31st July - DLR 20th Anniversary Challenge

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Post by tubeguru » 01 Aug 2007, 18:02

Which is why you want to steer clear of that sort of crap and eat some fresh chicken in a Meditteranean sauce with extra chopped tomato and mashed potato with sweet potato, carrot and spinach in.

But where can you get that at midnight in London?
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Post by dudey » 01 Aug 2007, 20:32

me and team-mate jamesthegill got into the big smoke a little early in the afternoon and we decided the best way to spend our time would be to so some reccy. we thought the best way to do this would be to actually do a timed-run and find out how reliable the famous DLR really is. having never even seen it before, let alone been on it, i was fascinated, being from the south-east, at how these trains came in and left precisely when they were scheduled to, without fail! this isn't a shock to some of you maybe, but it's a rarity these days. of course our time was immediatly hampered when we set foot onto the jubilee line, where signal failures and 90 second minutes are the name of the game. a 5 minute journey from Canning Town to Stratford took 15 minutes after stopping twice at signals between West Ham and Stratford.

the challenge run itself was again run precisely to the schedule on the DLR trains, but when we got to Canning the jubilee had only just come off its 'minor delays' status and right at the end of the line the trains still had silly random gaps between them. someone with a pushchair blocked us from getting down the escalator in time for the waiting train, and the one minute wait on the board turned out to be at least 3, and so even a smooth journey prevented us from making the connection at Stratford we'd only allowed 1 minute for. roll on the stratford-canning DLR extension i say. this reduced our visit to the two city stations to guesswork in order to get out on a lewisham train as quickly as possible and in the end it turned out we did bloody well compared to most of the teams!!! :P

overall, a thoroughly enjoyable challenge, some fantastic views to be had over the rising docklands area, and it was also great to meet some of the people off of here again after the mania of the Z1C day, as well personally congratulating the new (provisional) GWR holders. credit for our team name 'devons road how they make it so creamy' has to go to jamesthegill, although to steal some thunder i did pick it off a list he'd done during his mornings work! ;)

one to make an annual event you reckon? there's definitely a lot to be said for it as a challenge with a difference, with good knowledge of service frequency and that run almost essential. although might i also suggest it be on a saturday?! if what tpfkar says about the service being better has any substance then it makes sense to run it then when more people will also be able to make it.

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Post by tubeguru » 01 Aug 2007, 21:05

The day the challenge is held on is immaterial, as everyone will have the same service, whether it's good or bad.
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Post by Soup Dragon » 01 Aug 2007, 21:05

tubeguru wrote:Which is why you want to steer clear of that sort of crap and eat some fresh chicken in a Meditteranean sauce with extra chopped tomato and mashed potato with sweet potato, carrot and spinach in.

But where can you get that at midnight in London?
It sounds like we all should have headed to Neils place for a spot of supper after the challenge.... nice menu :)

As for the challenge itself, I agree with Dudey (Matt) that the system is very impressive and the Docklands skyline (especially at sunset) made this a really nice challenge. Certainly I think it could become an annual event and would not have any objections to moving it to a weekend, at least then we would get more time at the pub. :)
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Post by dudey » 01 Aug 2007, 21:42

tubeguru wrote:The day the challenge is held on is immaterial, as everyone will have the same service, whether it's good or bad.
i realise in terms of the competition that's true, but like i said it would be better for the turnout and would mean we could do it during the day and spend more time in the pub! getting to victoria from wapping isn't the quickest of journeys at half past ten in the evening. the fact of saturday service being good is relevant in that normally challenges are to be avoided at weekends but this an anomaly to that rule.

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Post by tangy » 01 Aug 2007, 23:20

My account of the events:

Our teams departure from Polar was a bit later than expected and sibnce we wanted the 1915 ex Lewisham, which I knew would be a very dodgy connection, anyhow made it with a minute to spare.

A great start until the train stopped at Mudchute and there it remained for 10 minutes due to techinical trouble on the train ahead. Not good I thought as we were automatically 10 minutes down.

At Beckton though had a good connection a a 474 bus (it was 3 minutes late) thus if the bus departed on time we would of misssed it! Although I knew at North Woolwich it would be a hell for leather sprint to KGV but to no reward! Found an empty platform and 9 minutes on the display. Interestingly, we were the only team to take the bus for that section, everyone else decided to run it!

A good 3 minute wait at Stratford for our next DLR train towards Poplar, finished at Bank, so doubled back to Shadwell only to find Anthony and Starkey standing there waiting for a Tower train and had been for about 8 minutes due to some sort of mishap with a train in the paltform. One of the following trains held in the queue was cut short and terminated at Shadwell :shock:

Anyway when Anthony's Tower tarin finally came we joine dthem down to Tower and decided to have a race to the pub, my team opting for bus 100 and Anthony/Starkey via Shadwell, the bus won by a good margin mainly due to tehir being one just we approached the stop!

