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Transport / Mass transit

Here’s the longest you could get trapped in the train doors for on every London Underground line

Did you read CityMetric’s recent story of a man who got trapped in the doors of a Northern Line train for 15 stations and think, “Pah, what a pathetic loser, I bet I could get trapped in the doors of a tube train for way more stations than that!”? Then read on, for we have for some reason attempted to calculate the maximum number of stations it would be possible for on each line!

In order to work this out we’ve looked at the which side the doors open on the train at each station: at some stations, it can actually be either, as there are 2 or more possible platforms for the train to stop at. If at the start of a journey the doors open on the right, then open on the left for 14 stations until finally opening on the right again, that makes 15 stops of “stuckness”.

Disclaimer: DO NOT ACTUALLY TRY TO GET STUCK IN THE DOORS OF THE TUBE ON PURPOSE NO MATTER HOW MUCH ‘BANTER’ IT WOULD BE.

In order of length, by number of stops, here are the longest ‘stuck’ journeys we could find on each line.

Waterloo & City: 2 stops

This might seem somewhat ludicrous given the Waterloo & City Line only has two possible stops but if the train arrives on the ‘wrong’ platform at Bank (and you aren’t otherwise rescued, which is basically a running assumption here), you’d have to wait until it returned to Waterloo (the trains always end up on the opposite side they started from at Waterloo and go out of the station to turn around, otherwise you could do INFINITE WATERLOO & CITY LINE).

Bakerloo: 5 stops

Queen’s Park to Edgware Road, in either direction.

Victoria: 8 stops

Warren Street to Brixton makes seven, and assuming we’re correctly remembering how the trains work at Brixton, if you get the ‘right’ platform you’ll be stuck until it goes back up the line to Stockwell.

Hammersmith & City: 8 stops

Royal Oak to Hammersmith for seven and, again, if you get a platform where the doors are still shut on your side at Hammersmith you might have to wait until the train goes back to Goldhawk Road.

Central: 10 stops

Holborn to White City, IN THAT DIRECTION ONLY, you fools (due to Notting Hill being weird).

Metropolitan: 10 stops

Northwick Park to Uxbridge and then back out to Hillington, assuming you get the right platforms at Harrow-on-the-Hill and Uxbridge.

Circle: 12 stops

South Kensington to Aldgate (that direction only because who knows what is going at Mansion House???).

District: 13 stops

South Kensington to Whitechapel. (Assuming you get ‘right’ platform at Tower Hill)


Northern: 16 stops

This is basically the route of the unfortunate Samir – Bank to Edgware – only you have to get even more unfortunate and remain stuck at Edgware until you are returned to Burnt Oak).

But the winner is…

Piccadilly: 19 stops

Credit to Henry Dyer for working some of this out before us.

Anyway: Assuming that a) you’re on a train that stops at Turnham Green, b) you get the ‘right’ platforms at Acton Town and Uxbridge, you could get stuck at Earl’s Court and not get freed until the train reaches Uxbridge, then reverses back out to Hillingdon. Then, and only then, will you be crowned best at getting stuck in the doors of the tube, unless you’ve been arrested by the British Transport Police, e.g. because someone has seen it, said it and sorted it.

Will you unlock the cupboard now, Jonn?

Addendum: We’ve just realised that of course that some train doors don’t open either side at certain stations with short platforms. Whether or not this opens up an even longer trapped-in-door situation is left as an exercise for the reader. If you find one, you will win the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve wasted even more of your life than we have.

With much help from Clive’s Underground Line Guides, Carto.Metro and this effort by TfL Tech Forum user Briantist.
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