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Author Topic: 50 Things you never knew about the London Underground
Floater
Xboxing Day


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I have no idea about the veracity of this list, but it's fun reading.

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Llewtrah
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I was hoping it might be something more trainspotterish. I'm fascinated by the engineering that went into the building of the LU i.e. cut-and-cover vs shield wall.

There's due to be a new station on the Hammersmith & City soon - Wood Lane! There was previously a station by this name. The H&C Line's Shepherd's Bush tube station is apparently to be renamed Shepherd's bush Market to clear up confusion between it and the Central Line's Shepherd's Bush tube station as these are not in close proximity to each other. However, the long foot tunnel linking Monument and Bank is probably a longer walk than that between the 2 Shepherd's Bush stations (maybe they should link them with a foot tunnel)

Oh dear, am I getting all geeky again?

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Don Enrico
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51: Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson, MD never traveled on the Tube (according to the Canon), even if the Metropolitan Railway (including Baker Street Station) opened on 10 January 1863.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Here's the Tube map if you want to check some of them out...
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skeptic
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quote:
Travelling on the tube for 40 minutes is the equivalent of smoking two cigarettes - so save yourself a packet, all you smokers and get on the tube more often.
I don't know how they figure this one, as smoking has been banned on the underground for about 20 years.
quote:
Only one person was ever born in a tube carriage and her name is Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor - check out her initials. She was born in 1924 on a Bakerloo line train at Elephant & Castle.
Doubtful. During World War 2 when the underground stations were used as air raid shelters, there must have been dozens of births (maybe not ON a carriage).

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Richard W
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quote:
Out of the 287 stations, only 29 are south of the river Thames.
I count 35... although I think that's because he's not including the Docklands Light Railway for that one (even though he does for some of the others...)

quote:
Mosquitoes that live in the underground have evolved into a completely different species, one that appears separated from the above ground mozzie by over a thousand years.
That one sounds like a joke.

quote:
The Gappe is a little known bird/bat like creature, which only tube announcers can see and we are often told to mind them.
That one is a joke - I guess a few of these are designed to fool tourists...!
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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Here's the Tube map if you want to check some of them out...

Geographically accurate Tube Map.

(I think I've posted this before, but I don't care, because it's great.)

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by skeptic:
quote:
Travelling on the tube for 40 minutes is the equivalent of smoking two cigarettes - so save yourself a packet, all you smokers and get on the tube more often.
I don't know how they figure this one, as smoking has been banned on the underground for about 20 years.

These factoids are based on the pollution levels monitored on the underground, and they are all pretty spurious. It 'is' dirty down there for sure, and no doubt you breath in plenty of carcinogenic rubbish but no more so than on the surface streets i'd hazard - s'just a dirty ol' town.

I remember once, to my lasting delight, that I pointed out a dead pigeon to somebody whilst waiting for a tube and they said it wasn't dead, it was still moving! At this point a greasy rat emerged from feeding within the pigeon's carcass and I almost lost my lunch - which no doubt would have become a quick hot meal for more rats and skyrats alike [lol]

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Andrew of Ware, England
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52. There used to be a station called 'British Museum'. It was closed during the Second World War so its passageways could be used to store some of the museum's priceless treasures. It has never reopened.

(I believe all its platforms and tunnels are still there, but whether they are still used as a store I do not know. I wish they would re-open it as the museum is as about as far as you can get from a tube station in central London.)

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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C'mon Andrew it's still only a 5 minute amble from Tottenham Court Road - plus you get really good falafel from that cafe opposite Jury's on Great Russell St to fuel you up for yet another traipse around a wonderful place... [Wink]

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Llewtrah
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I have the Historical Map of the London Underground at home. It shows the opening/closing/renaming dates of all the stations and shows the ones that have been relocated. It doesn't have the DLR on it (it isn't part of the LU although it links to some of the stations) so I tend to add that myself for completeness. I have the most recent edition of course and I go to Covent garden's London Transport Museum to keep myself up to date [Smile]

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
52. There used to be a station called 'British Museum'. It was closed during the Second World War so its passageways could be used to store some of the museum's priceless treasures. It has never reopened.

