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5th Attempt - 12/06/15
Posted: 09 Jun 2015, 17:13
Creating this thread in hopes that I will then remember to write it up in good time. I'm doing my 5th attempt this Friday, and this time we're gunning for a top 10 time. I'm doing it with another first timer so although Top-10 is on the cards, just getting round will be more important than the final time. I'm hoping that doing it on a Friday won't cause us problems with potential increased chances of disruptions, and this is likely the last one I'll be doing for a while because I'm moving away from London for a while so I'm hoping for a good time to finish on.
Re: 5th Attempt - 12/06/15
Posted: 13 Jun 2015, 22:04
We did it! For Nigel's sake: Alex Kneller & Jonathan Rawlinson, 17:52:44.
So this was my first Challenge starting at Chesham as opposed to Heathrow. It felt weird seeing places in daylight I normally see in darkness, and vice versa. All in all the day was good but we had a few notable moments.
We started on the very first train out of Chesham, mostly because this particular challenge wasn't a 100% effort, we added a couple of minutes on to each run time when scheduling the route and made other changes to make it more relaxed.
Early on we hit problems when we got on the Central Line at Ealing Broadway because there was an ongoing signal failure at Queensway that was quickly bringing the Eastbound service to a halt. We got to West Acton and held for a minute, and luckily soon we moved on to North Acton, so we could reverse and go up towards West Ruislip, albeit losing some stations in the process. We proceeded on with our planned route, creeped ahead of schedule and managed to get ahead enough to secure the advantage by making an earlier Mill Hill East train. This was quickly shot down by a long wait for a 307 at High Barnet (still nowhere near up to running that connection yet). We left Cockfosters about 7 minutes ahead of schedule, and due to unlucky connections, later in the day when we got to Walthamstow, we caught our original planned Overground train from Walthamstow Queen's Road.
A speedy run at Leytonstone led us to a good run around the Central line (with added Dominos pizza from our trusty helper Rob Arrow), and we carried on as scheduled around the network until eventually we slipped and missed a connection by seconds, and then another, and another, and later on when we got to Wimbledon we were 10 minutes behind. Coming up from Wimbledon I expressed concerns that if we were to stay on our route, we would miss the first Olympia train (the one we planned to get). Later on as we left Mile End heading into the City on the Central Line, I called it, and I improvised, deciding to cover off stations we missed due to disruptions earlier in the day. This would later turn about to be a bad move, as the route my Dad was planning, (he had been on hand all day, giving us replanned routes, times etc.) that we never received before I made the decision, would have saved us 20 minutes in the long run. Although my improvisations were fairly good, they let us down when we had to do an annoying there-and-back between South Ken and Green Park. Things then wound down to the end of the journey. A lady at Turnham Green confessed to eavesdropping our conversation and phonecalls and had to ask what we were doing, so we explained to her all about to Tube Challenging and what it is (and how debilitating it is!). I must say, it was nice to have a polite conversation with someone instead of the usual glares of "what are you jokers doing" as we run through stations looking like idiots.
We had a bit of a scare as we were stationary at Chiswick Park, and our Heathrow T4 train went past us. Luckily we did catch it at Acton Town, but that would have been a shame to lose 10 more minutes right at the end of the day.
Finishing at around 23:08 at T5, our journey back home to South Ken was half filled by us debating what our time should be. We had the raw start and finish times and 2 timers. One timer was immediately dismissed as it's reading was several minutes out from the other values which were only a few seconds apart. So we decided to take an average of the reliable times we had, which came out at 17:52:44.