London Transportation is an experience all itself. On our trip to London a few weeks ago, we were able to experience most of the different ways of getting around London. I think we mastered the London Underground (thanks to Deena), took a few taxi’s, the train, the buses and double-decker buses, a boat and rented a car.
The London Underground, also known as the Tube since 1890 due to the shape of the tunnels. It is a public metro system serving a large part of Greater London and parts of the county. The system serves 270 stations and has 402 kilometres or 250 miles of track. Only 45 per cent of the Underground is actually in tunnels. This network incorporates the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863 and the first line to operate underground electric traction trains. The City & South London Railway started in 1890 is now part of the Northern line. Over the year it has expanded many times and now carries over 1 billion passengers. The total number of passengers carried last year was 1,107 million. The total length of the London Underground network is 249 miles.
The phrase “Mind the gap” dates back to 1968. “Mind the gap” is an audible or visual warning phrase issued to rail passengers to take caution while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform.
King’s Cross Station is considered one of the main train stations to serve London. It’s also where Students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry take the scarlet steam engine named the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts from Platform 9¾. We tried but only got part way!
London’s famous red buses and double-decker buses are a quick and cheap way to travel around the city. London’s buses run throughout the night. Buses have been used on the streets of London since 1829.
My daughter and I had a lot of fun one night riding from one end of the city to the other. Changing bus and going one direction to the other. We sat on the top deck in the front most of the time and was able to get a feel for the city. Then back to the underground to get back to our hotel. She had the transportation thing figured out really fast.
Take a boat trip on the River Thames. It’s a fun way to take in many of London’s famous landmarks. We cruised from the London Eye to the London Tour. I recommend getting the London Pass. It not only includes transportation by buses, boats, and underground. It includes your entry fee to a lot of the places you’ll want to visit.
The semi’s are a lot smaller than ours. This is a Mercedes-Benz that we saw just getting ready to hook up his trailer and go. I feel spoiled. Maybe they don’t have to go as far as we do?
A hackney is a cab, black cab, hack or London taxi. Becoming a London taxi driver isn’t something you can achieve quickly. Not only do they have to know the laws and driving ability (which is a feat in itself), they have to pass the “All-London Knowledge Test”. They have to know all the points of interest along with the streets and quickest routes across London can take several years to master. Our cab driver said it took him seven years.
Not anyone can drive in the Greater London Area.
The London congestion charge is a fee charged on most motor vehicles operating within the Congestion Charge Zone in central London between 07:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday. It is not charged on weekends, public holidays. The charge, which was introduced on 17 February 2003, remains one of the largest congestion charge zones in the world. The charge is aimed to reduce congestion and to raise investment funds for London’s transport system.
We rented a car at the airport to drive to Stonehenge. That was intense enough. On the interstates we were told there isn’t a speed limit unless posted and you won’t be bothered until you go over 90 or 95 mph. Just stay to the left if your only going 70 or so!
London Transportation is definitely an experience I won’t soon forget.
The next couple of weeks I am going to be visiting England for Around the World Trivia.
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