|The Sun newspaper recommended a tube site
as their site of the week. The Evening Standard newspaper
regularly give us tube news, The Evening Standard's magazine -
ES has deemed the tube to be trendy. (ES magazine also used to
run a regular weekly feature on the tube "tube
talk" and I'll highlight the best of that later on.) Most
of the four page feature was about a new film called "Tube
Tales" which I told you all about in January 1999! Carlton
TV had a TV series devoted to the tubes in July 2000, and now
The Guardian have published a no holds bar feature from tube
station assistant Jesse Fuller telling us what it's like to
work on the tube. More of that later, but first there's a
section from the Evening Standard article I mentioned earlier
which sums up what my site is about:
enter the London Transport Museum shop they either turn left
or right. The ones who turn left and head for publications
like Rails Through the Clay or Light Rail Review
are, to put it bluntly, trainspotters.
The ones who
turn right, however, are a much funkier crowd. They might buy
a 'babe vest' with the word 'Angel' on it, or a pair of boxer
shorts decorated with 'Open flap for ventilation', 'Hold
Tight' or 'Stand on the Right'. They might be after a 'Mind
the Gap' record bag that immediately turns anyone suitably
bespectacled into Jarvis Cocker or some clodhopping black
shoes as modelled by the past hundred years by guards on the
Last year the
museum shop sold more goods per square foot than Marks &
Spencer and its success is symptomatic of an outrageous
phenomenon - the Tube has become trendy." (Actually if you
want to buy a range of trendy "Mind the Gap" tube inspired
clothing click here).
So with my site don't
expect too much on maps,
timetables (which the underground never really follows apart
from the first and last train!) and pictures of trains (you
can find these amongst my links
page if you really want them). What you should expect is fun,
the latest views about what it's really like to travel on the
tube and a good laugh. If you were in the London Transport
Museum shop you'd certainly be turning right!
wouldn't go as far ES magazine to say that "The
Underground logo has ceased to evoke downbeat words such as
'late for work' and 'person under a train', but instead evokes
words that marketing people like, such as 'young', 'street'
and 'urban'....the Underground logo is a pre-eminent symbol of
what is - thanks to the spin-doctoring of Blair - the coolest
city on earth." (Although I don't think he's too happy about
public transport at the moment - click
here to find out why.)
That should provoke some
debate and I'd be delighted to hear your views in the
I'm also currently working on a number
of stories about underground systems outside of London. So
watch this space, or better still, if you have any overseas
stories or know of any overseas sites like mine (not just
pictures of foreign subways, timetables or maps, as I've seen
most of those and they're not really in the spirit of this
site) let me know through the guestbook below.
Must tell you all that I'VE WON MY
FIRST AWARDS. You'll see more about them by clicking one of
the buttons on the bottom of the page. And just like London
buses just when you've been waiting a while for one, three
come along at once. My third award is not a travel related
award so I've put in on my page about tube
etiquette (don't ask me why), but the webmaster for this
award said the following of my site :
"I had a really good time wandering the pages of
your web site, which apart from looking really good, is
clearly the result of a lot of hard work. I am more than happy
to offer you my cool site award.
the Queen on the Victoria Line,
who obviously looks like
she approves of my awards!
However is she breaking a
My other award is named after a famous
cartoon character who appears on my page about tube
animals. Anyway enough of this basking in my own glory
(but if you want more awards & accolades click
here), onto the important stuff, please read on.....
of the moment
Brilliant and highly
topical ad right now for Abbey National - things that they
can't make happen in the summer but they would like to. It
would be great if there were free icecreams to make up for the
current delays we're getting because the tube system can't
cope with the heat and the lines are buckling. Perhaps Mayor
Ken Livingstone should spend less time offering £100,000 rewards for air conditioning and more time
one giving us poor commuters free iced water or ice-creams.
seen this man?
you're a Londoner, you have probably seen this ad for
Tropicana orange juice in tube carriages and in Metro
newspaper and it must have rung true. It's the tube loony -
the one person that no one wants to sit next to on the tube.
It's part of a series of ads which seem to have struck a chord
I spoke to Nick Alford from "Banks Hoggins O'Shea FCB" - a
leading London advertising agency - who were responsible for
the campaign. "We wanted to position this mini sized bottle
of fruit juice as a tonic against the irritating things that
Londoners face on an hourly basis. We see Tropicana as being
part of London's Urban Survival Kit. The ad is targeted at
those people who work in London and have a latent love for the
City but face many irritating situations on a regular
basis." he said.
Other ads in the campaign include two people wandering down
a street filled with coffee bars with a somewhat manic
"caffeine overdose" look on their face and the other is on my
rules page and shows a number of back packers with rather
large rucksacks. The agency did some research as to what most
irritated Londonders and these three seemed to be the most
popular irritations. The one with the tube loony says it all
to me. Note the empty seats either side of him and the strange
look on the face of the man on the left. It's top!! Many
thanks to Banks Hoggins O'Shea FCB and the photographer Dean
Marsh for permission to use the images.
If you've seen an ad on the tube which you think typfies
life on the tube let me know through the guestbook
and I'll try to get a comment from the agency responsible. For
more on tube ads hop over to this
Have you ever taken
a picture of yourself for a travelcard in one of those tiny
"Photo Me" booths on the Underground? Have you then rushed for
a train and left your picture behind? Have you ever lost your
Travelcard photocard? If you have, the Internet's answer to
the Baker Street lost property office could help. Isthisyou.co.uk, is a collection of passport
sized photos found on the Underground. It's quite a wacky
study of people in itself. You know how you never really look
like yourself on these passport sized pictures. Check it out,
who knows, you might find your lost picture there.
you are delayed - TEXT YOUR CLAIM
What a fantastic new idea. After the debacle over the
Central Line closure and the many claims for compensation, Tube
Refund have come up with a great way of making your claims
to the London Underground under the Customer Charter easy. The
Customer Charter seems to be little known on the tube.
"The London Underground Customer Charter offers a very
straightforward refund system for an individual journey
delayed more than 15 minutes (except in circumstances outside
LU control such as freak weather or security alerts). Claim
forms are available at any London Underground station. The
refund amount is the standard single fare for the Underground
journey you were undertaking."
Paul, from London
Thanks Paul for clearing this point up.
At present, London Underground receives only one
compensation form for every 1,700 passengers that travel. The
problem is that it's quite a hassle to remember to pick up a
form, fill it in, post it back, so now, thanks to Tube
Refund with a simple text or email, you get a form created
and completed in minutes and you send it off the to London
Underground by freepost. Up until the 1st November 2003 the
service is free, so make the most of it. After that point it's
a fiver for 25 forms and considering you could get from £25 to
£92.50 for those claims it's still a bargain.
If anyone else has views on delays, compensation etc let me
know through the
Gower signed my guestbook recently with this excellent
message which could take out some of the pain of filling in
the claims forms
"Having spent many hours trapped in delayed trains on the
Underground, I attempt to gain a level of retribution by
completing the Customer Charter Refund Form. This too I find a
total bind, so I have developed a small computer program to
assist in this task. The system operates by retaining my
personal information, as well as that relating to my season
ticket. I then simply complete the details relating to that
particular claim and insert a claim form in my printer. The
program has been set up to fill in the appropriate blanks,
except for the last line which is too close to the edge of the
page. I then can simply post off the claim and wait for the
"In addition, the system then records each claim so I have
a record of what claims are outstanding, and how long it takes
London Underground to process them, as well as a record of the
'value' of my vouchers.
"This project started out as a bit of fun, simply for my
own amusement. I was however quite appalled when I discovered
that London Underground process some 21,000 claims a week. The
cost of processing these claims in terms of stationary,
manpower, and loss of revenue to London Underground must be
horrendous. If anyone, especially from London Underground can
corroborate these figures, I would be interested to hear from
them. And if anyone is interested in my program please contact me. Who
knows, there may be something in this yet!"
Sounds like a top idea!!!!
Here's a few more views on claiming from the
"I think people should (claim). The Customer Charter allows
for refunds under such circumstances; therefore it makes sense
to claim them. Of course, LT have probably some weaselly
get-out clause that says you can't claim if the station is
shut or something....
"However, I always claim if I am held up for >15 minutes
for any reason, and LT have always been very good about
sending me a refund (which, incidentally, is transferable, so
you can pass it on to someone who needs to buy a Tube ticket).
The forms are usually kept in racks with other leaflets and
entitled "Customer Charter", so it's not altogether clear that
that's what they are.
"Mind you, if I were whoever orders such things, whenever a
train gets held up because of a breakdown, or person on the
line, or fouling the points (which is what happened at Brixton
recently), I think their people should be standing at the exit
gates handing out refund leaflets, instead of hoping most
people won't bother!....
"if your train gets held up through a breakdown or
something similar, LT will happily refund the cost of your
journey. Well, I don't know about happily, but they'll do it.
Whereas when it's a massive system failure that shuts down
most of a line, well.... one trainful is a very different
matter from a whole lines worth of angry commuters!......
