CIRCLE LINE: The Circle line service is changing from Sunday 13 December. Trains will now operate from Hammersmith to Edgware Road then operate clockwise via Liverpool Street, Victoria and High Street Kensington to terminate at Edgware Road. In the anti-clockwise directions, trains start at Edgware Road then operate via High Street Kensington, Victoria and Liverpool Street to Edgware Road and Hammersmith. The HAMMERSMITH & CITY LINE will continue to operate between Hammersmith and Barking.
Unless you're trying to go round the bend between Paddington and Baker Street, there's no real change. It's only here that the Circle line has been severed, and only here that abortive action needs to be taken. Those heading out towards Hammersmith see only advantages, and everyone else will be travelling much as before. So I thought I'd explain how this round-the-bend bit works. Grasp that, and you'll grasp anything. Honest, what could be easier.
1. How to take the tube from Baker Street to Bayswater. a) Get on a westbound Circle or Hammersmith & City line train. It doesn't matter which line you take, they're all going to the same place. Peak times there'll be a train along roughly every five minutes. It shouldn't be too long a wait. b) When you reach Edgware Road, your train will arrive at platform 4. Get off. c) If you don't mind how long your journey takes, wander a few steps over to platform 3 and take the next District line train towards Wimbledon. Even works with a pushchair, this. d) If you do mind how long your journey takes, be advised that the next Bayswater-bound train might be departing from platform 2 instead. Half leave from platform 3 and the other half from platform 2, so there's a fifty-fifty chance. Listen out for announcements from the helpful station staff, because they might tell you which it is. Or they might not. The next train indicators won't be any help because they're old and unhelpful and usually read "Please wait for train information" until immediately before a train arrives. Just because there's a train on platform 2 and not 3 doesn't mean that 2 will be going out first. Take your pick, and pray you get across the footbridge before the train of your choice pulls out. It's hell, Edgware Road, unless you don't mind how long it takes to escape.
2. How to take the tube from Bayswater to Baker Street. a) Get on an eastbound Circle or District line train. It doesn't matter which line you take (unless you have really heavy luggage or a wheelchair, in which case wait for a Circle). Peak times there'll be a train along roughly every five minutes. b) When you reach Edgware Road, your train will terminate. Get off. c) If you were on a Circle line train, you'll have arrived on platform 2. From here it's a few steps over to platform 1 where you can wait for the next train towards towards Baker Street. Easy. Even works with a pushchair, this. d) If you were on a District line train, you'll have arrived on platform 3. Cross the footbridge to platform 1 where you can wait for the next train towards towards Baker Street. e) Wait. Peak times there'll be a train along roughly every five minutes. It shouldn't be too long a wait, but the 'next train' indicators give absolutely zero useful information until immediately before a train arrives. It's an utterly rubbish station, Edgware Road, devoid of any useful customer-facing technology.
3. How to take the tube from Baker Street to Paddington, if you're in a hurry to catch a train, with luggage and stuff [revised] a) Get on the next westbound Circle or Hammersmith & City line train. You have until Edgware Road to make up your mind what to do next. b) If you've already bought your ticket for your Paddington train, stay on board at Edgware Road. Get off at Paddington (C&H&C) and pray that the crowds queueing to get off the platform aren't too thick. Then lug your luggage up the narrow steps and head over the footbridge to discover which platform your train's leaving from. From here there'll be a shortcut across another footbridge and/or down some steps, and you're there. c) If you haven't already bought your ticket for your Paddington train, or if you have a desperate urge for a paper, panini or pint before you travel, it might be better to hop off at Edgware Road and change (see 1 above). That's assuming there's a Circle or District line train heading off in the next couple of minutes, which it's probably impossible to tell, but it might be worth the risk. Although be warned that it's quite a trek through Paddington (C&D) station as well, including a lofty narrow footbridge over the Circle line tracks which is no fun with luggage either, so maybe you'd be better not hopping off after all. d) Or maybe you should have caught the Bakerloo line from Baker Street instead. Frequent trains and no need to change. Ah, but it's a long way down and up, and an awful lot of steps and escalators. e) Sorry, you're probably going to miss your train, aren't you? Should have left earlier. Or waited for Crossrail.
Revised platform arrangements at Edgware Road: Platform 1: All eastbound trains (via Baker Street and King's Cross) (every 5 minutes)[Circle][H&C] Platform 2: All anti-clockwise Circle line trains (via High Street Kensington) (every 10 minutes)[Circle] Platform 3: All trains to Wimbledon (every 10 minutes)[District] Platform 4: All trains to Hammersmith (via Shepherd's Bush) (every 5 minutes)[Circle][H&C]