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With the Olympics on its way the London transport system is going to be under even more scrutiny than ever and the moaners are going to be louder no doubt. I'm probably one of the few Britons who sincerely hopes the Games goes well, by the way, as you realise I do love the place. As the second most popular city in the world after Paris, I'm certain London hasn't much to prove, but it does have some things to improve. I really do like the Tube and can never understand why people constantly moan. I have always assumed it's just plain British cynicism, but having used this line a while ago I understood how easy it is to disrupt someone's day, especially if you have to commute between different destinations within the city every other day. Living somewhere and holidaying there in a week are two different things and no doubt a London citizen would tell me the same about the Tube. It's not until you basically live something and exit the happy holiday mentality that you begin to notice and experience the flaws. I have done an overall Tube review but decided to tell you my experience of using the Jubilee line - well, we have just been celebrating the Jubilee! This line is the newest on the London Underground and runs from Stanmore through to Statford, taking in much of central London and Canary Wharf along the way so may just be an important line come the beginning of the Olympic Games. I was staying in Swiss Cottage which sits singularly on the Jubilee line. A pleasant area, although I can never find a lot to do there but it is located not too far away from Hampstead and Camden and there is enough traffic and people to satisfy a townie soul like me, who prefers to be where there's a bit of life. The Tube station is a good one; one of those you have to walk down the stairs to enter, and it feels spacious, cool and pleasant inside, although this is a more old fashioned 1930s station which was originally on the Bakerloo line. ~ My Bad Experience ~ When I arrived in the city in May, I didn't arrive at the station I originally paid to arrive at. I usually always go with Victoria Station, as much as it's not one of my favourite places in London, it's just habit - I feel like it's an achievement to make it off the train on one side of the station and make it up the stairs to the Tube on the other! Instead, trains being trains, they decided to tell us halfway on my train journey from Southampton Central that if we wanted to continue to Victoria, we'd have to get off and join another train because our train had now decided it was going to London Bridge. This was on a no-stopover journey. Or supposed to be. Anyway I stayed on and went to London Bridge instead. I admit I was too lazy to get off. A good opportunity to see how the Shard was coming along, anyway. I didn't know what I'd done with my Oyster card when I got to the capital so lived off Travelcards instead since my itinerary was slightly spontaneous in some places to it made life slightly easier. I got one at London Bridge station but decided to walk down to Southwark Cathedral and watch the sun go down over the Thames, and across the bridge and down to Monument station. In an ideal world I would have walked further on to Bank, caught the train from there and changed at Bond Street where I could have jumped onto the grey line - which serves the Jubilee Line - and gone a few stops northbound onto Swiss Cottage. However having had a day that began going wrong at home on the Isle of Wight, then became worse by the time I got off the ferry in Southampton and on top of that it was a hot day - I know, I know, you are thinking that I'm making it up because I'm actually talking about this summer, but there were a hot few days in May, remember? - it was just a kind of day where nothing went smoothly and I was hot and bothered and just wanted to get to my destination and drop down and move on. However, I was about to encounter more problems to my day... My day had dragged on so much that I never got into London until the evening and to make things worse, I found out that the Jubilee line was down between London Bridge and Stanmore, where it ends in the north. Swiss Cottage of course sits right there in between. So onto Kings Cross and changing lines and onto Baker Street it was. I didn't have enough physical cash on me at the time to get a cab - again due to the day going pear shaped back down on the south coast - so it meant dragging myself up to the bus station and getting a bus to Swiss Cottage at about 11:30pm. With half an hour or so of one annoyingly frustrating day to go, I got speaking with a lady near the station and without asking (I wouldn't dare!) or even hinting, she simply gave me £20 out of her own purse to grab a taxi. I ended up not getting to Swiss Cottage until gone midnight, which was not in my plans since only