London Underground

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The city was just begging for its own train network. Again.
Entrance to the newly renovated Blackfriars Station

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For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about London Underground.

The London Underground is a series of tubes stuffed with motorised trains that are indended to take the Londonian public to places outside of the local pub. It was originally called "London Subterranean Homesick Blues Transit Service" but this got shortened to 'The Lube' by those who had to use it. It was was opened to the public in 1863 by William Gladstone. Considered a 'vulgar' way to travel about London at first, the Underground system grew over the next 150 years and helped the city spread in all directions like an ugly blood stain.

The poet Oscar Wilde wrote whilst he was still alive that travelling on the Underground was like 'descending into Dante's Inferno, the hot air blowing out of the tunnels ruffling my hair and inflaming my own passions for the sticky embrace of the dark environment'. Others at the time liked the close proximity you could have with the opposite sex as you stood swaying together in the dim lights whilst trains shuddered to a halt. The first conviction for groping happened not long after.

It's a well known fact train drivers who manage to arrive on time are punished, and that if you are too fast moving through the barriers you will be shot on sight. If you manage to get off at your stop without being hassled by a busker or having your pockets picked, you will also be shot.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The idea of opening an underground time-wasting transportation system in London started with the Romans or, more specifically, Emperor Valentinian II, who had an obsession with conquering the soil and, later on, the sons of the soil. In AD 377 he commissioned the Londinium Subterraenea, which was completed three years later. It was opened on October 14, 401 with much fanfare, and then promptly forgotten about roughly four minutes later when they realised they hadn't invented trains yet. In 1846 Sir William Hershey, discoverer of Uranus, re-discovered the Subterraenea, and drew up plans for a newer underground system. These plans were soon scrapped when Hershey rushed to give the newly-discovered planet Neptune an obscene name. In 1860, Transport for London (TFL) campaigner William Gladstone discovered Hershey's plans and decided to, with the help of TFL, recreate and reopen the Subterraenea. Funnily enough, they never got to recreate it, but the Londinium Subterraenea, rechristened the London Underground, was opened to the public in a matter of hours. People rejoiced when the first station, Baker Street, opened but their excitement and dreams of getting to see homeless people laying in puddles of theirs and others' urine twice a day for the rest of their adult lives were swiftly dashed when they realised more than one station is required to be completed to have a viable rail network. Two days after opening, the London Tourist Board opened a clothes shop at Oxford Circus station called the London Underpants. The station was quickly burned down by outraged tourists.

Early Safety Issues[edit]

The trains on The London Underground originally ran on coal-power, but since science and health & safety had not been invented yet, the clever clog inventors could not have foreseen the tragedy of the first journey, where 327 passengers all succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. They tried to address this by building chimneys to vent the dangerous gas, which worked for a while, but they had inadequate mapping of the terrain above and inadvertantly bored a hole from the tunnel directly into the River Thames, completely flooding the entire network and reducing worldwide sea-levels by several inches. As a result of this, they decided to use electricity instead, since water is a slightly better conductor than the air, and cleverly marketed the commute as an aquarium and public transport network in one, the first of its kind. Despite this cunning ruse, the majority of the fish and beluga whales visible from commuters' windows were deceased (most of them detonated by the train on impact), emblematic of English culture at the time -- and English culture today. It was considered to dig a hole to Hell so the water could flow there and evaporate, but the Prime Minster, Henry John Temple, being evil himself, did not want any competition from Satan if he decided to emerge from his lava house in order to sample one of London's many popular dogging spots. Eventually, the holes were filled up and the water was sold to a monastery in France, primarily because the English didn't like the French, with the British government telling them it was all Holy Water - it wasn't and was in fact infested with rats and excrement, although there were a couple of discarded turkey twizzlers in there too so it wasn't a complete scam.

Barriers on the early underground were also a cause of many safety problems. As there were no machines to read tickets like there are today, the early barriers were modified French guilloutines, since there had been a huge surplus of them after the French Revolution and the British government only really liked to spend money to bribe corrupt officials or to harm the Irish and poor people in some way. There were ticket inspectors employed to confirm the legitimacy of the tickets and to use a pulley to move the sharp blade upwards to allow commuters through in the event of a valid ticket. There were several occasions where this did not work as planned, mostly because everyone was drunk back then - especially ticket inspectors. The London commute became significantly less congested as a result of the severe casualty-rate, which was great news for those still living.

