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Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

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New Orleans...
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Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

Sorry if the question sounds stupid,but I was in London briefly a few years ago and found the subway very confusing,more so than in New York. Is there a simple rule of thumb to understanding the routes? I'll be back this summer, the only adult, with 3 kids and I don't want to get us lost.

Cotswolds
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1. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

I'm sure the kids will sus it out for you - like computers =+)

Otherwise - the lines have names, and directions, and just about all the station names are geographically based. If you know where you are going, and the rough direction, you can't go far wrong

Kids' fares are more complicated than the lines themselves......

Edited: 29 January 2013, 20:15
Essex
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2. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

The famous Tube Map is a schematic and does not show real geography or distances.

Each Tube line is colour coded with the same colour you see for it on that map.

So eg signage and mini-maps for Central Line in Red, Circle Line in Yellow, Jubilee in Silve and so on.

Interchanges are shown by the black circles.

Edited: 29 January 2013, 20:21
U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London
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3. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

Figuring out where to go on the tube is the easy part.

Figuring out which tickets to buy for your group--that's the tricky bit!

Honestly, it is very easy--as above, it is all color coded, there are maps everywhere, and on the platform it will say the direction that tube is taking..and all the stops in between.

Even in the train all the stops are posted within the carriage.

I've used subways/tubes in New York, Washington DC, London, Tokyo, Paris and Barcelona. This is by far the best.

I had my 11 year old navigate me all over London from Waterloo, and he did just fine.

Dunfermline, United...
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4. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

That's interesting, of all the underground systems in the world that I have travelled on, I found New York's to be the most confusing. And it's in English, unlike some of the European systems.

I can see where you can get confused though. Some trains on the same line have different destinations and disappear up branch lines whereas Madrid's Metro only has one destination in each direction. Brussels and Rome only have two lines so no confusion there

Being colour coded helps, but check the overhead sign on the platform which will tell you the final destination and how many minutes until it arrives. Then check the map on the platform to make sure the station you want is on that line

San Francisco Bay
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5. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

When you are there, I suggest getting a tube map tea towel in celebration of your conquering the Underground scheme. Then you can study it for your next trip and your next hotel booking.

Go to this Transport For London website for Trip Planning, and maps for the Underground, the bus system and the DLR (light rail system). It's great!

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London
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6. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

You may find this link to be of value...

moneysavinglondon.com/Travel-in-London/how-t…

Harwich, Essex
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7. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

Before you travel look into which station you will need for the attractions & destinations that you want to visit, and also check the Transport for London website for any service disruptions like planned engineering works, especially at weekends. Plan your route before you travel is my advice

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

With use comes knowledge.

You'll find signs like these dkimages.com/discover/previews/777/228473.JPG londontransportoriginalsigns.co.uk/London_Un… in all stations. Dot matrix signs like this data-display.com/file/images/installations/l… are in situ above many platforms; note on the left of the picture the large Bakerloo line detailed sign as well.

Earl's Court station has these itravelnet.com/photos/eu/england/london/old-… on the platforms; they're listed and wonderful. Whitechapel has similar, but I suspect they will be enhanced away in future.

Small, folded, pocket size Tube maps are free of charge at every station; look for them in racks near the ticket office. With a map and a bit of prep all should be well.

One thing to keep in mind. If you want to stop and have a look at one of those directional signs to ascertain which platform you need for the northbound Victoria line, please don't put on the brakes whilst in the corridor or right in front of the sign. You should get used to reading on the go which platform you'll need for which line; practice will help.

Be prepared for the potential of delays. Rather than try to sort things out at the station, keep in mind bus routes for some of your journeys as options should events go pearshaped on the day.

Edited: 29 January 2013, 20:41
Santander, Spain
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9. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

"You should get used to reading on the go which platform you'll need for which line; practice will help"

It does.

My daughters are 12 and 10 and find it easy to figure it out. It looks more difficult than it really is. I know the systems in Madrid, Rome, Paris and New York and you always find your way.

Bingley, United...
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10. Re: Are there any particular "tricks" to understanding the tube?

The most important thing about the Tube Map is that it tells you how to get from A to B.

It doesn't however tell you how far A and B are apart so you need a real map otherwise you'll take the Central Line from Queensway to Notting Hill Gate, then Circle Line to Bayswater to get between two stations at opposite ends of the same street which takes a couple of minutes to walk

Also if you have a Smartphone check out London Apps