time spent walking: 34 hours and 52 minutes – 23% of the time spent walking the Tube
Total number of walks: 5 (although I did walk the former East London Line as part of my Tube walks)

Shortest walk: New Cross Gate to West Croydon via Crystal Palace – 13.32 miles (21.44km)
Longest walk: Walking the Overground Circle from Kentish Town West to Kentish Town West – 34.48 miles (55.49 km) – Will be the longest walk of this whole adventure

Average walking speed: 3.14 miles/hr – 20% faster than walking the Tube
Average walk length: 21.89 miles (35.23 km) – 28% longer than the average Tube walk
Average walk time: 6 hours 58 minutes – 6% longer than the average Tube walk

Grand total distance walked to date (Tube + Overground): 503.75 miles (810.7 km)

Fundraising Reminder

Just a reminder that I’m doing the walks to help support Bowel Caner UK. So far I’ve raised £1,773.43 but am aiming to raise £16,013 – so please donate here

Blog Post Updates

You may have noticed that while this blog has been relatively active lately, there have been few posts about the Overground walks and none from my past Tube walks. The reason is that those posts take a long time to compile and I don’t really have a lot of free time.

However, my goal is still to publish photos from each of my Tube walks, just without the long winded prose to go along with them. So look out for those and photos from the rest of my Overground walks (and upcoming DLR walks) here soon.

You can read more about my Tube Challenge here.

Watch as a Tube Carriage is Transformed into a Nightclub

Here’s something you probably don’t see on your daily commutes, a nightclub on the Tube. The prank seems to have been created by Trollstation and the video above was caught on camera by reddit user BurnSpeed.

You can watch the full video below, including when the police show up:

Tubenav: The First Fully Interactive Tube Map

tubenav homeage

Seems every other day I publish another tube map. These can include anything from past London Underground Ghost Stations to What The Tube Map Could Look Like In 2050.

So when Daniel Botcherby, a former co-worker of mine, got in touch and said he’d created something different using the Tube map, I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical. However, Tubenav is actually really cool.

Basically, it claims to be the first fully interactive Tube Map, which you can use to find local businesses close to any of London’s Underground stations. And yes, they’ve licensed the map from TFL.

I found using the web app relatively straightforward and it worked well for me on both my laptop and my mobile. All the stations I checked seemed to have listing; surprisingly even far flung ones such as Chesham (not even in London):

chesham tubnav

However, the web apps’ real strength lies with listings in central London:

tubenav central

Since I’m a fan of both the Tube and entrepreneurship, I thought I’d let Daniel (Tubenav’s COO) explain it in his own words. I sent him nine questions by e-mail and here are his responses:

1) Where did the idea for the app come from?

Well, it all started from the idea that there’s a huge innovation gap we’re seeing in the transport system. We’ve got hybrid buses, oyster cards, contactless payments, journey mapping api’s with live transport information but we’re still using the same static Tube Map! It’s a fantastic design that we all know and love but we really wanted to do more with it!

2) Who should use the app?

I think if you’re new to London or a tourist looking to get around the city – This app is for you. For tourists we can help you navigate to your hotel and get you used to that area with what’s around you worth checking out.

When you start moving around the city, our web app lets you simply search for places you want to go to and how to get there and we even help you discover new and exciting things to do to get you used to the city.

3) Why use this app over other alternatives (e.g. Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare, etc.)?

We are combining the best elements of Google Maps and Foursquare with the best discovery elements of Yelp, Timeout and Yplan! We have a superior directory of places than Google Places – with more relevant content and a far more user friendly experience. We’ve combined searching and navigating to a place within two clicks – so you don’t have to bounce between all these apps that only serve one piece of the puzzle of how to get to somewhere!

4) Where are you getting you ‘recommended places’ data from?

We spent a year researching the best places in the capital and in addition to that we have 3 years of data from a previous venture. So this formed the basis of our recommended places – and with London changing as rapidly as we add the data, we’ve got a team of tastemakers with their ear to the ground so that we can be the real-time provider of what’s going on in the city.

