“ The Central Line is line of the London Underground and coloured red on the tube map. It is the second busiest line on the Underground after the Northern with 183,512,000 passengers per annum. It is a deep-level "tube" line, running east-west across London, and has the greatest total length of track on the Underground (but is not the longest continuous line). „
What can I say about the central Line? It's been in the news recently, with the admission that London Underground were having trouble keeping the motors on the trains! Firstly let me put your mind at rest, the problems with the trains are largley fixed. One of the biggest problems was London Undergrounds failure to inform all staff that the trains have a problem. You have my word that NO member of staff will take risks with your safety. The Central Line provides great value for money, travel off peak ( after 0930 mon to fri, anytime sat,sun and bank holidays) and you can travel from one end to the other for a little over a fiver. WHY? Because you can!!! It takes nearly 2 hours and you start in the countryside, travel through the busiest part of London Underground and end up again in deepest countryside. I want to give you a small insight into what the West end of the Central Line has to offer, and contrary to belief, it doesn't end at the Actons!! WHITE CITY Home to the BBC. Future home to a major shopping centre. Home to QPR and Fulham FC's. Has a shop in the entrance and an ESSO garage next door. Little known fact, that the entire Central Line is run from a non discript building approx 400 metres from the station. EAST ACTON Not a fun place really, in the middle of a housing estate, turn right outside the station, walk 200 metres and you'll see a small parade of shops. Turn Left, under the bridge for Hammersmith Hospital and Wormwood scrubs. Bus 7 into central London stops around the corner. Newspaper shop outside the station during rush hours NORTH ACTON On the edge of the Park Royal industrial estate. A newly built Holiday Inn Express, overlooks the station. Actually the closest station to the area PARK ROYAL. Home to Carphone Warehouse's head office. WEST ACTON A very small parade of shops, free on-street parking. EALING BROADWAY C
onnects with Thames Trains & District Line, loads of shops and bars HANGER LANE Has a circular ticket hall. Stand in the middle, by the light. GREAT SOUND!!! Nice shop in the station, handy for a coffee or choclate bar. Small parade of shops.and bars. MCDonalds is a 5 min Walk. Home to the West Tec building complex. Home to a Holiday Inn international and a Holiday Inn express. Short Walk Park Royal station. Short walk to the Fox & Hounds Hotel, a good Fullers Pub. Public Subways are a nightmare. Free on street parking. PERIVALE Shop in the station, including a dry cleaners. Turn left out of the station and 5 mins down the road is a not to bad American Diner (On the A40). Short walk to Tesco. Also home to Horstead Hill. A local green space. Car Park GREENFORD Unique on the Underground as it has the only escalator that you travel UP to get to the trains. Nice shop in the station and a taxi rank. Connects with the Thames Trains service to Paddington. Small parade of shops outside station, nice cafe and chippie opposite. Bank machines. Turn left outside station, nice Pub called the railway. Turn right at the Railway and you'll find a mini-mall. McDonalds, WHSmith, Boots ETC. Car Park NORTHOLT Busy road outside with a few shops. Nice cafe. Shop in the station. Good bus service into Heathrow from outside. On street parking. Turn right from station for a nice pub overlooking the green. SOUTH RUISLIP Has a connection with the Chiltern Line trains. Turn left for a big Sainsbury's. Small Parade of shops. Plane spotters watch for planes landing at RAF Northolt, they zoom right over your head on the Platform. CAR PARK RUILSIP GARDENS Nearest station to RAF Northolt. Bit sleepy. Turn Right and a small parade of shops is just under the bridge. You'll find a very nice chippie. No Gardens I'm Afraid!!! Also home to one of the major London Underground Depots.
