Today’s Tubespiration: Circle Line

In 1863 the Metropolitan Railway opened the world’s first underground line between Paddington and Farringdon Street. It ran with wooden carriages and steam locomotives – the smell and the smoke was even marketed for a short while as a health benefit.

At this point London had a number mainline train terminals built on sites that could use cheap land on the fringes of the then centre. As a result there were lengthy transfer times between them, so also in 1863, a Parliamentary select committee report recommended an ‘inner circle’ of railway lines to connecting London’s railway termini. The inner circle was eventually completed in 1884.

Nowadays, it takes on average around an hour to travel the whole of the Circle Line.

If you are ever running a railroad you need to know about a problem with circular routes: it’s not a good idea for reliable timetables.

Because the trains are constantly in service there is little opportunity for recovery time if delayed. Single delays can cause knock-on effects and can be more disruptive. If you schedule longer wait times at stations this then makes journrey times longer.

To solve this problem the Circle line was extended from Edgware Road to Hammersmith in 2009, using the existing Hammersmith & City track. As a result this spur line makes it easier to catch up on any slippages and delays

Despite its new non-Circular shape, the Circle Line still retained its name.

Now for your creative journey: • What shape is your problem? • Is there anything inefficient in your life? Are you adding in any way to inefficiencies? • What ways can you do things more flexibly? • What is the thing that connects all the different parts of your life?


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