OK, so this particular spot is only going to appeal to the London transport buffs amongst you, but I thought it was quite a good example of what happens when media outlets cut their journalism and research budgets to the bone.
There’s been a proposal doing the rounds for some while for a radical re-configuring of the way that the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines work – having lots of trains on varying routes conflicting at lots of flat junctions doesn’t make for a reliable or efficient service, as anyone who has ever waited for a Circle Line train will know. The erstwhile London Connections blog reported in July that the decision had been made for the re-configuration to go ahead, by 2012 at the very latest. The proposal is that trains will start at Hammersmith, head up what is now the Hammersmith & City Line via Ladbroke Grove, joining the Circle at Edgware Road and travelling round the Circle clockwise until they reach Edgware Road again. Trains would then reverse and follow the same route back to Hammersmith via the Circle, passing Edgware Road for a second time en route.
For some reason EDIT: Following a London Travelwatch meeting on the subject, one of London’s two apocalyptically bad freesheets thelondonpaper (their lack of capitals and spaces, not mine – don’t they have a proofreader?) has decided to run on this story this evening. The article itself, under the headline ‘The semi-Circle Line’ is actually reasonably accurate. Where it all goes wrong is the map, scanned in above, and in particular its left-hand corner. Whoever drew the map obviously didn’t read the headline, because they decided that the Circle line must remain, well a circle. Having scanned the article and seen the name ‘Hammersmith’, they got out their Underground map and drew the above – which show trains continuing through Hammersmith, via a mythical link to the District line to get back to Earl’s Court and the Circle.
If you’ve ever tried interchanging as a pedestrian between the two entirely separate stations at Hammersmith (Hammersmith & City Line and District/Piccadilly line), you’ll know its hard enough without trying to take the train with you. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, take a look at this aerial photograph: the station marked ‘Underground – Hammersmith’ is the H&C line station, whilst the District line is in the station to the south (with lots of red buses next to it), in the middle of a gyratory system. There is, quite simply no rail link between them, nor would it be possible to realistically build one, thanks to busy roads and a huge difference in the levels of the lines. What a good job the map is entitled ‘How the Circle Line might work’, because be assured, it won’t work like this.
Evidently, thelondonpaper’s researches could do with a bit of an education in the ways of the Underground – or perhaps they know something we don’t? Is Boris cutting everyone elses’ transport schemes so that his loyal voters in Hammersmith & Fulham can be rewarded with an utterly useless and multi-million pound level-crossing/funicular railway combination to get trains between the two lines in Hammersmith? I think we should be told…
PS: Anyone who would like to keep up with progress on this proposal, rather than just giggling at freesheet’s various stupidities, would be well advised to keep an eye on the London Re-connections blog, which does an excellent job at keeping abreast of TfL board papers and the like.