Anyway, the record will be coming back to East London as my team are doing it again this evening!
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Post by jamesthegill » 02 Aug 2007, 05:43

dudey wrote:someone with a pushchair blocked us from getting down the escalator in time for the waiting train, and the one minute wait on the board turned out to be at least 3, and so even a smooth journey prevented us from making the connection at Stratford we'd only allowed 1 minute for.
We would've gotten away with the route too, if it wasn't for those pesky kids...

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Post by editorsfoot » 02 Aug 2007, 07:27

Guess it must be time for my account then.

To start with I joined the elite band of tube challengers who have managed to miss their first train, which I thought would throw my record attempt out of the window straight away, but the following train which I caught five mins later than expected gave me a zero minute connection at Crossharbour. With this train being manually driven by the PSA we managed to stop in the wrong place at Stratford, where eventually we were let out. A quick run to the jubilee saw train ready which at Stratford means we will go when the train in the next platform comes in (about 3 minutes). At Canning Town I took the first train to KGV rather than Beckton, so reversing most of my plan. The run took 9 mins, and arriving at Gallions Reach the sign said 'Beckton 5 mins' which gave plenty of time to lie on the platform and have a good cough. Doubling back at Beckton, Tower Gateway and Shadwell saw a finish at Bank, and getting back to Shadwell saw me bump into Tangy and Lax still heading into the city.

Pleased with my time, but as all the 3 top times have been set going from Lewisham to Bank, are there really that many perfect routes?

Cheers to Soupie for organising this.

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Post by Going Underground » 02 Aug 2007, 07:34

tangy wrote:My account of the events:

Our teams departure from Polar was a bit later than expected and sibnce we wanted the 1915 ex Lewisham, which I knew would be a very dodgy connection, anyhow made it with a minute to spare.
Amazing we saw you at the pub at all with a departure from Polar :!: :wink:
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Post by jamesthegill » 03 Aug 2007, 13:01

My Day, by James The Gill (aged 22 and 354 days)

Note: this is copied directly from my blog, so may include injokes that I've forgotten to edit out.

After a long, strenuous day at work I got the train up to London to meet Matt. Deciding against a quick zone 1 we got on the Jubilee line and headed eastwards to scout out a few stations where we would need to change over - previous to this all my research had been done from this very chair online. Scouting done, we retired to a lovely pub underneath the railway line to Fenchurch Street station for food and to discuss the team name for our trio (Jack was to join us later). Continuing my theme of "tenuous puns based upon station names" I suggested Back In Blackwall, Bend It Like Beckton and the custardy "Devons Road how they make it so creamy". It was decided that we'd go for the latter. After food we made our way to Poplar to meet up with everyone and begin the route posturing.

As we had 10 minutes to kill at Blackwall Jack bought a travel card and I emptied my bladder against a lift; I wasn't sure when the next chance for that would be.

From Blackwall we proceeded Eastwards, along the newest branch of the railway in the late afternoon sunshine. Following the curve of the river past the East India dock conversation turned to the ample charms of Maggie Gyllenhaal - I can't quite remember how that came about, and what relevance it has is lost on me, but it is a nice thought anyway. As we departed Canning Town Ace of Spades began to blare out from my pocket and I had an interesting, albeit brief, conversation with an Asian gentleman called Patrick who insisted that my life would improve drastically if I bought home insurance from him.

The south side of the Royal Docks is the latest part to undergo this regeneration brought about by the DLR and it was obvious - luxury flats cheek by jowl with disused factories. We also passed the Tate & Lyle factory, and I was momentarily distracted by the large tin of Golden Syrup on the side of the building. A sighting of the Thames Flood Barrier moved the conversation to the recent weather we've been having, and the relative difference between tidal floods and lots of sodding rain. At London City Airport most of the carriage emptied, so we steadied ourselves for the big run, which is more or less this route except we went along Woodman Street rather than Albert Road, and did the roundabout anticlockwise as we were on foot.

On our reconnaissance run earlier we had already realised that we can make it in time for the scheduled train without busting a gut running, so we took it at a steady pace. The first part, up until the end of Woodman Street, was spent jogging rapidly. As the road started to move uphill from there we walked briskly on for the next part, up until we crossed the first bridge. At this point Jack pointed out the sunset, and I took a picture of it - first accidentally taking a picture of Jack's ankle. We jogged again from this bridge to the next, dodging aeroplanes that were coming in to land at the airport. Downhill from the second bridge we were making excellent time (and on another day we could make the run in seven minutes) so ambled our way down, discussing our lack of fitness. Just as we got on to the platform at Gallions Reach station we saw the train rounding the final curve and pulling in - we'd made the train, and without the need for defribulators afterwards!

