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3 Days In London

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From Sunday to Tuesday and I shall be mostly ... playing on trains of the tube variety. Three days riding the tube network doing 'challenges' such as visiting an agreed set of stations in as quick a time as possible. I've been planning this for weeks and I'll see how well my routes/changes go. It even gets as geeky as planning exactly which carriage/side/door I need to be at for the quickest change or exit. Why? Simply because I want to; I've always loved the underground, well any metro-transit system, and it's something I want to do while I still can. If this weekend goes well, I'd like to plan to do all 270 stations in a day next year, when I turn 50. The challenge I'm most looking forward to is the A-Z; that's visiting underground stations in the order of the alphabet so Aldgate, Bank, Chancery Lane .... Dollis Hill (that's a pain) but not as much as I (Ickenham) or U (Upton Park).  There are no J, X, Y or Z but all the rest need to be done in order. I think this takes my Geekness to a whole new level!


Mind The Gap :)





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And this is why we love you elsie, good luck and next time, let us in on your plans some of us might be up for this sort of thing too!

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4 hours ago, gitsie said:

Let me know when you get to the W's and the Q's 

I'm staying at a W ... Watford tomorrow and Monday night. On the A-Z the Q will be Queensbury & W Westminster.

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Lancaster Gate

Marble Arch

Notting Hill Gate

Oxford Circus

Piccalilly Circus


Regent's Park


Lots of shuttling back and forth. Need to stay central to get to U for Upton Park. There is an ideal R, S, T on the bottom of the District Line but it's going the wrong way!


Yesterday I did the Bottle Challenge which took me an awful 2hr 52m but N00b mistakes, the carnival and me being an unfit, fat old man didn't help.


Today I did the Zone 1 challenge, all 64 Zone 1 stations and did it in 3hr 23m which I am pleased with but could be so much better. During a break I wandered in to Vauxhall Park as I could see something was going on ... it was only a huge gay festival! I wondered why so many men were smiling at me! I stopped and had an ice cream and watched grown men doing the sack race which was hilarious!


Had lunch at a Portuguese restaurant and then went to Moorgate Station to start the All Lines challenge. You have to ride each of the 11 TFL underground lines as quickly as possible. This meant doing 1 stop's between stations with manic changes in between.  I really, really hate Bank and Green Park stations. Miles of bloody tunnels. Did this challenge in 57m 01 secs.


I have no idea how many steps, I many stairs, escalators and tunnels I have wobbled through but there have been numerous times I've got to a platform as a train is pulling out. This is so annoying ... but ts my own fault for being so out of shape. I've had an absolute blast doing this (although someone who asked me yesterday what I was doing described me as Autistic - maybe I am?)  and now I have my baselines I have something to work on to improve.


Tomorrow is the A-Z ... which is less running around, thankfully!

Edited by Elsie

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Here we go then; three days of me being able to ‘play’ on the London Tube network. I parked at Watford and took the Metropolitan Line into the City. I got off at Baker St and went to a pub (which was packed) for a coffee and some lunch, oh, and a loo break!


The Circle Line Bottle Challenge


Bought Z1-6 travel card and went to Paddington to start the Bottle Challenge from Praed St at 14:42


Edgeware Rd – Used the lift up and walked to the other Edgeware Road. Just missed a train. This will be a continuing theme of mine where running would’ve got me on a train. Departed on a Bakerloo south at 14:50 - Marylebone 14:51 - Baker St 14:53  got off at Regents Park and went up in the lift before walking to Gt Portland St and catching a Circle Line train at 15:01. Euston Sq 15:03 - KX 15:06 - Farringdon 15:08 - Barbican 15:10 and changing at Moorgate to Northern Line. I messed up here. There is working going on and the escalators are closed but when I finally worked out that I had to go down the spiral staircase, there was a big group in front.


Got onto a train and went thru Old St 15:19, Angel 15:21, KX (again) 15:24 and changed at Euston to try and find the Charing Cross branch – and failed miserably. It seemed to take an eternity to find the right platform but I eventually did, leaving at 15:32 via Warren St 15:33 – Goodge St 15:35 and arrived into a chaotic Tottenham Court Road. I wanted the Central Line West but all the exits for the CL appeared to be closed. I ended up having to (almost) leave the station and work my way back down, along with 1000’s heading to NHC.


