Tube 28 was our our third annual charity event 'Walk The Tube' where we get a group of people who have never attempted the challenge before and try and get them round all the stations in one day - this year's took place on Friday 8th April 2016.
After starting at Chesham an Heathrow in the previous two years, we came up with a completely different start this year, by getting the trickiest station on the network out of the way immediately, by starting at Olympia! Even then, it ran late and we missed a connection that the timetable said we should have got at Earl's court just minutes later.
We knocked out Heathrow by going there and back, but immediately there was a gap in service as our schedule Terminal 4 train did not show up! This immediately put us 10 minutes down on schedule.
We went through Ealing Broadway next when one of the participants David had marvelously got in touch with Pret to tell them what we were doing, and there was someone waiting for us with free drinks and snacks as we made our way from the Disitrict Live over to the Central!
Tom - another of the participants - who seemed to have a constant stream of friends drop in during the day and bring snacks and drinks as required had organised a McDonalds breakfast drop, and lots of breakfast muffins got passed around and gratefully consumed!
As we were now running late, the planned East Acton reverse/change could be altered and we double backed at White City, and made our way up to West Ruislip, where a helpful U1 bus saved us a bit of walking towards Ickenham.
Reverse at Uxbridge, and we pass through Acton Town for the third time today already, as and there's no time advantage in walking Chiswick Park to Gunnersbury, e reverse at Turnham Green to pick up the District and knock out the Richmond branch.
Coming back, we change at Earl's Court and get on an eastbound Piccadilly - for the first time we've got time to relax for the 50 minutes to end of the line, and several people take the chance to squeeze in a short nap.
At Oakwood, Geoff hops out to buy a round of coffees whilst everyone else goes up to Cockfosters and back, but they're so swift in doing so all the drinks aren't ready but the time everyone comes outside, and a 307 pulls right in! David and Matt take some of the drinks, but the bus has one by the time the last cardboard tray of four are delivered, so Geoff hops into an Uber taxi and overtakes the bus and gets driven to High Barnet first!
Geoff, Vicki, Chris, Matt and Kirk are the 'core' team of the day, and so we're not that fussed about completing all the stations, Geoff has already missed Cockfosters, and it's at High Barnet that Kirk doesn't make the train out that everyone else gets - Vicki hangs back to keep him company.
There's time for the toilets at Finchley Central as we then go up to Mill Hill East and back, Kirk and Vicki rejoin us again,and this time we're down to Goodge Street, reverse, change at Warren Street and up the Victoria Line to Walthamstow, where we've got time, and a gently walk to the bus stations (with more toilets!) to pick up the 67 bus.
By now, Simon, Helen & Lana have joined us with some lunch goodies, and Lana does a sterling effort when we get to Leyton station - the Hainault Loop train is coming in next and as 26 people climb down off the top of the bus and out onto the pavement she brilliantly holds up everyone else getting onto the bus! And we all make it onto the perfectly timed train.
Geoff bails at Leytonstone though, and heads up to Woodford to be point man for the train coming back round the loop.
It's made with 30 seconds to spare - up to Epping where Simon's parents are there handing out cold drinks to everyone! It's a bit like when you run a marathon and you rush past gratefully picking up a drink as you go! The train out from Epping it out again in under two minutes.
It's got a small problem though in that there is vomit in one of the carriages, and on the way back down it gets held at Leytonstone whilst a cleaner comes on to attend, and so we get the train that comes in behind on the adjacent platform - this now means that what was going to be a 5 minute change at Shepherd's Bush onto the Overground, it now reduced to 3 minutes! Can we make it?
It's the best moment of the entire day, when we all jump of the train, up steps - mind the buggy - escalator, cross road, into the Overground and the train has pulled in bang on time! Amazingly though a load of people are getting off and it sits there for a while, and then there are lots of people not even including us all getting on and so it sits for a whole minute at the platform! A few stragglers at the back don't think they're going to make it, but some careful 'slow getting on' and lingering by the doors means the train doesn't go and everyone makes it on to a huge cheer!
Down to West Brompton, to Wimbledon, and the easiest way to Morden is to get the Thameslink to Merton South. We use the toilets at Wimbledon, where the cleaner has left the gate open, and she gives us an annoyed look as about fifteen people all come into the toilet at the same time. On the Thameslink at Merton South, we think the driver is surprised that 26 people all want to get off, a station where 26 people have never got off before and the doors start to close on us before we've all got off!
A bus down to Morden, and onto on the Northern Line, and we're back on the tube.
