Newest Review: ... surprisingly really since they have one of the grandest metro systems in the world. Moscow metro stations are stunning. ~ Jubilee Line ... more
Member Name: Goonerette89
Date: 20/07/12, updated on 20/07/12 (78 review reads)
Advantages: Modern stations and improved safety, there's disabled access on many stations, good destinations.
Disadvantages: Can be inefficient.
With the Olympics on its way the London transport system is going to be under even more scrutiny than ever and the moaners are going to be louder no doubt. I'm probably one of the few Britons who sincerely hopes the Games goes well, by the way, as you realise I do love the place. As the second most popular city in the world after Paris, I'm certain London hasn't much to prove, but it does have some things to improve. I really do like the Tube and can never understand why people constantly moan. I have always assumed it's just plain British cynicism, but having used this line a while ago I understood how easy it is to disrupt someone's day, especially if you have to commute between different destinations within the city every other day. Living somewhere and holidaying there in a week are two different things and no doubt a London citizen would tell me the same about the Tube. It's not until you basically live something and exit the happy holiday mentality that you begin to notice and experience the flaws. I have done an overall Tube review but decided to tell you my experience of using the Jubilee line - well, we have just been celebrating the Jubilee! This line is the newest on the London Underground and runs from Stanmore through to Statford, taking in much of central London and Canary Wharf along the way so may just be an important line come the beginning of the Olympic Games.
I was staying in Swiss Cottage which sits singularly on the Jubilee line. A pleasant area, although I can never find a lot to do there but it is located not too far away from Hampstead and Camden and there is enough traffic and people to satisfy a townie soul like me, who prefers to be where there's a bit of life. The Tube station is a good one; one of those you have to walk down the stairs to enter, and it feels spacious, cool and pleasant inside, although this is a more old fashioned 1930s station which was originally on the Bakerloo line.
~ My Bad Experience ~
When I arrived in the city in May, I didn't arrive at the station I originally paid to arrive at. I usually always go with Victoria Station, as much as it's not one of my favourite places in London, it's just habit - I feel like it's an achievement to make it off the train on one side of the station and make it up the stairs to the Tube on the other! Instead, trains being trains, they decided to tell us halfway on my train journey from Southampton Central that if we wanted to continue to Victoria, we'd have to get off and join another train because our train had now decided it was going to London Bridge. This was on a no-stopover journey. Or supposed to be. Anyway I stayed on and went to London Bridge instead. I admit I was too lazy to get off. A good opportunity to see how the Shard was coming along, anyway.
I didn't know what I'd done with my Oyster card when I got to the capital so lived off Travelcards instead since my itinerary was slightly spontaneous in some places to it made life slightly easier. I got one at London Bridge station but decided to walk down to Southwark Cathedral and watch the sun go down over the Thames, and across the bridge and down to Monument station. In an ideal world I would have walked further on to Bank, caught the train from there and changed at Bond Street where I could have jumped onto the grey line - which serves the Jubilee Line - and gone a few stops northbound onto Swiss Cottage. However having had a day that began going wrong at home on the Isle of Wight, then became worse by the time I got off the ferry in Southampton and on top of that it was a hot day - I know, I know, you are thinking that I'm making it up because I'm actually talking about this summer, but there were a hot few days in May, remember? - it was just a kind of day where nothing went smoothly and I was hot and bothered and just wanted to get to my destination and drop down and move on. However, I was about to encounter more problems to my day...
My day had dragged on so much that I never got into London until the evening and to make things worse, I found out that the Jubilee line was down between London Bridge and Stanmore, where it ends in the north. Swiss Cottage of course sits right there in between. So onto Kings Cross and changing lines and onto Baker Street it was. I didn't have enough physical cash on me at the time to get a cab - again due to the day going pear shaped back down on the south coast - so it meant dragging myself up to the bus station and getting a bus to Swiss Cottage at about 11:30pm. With half an hour or so of one annoyingly frustrating day to go, I got speaking with a lady near the station and without asking (I wouldn't dare!) or even hinting, she simply gave me £20 out of her own purse to grab a taxi. I ended up not getting to Swiss Cottage until gone midnight, which was not in my plans since only coming from eighty or so miles away, but thanks to a kind local who really didn't have to do what she did, my day ended on a positive note. That lady was one positive on an otherwise dour start to my latest London journey - I try to be in London as much as it is possible.
That's where your day can go wrong if the Tube is not running efficiently and Londoners will know this anyway although that was not the only thing to blame, personally. It turned out, having read the Evening Standard on the Tube the next day, that there was some sort of scare on the line which meant poor passengers got trapped underground, lasting about two hours. They were given some sort of refund, however - praise where it is due. Those poor people clearly had a far worse day, though; it was very hot that day by UK standards and to be underground... far worse.
~ My Better Experience ~
Anyway next day was smoother and I cannot fault the Jubilee line. I walked just down the road to Swiss Cottage station that morning, grabbed a ticket out of the machine and as usual went down to the station after fearing the machine at the turnstiles would have my fingers as breakfast - I'm very paranoid about those things! My plans would be spent in and around my spiritual home of Islington so after waiting no less than five minutes to jump on a train, I did and headed straight to Green Park, which was five stops to the south and where I could change to the Piccadilly line and go to Caledonian Road or Holloway Road. I arrived there in no time, the train was very comfortable and not at all overcrowded and nor was Swiss Cottage station. There seemed to be the odd commuter and a few tourists on there but of course became more crowded as the train entered central London.
The next day at Swiss Cottage I was meeting a friend at Piccadilly Circus at 11:30am to go shopping in Carnaby Street. It was early so I decided at first to go to Greenwich Park, which meant changing over to the District Light Railway at Canary Wharf station but argued with myself I probably wouldn't make it back to meet her in time so I decided to stay and take a stroll around Canary Wharf instead, which can be a little soulless but is pleasant enough to look at and stroll around in the heat. I got there in about twenty minutes which is really quite surprising, considering I passed St. John's Wood, Baker Street, Bond Street, Westminster, Waterloo, Southwark, London Bridge, Bermondsey and Canada Water along the way. Back the other way I took the journey along the grey line to Green Park, a station I have visited more than any other in my lifetime I think and onto the Piccadilly line to meet my friend, well timed and right on cue.
I had absolutely no problems this time, either. The journeys were quick, trains were airy and sufficient and the stations were fine.
The motto is that if it is all in working order, it is fine. If you find it is not in working order it can be a real dilemma, especially if you need to reach one of the northern stops but the saving grace is that you can always use the bus as a replacement. I cannot explain why but I have always preferred the underground to buses in the city, which is the complete polar opposite of many people including my mum who was a born and bred Londoner and I presume people prefer it because of convenience and hygiene of being above ground. If I ever phone her from the capital, she is always bewildered as to why I never get on a bus, especially when my feet are in dire straits.
I have found all of the staff to be courteous and helpful at nearly all the Tube stations, especially in comparison with those at basic railway stations in London and across the UK, who never seem in the mood - London Victoria and Southampton Central being good examples.
The Jubilee line is the city's newest addition to the colourful Tube map which gives it some advantages in comparison to some of the other lines. Most of the newer stations on the line have wheelchair access, mostly from Green Park southbound/eastbound. Many also have platform screen doors which feels so much safer - when you get off you feel as though there's little chance you are going to mistakenly fall down the gap! Eighty per cent of the time I'm in heels so I do have a fear of slipping but I wouldn't blame it on the Tube; it's up to me what I wear and let's face it, we cannot say we have never been warned! 'Mind the gap' is practically London's slogan. Also it means no-one can jump onto the tracks, push anyone or throw litter on there and you can see less rats! It also helps you to hear the announcements far more clearly as the train is entering (even though I love the sound of a train arriving!) because the train is effectively screened off; although you see a little less of carriages themselves as the train arrives. The Moscovites were the first to use these screen doors; not surprisingly really since they have one of the grandest metro systems in the world. Moscow metro stations are stunning.
~ Jubilee Line (Grey / Silver Line) ~
- Stanmore - Jubilee line begins here.
- Cannons Park
- Kingsbury* - disabled access here, which is rare on the early stops.
- Wembley Park* - this is shared with the Metropolitan line which can take you northbound to Watford, - Rickmansworth and Pinner, or Harrow-on-the-Hill, Amersham and Chalfont & Latimer railway stations; alternatively you can continue to the Barbican, Liverpool Street or all the way to Aldgate in the opposite direction.