coming from eighty or so miles away, but thanks to a kind local who really didn't have to do what she did, my day ended on a positive note. That lady was one positive on an otherwise dour start to my latest London journey - I try to be in London as much as it is possible. That's where your day can go wrong if the Tube is not running efficiently and Londoners will know this anyway although that was not the only thing to blame, personally. It turned out, having read the Evening Standard on the Tube the next day, that there was some sort of scare on the line which meant poor passengers got trapped underground, lasting about two hours. They were given some sort of refund, however - praise where it is due. Those poor people clearly had a far worse day, though; it was very hot that day by UK standards and to be underground... far worse. ~ My Better Experience ~ Anyway next day was smoother and I cannot fault the Jubilee line. I walked just down the road to Swiss Cottage station that morning, grabbed a ticket out of the machine and as usual went down to the station after fearing the machine at the turnstiles would have my fingers as breakfast - I'm very paranoid about those things! My plans would be spent in and around my spiritual home of Islington so after waiting no less than five minutes to jump on a train, I did and headed straight to Green Park, which was five stops to the south and where I could change to the Piccadilly line and go to Caledonian Road or Holloway Road. I arrived there in no time, the train was very comfortable and not at all overcrowded and nor was Swiss Cottage station. There seemed to be the odd commuter and a few tourists on there but of course became more crowded as the train entered central London. The next day at Swiss Cottage I was meeting a friend at Piccadilly Circus at 11:30am to go shopping in Carnaby Street. It was early so I decided at first to go to Greenwich Park, which meant changing over to the District Light Railway at Canary Wharf station but argued with myself I probably wouldn't make it back to meet her in time so I decided to stay and take a stroll around Canary Wharf instead, which can be a little soulless but is pleasant enough to look at and stroll around in the heat. I got there in about twenty minutes which is really quite surprising, considering I passed St. John's Wood, Baker Street, Bond Street, Westminster, Waterloo, Southwark, London Bridge, Bermondsey and Canada Water along the way. Back the other way I took the journey along the grey line to Green Park, a station I have visited more than any other in my lifetime I think and onto the Piccadilly line to meet my friend, well timed and right on cue. I had absolutely no problems this time, either. The journeys were quick, trains were airy and sufficient and the stations were fine. The motto is that if it is all in working order, it is fine. If you find it is not in working order it can be a real dilemma, especially if you need to reach one of the northern stops but the saving grace is that you can always use the bus as a replacement. I cannot explain why but I have always preferred the underground to buses in the city, which is the complete polar opposite of many people including my mum who was a born and bred Londoner and I presume people prefer it because of convenience and hygiene of being above ground. If I ever phone her from the capital, she is always bewildered as to why I never get on a bus, especially when my feet are in dire straits. I have found all of the staff to be courteous and helpful at nearly all the Tube stations, especially in comparison with those at basic railway stations in London and across the UK, who never seem in the mood - London Victoria and Southampton Central being good examples. The Jubilee line is the city's newest addition to the colourful Tube map which gives it some advantages in comparison to some of the other lines. Most of the newer stations on the line have wheelchair access, mostly from Green Park southbound/eastbound. Many also have platform screen doors which feels so much safer - when you get off you feel as though there's little chance you are going to mistakenly fall down the gap! Eighty per cent of the time I'm in heels so I do have a fear of slipping but I wouldn't blame it on the Tube; it's up to me what I wear and let's face it, we cannot say we have never been warned! 