Tube Journeys
by mike_n5
A personal journey on the London Underground. Photos taken between 2nd and 9th March 2013. •••
1. Jubilee Line to Kingsbury (and Stanmore)

I grew up in North-West London and the nearest station to home was Kingsbury. These trains were introduced in the mid nineties, when I was in my teens. I can’t tell you how many times I managed to catch the last tube home after a night out in the West End only to fall asleep and wake up in an empty carriage at the end of the line. I imagine the minicab firm at Stanmore station still does excellent business at weekends.
2. Metropolitan Line to Harrow-on-the-Hill

Harrow is a North-West London suburb famous for its school, which counts Winston Churchill amongst its former students. My old school is nearby and is best known for its ugly green uniform.

These brand new trains are a world away from the noisy rust buckets I took when I was a kid. They are sleek, modern and most amazingly of all, have air conditioning. The tube in the summer is hell on earth: it feels like the government has ordered a national deodorant ban. You would hope the air con might improve things, but there’s always a catch. The new model has over 140 fewer seats than the old version, so you’ll still be squashed up tight against your fellow commuters. The only difference is they will be a bit less sweaty than before.
3. Northern Line to Camden Town

I used to love getting the Northern Line to Camden on Sunday afternoons when I was in my late teens and I celebrated my 18th birthday at The Electric Balllroom. Like most people that age, I was trying to stand out from the crowd, but inevitably ended up looking like everyone else. It has changed a lot in recent years, but I still enjoy strolling around the labyrinth of markets and sitting by the canal. I’m less likely to buy incense and ironic t-shirts nowadays, but it’s always fun browsing.
4. Waterloo & City Line to Waterloo and Bank

I have never had a reason to get on this line before taking this photo. It is the shortest line on the tube with just two stops. Essentially, it is a shuttle which brings commuters arriving at Waterloo station under the Thames to their jobs in the City. It took a while to get a shot I was happy with, so I ended up having to make the journey about four times. It was like being on the most boring rollercoaster ever invented.
5. Bakerloo Line to Warwick Avenue

This was a journey I made many times when my grandparents on my Mum’s side were alive. They emigrated from Dublin in the late fifties when Mum was three and their flat was on Shirland Road. Feeding the ducks around the corner at Little Venice with Nan was a regular ritual when my brother and I were little, as was going out for a pint with Grandad later on. I still miss them.
6. Hammersmith & City Line to Whitechapel

On Sunday 1st June 2008, drinking alcohol on the tube became illegal. On Saturday 31st May, we headed out for a curry in the East End, oblivious to the fact that every tube was about to be converted into a mobile bar, including our Hammersmith & City Line train to Whitechapel. It was all good natured, but the mood changed on the way home. The news later reported that there had been several arrests for assaults on police and tube workers. What started out as the biggest party the Underground had ever seen had turned into the rush hour from hell.
7. District Line to Kew Gardens

I rarely use this line at all, but during the school holidays, my grandparents would often take us out to the botanical gardens at Kew for a picnic. It sounds like the sort of thing that would have been boring for kids, but it felt like a real adventure. I especially loved going into the greenhouses, which were unbelievably hot and full of prickly cacti and spiky venus fly-traps. As the train crossed the river between Gunnersbury and Kew, it was as if we were leaving the city behind. I still don’t really know where London begins and where it ends.
8. Central Line to White City

For five years, until last November, I had to take this train out to West London every day for a job I hated. My heart sank every time the train pulled into White City, knowing that I still had a fifteen minute walk or a bus ride through an industrial wasteland ahead of me. The only advantage about working outside of the centre was that I could always get a seat on the way home…before inevitably having to give it up for a pregnant woman or elderly gent. They’ve always been good at finding me.
9. Circle Line to Nowhere

Until a few years ago, you could sit on the Circle Line all day, going round and round. Now, it terminates at Edgware Road and you have to cross the platform to continue your journey. When I worked at a medical school, the students organised an infamous annual Circle Line pub crawl. The idea is that you get off at each stop and have a drink at the nearest pub. There are twenty seven stations, so you can imagine how messy it can get. One year, an unfortunate member of the public reported a student for vomiting all over their child.
10. Victoria Line to Pimlico

We are slowly coming back to the present, as this train brings me to my new job in Pimlico. It is a quirky area, made famous by a 1940s comedy film in which the locals declare independence from the rest of Great Britain. My journey in is always packed, but once I manage to squeeze onto the train, I enjoy a 15 minute nap. Like most Londoners, I have mastered the art of sleeping standing up.
11. Piccadilly Line to Arsenal

My final journey takes me both to the past and the present. Getting this train used to mean we were visiting my grandparents (on my Dad’s side) or going to watch the Arsenal play at Highbury. I now live a couple of steps away from the Emirates Stadium and this is the station that I use every day. My Nan is still going strong at 93 and lives just down the road. Amanda and I got married in a local church in 2010. Even though I didn’t grow up here, this is where I always felt I belonged. I am very lucky to say that my spiritual home is now my real home.
Share this Story
Embed Story
Copy and paste the embed code into your blog
Get Updates
Feedback (167)
Whatโ€™s your story?