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Tube Map Challenge – Pick Piccadilly!

Tube Map Challenge – Pick Piccadilly!

Liz and I found ourselves with a free day on a recent weekend after some plans changed, so we thought we’d have the first proper crack at our Tube Map Challenge 2017.

For our first adventure we naturally chose Cockfosters at the eastern end of the Piccadilly line, neither of us having been there previously. Yes, that station that never fails to muster a giggle even for those of us in our mid-thirties. Once on the train, we had a bit of a ‘whoa countryside’ moment upon spotting fields just after Oakwood. Those, we’d later learn, were part of Trent Park.

Stepping off the train at Cockfosters.
Stepping off the train at Cockfosters.

We got to our destination and had a good look around the station. It’s rather lovely really, with lots of nice little touches. The station building itself is a bit like a concrete shed, but don’t let that put you off. This is 1930s Charles Holden designed concrete shed…

Our destination after leaving the station was the aforementioned Trent Park to pick up a few Geocaches. With Mother Nature’s usual impeccable timing, it started to rain after few minutes after we got there. Still, we managed a couple of caches before packing it in.

Wooded area
Find the geocache!

By this point we were pretty much equal distance to Cockfosters or Oakwood. We figured we may as well tick another station off our map and headed for the latter. I’m glad we did. A grand Charles Holden number again, this time in a very different style to Cockfosters. More like a large box than a shed.

Tube Challenge Part 1

Tube Challenge Part 1
Even the back of the roundel is pretty nice at Oakwook Station.

We hopped on a southbound train, and thought we’d use the journey (and our Zone 1-2 travel cards) to enter/exit some Zone 2 Piccadilly stations that either one/both of us hadn’t done before. First up was Arsenal, formerly Gillespie Road, Station.  Like all the other Leslie Green designed Piccadilly Line stations, it has its own distinct colour scheme for the tiles. In this case, it was what Liz and I referred to as ‘Grandma Mauve’. It must be a nice clash with all the football fans who stream in and out of this station on game day at the nearby Emirates Stadium.

Gillespie road station tiles
The platform tiles give away the station’s original name.

 

The rather big roundel on the (non-original) front of Arsenal Station.

At this point the rain which had been hanging around for most of the day was taking a break, so we though we would take the opportunity to see if there were any Geocaches nearby. It turns out that the largest cache in London was very nearby, almost next door to the station at the Gillespie Park Nature Reserve.

Liz cracks the case on a massive cache.

We got back on the tube at Arsenal Station, but we didn’t go very far. We had Holloway Road to tick off our list next. After being a tour guide on the London Transport Museum’s Hidden London tours of Down Street Station, Holloway Road felt very familiar to me! It’s very Leslie Green and very Down Street!

Former ends of the line.

 

Old ticket offices at Holloway Road Station, now displaying station design history.

 

Maker’s marks on platform tiles at Holloway Road Station.

If you’re still with me after that Holloway Road Station love-in, we had one more station to go. There were no caches to be had around Holloway Road, so we popped back inside to go one further stop south to Caledonian Road. On our way up to the ticket hall, we spotted some construction work going on in two of the lift shafts. New ventilation equipment? TfL do enjoy using every bit of space they can get in Piccadilly Line stations to get some air flow.

We exited the station to a downpour so decided to call it a day. Four stations crossed off on our Tube Challenge maps, and three caches logged. Not bad for a rainy day.

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We Accept the (Tube Map) Challenge!

We Accept the (Tube Map) Challenge!

So, following from Geoff Marshall’s call out on his YouTube channel today, Liz and I are going to take up the Tube Map Challenge 2017!

We are going with Option 1 – Sweet & Sour Chicken, fried rice. No, hang on. Option 1 in this case is filling in a Tube map with all the stations you have ever been to, and completing the full set over 2017.

We popped down to Wapping Overground where we hoped they may have Tube maps. They did, once I asked for a couple.

Now, Sharpies in hand, let’s get cracking!

And for reference, here is Geoff’s video where he explains the three different options for the challenge.

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A Tale of Two Bus Drivers

A Tale of Two Bus Drivers

Step out my door and start walking down the road. A 59 bus creeps past me. Nuts – that’s the bus I want. Check CityMapper to see when the next one will be. Oh – 16 minutes. Ok, I can try to catch this one. Better get a literal jog on.

I run up to the back door of the bus and away it goes. That’s that. But then the 159 bus behind it honks its horn. I turn around and the driver beckons me. I hop onto his bus and he kindly says he’ll catch the 59 up and I can make the switch.

Next stop and we pull up behind the 59. I dash out and make it to the door opposite the 59 driver, which he closes.

I stand there a bit dumbfounded. He throws a hand up and shakes his head. In this time he could have just let me on. After a moment, he opens the doors and I thank him.

A big thanks to the driver of that 159. Can’t say I’ve ever had a bus do an ‘after them!’ scenario for me before. And a thanks to the 59 driver as well for making the effort not all in vain.

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Super Cycle Lane Six Is Go

Super Cycle Lane Six Is Go

… at least the bit around Blackfriars. After I got my photos and wrote my post yesterday, the cycle lanes opened up. Yesterday evening there were hi-vis’d folks from TfL dotted around the Blackfriars area to direct cyclists onto the new CS6 lanes (and maybe to help pedestrians not walk out in front of traffic?).

CS6 cycle lane at Blackfriars.

The bus stop J for north-bound buses has also been moved closer to Blackfriars Station, and on the island between the cycle and car lanes. It’s just a temporary stop at the moment, but I’m guessing it will be made permanent.
CS6 cycle lane at Blackfriars.

On yer bikes!

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Go With The Traffic Flow

Go With The Traffic Flow

If you’ve been around Ludgate Circus or Blackfriars in the last few months, you’ll know it’s been a bit of a construction zone.  Things are starting to look a bit more finished now and we have some changes. Starting around last week there were new pedestrian crossings at Ludgate Circus and Blackfriars.

Ludgate Circus was always a bit weird in that there were lights at one crossing, at New Bridge Street, but none of the others. Now there are lights for all the pedestrian crossings and it is confusing people. The traffic flow has been greatly altered and you don’t get the same breaks in traffic that you used to. Instead it’s now constant road traffic until the pedestrian lights go green at all four crossings at once.

Crossing Farringdon Street at Ludgate Circus.
Crossing Fleet Street at Ludgate Circus.

People are creatures of habit, which means I’ve seen loads of people nearly get run over as they try to dart between the traffic. I’ll admit that I like playing a bit of Fleet Street Frogger as much as the next person, but it’s nice to be able to (if you’re quick) cross over two streets at once when all the lights go green.

Crossing Farringdon Street at Ludgate Circus.
Crossing Farringdon Street at Ludgate Circus.

Meanwhile, it’s a similar situation down by the Blackfriars Pub. The new crossing goes between the pub and Unilever House on the other side of the New Bridge Street. In addition to this, the traffic flow has changed all around Blackfriars, resulting in the same problem of people nearly getting run over quite a bit because of the new flow of traffic.

New Bridge Street's new crossing.
New Bridge Street’s new crossing.

Looks like the new cycle lane is open on Blackfriars Bridge, but it doesn’t extend up New Bridge Street just yet. Once it does, I may even be tempted into making my way to work on two wheels.

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