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Scenes from the Tube: A London Photo Essay

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I am in love with The Tube. It’s a magical thing, this network of underground (and overground) trains that can take you anywhere in London. London is a city that grew organically, chaotically, yet the Tube gives the city an order that is entirely unexpected. Just looking at the Tube map evokes a romance for London – the names of all the distant places on the Tube map are fascinating in their uniqueness. Where is Cockfosters and why is it named that? Uxbridge sounds neat. Westminster. Covent Garden. Notting Hill. Gloucester Road.

In my home city of Chicago, our transport network is not nearly as loved, nor is it as big of a design icon. It’s tolerated and used sparingly if you can avoid it. Why take the train when you can drive? London is different. The romance of the Tube encourages you to take it; it entices you with the fantasy of all the wonderful places in London you can go.

It’s easy to forget the Tube when you use it every day on a trip. But over my 20 years of travel in London, I’ve tried to capture the network in a real and candid way. This photo essay is the culmination of many years of photography on the Tube. I hope you enjoy looking at this special transport system through my eyes.

 

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jonathan
Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Nicely quirky photos, Jonathan! The ones of the District and Metropolitan/Circle line trains are now quite nostalgic, as the rolling stock has been completely replaced by new, air-conditioned trains. Though some of the old District stock has been re-conditioned and re-purposed to run on the UK overground train network.

    When I first came to London many years ago, I worked in an office at Cockfosters and was fortunate enough to travel outwards from Turnpike Lane to that green outer-suburb. I didn’t know what a crowded rush-hour tube train was like until I changed my job and had to commute into Central London instead!

  2. Oh how I love The Tube. I live in Texas, so we have nothing remotely close to it. The first whiff of that Tube smell on every trip just makes me smile. I could almost smell it while I was looking at your photos. I’m supposed to get that first whiff on June 30th, but Covid-19 has changed everything. It’s already taken thousands of lives, millions of jobs, senior proms and college graduations. When will it end? Thanks for making me smile for a few minutes with your pics.

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