First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

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FlyingScot
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First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by FlyingScot » 31 Jul 2014, 19:10

Hi folks,

Newbie here determined to do the Tube Challenge either on the 14th or 15th August so there’s at least some hope of doing the full 270…if Olympia behaves itself!

I’ve got a few questions which I hope some of you lovely peeps can offer sage advice or opinions on.

Background:-
I’m starting at Amersham and finishing Heathrow. For simplicity as a newbie I’m going to do the ‘Labyrinth route’ as posted on YouTube.
I’m a bit overweight and my jogging days are over although I’m a brisk walker and could manage a wee burst of energy to make some connecting trains if I had to. Needless to say, I’m not going for the GWR haha! I just want to be able to say I completed the Challenge.

As I really want to bag all stations, the thing that’s nagging me is the dreaded Olympia. (Is this as bad as saying the dreaded ‘Scottish play’ Ma*b**th to an actor ?!) Part of me wants to immediately race into town and bag it so once it’s done it really is ‘Game On’ for the rest of the day. How frequent / reliable is the Earl’s Court - Olympia service during the Beer Festival ? Can I reasonably expect it to be okay so if I approach it at any given time during the day or early evening there’s a decent chance I’ll get a train? I think I’ll be fretting all day until I get Olympia done.

Also, what happens if things really start going pear-shaped - signal failures affecting parts of the network, other incidents etc…. ? What’s the best advice for when it happens? Does the whole plan get thrown out of the window? Does everyone just completely ‘wing it’ and make the rest up as they go along? Any advice welcome!

Finally, is it recommended to get the very first train from Amersham or is it best to wait for a couple to go before, almost like to get the network ‘warmed up’ a little, so to speak?

All thoughts and advice welcome!
FS

palkanetoijala31

Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by palkanetoijala31 » 31 Jul 2014, 19:57

WELCOME FLYINGSCOT!

I would start on the first train of the day from Amersham it give you more time to complete the network feel free to ask for any advice seeing as it is my and steveo route u r using. I should actually say it was Chesham number 1/270 also apart from the tfl we did travel from north harrow to Rayners lane by running not vis west harrow.

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Iain
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by Iain » 31 Jul 2014, 20:02

The labyrinth route starts from Chesham. There's a bunch of us doing the network on the 14th and I'll be starting there, not on the first train, but then I've already completed so I'm going for a time. Still fairly early though.

If you do start early then you'll be in town earlier than the first of the special expo services. Try and plan it into your route but maybe do on of the other "big three" (Mill Hill East or the Hainault loop) first.

If part of the network falls down you have to just plan around it on the fly - but the more you look at routes the more you get used to ways to change your plan without too much unnecessary doubling back etc
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FlyingScot
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by FlyingScot » 01 Aug 2014, 11:49

Sound advice, thanks guys!
Am I right in thinking that the Olympia service will be something like 0950 to 2300 ? If so, then that does give me a fair bit of time to get more stations done.
Thinking about alternative routes to Labyrinth now (or a plan B). Is there any logic in concentrating one's efforts on crossing off the outer geographic zones one by one. For example, if I'm returning in from Epping, and hopping over to the Victoria line at Walthamstow Central, is it worth me getting off at Finsbury Park and travelling up to Cockfosters so I can then jump onto a bus to get to High Barnet? My thinking is that if I can tick off the outer extremities (i.e. bus rides etc) early, then I can geographically close into a smaller area as the day goes on. Or is this all rubbish?

palkanetoijala31

Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by palkanetoijala31 » 01 Aug 2014, 12:02

FlyingScot wrote:Sound advice, thanks guys!
Am I right in thinking that the Olympia service will be something like 0950 to 2300 ? If so, then that does give me a fair bit of time to get more stations done.
Thinking about alternative routes to Labyrinth now (or a plan B). Is there any logic in concentrating one's efforts on crossing off the outer geographic zones one by one. For example, if I'm returning in from Epping, and hopping over to the Victoria line at Walthamstow Central, is it worth me getting off at Finsbury Park and travelling up to Cockfosters so I can then jump onto a bus to get to High Barnet? My thinking is that if I can tick off the outer extremities (i.e. bus rides etc) early, then I can geographically close into a smaller area as the day goes on. Or is this all rubbish?
the labyrinth incorporates Snaresbrook to wood street train to Walthamstow central u can amend this to overground between Leytonstone and Walthamstow or buses as u should wish its all trial and error the fastest way to do it.

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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by FlyingScot » 01 Aug 2014, 12:25

As I read more and more on this forum I'm beginning to realise that it really is a bit of a crapshoot. It's like what Eisenhower said, "Plans are useless, but planning is essential." One signalling botch up or other incident and plans go out the window! I could spend ages planning things to minute detail only to see it go up in flames half an hour into the day!

I think I'll focus on getting general timings for each segment done so I roughly know how long each leg will take and then it's in the lap of the Gods! I guess if things really screw up, I just get on a train in the meantime and keep moving and work out a revised plan whilst still crossing the stations off. Don't suppose trying to work it out sitting in a Starbucks with a nice mug of hot chocolate would be a good idea haha.

palkanetoijala31

Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by palkanetoijala31 » 01 Aug 2014, 12:44

FlyingScot wrote:As I read more and more on this forum I'm beginning to realise that it really is a bit of a crapshoot. It's like what Eisenhower said, "Plans are useless, but planning is essential." One signalling botch up or other incident and plans go out the window! I could spend ages planning things to minute detail only to see it go up in flames half an hour into the day!

I think I'll focus on getting general timings for each segment done so I roughly know how long each leg will take and then it's in the lap of the Gods! I guess if things really screw up, I just get on a train in the meantime and keep moving and work out a revised plan whilst still crossing the stations off. Don't suppose trying to work it out sitting in a Starbucks with a nice mug of hot chocolate would be a good idea haha.
yes but in whetherspoons with a beer is better!

