diamond geezer

 Friday, February 06, 2015

For yesterday's post on tube line diagrams, I needed to visit one of every kind of tube carriage, and I wanted to do it as quickly as possible.

How to travel on each of the London Underground's eleven lines in the shortest time?

And that's the All Lines Challenge. This is a much simpler version of the more well known Tube Challenge, where intrepid travellers attempt to visit every station on the London Underground. But in this case the target is simply to travel on at least one section of each line, making the challenge much easier and quicker to complete.

And this is a real thing, I'm not making it up. Train-focused individuals compete on a semi-regular basis to tackle the All Lines Challenge, and an 'official' ranking of competitors exists. Before I say more, have a guess at how fast you'd think it would be possible to travel on every London Underground line. I'll confirm that the DLR and Overground are not included, the latter not since the East London line closed in 2008. But I'll clarify that the challenge does include the Waterloo and City line... which may make you adjust your estimate somewhat.

Key to a successful All Lines Challenge is selecting the right route. Ideally you only want to travel one stop on each line, and this seriously limits the variety of possible routes. The need to take the Waterloo and City line means you have to visit Waterloo and Bank, and then the only other one-stop-and-change route out of Waterloo is up towards the Circle line. This means that one end of the All Lines Challenge tends to zigzag around between the Central and Circle in the vicinity of Piccadilly Circus, and the other end tends to take the subsurface lines from Liverpool Street, or thereabouts.

If you fancy a puzzle, pop over to the tube map and try tracing out your own route that hits each line once. We'll wait.

So the record time for this, achieved in 2008, is an amazing thirty-three minutes and thirty-seven seconds. The challengers were Matthew Scrivin and Steven Karahan, two seasoned experts at this kind of thing, indeed Steven held the Guinness World Record for visiting every tube station back in 2004. History does not record the route they used to travel on each line once, but it must have been good because since 2008 nobody's even come close. Andi James managed thirty-eight minutes forty-one seconds in 2012, a full five minutes behind, but most entries in the league table are for forty-something. Yes of course there's a league table, why would you think otherwise?

So here's how I got on when I tried the All Lines Challenge. An attempt which (blimey) would have catapulted me into the league table at number 35.

Oxford Circus: There are several different possible places to start, but this seemed as good as any.
00:00 Victoria The doors close on platform 5, and the challenge begins!
Green Park: Ah, bugger, my first interchange is the really long tiled passageway at Green Park. I haven't thought this through.
00:04 Piccadilly This is a surprisingly crowded carriage for a weekday afternoon.
Piccadilly Circus: A mini-trek up and over via the mini spiral staircase.
00:08 Bakerloo I'm on my third line in only eight minutes, this is going well.
Charing Cross: Hang on, I've messed up again, there's a really long pedestrian interchange here, because this used to be two stations.
00:15 Northern Look at that, I've wasted seven minutes. But this one-stop train journey is really short.
Embankment: And this is a super-fast change, from down below to an incoming train up top.
00:17 District I'm getting one of the four subsurface lines ticked off early.
Westminster: And back down into the depths again, for the inevitable journey to Waterloo.
00:22 Jubilee The sixth of my eleven trains, so halfway already, and things are looking good.
Waterloo: But here's a slow interchange, first up two sets of escalators, then needing to touch out before a lengthy trek up and down to the odd line out.
00:29 Waterloo & City Time for a nice six minute sitdown - it's been a real physical workout up until this point.
Bank: This isn't the fastest interchange either, with yet another long tunnel to walk down and a lot more steps.
00:40 Central Damn, I've blown the record already, and there are still three lines to go.
Liverpool Street: I bet anyone taking this challenge seriously runs... I'm just walking fast.
00:45 Metropolitan It doesn't matter which train comes along next, it's one of the last three I need.
Moorgate: And this is so easy, I simply step off and wait for the next train to roll in.
00:49 Circle But then it's a raffle to see if these last three trains arrive in the right order.
Barbican: And no, damn, the next train's another Metropolitan, so I'm going to have to waste time skipping that one.
00:54 Hammersmith & City Last train, and once it reaches the next station I can stop the clock... 00:55:30
Farringdon: So there you go, 55½ minutes to ride every line, and my 35th position in the challenge league table is assured.

But I bet you could beat that...

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
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