Notable incidents.

In November 2021 a man from the north east of England became the first man to empty what appeared to be rusty radiator water onto the floor of a metropolitan line train somewhere between Chalfont and Latimer and Chesham.

Tha un-named man said that he just wanted to experience the journey on the longest distance between stations on the whole of the London Underground system. Unfortunately his wife Emily had fed him a bad fajita the night before and he was unable to control his bowels until Chesham .

In summer 2020 a man from Surrey had rather a heavy night and woke up unsure where he was. He then attempted to get to work on the circle line. This ended in tears as he vomited all over his feet, coat and the station platform…. He the sheepishly had to use the help button to fess up to his crime

Rebuilding[edit]

The world renowned map of the London Underground, believed by many to be the zenith of cartography and readability.

In the early 90's, the London MPs decided that they needed a new way of wasting taxpayers' money, such as passing a "give us wonga" law or chaining hire bikes on every street corner in full knowledge of the fact that Londoners are incapable of cycling unless they're enticed by the opportunity to crash into a helpless old codger at high speed on a zebra crossing. In the end, the MPs' lack of creativity led them to rebuilding much of the perfectly good (although incredibly dangerous) Underground network. This would cost some two hundered million pounds and is not yet finished as of June 2011. Work included laying new track and buying fresh flowery wallpaper, however all of this did little to help the tube's condition.

When attempting to pass of the believability of the rebuild, engineers were met with a problem: the original method for building tunnels was the good ole cut 'n' cover method, ie

  • Dig a big hole in the ground
  • Bury anything tube-related in it, and while you're at it, your ex-wife
  • Cover it up again

However modern technology had surpassed this and using this method would raise more suspicion than the marijuana found in the Houses of Parliament. In the end, it was decided to build a new tunnel lower in the ground by using foreign prisoners who operated a giant spinning shaver blade (the Gatishead Shield) in an attempt to get the 300,000 to escape Wormwood Scrubs prison (isn't prison overcrowding so bad these days?). Half of the workers died during the process, mainly because many of them thought that eating the London Clay would save having to carry it out. Finally, the survivors emerged at Stratford. However, they discovered they had tunnelled the wrong way (they wanted to get to Heathrow by tunneling under the M25) and eventually settled in Leyton. The tunnel later became the Central Line.

Upgrade plan[edit]

The new trains feature fewer seats, but are faster on journeys where the engine has been given new shoes

After many years of running a network and trains which because of their age needed to be held together with shoe laces, parcel tape and paperclips, Transport for London chose to begin an upgrade plan. The centrepiece of the glorious manifesto was for the oldest trains to be replaced, possibly with steam trains to save money on their electricity bills, allowing more passengers to stand on long journeys due to there being fewer seats. Passengers reacted positively to this new development, as it meant they could see the London countryside more clearly when pressed up against the windows during peak times.

The signalling was also replaced, with old cables helpfully collected by criminals under the cover of darkness. This method of removal brought with it a more random system for the upgrade programme to proceed on, described by TfL as a "fresher approach".

An earlier suggestion for relieving congestion at stations during the busiest parts of the day was to close the London Underground network, so that there would be no more congestion or delays. This was eventually replaced by the new plan, whereby fewer trains would run, in the hope that by the law of averages, they would have less chance to be delayed.

It has been decided by parliament that the walls of all stations and carriages are to be decorated with sick to cover up the existing sick and blend in with any future sick so it can seem cool and avant garde, as well as in touch with London's vibrant drinking culture. Several artists are to be contacted regarding producing several murals from the same substance and are to be fed 15 packets of activated-charcoal and various different food dye in water so they can get to work immediately on this.

Other Commuters[edit]

Since English people and in particular Londoners are almost always depicted in American films and television shows as extremely honourable, polite and well-spoken, the British parliament in 1863 had not considered it to be possible that there could be any bad manners or violent altercations between Londoners on their transport network. However, this could not be further from the truth. If there are not at least 5 muggings on each leg of an Underground commute, it is seen as heresy and considered to be the result of an occult ritual, so witch-burning often follows.