The train was absolutely packed and left at 15:42, going through Oxford Circus 15:44 - Bond St 15:45 - Marble Arch – 15:47 - Lancaster Gate 15:49 and I got off at Queensway but this was difficult as the train was so full. I came out via the lift but the streets were filled Carnival. I was so hot that I bought an ice cream and water before walking down to Bayswater. People everywhere; at least they were all happy!


Not long to wait for a Bayswater (circle line) train which left at 16:03. It passed through (but did not stop) at Notting Hill Gate – HSK 16:06 – I changed at Gloucester Rd to the Piccadilly Line east but had to go down another set of spiral stairs. At least it was down, not up! Leaving Gloucester Road at 16:14 we want through South Ken 16:16 – Knightsbridge 16:19 – HPC 16:21 – Green Park 16:23 – Piccadilly Circus  16:24 - Leicester Sq 16:26 – Covent Garden 16:28 and Holborn (where I changed to the Bakerloo) 16:30 to do Russell Square and double back (very quick change) to the Central Line

Holborn 16:38 - Chancery Lane 16:39 - St Pauls 16:41 - Bank 16:43 - Liverpool St ... oh fiddlesticks! I knew I needed to head west now on the circle but I had forgotten that before I go west I needed to go east to Aldgate. I realised the mistake when I heard “The next stop is Moorgate”. I doubled back back at Moorgate.


Changed to Circle line at 17:03 heading in the right direction but wasted nearly 20 mins with this. Aldgate 17:05 - Tower Hill 17:07 - Monument 17:09 - Cannon St 17:10 - Mansion House 17:11 - Blackfriars 17:13 - Temple 17:15


Changed at Embankment onto Northern Line up to Charing Cross – and did a very quick double back to Embankment straight away (doors were closing as I jumped on!) I just missed a train at Embankment but left at 17:24 - St James Park 17:27 - Victoria 17:29 - Sloane Sq 17:31


I finished with an abysmal time of 2hr 52 mins.


My ankles and feet are banging; I’ve been on feet for most of the journeys as the trains were VERY busy, VERY hot. I need to buy and carry more liquid. Took Victoria from Victoria to Tottenham Hale to see friends and their new baby. Back to Watford via the Overground and then Metropolitan.


Back to hotel for 21:30. Absolutely knackered.



Edited by Elsie

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Day 2 – Zone 1 and All Lines Challenges


It begins with a Premier Inn breakfast. As I was checking I was booked in for the next night a couple were asking about how to get into London. They were told the over ground was shut and the underground was a cab ride away. No worries, says I, I can give you a lift. Where are you from I ask? Nottinghamshire they say. Oh, I’m from Derbyshire. Where in Notts? Sutton they say. What are the odds? All this way to London and I give a lift to a couple that live 10 mins from me! I dropped them off at Watford station and then drove to park at Stanmore as I wanted to be parked inside zone 6.

Today was the Zone 1 challenge. I parked at Stanmore and got the Z1-6 TC


As I did yesterday, I got off at Wembley Park and changed to faster Met train, went to Baker St for a coffee, loo stop and buy water; I didn’t want to be struggling like I had been on the Sunday.


Zone 1 Challenge


I started the Zone 1 challenge at 11:22 when I left Edgeware Rd on the Circle line to Paddington. On exiting the station, it felt like a long walk to the Bakerloo Line – and I just missed (story of the day) a train but caught the next at 11:30 - Edgeware Road 11:32 - Marylebone 11:33 - Baker St 11:35 and exited Regents Park (I love being on the train C4D3R [Carriage 4, Door 3, Right hand Side] to run straight down the exit stairs – thanks Station Master app!), turned right and headed to Great Portland St. I tried jogging – but I’m not built for that!


