August 26th, 2005


(no subject)

(lateness due to a palm pilot which turns off it's bluetooth significantly earlier into its low battery cycle than I though)

1710 quick bathroom stop at oakwood and a run for turnaround at cockfosters and we're off down the piccadilly line to gloucester road

1728 manor house #152

1737 kings cross, visit 5. it's still a fairly boring underground station, i recommend against visiting it five times in a day

1829 waiting at brixton for the victoria to take us to stockwell and then on to the southern reaches of the northern and district lines. we are back to over an hour out, and there some fatigue beginning to show

1845 dead train at clapham north, ahead on the northern line has slowed traffic to a stop.

1930 on a district train at wimbledon courtesy of an insane bus driver from south wimbledon. plan is now to go to edgware road to start on the west. we're over an hour behind and may be doing some more cutting to make upminster

1955(ish) teas delivered to out train courtesy of a team member and the lovely staff at earls court. for some reason i keep calling it hammersmith, my brain may have now shut down.

2045 on way to acton town for heathrow. richmond cut, batteries dying on plam.

2116 turning back at osterly missing heathrow to try and hit uxbridge at the right time. 10 stations missed.

2315 west ruislip after a walk from ickenham. now mile end for a change to the district line and 'home' to upminster. only 10 stations dropped in the end.

0040 victoire

Tube Challenge

So, me and "Team Billy" (named when on being asked what we should call our team I said, as normal [as seen before in my request that my band not be called "Dead Karma", but "Uncle Billy and the Bouncing Goldfish". I may well be egotistical - I'll count how many times I use the word "I" in this post. That's another three already], "What about Team Billy?". Our route was planned by a guy called Peter, so I take no credit apart from being the largest person in the team and also the one wearing the darkest clothing) finished the tube challenge at 0040 last night, when we fell out of a District Line train onto the platform at Upminster.

We didn't complete the full set of stations, missing out 10 in the end (Richmond branch of the District Line, half of the Heathrow branch [missed out to give us more leeway for a later change] and also the 2 annoying spurs of Mill Hill East and Earl's Court), giving us a total of 264 stations and a time of 19hours and 12 minutes. We did realise on reaching the end that we could have at least grabbed the 5 missing Heathrow branch stations in the time we had, but there was a walk of undetermined length and legs of undetermined functionality to be reckoned with, so erring on the side of caution seemed like a good plan.

I took up my challenge of taking a photo of every station we visited and missed out 4 and a half:

  • Harrow on the Hill - very close to the start and missed due to trying to let commuters off the train. I hate it when people are stupid on the tube so had a period of strange self loathing for a while. I blame this first miss on that

  • New Cross - missed when after running for a train we realised we had lost a member of our party, who was busy pimping our cause to the station staff. However, the train was not visible from where she was and as such she couldn't find us when she had got the staff to agree to check out the website...cue much confusion, holding of doors and shouting. And a missed photo.

  • Southgate - the "half" missed picture, as I have a roundel like smear across a photo that I claim is Southgate. I was trying to write an SMS to the support team to let them know where we were and in my tiredness I was very much a non-multitasking person at that time...

  • Earls Court - the tea thing confused me. This is the most embarassing though, as we stopped at the station for a good while waiting for tea and one of our team works in the station

  • South Ruislip - because I sort of fell unconcious

So, 15 stations for me to visit again sometime and there is now only one station that remains on the network that I haven't visited - Mill Hill East. I'm not even sure if I want to go there now.

I'll post our route later - I'm at work at the moment due to my palm charger being here and the office being significantly closer to the comics shop than my house is - good Billy raises money for charity, good Billy may buy comic books. Thanks all who sponsored me, I raised £288.72 (and that's after another donation today - thanks Idil).

Modifications to the route were discussed last night and I have some plans for doing the challenge again slightly differently, which might get me (and any willing compatriots) round in a decent time. It might involve Feltham, but I may have to do a recce or 2... If anyone would be interested in joining me for another go sometime, let me know - I don't think I'll be going for the record, but it would be nice to complete the challenge fully.

And now I must find something to eat - half a bag of dried apricots, 2 pepperamis and 1/3rd of a sausage roll yesterday do not a full Billy make.

Canada Water Posse
"Team Billy" (I blame Nikki for naming us) at Canada Water for a deliberate photo op

The Route

And so, a sort of illustrated guide to the route and the not particularly accurately named "Team Billy" took yesterday while doing the Charity Tube Challenge (I wasn't sure if that deserved capital letter and then remembered how tired I am).

Credit for the masterminding of this route goes to Peter (whose surname I do not know) who I chose from a throng of begging people who wanted me to join their groups (well, 2 people who didn't have teams to do their routes). If we hadn't got hit by two rather large slowdowns I think we could probably have happily made it round in the time we had.

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So, 264 stations out of a possible 274 viewable ones (Queensway, Eastcote Northbound and Ruislip Manor Northbound are currently shut but only in that trains don't stop as they go past, and Old Street was shut for some reason as we passed through, but we counted them. Terminal 4 is 'properly' closed so we didn't count it, hence our target being one lower than the official 275).

I missed out 4 (well, 5 really) photos along with the 10 missing stations and a selection (only one of each station [although 2 of Paddington, Edgware Road, Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith as they have 2 stations each]) of my photos can be found here

Tube Relief Survivors