diamond geezer

 Monday, January 10, 2011

There are, as you you probably know, people who attempt to pass through every single station on the London Underground network in the fastest possible time. It's pointless, as are so many intrinsically challenging things, but beat the fastest time and you'll end up in the Guinness Book of Records. Ten years ago the record stood at 19 hours, 57 minutes, 47 seconds (for 272 stations), today it's down to 16 hours, 44 minutes, 16 seconds (for 270 stations). A bit of nerdlike planning used to see you through, whereas now you also have be an athlete capable of running between stations in the outer suburbs. So, not for me then.

Most people never pass through every single station on the London Underground network, not even across an entire lifetime. They spend their days shuttling around a narrow subset of tube routes, with only the occasional need to visit various geographical extremities. There's almost always some station they've never been to, or through, be that Chigwell or Heathrow Terminal 5 or Ickenham. For these people, even 50 years isn't long enough to tick off every station.

I've passed through every single station on the London Underground network, over the years, because I'm that sort of person. I've taken the Central right out to West Rusilip, and the District all the way to Upminster, even the Northern spur to Mill Hill East, simply because they're there. But the full set's still taken me 25 years, from the last time I ventured down to Morden to the first time I ever made it to Chesham.

Last year I passed through about three-quarters of the stations on the London Underground network. I never got to Uxbridge in 2010, nor Cockfosters, nor Amersham. I missed out all the stations from Kingsbury to Stanmore, and from Golders Green to Edgware. I even somehow managed never to pass through Bayswater, I think scared off by the non-circular Circle line. In total I missed out on 57 different tube stations last year, which suggests my blogging coverage of the capital may have been spatially flawed. Could do better.

Tube stations I never passed through last year: Amersham, Uxbridge, Hillingdon, Ickenham, Ruislip, Ruislip Manor, Eastcote, Rayners Lane, West Harrow, Sudbury Hill, Sudbury Town, Alperton, Park Royal, North Ealing, Hanger Lane, Perivale, Greenford, South Ruislip, Ruislip Gardens, West Ruislip, Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Morden, South Wimbledon, Wimbledon, Wimbledon Park, Southfields, East Putney, Goldhawk Road, Shepherd's Bush Market, Wood Lane, Bayswater, Harrow & Wealdstone, South Kenton, North Wembley, Wembley Central, Stonebridge Park, Harlesden, Stanmore, Canons Park, Queensbury, Kingsbury, Edgware, Burnt Oak, Colindale, Hendon Central, Brent Cross, Golders Green, Cockfosters, Oakwood, Southgate, Arnos Grove, Bounds Green, Wood Green, Turnpike Lane, Roding Valley, Chigwell.
(and yes, I am a sad case who keeps track of pointless transport statistics despite them being of zero practical use)

I wonder if I'll manage the full set this year? I've passed through 54 different tube stations so far, kicking off at Croxley just after midnight on New Year's Day. I'll have to go back and get Watford later, I guess, so I'm not playing the game very efficiently. The professionals who try to do this sort of thing in a day would laugh in my face. But I only have 216 more stations to go, so there's every chance of reaching the last one by New Year's Eve. I wonder what the record is for passing through every single station on the London Underground network in the slowest possible time.

» Long-time Londoners - are there any tube stations you've never been either to, or through?

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