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Iain
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by Iain » 01 Aug 2014, 13:16

14th is a Thursday so curry in 'Spoons :D

That's an interesting idea re doing the extremities - it does leave you with a few odd stations though up to Finsbury Park. I'd certainly leave one extremity to the end otherwise you have an unnecessary double back. One other factor I so is that I try to avoid bus journeys in rush hour as obviously they take longer.

The Ken O trains don't run up to 2300, there's a link to the times on here somewhere, I think they run up until about 2100. It's worth keeping aware of the time when you are near Ken O and possibly doing it earlier than planned if you have to change your route

What you do at the extremities isn't that varied - it's worth looking at different ways to cover the centre stations as this'll be useful if you have to change your plans. Also at the extremities keep an eye on network status so you a) have a signal and b) have time to plan an alternative
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All lines: 46:11 (6th equal)
Zone One 2:52:51 (thanks Glen)

FlyingScot
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by FlyingScot » 01 Aug 2014, 13:20

Iain wrote:14th is a Thursday so curry in 'Spoons :D
Yeah, there's 'The Metropolitan' above Baker Street tube! Don't put bad ideas into my head, hehehe! Damn. It's now lodged itself in there :D

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tractakid
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by tractakid » 01 Aug 2014, 17:48

It's good practice to create your own routes, as it's vital you learn how the network all fits together. Knowing which bits can be swapped, reversed, etc is essential to cope with problems on the day.
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Iain
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by Iain » 01 Aug 2014, 20:31

Yes indeedy :)
Full Network: Three completions, Best time: 17:18:18 - thanks Glen, Andrew and Rhys!
Former DLR 45 station record holder (with Glen, Andi and Stevo) - 2h:08m:57s
All lines: 46:11 (6th equal)
Zone One 2:52:51 (thanks Glen)

kateyay
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by kateyay » 04 Aug 2014, 17:34

You may also want to bear in mind that the Olympia trains will run every 30 mins as well as the "timetabled" Olympia services too. (eg the 3 ones coming out of Lillie Bridge in the morning, and going back there at night)

With regards to route planning if something goes wrong, I would suggest you take a smartphone or tablet with you, with extra battery, and keep up to date on service disruptions. If it's near where you are planning to go, consider what the problem is, how severe it might be (eg are they still running trains, or is it completely not running?) and think of which bit of your route would be easier to do instead.

It would also be beneficial to have a map app or transport planning app on said device too (such as CityMapper) - if you're in an area and not familiar with buses, overground/National Rail/Trams or the local geography this can really help get you out of a sticky situation!

Whatever happens, even if there are failures, don't give up - just try to do something different instead. And hope that doesn't break!

Best of luck!

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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by FlyingScot » 05 Aug 2014, 17:31

Hi folks,
Thanks for all the feedback so far - much appreciated.

Kate - thx for the Olympia update - that makes me feel a lot better knowing that if i just miss a train, there will be one in twenty -odd minutes later. If this happens then it's the perfect opportunity to quickly stock up on some food and drink (and maybe the call of nature!) on Earl's Court Road. Are the trains scheduled for exactly on the hour and half hour?

As for phones and tablets etc, I've got my smartphone and was thinking about buying another battery but might just bring my tablet along instead. It's not an iPhone so alas don't have the Station Master app, but I've got my paper 'Way Out Tube Map' (you can get it at Stanfords travel shop beside the tills, priced £1.95) so that will help me cut through the crowds from tube to tube.

Iain - very good point about rush hour buses. I imagine this could really affect overall times either way if you get it right or wrong. As for my possible plan to do the extremities first, this ties in well. I can target the northern bits once the morning rush hour has subsided.

tractakid - definitely agree - thank the stars that a couple of months ago, I er...helped myself to a big handful of tube maps at one or two stations (sorry LU!) for planning purposes, ably assisted with my highlighter pens. The mere act of planning different routes, going through the motions, can't help but aid network knowledge. And when the smelly stuff hits the fan, that knowledge will surely help save valuable time when thinking of alternative routes and strategies.

The more I'm getting into this, I reckon there's a lot to be said for planning a route A and B, but also having that general knowledge of the lines, locations and rough times in your head. When something goes pear-shaped on the network, you can improvise using your gut, based on the knowledge you've already got.

One of the things that is influencing my route is the combination of avoiding rush hour buses whilst also not wanting to be stuck on them if it turns out to be a scorcher of a day as well. August may still throw us some pretty hot weather, and whilst I can put up with it baking in the Tube, I really don't fancy sweltering in a slow-moving rush hour bus. If the weather turns out to be cooler then i might decide simply to do the Labyrinth. If it's going to be a hot one, I think I'll be ticking off the extremities bit by bit clockwise and getting most of the bus journeys done while it's not too hot, before getting the remaining Z1 and H+C to H'smith out of the way then onwards to Richmond and the final leg to Heathrow.

There again, I'll probably change my mind and plan a dozen other possible routes before then!

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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by nozzacook » 05 Aug 2014, 17:58

Olympia service after 10am is 14 & 44 from earls court and 28 & 58 from Olympia.

According to the BBC 10 day forecast we are looking at dry and 24c so should not be too bad.
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tractakid
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Re: First timer August 2014 - some advice please!

Post by tractakid » 05 Aug 2014, 19:58

nozzacook wrote:Olympia service after 10am is 14 & 44 from earls court and 28 & 58 from Olympia.

According to the BBC 10 day forecast we are looking at dry and 24c so should not be too bad.
Nothing before 1000?
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