Train spotters amongst us may find an unsual working or two. CAR PARK. WEST RUISLIP End of the line. Connects with Chiltern Line. Nice Indian take away just outside the station. Across the road is the Ruislip Golf Club. Turn left outside the station for the US army base and Ickenham. Nice Pub in Ickenham, the coach and horses. Good food. Cross the road and you'll catch the U1 bus to Ruilsip town. I hope some of you may venture out West, it is nice and green. Nice pubs are dotted around. Great post war buildings. Well worth a visit on your off peak travelcard, with a train every 10 mins, go on be a devil
Updated! This line is the quickest way to cross London, the circle line (North and South Side) have far to many too many stations and hence making the dash across town rather painful. All the rolling stock is in good order, complete with Tinted windows - nice touch which is more that can be said about the District Line, and the tubes run every a 3-5 minutes through the common section of track (North Acton -> Leytonstone). If only all lines were like this (especially the Hammersmith and City line which only runs when it feels like it, and even then the trains are always breaking down. The central stations listed here, and what there good for (I don’t travel further east or west, and hence am unable to comment!) White City – The BBC and that’s all, nothing else here! Shepherd's Bush - The Shepherd's Bush Empire & Walkabout on Sundays - if you're into Auzzie/NZ scene. Holland Park – For Holland Park, funky sculptures and the Kyoto Garden – although not a park to play football in! Notting Hill Gate - Portobello Road Market (Eat at the Grain Shop, at the North End of Portobello Road – good vegetarian take-away food around £3-£5.) Lancaster Gate->Marble Arch - Hyde Park (Ideal for footy with the lads, Italian Fountains, and often filming of movies on the South Side) Bond Street - > Tottenham Court Road - The mighty oxford street Bond Street for Selfridges, John Lewis and other department stores. Also to eat go to Wagamama's (back of Selfridges) - great Japanise Noodel Bar! Oxford Circus for Protesters, Nike Town, and Regents Street – Hamleys Tottenham Court Road for Computer fairs [Saturdays], the Astoria and Point 101 Bar which is open until 2am. Holborn – Business district, with your usual chain of Bars All Bar One, Pitcher and Piano, Fine Line. Chancery Lane – Cheap a
nd cheerful but yet magnificent Wetherspoon’s on Chancery Lane. St Paul’s – You guessed it Bank – City area, dead at the weekends. Liverpool Street - Brick Lane is only 5 minutes walk for a cheap and cheerful curry. Also Pitcher and Piano opposite station – no trainers, bouncer on the door! Bethnal Green - mmm ladies @ metropolis. Timetables. Current working getting the information from London Underground
Ooooh great I thought last week, Dooyoo are inviting us to write opinions on that wonderful London institution, the Tube. My favourite line is the Jubilee Line extension but as I rarely travel on that line nowadays – I’ve gone for the Central line between Lancaster Gate and Bank. I’ll start with a potted history of the Central Line and then some thoughts on the bit of the line I travel on. Please try and find a seat or hover near to one. Now if we are all ready, let the journey begin (sorry if its too corny – I was watching Toy Story 2 last night and I was thinking of Tour Guide Barbie!) History ******** Unlike the Hammersmith and City and District lines, which were built on the ‘cut and cover’ principle, the Central Line was one of the first examples of ‘deep tunnel’ boring where a shaft was dug into the ground (to be later used for ventilation) and then a tunnel bored with a primitive version of the one used to construct the Channel Tunnel. Lets go back to the beginning. London in the late Victorian period was very congested with traffic. In particular, the route from the Bank in England in the east through Cheapside, Holborn, Oxford Street to Bayswater was a trunk route and the Victorian visionaries considered an underground railway was the best solution to the problem and very lucrative in terms of profit. Various schemes had been proposed though many were of the ‘cut and cover’ variety and the authorities were not keen on large parts of London being dug up. Time went by and eventually a ‘deep tunnel’ route was agreed and built. Opening on July 30th 1900, the railway was privately owned by the Central London Railway and initially ran from Shepherd’s Bush in the west to Bank in the east. It served: Shepherds Bush, Lansdowne Road (now Holland Park), Notting Hill Gate, Queens Road (now Queensway), Westbourne (now Lancaster Gat
e), Marble Arch, Davies Street (now Bond Street), Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bloomsbury (renamed to British Museum and now closed), Chancery Lane, Newgate Street (now St Paul's) and Cornhill (now Bank) Fares were fixed at 2d per single trip of any length though there were some workman fares available for 2d return in the early morning period. The Central London Railway was a big success and the popular press of the day nicknamed it the ‘tuppenny tube’. Operations were simple at the start. You purchased your ticket a booth and dropped it into a box before taking the lift. There were no escalators then. Platforms were originally made of wood and were replaced with stone because of the fire risk. The tube trains were originally pulled by separate locomotives but problems with excessive vibration and turning them around at termini resulted in their replacement by the sort of tube train we are familiar with today. From then on, there was gradual change and extension. Here is a summary of developments: 1906 – Interchange with Bakerloo Line at Oxford Circus 1907 – Wood Lane opened at the west end of the line to serve the White City exhibition centre and stadium. 1907 – Interchange with Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road 1912 – Liverpool Street extension opened 1920 – Line to Ealing Broadway in west opened in partnership with Great Western Railway 1933 – Stop at British Museum replaced with Holborn 1946 – Liverpool Street to Stratford opened (to the east) 1947 – North Acton to Greenford opened (to the west) 1948 – Greenford extension to West Ruislip opened. Line in east extended to Loughton/Woodford. 1949 – Epping to Ongar transferred from the London North Eastern Railway to London Transport. 1994 – Closure of Epping to Ongar branch after long period of consultation. There were 2 signif