There are many other impolite behaviours expressed by passengers as well, such as broadcasting the complete works of Lil' Wayne at 120 decibels to all others in the vicinity, leading to perforated ear drums and a newfound ability to perceive soundwaves with the naked eye. This has been partially-mitigated by installing soundproofed cubes around every seat and it has been proposed to install automated sound-activated gun turrets if this situation persists for much longer.

When walking between different stations on the way back home, it is not uncommon to experience multiple near-misses from people riding their bicycles on the path directly at you from behind at close to the speed of sound whilst shouting obscenities and racial epithets in your general direction, simply for being on a footpath designed exclusively for walking human beings and wild rat colonies. It is generally advised to keep one's head on a swivel to maintain situational awareness so one can take pre-emptive evasive action rather than spending yet another day in A&E with a fractured coccyx.

The Lines[edit]

The Underground network is made up of eleven "lines", each being name, colour and noisiness-coded. The lines are:

Name Map colour First
operated
First section
opened*
Name dates
from
Type Length
(km)
Journey time
(hours)
Stations Journeys
per annum (× 1,000)
Average journeys
per mile (× 1,000)
Bakerloo line Feces-style Brown 1906 1906 1906 Deep level 23.2 14.5 25 104,000 7,172
Central line Bloody Red 1900 1856 1900 Deep Impact 74 46 49 199,000 4,326
Circle line Yellow 1884 1863 1949 Subsurface 27 17 36 74,000 5,286
District line Ugly Green 1868 1868 1868–1905 Subscription survace 64 40 60 188,000 4,700
Hammersmith & City line Pink 1988 (1863 as Metropolitan line) 1858 1988 Subsurface again 26.5 16.5 29 50,000 3,030
Jubilee line Depressing Grey 1979 1879 1979 Deep as the earth's crust 36.2 22.5 27 127,584 5,670
Metropolitan line Joe Magenta 1863 1863 1863 Subsurface 66.7 41 34 58,000 1,398
Northern line Black as an emo's hair 1890 1867 1937 Above sea level 58 36 50 206,987 5,743
Piccadilly line Dark Blue 1906 1869 1906 Final level 71 44.3 53 176,177 3,977
Victoria line Not Dark Blue 1968 1968 1968 Boss level 21 13.25 16 183,000 13,132
Waterloo & City line Turkish 1898 1898 1898 Jeez man, that's deep... 2.5 1.5 2 9,616 6,410
† Actual price may be higher or lower than displayed number.

Wildlife[edit]

The "mind the gap" sign in London Underground.

The London Underground is home to a small creature known as 'the gap'. Warnings are frequently given out, both on the trains, and on the platforms warning citizens of this threat. These warnings usually go along the lines of "Please mind the gap", however few people take this seriously and this often results in numerous injuries; in the last year alone, 7 people lost feet, and 52 lost toes. The gap itself is a small carnivorous mammal which lives between the train and the platform. The Underground tunnels are also home to large, mutated mice (look! behind you!), frenzied badgers, rabbits, over twenty species of spider, black mambas, the occasional chav and a number of lost schoolboys. Passengers have reported several times that they had seen tigers outside the train, however the fact that the average number of lost schoolboys remains constant suggests otherwise. The London Underground is also overpopulated with Cockneys which hide in the tunnels during the daylight hours as to avoid employment and sunlight. Many Cockneys first ventured into the tunnels over 9000 years ago after they had observed other rat species which had used subterranean transport.

Secret tunnels[edit]

A full-scale working model railway, leading from Victoria Station to Highgrove, Prince Charles' house in Gloucestershire via Buckingham Palace and the House of Commons. This is to let the Prince and members of Government attend premieres, shows and pub quiz nights with minimal disruption. Rumour has it that Princess Camilla herself drives the train, liking nothing better than grabbing the "dead man's handle". The great tunnel collapse of 2010 may, however, have caused the end of these secret trips. The Daily Mail attempted to question Underground engineers about this in early 2011 but instead failed miserably.

Nuclear Activities[edit]

The Underground is mainly used by the government for testing nuclear and hydrogen bombs. Once detonated, the blast will sent a shockwave throughout the city, hence 2000's many earthquakes.