Bliss, pure bliss

by Maria on August 11, 2003

It’s a while since I discovered a blog that satisfies so deeply as Transport Blog which I discovered thanks to Natalie Solent on Samizdata.

How can you not jump right into entries that start;

“A new tube torture

Ever since I first saw automatic ticket selling machines, in Germany in the eighties, and then saw them arrive in the London Underground or the “tube” as we call it here, and then saw these machines sporting “OUT OF ORDER” or “EXACT MONEY PLEASE” messages, I know that there is no machine, no matter how Teutonically efficient in its apparently inherent nature, that the tube wouldn’t find a way of mucking up and rendering English.

Yesterday I observed a new version of this syndrome, in the form of a new London Underground torture inflicted by means of automatic train doors.”

There are lots of great categories for entries such as Train Overcrowding, Airline Seating, British Rail Privatisation, and the intriguing Staying Put. Transport Blog is mostly (but not exclusively British) and has a distinct, libertarian axe to grind.

It brings me right back. One of the great pleasures of London life was my daily read of the Evening Standard complaining about the Tube while actually on the rush hour tube. I suspect it is a particularly British obsession (along with property and house pets) to take a perverse joy in the sheer awfulness of the transport infrastructure. Living in France, with our heavily state-subsidised transport system, it’s much harder to bond with work acquaintances over public transport. It’s also a lot harder to breeze late into a meeting, utter one word (‘Tube’), be greeted with a few cursory but empathetic mutters, and sit down without further apology.

Before I lived in London, I would never have believed how enthusiastically (and surprising knowledgeably) I would come to converse about the comic driver on the Jubilee Line, whether to Tube or train it from south London, the joys and pains of the Victoria Line, which lines run the deepest (and turn your snot blacker), how the Picadilly Line has only 4 inches clearance between train and tunnel and so is the last line you want to be in in case of an accident, and other fascinating topics.

I do miss it. Well, I really miss having those anecdotes to share and compete with. Only this weekend I surprised myself by the kick I got out of pulling out and dusting off a long-forgotten story about being turfed out of a Stansted Express bus replacement service at Tottenham Hale at 4am one winter morning. Transport Blog can, of course, top this.

Anyway, embrace your inner trainspotter and take a trip over there.



Bob 08.11.03 at 4:50 pm

Crushes on the London Tube are as nothing, NOTHING, compared with the Tokyo subway at its worst in rush hours.


David Sucher 08.11.03 at 5:40 pm

Transport Blog is one of the best of the blogosphere.


Martin Wisse 08.12.03 at 9:51 am

Y’all might want to check out
Going Underground at as well, if you want your tube fix(ed).

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