icant incidents in the lines history. There were when a WW2 bomb fell on Bank Station in 1941 killing 56 people and injuring 69. In 1943, 173 people were suffocated at Bethnal Green station when a woman and her child tripped near the bottom of a station staircase and those behind were pushed on top. The tubes used nowadays on the Central line date from between 1992 and 1995. They have doors, which open on the outside rather than being part of the bodywork. They also lack armrests, but have push button doors – which seem to automatically open and close at each station anyway. London Underground has always been short of money and this can be seen in its piecemeal approach to station refurbishment. The West End stations (Bond Street, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road) were refurbished in the 1980’s though some are a bit gaudy. Bank Station has nice new tiling incorporating the City of London Griffin. The platforms and the exit areas were refurbished using City of London money in 1995. Lancaster Gate in contrast, has paint peeling off the walls! Its not an important station and suffers as a result. The only major problem I have found with the Central Line is the heat at the height of Summer. The trains do not have air con in the modern sense and during the morning rush hour you perspire in unison with your fellow passengers. The summer of 1999 was so bad that it regularly hit over 100F on many of the tubes. My suggestion is to take a bottle of water on the tube to reduce dehydration and watch the envious looks you get! My journey ********** Here are my thoughts on the stations I pass through on my daily Central Line journey: Lancaster Gate ============== If you arrive at Paddington Station and want to catch a tube to the West End of City, there are 2 ways of doing it. Either you battle with the Circle/Hammersmith & City lines at Paddington or you walk to Lancaster Gate, which is a 10
-minute stroll away. I’ve tried both ways and having suffered delays, cancellations and overcrowding at Paddington – I’ll go for the stroll every time. Some will ask why don’t I recommend the Bakerloo Line with a change at Oxford Circus? Because its 5 stops and a change to get to the Central Line at Oxford Circus using the Bakerloo Line option compared with 3 stops, no changes and a 10-minute walk using the Lancaster Gate option. Anyway back to Lancaster Gate. The station is now situated within the Royal Lancaster Hotel where it has been since 1968. The station has no escalators so it’s a choice between an automatic lift or 78 steps on a circular staircase. Do the exercise thing and walk – it’s slightly slower than waiting for the lift. As mentioned earlier, the station is tatty but clean. It has the new yellow matrix indicator boards telling you when the next train is arriving – but the sign is blocked at any distance by an elderly exit sign! The train service is frequent (every 2-3 minutes) but the trains can get very crowded. Some passengers insist in squeezing on – others (like myself) don’t play sardines and wait. Marble Arch =========== Home of the famous monument, its also the starting point of Oxford Street and a good place to walk to Park Lane. You can also visit Speakers Corner from here – though I don’t know if it’s still in operation. Bond Street =========== Further along Oxford Street, this is the first of the ‘shopper’ stops. From here, you can walk to Selfridges and John Lewis. At this point the tube starts to fill up a bit with tourists and other visitors keen to get on with sightseeing. Bond Street is also an interchange with the Jubilee Lane though London Underground won’t let you change onto it before 10am in the morning because it has an ongoing shortage of working escalat
ors and it doesn’t want a crush on the few that actually work. Oxford Circus ============= The heart of West End shopping. You get off here for central Oxford Street, Regents Street, Carnaby Street and many of the big stores e.g. Liberty and Hamleys. The Underground station is a major interchange with the Bakerloo and Victoria lines and you tend to pick up further travellers changing from these lines. Sometimes you may be able to get a seat at Oxford Circus, sometimes you just get crushed! Tottenham Court Road ==================== The last of the ‘shopper stops’. This is the stop for the east bit of Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road. The British Museum is quite close too. Holborn ======= The first of the ‘City stops’. Holborn is the stop for those wanting Kingsway, New Oxford Street, Aldwych and the Strand. Its also only a 10 minute walk to Covent Garden from here. I used to get off here and I remember how crowded the station got at the start and end of the working day. There’s a new Sainsbury’s opposite the station – though I’ve never been there! Chancery Lane ============= What I call the ‘Legal stop’. Here you will find many legal practices. The station is not open on Sunday’s. I’ve found the walk along Holborn/High Holborn interesting. There are many old buildings to see. If you haven’t got a seat by now – you never will! St Paul’s ========= Apart from the Cathedral, St Paul’s is the nearest stop to the Old Bailey ( Newgate Street), and the Museum of London – which I heartily recommend. Cheapside has a good selection of High Street shops, which are worth checking out if you have the time and urge to walk. Bank ==== Mind the gap! This station is built on a curve and there is about a foot gap between the