"I wonder how many people would, like me, have
assumed there would be some frightfully good reason
not to pay under these circumstances, and not bothered
claiming? As I've said before, the forms aren't at all
obvious, and you have to know you can claim - I bet 90%
of Tube travellers don't know. They don't exactly hand
them out with a "So sorry you were delayed!" when you get off
after a train breakdown, do they?"
And a very reasonable reply from Paul (can't
believe I'm saying someone from LU is reasonable!).
"At the risk of chasing a lost cause I don't think you can
blame LU if people choose to make their own mind up about
whether it is claimable or not. Believe me for those that
think like you there are plenty that claim for absolutely
"Unless you took the time to explain it to people leaving
the station - and how much extra delay would that cause - most
people would drop them (the leaflets) on the floor straight
outside. Additionally, a little known fact is that only 1 in
10 of the claim forms we distribute at stations gets returned
- where on earth do they go? You may say, so what, but these
forms cost money to print - public money ! You are right some
people don't know about the charter refunds, most probably
wouldn't bother to claim for odd delays anyway.
"Extra point - if I get delayed on the Northern line to
central London, when I change trains and alight at Covent
Garden how do the staff there know that I have been delayed?
"I don't disagree with your point but there are some
fundamental practical problems."
Paul from London
"The only things not covered by the Customer Charter are
Acts of God, Industrial Action and previously announced
Engineering Work. Every time I've claimed, which hasn't been
very often, I've always received a refund."
More on this from Andrew McAleer who recently signed my
"I have a comment on customer refund forms. I regularly
fill these in, and keep a stack in my drawer at work to hand
to annoyed colleagues who might not think of it otherwise. I
have received a voucher for every single on I have filled in,
which would be great if only the people in the ticket booths
knew what they were. Every time I have tried to use them to
partly pay for my travelcard, the 'friendly' person has spent
ages reading the instructions on the voucher and then has had
to go through a lengthy system of signing and dating the back
of every one. I get about ten of these a month, so this means
by the time I've got my ticket there is an enormous queue
behind me, which makes ME feel guilty and loathe to use them
the next time!"
I wonder if this is a deliberate ploy!!!!
And if you have any travel queries, call
0207 222 1234 (The 24 Hour LT information line) and ask them
for advice and the latest news. Apparently (as well as
speaking English) they have operators fluent in Spanish,
Italian, German and several Asian languages so you may be able
to practice your language skills too!!
Is this what PPP
will bring us?
out http://www.new-tube.co.uk/ for a view of
what the tube might look like under the new PPP scheme -
Public-Private Partnership (privatisation basically!). Let be
known that I'm saying upfront that this is a spoof, but it's a
pretty good spoof, promising carpeted carriages, a
refreshments trolley on board, well off travellers not being
‘inconvenienced by common people’ etc etc. It's all by the
guys from Reclaim the Streets and has nothing to do with me -
honest guv, I'm not responsible for the content, blah blah,
legal blah, I'm not endorsing it or Reclaim the Streets blah
blah, follow the links at your own risk/peril blah blah. If
you want more on the PPP debate check out this
page on my site.
Seen someone you
fancy on the tube?
absolutely brilliant new site was bought to my attention which
is perfect for a common tube encounter. Picture this, you are
sitting opposite someone you really think looks the business.
They look like the man or woman of your dreams. But what do
you do? You can't talk to them as talking is not allowed. Even if you do you
will suffer the embarrassment of the rest of the entire non
talking carriage listening to your chat up lines.
Fear not as a website has been launched that is just for
you. ISawYouToday.com is exactly for this
situation. The webmaster of this delightfully wacky site says:
"It can't really be pigeon holed, but I guess the best
way to describe it is as a kind of introductory service for
people who have already met.
"Does that make any
"It was created to give people who have already seen
each other (at the moment restricted to the London
Underground) the chance to actually get to know each
"Once you've left a short message describing who you
are, and who the object of you affection is, along with the
tube line you were travelling on, and the time, you're almost
home and dry. Now just sit back and wait for the other person
to have the same idea as you, and Bob's your Uncle."
Top idea - only wish I'd thought of it first. Check it out
today, you might meet your Angel at Angel, or your
Josephine at Waterloo!! For a true story about a couple who
met on the tube and then got married check out this page on my site. Altogether now, let's
sing: "People all over the world, join hands, start a Love
Train, Love Train".
Mind your seat.
There's an email
currently doing the rounds about the tube as follows:
"During Autumn of 2000, a team of scientists at the
Department of Forensics at University College London removed a
row of passenger seats from a Central Line tube carriage for
analysis into cleanliness. Despite London Underground's claim
that the interior of their trains are cleaned on a regular
basis, the scientists made some alarming discoveries.
"The analysis was broken down. This is what was found on
the surface of the seats:
4 types of hair sample
(human, mouse, rat, dog)
7 types of insect (mostly fleas,
Vomit originating from at least 9 separate
Human urine originating from at least 4 separate
"When the seats were taken apart, they found:
remains of 6 mice
The remains of 2 large rats
previously unheard of fungus"
The email gets worse apparently it's far more hygienic to
wipe your hand on the inside of a recently flushed toilet bowl
before eating, than to wipe your hand on a London Underground
seat before eating. Do you smell a rat here - and not from the
tube seats? Some of my friends saw the email and thought of me
(not because I remind them of the stuff found on the tube -
but because of this site!).
Anyway before I decided to share this all with you I
thought I'd put on some journalistic integrity and do a bit of
research and I'm sorry to say it's all rubbish. I love it as
an Urban Myth but basically it's just too disgusting to
be true! However all of these things are definitely on the
tube. You'll see why if you explore the rest of this site - vomit,
and more - it's just not so concentrated! So many thanks to
the people who run the Urban Legends website and if anyone
wants to see the full email or learn about why it's false
check out their page here. Or you can check out an interview with an tube official on LBC
radio who confirms that it's all a hoax!
Go Jesse, Go Jesse, Go Jesse!!!
It had to happen and I must applaud Jesse
Fuller a tube station assistant for telling The
Guardian newspaper what it's like to work on the tube.
This feature (published 20th November 2000) is so in the
spirit of this site that I make no apologies for nicking loads
of it, but you can find the links to the full story later.
A bit of background, Jesse's been an tube station assistant
for 3 years, I'm not sure whether he still is or whether Jesse
is just a pen name but his story makes a great read, here's
the best bits:
"when I told a friend I was applying for the job of station
assistant he warned me, quite accurately, that underground
staff rank alongside traffic wardens in the London public's
hall of disdain."
Apparently the money was reasonable so Jesse got the job
"I took the job in good faith, with a half-formed plan to
let all the fare evaders off, take night walks in the tunnels
and even be friendly to the weary public. I was, after all,
one of them, born and bred in the shadow of the underground
roundel, and I had this dream of a station where the locals
would know we were on their side - a place where only tourists
would buy tickets and we would have a friendly word for the
regulars at the end of their journey."
Obviously Jesse could not fulfil this plan!!!!
"I found that the general public seemed to be, for some
unfathomable reason, pissed off all the time. Once, early in
my career, a man laden with luggage approached me at the
barrier and asked to be allowed through the gate. Naively, I
asked for his ticket. Luckily, the gentlemen was happy to put
me straight, at no charge. "You f?***&%g c**t. You want to
see my f?***%g ticket do you. You want me to put all my bags
down to show you my f?*&&g ticket? I'll show it to you
when I'm f?***g through, you f?***g c**t . . ." Meekly
suggesting that showing me the ticket either side would
require him to put down his luggage made no difference. .....
"Rudeness comes in many forms, from the tramp who wants to
beg in your ticket hall to the young whippersnapper who wants
to get himself and 13 mates through the gates with one child's
travelcard. There is also the faux-rebel who wants to prove
himself by being rude to a uniform. This kind of person
saunters straight past you at the barrier as though he is hard
and bunking the fare and then, when you pull him up, gives a
great big sneer and produces his monthly travelcard."
That's top I must remember that one myself. Anyway, Jesse
"You soon develop tactics to maintain your self-esteem.
Some are noble, but the most effective is simply to be ruder,
faster - which is no mean feat - and the experts at this game
are the booking clerks, secure behind bulletproof glass. The
clerk's life is an exercise in frustration - trapped at the
window, doing a job that requires concentration but little
actual intelligence, faced with hordes of incomprehensible and
indecisive idiots who are all trying to maximise the amount of
effort you have to put in just to sell them a ticket. After
days or, to be honest, hours of £2.10 tickets bought by credit
card and unintelligible tourists on top of a rush-hour crowd
of miserable Londoners, the more sensitive clerk starts to
wilt, and only dishing out tongue lashings, not always
appropriately, can restore his sense of pride.
"Why are you always so rude?" one customer asked the ticket
clerk on my duty. "The others here are always nice." "Well
come back when they're here then," he replied. On another
occasion a customer couldn't believe what he had been hearing.
"I've never heard such rudeness in all my life," he exclaimed.
"You want to get out more," came the response.
Jesse to be fair realises that beyond the "rudeness",
"acute stupidity" and "braindeadness" of passengers, we've
actually got a lot to put up with:
"Of course, the familiarity Londoners have with the tube
tends to be familiarity with overpricing, overcrowding and
under-running. The consequences of 30 years of efficiency
savings has left a skeletal system that has no slack to
accommodate the inevitable mishaps. In addition, the
inexorable rise in passenger numbers means that even a fully
functioning train service is bursting at the seams......