(I believe all its platforms and tunnels are still there, but whether they are still used as a store I do not know. I wish they would re-open it as the museum is as about as far as you can get from a tube station in central London.)

Fact 53: Andrew of Ware is a very, very lazy man.

Holborn Station is only 100m away from the British Museum Underground Station.

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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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Fun and true fact: you can see the tiles of the old British Museum platform walls as you pass through from Tottenham Court Road to Holborn. They were originally white, but the passage of time has rendered them filthy with soot. And grafitti.

There are many closed stations on the underground...

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Brad from Georgia
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If you get off at the right place, you find yourself on Albus Dumbledore's knee.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Faith:
Fun and true fact: you can see the tiles of the old British Museum platform walls as you pass through from Tottenham Court Road to Holborn. They were originally white, but the passage of time has rendered them filthy with soot. And grafitti.

There are many closed stations on the underground...

I 'knew' Faith would spot this as soon as she woke up [Smile]

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Faith:
Fun and true fact: you can see the tiles of the old British Museum platform walls as you pass through from Tottenham Court Road to Holborn. They were originally white, but the passage of time has rendered them filthy with soot. And grafitti.

There are many closed stations on the underground...

I 'knew' Faith would spot this as soon as she woke up - my snopes-sense is strong today [Smile]

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
If you get off at the right place, you find yourself on Albus Dumbledore's knee.

SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case.

Dumbledore is dead. So will I find myself in a grave somewhere or did they remove his knee(s) like the used to do with saints and martyrs?

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Mr. Furious
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quote:
More of the London Underground is open than in a tunnel. Tell yourself this fact if you suffer from claustrophobia.
That is pretty interesting. Because we spent most of our time in Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and the City of London (our hotel was on the corner of New Bonds Street and Conduit Street), we were underground on the Underground almost all the time. The only time we were above ground was when we went to the RAF Museum (Colindale Station, Northern Line), and we were kind of surprised.

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
There is only one tube station name which does not have any letters of the word "mackerel" in it - St John's Wood.
I think this is the winner for the most random fact in the list.

quote:
One of the female automated voice announcers is called Sonia - because her voice "gets on yer nerves".
I don't get it.

quote:
All 409 escalators do the equivalent of two round the world trips every week.
Does this mean that the total distance traveled by all 409 escalators is two round trips? Because the wording made me think that each escalator did this. Which would make the escaltor run about 300 mph. If it is all 409 in total, then they run about .75 mph or 1.2 kph, which sounds much more reasonable.

ETA: What are the two stations that will take someone a while to transit by tube, but end up being across the street from each other?

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Spooky Cactus
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:

quote:
One of the female automated voice announcers is called Sonia - because her voice "gets on yer nerves".
I don't get it.

Spell it 'Sonya' and say it out loud.

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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Got it now. I was wondering if the phonetic spelling of "gets on yer" was a catchphrase from Eastenders or something.

Ta!

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Furious:
quote:
More of the London Underground is open than in a tunnel. Tell yourself this fact if you suffer from claustrophobia.
That is pretty interesting. Because we spent most of our time in Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and the City of London (our hotel was on the corner of New Bonds Street and Conduit Street), we were underground on the Underground almost all the time. The only time we were above ground was when we went to the RAF Museum (Colindale Station, Northern Line), and we were kind of surprised.
The central parts are mostly underground, I think, but some lines go out quite a long way into the countryside (the Metropolitan line goes as far as Amersham, for example), and once you get out of the centre, they're completely above ground. The first time I went to Chorleywood on the Met line, I found it really odd to be on an Underground train going through fields and past streams...

There are open parts even in the centre, but they're usually in deep "canyons" created by buildings on either side. I don't know of any raised sections like you get in Paris or Berlin or other cities. Unless you count the Docklands Light Railway, anyway.

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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
ETA: What are the two stations that will take someone a while to transit by tube, but end up being across the street from each other? [/QB]

Hmmn. Up until a few years ago,I would have said Aldwych station and Temple station. Very close to each other geographically but would have meant changing twice to get between the two by tube. However, Aldwych closed in 1994 and still exists as a filmset whenever Hollywood sets a scene on the Underground.

Oh and [Wink] to Jay Tea!