- Dollis Hill
- Willesdon Green - I only know it from a Kinks song making it sound like somewhere in Louisiana.
- West Hampstead
- Finchley Road
- Swiss Cottage - a nice station tucked underneath a busy intersection near a handful of shops, takeaways & Hampstead Theatre. Unless you're staying in the area or visiting the theatre, this is not a vital stop off. Bus stop nearby.
- St. John's Wood - if you want Abbey Road, this is your station. Quaint area, Beatles Coffee Shop literally as you step out of the station and the crossing, recording studios and a couple of shops (including Beatles themed) are just around the corner.
- Baker Street - large, characteristic station also on Hammersmith & City, Circle, Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines. Architecturally gorgeous area, very busy; get off here if you want Madame Tussaud's and a good stop off if you're a Sherlock fan!
- Bond Street - shop, shop, shop. Central line connection if you're on a recession budget and want to give the spending a rest.
- Green Park - probably my Tube station home! Step outside and you're in the park which I find means this is a great station if you need to rest somewhere along the way. Also connected with Victoria and Piccadilly lines.
- Westminster* - tourists, cameras and politicians - all feared by many but we all like to have a go at it! District and Circle lines here.
- Waterloo* - the busiest station on the Underground - on the Waterloo & City line as well as Northern and Bakerloo.
- London Bridge* - large station, couples as a railway station. Taxis, machines, gymnasiums, bars, boats, bridges, skyscrapers, cathedrals... they're all there. An ideal base.
- Canada Water* - this station joins the London Overground, which is connected with several stations across the city, including Crystal Palace in the south and Richmond to the west. I have found Overground trains to be very slow and dull personally (picturesque views in eastern parts though); my Overground journeys have ranged from totally empty carriages (Highbury & Islington) to being the needle in the haystack (further southbound).
- Canary Wharf* - modern, airy station designed by Sir Norman Foster, with lots of escalators and glass. Takes you to the mini Manhattan financial district of London. This is also the first stop on the Jubilee line to join the DLR, which take you to Greenwich and the Cutty Sark or Lewisham or Bow Road and Stratford International.
- North Greenwich* - here's your station if you require the O2 Arena. This is also connected with the Emirates Air Line, or the cable cars taking you across the Thames to Emirates Royal Docks.
- Canning Town* - again we connect with the DLR.
- West Ham* - large station also incorporating the DLR, Hammersmith & City and District lines. I have been at this one at about 10:30pm and the trains seemed to come along every half an hour by then, with people slowing down the pace further by trying to open the shut doors and get on. Oh and if you need West Ham's ground, go to Upton Park Tube Station and not this one.
- Stratford* - last station. Something tells me this one is going to increase in popularity in the coming days, perhaps years.
* These stations have disabled access.
Overall this is a good, modern and very safe line when it is in working order and like every other part of the Tube, sometimes this is not always the case as I found out and that can be problematic in the northern stops and cause you to use your ticket on a bus instead, or pay hefty money to get a taxi. I know this is obviously just common sense but if you choose a taxi, make sure you get as close to your original stop as possible; I know when you're tired you just want to get there, but you'll regret paying extra money you could have done with the next day! The Jubilee line incorporates much of the city's tourist attractions from Westminster to Bond Street and there is always a connection nearby to get you to where you are supposed to be. The line also takes you to the new cable car facility near the O2 Arena as well as the entertainment venue itself and also the grande station in Canary Wharf. The development in design from the old stations in the north to the likes of Canary Wharf are an interesting progression. The trains themselves came along regularly and efficiently when I used them, every five or so minutes and were brisk. I was happy with how fast I got from Swiss Cottage to Canary Wharf in one go, and it exemplifies perfectly how the city can visually change in half an hour. The trains are safe and were not particularly overcrowded when I used them in comparison to other lines; on a longer journey I like to sit but I like to stand and lean against the pillar in the corner if I stand, since it's easy just to jump off - beware not to become trapped though, especially if you're quite petite like me! Highly recommended line - just pre-check it is running first! If they didn't help to make an already difficult day of travel more difficult I would give it five stars. I hope that will help anyone out who is visiting our iconic capital. :)
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Summary: When it's working, it is fine but can disrupt your journey if not.