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Christmas Park Tube Challenge 2016

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This is another one of those silly, geeky London Tube challenges that I completed yesterday, having to visit all 24 of the tube stations with the word 'Park' in the name. Competitors had to start between 10:00-11:00 from Park Royal on the western side of the network - and a meet up was arranged at a pub in Dagenham in the east. The rules of this challenge are:


The aim is to visit all 24 London Underground stations that have the word "Park" in the name... but there is a twist. As well as visiting each station you must take an exterior photo of the station clearly showing the station name (from the street/exiting the ticket barriers) before carrying on to the next station. 


This means that for each of the Park stations, you have to get off, get out of the station, get a picture before carrying on. 


I got up at 06.00 to leave for East Midlands Parkway at 06:50 and caught the 07:35 to London, arriving at 09:00. After a loo break I bought my travel card and headed for the Piccadilly line to Park Royal, arriving at 09:55 to meet challenger David and say hello. I made a mistake here as I took my picture bang on 10:00 – not realising there wouldn’t be a train east for another 9 minutes – but I am a novice at this stuff! :oops:


Changed at Acton Town and then met another challenger, Richard, at Chiswick Park at 10:27 … as @xcooler123 ran off in to the distance! My mind might be willing but but my body is NOT designed for that kind of commitment! Richard and I passed through Ravenscourt Park (10:43) before I jumped off at Hammersmith to catch the H&C line up to Westbourne Park for 11:01. Two buses were at the stop but neither was a 31 and I had a 6 minute wait here before one came to take me to Holland Park. I got off one stop early (D’oh!) not realising there was a stop almost directly opposite the station. I took the picture of HP at 11:19 and descended the 114(?) steps to the platform to head east to Notting Hill Gate where the change to the District to Wimbledon was very quick; as I arrived onto the platform a Wimbledon train was pulling in. Result!


At Wimbledon Park (11:50), I went up the stairs, took the picture and as I walked back in a train back to Earls Court was arriving :-D I got into the right place on this S class train to be able to jump straight off at EC and get to the Piccadilly Line but missed the first train east by seconds due to dawdling people in front. :x Andrew, be nice. It’s Christmas! 


As I got off at Hyde Park Corner (12:19) it was absolute chaos. There were staff pointing commuters to one exit out, one entrance in due to the “Winter Wonderland” and it was awkward to get through. However, I wanted to walk to Green Park anyway so I could see the memorial to Bomber Command and pay my respects. I’d not seen this before and it was one of my aims for the day so I was happy for this. I arrived at Green Park at 12:31 and got a Victoria train south, then nipped across on the District to knock off St James’s Park at 12:40. I carried on to Embankment and headed north to Regents Park(12:57) and back on to the Bakerloo in the same direction. 


As I went up the escalator at Kilburn Park (13:18) Richard ran past me! So Mr. Bond, we meet again! It turns out we’d been to the same stations, albeit in a different order, ending up on the same train. What are the odds?! We then traveled north to Queen’s Park but the next train in on the Bakerloo was a terminator which was annoying. Luckily, an Overground train pulled in and Richard asked a young lad if it went to Stonebridge Park and it did – Thanks kid! Had Richard not thought/asked that, I wouldn’t have considered it. I have a lot to learn! Up to Stonebridge Park for 13:36 and then off at Kenton to make our way to Northwick Park on foot. Richard was miles ahead of me as I simply can’t keep up and when I arrived at NP at 13:54, I thought he’d already caught a train – but he was in the loo so we caught the next Metropolitan up to Moor Park, taking a pic at 14:19. 


Kev and Nozza (other tube challenge geeks) were also at Moor Park and we all went down to Wembley Park together – and his is where fitness really shows. We arrived at Wembley Park where Kev and Nozza shot off the trains faster than lies from a politicians mouth, grabbed their pics and were on the way back in. I got my pic at 14:46 and went straight to the Jubilee platform … to see a train (which K & N must have caught), pulling out. Nuts! The next Stanmore train pulled in to the station but was terminating (Double NUTS!) so we had to wait for another, eventually getting a pic of Canons Park at 15:00, 5 hours and 17/24 stations into the challenge. The bus to Edgeware took an eternity to arrive and seemed to be a perennial “2 mins” away. In reality, this bit can and I guess should be run – but that’s not me :-( 


Jumped onto a southbound train at Edgeware and did Belsize Park at 15:43. I got my picture and went straight back into a waiting lift – but no sign of Rich. I held the doors open (to the consternation of one passenger - to whom I gave the Paddington Bear stare) as I didn’t want to leave Rich behind! We carried on south to Camden Town and had to get to Platform 3 for the Barnet Branch to take us back north. There was a train waiting to leave and I dived on as the doors were shutting … and I did a naughty thing in using my bulk/strength to keep the door open for Rich to get in. He made it, his rucksack nearly didn’t. Oops! 


At Woodside Park (16:14) we didn’t need to use the barriers to exit the rear platform, then again, there were quite a few stations today where the barriers were open? We got on the southbound train and in my original plan, I had considered getting off at Archway and getting the bus to Holloway Road to join the Piccadilly to Finsbury Park. Unfortunately, there are road works and bus diversions in place – if I were fitter I would have run/walked this. Richard said it would be just as quick to go to Euston and change to the Victoria so we did that but a person had collapsed at the top of the Victoria Line escalators and was being attended to by staff so everyone (both up and down) had to use the spiral stairs which was, err interesting! We arrived at Finsbury Park (16:54) and there appeared to be two long corridors to exit the station. I lost Richard in the throng of people and I think we went in different directions to get pictures. 


I met Richard again at Highbury & Islington where we both caught a very crowded Overground train to Stratford and join the Central Line. This time, we were well and truly split up as the crowds of shoppers and West Ham fans (who organized a finish near a West Ham home game?!) meant that fast progress was impossible. I managed to get straight onto a Central Line train to Newbury Park and arrived there at 17:39. Again, I had thought about (and mentioned to Richard earlier) about changing at Stratford to the Jubilee south to West Ham to pick up the District but after seeing how bad Stratford was on the way I up, I gave it a miss and went to Mile End, arriving for the picture at Upton Park at 18:14. One more to go, I jumped back on and took my final picture at Elm Parkat 18:35:03 – giving me a final time of 8 Hours, 35 minutes and 3 seconds. 


After I arrived at the Lord Denham, I couldn’t see anybody so I sat like a Billy No Mates at the top and had a pint and posted on the forum. It was only when I went to the loo that I found you all – and had a welcome chat, pint and something hot to eat, all of which were most welcome. I said my farewells around 8pm and headed back into Central London but had to walk from Aldgate East to Aldgate as the H&C’s had a problem! The train back ooop norf left at 22:00 and arrived at a very foggy and damp East Midlands Parkway just after midnight – and I got home at 00:40. This morning, my ankles and knees are screaming at me but I feel absolutely chuffed that I’ve done this; I had a great time! 
And the best bit? I wasn't last!
10th Andi; - DNF
9th  Richard (RJSRdg); 08:35:53
8th  Andrew (Elsie); 08:35:03
7th  Steeevooo; 07:49 something??
6th  (xcooler123); 07:40:27
5th  James (crypto)
4th  Kev & Nozz; 7:32:30
3rd  Andrew (tracktakid); 7:19:04
2nd  Tangy; 07:18:38
1st  Hugo; 07:16:21


I have created a an album of the pictures that I took during the day here - https://goo.gl/photos/e6EWCZxqtD5fwn8v6


Edited by Elsie
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