At Kennington - an annoying thing happens. With two southbound platforms it's normally always trains off of the Bank branch which you want, as the ones off of the Charing Cross branch are Kennington terminators. But not today - a train comes in on the opposite platform, and doesn't terminate it leaves before us! And the lightbox which normally says "Which train next" is NOT working, and NOT lit up! We had no way of knowing.
To Brixton and to Victoria and Sloane Square reverse and it's now 5pm and the rush hour and it's busy and crushed. We almost lose someone here, but find them again, and then annoyingly we have to wait 10 minutes at Tower HIll for the next Circle Line train - we'd just missed one (and I wonder if we'd got the first train out of Kennington, would we have made it?)
Geoff and Matt go to Aldgate East to meet up with Simon and Helen again who are bringing us pizza, whilst the majority of everyone else goes to do Aldgate. A then our main fuck-up of the day occurs as there is a fire alert and the Circle Line train passes through Aldgate without stopping and they all end up at Liverpool Street, and have to wait for the next eastbound H&C line train to take everyone back to Aldgate. We were already down on the schedule from earlier, but this delay really costs us and we work out that we are now an hour behind schedule.
At Whitechapel we change for a train to Upminster but there is a huuuge gap between trains (Good Service? Er, no! Don't think so!) so when it eventually arrives, it is packed, and 26 of us squeeze on and make it even more packed. A proper 10 out 10 packed train. At East Ham though, everyone gets off. What is so special about East Ham?
We trundle east, and roll into Upminster. We will make the 7.03pm train out? it's already in the platform as we arrive and dash over the footbridge... just in time to see it leave, and we have to wait and get the 7.09pm instead - more time lost.
To West Ham, the non obligatory photo at Southwark, to London Bridge and Elephant & Castle where we get a Bakerloo line train which has the new seat moquette! It's not a Harrow & Wealdstone service though, and we change at Queen's Park for the Overground. Geoff tots up how much we've earned from our respective charities and does a Periscope to announce that we've made £17,000 in total between us - an amazing amount.
Harrow & Wealdstone reverse, to find the footbridge closed at Kenton, and a temporary structure in place, and a walk round to Northwick Park. Those that get their first let a train go, but that's OK, because we're all caught up by Preston Road and all board the same Watford train anyway.
At Watford, the driver is brilliant who works out what we're doing, and ensure that we make a zero-minute interchange back down at Moor Park. This is fantastic, because we though we were going to end at Chesham past 1am, but this will now let us finish half an hour earlier.
Amersham, back to Chalfont ('Tube Legs' anyone?) as three teenage kids wonder why 26 people have disturbed them in the waiting room and then the final train rolls in to take us to Chesham, and to complete 270 stations in a final time of 18 hours, 56 minutes and 58 seconds ...
Tube 28 Stats
Stations visited: 270
Starting station: Kensington (Olympia)
Finishing station: Chesham
Total time taken: 18 hours, 56 minutes, 58 seconds
21 people took part (plus Geoff, Vicki, Chris, Matt and Kirk who were the core team). Aside from the participants, we need to thank Simon and Helen (who came in 2014) for providing us with sandwich lunch and pizza dinner. And to others who came out and provided us with snacks, sweets and drinks during the day: Lana, Steve, Jon, James, Rachel, Emily and Simon's Parents. Participant Tom too, seemed to have a constant stream of friends in all corners of London including Sam, Hugo, Jonathan, Andrea, and Ruaridh - well organised Tom, thank you!
Tube 1 | Tube 2 | Tube 3 | Tube 4 | Tube 5 | Tube 6 | Tube 7 | Tube 8 | Tube 9 | Tube 10 | Tube 11 | Tube 12 | Tube 13 | Tube 14 | Tube 15 | Tube 16 | Tube 17 | Tube 18 | Tube 19 | Tube 20 | Tube 21 | Tube 22 | Tube 23 | Tube 24 | Tube 25 | Tube 26 | Tube 27
Andy runs the his own website and blog, and you can read his writeup there, at Calling All Stations
We later found out the exact details on what had happened at Aldgate:
"Following reports from the BTP of a smell of burning on the station Aldgate station was closed and evacuated, E444 was detrained at Liverpool street to reverse empty at Aldgate with following Metropolitan Line services reversing at Moorgate and Circle Line services non stopped Aldgate where there were reports that the smell of burning is coming from a neighbouring building and the LFB are in attendance. An all clear was later given and the station re-opened with the first EB train 446. A 21 minute delay was recorded"
A video will follow at somepoint ...
Participant Emily then wrote us a brilliant poem the next day as she recovered!
Walk The Tube' is a charity tube challenge event so called, because we are not intending to break the record, therefore no real running is involved, and interchanges are made at walking pace instead!
You can find out more over on the TubeWorldRecord pages