Friday, September 19, 2008

Quirky London - 5 Quirks of London Underground

quirky-london-underground-tube















Before coming over to London, I was pondering over 'Culture Shock! London', which compiles the quirks of London that others might find it… interesting. Well, I figured that since I'm going to be in London for quite some time, I might as well plonk down S$20 for that read. Didn't manage to finish that book though and I conveniently left it on my bed when I was rushing to catch the plane to Heathrow. Tough.

After spending some time in this lovely city, some of you might beg to differ, I realised that there are some more quirks that can be added to the book… I present to you, the 5 Quirks of London Underground.


1. Reasons why trains are delayed

Every now so often, Tube trains are delayed for a variety of reasons. Staff announcements are pretty candid about it and here are some of them…

"There is severe delays in the Central Line due to the lack of staff." ~ What the…

"There is a slight delay in the Northern Line due to a man under the train." ~ and the driver decided to run over him…

"Please note that Bank Station is closed as the escalators are not working." ~ great, walking up the escalators is clearly not an option…


2. Recycling of newspapers

If you're on the Tube during the peak hours, you'll be buried under the newspapers discarded by commuters. The newspapers are invariably Metro, City A.M., London Lite or The London News, which are all free of course. Though every now and then, you'll strike jackpot and find Financial Times and The Guardian.

Don't feel shy about picking them up. The trashy news will keep you occupied while the staff is extracting the man from under the train.


3. Entertaining train drivers

London Tube trains are more cram as compared to their European counterparts. That's probably the reason why it is called the Tube rather than the Metro. But it helps that the train drivers are… somewhat entertaining with their announcements.

"The aircon has broken down and I imagine it to be quite warm back in there. But hey, the weekend's here and I'm looking forward to the barbecue this Sunday!" ~ a driver tried to lighten up passengers' spirits during a hot summer day this year.


4. Please stand on the right

Unlike most European countries, UK drivers drive on the right left side of the road. That rule doesn't seem to apply for the many escalators in the London Underground system - the 'slow lane' is on the right side (instead of the left) of the escalator. As a result, many tourists were befuddled. But then again, you would expect a country that produces Russell Brand and The Mighty Bosh to do things a little different.


5. Don't miss the train!

Although most trains travel at a couple of minutes interval (2min during peak hours), Londoners hate to miss their trains. I have seen a man kicking his leg through the door to prevent the train from leaving the station. Eventually, the passengers pried the door opened and hauled him in.

Message: When the train door is closing on you, stick a body part though it and your fellow passengers would do the rest. Perhaps I should try sticking my head through the next time round.

Read also...
Giant fans for London Underground
Er... so is it left or right?

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19 comments:

SheR. said...

Hey.. have you ever encountered.. a train station is closed because there were too much dust on the tracks?!!!!
Yes.. tell me about it. I used to live in Hither Green and had to take the tube to Green Park to work everyday.. ARghs....

xiaocangshu said...

I like the part on the train driver's announcement! Wonder what would happen if a driver tried it here.

Fëanor said...

Another reason for delayed trains: "We are now running late because we were early."

As for standing on the right because we drive on the left - what's the connection? :-)

Bas - Istanbul Expat said...

Seems like pretty normal metro/underground/tube behaviour to me :-)

Having experienced Holland and Istanbul that is... In Bulgaria(where I used to live also), I'd be careful with sticking your body into public transport, because the driver will probably not notice and just take off.

lina said...

That's original. Beats the "We're having techinal difficulties" every time the train is late like it is here. :-)

Michael Aulia said...

I honestly enjoyed using the Tube when I was in London for a day lol

Was walking fast like mad to get as much as possible of London in 6 hours!

If you want to know which place I went to in 6 hours, check out my photo gallery here lol

http://www.michaelaulia.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=124

cchiovitti said...

I LOVE the tube.

Seriously, I bought one of those "Mind the Gap" doormats last year.

My Bug Life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My Bug Life said...

I think the drivers entertaining passengers with their light-hearted announcements goes a long way for commuters...:)

Avatar said...

Very interesting and amusing insight into the world of London Underground.

Commuting is such fun!

Jasmine Shanea said...

public trains are like this everywhere. I hate to travel on the MRT. Sigh. With the whole F1 thingy next week everyone's forced to take trains. God, the whole Singapore will be stuffed in the cabins. SAAVEE MEE!!

On a lighter note with ref to your comment: I'm taking it slowly now and I'm very grateful and appreciative of your concern! Sorry that I've not been as faithful in visiting your site. I will try to come here as often ok??

Take care!

Deb said...

I think it's better to give as much info as possible in train announcements, than general ones which just make me frustrated sometimes. Like the usual - this train will be delayed due to a train fault, which they use for every situation in our MRT. What sort of train fault huh? And which train huh? A screw loose? Brakes not working? Hmm!

Fëanor said...

CK: btw, if you are free this coming week, do you want to meet up, have a coffee? We can bemoan the London Underground a tad more then :-) I don't see a contact section in your blog, but here's mine f e a n o r 0 a t h o t m a i l d o t c o m, so please let me know.

Bas - Istanbul Expat said...

Thanks for submitting your post to the Expat Experience blog carnival. I already liked it, so nice to see you've submitted it :-)

Dutchie said...

The Tube in London ? "Mind The Gap" comes to mind ;-P My hubby n I uses this phrase as a private joke when the occasion arises !

U ever noticed the tube in Paris ? It's like walking thru a warm air tunnel. Some years back the authorities tried filtering fruity aroma's thru the air-ducts to freshen up their tunnels. Wonder if it worked ?

When I'm riding the MRT in Sg n looking down at the cars moving at a snail's pace, I'm glad we were moving smoothly without hinderance. For that I think the MRT is a good comfy way to travel n at very low cost too, compared to Europe.

bidarlah said...

oh london! i missed u!

The Monkey said...

How about trains delayed to allow the trains behind to catch up!?

That was the reason we heard on a recent trip. We're talking about quirky reasons for train delays over at: http://www.chickenmonkeydog.com/the-irrationality-of-train-delays/

Anonymous said...

"UK drivers drive on the right side of the road"? I think you'll find that you've got that back-to-front, sir!

London Chow said...

@Anon,

You are absolutely correct! I've rectified it. Thanks for pointing that point :)