Unexpected Ways That The Victoria Line Can Save You Minutes

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Image by Mark Walton1 in the Londonist Flickr pool.

We’ve often heard the Victoria Line dubbed as ‘the fastest way to cross’ London – at least in a north/south direction. On doing such a journey recently, we discovered that, if you’re super-anal about being a minute faster, then the Victoria Line really is your friend.

When it has a good service, trains are fast and can often be just seconds apart. We once exited a train at the ‘wrong’ end, and by the time we’d walked to the other end of the platform the train behind us had pulled in. The people on that train exited ahead of us.

So, coupled with TfL’s kindness in now releasing its Working Timetables online, and a smartphone App to tell you the ‘correct exit’ carriage to be in, we’ve found five trips using the Victoria that will save you minutes…

1. The easy ‘starter’ is anywhere the Victoria runs alongside the Piccadilly. If your journey starts at any Piccadilly station north of Finsbury Park and you’re heading into central London, change at Finsbury Park for a cross-platform interchange to the Victoria Line. If your destination is somewhere beyond Green Park on the Piccadilly Line, then you can get one train up (3 minutes) ahead of the Piccadilly train you were on by changing back at Green Park.

2. Use the Victoria Line instead of the Overground. Instead of taking an Overground train from Clapham Junction to Highbury & Islington, it’s five to ten minutes quicker to take a National Rail train from Clapham to Vauxhall, and then changing and speeding up the Victoria Line from there.

3. The same trick can be used (it’s just less obvious) with the Northern Line. Let’s say you’re going from Balham to Finchley Central and you get on the Northern Line. Don’t stay on the train all the way – no! Change at Stockwell (cross platform interchange) and whizz up the Victoria which is faster, change at Euston again (another cross platform interchange), and pick up the Northern again there. You should be two trains – 8 minutes faster – than if you’d stayed on the Northern Line. This tip can be used for any journey on the Northern Line for places south of Stockwell, and places north of Euston.

4. Here’s another case of when getting multiple trains is faster than staying on one train. Someone coming into Paddington from the west and heading for Victoria might look at the tube map and think “One train will do it, get the Circle Line”. If you’ve just missed one, however, Circle Line trains are every ten minutes, and it’s a slow anti-clockwise chug around the system. Quicker is to jump on Bakerloo line, head south and change at Oxford Circus to the Victoria Line and you’ll get there quicker.

5. And now for our most extreme example which you’ll think is strange – but try it, it works! You’re entering the tube at South Kensington and you want to go to King’s Cross. The most obvious and direct route is to take the Piccadilly – but it’s not the fastest way! Oh no, by the time you’ve fought through the crows of tourists down to the Piccadilly Line platforms, you can already be on a Circle or District Line train chugging east. Make sure you’re in the second carriage from the front, change at Victoria, 30 seconds down the escalators to the Victoria Line and speed up London’s fastest tube line to King’s Cross. You’ll get there on average two minutes faster than if you’d taken the Piccadilly – which, incidentally, is deeper at King’s Cross than the Victoria, meaning it’ll take you longer to get out of the station anyway.

Got any similar tips for beating the slow trains? Let us know below.

For apps that show you the best carriages to board for any interchange, try the author’s own Station Master, or Tube Exits, Tube Changer or First Off The Tube for Apple; or London Tube Assistant on Android.

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geoff

Article by Geoff Marshall | 25 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • http://www.thomasorger.co.uk Thomas Orger

    Don’t forget r.e. point 5 – if you are going to exit from the Victoria at King’s Cross St Pancras, always go for the Euston Road exit and never the Regent’s Canal (aka never ending corridor) exit! http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Ydo5sNzF1_0/SvFrKvmRbXI/AAAAAAAABIU/CyTlTMup7fM/s1600-h/kingscrosstickethall.jpg

    • Ian

      Yes – which means get on the last carriage when you board at Victoria to save the time of walking to the opposite end of the platform at KX

  • unslugged

    Love the photo from Mark Walton on this piece. Well spotted.

  • Brian Butterworth

    6 Unless you really want to be on Pentonville Road or fancy a long walk, ignore the “Exit” signs at King’s Cross, and follow the signs for the Circle.and exit when you see the barriers.

    http://stations.aeracode.org/#kxx

    7 If you want to travel from Highbury & Islington to Angel, change at Euston’s Cross platform interchange: make your head spin trying to work out how you end up going from travelling south to going north by seeming to go south…

    http://carto.metro.free.fr/cartes/metro-tram-london/

    • Jeremy Harris

      If you want to travel from Highbury & Islington to Angel, walk or get a bus. Either beats even this snappy interchange plan.

  • Randomly London

    Used to do the variation of number #5 when living in South Ken and commuting to Kentish Town (probably the only person doing it). Much faster to take District/Circle to Victoria then Victoria line to Euston then cross-platform to High Barnet branch than taking Piccadily to either Leicester Square or King’s Cross and changing to the Northern Line.

  • Sol

    as if anyone would be stupid enough to get the OG from CJ to Higbury

    • Andy Carlo

      I did as part of a “orbital” journey on a rainy day. Wasn’t very exciting.

      • amber

        I did the orbital journey too, because it’s there. and it was raining for me too.

        • Causton

          You guys need to stop making all these Overground journeys, you’re making it rain.

    • SnailPace

      I know someone who does this. Since it avoids zone1 & therefore over £1200 a year cheaper. Depends on financial circumstances.

  • Sol

    *highbury

  • Dibby

    Help,,,,,, any advice on how to get from Guildford, Surrey to the University of East London???? I know I’ll have to take the train but then what tube line will get me there ……

    • Fellow Guildfordian

      National Rail to Waterloo (via Woking is fastest)
      Jubilee line to Canning Town
      DLR to Cyprus

      • JohnnyFox

        or Waterloo and City to Bank and DLR all the way from there (change to a Beckton train at Canning Town, same platform) if you prefer above-ground and views.

  • Jay Mack

    Yes but with all this dashing about … there is no time to stand and stare. So you would miss things like that beautiful painting of Bethe Morisot by Manet.

  • Sarah Moore

    If you’ve got a seat heading into central London it’s worth a few extra minutes to keep it.

    Don’t forget if you’re changing at Green Park, don’t follow the corridor. Take the escalator up and down again.

  • Alistair Twiname

    getting out at blackhorse road, go to the carriage that is at the front of the ‘hump’ on the platform

  • Martyna Sroka

    Awesome article. I am like you implementing my own tricks to save some time :-)

  • The Orange One

    South Kensington to Oxford Circus is faster going via Victoria, and South Kensington to Regent’s Park used to be about the same via Piccadilly Circus as via Victoria and Oxford Circus due to the spiral staircase but now that’s closed Oxford Circus is faster.

    • http://londona729.blogspot.co.uk/ londona729

      They can’t have closed the spiral staircase between the Bakerloo & Piccadilly platforms!

  • The Orange One

    In fact, it’s often faster to go from Green Park to South Kensington by going to Victoria and along the District/Circle than taking the 5 stop Piccadilly – yes, I know it’s suppsoed to be only three, but the train usually ends up calling at Down Street and Brompton Road anyway.

  • Fanoula

    Connecting between victoria and bakerloo at Oxford Circus (zone 1) does not overcharge your Oyster ;)

  • Tee

    Victoria Line is speedy (new trains/systems) and hugely reliable (fully underground) and it goes through all the major station (transport hubs). I’m not surprised there’s an article about it.