diamond geezer

 Wednesday, May 01, 2013

WEST END APPEAL FOR 24 HOUR TUBE screamed the headline in yesterday's Evening Standard. Their front page article referred to a report published by the West End Commission, a 12-strong thinktank set up to investigate how best to support the future of the West End. The Standard duly voxpopped a handful of Londoners to ask them what they thought of all-night tubes, and not surprisingly they approved. "Not doing this would be silly," said one. Meanwhile the paper's editorial led with the plea 'Our city needs its tube to run all night'.

Unfortunately, if you bothered to read it, that's not what the report said. The report said the tube should run an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays, and that Crossrail and Thameslink should consider later running too. The report briefly suggested that certain tube lines be extended to run "post 3am to meet the night club exodus", but a 24 hour tube was never mentioned. It's a lovely-sounding idea, except that century-old lines require overnight maintenance, and there isn't the funding, and most of the extra trains would run nigh empty anyway.

London has a fantastic nightbus service which snakes to all corners of the capital. But apparently some people don't feel safe on buses, or can't abide how long they take, so end up taking taxis instead. We'd all rather get home quickly and cheaply after a late night out, obviously, but perhaps it's a little selfish to expect TfL to run an all-night tube service especially for clubbers and casino employees. And surely the problem isn't solely restricted to the underground? Across much of south London the issue isn't the tube, it's the other rail services, many of which stop running rather earlier.

So I thought I'd investigate "last trains from the West End". I've used TfL's Journey Planner to identify the time of the last train home from the West End this Friday evening. I've assumed that all journeys begin within a triangle bounded by Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Embankment. I've routed via rail journeys only, no nightbuses. And I've been fairly subjective in my choice of destinations, most inside London but some a little further out. Apologies if I've missed any later services.

23.56 Amersham
00.07 Denham
00.31 Harrow
00.33 Uxbridge
00.33 Stanmore
00.35 St Albans
00.41 Watford
23.45 Cheshunt
23.59 Enfield
00.17 Elstree
00.34 Barnet
00.35 Cockfosters
00.39 Potters Bar
00.41 Edgware
23.54 Dalston
00.31 Epping
00.31 Stratford
00.31 Ilford
00.31 Shenfield
00.39 Chingford
00.39 Walthamstow
23.43 Shepperton
23.46 Staines
00.11 Slough
00.32 Heathrow
00.33 Ealing
Last train from
the West End

Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment
23.47 Beckton
23.54 Wapping
00.00 Grays
00.40 Barking
00.40 Upminster
23.39 Leatherhead
23.58 Weybridge
00.02 Ewell
00.04 Epsom
00.04 Sutton
00.06 Twickenham
00.15 Surbiton
00.30 Kingston
00.30 Richmond
00.35 Wimbledon
23.59 Caterham
00.04 Wandsworth
00.15 Peckham
00.20 Crystal Palace
00.22 Herne Hill
00.30 Brixton
00.30 Streatham
00.35 Morden
00.35 Purley
00.40 Croydon
23.52 Catford
23.52 Hayes
00.02 Bexleyheath
00.10 Sidcup
00.15 Sevenoaks
00.18 Greenwich
00.18 Dartford
00.18 Erith
00.22 Bromley
00.48 Orpington

Does London really have a late night travel problem when these are the times of the last trains home from the West End? Or would an extra hour's drinking-up time really make a huge difference to the lifeblood of our capital?

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