Links to a selection of interesting and/ or important pieces I have found in the last day or so and some of today’s photographs.
I will be sharing various links I have found in the last day or so in this post. I also have some photographs from this afternoon.
THE GREAT BUS RIP OFF
This is my most recent find, courtesy of campaign group We Own It. They have a piece in The Mirror today which you can access here. Below is an infographic map showing the amount of money from British bus services that goes directly into the pockets of shareholders:
As a postscript to the above, the only reason the figure for East Anglia (my region) is so low is because being largely rural and hence fairly sparsely populated it does not have many bus services.
POLITICAL IDIOCY – TORIES GO AFTER SCHOOLS WITH SOLAR PANELS
Instead of sensibly rewarding those who try do their bit by using solar panels to generate some of their energy this government is hitting some of them with extra bills. Private Schools (i.e. fee-paying schools, and the sort of school to which MPs, especially Tory MPs, send their children) will not feel the effects of this because in a spectacular misuse of the English language they are classed as “charities”. State schools (those that ordinary folk attend, as a few eons ago, I did) pay business rates which means that those state schools with solar panels will be paying a combined £1.8 million in extra rates for having them.
To charge anywhere more money because they have solar panels seems utterly boneheaded to me, but to charge schools, who should be setting positive examples to their students, for having solar panels takes the stupidity to level unanticipated even by Einstein when he said “only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe”.
To read the full article that inspired this section, courtesy of The Guardian, please click on the image below:
TWO STORIES OF STELLAR DEATH
The first of these stories is a commemoration of…
As the second part of its name suggests it is now 30 years since the explosion of this star was witnessed on Earth, and to commemorate that anniversary some new observations have been made of the stellar remnant by the Hubble Space Telescope. To read the story in full, which comes fromibtimes.com, please click on the image below:
When a supernova collapses, if the remnant weighs more than 1.4 solar masses it continues to contract beyond the white dwarf stage to form a neutron star, which is stable between 1.4 and 3 solar masses (beyond 3 solar masses the crushing continues until all that is left is a black hole). A spinning neutron star is known as a pulsar. To read about the discovery of the new record holding pulsar please click on the image below.
DOWNLOAD A FREE POSTER FROM THE NEW SCIENTIST
New Scientistare at the moment offering everyone who creates an account on their site (it is free, and very easy, to so) a free download of a You Are Here poster showing us our place in the Milky Way. If interested, click on the edited version of my poster below, which I have reduced for this specific purpose, while making sure I still have the original.
ROCK SOLID EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN THE ANTHROPOCENE
This is the first fruit of my creating an account for myself on New Scientist. The article, which I have linked to by way of the image below (I have also included the explanation of the image from the site) is about the 208 minerals that humans have created during their tenure on the planet (yes, the primary evidence on which the article is based is quite literally rock solid).
Mines are a good place to find minerals like this Simonkolleite – evidence of the impact humans are having on the planet
To finish this post here are some photographs I took while out walking this afternoon:
Yesterday was bright and sunny, so I went out for a walk. The sun was shining on to the Lower Purfleet, revealing that the surface still had a thin covering of ice…
When posting about a walk in King’s Lynn I always like to showcase at least one of our historic buildings, and today I have this picture showing Hanse House and the Rathskeller with the towers of King’s Lynn Minster in the background:
There was nothing else of note until I reached the Nar outfall, where I have often observed cormorants. This time there were no cormorants, but there was a small wading bird which I had not seen before and which consultation of my bird book suggested was a Common Sandpiper…
I left the river by way of Hardings Pits, taking a couple of shots (one each way) at that moment.
Crossing the Nar on my towards the parkland I took a picture from the bridge…
Passing through the Vancouver Garden I spied a squirrel. It eluded my first attempt to photograph it, but…
I then decided to make it a long walk and headed for Lynn Sport, to then go back into town by way of Bawsey Drain. Along the way I got a shot of the railway station as seen from Tennyson Road level crossing…
At Lynnsport I stopped to photograph a decorated signpost…
The Bawsey Drain segment of the walk provided a number of pictures, including a raven and some moorhens…
While walking a,long John Kennedy Road I took this picture of the back of St Nicholas’ Chapel…
Right at the end of the walk I spotted a pied wagtail..
