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Untitled – no title will fit the total madness of the day June 13, 2006

Posted by boltzmann in Uncategorized.

Bear with me. This is long and may not make sense in parts.

Last night, I had a lift into Chesham to stay with Ollie on the eve of a Tube Challenge, in which Adham and I would attempt to visit all the Tube stations and break the World Record, with Ollie being our support team, all for Cancer Research UK. As we drove to Chesham, I felt like an astronaut walking out to the Shuttle – the atmosphere was one of bizarre trepidation, nerves and fear.

We reached Chesham and I entered Ollie’s flat, which is a lovely place. Adham turned up later on, we had an Underground Masker acoustic singalong, and made final preparations of the route. We eventually tried to get to sleep and ended up with 2-3 hours each before the alarm at 0415 signalled time to wake up, and so we did.

Taxi into Amersham cost £7 between us, and we arrived there in good time for Adham and me to buy a day travelcard, zones A-D. The first train pulled up, the driver signed the witness form for us and we were away.

A series of good connections in the beginning, including a good one at Harrow, saw me feeling exhausted and quite ill, but I soon recovered from that, as we continued into central london to make some more reasonable connections.

Legendary bus connections at the eds of the Northern line and the Piccadilly and Jubilee lines saw us make up time, and at one point we were 20 minutes ahead of plans. However, that soon changed, with a long wait at one end-of-line station due to a defective train, and an assortment of other delays. Things were looking very grim when the ENTIRE District line was completely suspended, so we decided to do all the other lines first before the District. We were dropping further and further behind schedule and it became clear that a world record was going to be impossible today. Ollie lost his week’s Zones 1-D travelcard on the Piccadilly line and Chris Presswell brought us lunch. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. The SEVERELY THE WORST of the times, in fact.

A swift change at Piccadilly Circus saw us heading for Baker Street, where the fun began.

Ollie retired because he felt drained and low following the loss of his travelcard and the general crapness of the day so far, and the remaining three of us walked to Great Portland Street and went up to Epping and back.

Steven left us; Adham and I then did the East London Line.

On arrival at Canning Town on the Jubilee, the heavens opened. When we exited the tunnel at Surrey Quays (ELL), the rain was so torrential (a thunderstorm, see) that the windows of the train had become like glass waterfall features. I took a short video of this.

Then, eventually, after pondering the New Cross run, we did it.

The rainwater at New Cross was flowing down the platforms in wide rivers from overflowing drains. At the top of the road, near the bridge, there was a huge deluge across the width of the road and pavement, effectivel blocking access to New Cross Gate. I took a couple of photographs, which I’ll upload soon.

We decided to go back to New Cross and continue from there. The train departed just before we got to it. Next one, 11 minutes. New Cross Gate it was, then.

It was raining inside the ticket hall at New Cross Gate – I thought it wouldn’t be long before the station was closed due to health and safety as the ceiling, and electric lights, were literally dripping with all the water that had collected on the roof. We went to the Tube platform, whereupon service was withdrawn from New Cross Gate.

“Let’s BR it to London bridge, then!” I said, in faux-enthusiasm. We got to the BR platform, whereupon services were also suspended.

New Cross again, then, via the flood, where pedestrians had formed an impromptu problem-solving task force and laid out blocks of newspapers and a plastic barrier as stepping stones, so that some brave folk could get across at least as far as the shallow water and make it to New Cross. Photos soon.

By this time, I’d absolutely had enough. I was chafing painfully in two uncomfortable places, my trainers were soaking wet, the police had harassed me unnecessarily, the route was ruined and we were probably an hour and a half behind if not more, loads of the Tube was suspended and we had barely done half the network for charity. The situation was absolutely soul-destroying.

I decided to go home to Dunstable there and then (I ended up back at the House of Steel, since Luton is apparently not in any travelcard Zone, although I could have sworn you could get to it on a zone D travelcard). Adham went to meet Ric since Ollie had gone to Brighton in total dejection (same feeling as I had, although I could argue with him over whose situation was the worse) and Adham couldn’t stay there.

Adham, I’m sorry for leaving you like that, and I do feel awful for it. I am officially a Bad Person.

I’m going home tonight, then, to gie Chelle a hug and have a bath and relax after wha could be one of the worst Tube Challenges ever attempted.

PS. Thanks to the lovely folks on the day who helped us by being witnesses or taking an interest and cheering us up, thanks to the man on the Jubilee train who spontaneously donated about a pound’s worth of spare change there and then to Cancer Research, thanks to Chris Presswell, Steven karahan and Ollie Lewisohn who did sterling work helping us out on the way, including a few AWESOME bus connections, and thanks to the driver of the Picc train at Cockfosters who knew just what we were doing and gave us the train number and even some line closure advice. You are the people who make the Tube Challenge world go around.

Finally, thanks to LUL and Metronet for running an A1, tip-top, first class service today. It doesn’t get any better than that. Here, have all my money for that ticket price hike. Put your feet up, have another tea break and go on strike again – you deserve it!



1. Paul Leonard (aka Agent Birmingham) - June 14, 2006

Well done on your attempt, shame of all the bad luck that you had!! I want to have a go at the record sometime myself, but I don’t have any volunteers to come with me. Plus living in Birmingham is a bit of a bitch, cos its 100+ miles from the first station. I’ll get round to it one day, beat Mr M. at his own game. Maybe next time you do it Anthony, I’ll come with!

2. *version-3-point-1 - June 20, 2006

Chin up, superman.

3. boltzmann - June 21, 2006

I’m just a mortal with potential, not a superman. 😉

The record will be broken.

4. Hale Mauricio - September 19, 2007

and oh i with my girl who i though was my worl. Hale Mauricio.

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