5) How is the app going to make money?

Right now our focus is to provide the best experience possible to our Tubenav community. We want to provide you, if you’re new to London or even if you think you know-it-all, something of value and show you how exciting London is.

Just the other day I was invited to a break-dance event which was absolutely incredible but there was not nearly enough people as I would have imagined for the quality of the dancers, it’s these kind of fresh events that go under the radar that we will be bringing to the forefront to highlight London’s diverse cultural heritage.

6) When can we expect iPhone and Android versions of the app?

This is happening soon – we’re currently raising funding through Seedrs to help us get to this stage and beyond. In the meantime our web app is fully optimised for your mobile phone and tablets.

7) Was it difficult/expensive to license the map from TFL?

Yes! TFL have a great team in charge of who they let and don’t let use their map and we went through several stages of approval before we were even authorised to fully build our working prototype. We’re a brand new case for them since we’ve built London’s first fully interactive Tube Map, and we’re proud to have that relationship.

8) What new features do you plan on adding in the future?

In line with our idea of making London Real-Time… we’ll be launching something called ‘Hot Spots’ and these will be beacons flashing on the Tube Map that will alert you to the ‘hottest’ things happening in London and even some free giveaways! So definitely keep an eye out for that!

10) Anything else you’d like to add?

Well, if you liked the sound of what we’re doing, join us on our journey and be a part of London’s history by checking out our Seedrs campaign: https://www.seedrs.com/startups/tubenav And our web app: http://tubenav.com

You can also watch their promotional video here:

So what do you think of Tubenav? Feel free to leave your comments below:

What The Tube Map Could Look Like With Crossrail and New Overground Lines Added (Unofficial)

London Underground Overground DLR Crossrail map
Click on map for a readable version

The map above was created by reddit user midandfeed and is an attempt to show what the tube map might look like with Crossrail and the new Overground routes added in. I think it’s a great attempt to solve a rather difficult issue.

While it adds a lot of extra useful information, it comes somewhat at the expense of readability. I’m not sure how TFL is going to solve the issue of putting ever more lines onto the tube map. It’s difficult to see how it will end up being much different from the one above.

Yet, as with all tube maps, geographical accuracy is sacrificed for improved readability. One example, pointed out on reddit, is that Willesden Junction and North Acton look very far apart, but are in reality are only about a mile away from each other.

Another minor issue is that the Croxley Rail Link is not included. This will open before Crossrail and so should be there. The Northern Line extension to Battersea is also not included, but is likely to open after Crossrail.

Here are some slightly enlarged views of the map:


View of central London. Notice the new interchanges between Farringdon and Barbican or Moorgate and Liverpool Street. The Waterloo & City line is also more geographically accurate than the current map.


View of how Crossrail will look at Heathrow. I’m not sure about the name, as the Crossrail website lists the name of the station as Heathrow T1, 2, 3 and not Heathrow Central (which is an existing station). Also nice to see the out of station interchange between Hanger Lane and Park Royal.


View of the map in East London. Especially like the 3 stop line between Upminster and Romford. On this map it actually looks useful. Also a few interesting out of station interchanges.


Finally, the new Overground lines in North London. Should be a vast improvement for people living in those areas.

So what do you think of this as a potential map? Notice any glaring problems or omissions? If so let me know in the comment section below:

Please Note: The Tube Map is copyrighted by Transport for London (TFL). The map above was not created by TFL and is an unofficial creation. I also did not create the map but am using it from Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

How Crowded Will The Tube Be in 2031? This Map Shows How Bad It Could Get

Projected crowding levels on the tube in 2031
Click for full sized image

Let’s face it, the Tube in 2014 is crowded enough! So how much worse is it likely to get by 2031? Well if the map above from the London Infrastructure Plan 2050: Transport Supporting Paper is to be believed, probably a fair bit worse.