'Mind the gap' is practically London's slogan. Also it means no-one can jump onto the tracks, push anyone or throw litter on there and you can see less rats! It also helps you to hear the announcements far more clearly as the train is entering (even though I love the sound of a train arriving!) because the train is effectively screened off; although you see a little less of carriages themselves as the train arrives. The Moscovites were the first to use these screen doors; not surprisingly really since they have one of the grandest metro systems in the world. Moscow metro stations are stunning. ~ Jubilee Line (Grey / Silver Line) ~ - Stanmore - Jubilee line begins here. - Cannons Park - Queensbury - Kingsbury* - disabled access here, which is rare on the early stops. - Wembley Park* - this is shared with the Metropolitan line which can take you northbound to Watford, - Rickmansworth and Pinner, or Harrow-on-the-Hill, Amersham and Chalfont & Latimer railway stations; alternatively you can continue to the Barbican, Liverpool Street or all the way to Aldgate in the opposite direction. - Neasdon - Dollis Hill - Willesdon Green - I only know it from a Kinks song making it sound like somewhere in Louisiana. - Kilburn - West Hampstead - Finchley Road - Swiss Cottage - a nice station tucked underneath a busy intersection near a handful of shops, takeaways & Hampstead Theatre. Unless you're staying in the area or visiting the theatre, this is not a vital stop off. Bus stop nearby. - St. John's Wood - if you want Abbey Road, this is your station. Quaint area, Beatles Coffee Shop literally as you step out of the station and the crossing, recording studios and a couple of shops (including Beatles themed) are just around the corner. - Baker Street - large, characteristic station also on Hammersmith & City, Circle, Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines. Architecturally gorgeous area, very busy; get off here if you want Madame Tussaud's and a good stop off if you're a Sherlock fan! - Bond Street - shop, shop, shop. Central line connection if you're on a recession budget and want to give the spending a rest. - Green Park - probably my Tube station home! Step outside and you're in the park which I find means this is a great station if you need to rest somewhere along the way. Also connected with Victoria and Piccadilly lines. - Westminster* - tourists, cameras and politicians - all feared by many but we all like to have a go at it! District and Circle lines here. - Waterloo* - the busiest station on the Underground - on the Waterloo & City line as well as Northern and Bakerloo. - Southwark* - London Bridge* - large station, couples as a railway station. Taxis, machines, gymnasiums, bars, boats, bridges, skyscrapers, cathedrals... they're all there. An ideal base. - Bermondsey* - Canada Water* - this station joins the London Overground, which is connected with several stations across the city, including Crystal Palace in the south and Richmond to the west. I have found Overground trains to be very slow and dull personally (picturesque views in eastern parts though); my Overground journeys have ranged from totally empty carriages (Highbury & Islington) to being the needle in the haystack (further southbound). - Canary Wharf* - modern, airy station designed by Sir Norman Foster, with lots of escalators and glass. Takes you to the mini Manhattan financial district of London. This is also the first stop on the Jubilee line to join the DLR, which take you to Greenwich and the Cutty Sark or Lewisham or Bow Road and Stratford International. - North Greenwich* - here's your station if you require the O2 Arena. This is also connected with the Emirates Air Line, or the cable cars taking you across the Thames to Emirates Royal Docks. - Canning Town* - again we connect with the DLR. - West Ham* - large station also incorporating the DLR, Hammersmith & City and District lines. I have been at this one at about 10:30pm and the trains seemed to come along every half an hour by then, with people slowing down the pace further by trying to open the shut doors and get on. Oh and if you need West Ham's ground, go to Upton Park Tube Station and not this one. - Stratford* - last station. Something tells me this one is going to increase in popularity in the coming days, perhaps years. * These stations have disabled access. Overall this is a good, modern and very safe line when it is in working order and like every other part of the Tube, sometimes this is not always the case as I found out and that can be problematic in the northern stops and cause you to use your ticket on a bus instead, or pay hefty money to get a taxi. I know this is obviously just common sense but if you choose a taxi, make sure you get as close to your original stop as possible; I know when you're tired you just want to get there, but you'll regret paying extra money you could have done with the next day! The Jubilee line incorporates much of the city's tourist attractions from Westminster to Bond Street and there is always a connection nearby to get you to where you are supposed to be. The line also takes you to the new cable car facility near the O2 Arena as well as the entertainment venue itself and also the grande station in Canary Wharf. The development in design from the old stations in the north to the likes of Canary Wharf are an interesting progression. The trains