NATURE THEMED LINKS
The first link in this section is to a piece that appeared as part of WEIT’s Hili Dialogue series. The star of the series is a cat, the eponymous Hili, also known as the Princess of Poland. Hili has a staff of two, Andrej and Malgorzata and graciously permits a dog named Cyrus to share in this. The pieces always feature something about that particular date, and apparently yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. While I do not object to a day being designated Penguin Awareness Day, surely we should be aware of them and the rest of the natural world every day. To read the piece in full, click on the graphic below which is extracted from it:
This leads neatly on to two recent pieces from Anna, the first of which is titled “This can never be wrong”, the ‘this’ being taking care of our planet. The other piece from Anna that I am sharing here is about the Save Trosa Naturecampaign.
WEIT get another mention, for this piece about a new species of mothwhich has been named after Donald Trump.
I started the ‘general links’ section of this post with a piece by Heather Hastie. I now finish the piece with another piece, the title of which, “Huge Crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica Grows” is sufficient introduction. I ‘pressed’ a link to this yesterday, but it is so important that I choose to share it again.
A strictly personal survey of the Piccadilly line, with a suggestion for the revival and extension of the Aldwych branch.
This post is associated with my “London Station by Station” series. I was gratified by the response that overview of the Hammersmith and City line received, and so now I am producing a piece about the Piccadilly line which will be much longer, as there is is much more to say…
The Piccadilly line came into existence as a compromise project taking elements from three distinct schemes. An excellent explanation for this is provided by Desmond F. Croome in his “The Piccadilly Line: An Illustrated History”
Still, not event the combination of this bizarre origin and the schemozzle at Heathrow gains the Piccadilly line the status of London Underground’s no 1 bodge job – for more about that you will have to wait until I feel strong enough to tackle the Northern line!
To give you an overview of the line both in its history and as it stands today here a some images…
Having set the scene, it is time to strap yourselves in for…
I am starting slightly out of position, for reasons that will reveal themselves at the end of the post, with Southgate, which I have given a previous post in the series. For full details you will need to read that post, but Southgate has two features of significance to me: it was the home of the Walker brothers, and in that context Middlesex still play some games of cricket at the Walker ground; and it is home to quirk illustrated by this picture…
That attended to, we can now get back on the journey proper starting at…
This station opened in 1933, and still today it is in a very rural setting. Other than being the starting point for our journey it has no real distinguishing features.
In the direction in which we travel, this marks a transition point – this is the last station at surface level until we emerge at Barons Court.
This is one of two stations, the other being a main line railway station, Alexandra Palace, which serve Alexandra Palace. Whichever you choose you have a long climb ahead of you to reach your objective, although it is worth it for the views at the end. This picture, courtesy of google, shows some of the frontage of the palace itself…
This is the Piccadilly line’s first interchange with any other in our direction of travel. As well as a connection to mainline railways, there is a cross-platform interchange to the Victoria line. It was also the original terminus at this end of the line when the Piccadilly line opened in 1907. Because it was after I had made this particular change in reverse that I got the picture in question, here is a Piccadilly route map as seen in train carriage…
The only station on London Underground to be named after a football club. The club which started life as Dial Square, changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal, of which it was originally the works team and then moved away from Woolwich, dropping the prefix of its name has since moved yet again, to another new stadium. Herbert Chapman who had earlier won three successive championships with Huddersfield Town and even earlier been lucky to survive a match fixing scandal that saw his then club Leeds City thrown out of the league was the person who successfully suggested the name change from the original Gillespie Road, with greater success than Mr Selfridge had enjoyed with his suggestion to the then independent Central London Railway that they might care to rename Bond Street station in honour of his establishment.
I have covered this both in an individual post and in the earlier piece about the Hammersmith and City line. To these I add only that the Piccadilly line is the second deepest line at the station, the Northern line being deeper.
