Posts Tagged ‘Circle Line’

The answer to all these questions (which I know have been troubling you for many years) is: sort of.

I’m sure you spotted this years ago, but I have only just discovered the ‘Traffic’ box on the right-hand side of Google Maps, where you can tick the Public Transport option, and – hey presto – see exactly where the tube lines run in relation to street-level reality. I’ve seen these ‘real geography’ (there must be a technical term for this) maps before, and I know that the very first tube maps – like the present Paris Metro maps – were more or less real, without the present simplification, and so with the kinks and the corners and the vast expanses between suburban stations left in. But I haven’t played around and explored the detail in this way.

What it doesn’t show is the zillions of miles you have to unknowingly walk when changing between lines that are theoretically at the same station – e.g. Green Park, Kings Cross, etc. At least Paddington, Bank, etc, have the honesty to have multiple white ‘station dots’ (more technical vocabulary needed please)  linked with the white lines to announce that they are not really the same tube station but no-one has had the nerve to admit it yet.

There must be some site or app that brings to light these dark secrets of the Underground system. Do post one in the comments if you can find it.

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Circle line in meaningless composition (westbound) by fabbio.It’s true: The Circle Line will no longer go round in circles. I hardly believed it when I read the papers a few days ago, but now I have seen the official London Transport brochure detailing the changes.

From 13 December it will be a spiral. If you start at Edgware Road, you can still go all the way round — but then you spin out to Hammersmith. And the defining philosophy of the Circle line will be lost forever: The idea that you can step on anywhere in order to arrive anywhere else. Or, to look at it another way, that you can step on anywhere in order to go nowhere. It will now be impossible not to go to Edgware Road or Hammersmith.

This is profoundly unsettling for Londoners. I’ve never been all the way round myself (this is what I have to say in public…) But there is something reassuring about the knowledge that just below the pavement a train is going nowhere, endlessly. That people are there, apparently, in knitting clubs; and perhaps to play bridge, or on a blind date, or meeting their self-help group. That people are there to keep warm or kill time. And that people are there, with clipboards and microphones and counting instruments, doing sociological research into why all those other people are there in the first place.

There are minor delays on the Circle line... by fabbio.

There are minor delays on the Circle line...

No one uses the Circle Line to go anywhere, because everyone knows that there is only one train running in each direction — surely the only satisfactory explanation of why the gaps between the ‘trains’ are so long. But we all want to know that we can go around in circles if we so choose, and that within the thrusting purposefulness of city life there is still the option of going nowhere, in the company of civilised people, with a well-spoken announcer letting you know which stops you are passing through.

And it’s good to have physical evidence on a massive scale to prove to the mathematicians that two infinities (clockwise and anticlockwise) are greater than one.

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