diamond geezer

 Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tube geek (34) The Olympia shuttle
Today's Underground boasts one more shuttle service, other than the two I've already mentioned. It's more centrally located, and it actually goes somewhere useful, so you might well have used it. Perhaps more likely you've stood at Earl's Court waiting for a proper train and this shuttle's come in instead and you've cursed. It's the Kensington Olympia service, which spends its days chugging to and fro in the face of general lack of interest. Maybe there's a good reason for that.

The station at Olympia used to be more important than it is now, which explains its size. District line trains first served the station in 1946, running during exhibitions only, and travelling just the one station to Earl's Court. Things improved somewhat in 1986 with services running whether the exhibition centre was open or not, and now one stop further to High Street Kensington. And it's this full journey between Olympia and High Street Kensington which is particularly non-useful, as I shall now attempt to demonstrate.

Kensington Olympia → High Street Kensington (train)
Imagine you're at Kensington Olympia and the shuttle's just arrived into the platform. Is it quicker to walk to High Street Kensington, or should you climb aboard and wait? Remember, walking takes the direct route, whereas the train travels in a great big wasteful semicircle [map]. To find out, let's climb aboard and wait. But the shuttle only runs every 20 minutes, so if it's not five past, twenty-five past or quarter to, you're going nowhere. Ho hum. Aha, doors closing, we're off.
0:00: Off under the bridge at Kensington High Street, heading southeast.
3:00: Into Earl's Court, where the doors open so that the crowd on the platform can stare but not get on.
4:00: Off again, signals permitting, and the train curves back round to the northwest.
7:00: Into the side platform at High Street Kensington. That wasn't too long. Or was it?

Kensington Olympia → High Street Kensington (walk)
Let's try that again, but this time on foot. Direct route this time. To make a proper contest of it, we'll wait for the shuttle to arrive at Olympia and open its doors before we set off. And then start the clock.
0:00: From the station exit, walk off past whatever trade fair's spilling out onto Olympia Way.
2:30: Turn left onto Kensington High Street. It's a long trek, but we're on the right road.
10:00: Still going, and only just reached the old Commonwealth Institute.
15:00: At last, after not quite a mile, here's the station entrance. Surely this is slower.
17:00: Arrive on platform at High Street Kensington. But platform 3's empty. Where's the Olympia train?
22:00: The Olympia train pulls in. Blimey, walking wins!

Conclusion: Yes, the train takes seven minutes, while walking (fast) takes seventeen. But walking can still be quicker, because the train hangs around at Olympia for more than ten minutes before setting off. So if you're ever at Kensington Olympia and the platform's empty (or only just been filled by a fresh train) then don't hang around, walk it.

Previous Underground shuttle services, now deceased.
Holborn → Aldwych (Piccadilly line, 1907-1994)
Epping → Ongar (Central line, 1949-1994) [now run by enthusiasts]
Woodford → Hainault (Central line, 1960s-1990s) [now a full part of the Hainault Loop]
Acton Town → South Acton (District line, 1932-1959)
Osterley → Hounslow West via Hounslow Town (1905-1909)

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
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