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stalker
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
There is only one tube station name which does not have any letters of the word "mackerel" in it - St John's Wood.
I think this is the winner for the most random fact in the list.

And a cheat because they shorten the word Saint.

quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
All 409 escalators do the equivalent of two round the world trips every week.
Does this mean that the total distance traveled by all 409 escalators is two round trips? Because the wording made me think that each escalator did this. Which would make the escaltor run about 300 mph. If it is all 409 in total, then they run about .75 mph or 1.2 kph, which sounds much more reasonable.

How many hours a week did you have them running? The tube only runs from 5am-ish to Midnight-ish

quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:

ETA: What are the two stations that will take someone a while to transit by tube, but end up being across the street from each other?

Queensway and Bayswater. On the map they don't look as close as they are. About 2 minutes walk up Queensway apart. On the tube you get the Central Line west from Queensway to Notting Hill Gate, change to the Circle or District line and go east back to Bayswater. Probably about 10-15mins including changing and waiting.

Also, I can't remember whether it is this way around, I may have the directions wrong, but at High Street Kensington you go Eastbound to Notting Hill Gate and when you're at Notting Hill Gate you go Eastbound to High Street Kensington. I have been fooled by that when I was looking for a place to rent around there.

Edited: Rearranged the map thing

E again TA: Thinking about it, the eastbound/eastbound thing may be between Notting Hill Gate and Bayswater.

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
52. There used to be a station called 'British Museum'. It was closed during the Second World War so its passageways could be used to store some of the museum's priceless treasures. It has never reopened.

(I believe all its platforms and tunnels are still there, but whether they are still used as a store I do not know. I wish they would re-open it as the museum is as about as far as you can get from a tube station in central London.)

Fact 53: Andrew of Ware is a very, very lazy man.

Holborn Station is only 100m away from the British Museum Underground Station.

A wicked slur on my good name, sir! I challenge ye to a dual tomorrow at dawn.

Holborn is actually about five to six minutes walk away and so is probably about 600 to 700 metres. Tottenham Court Road station is about the same distance. (Actually I love walking and will regularly walk miles at the weekend in any kind of weather.)

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Ean
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:

ETA: What are the two stations that will take someone a while to transit by tube, but end up being across the street from each other?

According to Bill Bryson and this site, it's Bank and Mansion House - although they're not quite across the road from one another, they're about 200 metres apart.

quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
52. There used to be a station called 'British Museum'. It was closed during the Second World War so its passageways could be used to store some of the museum's priceless treasures. It has never reopened.

(I believe all its platforms and tunnels are still there, but whether they are still used as a store I do not know. I wish they would re-open it as the museum is as about as far as you can get from a tube station in central London.)

Both this site (you have to scroll down to 'Central Line') and this one say it closed in September 1933, and neither make mention of storage. They do, however, both say that Aldwych was used.

The tunnel outside Aldwych (a disconnected branchline) has a train living in it, usually for use in films - scroll down to 'Between Holborn & Aldwych' and the station is popular with filmmakers.

I love the Underground History site, although I'm rather disappointed to learn that Buck House doesn't have its own tube stop... [Frown]

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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The British Museum Station closed earlier than I thought. This BBC page gives more details on the closed underground stations. Indeed as the BBC says:
quote:
There are now so many abandoned stations on the network that it's difficult, even for those in the know, to put an exact figure on them.

Over the whole network Mr Ashworth estimates there are "well over 50" stations that have been abandoned, demolished or just moved.

The British Museum Station was used as an air raid shelter from 1941 onwards.

ETA: The BBC online encyclopaedia has this page about abandoned tube stations.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
If you get off at the right place, you find yourself on Albus Dumbledore's knee.

SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case. SPOILER SPACE Just in Case.

Dumbledore is dead. So will I find myself in a grave somewhere or did they remove his knee(s) like the used to do with saints and martyrs?

There is a temporal twist just before you arrive, so you find him in excellent health and spirits except for being vexed about people emerging from beneath his robes.

Brad "Come on, baby, do the temporal twist" from Georgia

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by stalker:
And a cheat because they shorten the word Saint.

