Underground, Overground. Text: Andrew Martin, photo: Tim Marshall. (5/5)

Bakerloo Line. © Tim Marshall 1992.

Andrew Martin writes:

There are the books full of Underground ghost stories. An invisible runner pounds along the platforms at Elephant & Castle; children scream in the basement of what used to be the surface building of Hyde Park Corner, and which became Pizza on the Park. (They continued to scream it was said, even while the Four Seasons and Margheritas were being rolled out.) William Terris, an actor murdered in 1897, manifests in Covent Garden station. The best one I know of was sent to me in a letter a few years ago. Late one night a Piccadilly Line driver was running his empty train into the depot at Northfields when he heard a knock on his cab’s connecting door into the carriage. He turned and opened the door, saw no one there but noticed that all the connecting doors of the carriage were open, as though someone had walked along the length of the train. The driver refused to continue, so another man was brought in to close the doors and take the train into the depot. Shortly after he started the train he heard a knock … and all the doors were open again.

The text is from Underground, Overground: a passenger’s history of the Tube, published by Profile Books (also available here). The photos are from Tim Marshall’s series When a Tube train stops.


Underground, Overground. Text: Andrew Martin, photo: Tim Marshall. (4/5)

Piccadilly line. © Tim Marshall 1992.

Andrew Martin writes:

After an inquest into an Underground suicide in 1921, the Westminster Coroner observed: ‘There was something about the roar and rush of the Tube train which was terribly fascinating to a person if he were alone on the platform.’ Alone-ness may be an important consideraton. Two hundred people try to kill themselves under Tube trains every year, of whom half are successful. The number has not risen commensurate with the great increase in Tube usage of recent years, and my friend Stuart, who works on the Underground, says this is ‘because people are embarrassed about doing it in front of a crowd.’ He added, hauntingly, ‘On a Sunday night back in the late Sixties, it was only you and the driver anywhere east of King’s Cross.’ In-house at the Underground, they are known as ‘one-unders’ or ‘jumpers’. But in her novel King Solomon’s Carpet, Barbara Vine writes: ‘Even those who cannot dive, who would not dream of diving into water, dive, not jump, in front of the oncoming train’. I cannot say whether this is true.

The text is from Underground, Overground: a passenger’s history of the Tube, published by Profile Books (also available here). The photos are from Tim Marshall’s series When a Tube train stops.


Underground, Overground. Text: Andrew Martin, photo: Tim Marshall. (3/5)

Piccadilly Line. © Tim Marshall 1991.

Andrew Martin writes:

All human life is on the Piccadilly; the line is too cluttered with stations, having originated from three railways serving the congested area of central London, and having then been extended. It’s unfortunate, therefore, that it should be the line that since 1977 has served Heathrow. When the British Airports Authority first proposed its Heathrow Express service from Paddington in 1988, london Transport responded with its own plan to run Tube trains express to the airport, partly using District Line tracks, which would have provided the fastest access by Underground. This ambitious and expensive proposal did not stop the Heathrow Express, which I refuse to use because of the television screen that blares at you the whole way. I stick with the Tube, and, being a north Londoner, any Heathrow flight I take is always preceded by – and often exceeded by – an hour and a half on the Piccadilly.

The text is from Underground, Overground: a passenger’s history of the Tube, published by Profile Books (also available here). The photos are from Tim Marshall’s series When a Tube train stops.


Underground, Overground. Text: Andrew Martin, photo: Tim Marshall. (2/5)

Piccadilly line. © Tim Marshall 1992.

Andrew Martin writes:

For Valentine’s Day, an editor once instructed me, ‘I want you to write about love on the Underground’, but I couldn’t dig up much. I read in Underground News that on 30 April 1986 at bank station a woman hit her eighty-year old husband with a handbag, which sent him tumbling down an escalator. Just before Christmas in 1989, an Underground labourer who had consumed ten pints of bitter had an unorthodox interaction with a cat on a Tube train. Then he fell into a stupor, and his first remark on being awakened by an appalled fellow passenger was, ‘What cat?’ He was later fined £500. For many years the dating agency Dateline placed posters throughout the Underground that showed a man and a woman crossing on adjoining escalators. ‘A hidden glance, a forgotten smile’ ran the copy. ‘Have you ever looked and wondered what might have been?’ That drove me mad, because if you’d forgotten the smile then you wouldn’t wonder what might have happened as a result of it. Even so, when the fashion designer Bella Freud (who launched one of her collections on a Tube train) said, ‘There’s a strange tension on the Tube, a moodiness, a sexiness’. I think she was right.

The text is from Underground, Overground: a passenger’s history of the Tube, published by Profile Books (also available here.) The photos are from Tim Marshall’s series When a Tube train stops.