“Mind the gap, please” … “Mind the gap, please”.
These words rings in my head everytime I took the tube in London. I have heard of this phrase being used before but not until I really see what the “gap” is like on the London Underground. I mean, it should not be too tough making sure that the train floor aligns to the platform but no, most station does not align at all.
This gap above was not too bad. I have seen worse. There is a station where there is a six inch gap between the train and the platform. Anyone know why it is like that in the London Underground?
The London Underground is the oldest underground system in the world. It is also the longest in route length. It is amazing to learn that the first line was built way back in 1863 (not 1963!!). Below is the map of the London Underground. There are currently 275 stations in the entire network. It took a while for me to get used to it but once I get myself familiar, it was not too difficult.
Despite its name, about 55% of the network is above ground. Popular local names include the Underground and, more familiarly, the Tube, in reference to the cylindrical shape of the system’s deep-bore tunnels. That is why you see that the top of the train were rounded.
Unlike modern subway trains and the narrowness of the train, the seating configuration is not optimum for standing passengers. The aisle between the two rows of facing seats were so close I see that many people don’t even want to move it to make room for others coming on board.
When taking the tube, you should pay attention to the service updates. It’s because not every line is in operation all the time. So, you need to pay attention on which line is open and then plan your route accordingly. The service updates below are electronically displayed while older stations had them handwritten on whiteboards.
Find the stations is easy. You just need to look for the familiar red circle with blue band logo — it is called a roundel. You could get to a station in the city centre within not more than 10 minutes walk. It is that convenient.
Many of the stations were unbelievably deep underground. Some of the busy interchanges were four levels deep. There is also one that was so deep that they had built lifts that shuttles passengers to the surface. The trains and most of the stations were not air-conditioned and you actually can feel the high humidity while in the station and the trains.
I took the tube to the city centre using a 6-zone TravelCard. The card costs 6.30GBP and allows me unlimited rides on the tube and buses for the whole day. I stayed near Heathrow and getting down to the city centre takes about 1 hour.
There is an alternative way to get from Heathrow to the City Centre in just 15 minutes. It’s called the Heathrow Express. It’s pretty expensive — one way ticket costs 19 GBP!!
Now, this train is more modern and definitely more comfortable. I took the Heathrow Express just once.
The Heathrow Express station in Paddington was also much cleaner and nicer.