"The current crisis on the national rail system is a sure
indicator of the direction the underground is taking as
management fragments and the staff are required to be
multiskilled, in order that one person can do three people's
jobs. If the underground has avoided the catastrophes of the
train network, it is only because it has not yet succumbed to
the full-blown idiocy of privatisation."
I would love to put the whole article on this site but as
mentioned you can see it on the Guardian's website. Thanks, Guardian and
Prediction on Tube travel from 75 years
Metro newspaper recently reported on
Professor Archibald Montgomery Low (top name) who almost 75
years ago tried to guess what the Underground would look like
by 1999. Funnily enough his predictions mean that the current
tube system is well behind the times, however, we are
currently seeing some of the stuff he predicted.
predicted 100mph trains, mobile phones, solar energy, Eurostar
and the Travelcard...and an end to spitting on the Tube!. But
in 1914 writing for the transport magazine Trains,
Omnibuses and Trams he said
"In 1999 every station
will have comfortable waiting-rooms, with all the trains, the
news of the moment - and perhaps the picture of the moment -
thrown upon artistically illuminated screens".
believed that Londoners in 1999 would be more polite. However
a Tube worker replied to him in the magazine:
Underground passengers of 1999 try to enter the stations by
the exits, ignore the notice to stand aside on escalators?"
(see my page tube
rules for this).
He mentioned passengers abusing
station staff after going beyond their destinations (shame he
didn't know about the nun that was recently sued after going
past her destination on a bus!!) and added: "Will they exhibit
the same tendency to forego the rules and regulations, as do a
large proportion of the travelling public of
Certainly. It's nice to see that transport
staff had the same happy frame of mind in 1914 that they do
today. Until London Transport staff get less of an attitude
problem and stop suing nuns for going past their stops, and
start taking lessons in customer service and start having a
bit of sympathy for people who've been stuck in overcrowded
hot smelly carriages that you wouldn't even transport cattle
in, I think you're going to be stuck with a ordinary 20th
century passenger well into the 21st century too.
This train is not
going to Parsons Green
Thanks to whoever
took some of the following quotes from my website and sent
them out in an email as this has now been passed on to
thousands of people which is great!!! (If you could give the
URL of my website when doing this next, it would be even
better www.going-underground.net). It was most surprising too
when I received it at work myself and two days before my
ex-husband did and at the weekend some of my friends were
talking about it too. Seems to have really touched a nerve
with the Londoners (Chris Tarrant on Capital FM radio even
read some out - and you may have come here from the feature in
The Evening Standard) and people have
been signing my guestbook
with more announcements, so keep em coming in.
Here's the announcement that started it all off, much
funnier ones follow.
District Line, hometime, me and several hundred other
passengers and indeed the station announcer at Earl's Court
were thoroughly confused by the signal men. I hopped on the
tube at Victoria thinking that I was on a Richmond bound
train. At Earl's Court, the platforn indicator said Parsons
Green. I ignored this as ...well, when did you last believe
what the indicator at Earl's Court said? Anyway, there were
several loud announcements and it turned out that the train
was going to Parson's Green. Unfortunately the carriage was
packed with Italian students who didn't get off. Now maybe
they knew something I didn't, because they all carried on to
Parsons Green, which is completely in the wrong direction to
Richmond. Perhaps I should have been public spirited and said
"Are you sure you all want to go to Parson's Green", but my
Italian is non existent, so I didn't!
Anyway on the
platform of Earl's Court, the female announcer was beginning
to get a bit harrassed and apologises for the boards and
enthusiastically tells us that the next Richmond train is just
leaving South Kensington and will be with us in four minutes
time. She then gave us minute by minute updates apologising
for the confusion.
Four minutes later and the train
appears with 'Richmond' on the platform indicator. We're all
about to pile on the train, when lo and behold it changed to
'Parsons Green' again.
"I am sorry," the
announcer says "I was told this train was going to Richmond
and the signal men have changed their mind and this train is
now going to Parsons Green".
The same thing
happened with a train that was supposed to be going to Ealing
Broadway and ended up going to Wimbledon
Another four minutes and a Richmond train
appeared. The announcer was now in full swing "The train at
platform three is not going to Parsons Green but to Richmond.
The train approaching platform two is also not going to
Parsons Green but to Ealing Broadway. These trains are not
going to Parsons Green despite what the signal men
So onto the much funnier announcements from
you all......I thank you:
Rob from the newsgroup uk.london.local heard the
following on a Northern Line service...:
"Beggars are operating
on this train, please do NOT encourage these professional
beggars, if you have any spare change, please give it to a
registered charity, failing that, give it to
Paul from uk.transport.london heard the
following on the Piccadilly Line
"to the gentleman
wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second
carriage, what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you
Here's one from Matt in
Hammersmith which strangely enough I heard on the same day on
the Piccadilly line.
"Whilst travelling Eastbound on the Piccadilly Line the
driver announced "This is Knightsbridge Station... All
change here for Mr Fayed's little corner shop.." Laughs
all around, apart from the Americans sitting opposite who
didn't get the joke!"
STOP PRESS TOP DRIVER'S "AUDIO" ANNOUNCEMENTS - COMING UP
Nik Fox recorded a really, really, TOP
London Underground driver who was clearly either on drugs, or
delirously happy, or both. It's a classic, he talks about
people singing along with buskers, getting someone who's come
on the train with an ironing board to do the ironing, and how
every man on the carriage should stand up for any Mum as it's
Mother's Day tomorrow. So (drum roll) for the first time, you
can hear some hysterical driver's announcements HERE (1.20MB file - large
but worth it)
In a way that only the internet could, the actual tube
driver - Richie - has tracked me down. Here's his story in his
"I had recieved a phone call from my colleague a train
operator at Wembley Park depot on the Jubilee line. He told me
that he had heard my rather over the top announcements on this
web site. I of course immediately went online and have to say
I'm for once speechless. That could be a first for me. In case
you're wondering I'm the guy you've taped and called the
really really top train operator. I'm glad and I know the
majority of passengers enjoy the odd banter or five and just
to confirm I am sane not on drugs, generally happy and smiling
and that's not wind. There is lots more to come maybe even the
Friday night request ride announcing birthdays etc for those
who wish. Maybe even tonight when I start at 5.00pm. Catch me
if you can. A big cheers!"
Nik Fox - I'm indebted to you (you can read my
interview with Nik here), and now back to the rest of the
Here's one from Oliver Page with more goings on at
"A District Line train To Parsons Green the driver said
over the intercom (whispering) This train is for Parsons
Green calling at all the f***ing STATIONS to Parsons
Then about 5 mins after the driver shouted loudly down the
intercom "I AM VERY SORRY FOR MY LANGUAGE I HAVE BEEN
SACKED YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER DRIVER AT FULHAM
Mark Rae gave the following story:
been a problem on the Central Line and as usual at Leyton you
can see the trains queued back down the track, but one train
was still standing at the platform even though he had a green
light. I was beginning to wonder why the driver wasn't moving
off when he made this announcement.
"Sorry for the
delay ladies and gentlemen but there is a queue of trains
ahead of us so I have decided to wait here, because I'm sure
you don't want to sit in a tunnel getting hot and sweaty"
Also on the Central line, unfortunately I didn't see
the people it was directed at.
"Next time, you
might find it easier to wait until the doors are open before
trying to get on the train"
And from the guard on
a GNER train which broke down before it managed to leave Kings
"This train is completely broken, it isn't going
And "airwaves" heard the
following on the Victoria Line
"this is Brixton,
err, no, it's Victoria!"
" "This is
like that tv advert, I hope the person next to you is wearing
a good deodorant!"
Many a snigger"
Sunday afternoon at Camden town station - which gets very
crowded indeed due to the Camden Lock market - I heard the
platform announcer giving the usual 'Please let the passengers
off the train first' request. He repeated this request about
four or five times becoming more audibly frustrated each time
with the customers obvious reluctance to do so. After his
final exasperated and rather shrill 'let the passengers off
the train FIRST!' He gave up... 'Go on then, stuff
yourselves in like sardines, see if I care, I'm going
home.' Cue uproarious laughter from the whole station.
Love the site, keep up the fantastic work.
"I take the Hammersmith & City Line every morning from
Hammersmith to Moorgate. This morning the trip took me about
20 min longer than usual. Long stop in Paddington, long stop
in Baker Street - but no explanation. It stopped again in the
tunnel just outside Moorgate. After having sat there freezing
for about 10 min the announcement came at last: "I
apologise for the delay but the computer controlling the
signalling at Aldgate and Whitechapel has the MONDAY MORNING
BLUES" I have heard a lot of excuses before - but a
R D Kramer - who signed my
"Re your 'Amusing announcements heard' section: This one
doesn't really qualify, but I feel a compunction to tell as
many people as possible about what happened on a Jubilee Line
train about a week before Xmas. Bear in mind that I'm STILL
waiting to hear back from the Jubilee Line Head Office and the
LU website, despite contacting both the day after this
"It was a pretty average day on the Jubilee line - I'd had
to wait over 10 minutes at Bond Street at the height of the
evening rush hour. Eventually a train signalled for Wembley
Park turned up, and we all piled on. Unfortunately, when we
pulled into West Hampstead, it was announced that the train
was terminating there. It was a freezing cold night, and by
the time the next train turned up 8 minutes later, nobody was
in the mood to wait for the next train which was signalled for
an impressive 13 minutes later. So again, we all piled on -
squashed on like sardines as usual - only to hear the driver
come over the intercom about 30 seconds later to say (and I
quote): 'We can't move off because some c*** has their
f***ing hand stuck in the door'. Unbelievable!"