themselves came along regularly and efficiently when I used them, every five or so minutes and were brisk. I was happy with how fast I got from Swiss Cottage to Canary Wharf in one go, and it exemplifies perfectly how the city can visually change in half an hour. The trains are safe and were not particularly overcrowded when I used them in comparison to other lines; on a longer journey I like to sit but I like to stand and lean against the pillar in the corner if I stand, since it's easy just to jump off - beware not to become trapped though, especially if you're quite petite like me! Highly recommended line - just pre-check it is running first! If they didn't help to make an already difficult day of travel more difficult I would give it five stars. I hope that will help anyone out who is visiting our iconic capital. :) Latest updates, journey planner, times, tickets and Oyster cards and Tube maps: www.tfl.gov.uk
The Jubilee Line is part of the London Underground System, and I recently used the Jubilee line for travelling from London Waterloo to Canning Town Station, and then from Canning Town to North Greenwich. Then had to do it all back again too lol. My main problem with having to use the underground, is I am currently having to use a wheelchair due to having knee surgery involving both legs and I was worried this would cause some serious problems. I was also scared of being underground lol. My first problem occurred when trying to get down to the Jubilee line at Waterloo. The lift was broken so I had to go to Southwark tube station, which luckily was only a 2 minute walk (or roll) down the road. The Jubilee line runs from Stanmore to Stratford, stopping in places like Waterloo, Canning Town, North Greenwich, Canada Water, SouthWark, Wembley Park and West Ham. There are many other stops too, which can be found here: http://www.metazone.co.uk/underground-lines.asp?line=Jubilee I found the Jubilee line to be great. Trains were running every 2 - 5 minutes, and there was no delays on the lines, with good service throughout. All places I needed to get to were on the same line, so no hassles of changing onto different lines. It only took me 15 minutes to get from Southwark to Canning Town, and only 2 minutes to get from Canning Town to North Greenwich. Personally, I think this line is a great part of the London Underground System and I recommend it to all.
Ah, the Jubilee line, setting for my daily torture of neck ache and absorption into the dense mass of humanity that join me on it. The Jubilee line runs from Stanmore in North West London all the way through Central and out to Stratford in East London. It is 22.5 miles long and serves 27 stations along the route - only 13 of which are technically "underground" It is coloured Grey on the standard tube map which is a fairly apt colour for the way this line makes me feel. Before 1999 the Jubilee line only ran to Charing Cross in central London but the line was extended to meet the needs of the ever expanding Docklands/Canary Wharf area and the thriving business district which has found its second home there. The planning for this extension began in the 1970s and the extended line was finally completed and opened just before Christmas 1999. The extension created 7 brand new stations including Canary Wharf, North Greenwich and Stratford. It is now hard to imagine life without the Jubilee line, especially for those living and working east of London Bridge. With the financial hub at Canary Wharf and the new 02 arena at North Greenwich, the pre-existing Docklands Light Railway would have been simply overwhelmed by the numbers coming in and out of the area nowadays on a daily basis. The Jubilee line is a real journey through the ages. Towards the northern end of the line you have stations such as Kilburn which was built in 1879 and as you travel out east you go through stations that are barely 10 years old. This is a line that was over 100 years in the making. A lot of the newer stations have excellent facilities such as modern architecture (Canary Wharf is particularly impressive), step-free and wheelchair access from street level to platform level and station protection doors. I am a big fan of station protection doors as they effectively create a barrier between passengers and the track and only open when a train is pulled in at the station. It can be quite nerve-wracking during rush hour when the platforms are crammed with people and there is literally centimetres between yourself and the edge of the platform - so these protection doors are an excellent and very welcome new feature. Notable stops on the Jubilee line are Wembley Park (for Wembley Stadium), Bond Street (for Oxford Street shopping/Selfridges), North Greenwich (for the 02 arena) and Waterloo and London Bridge which are major terminals for mainline connections out to the South East and South West of England. So the