Leaving GPS on the Metropolitan Line at 11:42 we passed through Euston Square 11:44 - KXSP 11:47 - Farringdon 11:50 - Barbican 11:52, alighting at Moorgate and got this absolutely right today. I was at the right door and had no hesitation in running down the spiral stairs ... only to miss a departing train by seconds. If only I had tried to run from the Met line to the stairs. Gutted. :(


After the bottle challenge yesterday, I knew I needed to be at the far end of the platform for the exit at Euston and there left Moorgate 12:00 - Old St 12:01 - Angel 12:04 - KXSP (again) 12:06. There was a very useful train announcement about Northern Line via CX being Platform 2 which meant I avoided the screw up of yesterday and got straight onto a rammed Northern Line south dep at 12:11 - Warren St 12:12 - Goodge St 12:13.


It was good fortune as I was near the back of the NL train and when I got off at Tottenham Court Road I was able to shoot straight up the back passage (ooh err Mrs!) and onto the Central Line platforms. This was much better than my FUBAR of the previous day. It did bring me onto the wrong platform but I hopped across and had a 30 sec wait for a PACKED (for the carnival) west bound train which left at 12:16 - Oxford Circus 12:18 - Bond St 12:20 - Marble Arch 12:21 - Lancaster Gate 12:23.


One hour in to the challenge - 23 stations down.


It was a struggle to get off at Queensway because the train was so full – and there was a queue for the lift with so many carnival people. I need to be able to take the stairs :(  I fast walked to Bayswater and had a 4 min wait for a district train to Wimbledon (for Earls Court) leaving at 12:38 – Notting Hill Gate (which was closed) 12:40 - High St Ken 12:42. Got off at Earls Court and went straight under platforms only to miss a Piccadilly north by seconds. Again. Arrghhh!


Left Earls Court 12:48 – Gloucester Rd 12:50 - South Ken 12:51 - Knightsbridge 12:53 - Hyde Park Corner 12:57.


32/64 done in 1hr 33. Is 3 hours possible for me? I knew I shouldn’t get my hopes up like this.


Green Park 12:59 - Piccadilly Circus 13:00 - Leicester Sq 13:02 - Covent Garden 13:04 - Holborn 13:05 – exited at Russell Square and doubled back to Holborn, leaving at 13:09. Back onto the Central Line East 13:16 - Chancery lane 13:17 - St Pauls 13:18 - Bank 13:20.


Off at Liverpool St – and went straight to H&C line (no screw up like yesterday) and caught train to Aldgate East at 13:27. I walked (should’ve run if I could) back to Aldgate and left on District line west 13:37 - Tower Hill 13:39 - Monument 13:42 -Cannon St 13:44 - Mansion House 13:45 - Blackfriars 13:48 - Temple 13:49.


Off at Embankment onto Northern Line to Charing Cross leaving at 13:54. At Charing Cross I changed to a Bakerloo south via a bloody long tunnel, leaving at 13:59. Embankment (again) 14:00 - Waterloo 14:02 - Lambeth North (station closed) 14:04 - Elephant & Castle (had to wait in the tunnel for a platform to be free) and changed to Northern Line train at 14:11 - Borough 14:13.


Off at London Bridge changing to the Jubilee north at 14:19 - Southwark 14:20. Changed at Westminster – had to come all the way up to the District & Circle. I’ve exited the Jubilee at Westminster before but as it’s my 2nd favourite station I enjoy looking at the engineering. Now? I’m in a rush and I’m walking up the escalators trying to reach the summit. I need to lose weight I know that. This is killing me. I got to the platform as a District train pulled out. Queue much &%(**!!@£ in my head.


Left Westminster 14:29 - St James’s Park 14:31 - Victoria 14:34 - Doubled Back at Sloane Sq -14:39 – changed at Victoria onto Victoria line south 14:42 - Pimlico at 14:44 finally finishing at Vauxhall at 14:49





Total Time 3hr 23 mins


If only I wasn’t such an overweight, unfit and old man; so many times I ’just missed’ trains I could have caught IF I had been able to run and/or use the stairs. Still, it’s personal target for me to aim at if I do this again!


I bought a couple of bottles of coke and spent some time above ground at Vauxhall. Came across a big gathering in Vauxhall Park which turned out to be a Gay Men’s health event – I watched the Sack Race (no, that’s not a euphemism) which was funny and had an ice cream. Wandered off and found a Portugese restaurant for a nice lunch/dinner. What to do now? I know, let’s try the All Lines challenge.