Danielle from North West London who signed my
I'm indebted to Horst Prillinger from The Vienna
Subway site on this one, who spotted the following
announcment on the uk.transport.london
noticeboard, posted by Simon Hewison:
"I was at Mill Hill East the other day, a quiet tube
station, and the driver of the train said something like
"Hello this is xxx speaking, I am the captain of your
train, and we will be departing shortly, we will be cruising
at an altitude of approximately zero feet, and our scheduled
arrival time in Morden is 3:15pm. The temperature in Morden is
approximately 15 degrees celsius, and Morden is in the same
time zone as Mill Hill east, so there's no need to adjust your
It caused a laugh from all the passengers."
Risque one here from Jo from Earls Court, heard on the
"I apologise for the delay leaving the station ladies
and gentlemen, this is due to a passenger masturbating on the
train at Edgeware Road. Someone has activated the alarm and he
is being removed from the train."
Another in a similar vein from Liz W from Lewisham.
"Waiting for the train at Lewisham Station one morning during
the usual rush hour when the following announcement was heard.
"Could the guy who has decided to defecate at the end of
Platform Two, now please be aware that all the rest of the
passengers waiting for their trains know you are there and you
will have to walk past them to leave the station. There is no
other means of escape. "
He then went on, a couple of minutes later to tell us all
when the chap in question was leaving and where to look. I was
very surprised to see that he was a well dressed man in a suit
carrying a brief case. Must have been a very bad case of the
trots. Haven't seen him again at Lewisham station. 'spect he
has now left the country. "
This one's from Amy Lang from Essex who signed my guest
"Taking the Central Line from Epping one morning, there was
a delay (fairly inevitable these days) in starting the
journey. The driver, or 'train operator' as they prefer to be
known as, came on the tannoy and said he wasn't sure of the
delay, but was making enquiries. We then heard his radio
crackle into life and he proceeded to have a discussion with
his colleague over the radio regarding the hold up of
departure. Whether it was deliberate or not, the driver failed
to switch off the tannoy system, and an already full train of
commuters heard the comment "bollocks to the lot of them, I
don't care if they don't make it to work."
Sad but true, they don't.
These gems are from Chris Thomas from London who
signed my guestbook
At Whitechapel on a H&C train: (Stuck at Whitechapel
for 10 mins...) "Apparently, this train is no longer
terminating at Barking, but is in fact, terminating here. I'm
sorry about this but I too was under the impression that this
train was going to Barking, but 'they' have other ideas. I
mean, why tell me - I'm merely the driver..."
On central line train: (Very slow moving...) "We have
what is technically known as a Frank Spencer Situation... Hmm
Betty, we've got a little bit of trouble..."
On East London line train: (Heard the guy say this a couple
of times when I was working in Lewisham) [In deep voice, and
with heavy, laid back West Indian accent:] "We are now
approaching New Cross station... Please make sure you have all
your belongings with you when you leave the train... I hope
you enjoyed your journey and you found it nice and relaxing...
And I hope you have a wonderful day today...good bye..."
Classic one from John from Kilburn:
"Today while travelling on the jubilee line Gary our rather
amusing driver gave out the following announcement, "Ladies
and Gentlemen do you want the good news first or the bad
news?...... The good news is that last Friday was my birthday
and I hit the town and had a great time. I felt sadly let down
by the fact that none of you sent me a card! I drive you to
work and home each day and not even a card. The bad news is
that there is a point's failure somewhere between Stratford
and East Ham, which means that we probably won't reach our
destination. We may have to stop and return. I won't reverse
back up the line simply get out walk up the platform and go
back to where we started. In the meantime if you get bored you
can simply talk to the man in front or beside you or opposite
you. Let me start you off "Hi, my names Gary how do you
Good on yer, Gary.
This one's from Elizabeth Gilliard from London
"I heard this waiting for a train from Paddington to Oxford
Circus: "This is the Line Control Room at Baker Street. The
Bakerloo Line is running normally today, so you may expect
delays to all destinations." "
Here's one from someone who calls herself Bluddymary (also
close to my heart as I used to travel on the Waterloo &
City line too):
"I heard on this on the Waterloo and City line heading to
Bank one morning. There was quite a bit more, but
unfortunately, I can't remember it all. 'Well good morning
everyone and welcome to your Waterloo and City Line service on
this lovely, yummy, lemon-scummy day. This is your
Waterloo....' then realising that he had already said
Waterloo and City Line service,
'train...service...thingy'. Then as we approached
Bank,'Well ladies and gentlemen. I can see a light in front
of me which I think is probably Bank station, so that's good
isn't it? But I personally was hoping for Calais. Perhaps next
Two more Waterloo & City Line classics here from Nic
(also from London)
Northern line: "Ladies and gentlemen we will shortly be
arriving at Waterloo, then I think we will carry right on
through the channel tunnel and spend the weekend in
Waterloo and City Line: "Good evening ladies and gents,
and welcome to the Waterloo and City line, sights to observe
on the journey are, to your right, black walls and to your
left, black walls. See the lovely black walls as we make out
way to Waterloo. We will shortly be arriving at Waterloo where
this train will terminate, we would like to offer you a glass
of champagne on arrival and you will notice the platform will
be lined with lapdancers for your entertainment - have a good
Hannah Mummery from Lewisham came up with these:
Heard at Aldgate East one busy morning "Please use all
available doors, there are some really good ones at the front
of the train!"
Also at Canada Water on the East london Line "we're
going to wait here for a bit so I suggest you stretch youre
legs, it's alright I won't go without you" later on the
same journey at Wapping "Sorry ladies and gentlemen we'll
have to wait here for a bit I've been told a computer has
fallen off a table somewhere and all the signals have gone
wrong so we're stuck"
This one from Claire Singleton (top name) is dear to my
heart as I live in Kew Gardens:
"I was prompted to find your site after receiving the
famous 'drivers' quotes' e-mail. I heard this one, sweet
rather than stunningly funny, while travelling home on the
District Line one night in late August. Waiting to depart from
Tower Hill, sitting on a train that had terminated there and
was turning around to go back, the driver said 'welcome to
this lovely train - taking the scenic route to Richmond'.
I'm sure you can imagine the ironic tone of voice with which
it was uttered.... Great site."
And a question on a train driver from Nic
"I remember stories a few years back about a rastafarian
guy who used to work at Camden Tube but was sacked after
making announcements like 'the next train is arriving from
another dimension'- or words to that effect. Anyone know
any more about him?"
If you do can you let me know through the guestbook
Thanks to Eleonar Sullivan for this one:
"I was on the Northern line one evening and when it stopped
at Borough station, the doors opened and the announcment came
through. "You have 5 seconds, 1...2...3...4...5." Then
the doors slammed shut again. Also, one morning in rush hour,
I was on the Northern line again, and we all got chucked out
of the tube because it was broken. Obviously when the next
tube came along, we all tried to get on, and there was lots of
"Please stand clear of the DOORS" before we could get going.
When we finally started moving again, the driver says over the
tannoy, "This is a customer announcement, please note that
the big slidy things are the doors, the big slidy things are
Most recently from Alec Roxburgh
"I heard this on the Northern line recently: "Ladies and
gentlemen this train has 22 doors on each side, please feel
free to use all of them, not just the two in the middle".
Thanks to Phil Marshall from Herts for this
"I too have experienced the "too many trains ahead, don't
want you to get hot and sticky" while waiting on the Circle
line at Kings Cross. However, more amusing was the
announcement at Liverpool Street Circle Line from the platform
staff: "This is information for passengers waiting on
platform 2. There is no information. I'm hoping to have some
soon and as soon as I do, I'll let you have it.". Brought
a welcome smile to many faces."
This one's from Damian from Rainham, Essex
"Enjoyed the site, particularly for the station
announcments. I have a couple to add, both on the District
Line eastbound. On one occasion, the train had stopped at
Barking (Upminster bound), and seemed to pause for a long
time. Eventually there came the announcement, "We're
...erm... sorry for the delay. This is because the train is
waiting for a new driver. Not that there was anything wrong
with the old one. But, ..., well. we're waiting for a new
"Another occasion, I had just boarded the District line at
Mile End, and the train had just pulled out of the station
when it ground to a halt. There was a short pause before the
driver said, "We're sorry for the delay, but there's a
doggy on the track in front of us" (yes, he did actually
say "doggy"!!). "In a minute the lights will go off, while
we get the doggy moved to a place of safety." Lights go
off, we all sit in anxious silence. 3 minutes later, lights
back on. "You'll be pleased to know that the doggy has now
been removed from the track and is safe and well, so we can
resume our journey."
Here's two from Philip Graeme Brown from Borehamwood
"Got another announcement one for you. 23 October around
6:40pm, Baker Street had been shut due to overcrowding
(personally the easiest way around that is to let the trains
stop, but never mind). As my Met line approached heading
towards Amersham an announcement came over from the driver
saying. "We are now travelling through Baker Street, as you
can see Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if
they had actually told me, so I could tell you, but no, they
don't think about things like that"
"Also, way back in the early 90s when the DLR first opened
to Bank the Captain could be heard of the tannoy saying.
"We are now approaching the new tunnel, so after three...1,
2, 3 wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Anyway, great website!
This one's from Poppy from West Hampstead:
"On my way down the Northern Line, the train stopped in a
tunnel. After a few minutes, the driver's voice came:
"sorry for the delay, but there has been an incident at
King's Cross. Someone has attacked the driver (*big sigh*)
9.15am on a Monday morning and there's been an incident
already. The police have been called. (*Pause*) It's a good
thing I'm not a policeman, because I'd lock them all up for
life. (*pause* *lower voice*) either that or shoot them."
Ok, here's a good one from someone who calls themself
"While they were finishing off the Jubilee line extension,
having told people it would be out of action for yet another
few months, I heard the following announcement on the Victoria
'just to remind passengers, that owing to
management incompetence, the Jubilee line will not be open
until... I repeat, the Jubilee line will not be reopening
until... this is due to management incompetence'
I forget the exact reopening date, but the message
'also, I would like to apologise for the delay to your
SO CALLED Victoria line service, this was due to ... errr the
wrong kind of rain!!' "
Not a train driver but it's so brilliant it needs to be
added. It's from Pippa in Cricklewood:
"A friend of a friend (etc..) worked as a station assistant
at Warren Street station and one day whilst making a public
announcement re busking/begging on London Underground, got the
two slightly confused and came up with the following gem:
"London Underground would like to remind everyone that
buggering is not allowed at any Underground station!"
Here's a brilliant one from Catherine:
"About 2 years ago, I was on a Central Line Eastbound train
at Bank. The driver had been making jokes about 'minding the
doors' and 'waiting for passengers to leave the train first',
since I'd got on at Oxford Circus. But the best one was at
"He asked the passengers for the second time to 'mind the
doors' (and the gap!) and then added 'Yes you, the woman in
the long brown coat, love. I suggest you should shave your
legs in future, it'll stop the hairs getting caught in the
doors. Look at her everyone! Mingin!'. (PAUSE) Anyway,
have a safe journey please, mind the doors, the doors are
closing.' I promise you this actually happened. I remember
it as if it was yesterday!"
This is from Stefane from Earl's Court:
"During the security alerts brought about by the IRA in the
early-mid 90's, our westbound District Line train waited for
some 45 mins outside Westminster station "due to a security
alert". The following was a genuine announcement: "Ladies
and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay, but there is a
security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck
here for the foreseable future, so let's take our minds off it
and pass some time together. All together now.... Ten green
bottles, hanging on a wall...." And yes after a couple of
green bottles, most had joined in and we completed the song.
The driver then went mysteriously quiet."
Here's a little something from Dave T who's from
Cornwall but heard this when visiting London:
"We were held outside of Green Park on the Victoria Line,
'Well, well, well, ladies and gentlemen, it's happened
again. Delays on your Victoria line and all sorts of trouble
on the Jubilee. Gawd only knows what's going on there, it's
gonna take more than Ken Livingstone to sort that tube out. By
the way, Green Park is our next stop. Thankyou."
We eventually rolled into Green Park to this merry
"This is Green Park, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to
Grrreeeen Park. Change here for ..... and the Jubilee line if
you're desperate. Hope you've got plenty of time if you go for
that one. This is Grrrrreeeeen Park"
Seemed to brighten up everyone's day. The driver was
similarly eloquent all the way along the line.
Here's one from Nathan in Slough
"Reminded me of one heard on the Central Line a few months
ago. I was sitting in the front carriage, right behind the
drivers er.. "compartment" and heard: "Oh for f***'s
sake!", followed by a PA announcement something like
"Apologies for the delay but we have lost power to the
train as you can tell by the blinding speed at which we're
travelling. I'll give more information as soon as I get any!"
Here's one I heard recently, and the driver had a
particularly dreary voice
"We are taking the scenic route to Upminster on the
District Line." Yeah, Yeah - I think I've heard that
before, but then he said "All stations to Upminster with
the exception of Cannon Street, which does not stop there on
Saturdays due to ....(PAUSE) ...total lack of interest."
A rather good one from Naomi from Plaistow:
"Welcome aboard the Flintstones railway, once I get my feet
on the floor and start running we should be on our way".
Here's a few from Owain Sutton from Manchester
On the Circle Line, bottlenecked south of Liverpool
"I apologise for the delay, caused by trying to fit
too many trains onto too little track."
Virgin service London-Manchester,
heavily delayed: "We are now approaching Manchester
Piccadilly. On behalf of Virgin Trains I'd like to apologise
that you had to put up with such an awful journey, and can
only hope that your day doesn't get any worse."
Central Trains, Norwich-Liverpool (in strong Norfolk
"We apologise for the late departure from
Norwich, which was a result of the driver having had his car
A great one here from Luca from Putney:
I have my own particular favourite announcement. I was
going back to Putney on a late night District Line train.
There were some guys smoking in one of the carriages so at
Putney Bridge the driver announced "May I remind all
passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any
part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint
it is only fair that you pass it round the rest of the
Heard on the Jubilee Line from Alan in London
"The auto announcements weren't working so the driver was
making the announcments himself. We arrived at Green Park and
heard the following: ' Change for Pictoria and Vicadilly
Lines'! Much laughter in the first car!"
Here's a story from Jo in Morden: "I use the
District line everyday (worse luck) and there have been a few
classics, the most notable being the morning the driver made
his usual "stand clear of the doors announcement" and forgot
to turn off his PA! It was great fun, as he was effin and
blinding all the way to East Putney (I dunno who he was
talking to!) when some kindly soul spoilt our fun.
Another good one was during a spate of the dreaded
points/signal failures at Southfields - after we managed to
pass Southfields (in only 40 mins from Wimbledon) the driver
said "we are all clear now, and should be fine. Until the
next bloody problem that is"
They suffer as much as we do!"
More sardonic tones in this one from Audrey in
London: "On a Northern Line train last week the driver made
this announcement..."Due to an overpowering smell of
sewage, this train will NOT be stopping at Highgate. I repeat,
this train will NOT stop at Highgate". then, a minute
later, "Ladies and gentlemen...this train IS stopping at
Highgate, and of course I'm the last to know"
Slightly sadistic one here from Jo
"I was on my way home from work a few months ago
(travelling through Oxford Circus tube station), when a bored
voice came over the tannoy "Please note that begging is not
permitted in any part of London Underground", there was a
short pause and the voice continued "however to the
gentleman busking away happily next to the escalators, please
carry on and enjoy yourself. The transport police have been
called and should be with you shortly..."
Here's a little rant from Tom near Wood Green
"Just a quick note about the Victoria Line Driver noted by
Dave T earlier on the site. (Grrrrrrreen Park). I'm glad he's
been spotted. Militant striker or not - his enthusiastic
delivery of station knowledge certainly brightens up every
journey I share with him ... As an example: "High Berry ...
and .... Is Ling Ton!"
"Then he runs down what seems the complete list of stations
you can travel to from the place, and on which train
"He completes: "Ladies and Gentlemen: High Berry ... And
... Is Ling Ton!"
"To break the monotony of him not speaking, he plays those
pre-recorded little messages so that we "Please remember that
smoking is not permited on any London Underground train." etc
etc. Mr Victoria Line Driver, you are a top bloke, and
brighten the days of many ordinary commuters, visitors, and
tourists. I salute you!
"If you and your employers could encourage some of your
miserable colleagues to follow similar, and actually use their
personalities for the good of humananity, it would be
appreciated. In my opinion, driving a tube can't be that hard
(I formulated this opinion the day after the first strike on
"safety" earlier this year, when my Piccadilly Line driver
pulled into Turnpike Lane station reading a copy of The
Here's some from the Guardian's website - they nicked some
from here, so here's a few in return
"Ladies and gentlemen, upon departing the train may I
remind you to take your rubbish with you. Despite the fact
that you are in something that is metal, fairly round, filthy
and smells, this is a tube train and not a bin on wheels."
"Your delay this evening is caused by the line
controller suffering from elbow and backside syndrome, not
knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let you know any
further information as soon as I'm given any."
"I am sorry about the delay. Apparently some nutter has
just wandered into the tunnel at Euston. We don't know when
we'll be moving again, but these people tend to come out
pretty quickly. In bits."
To all footy fans here's one from Stevinho from
"On a journey from Central London to Arsenal for an
important mid week Champions League game the driver made the
following announcement: 'The next stop is Arsenal, For
those of you that wish to see Tony Adams standing around for
90 minutes with his arm in the air please get off here. Not my
cup of tea but there you go!'
Here's a few from Damien from Bow.
"Travelling west one Friday evening on the District line,
there had been a suicide at Mile End station. The driver made
the following announcement as we were about to leave Bow Road.
"Mile End station is closed. This train will not be
stopping at Mile End. The next stop will be Turnham
Green". Which was perhaps a little excessive, given the 20
odd stations in between. Perhaps he meant Stepney Green!!
"More recently on an east bound district line from
Embankment: "We're sorry for the delay. This is due to the
incompetence of the signal operators in the Aldgate area".
And then the driver who sounded so fed up when he said,
"Please allow the passengers off the train first. It's
easier that way."
Here's one I heard on the Piccadilly Line "Please note
that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the
doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or
your bags into the doors."
Lucy from Lewisham shares this little gem with us
"During a last-tube journey on the Victoria line, my
boyfriend and I were in the front carriage, and whilst stuck
in a tunnel we heard every sound in the driver's cab, as the
driver stood up, undid his trousers, and peed out of his cab
A Christmassy tale from JoJo
"A fairly normal morning on the Jubilee line, about twenty
minutes late and the train stopped at Baker Street. The usual
announcement and then "and as I am sure you all know folks
it is now only xx shopping days till Christmas and everyone is
getting in the mood for festivities. If any of you would like
to send my a Christmas card my names is Richard, I usually do
this run on the Jubilee line and you can find me at the front
of the train." Only me and this other girl actually
laughed. Everyone else looked appalled!!!
Here's a couple Jo heard at Rickmansworth station on
the Metropolitan line:
"In the mornings, there is always a change of driver at
Rickmansworth. This changeover always seems to take forever,
and one morning we found out why from the station announcer:
"Mr Adams, would you please stop gassing to Mr Farnham
and get this bloody train out of the station!"
Also one morning from the station announcer to a bunch of
schoolkids on the platform:
"You lot sitting where you
think I can't see you - put that fag out, what would your
It gave me something to smile about for the day..."
Thanks to Hugh Morrison from London for these: "Here
are some comments I've heard from tube drivers:
"During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the
driver announced in a West Indian drawl 'step right this
way for the sauna, ladies and gennelmun...unfortunately towels
are not provided'.
"On the Northern Line, when a teenager had pretended to
jump in front of the train, the driver announced: 'you
should have done it mate, it might have knocked some sense
"On the Jubilee Line, when most of the train was stuck in a
tunnel but the driver's cab was just outside: 'well ladies
and gentlemen, I'm pleased to tell you it's a lovely sunny day
outside...but of course you wouldn't know that, because you're
sitting in the dark'.
Richard from Guildford left a couple for us
This was at Holborn tube, 18:45 Friday: (Emphasis in caps)
"This is a TRAIN, get ON IT, go HOME, see you Monday."
And another from a long time ago on a northbound train at
Kennington, where the Northern Line splits to go via the City
(Bank) of the West End (Waterloo) in a very deadpan voice:
"This train is for all stations to Edgware via Waterloo,
which means that if you want to go to Bank you're on the wrong
You do worry that some of these drivers are in charge of
the trains. Here's a surreal ones. Firstly from Liam
(originally from Birmingham)
"I think it was on a (delayed) Jubilee line train to Green
park, when over the tannoy came: "this train is delayed due
to err... someone upset the computer while playing alex harvey
music on an MP3... oh, if anyone meets a guy called Cory
Berry, tell him that he stinks"
The next is from a signalman from the Piccadilly Line
"Got on a District Line train home one afternoon, and got
to Earls Court with no problems. After about 5 mins and God
knows how many "Mind The Doors" announcements, the driver
proceeds with the following announcemnt: "Would the person
with the black bag please put it in, I don't get it what is it
with you people? You have a big bag and you have to
accommodate for that on the train, you can't leave it hanging
out of the doors. It's hot, I wanna get home, you wanna get
home, so let's all co-operate, keep our hands,legs and bags
inside the train and we can get home quickly, OK?"
And one from Michelle in Kennington:
Here's a classic for your tube announcements section.
I was waiting on the Jubilee line platform at London Bridge
Last night (13/2/02) and heard the following announcement
from, what I imagined to be the station controller:
"To the person skateboarding down the southbound
platform of the Northen Line - I suggest that you stop. There
are approximately 640 volts going through the line beneath
you, and if you care to fall off the skateboard you will find
Here's one from Kate from North London, heard on the
"Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse
this with 'Please hold the doors open'. The two are distinct
and separate instructions."
Ruth Smith tube free Catford has an early morning
message for us
"Earlier in the week a "Passenger Service Agent" (I think
that that is what they are called) kindly did his bit for the
London tourist industry, informing us that "The next
station is Cutty Sark for the Greenwich Maritime Museum".
This put a smile on the faces of a lot of still sleepy
commuters. It was 6.45 in the morning....."
One from John Whitehead in the City of London, heard
on the Victoria Line
"We apologise for the delays to services tonight, this
is caused by extended intervals between trains." Really!
A great one here from Jonathan Lovett:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to
your service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of
couse, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case
you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the
Provoked a laugh from the whole train. Can't remember which
station it was heard on, but I think was on the Central Line."
Here's one I recently heard at Baron's Court on the
Piccadilly Line: "Please mind the gap when leaving the
train. If you're not leaving the train, there's no need to
mind the gap. It's all right, you're safe." Surreal and
Nice one from Neill Ireland
"Staggering off a all night flight from America I got on to
the tube at Heathrow with a number of bleary eyed fellow
travelers. After 5 or 6 minutes the tube doors closed but
nothing happened. A slightly threatening voice then came over
the intercom "Welcome back to life in the fast lane"
and with that the train took off!"
Another one from me, from a lady driver (not too many of
them around), she was top and was full of wry comments
throughout my journey on the Piccadilly Line from Hammersmith
to Covent Garden. Firstly "To the gentleman with the camera
who just took a picture of this train, I am happy to pose for
any photographs, but please make sure you do not use flash as
it can cause a distraction to us drivers and I'm told your
pictures will come out better with no flash"
Later in the same journey when the train was really packed,
doors close on some people getting on, open again quickly and
lady driver's dulcet tones "As much as I don't want to
separate friends, please mind the doors, the train is about to
A brill one here from Jane from East Finchley:
On leaving the Victoria train I heard the platform
assistant say: "Welcome to Euston. You can change here for
the Northern line, go upstairs to the mainline station or just
wonder around the area. But hey, it's Friday so lets all be
happy. Good afternoon passengers...You were meant to say good
afternoon back. I'll say it again. Good afternoon
At this point there were a few calls of "Good afternoon"
from inside the train.
"Sorry that was rubbish.I could hardly hear you. I can
keep this train here all day you know. So come on... Good
At this point a loud "Good Afternoon" was heard from the
train. "There, now that didn't hurt did it? Have a good
I could hear much laughter from the passengers as the train
as the doors closed. Who need to wait for Christmas for
From Martin a regular passenger to Walthamstow: "I
heard one on the Victoria line once at Seven Sisters I
supposed to be on a train to Walthamstow, but it stopped short
at Seven Sisters. The Driver announced "All change please,
this train terminates here, if you wanted Walthamstow you were
on the wrong train in the first place. Please cross over to
platform 3 for the next Walthamstow train" Really made me
laugh all the way home!!"
Here's one from Matt from Adelaide but now in
London: "I was once travelling on the Victoria line during
peak hour, when I had the fortune of having a humourous driver
"This is the northbound Victoria line train. Please move
right down inside the carriage to allow more people to get
on." Normal so far. Then he continued "Move right down
inside please - it's a Friday afternoon, the weekend has just
started, and we all would like to get home. Please move inside
the carriages so everyone can board the train. I know it is a
bit squashy, but you never know, you might make a new friend
to spend the weekend with. Mind the closing doors,
please". There were many chuckles, and it raised everyones
spirits a bit!
And another Matt gives us this: "Whilst having a
night out up town one evening, my mum and dad were standing on
the platform waiting for a train. As the train was
approaching, the guard piped up "Would everybody please
take one big step backwards please!" After a small pause,
the guard made a different request "Anybody with their back
to the platforms edge, who are on the yellow line, please
ignore my last message!". To which the platform of people
burst out laughing and the humorous guard piped up "Heh,
I'd thought you'd like that one!!!"
Someone who calls themselves Potato Chip came up
with the following: "On a lazy Monday afternoon a couple of
weeks back there was a rather entertaining announcement at
London Bridge on the Northern Line branch by the one of the
station announcers. There was a man on the end of the platform
bouncing his basketball. He recieved this message. "To the
man bouncing his ball on the platform, please take yourself
and your ball to the nearest playground! In other words, the
middle of the road right outside the station!" I hope
you'll be glad to know he DIDN'T die by being run over after
that incident, though he has been recently spotted (with his
ball) at Canary Wharf having trouble holding it going down the
Heard on the District Line by Alan in London: "We
were arriving into Victoria when a young man decided to drop
his pants and show us his bottom. Quick as a flash the driver
said "To the hilarious gentleman who just showed me his
bum, can I suggest that you join a gym or go on a diet before
waving it around in future!" Nice!!!!
