My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

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Will1
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My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by Will1 » 14 May 2020, 00:37

Tube Challenge 2, 23/08/2019 - Admittedly a very late posting of the write-up, but I've got nothing better to do!


Having attempted the Tube Challenge once before in 2018 but failing to complete with 269/270 (Olympia was cruelly snatched from our fingertips), I decided it was time for another go. This time I was joined by my mate Chris. We set our sights on a date in the summer after A-Levels were done and out the way but leave enough time to get a bit of training and planning in.

With my (admittedly rather unnecessarily large) portfolio of timetables, notes and maps we left our hotel at Terminal 4 at quarter to 5, heading for the 0502 out towards Terminals 123. Luckily, we’d scouted the station out the night before and timed our walk back to the hotel, so we knew how much time to leave – it’s not a short walk! Having arrived at the station ten minutes early, the train decided to do this too; it rolled in two whole minutes ahead of schedule. I know this is common, but I couldn’t help but observe that those two minutes would be rather unhelpfully added to our time – simply being absorbed into a longer wait for our next connection at Terminals 123.

It turns out, however, those two minutes were very much needed as the Terminal 5 train we were to catch at 123 was four(!) minutes early, and had the first train been late (or even on time) the connection would have been uncomfortably tight – or missed. Missed connections early on not only suffer from harder recovery due to more infrequent early morning services, but their effect propagates and increases the chances of mucking things up later on.

Thankfully though, we made our terminal 5 train easily with a stroll across the platform and sailed down into terminal 5, taking advantage of platform toilet facilities there (every chance is worth using!) while the train continued into the turnback siding and returned into the adjacent platform to take us up through Hounslow and Chiswick to Barons Court, where we stepped onto our second line of the day: the District. With a very smooth change, this took us the inconvenient one-stop trip to West Kensington, which met us with our first run of the day.

Amidst baffled looks of bleary-eyed commuters shuffling along towards the station, we sprinted through the streets of Kensington to Olympia. We were greeted by even more baffled looks from the driver who struck up conversation with us, asking why we were so out of breath and red-faced, but he was more surprised to see someone using his train. This private taxi train took us undisturbed to High Street Kensington, albeit arriving four minutes down on timetable due to congestion around Earl’s Court. We headed northwards up to Edgware Road and back out to Hammersmith one train down due to the late arrival at High Street Kensington.

With a run across the road at Hammersmith, we found ourselves a District line train to Richmond, double backed and ended up (via inexplicable means) later at Ickenham, where something rather unexpected occurred. Running towards us on the pavement was a pair of men, one holding a folder of paper – both with rucksacks on. I thought this could only mean one thing, after all, how often is it that you see two people with rucksacks and papers in running gear excitedly jogging towards a tube station at 8am in the middle of suburbia in any other circumstances? I shouted ‘Tube challenge?’ with a reply of ‘yeah!’ – there was time for no more than that. We all had more important business to attend to.

We had earned some rest and the Central line provided us with this – we headed down across London and out the other side, alternating between nibbling out of our backpacks and napping in the oppressive heat as we went. Irritatingly, the a Hainault loop train was only two trains ahead of us in the tunnels, which meant the one we could catch was fairly far behind – we had to wait an unfavourable 15 minutes at Leytonstone, but all ran smoothly up to Epping and back, ready for us to try out a new air conned train on the GOBLIN, which was a substantial contrast to the incessant warmth of the Central.

We sprinted back down into darkness onto the Victoria line and managed to find ourselves at Edgware, where one thing seemed to be missing: buses. After the countdown boards offered us undue hope (excuse the pun) we waited 10 minutes to be shuttled to Canons Park, where we just missed a train to take us to Stanmore. A few minutes elapsed at Stanmore, but the issues around this double back alone had cost us about 20 minutes all things considered.

We chilled in the sun at Finchley Central, Mill Hill East and briefly Finchley Central again before heading up to High Barnet. Having run the trip to Cockfosters before and struggled, having done it as the last run in the winter darkness in 2018, I most definitely didn’t fancy it with a fuller backpack and in the 25-degree heat. A 307 dutifully rolled up after 5 minutes and we ran up to Cockfosters (which was a longer run than I’d imagined, maybe because I’d been tricked by seeing it as a straight run).

At all other times I have a soft spot for the Piccadilly line, but my eyes were horrified my the sight of the departures board when I checked it on the 307 – 20 minutes until the next train out of Cockfosters. We arrived – breathless after the uphill run – at Cockfosters to empty platforms. Eventually a train rolled in and we set off from Cockfosters even further behind schedule.

