Mind the gap 02.03.2016
Amazing London metro. It really impressed me. It might seem that it’s just a metro. But here it’s unusual.
It’s the oldest metro in the world. And it’s the first one. The first line was build in 1863. Which is more than 150 years ago.
The fare is not that small. First of all metro is splitted to zones. The fare depends on your zones. You can pay in several ways:
- Buy one time ticket in automate before the entrance. That’s too expensive. I didn’t try it.
- Pay with pay-pass/pay-wave card directly on the turnstile. Depending on the trip distance they will take money accordingly. I tried that once. It was about 1.40 pounds. For one trip.
- Buy daily/weekly pass. The daily pass for all zone is about 12 pounds. Weekly pass for zones 1-2 only is 36 pounds. Not that cheap, huh?
- For 5 pounds you can buy Oyster (it’s a special card, not the seafood :) ) and top up it. Like "Troyka" in Moscow. So there is some balance on you card and they take money from there once you use metro. The final price is a bit cheaper. And you can get back your 5 pounds once you return back the card.
The gate here is universal. It is able to let you in and out. Just watch the small display, otherwise you might end up with the wrong one.
On every station at least during rush hours (and during daylight) there are special service people who's ready to help you if you're pass doesn't work as expected or just if you need some help. However there is no people who can sell you the ticket. There are just machines.
On central stations it might be really crowdy. Though I almost wasn't there during rush hours. To be honest I didn't want it that bad (:
So. I found the tube, bought the ticket, passed the gate. It's time to go down to the trains. Some stations are equipped with escalators, though it doesn't mean the whole way is like this. Often part of the way is still a simple ladder. Sometimes quite a way.
And some stations are really deep. It might take up to 4 or 5 escalator sections to go. No surprise it was used as a bomb shelter during WWII.
Advertising along escalators was sticked really strange. In Moscow it hangs with angle, and I’m already used to it. In London it hangs straight and doesn’t look convenient. I really wanted to lean my glance, but it will make it worse.
The only convenient position to read it, when you’re really close to the board. Though you’re moving on escalator, not staying, so no time to read it. It was really strange for me. I didn’t get the point.
Now the station. People call the London metro as Tube.
Probably it is cause stations form. It really looks like a tube. Even corridors between stations are often made as tube. It looks cool. I like it.
Some stations are equipped with a glass wall to separate trains from station. Probably to prevent people from killing themselves. Though I feel myself more comfortable on the station without such a wall. However it might seems there is no difference.
If you find yourself in tube in the late night, when there is just a few people, you can meet also some night metro inhabitants. Like this mouse. Maybe there are other animals, though I didn’t see it.
And finally trains. The shape is strange. In Moscow the train is rectangular. So it’s comfortable enough to stay near the door.
Here it’s in different way. The shape of a train fits the tube. So no angles. It’s cut. Therefore it’s not really convenient to stay near the door. I don’t fit there in full-lenght. So I have tilt my head to get inside / outside.
Trains do not always fit the station. Sometimes the train floor is higher than platform level, sometimes there is a huge gap where you can easily put a feet. That's why you can quite often hear the phrase "Mind the gap".
You really have to watch the gap, otherwise you can easily injure yourself there. At some stations it's not a record, but just a real people say this. I heard one guy who has really a musical voice (and I bet he knows that). That's why he was saying that almost like a song. "Mind the gap please, Mind the gap"
It's really comfortable inside the trains. They have a special room for disabled people. Well, not all stations are equipped for that, but it's marked on the map. Even the stations where it's possible to reach the station only by ladder and where it's possible to go to the train completely by chair. The level of disabled friendly really impressed me.
I can continue the story about metro, though I would also like to mention a couple of words about the long distance train stations.
Well, first of all trains stations are not poor. But quite well being. With huge tableau and turnstile. And policemen.
I was visited Kings Cross train station which became famous after Harry Potter story. Unexpectedly it turned out that platforms 8 and 9 where platform 9 and 3/4 should be, are not close to each other. Filming was don between platforms 4 and 5. Lie, everything is a lie :)
Some people figured out, that there are so many fans and it might be profitable. So they put a shop inside the train station with Hogwarts souvenirs. The prices are incredibly high. You should be a huge fan to buy a Gryffindor scarf for 32 pounds or a pullover for 75 pounds :)
Near the shop there is a cart mounted in the wall so everyone could take a photo. However there was a huge queue of those who wants it. I didn't see such a queue even in museums and castles. It should be a nightmare during tourist pick season. I guess they should think about the second cart.
This is ridiculous! All these people are waiting here just to take one picture. Just one damned picture! If you want the best quality picture you have to buy it later, as the best position is occupied by the guy, who’s working here as a p You still can take pictures on your own camera. So I’m not sure if you’re obliged to buy brand photo from the shop. Anyway, amount of time people are spending here for nothing impressed me even more than the whole rail station :).
In general train station and trains are like everywhere else. Nothing special. Except doors in trains.
It’s a modern trains with air condition, comfortable seats and all the stuff. But doors are mechanical. It’s not just mechanical, it can be open only from the outside.
To exit from train you have to open the glass, put your hand outside and then open the door. I’ve never seen a thing like that. The window doesn’t hold its position good enough. It constantly slides down and wind comes inside.
I didn’t figure out why the do it yet. Will try to find something in wikipedia.