Down The Tubes

Like a bunch of ants, they move along, underground.  In every direction.  Sometimes near, or even on the surface.  Sometimes deep, deep underground.

In London everyone rides the “tube.”  We call it the subway here in the States.  No wonder.  It goes everywhere.  And it’s easy.  Just remember Jubilee, Central, District, Northern, circle and Piccadilly.  And yes, the DLR.

Those are the routes, or lines, that make up the underground transit system.  Upon first arriving and looking at the map of the system, I thought, oh, what a tangled web they’ve woven.  The map shows lots of lines, crisscrossing and intersecting.  And so many stops! 

Ride this.  Change here.  Ride that.  Only three more stops and I’m there.  Wherever I want to go.  It really is easy once you do it a couple of times.  Once in the station there are plenty of signs telling you which way to go to get onto which line.  And in which direction.  Making the connections is sometimes very interesting as you can find yourself going up an escalator, and then down another to find a new train. 

During the Blitz they used the Underground stations as bomb shelters.  Riding the escalator down you realize just how far down you really are.  And at a couple of stations I noticed big iron doors that would shut to seal off the entrance to the tunnels.  Six inches thick! Left over from the war, and not, I suspect, used today. 

The best part, other than the convenience, is the expression, “mind the gap.”  That means you need to watch your step getting on and off the trains as there is a gap between the train and the platform into which you could easily insert a foot and get stuck.  The announcement of the upcoming stations implores, “mind the gap.”  The words are written all along the edge of the platform as well.  Such a popular expression that three are even t-shirts that say, “mind the gap.”

I loved riding the tube.  And I sure spent a lot of time doing it.  Back and forth across the city.  Everywhere I wanted to go.  And more.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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