please empty your brain below

There are other 'blockages' on the east bound Central Line platform at Oxford Circus (presumably also on the west bound). If you're completely knackered after trying to wend your way down Oxford Street for some purpose and you decide instead to take the Tube, don't bother sitting down on the seats on the platform because you won't be able to see what the indicator says - even when you are just 10 feet away. Why? because there are a line of little signs, one for the information point, one for fire information and another I can't remember what it's for. Just get on the train and wait for the anouncement to tell you what train you're on....assuming it is correct (which quite often it isn't).

Even more than usual I find your blog a delight to read. You have really touched a raw nerve and only someone like you could research it this well. I am sure London Underground haven't and I haven't seen London Travelwatch even ever mention it.

Part of the explanation (but no excuse at all) may be that if there is one item of electrical equipment then there is a power supply and the next person comes along and thinks "Ooh a convenient power supply. I'll put my apparatus next to the existing one". That is the main reason that speed cameras used to be obscured by road signs - despite what all the conspiracy theorists and angry motorists wish to think.

Possibly even more worrying is the thought that if they can't get this right for passenger displays what is the chances that signals are less than ideally positioned. Remember that one of the primary causes of the Ladbroke Grove train disaster is that the signals were difficult to see because subsequently they put up electrification wires without (sufficient) regard to the visibility of the existing signals.

Am I too late to nominate Eastbound Stepney Green? The NTI is only visible there if you stand right by the stairs. Anywhere else and you have exit signs and CCTV blocking the view.

Can I nominate the east bound central line platform at Holborn where if you stand on the left hand end of the platform you cannot see the indicator board at all. Drives me mad every morning.

Now, if I were asked by my employer to install something in a position that I, as the person on the scene, could see was not sensible, I'd say something to someone in a position to authorise a change.

What is wrong with these people who install things? Have they no brains, or no tongues? Or are they just jobsworths with no pride in what they do?

Why don't they just put them over the tracks where everyone can see them and everyone looks whilst waiting for a train. Here they will not be obscured or would this get in the way of the planned moving adverts.

The one at Old Street is the worst, because there is no obvious reason why it couldn't have been placed further down the platform where there's no equipment and it would be visible from the platform entrance.

I think the ones with the green text (like at Oxford Circus) are old and likely to be replaced, so the situation may change.

By the way, the cameras you mention are what drivers use to see the platform, not "security cameras", which are the big white ones.

They're pretty difficult to see anyway without binoculars if you're down one end of the platform. Why don't they put one at each end rather than just one in the middle? Too expensive I suppose.
Does anyone else find the station announcer at Bank really annoying? He sounds like he's auditioning for a part in Hamlet.

I doubt that this will qualify as a suitable 'tube' nomination, but the new-ish dot matrix display on the northbound First Capital Connect tunnel platform at Highbury & Islington is a fantastic example:

1) parked up at the far end of the platform from where the entrance feeds people in. You would barely be able to see it anyway, but..

2) It's hidden from view behind two hanging Way Out signs, so in order to see it you have to walk halfway down the other end. If the next train only has 3 carriages (which happens), then you're left having to walk back up again in order to get on.

A brief scurry around Flickr finds that someone else has picked up on this:[email protected]/280784430/

Disappointed you haven't included Angel in your list.

dg writes: That would be because nobody suggested going there. Until now.

I am prepared to be wrong on this, but isn't the "station announcer" at Bank a recording? "He" has sounded the same ever since I was three, and repeats "himself" the same number of times, whether the train's moved on or not. Or (I'm sure I saw this once) there is, in fact, someone standing on the platform with a special megaphone to make them do the voice. Personally, I find it really soothing.

Some are obviously recordings but he occasionally comes on live to scold passengers or call for a cleaner to go to a particular area. It's the same bloke as on the recordings, maybe he's been at it for a while.
Thaaannk you.

Ah yes, the famous Bank station announcer. I've always wondered who the man behind those Tannoy messages was.

I have to agree that First Capital Connect (and, come to that, National Express East Anglia) are also pretty hopeless with NTIs. If only I had a pound for every time I have been to a FCC/NXEA-operated station to find that only half of the NTI is actually working, if at all, I'd be very rich by now.

As for the tube NTIs you mention, I have had first-hand experience of the ones at Bank and Oxford Circus. At Bank in particular, I have learnt to make a mental note of the destination and time of the next train or two before I make my way down the platform. Of course, it's not just projectors, loudspeakers and 'Way Out' signs that block the view of the NTI on this particular platform, but also the curve of the platform itself.

TfL must spend enough of our hard-earned tube fares on these NTIs. You'd think they would have the sense to install them where they would be clearly visible to passengers, regardless of where on the platform they are.

