I had one of those random synaptic firings after I posted the piece on TFL’s “Departure Boards” web tool – which reminded me of the excellent Animals On The Underground website.
If you’ve never encountered this, it’s a bundle of fun – and something you too can have fun with if you have a copy of the Underground diagram and a pencil…
Basically people have found the shapes of all kinds of animals in the lines of the London Underground as they’re displayed on Harry Beck’s ‘Diagram’ – or ‘map’ as it’s lazily referred to.
A few years back there were very few animals – I believe a guy called Paul Middlewick was the initiator of all this, but it seems to have blossomed more recently, and there’s a whole page of them here…
And they’ve also got some cool merchandise, which helps fund IFAW.
(*Yes, it’s always this much fun…)
Quite a nice new development from TFL, the people who bring you tube trains. Sometimes.
It’s a new web tool called “Departure Boards” which as the name suggests, provides upcoming live train information in exactly the format you would see on the departure boards at any given station.
You simply select any station from any line, and – whoomph – there it is.
Excellent piece of work, and one that could only be seriously bettered if it were translated into a bespoke iPhone application; something which has in fact been done here by awavana.com – and very nice it is too.
Although the interface and execution are nice – and it is genuinely a great idea for communicating data, there does remain the question of the relevance and accuracy of the information itself. Let us not forget that last year the Departure Boards at Gunnersbury Station (District Line, Richmond Branch) were actually nominated for the 2008 Whitbread Prize For Fiction…
(*Okay; so that last bit was untrue… But only because nobody had the presence of mind to fill in a nomination form)
(*Above: RMT workers struggling for justice. In the sun. Again.)
Okay, so I’m a commuter who lives on the Victoria Line and am having today’s travel royally screwed over by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) going on strike – but, not being in the slightest a cynical or sarcastic individual, I cannot begrduge them such a lovely day in the sun.
Not only is today “EARTH DAY” and so it’s almost poetic that the RMT should choose on our behalf to celebrate the environmental event by not running any tubes on the Victoria Line (thereby saving a bit of energy, and forcing people into their cars so they end up using a lot more instead), but also they have managed to choose (at short notice, I’m guessing by looking at the BBC’s excellent 5-day weather forecasts…) an absolutely perfect day for it.
The RMT and London Transport workers’ unions in general, tend to be pretty good at picking strike days, although today seems something of an exception as they usually pick the Tuesday after a Bank Holiday to pad out a smashing weekend, or a convenient late-night shopping day in the run-up to Christmas.
But fairplay – it’s a good call; lovely sunshine and a tremendous midweek break, and only a shame that the rest of us didn’t think of something like this too.
The excuse (sorry… “reason”) for the strike is apparently a claim that the trains need safety features to prevent doors from opening on the wrong side – something that I’ve never once experienced or even heard of in my many years living down here.
Enjoy the sun, chaps – and I look forward to everything being back to normal (ie: Shit) tomorrow.
The mention of Hobbs End tube station (from the film and TV serial “Quatermass and the Pit”) in the article linked below about the London Underground roundel’s 100th annivarsary art project sent me scurrying on a quick and ever-so-slightly-nerdy search for other fictional tube stations.
Wikipedia reveals the following…
▪ Bloomsbury – 1934 film Bulldog Jack.
▪ Camden Road – Appeared in the film The Gentle Gunman.
▪ Charnham – TV soap Family Affairs.
▪ Crouch End – 2004 film Shaun of the Dead (in a deleted scene included on the DVD).
▪ Duchess Street – featured in the 1932 Jack Hulbert film Love on Wheels.
▪ Hanover Street – 1979 film Hanover Street, starring Harrison Ford.
▪ Hickory Road tube station – in Hickory Dickory Dock, Agatha Christie novel.
▪ Hobbs End – 1957–58 BBC serial Quatermass and the Pit and the 1967 film version.
▪ Lewisham, Ladywell, Edge of the World and Catford – LWT comedy series End of Part One.
▪ Museum – 1972 film Death Line. (+ in PC games Broken Sword 2 & Beneath a Steel Sky)
▪ Park Street – 1948 film The Passionate Friends.
▪ Queen’s Arcade – Doctor Who episode.
▪ Rumbaloo Line – Tube line in Joan Aiken’s children’s book, Arabel’s Raven.
▪ Sun Hill – Long-running ITV police drama, The Bill.
▪ Vauxhall Cross – 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day.
▪ Walford East – BBC TV soap Eastenders.
▪ Wells Lane – BBC Spooks Series 5
▪ Winchester – The book Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
▪ World’s End – BBC Doctor Who episode “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” (1964).
Also, there’s a good page on LU tube stations (fictional and non fictional) in TV and film here…