line is good in theory, it serves a good portion of London, a lot of the stations are relatively new and clean...yet let me tell you the reality from someone that uses it daily. I go from Waterloo to Canary Wharf, a total of 5 stops. This can take me 12 minutes, or it can take me an hour. The sheer volume of people during rush hour is hard to describe. Suffice to say that I have seen the queues 20 deep at each set of doors. I have been locked in the ticket hall to prevent overcrowding, I have even been locked out in the street to prevent overcrowding. I have seen people literally fighting to get on a train. I have been annoyed by the obligatory smart-ass who bleats "Can you move down a bit please"? Yeah, ok, let me move down into this mass of free space you seem to think I have here - muppet! Once I am on a train I am either in someone's armpit or I am squashed at an angle whereby my neck will be sore for the rest of the day. Seats are like the holy grail in rush hour, you're more likely to win the lottery. In the summer, temperatures can get well over 100 degrees as for some strange reason no one has been capable of designing an air conditioning system that will work on the tubes. They've managed it in Singapore, yet not in London. Now, I can't blame the volume of people on my route on the Jubilee line. Nor is rush-hour overcrowding a problem that is unique to this line. What I can blame the Jubilee line for, and in particular the management of it by Tube Lines, is the reliability issues. The signal failures, the defective trains, the line closures for upgrade works... If you are unaware, all or part of the Jubilee line has been consistently closed on the weekends for as long as I care to remember. This has meant travel misery for people trying to get to concerts/events at Wembley or at the 02 arena. These upgrade works were meant to be completed in March 2009. At the time of writing this article, they are still ongoing. Tube lines keep telling us the upgrades will ensure more trains and shorter journey times...the jury is out, we shall see. I'm sure whoever named the Jubilee line was unaware of the irony, but from someone that uses it daily I can testify that Jubilee is not an emotion this line gives me or my fellow commuters.
The Central line was my first-ever experience of the Tube. Having come down from Oxford on the coach for a job interview, I was swept into Marble Arch station, eastbound towards Canary Wharf. The journey from Marble Arch to Bond Street (unbeknownst to me, a short 5 minute walk away from one another) at 9 in the morning, in my finest suit, was harrowing and sweaty. Emerging from that journey, I scrabbled onto the Jubilee Line, and was literally awed at how different the two were - disembarking at Canary Wharf only reinforced this impression. The Jubilee line is the youngest line and it shows - the cars are bigger, brighter, and cleaner. The service is almost patchy and at times non-existent. Living in South Quay, every weekend we're faced with the option of either confining ourself to the east (walking up to Limehouse or down to Greenwich) or paying a premium for a taxi west (we tried the DLR bus service once - took us 45 minutes to get to Bank), as the Jubilee line is always at least partly 'down' due to, that oft-mentioned phrase, 'engineering works'. Growing pains, I suppose! Come Monday, however, it almost always works like a dream! No complaints there.
The Jubilee Line has so much going for it, particularly now that the extension has opened and is fully operational. The stations along the new section are stunning, particularly good are Westminster, Canary Wharf and Canada Water - both huge and airy, nothing like some of the older dingy stations on the system. The platforms are generally clean and there seem to be planty of staff around. However, for those of us who uas it daily, the Jubilee Line is not all good news. Although great to look at the stations seem to be riddled with design faults. Let's use Canada Water as an illustration. This station has a huge circular glass panel roof - great you may think, but within months of opening, the area under the glass roof had to be closed off. the reason? Wrong type of glass! Even now, when it rains the down escalator has to be switched off when it rains as water pours from the roof. If this was happening in a house you'd be chasing the builders by now. There are lot's of staff, but the ticket office staff are some of the least helpful on the whole system. Curtesy on the Jubilee Line does not exist. Points problems seem to disrupt train running almost daily, leading to delays and serious overcrowding. This my be expected on some of the lines suffering from years of underfunding, but why on a brand new one. The Jubilee Line has lots going for it, but there are still lots of problems that need addressing. It doesn't always live up to expectations.
