A Victoria Line Of Places Not In London

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 57 months ago
A Victoria Line Of Places Not In London

Behold, a new version of the Victoria line that calls at similarly named places around the world instead of running from north-east London to south. It's our forerunner to the Hyperloop.

Some of these places just have similar etymological roots to us, but of course the reason we're able to pass through so many different parts of the world is because British colonialists took familiar names with them when they went out to build the Empire.

Here's a bit more about where you'll be visiting if you disembark at any of these stops.

Waltham, Minnesota, USA

We board the train in the northern US, in the small town of Waltham, Minnesota. We say 'town'. The last census registered a population of 151, it's less than half a square mile in size and looking on Google Street View there's a service station, a gun shop, a few houses and that's about it. It's overwhelmingly white. Despite Minnesota voting Clinton in the 2016 election, this here is Trump country (66% to 22%).

Black Horse, New Jersey, USA

Black Horse Lane. Image from Google Street View.

This train isn't going to pick up many more passengers in New Jersey. Technically Black Horse is an "unincorporated community" within North Brunswick township. We can't give you much more information than that, because Middlesex County's demographics widget isn't working at the time of writing. Useful. Google Street View reveals the area to be more or less a road with a few homes and workplaces dotted along it — the edge of suburbia.

There are existing train tracks that run alongside (between Jersey Avenue and Princeton Junction, near the prestigious university) but no stop.

Tottenham, Ontario, Canada

Photo by Peter Broster.

Tottenham is part of New Tecumseth, a town of about 30,000 people not far from Toronto. It seems like a middle class kind of place, with a fantastic park with a pond, beach and acres of wildlife.

Another huge draw for the area is the South Simcoe Railway, a restored 1920s steam train that does an hour round-trip through the summer and during holidays.

Seven Sisters, Norway

Photo by Danny Nicholson.

There's a long gap between stops now, as we head towards Norway and its stunning Geiranger fjord. The Seven Sisters waterfall is made up of seven separate streams, all tumbling over one particular cliff. There's not a whole lot else to do here, so take a photo and get back on board heading towards...

Finsbury, South Australia

OK, this one's a bit of a cheat. Finsbury is a part of Woodville North, itself a suburb of Adelaide. The name seems to be a remnant from an old railway line called the Finsbury line, used more for industrial purposes than passengers. If anyone knows of any more exciting Finsburies (sorry, Adelaide), let us know in the comments.

Highbury, New Zealand & Islington, Jamaica

Honestly, it's all like this in Highbury. Image from Google Street View.

You read a lot of Wikipedia when researching an article like this, and it's great for getting a sense of how people feel about their towns. This sentence from Highbury's entry seems to run a lot deeper: "There are many parks and reserves here which could almost suggest there are a lot of younger people here".

Highbury is a suburb of Palmerston North, a city of 86,000 people. There's a rugby museum and an art gallery, neither of which are in Highbury. It does look kind of sleepy.

Islington is a small part of Saint Mary, in Jamaica's north east corner. Around 3,000 people live here. It must be pretty quiet given searching turned up one news story from three years ago, of the violent murder of a woman by her partner; the article describes friends and family as "bemused".

Islington is also not too far from Ian Fleming International Airport, named for — we shit you not — the James Bond author.

King's Cross, Sydney, Australia-Sankt Pankraz, Italy

Photo of backstreet King's Cross by Adam Jones.

Please let people off the train first as we simultaneously pull into Sydney and South Tyrol.

King's Cross used to be known as either Sydney's entertainment hub or the place you were most likely to get mugged, depending on your point of view. However, since the government introduced stupid new laws around alcohol, many bars are closing down. Two King's Crosses, from red light district to luxury apartments and organic cafés. That's gentrification for you.

Sankt Pancraz. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Sankt Pancraz may be in Italy, but it leans heavily towards Austria. It nestles in the mountains of the Ulten Valley, and looking at photos, we suddenly want to go on holiday and/or eat a lot of chocolate.

Euston, Australia

Photo from Aussie Towns.

Euston is on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, and the main appeal is the scenic Murray River and its watersports. Euston also boasts what's reputed to be the southern hemisphere's largest windmill, at 9.1m in diameter.

Warren Street, Boston, USA

Image from Google Street View.

There are actually two other subway stations with the same name as our own, in New Jersey and this one in Boston. The T's Green Line is even more complicated than the Northern, with four different branches. Warren Street is on the 'B' branch going out to Boston College, and sits above ground. Looks more like a tram stop, really.

Oxford, New Zealand

Image from Google Street View.

There are many Oxfords in the world, but we're stopping in New Zealand's South Island. Its Wikipedia page makes a bold claim that the town's public toilets have won awards, but dodgily backs it up with a local authority toilet strategy that just mentions murals. Better citation needed, Oxford.

About 2,000 people live in Oxford to enjoy its farmers market, countryside delights and general villagey feel. It does look delightful.

Green Park, Delhi, India

Calling now at Green Park in South Delhi, a major shopping hub. There's a Green Park metro station here too, on the Yellow Line. There's also a park, albeit just outside the district's borders — the popular Deer Park, which contains historic tombs and the Hauz Khas tank/lake.

Victoria, Guyana

Satellite image of Victoria, taken from Google.

There are lots of places called Victoria (the creeping fingers of Empire and colonialism again), but our tube line passes through Victoria, Guyana. Freedom from slavery wasn't fully achieved in Guyana until the late 1830s, and Victoria was the first village to be bought by free Africans. 83 former slaves pooled their savings to buy the land for the equivalent of what was then £2,000.

Pimlico, Maryland USA

From Pimlico racecourse's Facebook page.

Pimlico is a suburb of Baltimore. It's not exactly The Wire, though median incomes in the neighbourhood are well below the US average.

According to the area's racecourse, the area was named after the same tavern that London's Pimlico is named after, by settlers who had fond memories of the place. This must have been some pub.

As for the racecourse itself, think more Wimbledon Dogs than Ascot. There are only a few race days a year; the rest of the time, the track broadcasts races from other tracks, making it more like a giant bookies'. Interestingly, though Pimlico is 90% black, most of the photos of race days on the racecourse's Facebook page show punters who are overwhelmingly white.

Vauxhall, Canada

Image from Google Street View.

Vauxhall in Alberta is known as the Potato Capital of the West, so we couldn't not connect our tube line to here. Vauxhall's 1,200 residents enjoy an outdoor swimming pool, library, three parks and a tennis court. Potatoes clearly pay well in Canada.

If you look at the district on the map, it's also one of those places in western North America where the borders are almost exactly square.

Stockwell, Indiana, USA

Stockwell Market. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Stockwell is a wee slip of a town in Tippecanoe County, mid-Indiana. It was originally called Lauramie, and used to be a railroad town, but the railroad is gone and now it's Stockwell.

Around 500 people live here and, though Google Street View has seen fit to visit only the major roads (that's how small the place is), it seems neat and tidy, with some lovely 19th century buildings.

Brixton, South Africa

The Sentech Tower. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

This is Brixton. This train terminates here.

This Brixton may be in Johannesburg, but wander round the streets and you'll get a sense of déjà vu — there are roads named after Fulham, Barnes, Isleworth, Acton, Chiswick, Kew, Hampton, Wimbledon and Putney. What were we saying earlier about colonialism?

Like its namesake it's a working class area, and like its namesake it's experiencing gentrification. Brixton is also the site of the Sentech Tower, a 237m tall television tower that dominates the landscape, and for nearly a decade was the tallest man-made structure in Africa.

See also

Last Updated 13 December 2016