Take The Drain, The Misery Line, Then The Viking Line

By M@ Last edited 84 months ago
Take The Drain, The Misery Line, Then The Viking Line

Crossrail will be called the Elizabeth line after our city's most famous part-time resident. We're not convinced. Not because we despise all this monarchy worship, but because it's just a bit too clunky to catch on.

Instead, we propose that the rail route be known as The Purp, after its chosen colour. "Don't take the Piccadilly line," you'll say, "simply hop on The Purp and you'll be at Heathrow no time. All hail The Purp".

Now that we've definitively settled that, perhaps we can rebrand London's other lines? Below, we've suggested alternatives for all of the routes that appear on the tube map; some are established nicknames; others are sure to catch on soon.  

Bakerloo: The Bakerpoo line

Admit it. We've all been guilty of saying Bakerpoo out loud. That turdy brown colour on the tube map brings out the child in all of us. Even the seats are in grubby, feculent agreement.

Central: Roding Valley line

Let's rename this one to celebrate London's least used tube station, which enjoys just 712 passengers a day. Also, Roding Valley sounds a bit rude.

Circle: Spiral line

The Circle line was extended west onto Hammersmith & City tracks in 2009, purely (we reckon) to thwart all the Circle line pub crawls by adding yet more stops. Ever since, it's been mis-named. We propose the Spiral line, to reflect its continuation beyond Edgware Road. The name also leaves open the possibility of extending the spiral south from Hammersmith to Barnes, and then east to fill a particularly gappy part of the tube map between Wimbledon, Clapham Junction, Vauxhall and Elephant. See, you should make us mayor right now.

District: Libertine line

London's most promiscuous line shares its (track) bed with so many others. The District snuggles up to the Circle through 18 central London stations. It then elopes with the Hammersmith and City line for a further 11 stops, before finally going single after Barking. Out to the west, the green line has a long-term affair with the Piccadilly, bunking together between Ealing and South Ken. When the Piccadilly's not looking, dirty District indulges in brief flings with two Overground siblings.

DLR: David Lee Roth line

It supposedly stands for Docklands Light Railway, but we know the truth. Van Halen singer David Lee Roth is a noted fan of light railway infrastructure, and can often be seen at the front of a DLR train pretending to drive.

Emirates Air Line: The Dangleway

The much maligned cable car between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks has attracted plenty of nicknames. Blogger Diamond Geezer coined the most memorable sobriquet in May 2012, and The Dangleway is now common parlance — to such an extent that a web search for 'dangleway' brings up both the TfL and Emirates official webpages among the top results.

Hammersmith & City: Goddamnersmith and Shitty line

If you've ever had the misfortune to use it, you'll understand why.

Jubilee: The H2O line

The Jubilee is practically aquatic. It passes under the Thames more than any other line (four times). It connects Waterloo to Canada Water after passing beneath London Bridge. It was almost called the Fleet line, in reference to the buried river. It's the easiest way to get to the O2, which is one of the hydrolysis products of water. Finally, we were at Stanmore station the other day and it was absolutely pissing it down. Proof if proof be needed that the Jubilee is London's dampest line.

Metropolitan: Polite Matron line

Because everybody loves a good anagram.

Northern: Misery line

Old nicknames die hard. The Northern line was long famous for its signal failures and inevitable delays. Its black line colour didn't help lift the mood. Many passengers still refer to the route as the Misery line. That's more than a little unfair, as 2015 performance figures (PDF) show the Northern line as London's most punctual, with 99.3% of train kilometres run on time. That said, by other criteria, it remains far from perfect. And it's still a depressing black colour. The Misery line is here to stay.

Overground: Ginger line

Really, the tangled mess of Overground orange ought to be split up into separate lines. While it remains as one system, though, we prefer to call it the Ginger line — a moniker that's gaining traction like a thirsty pantograph. As a side note, one section already has a cute nickname: the GOBLIN is abbreviated from Gospel Oak to Barking line.

Piccadilly: The Hammercock line

In the same way that the Bakerloo is named after two stations it connects (Baker Street and Waterloo), how about doing the same for the Piccadilly, using Hammersmith and Cockfosters to make the Hammercock? Or perhaps weave the suffix of Ealing in there to make the Cocking line. Dare we invoke Arsenal and venture the Arsecock line? Basically, anything with cock in it.

TfL Rail: TOWIE Rail

The line out from Liverpool Street to Shenfield will soon become part of Crossrail (or the Elizabeth line, if you must). For now, we're stuck with the workaday title of TfL rail. Given that the penultimate stop is Brentwood, home of The Only Way Is Essex, there's really only one possible nickname.

Victoria: Viking line

The Victoria was almost called the Viking line, to reflect its connections with busy mainline stations Victoria and King's Cross. It also has some sort of historical resonance, given that Tottenham Hale tube is close to the River Lea — the agreed boundary between the lands of King Alfred and his Viking foes.

Waterloo & City: The Drain

An old nickname for the shortest underground line. The name comes either from the way it flushes commuters from Waterloo to the Square Mile without stopping in-between, or else because of leaky tunnels.  

Last Updated 11 April 2017