Lost On The Underground

Today I was supposed to travel into London for a 60-90 minute training event on corporate ethics. The most important thing I learnt, though, was not how to avoid getting caught laundering money through gambling websites but instead that my knowledge of navigating the Underground was very poor.

My normal route for getting to the DataCash London offices at Holborn is to avoid the Underground completely by catching the train to Waterloo and crossing the Thames by bridge. As you know, the tube map we know and love is distorted and not to scale so Holborn isn’t as far from Waterloo as it looks.

To get some extra sleep and to be able to get back home quickly, I drove to Reading and left the car at the office before walking to the main station and the Paddington line. I planned to get the Bakerloo line to Oxford Circus and change for Holborn.

Mistake #1 – the Bakerloo line is NOT at the back of Paddington station; that is instead the Hammersmith and City line. Having walked this far in the wrong direction, I couldn’t afford the time to walk to the Bakerloo line and so decided to stay on the H&C for King’s Cross St. Pancras as that seemed close to Holborn. Pity one tube train left just as I reached the platform.

Mistake #2 – the Piccadilly and Victoria lines are both blue and easy to confuse. Having worked out I needed to follow the dark blue line to Holborn, I instead ended up on a very full light blue train heading for Brixton.

Mistake #3 – at Warren Street, I stepped off the packed train to let people out; I was then unable to get back on and had to watch the train leave. I couldn’t get on the next one either… but luckily they were every minute or so at this time.

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Overall, about 30 minutes late for the training.

Getting back to Reading afterwards was a piece of cake.

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