But the name on the map is "St" so that is the "official" name for the station.

quote:
How many hours a week did you have them running? The tube only runs from 5am-ish to Midnight-ish[/qb]
I had them running 168 hours per week (all the time). From 5 am to midnight would be 1.5 kph.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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quote:
Not only were the early escalators made of wood, but also the legs of the people who demonstrated them. Wooden legged Bumper Harris was employed to travel up and down the tube's first escalator to prove that it was safe.
Is this true? I have heard a couple of variations of this story, one of which was that the tube authorieies made up this story to allay press fears. I have also heard that someone did some research and found that this 'Bumper Harris' never existed - or at least was never on the payrole of London Underground.

Can anyone help clear this up?

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Tarquin Farquart
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by skeptic:
quote:
Only one person was ever born in a tube carriage and her name is Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor - check out her initials. She was born in 1924 on a Bakerloo line train at Elephant & Castle.

I'm fairly sure that is true, but that wasn't actually her name.

Aha, from
Wikipedia:

quote:
On 13 May 1924 Daisy Hammond gave birth on a Bakerloo Line train at Elephant and Castle. Press reports that the baby had been named Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor were widely reprinted, and not debunked until 2000 when she was traced for a TV interview. In fact she was named Mary Ashfield Eleanor; the chairman of the Underground Group, Lord Ashfield, was her godfather.


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I shall baffle you with cabbages and rhinoceroses in the kitchen and incessant quotations from "Now We Are Six" through the mouthpiece of Lord Snooty's giant poisoned electric head. So there!

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Tune related anecdote No.2 - I took a friend of mine to London for the first time some years ago, she wasn't much of an outdoors person and had never visited the capital before much beyond fleeting flirtations.

We boarded the tube and she asked where we were heading - I pointed to Embankment and she smiled and settled into her seat for the Circle Line journey.

When we got out at Embankment she looked somewhat overwhelmed, streaming traffic, millions of people, the wide river in the shadow of Westminster etc the heart of London, the old centre of Empire. It turns out that when she saw 'Embankment' she'd envisaged a leafy footpath by a babbling river bank [lol]

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
quote:
The Gappe is a little known bird/bat like creature, which only tube announcers can see and we are often told to mind them.
That one is a joke - I guess a few of these are designed to fool tourists...!
It might be inspired by this text:
quote:
For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London Tube may be the most economical way to get about, especially if you are a woman. Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and ladies still travel for free on the Tube. Simply take some tokens from the baskets at the base of the escalators or on the platforms; you will find one near any of the state-sponsored Tube musicians. Once on the platform, though, beware! Approaching trains sometimes disturb the large Gappe bats that roost in the tunnels. The Gappes were smuggled into London in the early 19th century by French saboteurs and have proved impossible to exterminate. The announcement "Mind the Gappe!" is a signal that you should grab your hair and look towards the ceiling. Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise excellent means of transportation. (If you have difficulty locating the Tube station, merely follow the sign that say "Subway" and ask one of the full-time attendants where you can catch the bumbershoot.)



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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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skeptic
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
52. There used to be a station called 'British Museum'. It was closed during the Second World War so its passageways could be used to store some of the museum's priceless treasures. It has never reopened.

(I believe all its platforms and tunnels are still there, but whether they are still used as a store I do not know. I wish they would re-open it as the museum is as about as far as you can get from a tube station in central London.)

I used to live in a building overlooking the back of the museum. (We could hear the guards wandering around at night). But I did not feel it was that far from a station. Totenham Cr Rd was about 10 minutes for us if I remember correctly, and antoher whose name escapes me, on the other side of Shafsbury Avenue. Apologies for spellings of these names, it was a long time ago.

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I like free speech. It lets me know who the idiots are.

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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That's true, but in central London to be more than five minutes from a tube station is unusual (unless you are in one of the huge Royal Parks, that is).

Moving on ...

The Epping to Ongar section of the Central Line which was closed in 1994 (or about then) may soon re-open as a preserved line. I keep hearing about things in the local press about it. I often pass through the area and Epping has a huge foreign steam locomotive on its tracks along with some rolling stock. I hope it does re-open as there are no preserved lines within striking distance of where I live.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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