|Old-timey looking sign that is probably actually old-timey|
But it's so clean, the DC tourist says. Metro has all the cleanliness of a shag carpet-covered toilet seat. Sure, the stench of steaming urine doesn't pervade the stations quite like in New York, but carpet? Really? On a train? Genius. Give me the New York subway's hard surfaces any day. A vat of disinfectant and a fire hose: clean car. But I digress.
This post is probably long overdue given how iconic the Underground is. It's the oldest subway in the world (1863), and the second-longest by track length. More importantly for the purposes of this post, I ride it every day.
|Two blocks from our flat|
This is our station: Clapham North. Clapham North lies on the Northern Line, six stops from London Bridge station, near my office.
|Not actually taken at Clapham North, but it looks the same|
Waiting for a train on the platform is usually only a brief experience. In the morning, trains arrive every 60 seconds or so. Unfortunately, the Northern Line is a "deep tube" line, and in consequence of its depth, the cars are designed to carry hobbits, and very few of them at that.
|Pictures don't do justice...|
Here are some shots from my morning commute. In such tight quarters, hazards include pickpockets, fake-tanned women pressed against your jacket, and getting your whiskers caught in the gabardine suit of the man your face is smashed into. If the pictures don't paint the picture well enough, there's this: the Northern Line alone carries almost 207 million people per year; the entire DC Metro system carries just over 215 million.
|...to the lack of space...|
|...and potential for uncomfortable rubbing up-againsts.|
The Northern Line can be a bit confusing. Going north, there are three destinations your train can reach (Edgware, High Barnet, and Mill Hill East), but that really only matters if you are going to north London. The confusing part is that there are two different ways you can get to those three destinations (via Bank or via Charing Cross), and the two different ways take you through very different parts of the city.
|Hey, that's me in the reflection!|
Other than the cramped quarters and potential to get very lost, riding the Tube on a daily basis is not a bad experience. People are generally considerate, which I attribute less to the courteous nature of Londoners than to the stylish design of the posters telling riders how to behave. (Really, Transport for London do have some lovely things for the home if you can't get enough of subway chic.)
|People not tempted by the siren song of subway food|
|In the words of a dear departed Deacon, "you say so."|
|My iPhone had been at the pub before taking this photo|