Russell Square is one of the few deep level stations to have no escalators – you have a choice between lifts or stairs. It is also the closest station to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where I was a patient for over a year of my life, in my case in the Mildred Creak unit. For more details about how to locate this hospital, check out their own guide.
One final Russell Square connection – it is the home station for the Institute of Education, which is a regular venue for the annual five-day political festival Marxism and also happens to the place that I visited the first time I ever took part in an Autism Research project – this one being carried out by a woman named Sian Fitzpatrick.
This station is the only official interchange between the Piccadilly and Central lines. When I first used it as a child there were wooden escalators – mind this was in an era when deep-level tube trains using carriages with maple slatted floors and wooden side panels had smoking compartments – health and safety was not considered so important then. Today, Holborn is an ordinary mid-route station, but that was not always the case, and I believe it should not be the case. This is the preamble to…
A MAJOR DIGRESSION
From 1907 until 1994 there was a branch running south from Holborn to Aldwych. It was not doing much by the end of its life, but closure was not the only option – it was ideally placed for an extension into Southeast London and West Kent. I have already linked to the post I put up about Aldwych early on in this series, but in that post I did not give details of my envisaged extension, an omission I rectify as part of this project.
Reestablishing the Aldwych connection, the route would then go:
Blackfriars (District, Circle, mainline railways), London Bridge (Northern – Bank branch, Jubilee, mainline railways), Bermondsey (Jubilee), Surrey Quays (London Overground), Mudchute (DLR), Cutty Sark (DLR), Greenwich Park, Blackheath (mainline railways), Eltham High Street, New Eltham, Longlands, Sidcup High Street, Foots Cray, Ruxley, Hockenden, Crockenhill, Hulberry, Eynsford (mainline railways), Maplescombe, West Mingsdown, Fairseat, Vigo Village, Ditton, Maidstone West (mainline railways), Maidstone East (mainline railways).
The Maidstone connection is important because very isolated ends of lines can end up not getting much use (see Ongar in this series), and by extending it the extra distance to have both the interchanges in and population of Maidstone to bolster its usage one increases the likelihood of it working. The other particularly significant stop in the outer reaches of the extension is Eynsford, not major enough to be a suitable terminus, but definitely has much worth visiting, led by the scenic Darent Valley and the historic Roman Villa down the road at Lullingstone.
BACK TO THE JOURNEY
The digression done, it is time to resume our progress along the Piccadilly, which next takes us to…
I have already covered this area at some length in a previous post to which I now direct you. What I failed to mention in that post is that there is also a quite pleasant walking route from here to Waterloo, and all the attractions I have listed in that post.
This station has a connection to the Northern line (Charing Cross branch). Also, until the refurbishment of Angel (Northern, Bank branch) it had the longest escalators to be found anywhere on the system. At 0.16 miles apart it and Covent Garden are the two closest neighbours on the entire system. Leicester Square serves an area of London known as Chinatown.
The station that gives its name to the line, it has an interchange with the Bakerloo line. Piccadilly is home to the Eros statue. It features in at least two series of novels set in Restoration England, Edward Marston’s Redmayne series and Susannah Gregory’s Chaloner series.
Interchanges with the Victoria and Jubilee lines.
HYDE PARK CORNER
One of several stations serving London’s largest park. This is also the local station for the Albert Hall.
Museum central – see the first post in this series for more detail. Also, the point at which one the projects that were fused together to make the Piccadilly line – a plan for a ‘deep level District’ line to ease congestion on the original District – from here to Earls Court the Piccadilly follows the District exactly, then skips West Kensington, joining the District at the surface at Barons Court. After Hammersmith the Piccadilly runs fast to Acton Town while the district has intermediate stops at Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook, Turnham Green and Chiswick Park. Occasional Piccadilly trains stop at Turnham Green where the Richmond branch of the District diverges, but the major branching point is…
Nowadays the District only goes beyond Acton Town as far as Ealing Broadway, but the entire Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly and the Heathrow branch as far as Hounslow West were originally served by the District and feature platforms at the compromise height used for cross-platform interchanges between ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ lines. This station adjoins the Acton Works, where rolling stock is maintained and overhauled. We will explore the Heathrow branch first…
ALWAYS AVOID ALL ALLITERATION
The joke instruction used as this section heading refers to the fact that the three Hounslow’s, Hatton Cross and the three Heathrow stations all being with the letter H – and if you are on a train running the loop route (Terminals 1,2 and 3 and then terminal 4, as opposed to the direct Terminal 5 route), you would in total, between departing Hounslow East one way and returning there in the other direction see station names beginning with H 11 times on the trot.
