i give you this excerpt its now naturally a working progress but some feedback would be nice
CHAPTER 1 WHAT IS THE TUBE CHALLENGE?
The question everybody asks? Well, you must arrive or depart or both from all London underground stations you do not need to put your foot on each platform. But you can if wish you may use public transport trains dlr buses to aid your journey. And you can use your legs (either by walking or running ),but no private transport scooters,skateboards,cycles taxis etc.
I had never heard about it through normal society chatter! After all, its not exactly the first thing to chat about in the pub. Similar to a unique hobby such as trainspotting. Interesting to other trainspotters but not to normal people so how?.
The woman responsible was my mum Bridget James. She had just listened to a documentary on the television about a guy called Geoff Marshall. He with his friend Dave Brooks had made an attempt to travel all 270 london Underground stations.
Seeing as mum knows best she said you be good at that and you memorise stuff I bet you could do it and so a challenge was born!
So firstly, I watched the programme, then typed in Tube Challenge into the Internet and found lots of information, Geoff's website, Annie Mole underground blog, some rail forum and more interestingly a tube forum. So i joined up read a few threads got what i understood. Back then it was hardly anything and began to post and ask questions naively at the time.
The basic thing i found out was routes and runs were very hush hush secretive as it were and I wondered why? Even little details like carriage and door positions for the exits. Runs that you can do between certain stations to save time were kept quiet for obvious reasons. Nobody gives out the winning formula do they! Now being a veteran i can understand why but back then I thought like a rookie and was left out!.
So, I looked at various people,s challenges and basically saw that most people started up at Amersham far out on the metropolitan line. This is also where Geoff started his tube attempt number 3. Seeing as i had an aunt living in Amersham at the time and the possibility of free accommodation it was a no brainer but where to possibly finish? I had thought of morden Heathrow, Cockfosters all end of lines! in the end I settled on Upminster as i found a cheap hotel with a late check in not far from there!
So next - and i recommend this as a starting point for all future tube challengers- first get a map of the underground. It doesnt matter if it doesnt include dlr,overground just save it into a computer and use the paint function which all computers have.
It is not important where you start but just draw along the lines and cover off all the stations. Re edit restart if you are not happy and eventually you will find a diagram you like the look of as a starting point.
Of course, when you look at Harry Beck's 1933 famous map i'ts a jumble and there are end of lines for example at the end of Northern Line and End of the Piccadilly line you have High Barnet and Cockfosters respectfully.
Now if you did this by Tube you have to travel back into central london and Kings Cross and then end up taking probably an hour even walking even the slowest person wouldnt take that long to walk the 2.4 miles between them and there are buses direct and indirect as well.
Therefore, I used Amersham as my start and finish point Upminster. As a guide i came up with a rough plan of what i thought was good! But looking back now it was just plain rubbish! Now I used to use TFL journey planner first time but in all my years of doing The Challenge this has to be the worst journey planner in existence! It is far too slow and directs you ways you do not want to travel.
And before i even started thinking could I get the day off from work?, when was i going to do it?, was i going to do solo? etc i went back to tube forum and asked for some advice. The questions I asked probably made me came off as such a jerk. But, I think but I still do know some people you get on with and some people you don't but thats life!.
I also noticed that there were other challenges on the tube a regular zone 1 day held at the end of may travel to all 64 stations in zone 1 in the shortest time. All the lines basically one stop on each 11 lines a true fast challenge if there is one. South of The Thames Challenge which was coming up soon organised by the new holders of the 275 stations record. So i booked into attempting this in december 2007 just on the East london line last day of action!
I thought it be a great way to match myself against others The Challenge didnt look too hard on paper the finish station was north Greenwich close to Waterloo and my train home and I get to meet the BROWN family the current record holders i thought wow! it be great to meet someone so famous! .
But, before all that I decided i must have one go at the full network myself before the East London line disappeared and presumably made the challenge very much easier and of course the record would be reset as less stations involved 268 from the current 275.