Up to Beckton for a quick doubleback, and returning to Gallions Reach we went under the road to nowhere - there were no talking heads, or indeed subways, but you can see it here. Unfortunately at Gallions Reach our carriage was taken over by large numbers of screaming kids, so any attempt at decent conversation was out. We passed a pub which would be great for meetups if it wasn't so bloody far out the way, and started preparing ourselves for the changeover at Canning Town. The plan was to change to the Jubilee line at Canning and head north to Stratford. Because of the layout of the station, the platform we needed to get to was directly below the one we pulled in on, and the escalators were directly outside the carriage doors. Piece of cake, surely?

Well, no. Owing to problems earlier the Jubilee line was about as stable as a bridge over the Mississippi. As we leapt heroically from the carriage our route down the escalator was blocked by a chav mum with a double buggy and three screaming brats. I would have sold my grandmother for a taser right about then. We made it to the train to see the doors close in our face and the train depart. Luckily the platform indicator indicated that the next train would only be 1 minute; unluckily this was a London Underground minute, which can take up to 240 seconds. We willed the tube to go faster to Stratford.

Upon exiting at Stratford we crossed to the other side of the platform to avoid running into people. Barreling hell for leather we passed another team doing the opposite route as we were, and strolling leisurely to the train. Through the ticket barrier and up the stairs to the mezzanine floor, we made it to the brand spanking new platforms to find...a five minute wait. Bugger. Failing to get the first Jubilee train had cost us dearly, and a decent time was looking out of the question. We milled around on the station, lapping up the sun and making the most of a rest, before getting on the train when it arrived. A change at Poplar was scheduled, to get the next westbound train to Bank.

At Poplar, Jack and myself kept ourselves amused by combining tube station names and song titles before we realised that the next westbound train was to the other city terminal at Tower Gateway. This proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the connection was infinitely easier. At Tower Gateway we shot out of the station like bats out of heck, nearly coming a cropper down the stairs when I stumbled and nearly went arse over tit. Luckily I regained my footing and we sprinted across the main road, avoiding another coach (just like the Aldgate run on z1 day), passing one of the few remaining chunks of the Roman city wall. Hurtling onto the platform we saw a train waiting and leapt on it.

We leapt off it again when it was helpfully pointed out that the train just pulling in would be leaving first (again, a bonus from Tube staff) and got on the right one. By sheer coincidence we got off at Monument in the right place for the stairs and ran down these, along a corridor passing a busker playing Metallica's Fade To Black, down some more stairs and onto the platform to find...an 8 minute wait for a train to Lewisham. Knowing that we didn't need to do any more running we slumped to the ground and rested.

The train to Lewisham was packed, despite it being half past 8 at night. As we passed Herons Quays station I commented on all the water around the area.
"Wouldn't it be sensible to make this area into docks?"
"Yes," Jack replied. "This would make a fine land of docks."
"Would we not need a transport infrastructure though?"
"How about a railway?"
"Aha! Genius! But a normal railway might be too heavy..."
"How about a light railway then? But what to call it..."
"I've got it! We could call it...the Light Land of Docks Railway!"
It's possible that we scared people.

Passing through Crossharbour we saw the site of the old London Arena, where I saw Rammstein 5 years ago (blimey, was it really that long?) and entered the area known as Millwall. I was wearing a Gillingham shirt at the time, and felt well 'ard, me. We dipped under the river and came up in Greenwich (passing the bonfire formerly known as the Cutty Sark) and willed the train to go faster and finish below two hours. Unlike the zone 1, where we had a relatively short final run of two stations, this was the longest journey on the DLR and felt like a bit of an anticlimax. Despite asking the conductor nicely if he'd let me drive the train, we crawled in at a respectable, but personally disappointing time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 15 seconds.

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Post by Soup Dragon » 03 Aug 2007, 17:38

James, wow... now thats what I call a detailed write up. If ever you do the full network then your report will be something like War & Peace :)
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Post by tubeguru » 03 Aug 2007, 18:06

I've only got so much space in the SQL database so bear that in mind. :)
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Post by tpfkar » 03 Aug 2007, 21:19

Gillingham fans are clearly literary connoisseurs!

Great write-up James and clearly a decent route - although possibly you'd have done even better reversing it?

As for us, we never really took it very seriously and after a bit of bad luck, and some silly mistakes we decided we couldn't be bothered slogging round in a slow time.