THE HEATHROW SCHEMOZZLE
When the Piccadilly was first extended to serve Heathrow one station, unimaginatively named Heathrow Central was deemed sufficient. Then, in 1986, Terminal 4 opened, and was not accessible from the existing station. A terminal loop was constructed with a new station built on it to serve Terminal 4. So far, so good, but then the folk who run Heathrow decided that a mere four terminals were insufficient for the number of flights they wanted to run, and a fifth terminal, not accessible from either existing station was built. So we now have a bizarre configuration whereby there is simultaneously a terminal loop and an ordinary direct terminus constructed specially to serve Terminal 5. Quite what sort of arrangement will result if and when a Terminal 6 gets the go-ahead is beyond me to imagine.
I have covered the quirky feature of this station in a previous post.
There are two stations on this branch bearing the name Sudbury, Sudbury Hill an Sudbury Town. I am concentrating on the latter because as a Grade 1 listed building it stands as an example of the best of London Underground architecture. Like so many of the finest examples, this station was designed by the legendary Charles Holden. To find out more about Holden and his work I recommend strongly that you consult David Lawrence’s magnificent Bright Underground Spaces, in which I located these pictures that relate to Sudbury Town…
The last station before this branch meets the Metropolitan for the run to Uxbridge. The Metropolitan converges from a station called West Harrow, while all the other branches of that line bar the Uxbridge one pass through North Harrow. Once upon a time a school opened to serve “30 poor children of the parish of Harrow”. The school is still there, but it is a long time since any poor children got to go there.
This is the meeting point, and for a long time this was a regular terminating point for Piccadilly line services except at peak periods. This is the last marked interchange on the Piccadilly line, although you could change to the Metropolitan anywhere between here and Uxbridge should you desire it.
RUISLIP MANOR AND RUISLIP
Ruislip is an occasional terminating point, although most trains that go that far go on to Uxbridge. These two stations both serve Ruislip Lido, home to among other things the smallest gauge passenger carrying railway in Britain. I have assembled some links for you:
I mentioned earlier in this post that Holborn is the only officially recognised interchange between the Piccadilly and Central lines. For all that is in the region of a 10 minute walk to get from this station to West Ruislip I consider that this should be a recognised interchange – for more detail consult this post.
The current Hillingdon station opened in 1992, but there was an earlier Hillingdon station which opened in 1923. In 1934 this station was renamed Hillingdon (Swakeleys). The suffix was gradually dropped over time, but leaves the question “what is Swakeleys?” to have such significance. The answer, as an internet search reveals is that it is a school. As far as can ascertain it is the only school to have officially formed part of a station name (the stations with Harrow in their name refer to the location not the the school per se). There is also a well known hospital in Hillingdon.
We have reached the end of our journey. The present Uxbridge station opened in 1934, but there has been a station at Uxbridge since 1903. In so far as anywhere so rural can be this is something of a transport hub as several bus services make use of the station forecourt. Now it is time to reveal the solution to the teaser I set as to why I started out of position at Southgate: the connection is a cricketing one – yes we are back in Middlesex out ground territory. Sadly, other than knowing that Middlesex sometimes play there I cannot recall anything about cricket at Uxbridge – no remarkable matches spring to mind, nor great players especially associated with the ground.
SOME FINAL WORDS
This post does not make any claim to be a definitive account of the Piccadilly line – it is a strictly personal view of the highlights of the line that has more stations than any other deep level ‘tube’ lines and is only beaten by the District among the ‘subsurface’ lines, and I have ignored many stations altogether and given quite a few others only sparse coverage. I hope that you have all enjoyed the ride!