I feel a bit speccy for writing this, but the Jubilee Line really does deserve singling out from amongst the general madness of the tube. To try to minimise the geek factor I'll get all the factual information done first... * It's the grey one! * It's also the newest line, most recently extended and revamped in 1999. * It's the safest line - it's the only one to have tunnels along the platform which shut before the carriage doors, so you can't get caught and dragged along by the train. * It runs from Stratford in the east end (zone 3) to Stanmore, which is in zone 5 in the north-west. * It passes through major central London stations and has changing points for every other line. TOP TEN INTERESTING PLACES TO GET OFF ON THE JUBILEE LINE (FROM EAST TO WEST) (that's not to say the others aren't interesting - I'm already waiting for the complaint from 'Disgruntled, Canning Town') 1. North Greenwich Home of the Dome! - although it's effectively a shell now, it's still an amazing piece of architecture. You can easily get a bus into Greenwich from here too, to see the Cutty Sark, Observatory and much-praised weekend markets. 1 and a half. Canary Wharf (Well, whoever heard of a top 11?) This is the tallest building in the capital and looks spectaular by night. The station itself is very space-agey too. 2. London Bridge A short walk from here is Southwark Cathedral, the London Dungeon and of course Tower Bridge, which has no toll and offers some of the best views of the city. 3. Waterloo Get off here to begin a fantastic walk along the south bank of the Thames, or visit the IMAX cinema, Royal Festival Hall, the London Eye or the Heyward Gallery. 4. Westminster Tourist joy! - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and er...New Scotland Yard, if you're interested. (The station itself also won best new build ing 2000). St James' Park is only a few minutes on foot. 5. Green Park ...has a really nice green park. Turn right from the station and walk towards Piccadilly Circus in about 5 mins - Fortnum and Mason and the Ritz Hotel are on the way. 5. Bond Street Designer shopping central - take ALL your pocket money. Alternatively walk down Oxford Street and I challenge you to think of a mjor high street store that isn't present and correct. 6. Baker Street This is quite an 'Olde London Towne' part of the city where Madame Tussaud's, the Planetarium and the Sherlock Holmes museum are located. 7. St John's Wood Kate Moss lives here. So does the Saatchi Gallery, so I'm told. 8. Swiss Cottage There's a real Swiss Cottage here!! - well actually it's a pub but it's cute. Actually scrap that, just stay on the train. 9. Kilburn Has a fantastic, typical inner-city high street of discount clothing stores and cafes. 10. Neasden It's a bit of a walk, but the largest Hindu temple outside of India is here (I can't spell the name - it's signposted at the station). There is also one of only two IKEAs in London, but again it's a bit of a trek. Well, time for me to shrug my anorak back on. In my defence I can't help noticing this stuff, I use this line twice a day every day...honest...
If anyone's visiting London in the near future, be sure to take a trip along the extension to the Jubilee line. The underground tunnels themselves aren't obviously that interesting, but if you're interested in recent architecture, there are some stunning stations to visit. They're all within easy reach of each other, as well. If you only visit one, go straight to Canary Wharf and take the escalators to the surface. This huge station, built into a drained dock on the Isle of Dogs, has become a flagship station for London Underground. Designed by Norman Foster, it has a huge cathedral-like ticket hall defined by a line of central columns and a gently curving concrete roof. It is partially lit by daylight through the glass shell canopies which cover the entrances. When you leave the station, you'll see the huge 800ft tower to your north. The whole underground station is longer than the tower is high. Other interesting stations include Westminster, built underneath the new Parliamentary office building. It is a huge square hole descending deep into the ground, with huge round steel tubes holding back the weight of ground and water behind the underground walls. North Greenwich is interesting too, with huge slanted columns, coloured bright blue, lining the platforms. There are many other smaller stations which, while not always as glamorous, all have a design quality which will last for a long time. All credit is due to Roland Paoletti, responsible for commissioning the designs, for showing us how these transport projects should be done. 1-day travelcard for zones 1-4 is £4.10. Cheaper than the Dome and better!