Well, I made two pretty big errors which pretty much ruined my hopes of coming in first...
Started at Oval
along with everyone else, and opened the envelope on the escalator down to the platforms. Saw Brixton on there and heard a train pulling in, so put on a burst of speed in case it was a southbound (it was!) and just made it through the closing doors one train up on everyone else.
This turned out to be my first mistake, as when I checked the list, I had absolutely no idea what to do about Aldgate, and Tangy was back at Oval giving the organiser's ruling to every other challenger on that platform, believing everyone was present and correct. This meant the first draft route I planned at this point had passive provision for an exterior visit to Aldgate station, and thus a very much inferior Aldgate finish...
Changed at Stockwell, down to Brixton
, the usual quick turnaround and back up to Green Park. I found a Victoria-Piccadilly corridor rammed solid with people on one side of the railings, but fairly empty on the other, so I ran down and jumped on a Northfields train that was pulling in. Down to Earl's Court and change to the District to take me to West Brompton
. Headed over the bridge and intended to check Overground times, but an arriving District line towards Edgware Road put paid to that idea and I jumped aboard. This turned out to be my second big mistake.
The train took me up to Earl's Court, where we sat in the platform for about 3-4 minutes to "regulate the service". We then pulled out of the station and stopped on the curve round to High Street Kensington for about 6 minutes, for NO REASON AT ALL. Finally arriving at Notting Hill Gate, I descended to the Central line and was rewarded with a West Ruislip train pulling in, or so I thought...
This train proceeded to sit in the tunnel between Shepherd's Bush and White City for over 15 minutes, meaning that at this point I was probably playing for honour.
Finally made it to East Acton
, where I had a 3 minute turnaround, and then to White City and across to Wood Lane, where I mercifully had to wait just 1 minute for an H&C up to Baker Street, via both Paddington H&C
and, of course, 3 more minutes of random waiting for the train to move at Edgware Road. Plus side - I finally got a reply from someone at this point letting me know that Aldgate was to be skipped - albeit far too late to amend my route for a West London finish like most other people - so I quickly restructured things a bit. Down to the Jubilee and a three minute wait for a northbound train, and this was when the attrition started.
At every station from here to Willesden Green
, the Jubilee line opened its doors, let people off, let people on, then sat there for an extra half a minute for no reason. And this didn't stop at Willesden Green - at every station all the way back down to Waterloo (via Westminster
), it did exactly the same thing, leaving me thoroughly annoyed 16 stations later. Mercifully, an empty aisle in the travelator meant I had a clear run over to the Northern line and the train promptly pulled in to take me to Tottenham Court Road.
Up to TCR via Leicester Square
, eastbound Central line train arriving as I reached platform. Pass through St. Paul's
to Bank, quick corridor run, northbound Northern line train waiting for me in the platform. Through Angel
to King's Cross St. Pancras, up the escalator and straight onto a waiting Piccadilly line train to take me via Arsenal
to Finsbury Park. Over to the Victoria line, down to Euston
, through the empty corridor shortcut to the northbound Bank branch platforms and a 2 minute wait for the first train, which was an Edgware. Up to Hampstead
, back to Camden Town, meet dadofalex (the first challenger I'd seen since Oval!) who joined me for the final run up to Archway
in a time of 03:18:22.
Got back to the pub to find out I probably didn't do that badly after all... but stay tuned for Tangy's results to find out!
Earl's Court For Regulation
Triangle Sidings For Regulation
Notting Hill Gate
The Caxton Curve For Regulation
run to Wood Lane
Edgware Road For Regulation (via Paddington H&C)
Every Stop On The Jubilee Line Up To Willesden Green For Regulation
Every Stop On The Jubilee Line Back Down To Waterloo For Regulation (via Westminster)
Tottenham Court Road (via Leicester Square)
Bank (via St. Paul's)
King's Cross St. Pancras (via Angel)
Finsbury Park (via Arsenal)
Total time: 03:18:22
Total time spent being regulated: about 35 minutes