With tired legs, we were lucky to be sitting. The mighty gap in the service ahead of us meant our train dwelled unhelpfully long at each station as more people crammed into the carriages. It all made for a very sluggish and stuffy journey across London. Heading down to Wimbledon on the District was a welcome return to possession of personal space, and we hopped on a dutifully waiting tram, before jogging down to Morden. Thankfully, there was no ‘fault in the service’ at Wimbledon (sorry).

Irritatingly, the next departure northbound at Morden had been taken off the ticket hall departure boards before it had left, so we dashed down the stairs onto the supposed next leaving train, only for the one next to us to close its doors and head off into the tunnels to London. It was a minor detail and not one I’d be worrying much about.

My nose confirmed to me upon arrival at Kennington that it indeed stinks, but thankfully a train was waiting for us – interestingly in the Charing Cross branch platform, though it was heading south. Less fortunately, it was held for at least five minutes for a reason that never was revealed: those five minutes were ones I spent stressing over whether the line had gone down or not, but thankfully the disruption was only temporary.

Whisked away from the Northern by the Victoria line we landed at Victoria, where something rather unlikely happened. Our challenging colleagues whom we’d crossed paths with earlier were on the platform with us. With our plans closely held to our chests, we shared the Sloane Square double back and the run from Aldgate to Aldgate East and joined the same barking-bound District line train at Aldgate East.

This is where competitiveness really started to play my mind. It was time to play the game on the fly to improve our run. At this stage of the challenge, one is presented with choices: a fast train out or a fast train back from Upminster. I’d planned in a fast train back as it minimised changes, but ultimately either way can be faster depending on connections. Of course we were behind time and our District train was rather out of place in the timetable, so my original plans had fallen through. Using what patchy phone (and tube!) service I had, I managed to work out that hopping out at West Ham and catching a non-stop train to Upminster and then immediately getting onto a District train back to West Ham would shave valuable minutes off our time.

We dashed into the rush hour crowds at West Ham and down into the subways, and up on to the c2c platforms, where our train was rolling in. Something was missing though – Chris! I waited anxiously on the platforms until the train doors closed. I had phoned him, and, admitting defeat, I headed back to the District platforms where he was going to meet me. With an Upminster arriving and leaving by my side, we caught the train two behind our original one in an unfortunate attempt that turned to self-sabotage.

Admittedly rather frustrated on the train to Upminster, we appreciated the full-height seats, air con and toilets on the c2c train back down to West Ham. Engaging in the much-awaited inevitable ‘What on earth are you doing?’ question from a slightly boozed suited-and-booted man straight out of Canary Wharf’s towers, we once again approached central London.

Squiggling about with Southwark and legging it through London Bridge led us to Elephant & Castle. The Bakerloo had been down for most of the afternoon with 3 different incidents, so it was a relief to only need it once. Racing down the stairs at Elephant we’re greeted by the next train out going all the way to Harrow, and through its beeping doors we dived, blackening my hand on the door seal in the process.

Dinner was served in the buffet car – if dinner can be considered dinner if eaten out of a backpack consisting only of a humble Tesco meal deal, and if a bouncy Bakerloo line carriage with me eating said food in it counts as a buffet car. We waited patiently at Harrow & Wealdstone for the train to reverse in the siding, with a rather drunk man who was precariously close to falling onto the tracks a number of times the only other being wanting a London-bound train at this time of night.

We dutifully took the one stop to Kenton and began worrying about West Harrow at Preston Road: these exotic Buckinghamshire destinations will be useful to us later but not yet! Following an Amersham train was our desired sort: bearing the destination of Uxbridge it took us to West Harrow where our tired legs took us through the peaceful backstreets of Harrow. We weren’t greeted by a Watford train at North Harrow, and so we waited in the yellowish sodium glow of Moor Park’s platform for one to roll in.

Heading up the Watford branch, I kept a keen eye on arrivals at Moor Park for our adventure up into Buckinghamshire. It was going to be either a very tight or a missed connection for an Amersham train upon our return down the branch. Thankfully, the doors to our train opened as the Amersham train was pulling to a stand, we boarded and took full advantage of our 20 minute wait for our train to re-emerge from the Amersham sidings: we ventured across the road from the station to get ourselves some premature celebratory drinks with just the one station left to tick off.

We waited 15 minutes for our Chesham train; its headlights rounding the corner a beautiful sight as we rose from our bench. Stepping on, and, 9 minutes later, stepping off, we were over the line. Or as I prefer to put it: the lines were over – in 18 hours, 15 minutes and 29 seconds: amazingly back on the (admittedly lax) schedule.

And so we opened our drinks to keep us company on the train home (for official purposes, TfL, if you’re reading this, the drinks were non-alcoholic). We passed a rather intriguing party going down in a Rickmansworth waiting room as we trundled back into London. After enjoying the sights, sounds and sick of the Night Tube down to Brixton, we sprinted onto our waiting night bus as if the challenge was still on, and we headed desperately back to our waiting beds very happy with what we'd achieved.

dstock17
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by dstock17 » 16 May 2020, 18:47

Good write up but drink alcohol at that time of night no one will notice and who brought in that rule. Lol
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by tubeguru » 18 May 2020, 17:49

dstock17 wrote:
16 May 2020, 18:47
Good write up but drink alcohol at that time of night no one will notice and who brought in that rule. Lol
So you're encouraging people to break LU byelaws?
One thing only do I know, and that is that I know nothing - Socrates.

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stepneygreen05
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by stepneygreen05 » 18 May 2020, 18:56

hmmmm...

dstock17
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by dstock17 » 18 May 2020, 20:04

tubeguru wrote:
18 May 2020, 17:49
dstock17 wrote:
16 May 2020, 18:47
Good write up but drink alcohol at that time of night no one will notice and who brought in that rule. Lol
So you're encouraging people to break LU byelaws?
Not every law brought in by governments or lu has been for the best.
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by tubeguru » 22 May 2020, 17:45

dstock17 wrote:
18 May 2020, 20:04
tubeguru wrote:
18 May 2020, 17:49
dstock17 wrote:
16 May 2020, 18:47
Good write up but drink alcohol at that time of night no one will notice and who brought in that rule. Lol
So you're encouraging people to break LU byelaws?
Not every law brought in by governments or lu has been for the best.
True. But anti-social behaviour late at night on the tube isn't helped by booze.
One thing only do I know, and that is that I know nothing - Socrates.

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dstock17
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by dstock17 » 23 May 2020, 07:28

You only have to look at the papers to see how the top ranking government official just broke the law. Its law for everyone although some are brought in illegally and without common sense.
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Southfields_SW19
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by Southfields_SW19 » 02 Jul 2020, 18:38

Will, I'm the individual you referred to in your post (Ickenham, Victoria). I've dropped you a PM.

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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by ANDY_JS » 26 Jul 2020, 01:43

Thanks for the interesting write-up. I'm wondering when you did Ealing Broadway, West Ruislip, etc, but perhaps you've deliberately left that bit out in order not to give away the entire route.

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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by RJSRdg » 26 Jul 2020, 22:09

ANDY_JS wrote:
26 Jul 2020, 01:43
Thanks for the interesting write-up. I'm wondering when you did Ealing Broadway, West Ruislip, etc, but perhaps you've deliberately left that bit out in order not to give away the entire route.
Looks like Richmond > Gunnersbury > Chiswick Park (or possibly reversal at Turnham Green) > Ealing Broadway > West Acton > North Ealing > Uxbridge > Ickenham > West Ruislip

Took me a while to figure out how some of the stations in the top of Zone 1 were done - but I think it was

Walthamstow > Warren Street > Goodge Street > Edgware > Canons Park > Stanmore > Baker Street > Moorgate > Finchley Central
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Re: My 2nd FNC: Summer 2019

Post by ANDY_JS » 27 Jul 2020, 19:48

RJSRdg wrote:
26 Jul 2020, 22:09
ANDY_JS wrote:
26 Jul 2020, 01:43
Thanks for the interesting write-up. I'm wondering when you did Ealing Broadway, West Ruislip, etc, but perhaps you've deliberately left that bit out in order not to give away the entire route.
Looks like Richmond > Gunnersbury > Chiswick Park (or possibly reversal at Turnham Green) > Ealing Broadway > West Acton > North Ealing > Uxbridge > Ickenham > West Ruislip

Took me a while to figure out how some of the stations in the top of Zone 1 were done - but I think it was

Walthamstow > Warren Street > Goodge Street > Edgware > Canons Park > Stanmore > Baker Street > Moorgate > Finchley Central
Thanks RJSRdg. Looks possible.

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