All Lines Challenge


Went back to Farringdon (walking between Warren St and Euston Sq to see how long it took and to stretch my ankles) before catching a Met Train. As the doors closed at Farringdon I started the stop watch - 16:52

Off at Barbican and onto the H&C - 16:55

Moorgate – Circle (had to wait for this) and left at 17:00

Liverpool St (Central) 17:04

Bank (Waterloo & City) I loved the moving walkway but I should’ve run as I just missed a train. 17:14. the W&C train feels faster than usual trains?

Waterloo (Northern) 17:21

 Embankment (District) 17:26

Westminster (Jubilee) – Had to go all the way DOWN this time ... but just missed a train. Again. 17:31

Green Park (Piccadilly) 17:39

Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo) 17:42

Oxford Circus (Victoria) 17:47

Arrived at Green Park (again) at 17:49


Final time = 57:01 - That’s a bit more like it!


I hate Green Park station. It is just mile after mile of tunnels. Very happy to have completed this in under an hour and with a bit of luck (and running) I can see how it could be reduced.

Never, ever do this on a Carnival Weekend; any train heading towards the NH area were packed. There were many times I couldn’t get down the platform to be where I needed to be on the train.


Also I didn’t realise how much this would take out of me.


“How can you be tired, just riding trains?”


My knees, ankles and feet are absolutely banging. On many trains it’s standing room only – or I’m not on for long enough before I had to get off. Then then there is negotiating the changes; Trying to get from one platform to the next is a lot of effort; all the stairs, escalators (and yes) I was walking up/down these. The changes between stations – Paddington-Paddington, Regents Park-GPS, Aldgate-Aldgate. I wish I had step monitor to have recorded all this activity; this is the most exercise I’ve done in years! I also can’t believe how much I have drunk and not had to go to the loo.


After finishing the All Lines Challenge I wanted to ride the Northern City Line so went back to Moorgate and took the 18:19 to Angel and Islington. I then changed to Overground rail to West Hampstead, then the Jubilee back to Stanmore and off to the hotel.

Edited by Elsie

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The A-Z Challenge


Blimey. Are my knees, feet and ankles meant to feel as bad as this? Where the heck have those blisters come from? Ah well, let’s make the most of my last day. I tried to park at Watford tube station but the only places left were only big enough for micro cars, not mine, so I drove to Stanmore which was full. I do wish that Stanmore had something at the entrance to say “Full”; it would save people driving down and risking getting charged by their ANPR system. Off to Cannons Park which had free space and I paid for this on the phone while walking to the tube.


I took the Jubilee to Wembley park and then swapped to the Metropolitan to Aldgate. Got off the train, took a pic of the roundel and then jumped back on. As the doors closed it was 10:57 and we headed off for Liverpool St – where I changed to the Central Line and passed thru:


Bank – 11:02

Chancery Lane – 11:06


... and stayed on the Central Line, changing at Bond St onto the Jubilee line (just missing a train) but leaving at 11:13 heading north and departed Dollis Hill at 11:31.


I stayed on the train heading north to Wembley Park and swapped to the Metropolitan back into the city as (in my eyes) it’s faster missing out all those stops. We certainly seemed to pass at least 3 Jubilee trains, that I could see) on the way back in. Anyway, I stayed on the Met for


Euston Square at 11:57

Farringdon at 12:02


Double back on the Metropolitan Line to pass through:


Great Portland Street at 12:11 … then the long ride out on the Met to

Harrow On The Hill at 12:36 and

Ickenham at 12:50 – up and over to head back to Wembley Park where I again swapped to the Jubilee for

Kilburn at 13:22


I stayed on the Jubilee all the way to Bond Street where I changed to the Central Line for what would be a lot of toing-and-froing; now I know how a Pinball feels! First I headed west to:


Lancaster Gate at 13:39

Then doubled back to Marble Arch at 13:41 … and doubling back again for Notting Hill Gate, only to see a train pulling away. Grrr.


I was at Notting Hill Gate at 13:51 and needed to double back to Oxford Circus but was flummoxed by the platform not being opposite. It seems here, the east bound platform is lower? Onto a train back east I was at Oxford Circus at 14:03.


