Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Day 9 : going underground

Today the London Underground is 150 years old, well to be really accurate the Bakerloo line is. The tube driver informed us of this fact with glee this morning. The passengers all seemed just seemed beyond disinterested though. To me it was a break from the “stand clear of the doors” and “mind the gap” and I've always been rather intrigued about the whole London Underground lore. When I returned to London, my local tube was a Piccadilly suburban open air one and I would listen eagerly for the “singing” of the tracks that would herald the oncoming tube to whisk me off to work each day. I don't know when I first started craving more knowledge about this mundane part of so many of our daily commutes. I know I rather taken the underground/overground aspect, the station architecture, the stylised oh so ubiquitous tube map, the iconic roundel both the thread connecting all the stations and the illuminated saviour when looking for a way home from a less well known corner of London. Occasionally if you’re standing in the right spot you’d get enticing glimpses of the abandoned stations and I always intended a visit, sadly the fear of terrorism has closed that avenue of pleasure. When I moved more south west and my local line became the District line I wanted to find out why the tube trains were totally different to the Piccadilly line tubes, they didn't always seem to go from a to b via the quickest route. And then also why when they travelled underground it somehow didn't always seem very subterranean compared to their Piccadilly cousins. The answer, in case you're interested, is “cut and cover”. But enough of tube geekery, I need a photo.

Tonight is the Photography Social so I'm bound to have a handful of pictures but not with the tube in mind. Luckily when the Social at St. Paul's had petered out I headed for my last tube home and had some time to hopefully grab my century and a half commemorative photo. I had set my heart on a roundel but ideally I wanted a tiled wall and a tin plate edged in wood or metal. The big signs on the platform were just bit squares of metal, too modern and not right. I knew there was potential at Sloane Square but I was dangerously close to my very last tube and there's a limit to the lengths I’ll take to get that shot. And leaving myself without a viable way to get home on a school night is perhaps a length too far. Luckily the platforms had more promise, the tiles not quite as retro as I like but I grabbed my shot moments before the tube pulled in alongside.


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