Catherine and I have lived in London for over a year and only scratched the surface of this incredible city. We both like mooching around on public transport with no particular aim, it's a cheap and interesting way to spend an afternoon. However, we recently saw a video from Geoff Marshall where he suggested grabbing a pocket tube map and a Sharpie and crossing off each station you visit.
So, in 2018, Catherine and I hereby commit to attempt visit every Tube, DLR, Overground and Tram station on the pocket tube map dated January 2018 (as pictured below!).
Rules of Engagement
- For a station to count you must enter or exit via the gateline as denoted by the Oyster card readers
1.1. If a station has multiple exits, try to use the 'main one'
1.2. You are encouraged to physically exit the station and have a look at your surroundings / the station building
- The real purpose of the exercise is to see bits of London we never knew existed and therefore if a station is less than 10 minutes walk, as denoted on the Walking Tube Map from another you are encouraged to walk to the next. This allows us some leeway if it's raining or are feeling lazy at the end of a long day!
- Normal TfL usage counts but the challenge is only complete once both of us have ticked off all the stations
3.1. If on a 'dedicated day' all travel must be completed via public transport that day
Our first official day of the challenge saw me meet Catherine after work at Elephant & Castle. We proceeded to begin by heading south one stop to Kennington. Once there, we rode up in the lift and touched out and in again, as per the rules. On the way back down though I ignored the signs and we sat on a completely deserted southbound platform #rebel #yolo.
Kennington has a 'ghost loop' as trains on the Charing Cross branch terminate here, run round the loop and popup again as Northbound services - headed via Charing Cross. We waited about 8 minutes for a train and ignored the numerous announcements of 'this train terminates here!'. To the bemusement of one gent, who I think was trying to help and repeatedly informed us the train wasn't going any further, we stayed sat on the train until a minute or so later the doors closed and we departed Kennington, bound for Kennington! I don't know if this will be possible soon as the Northern line extension to Battersea will be opening in 2020 branching at Kennington.
The loop took a surprisingly long time and the tunnel was lit in a few places so we could see some service tunnels and such. We were both expecting to be told off at any minute but we weren't! Quite a fun way to start this little adventure with a bit of gentle rule breaking! We arrived back into Kennington Northbound about 5 minutes later and decided to stay on the train right the way through Central London as we had seats and it was rush hour - this made for a nice spot of people watching, always a favourite activity of ours!
We exited at Kentish Town next and made up the 10 minute walking rule on the spot and headed to Tufnell Park through a rather well to-do series of townhouse lined streets. The going rate in estate agent windows was about £1m for a 'normal' terraced house here - insane.
Highgate was next. A station with an interesting history this as documented by a group called Wildboyz. A really weird exit escalator here too popping up out of the ground, wish I'd taken a picture and now that I've decided to blog this adventure I'm going to take a lot more from now on!
East Finchley and Finchley Central were next before we headed to Mill Hill East - that weird little spur on the Northern Line High Barnet branch. We figured it'd otherwise be an awkward little bugger to get so we did it before turning around and heading home via Old Street on the Bank branch. We ate some dinner at Meat Mission (a converted former mission where the hymn boards list triple Chilli challenge beaters!) before heading home via Shoreditch High St, New Cross and back to Lewisham.
Writing this intro it's dawning on me that this is quite an ambitious little adventure! Oh well, here goes nothing!!!