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Merry Christmas 2014, from Station Master. We quite like the design on the front of the card of the official TfL Christmas card …

Roundel Stars

Roundel Stars

25 Dec 14

Victoria Station Upgrade

Both Station Masters, Geoff & Matt, got to go underground at Victoria Tube station last week to look first hand at the upgrade work taking place to expand the capacity of the station. The new entrance will be complete in 2016, with the whole upgrade finished by 2018 …. it’s a Londonist exclusive!

23 Dec 14

New Hammersmith Entrance Open

The posters up at the station said ‘July 2014‘ that it would be open, so it’s only five months late in coming, but the new entrance/exit at Hammersmith H&C/Circle Line station is now open.  There are five standard sized gates, and two wide aisle gates, and is predominantly being used as an exit from the station, with the original gateline being used as entry only.

Actually, there’s now some work being done on the gateline at the original entrance – as they perhaps install a wide gate there too, so we won’t have a final count on the number of gates at the station until that work is done … who knows when?

New gateline

New gateline

21 Dec 14

Labyrinth Feature Film

Those lovely people at Art on the Underground have put out a feature length video (26 minutes long) on the whole Labyrinth project with interviews with everyone involved in it, and people that love it.  It’s worth a watch if you love your Labyrinths (As we do!)

19 Dec 14

TfL introduces “Track Retrieval Device”

We hear more regularly these days, horrifying tales of people getting down onto the tracks to retrieve personal items that have been dropped onto the tracks themselves.  Often, these people escape with their lives by just seconds.

According to TfL the number of reported incidents of items being dropped onto the track is increasing (by 62 percent from 2009/2010 to 2012/2013) so in the run up to the festive season, TfL are introducing a new tool to help staff to safely retrieve small, high-value items such as mobile phones and handbags from the track.

The tool is called the “Track Retrieval Device” and has been designed, built and tested by London Underground staff themselves.

TfL Track Retrieval Device

TfL Track Retrieval Device. (Image: TfL)

The TRD is designed to be used without turning off the power supply to the tracks and without staff having to step down onto the track.

Track Retrieval Device in use

Track Retrieval Device in use. (Image: TfL)

Last year dropped items on the track were responsible for 195,000 hours of delay.

Nigel Holness, London Underground Operations Director Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines said:  “We’re committed to running the safest and most reliable service possible, particularly at this busy time of year. When we examined the type of incidents which cause delays, it was clear that customers dropping items onto tracks has a disruptive impact on services. We recognise that possessions are very valuable to people so we encourage everyone to take care of them when they’re on the platform. If you drop anything of value on the track, please speak to a member of staff and we will do our best to retrieve it for you. We hope that our staff, using the Track Retrieval Device, will deter customers from attempting to pick up items themselves.

17 Dec 14

New 2015 Cycle Hire Fees

TfL have announced a price increase, starting January 2015, for the costs of hiring a Boris Bike.  The 24 hour access fee is staying the same (at £2) but then after the first free 30 minutes, every additional half an hour will cost you a flat fee of £2. We’ve done a comparison of how much it costs in the table below, compared to now – and also what it cost when first launched (when the access fee was half what it is now).

Note that this table is for people that hire a bike using the 24-access period only, you can still get a yearly membership access for £90 – although note the weekly access rate will be scrapped from 2015 onwards.

Cycle Hire cost comparison

Cycle Hire cost comparison

The scheme was launched on the 30th July 2010, and the prices remained unchanged until 2013, when in January, the access fee doubled (so a free 30 minutes cost you £2 access instead of £1).

In January 2015, the prices go up again – with the access fee staying the same, but the price for longer than the first free 30 minutes becomes a set £2 for every half an hour.

16 Dec 14

Leave your Oyster card here

Drop your Oyster card here

Drop your Oyster card here

We’ve not seen one of these before anywhere else on the network until we walked past this one at King’s Cross the other day – targeted presumably at people leaving London on the Eurostar.

Rather then leave unspent money on an Oyster card (and apparently there’s quite a lot of it sloshing around the system) you can drop your unwanted Oyster off here and any money on it will be taken back (including the £3 deposit, we wondered?) and given to the Railway Children charity.

We haven’t seen them anywhere else, but I wonder if there are also similar boxes down at Heathrow airport too …


15 Dec 14

No Angel

We were amused to see that the lovely charitable cause Christmas Tree at Angel station… has got a star on top of it!  Surely the Christmas tree at Angel should have an Angel on it! Or maybe the one at Star Lane (on the DLR) has got it instead, and the two got swapped round?

Angel Christmas Tree

Angel Christmas Tree

14 Dec 14

Gloucester Road reopens

Piccadilly Line trains haven’t been stopping for the best part of the whole year, but on schedule this week, trains started stopping again with the completion of the new lifts, looking all, er… new and shiny as they do here.   This is Gloucester Road – where you can now use the Piccadilly Line again!

Gloucester Road Lifts

Gloucester Road Lifts

12 Dec 14

The Victoria Line is broken … in 1989

We delightfully found today that ITV/Thames News has uploaded a whole load of archive footage to YouTube of old news reports, including a few from the the Underground. There’s one on overcrowding at Angel, even one about the Clapham train disaster, but we like this short piece on the cancelling of Victoria Line trains due to wheel issues!

10 Dec 14