Tonight, on my way home from work, I was fortunate enough to be a witness to one of those small miracles of London living – the holy grail of the rush hour commute – an empty tube train on the Victoria line.
And this wasn’t at the end of the line – this was 5.45pm at Euston!
You could hear the gasp of awe and wonder as it slowed down. the previous tube had only been going as far as Seven Sisters, and there were ‘minor delays’, so a Walthamstow train hadn’t come along for about 10 minutes. we all knew how crowded the next Walthamstow tube was going to be. we’d all mentally squished ourselves, re-arranging our internal organs in order to take up the minimum space possible, eyeing up our ‘competition’ to the left and the right who may try to steal ‘our’ space in oblivion. But all hail Saint Lou, patron saint of the London Underground (OK, so it was Velvet Underground, but it’s close enough), this was a miracle befitting our daily pilgrimage…a glorious empty space, bereft of hot, tightly-packed sweaty bodies.
We actually smiled at each other as we got on and all gratefully lowered our weary posteriors into the lovely squashy red and blue upholstery. People were even speaking to each other…OK, so it was nothing more than “Oh wow, an empty train, that’s amazing!”, “Yes, who would have thought?”…but that’s beside the point. When we arrived at Highbury & Islington, we all grinned through the windows at the latest dumbstruck travellers, enjoying their looks of awe and glee. And then we got to Finsbury park, and about 600 people got on, and the spell was broken.
I will always remember that little oasis of calm after my hectic day