edge of the train and the platform. This is the station next to London’s powerful financial institutions such as the Bank of England, Mansion House, Royal Exchange and the Lloyds building. The booking hall is under the roundabout and has 9 exits. I was confused by the number at the start – but by a process of trial and elimination you find out what is ok for you. From here, it’s a 5-minute walk to the Monument commemorating the Fire of London in 1666. Take the Cornhill exit and 'slep' up this road and Leadenhall Street to visit the Lloyds building and Leadenhall Market. One is a 20-century marvel, the other a 19-century equivalent. If you come out of this exit, have a look at the statue of the bloke with a map in his hand. He is James Greatland who invented the device to bore tunnels as used on the Central Line. He was Chief Engineer of the City and South London Railway, which ran between Bank and Waterloo and is still in use today (aka the Drain). There’s also a statue of Wellington on his ‘orse. As this is a railway opinion – I find Mr Greatland more interesting this time around! Liverpool Street ================ I know I’m going out of scope – but if you’ve read this lot – please crave my indulgence! Originally home to the Great Eastern Railway, Liverpool Street continues to be a major interchange and is usually very busy during the rush hour. From here you can change onto the Circle/Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City tube lines. Upstairs is the marbled mainline station and very nice it is too. Nearby is Broadgate (a modern office block) with its little ice rink. If you want something different, head towards Aldgate and on route you will chance upon the Petticoat Lane market which is there in some form every day of the week. Brick Lane is also in the vicinity if you want a pukka curry! And that Ladies and Gentlemen concludes our tour of
the Central Line. When leaving the train, please do not forget to take your personal possessions with you. I do hope you enjoyed your trip and you will us again shortly. For those that sat through this – I hope your bums are not too numb. For those that stood – I’m sorry but this is the joy of travelling on the ‘tuppeny’ tube. I thank you !!!
The last time I travelled on the Central Line was about 3/4 months ago. During this time I had to visit London on several occasions for various meetings and training sessions. On this particular occasion we had decided to drive, as the trains from Norwich to Liverpool Street were arriving about an hour late (and thats another story!!). Parking the car at Gants Hill we took the tube into central London. Taking into consideration that from Gants Hill to cental London is a fairly longish tube journey - well long enough for me anyway! There were problems on the line on the journey into London with overhead power but once the train reached us the journey wasn't too bad. On the return journey the problems of the morning obviously hadn't been rectified hence why we stopped at least 3 times!! stopping for about 5 minutes each time - which seems like a lifetime in the dark!!!!! The lights in a couple of the carriages were out!! The actual condition of the carriages were OK nothing special but not as bad as I had thought they were going to be! This particular occasion one of the lines weren't running (the cirlce I believe) which must have caused horrendous problems for those people needing to use that line!! I am just so glad I don't have to use them everyday like some people have to, I do feel though that they possibly need more staff to help people, especially rush hour as it could be quite intimidating for somebody who is new to the underground or unsure of where they're going. At least there are announcements at the platform to advise of how many minutes until the next train. I do have to say though that the next few times I visited London I went by train into Liverpool Street and then just walked everywhere!!!!! By the time you've waited for the tubes to arrive and stopped at every station its just as quick to walk the centre of London.
The Central line has to be worth travelling on just to enjoy the classic interior design of the stations and trains. It is home to some of the most misguided train design known to man. I imagine it was designed by someone who longed to own a gold capri. For a start the tube windows are smoked glass, only welcome in those annoying office coffee mugs and gold capris. I can see no merit to being protected from sunlight on the underground. Secondly there is a criminal use of red on the trains. Yes we know the central line is represented by the colour red but do the trains have to be accessorised so obviously? The tube stations have continued this delightful primary colour scheme with some imaginative(!!) tiling on their walls. My particular abstract favourite being at Tottenham Court Road. Finally, there is the small fact that you have to battle your way through hoards of tourists if you wish to travel in central London on this line. This is pretty much the case in the whole of London but the central line is an epicentre. But saying that Bond Street is a particular favourite stop of mine if you are planning to go to Oxford Street as a) you avoid Oxford Circus station which is always a good thing b) you avoid coming out of the tube near the jolly evening standard salesmen c) you will probably avoid walking into the man with the golf sale sandwich board d) you are at the nice end of Oxford Street (the bit between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road being fairly horrible in my opinion).