London Underground

The subway here is known by two names. It is officially the Underground, and colloquially as the Tube. I believe it is truly an American trait to make the word Tube a verb, as I have used it here, “We Tubed home.” I haven’t heard any Brits speaking that way.

The Tube is laid out rather logically, although some naysayers might say it is overly redundant. It’s redundancy is it’s charm and appeal. See, we can go into most stations and have a choice of two or more lines. What’s more, we often only need to go one or two stops on one line to get to the line we want.

It also allows the Underground to close entire sections at both random and scheduled times. One night we got on and heard an announcement that the train wouldn’t be stopping at Holborn because of a security incident. That’s OK, because Holborn is a short walk to Covent Garden. On Saturday and Sunday, two lines were right out of commission all day. Although this caused us a bit of a long walk from Blackfriars to Embankment, we later learned we had another option to take a water ferry from Blackfriars Pier to Embankment Pier, and it was covered by our TravelCards.

Speaking of TravelCards, these were the best investment of the trip. We have spent more than our money’s worth on the Tube in these cards. I think they were about £38 apiece, but the number of times we’ve gotten on and off the Tube, including the trip from the airport has saved us a ton of dough.

Another part of the genius of the Underground is in its connections. Many connecting stations don’t have the over/under style connection as in Boston, like at Park Street or Downtown Crossing. Sometimes lines are hundreds of yards away in entirely separate stations. But the walk underground is not unpleasant, but there are a lot of stairs. If this were available in more parts of Boston, the subway would be more user friendly.

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