I'm also so glad you've been doing this series dg, because the cretin installation team appear to have been working outside of the capital too. Actually, I thought it was me, having become too old to understand or to see the blasted small print on these boards that are in all the wrong positions and, because I'd been in Tenerife for 16 years, firstly, I'm used to having my head in Spanish and secondly, they haven't got any trains there (OK, one new tram.) But I've been on a few train journeys in the Southampton - Bournemouth area recently and, I haven't yet been able to work out what the boards are saying, if that's my train, etc. I do have a "cure" for it mind you, which consists of finding the nearest member of staff, looking as pathetic as possible (not hard) and saying, "I've lived in a foreign country for X years, I don't understand the system any more, can you tell me, bla, bla ..." So far, works every time!

Off-topic questions: Why is there always a smell of frying bacon when passing through Liverpool Street? (A new feature - stations by smell?) Was the line between Baker Street and St Johns Wood diverted to avoid a plague burial pit? Do any lines go under graveyards (dead people overhead)? Could you stop a train, drill up and get into the Bank of England's gold reserve (new M.I. film idea)? Or the crown jewels etc. Did anybody ever succeed in getting any chocolate out of those !"£\\% machines? Will people fall into the gap if the recording fails? Why does the announcement for Neasden on the westbound Jubilee line sound so p.m.t. angry? How did we ever find our way around without scrolling displays and repetitive announcements, in those quiet far-off days? Oh the joy of going an unexpected stop and coming back. I can't hear anything from my iPod phones if I hang them out of my hand, even on full blast, but I can hear other geezers phones cymballing - are their brains turned to mush by thundering soundwaves? When are they going to straighten the curved platforms/when will the Mahabarat dawn?

I would also add one more thing. Apart from the way the display boards are installed, what do they actually indicate when they say 'NEXT TRAIN - 1 minute'. And then you wait 6 minutes till it actually arrives. Does 1 minute in this case mean the train 'will be here in 1 minute' or 'is 1 minute away in theory, but in practice may take 3, 5 or 7 minutes'? Ridiculous if you ask me.

What next train in 1 minute means is the train is currently located at a position where it is calculated to take 1 minute (normally) to get to your station. Of course the idea falls apart if the train is remaining stationary due to junction priorities or any other reason or the train is travelling unusually slowly e.g temporary speed restriction.

The live departure boards on the TfL website supply both the location (fact) and estimated time until arrival (speculation).

Thanks for the explanation. But: a) a tourist on the platform does not know that; b) who whould use TFL website to check the details while standing on the platform 60 meters or so below the ground?

So we should tear the signs down until they can correctly guess when the trains is going to have an unusually long station call? Or put a big disclaimer up, "Warning: This dumb computer may not actually be able to predict the future". What is it that you're suggesting we do instead?

Being as far away from the London Underground as it is possible to get without leaving the planet, I thought this week's theme would hold little interest for me. I was wrong. It's been fascinating. And hilarious. Pardon me for laughing, O despairing commuters, but there's been a streak of manic humour running through the whole saga. Looking forward to tomorrow's mega-cretinous finale.

I am inclined to agree with G.A.A. above, I no longer use the Tube much, only very rarely, but remember as a child going to London was a treat, and it was fun and exciting, that warm air rushing through the tunnel heralding the arrival of the train. All the moans and groans in this blog are hilarious. Has someone shown these comments to anyone at TFL? What would be their reply I wonder. 'We are working towards making the Tube a safe and rewarding place to travel' I don't think so!

Disappointed not to get Siddiq's take on all this. Afraid I am not connected to the system: No tube,no comment.

The uselessness of the Finsbury Park indicator has annoyed me for years - almost as much as the people who try to push me back in the carriage as I'm trying to get out. A 'name-and-shame' of these fools would be fun, but likely impossible / illegal / dangerous to personal safety. But thank you for venting spleens everywhere!

Re: F Moon - why is it that Waterloo smells like vomit and Green Park of mould (well, actually, that's obvious).

Chancery Lane smells like toast in the morning, very tempting.

To the question of whether any of these cretins takes a pride in their work or has a tongue in their heads, the answer to these are "no" and "yes".

"No" to the first question because none of the resulting mess is governed by pride, but by Standards and contracts:

a) Designers have to design to LUL Standards
b) Contractors have to install to what the Designers design.

"Yes" to the second question that, even though the majority of people working for the Designers or Contractors will openly admit what they're designing or installing is folly, they're powerless to do what would be more sensible because as any dissenters will be sharply reminded:

a) Designers have to design to LUL Standards
b) Contractors have to install to what the Designers design.

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