Several sections look to have more than 4 people standing per square meter during the AM peak. If you already commute into busy hubs like London Bridge, Waterloo, Bank, etc. in the morning, you probably won’t notice a huge difference as trains are already at capacity. However, you may end up spending more of your journey time cheek by jowl with your fellow commuters in 2031.

Some interesting and unexpected bits set to be extremely crowded include:

  • The Northern line near Kentish Town (not good if I’m still working in the area 17 years from now).
  • The Central line starting all the way out at Leytonstone (not good if you’re only getting on a Stratford)
  • The Central line also bizarrely looks set to get a bit busier between Grange Hill and Hainault.
  • Small sections of the shared Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines between Baker Street and Euston Square and also from Liverpool Street to Aldgate look to be very crowded.
  • The Metropolitan line also looks to have a small busy section in zone 7 until Moor Park.
  • The District line looks to be crowded from Putney Bridge to St. James’s Park.
  • Finally, the Victoria line looks like it will be just as busy as ever.

Other things to note include:

  • The lack of Overground and Crossrail (which should hopefully be open by 2031) on the map; but the inclusion of the DLR.
  • Looks like the Metropolitan branch line to Watford Junction has been included (and will thankfully not be too busy) but the Northern line to Battersea has not.
  • Those living at the ends of most lines will still be able to get a seat in the morning.

Still want to live here in 2031? Then Read:

Moving to London? The Ultimate Living & Working Guide

Do you think you’ll be better or worse off in 2031? Have your say in the comments section below:

Every Tube Station Song By Jay Foreman

I think the video above is the perfect silly Sunday video. What better way to cure your hangover than listening to Jay Foreman sing the names of all 270 tube stations?

Yesterday, I featured the first of Jay Foreman’s amazing Unfinished London videos. However, Jay is actually better known as a musical comedian and you can find out more about him from his website.

You can also watch some of his other videos:

Unfinished London episode 1: Answering the question ‘Why does Mill Hill East exist?’

Unfinished London episode 3 (part 1): Answering the question ‘Why does London have so many airports?’

Unfinished London episode 3 (part 2): Which doesn’t really answer the any questions about the future of London’s airports.

Now, you may have noticed I don’t have a link to Unfinished London episode 2; that’s because it’s a video better suited to a Monday morning.

Secrets of the Waterloo and City Line By Geoff Marshall

Today is the final Secrets of the Underground video in the series. In this video Geoff Marshall looks at the Waterloo and City Line, the Tube’s shortest. Now you’d think there wouldn’t be too many secrets on such a short line, but Geoff’s been very sneaky and manages to uncover the following:

It’s too bad there aren’t more tube lines to include in this series, but like me perhaps Geoff can now focus on the Overground and the DLR for his next videos.

You can read my account of the Waterloo and City line here: Waterloo & City Line – Walk And Tube Station Visits

You can also watch all the other Secrets of the Underground videos in the series here:

Secrets of the Metropolitan Line By Geoff Marshall

In this video Geoff Marshall looks at secrets of the Metropolitan Line, the oldest on the network. Some of these include:

  • The furthest station from London.
  • The station that will soon be removed from the Underground map.
  • The secret exit that leads to a forest.
  • The point where steam trains used to run on the underground.
  • The original features you can spot at Uxbridge station.

For other wonderful videos in this series please visit:

Secrets of the Circle Line By Geoff Marshall

In this video Geoff Marshall decides to take a trip around the Circle line, only to end back where he started. Along the way he uncovers some trivia and secrets such as:

  • The Bermuda triangle of tube stations.
  • The station who’s tiles revel former train services.
  • Where you can find a memorial plaque to a deceased station cat.
  • The drain cover that reveals when London Underground HQ was built.
  • The narrow house that blocks the railway.
  • The station with not 1 but 2 hidden platforms.

Circle line not enough for you? Well you can also watch the other videos in this series: