diamond geezer

 Saturday, September 25, 2004

I've been commuting from Bow Road to Holborn instead of Piccadilly for all of three weeks now. Already I appear to have the journey sorted, knowing where to go and where to stand in order to be first up the escalator at the end of the journey. I succeded by miles yesterday, with hundreds of other less able Holborn commuters trailing in my wake. So today I thought I'd offload everything I've learnt about the new tube journey in case any other Bow-to-Holborn commuter should one day find it useful.

London Commuter Handbook: no 6904: Bow Road to Holborn

1) Enter Bow Road station as before, but don't bother picking up a newspaper because you won't be able to read it in the ensuing crush.

2) Pass left along the platform. Don't bother looking at the 'next train' indicator because you can catch any train going eastbound, not just a District line train. Walk just over halfway along the platform, stopping beside the Fire exit sign posted on the door in the blue wall.

3) Enter the first train that arrives. Hang around close to the door you entered through, because you'll be getting off through it again at the next station.

4) When the train arrives at Mile End station, disembark. Cross the platform, which should take all of five seconds - this is the world's easiest interchange. Wait for the next Central line train. If you're really lucky a Central Line train will already be standing there waiting with its doors gaping open. It will also be absolutely jam-packed full of people

5) Squeeze into the rear half of the third carriage. Find a space. If possible try to head across the carriage to stand beside the doors opposite. Do not 'move right on down the carriage' into the narrow gap between the seats. Hold onto something. Breathe in.

6) Prepare for even more people to attempt to cram into the carriage, especially at Bethnal Green and Bank where the third carriage halts adjacent to the platform entrance. Prepare for some people to exit the carriage, especially at Bank, St Paul's and Chancery Lane where commuters head to work in the City above. Use all of these station stops to try to edge even closer to the doors on the left hand side of the train.

7) When the train stops at Holborn station (which is the first station where the doors open on the left) shoot out through the doors onto the platform and into the tunnel opposite marked Way Out and Piccadilly Line. Smile, because a huge scrum is about to develop behind you as commuters who weren't in the third carriage queue to reach this particular exit.

8) Turn right, then ascend the short flight of stairs ahead of you. In ten seconds' time this will be a real bottleneck as people jam into the narrow passageway to try to exit the platform behind you, but right now you should be at the head of the queue. Turn right at the top of the stairs and almost immediately you'll find yourself at the bottom of the main escalators.

9) There are four escalators, the right-hand three of which operate as 'up' escalators during the morning rush hour. It's quickest to take the nearest, right-hand 'up' escalator. Prepare for a long climb of approximately 60 steps, but be brave and walk straight on up to the ticket hall above. It's a great way of keeping fit, if nothing else.

10) At the top of the escalator turn right and exit the station through the underused set of ticket barriers in front of you directly into High Holborn. If you've followed all the instructions properly you should be the first person from your train to exit the station. Just like I was yesterday. Congratulations.


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