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.

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:

Done! I’m Now The First Canadian To Have Walked The Entire London Underground


At 2:19 pm today (August 24th, 2013) I completed my final walk of the London Underground, walking from North Acton to Bank with my wife and my father. As far as I know I am now the first Canadian to have walked the entire Tube above ground and will claim that title unless someone can prove otherwise.

I’ve also manged to raise £1,145.07 for Bowel Cancer UK, which while a great start is still far below my initial goal of £16,013. As I continue to post more detailed updates of my walks I’ll continue to ask for donations to support this very worthy cause.

This completes a journey that started just over a year ago (August 19th, 2012) with a short half hour long walk along the Waterloo & City Line.

Since then I’ve walked beyond the borders of London and the M25 to the mythical Zone 9. I’ve walked east, west, north but only rarely south. I’ve walked through some rain, but have on the whole had incredible luck with the weather. I’ve mostly walked it alone, but finished on a high-note completing the last two legs with my father and the last with my wife as well.

It’s been a journey that’s taken up a huge portion of my life to the extent that it still feels a little surreal that it’s all over. During the same time period I also manged to visit all 270 tube stations separately, just because the Tube is really cool and it would have been a shame not to visit the stations I was walking past.

Over the next 6 months I’ll post detailed accounts of all my walks (and station visits), but in the meantime I thought I’d post just a few quick stats about what I’ve done.

Total distance walked: 394.3 miles (634.56 km) – almost the distance from London to Edinburgh
Time spent walking: 151 hours 16 minutes – almost 1 full week
Number of lines walked: 12 (11 current lines + former East London Line)

Total number of walks: 23
Shortest walk: Waterloo & City line: Waterloo to Bank – 1.6 miles (2.6 km)
Longest walk: Central line walk #3: Epping to Leytonstone to Woodford via Hainault – 27.97 miles (45.01 km)

Average walking speed: 2.61 miles/hr
Average walk length: 17.14 miles (27.58 km)
Average walk time: 6 hours 34 minutes

Unique stations visited: 270
Total stations visited: 381 (multiple vists to stations where more than 1 line goes through them)

Favourite walk (besides last ones): Metropolitan Line day 3 (Watford to Moor Park to Amersham and Chesham) – great weather & scenery.
Least favourite walk: Jubilee line day 2 (Waterloo to Stanmore) – constant rain for several hours while walking through suburban London.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me during this journey. I hope you stick around to read the full account. If you’d like to know any other stats just ask in the comments section below:

Hammersmith & City Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

068 - Platforms at Baker Street Station
The best set of platforms on the entire network? I think so.

While the Hammersmith & City (H&C) line operates along the entire original section of the London Underground, it has only been shown as a separate line on the tube map since 1990. This means that it’s technically London’s newest tube line, although no new track or stations were built when the route was transferred from the Metropolitan line.

With the extension of the Circle line all the way to Hammersmith in 2009, the Hammersmith & City line no longer has any unique stations. Nevertheless, here are some photos, facts and my impressions of each of the 29 stations that currently make up the line:

Continue reading Hammersmith & City Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

Lies on the London Underground – More Tube Secrets

Matt Parker and Tom Scott share a few secrets about where and when it’s faster to avoid signs at various stations and go against the flow of people. Nothing new for tube junkies.

They also given an example when it’s faster to walk above ground than trying to use the tube to get between certain stations. Something I’ve learned during many of my tube walks.

The London Underground lies for a few reasons, but the main ones are to control large crowds to avoid crushes of people and because of the design of the tube map for easier reading.

Found via Hacker News

The Secret Bits of the Northern Line By Geoff Marshall

Want to learn the secrets to a few of the Northern Line stations? Well Geoff Marshall, best known for his 23 attempts to break the world record for the fastest time traveling around the entire Tube network shares them in this video. Learn about the highest & lowest points on the underground, secret exits and the one station where you can leave only to arrive back where you started.

I’m sorry to see that I missed several of these when I did my Northern Line station visits a few months ago, perhaps an excuse to revisit them.

For more videos watch:

Found via Londonist.

Watch The Secrets Of The Victoria Line By Geoff Marshall

The video above is by Geoff Marshall a former world record holder of the Tube Challenge and also creator one of the best pages of tube trivia on the internet. It looks at the hidden side of the Victoria Line, something I may know a thing or two about as well. Enjoy!

To learn even more secrets read: Victoria Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

For more secrets watch:

Found via Londonist.com.

Bakerloo Line Walk – From Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Red Telephone Box at Queen's Park
Red Telephone Box Seen at Queen’s Park

My overall impression of the Bakerloo line was not altogether favourable when I visited the stations, and initially, walking it does little to improve this. However, this is due as much to mistakes on my part as anything else.

I’m walking the Bakerloo line from Harrow & Wealdstone in far north-west London to Elephant & Castle in the south-east. It’s a cool, overcast day in October when I begin – the perfect weather for walking. Nevertheless, things begin to go wrong almost immediately.

A Shaky Beginning

First of all, I’m sleepy because I stayed out late at a work party the night before, which means I am slightly hungover as well. Far worse is the realisation that the internet on my phone is no longer working. For most experienced and/or prepared walkers this wouldn’t be a problem, but for me it is.

While I don’t have the best phone, it’s perfectly sufficient to run Google Maps. Within a very short period of time, I’ve become wholly dependent on it to navigate London’s streets. Why use an A to Z when you have a map with GPS right in your pocket?

Continue reading Bakerloo Line Walk – From Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle

London Underground Tube Map Showing All Ghost Stations & Unbuilt Lines

The Map of the Underground that was and could have been
Click on map for full resolution version

I’m a huge fan of alternative Tube maps. And the one above may just be the most ambitious I’ve ever seen. Using TFL’s current London Underground map design, F. Dans has added in most ghost stations, unbuilt lines and disused extensions.

There are many interesting features, such as the District line out to Windsor (which did exist for a short time), the readdition of Aldwych and other Ghost stations and the addiiton of the proposed (but never fully built) Northern Heights extension.

However the one thing that really stands out to me, is that even with the addition of many proposed lines, few would serve South London. It remains a Tube wasteland, although one that is very well connected by rail (not seen on the map).

I first heard about the project from this thread on reddit where he’s seeking to add even more to the map. You can find out more about the project from his website and Flickr page.