Another top one at Victoria station from Alyx J: "My
favourite announcement occured on the Victoria Line. The
driver announced, "This is Victoria Station. Please leave
your valuables on the train and I will collect them at the end
of my shift." The train must have been full of tourists
because my fellow passengers looked confused!"
During the recent Central Line crash Nat reports:
"Well I'd just like to say thank you to my train driver who
made us all laugh (except the two deaf ladies sitting next to
me) when the accident happened on the Central Line. I wasn't
in the crash thankfully but I was stuck on the train for a
very very long time. So the driver was great and made the best
comments to make us all relax. I remember him saying 'You
might have to pull out a pack of cards or do the unthinkable
and talk to your fellow passengers.' There's nothing like
a fun train driver, so thanks to the Londoner who made me
smile. Good 4 you, you deserve a promotion!!"
From East London comes Matty with this: "There was
me and two other blokes in the elevator going down to that
last train towards Edgware a few years ago at Mornington
Crescent, as as we were going down that elevator the speaker
came out with 'This is Big Brother, there will be no voting
in this room, please wait until you arrive at the diary
room'. needless to say we were all chuckling by the end of
Says Justin: "Here is one from the Jubilee line:
After being stuck in a tunnel for about ten mins, the driver
came over the PA and said: "I am afraid this train is being
delayed, if possible please arrange for alternative
transport". I tried to commute on the Astral plane, but it
didn't work out!
Jenn from Camberwell seems to have spotted a
pattern: "London Bridge announcers appear to have got it
sorted (from earlier entries I read). My friend was waiting
the other night for the Northern Line when the tannoy burst
into life with the following, which I think sums up British
understatement: "When the gentleman urinating on Platform 3
has finished, would he ask the attendant for a mop and bucket.
I can imagine the tone that was delivered with!
And we have one from Jeff down under in Melbourne:
"Your site reminds me of the one I heard one Sunday morning
on the first tube out of Brixton. As anyone who's been at
Brixton Station on a Sunday morning knows, that first train is
full of dishevelled-looking clubbers all nursing hangovers
(and comedowns). I think the train driver must have known this
when he got on the announcer and said "Ladies and
Gentlemen, this train will be leaving
blastoff!.....please mind the doors." It was the only way
to get a reaction out of any of us lot....
The wonders of mobile phones from Dan: "A few years
ago whilst waiting for the late-nighter one evening at
Paddington tube. The PA came on and we heard "When the
gentleman on platform four has finished his phone
conversation, would he kindly tell us how he gets mobile phone
service down here when the rest of us can't? Thank you."
Nice one from Matt Jarvis:
"Covent Garden has been closed due overcrowding. Please
alight at Leicester Square and wander around aimlessly with
your huge rucksacks until you get to your destination. You
never know, they might install escalators one day!"
Good one from Trevor Garner from Grays:
Got a funny announcement on the District Line one evening,
the driver announced "This train willl not be stopping at
Mansion House as no one ever gets on or off there. If you did
want Mansion House it's tough cos I'm not stopping."
From John in Londontown, heard over the tannoy:
"Would the lady going down the escalator please lower
her umbrella, it doesn't rain underground."
Nice little story from Annetta Pirinen:
This happened a few years back. Oxford Circus, Victoria
line platform, hot summer afternoon, the rush hour well on its
way, no trains are shown to be coming. Moment by moment more
and more people, the platform is already packed but somehow
people get on. It is hot, becoming hotter every moment, as are
the tempers... And suddenly, there is the voice of the station
announcer: "Welcome to the happy hour!" General
laughter. It felt like it saved the day.
And another story of driver woes with the delays from
Comment heard from very tired driver outside Acton Town on
a train that had been stopping every 200 yards from
Hammersmith: "I apologise for the delays to your service
this evening. This is due to..... well, it's just a crap
service isn't it?"
This is from the Docklands Light Railway - real tube buffs
don't think of it as the tube, but I do. Thanks to Ali for
sending it in:
"Whilst going to London Arena to see some bands, we were
held up along the way, I can't quite remember where. The doors
opened and shut a few times in our carriage before the driver
said, "Could the lightweight who can't hold his drink get
out of the way of the doors. Yes you, move it." Much
cheering from all the gig goers! "
An excellent one from Hans:
"Last year December, I was waiting at Stratford for the
train when I heard the following announcement: "Your next
train on Platform 4 will be the 22:01 to Romford. To the guy
that has been in the waiting room since 20:00 : Wake up and go
A longish, but good story from Afsheen in London:
"My friend and I had alighted at Piccadilly Circus to go to
Kings Cross, and our train driver was a rather peeved lady. At
every stop and throughout the journey, her voiced boomed
through the tannoy: "Passengers are advised not to enter
the middle carriage as it has been sealed off."
Seeing as one whole carriage was empty while the rest were
packed full, there were some passengers, ignorant to her
request, who attempted to enter the empty carriage.
As they tried, the tone of her voice rose, becoming more
irate and aggressive. "The middle carriage has been sealed
off - do NOT enter it!" Again, no one listened so at the
next stop, she stopped the train completely!
"I keep telling you NOT to enter the middle carriage as
it has been sealed off! Somebody has puked in it, OK??"
She then proceeded to describe the content of the
aforementioned 'mess' before continuing her rant. A few
minutes later, she returned to apologise for her rude
behaviour to all the passengers who just laughed in response.
A very dangerous sounding announcement from Ed:
"Ladies and gentlemen, I`m sorry for the delay, I have just
been informed this is due to people on the ROOF of the train
ahead.....(long pause.....very quizzical sounding):
"Yes, you are probably thinking some of the things I am,
but thats what I`ve been told by my control"
More clueless drivers from Suzanne:
"Travelling to work one morning on the Picadilly Line when
the train stopped in a tunnel between stations. The driver
came on the tannoy after about five minutes and said "My
apologies for the delay - I haven't got a clue what's going
on". After another five minutes he was back on the tannoy
and still clueless as to why we were delayed. He apologised
once more and we sat there for another ten minutes. Finally he
came back over the speakers and said in a fed up voice
"Apparently we are delayed here, on the Picadilly line, due
to earlier delays on the Metropolitan Line... Go figure!"
A great announcement from Tony in Amersham heard
waiting for everyone to pile on the Metropolitan at Baker
Street during rush hour .
"Yes, that's right people - this IS the last tube of the
day. There will be no more trains. Everybody pile on. There
won't be another in 5 minutes! Keep pushing and you might make
The irony was wasted on some - which made it great as they
started asking people around them whether that was right, and
would the buses still be running????? Had me in stitches!!
And a massive thanks to
Alex Gazzola from Midweek magazine who heard the
following announcements on the Jubilee Line and it lead him to
write a double page feature on the funny driver announcements
(see my awards
and accolades page for a summary of the feature) Also
thanks to Russell Becker for letting me use his
brilliant illustration of the LU comedian for the feature:
"Keep your appendages inside the doors, please" says
the driver..... "I hope that if you're changing here to
continue your journey on anaother line that your next journey
is as nice as this one was. That's if this one was nice of
course, which it probably was if you were standing alongside
an attractive person".
Followed by "When you're leaving the train, ensure you
elbow your way out so that you get to the escalator before
anyone else does....that was irony by the way" And: "
That's right - kill for seats. You've only been sitting down
all day after all" And "I'm not an axe-murdering, baby
eating lunatic who's going to drive this train off a
precipice, you know. A smile would be nice." And finally
before Alex alighted: "Come on - smile! It could be worse.
You could be stuck on a plane being struck with deep vein
Thanks to all, please add any
more to the guestbook and I'll get them on the site as
soon as possible. Keep em coming. Also check out One Stop Short of Barking - Uncovering the
London Underground - it's in all good bookshops from
September and features more drivers' announcements and a load
of other fun stuff on the tube. Alex Gazzola's article
confirmed my thoughts that train drivers are also beginning to
copy each other and use some the quotes from this site. I have
heard on many occaisions other drivers moaningly say "What
aspect of 'Stand Clear of the Doors' don't you understand?"
Shave minutes off your
The Way Out Tube Map
This is brilliant
for old timers and tourists alike. For tourists it shows the
tube map in relation to main streets in Central London. For
old timers it shows you which carriage to sit in to be the
nearest to the exit - therefore you can save that vital few
seconds if you're running late. Top idea!
Text your moans
about the Tube
Found out about Grumbletext - basically it's a site where
you text (SMS) them all your moans about UK companies that
have pissed you off or, generally you think give bad customer
service, and have call centres operated by morons. You get
chance to rave and rant, everyone else gets a chance to see
them. Then, apparently, when there's enough texts on a
particular subject the guys at grumbletext create a news story
about it and try to get it published in the wider media. So
the company in question are shamed enough to reply or at least
give and answer as to why they're so rubbish. Interesting
concept. Let's see if we can make the London Underground a Grumbletext success.
Also The Evening Standard have started a new section in
each Friday's issue called Protest. It's an opportunity for your to
share commuting stories good and bad (although funnily enough
most so far have been bad. You can text your stories to them
too, by texting 87202 and putting the word PROTEST at the
start of your message. I'll be looking at this section each
week and posting my favourites in my daily london underground diary.
