diamond geezer

 Friday, February 20, 2009

I am the King of Holborn station, I am. I've been commuting there every morning for years, and I have the place licked. It can be a real nightmare pushing through the rush-hour crowds in the labyrinthine tunnels. But I know precisely where to go and where to stand in order to beat the crowds. When my Central line train pulls into the westbound platform, I am usually the very first passenger into the exit passageway, leaving hundreds of other less talented commuters trailing in my wake. Trust me, this takes skill and judgement, not brute force and light jogging, and I'm always amazed how easily my fellow commuters allow me to win. So today I thought I'd offload everything I've learnt about my daily 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 without pausing to pick up a free Metro (because you won't be able to read it during the ensuing crush). Weave through the leftmost ticket barrier, avoiding any comatose ditherers blocking the passage, and head left down to the westbound platform.

2) Pass left along the platform. There's no need to check the 'next train' indicator because you can catch any service going westbound, not just a District line train. Walk approximately halfway along the platform, stopping at its widest point where a trapezium of daylight pours in from the street above. Wait patiently between the two pillars, just to the east of Camera 35.

3) Enter the first train that arrives. Hold back and allow all the other passengers to board first, so that you end up standing immediately inside the closing door. Remember, the last person on at Bow Road will be the first person off 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. At the platform edge move one step to the left to stand directly in front of pillar 16. This positioning is crucial because it allows you to be waiting immediately beside the doors of an incoming train, not immediately in front.

5) Wait for the next Central line train. It's just about possible to read the last few characters on the 'next train' indicator if you poke your head out over the yellow line and peer to the left. If the last letter is an 's', the next train is at least "2 mins" away. If the last letter isn't an 's', the next train is only "1 min" away.

6) When the next Central Line train arrives, you should find yourself standing beside the third set of doors in the third carriage. Be polite and allow all the disembarking passengers out of the train first. Then nip into the carriage sharpish and find a space before the invading hordes nick them all. It may be very hard to squeeze into the jam-packed carriage, but you should have the advantage of a premier position.

7) If possible try to force yourself directly across the carriage to stand beside the doors on the opposite side of the train. These doors won't open until the train reaches Holborn, so squeezing into this spot is of prime importance. Do not 'move right on down the carriage' into the narrow gap between the seats. Hold onto something. Breathe in.

8) 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. Several people will also attempt 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 centre of the doors on the left hand side of the train.

9) When the train pulls into Holborn station, you should be in pole position in front of the doors. Smile victoriously at your fellow Holborn disembarkers, who've only now realised that you're standing precisely where they want to be. When the doors open, shoot out onto the platform and stride confidently into the tunnel opposite marked Way Out and Piccadilly Line. Grin smugly, 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.

10) Turn left, then ascend the short flight of stairs ahead of you. In ten seconds' time this will be a tortoise-speed bottleneck as crowds jam into the narrow passageway to try to exit the platform behind, but right now you're the one 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. First. Congratulations, you are the King of Holborn station you are.


I'm having a great week, because so far I've been the first person off the Central line platform for four days running. If I can win victory again today then this'll be my most successful week ever on the Bow Road → Holborn run. Alas, it'll also be just in time to never ever have to do this journey again. Next week my place of work is relocating, and I'll have to learn a completely different route to optimised success. Where to stand, where to go, where to wait - I'll have to deduce it all again from scratch. I'm sure I'll manage. In the meantime, the role of King of Holborn station is up for grabs. Follow my advice, and it's all yours.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream