It was my first time. London was calling and I answered. Booked a flight, packed my stuff, Checked-In, got to the airport, passed security, went to Gate A something, Plane Took-off, Taxied, Touchdown aka landed safely, I waited forever for passengers leaving the plane, felt lucky getting off the plane finally, passed border control, withdrew £, bought tube ticket and there I was, not expecting what was about to come.
First a short notice: Public transport is expensive. 12 £ for a one day pass is not nothing. But come on’ it is London. Everything has its high price.
It might have been because of my thick winter jacket, but the tube is hot! The deeper the platform the warmer it gets. I mean, I do not mind having a bit of a warm breeze around during winter, but combined with bad air quality and crowded cars, it feels like after an intense workout. This brings me to my next point of impression: Sometimes you gotta walk a long distance between entrance of the station and the doors of the tube. When changing from one line into another it can be quite a maze race from time to time. Generally tubing, as I like to call the whole process, seems to be some kind of sports, depending on how busy you are getting from O to B (Origin to Destination). Some people do not have time, especially not in London. So, for your own safety, stand right and hold the handrail, otherwise walk quickly down the staircase on the left side.
I wanted to get from St. Pauls to Liverpool at 6pm, which was a terrible idea, but at that moment I did not think it through. The station was all over the place. People everywhere. While waiting for the next tube to arrive, I realized that if the platform was already considered to be crowed, the tube would genuinely be a disaster. The next minutes were crazy. Tube1 arrived, nobody wanted to get out, so no one could get in. Tube1 left. Tube2 arrived, nobody wanted to get out, so no one could get in. Tube2 left. I changed my location to the front car, hoping to be in a better spot. But unfortunately I was not the only one having this idea. Tube1 left. Tube3 arrived, some got off, one or two got on the tube. Tube3 left. Tube4 arrived, people, now already a bit frustrated, started to push and pull. Those elbows though.. Tube4 left. After a change to another spot, again with the hope that the next tube would finally be IT. Tube5 arrived, some people got off, and suddenly other people, which had not waited that long (well, not that long as I did already), got in. I stood there in my politeness and German structuring, missing Tube5. Alright. Lesson learned. When Tube6 arrived, I had the perfect position and was more than ready to go. And, it worked!
“She’s got a ticket to ride!”
Luckily the tube runs very regularly. At busy times nearly every minute! That is crazy for someone, like me, who is more used to every 10 or even 20 minutes. So, no complains! Also I was somehow fortunate, being able to enter the station at all. Getting off at Liverpool Street, all staircases going down were locked, so that no more people could enter. That is that.
If there is even the slightest chance to take a seat, go for it! Those seats will make your journey cozy. They are so soft and it is hard standing up again. I might exaggerating a bit, but seriously compared to other subways, the tube reaches the sofa-level.
Another great experience whilst tubing was being surrounded by such a variety of people. Different cultures, generations, nationalities, styles, habits, moods and minds come together, being united for how long your ride should take.
Let’s get a bit into physics and engineering: Did you ever experience windy circumstances while walking in a station or waiting at the plattform? I have experienced that at a major level in Tokyo and now in London. The reason is simple: Every train literally pushes air from its origin towards its destination through the tunnels. So when arriving at a station, the wind flows in all directions and thus creates wind. When leaving a station a vacuum is created behind the train, so that new air comes flowing in from the outside, which is also part of the wind we feel. This is called piston effect.
All in all, I like to tube. Yes! Even if it might be expensive, windy, hot and over crowded. The tube is taking you all around London, as quick and cozy as it could possibly be, combined with an interesting vibe of people.
It has been short, but real.
Thank you London, hope to see you again any time soon!