Spoof London Underground
You have been warned there are
profanities in what you are about to hear................
We all know the huge kerfuffle that's been going on about
BBC2 broadcast of Jerry Springer the Opera. Well someone has
had the bright idea (I am sure off the back of this) to
re-write The Jam's classic Going Underground and make
it about our wonderful London Underground Tube drivers and the
Tube in general. You can download the spoof song here and if you want more you can sing a
long to the London underground song lyrics - or watch
the brilliant flash video to the song too.
I've counted the profanities in this song and there are 16
"outrageous" swearwords in this short download. I think we
should all burn our Oystercards in protest or as the song
"Take your Oystercard and shove it up your
on the tube
Eavesdropping on the tube is a
great pastime, mainly because hardly anyone speaks on it so
any conversations have a "dayglo" and compelling effect. The
guy behind themanwhofellasleep.com website has put together
weekly quotes supposedly overheard on the tube & in
conjunction with goingunderground.net we present my favourite
five each month for your "delight". The question is, would you
like to be sitting next to these people??
1. Did you see the paper? They've
caught Nasser Hussain.
2. Nowadays they want to be
performance artists, but what's wrong with just being an
3. Yeah, they've started doing a
broadsheet version of The Sun. It's a nightmare on the tube.
4. We're going to Cairo for Christmas.
5. I f**king
hate the Northern Line.
For more check out themanwhofellasleep.
An alternative tube map for
Londoners is from the "Have I got News for You" (satirical TV
quiz show) team in a diary they produced for 1997. Like all
good diaries it has to have a tube map in the back but this is
one with a difference. It really gives you a flavour of life
on the tube in a similar vein to this site. You'll find
station names such as "Busy", "Full", "Squashed", Elephant
& Castle (real station name), "Elephant & Chips",
"Elephant & Tuxedo", "Out of Centre", "Further Out" etc
etc. The Circle Line is a real circle and guess what Oval
station looks like? See more here!
How well do
you know your tube station names?
quiz with clues to the names of stations. Who was not amused?
Where's Heidi's house? Where might you find a flockwatcher's
fauna? 50 clues to 50 stations. Give it
a try here.
fascinating facts about the tube
Who was the only person to be born in a tube
What's unique about St John's Wood tube
Which stations get the most suicides?
station has Lara Croft fighting rats?
Who was the tube's
first legal busker?
What's the Fish and Parcels line better
The answers to these questions and more can be found here.
On a serious note and in
light of the world we're living in at the moment. I've got
some advice from a Jubilee Line driver who regularly visits
"Please, if you're travelling on the tube network,
TAKE YOUR LITTER OFF THE TRAIN with you! I am a Jubilee Line
driver, and a few times a week I've had to call for a
supervisor or even the BTP to investigate 'suspect packages'
which turn out to be rubbish. Obviously, at the moment, we are
on high security alert, and it doesn't help anyone if people
leave CLOSED BOXES on trains. Even carrier bags and coffee
cups have to be checked.
Thank you, rant over."
Onto less serious stuff:
Many of the drivers quotes were taken from my site and made
it onto an email that was doing the cyber rounds. However, I'm
now indebted to Ian Wright from London (I'm assuming
it's not the footballer) who came across this gem and sent it
to me through the guestbook. It comes from something on advice
for tourists and is labelled simply "Transportation". Read and
"For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London
Tube may be the most economical way to get about, especially
if you are a woman. Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and
ladies still travel for free on the Tube. Simply take some
tokens from the baskets at the base of the escalators or on
the platforms; you will find one near any of the
state-sponsored Tube musicians.
"Once on the platform, though, beware! Approaching trains
sometimes disturb the large Gappe bats that roost in the
tunnels. The Gappes were smuggled into London in the early
19th century by French saboteurs and have proved impossible to
exterminate. The announcement "Mind the Gappe!" is a signal
that you should grab your hair and look towards the ceiling.
Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and
they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise
excellent means of transportation."
If you are a tourist there are lots more things to
look out for on the tube check out my Tube
Rules page where you'll learn more about "Mind The Gap".
Also for more on creatures which live in the Underground check
animals and Tube
Ghosts. For more on buskers look at my Tube Music
Real Heroes of the Tube
I thought I
would add a section on some real tube heroes.
start with the wooden legged man 'Bumper' Harris, who
in 1911 was employed to ride up and down the first ever
Underground escalator at Earl's Court, just to show people how
safe it was.
Andrew Martin from the Evening Standard
notes "Not only, you see, were the early escalators made of
wood, but so were the limbs of the people who demonstrated
them". After his job he retired to Gloucester and made cider
Then there is this story from Howard
"I have been collecting underground maps
from around the world for several years now. I live next door
to where the founding father and original designer of the
London Underground map, lived, Harry Beck, in
Courthouse Road, North Finchley, N12. I collect all variants
of tube maps from all over the globe(mainly helped by
travelling friends) and you will see that, with only few
exceptions, they all follow Harry's orginal concept design.
"You simply MUST read the book about Harry Beck, Mr Beck's Underground Map by Ken
Garland, it is the seminal definitive book on intelligent,
lateral thinking design (see how he incorporated the Victoria
line as a perfectly straight line in his orginal approach, by
just moving orginal tube lines slightly). The book ponders on
Harry's frustration, until his death,(in the mid 70s) how
London Transport never officially acknowledged his copyright
or contribution. A Grey Plaque (the Underground equivalent of
London's Blue Plaques which show where famous people lived)
was put up at Finchley Central Station 2 - 3 years ago,
together with a replica of his orginal map. Too little, too
late, and probably more as a result of LT's guilt over the
Now onto a more
modern hero - Christopher Ross. He wrote the brilliant
book Tunnel Visions. Ross was previously a
lawyer, oriental carpet smuggler and Japanese soap actor, and
took a job as a station assistant for 16 months on the London
Underground. The book is a collection of his thoughts and
musings whilst working there. He observes the commuters, sings
with a busking act, witnesses a man emerge from a train tunnel
after being told at the previous station that it would be
quicker to walk. He learns why green grapes, are more deadly
than banana skins, though not as lethal as suicidal
"one-unders" (or "track pizza", to use a "lovely" piece of New
York Slang). There's more stories about passengers travelling
with strange companions an ugly, baby turns out to be a
monkey, and a dog on a lead a domesticated fox.
The Daily Telegraph said it was: "The best book about the
London Underground since the knockabout picaresque of John
Healey's Streets above us . . . Tunnel Visions
succeeds on several levels; as information; as a collection of
anecdotes; as Zen lectures. It is also very funny . . . a
parable of our times."
And this wouldn't be an online review of a book without a
word from an Amazon reviewer
"I simply can't understand how anyone might think this
book is a disappointment. I couldn't put it down. It is
moving, funny, and Christopher Ross is clearly a very
interesting - if slightly eccentric - man who appears to see
things in a fresh and distinct way. So different from the
usual "philosophy" books which merely rehash old ideas we've
heard a million times round the dinner table. We want more
books like this please. And if he's ever in Cornwall he's more
than welcome to come and share his insights with us down here.
We may not have an Underground, but his ideas are just as
relevant for us as they are for Londoners."
I got in touch with Ross's publishers (4th Estate) and got
to interview Christopher Ross. Check out my interview here and
there's more reviews of the book on that page too.
Onto another modern day hero - Simon
James. There's an interview with Simon on this site and
he's a remarkably talented photographer who has just published
a book of photographs (called 'Mind the Gap') of those strange stations on
the tube which thousands of regular travellers miss - the end
of the tube lines. (Not to strange to me as I travel to
Richmond every day and also regularly go to Ealing Broadway).
The pictures of these tube stations do make an interesting
study of the "buddleia-strewn hinterlands at the edges of
London". The Evening Standard used to interview celebs and ask
them if they'd ever been to the end of a tube line - so the
subject does seem to have an enigmatic mystery to it (try
telling me that when I'm cursing delays at Richmond station).
To read my interview with him - click
another tube author Keith Lowe who wrote a really fun novel
about the tube - Tunnel Vision. The central character
Andy is about to get married and makes a drunken bet which
threatens to ruin everything. His task is to travel to every
tube station on the system in a single day. As part of the
challenge his passport, his honeymoon tickets and his credit
cards have been hidden in various places along the way - he
has just 20 hours to find them all and complete his journey or
the wedding is off. I was lucky enough to get Keith Lowe to
agree to an interview. Check it out here. You'll also be able to
read Chapter 1 from the book too.
interview with a tube author. Robert Griffiths has worked on
the tube for over 35 years and has turned his experiences into
a book "Mind the Doors". Check out my interview with
If you want a really interesting and entertaining
fictional book about life on the Underground check out
King Solomon's Carpet by crime writer Ruth
Rendell's alter ego, Barbara Vine. I read it last Xmas and
it's a cracker!!! It has all the hallmarks of Vine -
weirdness, suspense, ordinary characters doing extraordinary
things and she's put a huge amount of research into it. I was
hooked from beginning to end.