After a Lewisham start with Soupdragon and Starkey (and tangy, but he was in the next carriage so we didn't realise!) We got as far as Mudchute, and the train just stopped. We could see trains in Crossharbour ahead, and we were told the train in front was stuck. After almost 10 mins wait, we decided to stretch our legs and run to the next station. However it was more complicated than it looked because the exit out of Mudchute took us behind the station. We were about half-way down when we heard the trains moving, and although we gave it our best, I was on the Crossharbour platform just in time to see the trian we'd come off head out of the station, and Starkey phoned me just to laugh at us. Thanks mate.

However after all the delays, the next Stratford train was only 3 mins behind. So we jumped on the next Bank train, and then I also ran from West India Quay to Poplar, while David Scard waited for the Stratford train. When this came into Poplar, it hung in the platform, and then said it was only going to All Saints. So we jumped off, and decided to get the next train to Beckton instead. When this hung in the platform for ages before terminating at Poplar, we decided that enough was enough and that we'd just enjoy the evening before heading to the pub.

We headed out to King George V, walked to Gallions Reach via a stop for some food. We went past tangy and then Starkey and Soupey who at least waved to us. We shouted 'encouragement' as they passed, as we casually walked along eating sandwiches :)

Couldn't be bothered with Beckton, so headed westbound towards Shadwell and the pub, but met tangy yet again at Poplar, and decided to wind him up by pretending we had the same route as him to the finish. Met a smug editorsfoot at Shadwell who had just finished, and we all went to Tower Gateway to reverse then into bank to finish....where we confused tangy by saying that we couldn't be bothered and that we'd see him at the pub.

So we were the first there, but sadly as we both had to get well out of London, we were two of the first who had to leave. I don't suppose there could be a directory of tube challenging London sofas - places where challengers with far to go could stay the night after evening challenges?

Good to see everyone else again though, and I think it was a bad night to be doing the challenge with big delays on both the DLR and the Jubilee lines. But my record is definitely beatable by someone who can make the big run....will it be you?

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Post by Starkey7 » 03 Aug 2007, 22:14

Well, here's my report...

I started out with the intention of using a nice little route from Shadwell to Lewisham, but during the day decided to team up with Soup Dragon and try The Run instead. So we headed off down to Millwall territory (woo hoo) and were accompanied by Scardy and Tpfkary, and apparently Tangy and Laxmeesh as well, although I never saw them at that point!

The challenge started and all went well for seven stations, and then we hung around in Mudchute for ten minutes, as I'm sure you've all already read. Dave and Ric decided to run up to Crossharbour to catch the next train ahead, but after a minute we moved off, and must have passed them. I did phone them when Antony [sic] and I had reached South Quay, but that was only to confirm their location - honest! After all, there was a chance that they'd just have made it back onto the train and were hiding in the other carriage. But they weren't.

So on we went up to Stratford, losing a minute here, a minute there. Eventually arriving, we headed down to the Jubilee line. "9 minutes" was the time on the only platform with a train in it, but as Antony [sic] tried to work out whether a bus would be a better option, I spotted another train sidling in. As we ambled over to it, the Subways [James's team] fell out of the doors and charged past us, presumably just missing the train we'd just got off.

After a few minutes' wait, and a nice little journey down to Canning Town, we wandered up to the DLR again, and took off to Beckton. We were entertained by some teenagers who sounded as though they were having a competition to utter as many swear words as possible before getting to Cyprus. I think that they all must have won. Anyway, we got to Beckton, doubled back to Gallions Reach (a minute late) and then tore off up the road to King George V station. We passed Ric and Dave who casually shouted abuse at us, and had a plane take off right overhead! Most impressive. It wasn't a pleasant run, and I was cream crackered at the end. I just made the run; Antony [sic] just missed it - so I was on my own!

The rest of the journey was uneventful. I got to Bank, just missed the train back out, and then ran up to Monument and just missed a District train going to Tower Hill. So I headed back down to the DLR, but then realised that the next train wouldn't get me to Shadwell in time, so ran back upstairs. By that time I'd missed another train to Tower Hill, so I just ran along the streets there instead. I comfortably made the next train out of Tower Gateway, and arrived at Shadwell in a Personal Worst of 2:05'56".

Hmm.

Antony [sic] then showed up again, as did Tangy and Laxmeesh. We did Tower Gateway again just for fun (or was it part of Antony's [sic] run?), and then headed off to picturesque Wapping for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Jamie (Dr Who) declared that Wapping was a good place to murder someone, and he was probably right.

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Post by Dr Who » 04 Aug 2007, 19:20

By the looks of things a Murder had taken place that night, remember there was that pair of boots on the road side but where was the rest of the body?

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