Changed to Bakerloo south and hit Piccadilly Circus at 14:07


Bounced back to Oxford Circus, getting back onto the Central Line (although they really should rename this “The Moving Oven” and was at Queensbury for 14:20. Bounced back again to Oxford Circus where I took the Bakerloo north to Regents Park at 14:37. Double back on the Bakerloo to Oxford Circus and deviated from my original plan - which was to go to Southwark and have a break. I felt I was doing OK and although I had started feeling the twinges of needing the loo I thought I could hold out. I changed to the Central Line East and went through St Pauls at 14:48


Bank. I hate Bank. :x


I left the Central Line train and followed the signs into the bowels of the planet that pointed me towards the Circle & District lines. Even Tolkien’s Dwarves wouldn’t have stayed underground this long. Eventually I surfaced onto a platform, straight onto a District Line train to Upminster; result!


Tower Hill was passed at 14:58

Upton Park was reached at 15:17


I had a couple of mins to spare at this point; I had missed a train back into town that pulled in after my train had stopped but I didn’t have the energy to run for it. Yeah, I know. I should have. Anyway, the board said the First Train was a District Line via Embankment & Victoria so all was good. I worked out that I had been going for around 4 hours and 21 minutes. Could I break 5 hours? Oh brain, don’t get my hopes up.


Train arrives and I jump on, anxiously checking my stop watch and counting down the stops to Victoria. It was only when the train pulled into Aldgate and I actually listened to the announcement that I realized I was on a Hammersmith & City line train, not a District! I got off just in time. I think the board at Upton Park must have been for the train that I had just missed. It was an agonizing wait for a District to arrive but when it did, it didn’t leave Aldgate until 15:41.


It felt like a slow journey across the bottom of the District Line. As my stop watch passed 5 hours at 15:56, the train was just departing for Victoria. Aw nuts.


I had a heck of a job changing at Victoria; the staircase I picked had a flood of people and cases coming up as I wanted to go down. I arrived in Westminster at 16:03


A-Z completed in 5 Hours and 6 minutes and a rough guesstimate of 24 changes and 132 stops!.


An album of the roundels I saw can be seen here - https://goo.gl/photos/kDionsddhqE2PERL8





Edited by Elsie
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Good work Elsie!  I have a mate who did a similar challenge a couple of years ago, will try and dig out the video link.  It looks like a great way to burn some calories!

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Cheers - it is way more tiring than people think. There are stairs, tunnels, platforms and escalators to be navigated. Then there the station changes. One Paddington station to the other is a long walk; the 2 Edgeware stations are across a major junction about 300m apart. Regents Park to Great Portland Street. Queensway to Bayswater. And Bank. I hate Bank/Monument. To be able to achieve the record times you have to be very fit and, to a degree, lucky on the day. On one of the northern line trains I managed to get on at the rear but I knew (for the next change) I need to be at the front. It's not easy getting off the train and then moving up 1/2 carriages through the crowds to jump back on. At least the new H&C, Met and some of the District stock have walk through trains so they're not packed it's easy to get to the right door for the exit.



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Would love to try this. Really interesting!

I know if i was to do this with others though I'd end up running and end up on a train losing some others. TO THE FINISH LINE!

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39 minutes ago, LZStealth said:

Would love to try this. Really interesting!

I know if i was to do this with others though I'd end up running and end up on a train losing some others. TO THE FINISH LINE!


That's just it. My head was screaming move, my legs and lungs were saying f**k off!


At Upton Park I could've caught a District line train back into the city if I had run down the platform, up the stairs, across and back down the stairs I would have made it. However, after sitting down for 20+ mins I had stiffened up and just couldn't move quick enough. But because I took my time I was able to help a mum a pushchair on the stairs so I feel better for that.


Just worked out how I can shave off some time and get the A-Z done in under 5 hours. All I need to do now is work out an excuse to go to London!

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Just worked out how I can shave off some time and get the A-Z done in under 5 hours. All I need to do now is work out an excuse to go to London!


Well, if you want a buddy I'm up for giving it a go if I'm off shift.

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