2016 Quiz: The Answers

As always it seems amazing how much effort some people put into the answers. What has also come across is our inability to assess the difficulty of questions. One or two that we thought would be really easy seem to have left a lot of people stumped. By way of contrast, others that we thought would be very challenging seem to have been answered without difficulty by many.

We will fairly briefly give the answers here but may well later expand on some of the answers in separate mini-articles.

Question 1

We stated that in 2016 two long-prepared timetables finally came into use in London.

We then asked: The coming to fruition of which project enabled this to happen?


We really thought this was easy as there are hardly any projects that came to fruition in 2016 and the obvious one is the Night Tube.

The question was intended as an easy starter question but this didn’t seem to be the case.

Some people managed to misinterpret the additional information about two-long prepared timetables. This was intended to provide easily verifiable information to reassure you that you had the correct answer. Both the current Jubilee [PDF] and Northern [PDF] line working timetables date from 6th September 2015 despite being recently introduced. Unfortunately, the TfL working timetables page is a bit misleading and give the date of originally intended introduction of the Jubilee line timetable and the actual date of introduction of the Northern line timetable.

Question 2

We asked why should the Duke of Burgundy be grateful to Network Rail for the East-West rail project?


No one appeared to be fooled by our spurious reference to the coat of arms and everyone appeared to realise that we were referring to a species of butterfly.

Any answer that recognises that Network Rail workers helped create a habitat for this rare butterfly would be accepted. A Network Rail press release gives the full story.

Question 3

We showed a picture of a shopfront that was clearly in South Molton Street (the road name was visible) and quite likely to be 1 South Molton Street. We asked what connection this had with railways. We did give a slight clue because we stated “Time for a hard question”.


Despite believing it to be a hard question, most people seemed to get the answer which was that it was the address of John Walker and Sons who supplied many clocks to the railways in times gone by. One was recently restored at Hassocks station and Southern Railway featured such a clock in a news item. Scroll to the bottom of the article to see the clock.

Question 4

We asked on which TfL service can you pay with Oystercard but not with any other form of contactless payment?


The answer we were looking for was Route 15 heritage buses.

Some people answered Emirates Air Line and we recognise we probably did not word the question carefully enough to make it clear that this was excluded as a possible answer. Although Pay-As-You-Go Oystercard is accepted for a journey on the cable car, you have to exchange it for a ticket (or boarding pass as they ostentatiously call it). So the cable car does not really accept Oystercard in the normally understood way Oystercard is used.

If possible we will establish whether contactless can be used to pay for a cable car journey. We rather suspect it can be.

Question 5

For this question we asked what the following had got in common?

  • The mandatory overrun section between the final stop light and the buffers at Bank station on the Waterloo & City line platforms
  • The crossover tunnel just north of Aldwych station used to enable trains to transfer from one running tunnel to the other at the terminus
  • The train heaters on the Victoria line


They don’t exist!

The buffer stops at Bank

Within the confined space at Bank station the overrun arrangements are decidedly non-standard for LU as the sidings beyond the end of the platforms disappeared a long time ago when the Waterloo & City line was in British Rail ownership. The initial (and only) red stop lights are almost immediately in front of the buffers.

Surprisingly, there never has been a crossover tunnel just north of Aldwych station although there was one just south of Holborn station.

Victoria line trains don’t have heaters because they are generally unnecessary and a big problem with the Victoria line is getting rid of the heat. They were decommissioned from the former 1967 stock and were not specified on the current 2009 stock.

Question 6

We showed a picture of an Underground station and asked you to name the station and identify its location.


The fact that we had to ask separately where it was should have been a strong clue that not is all that it seems. In fact it was Hayne Street station at Disneyland Paris which, perhaps surprisingly, most people who sent in answers managed to get. The station (complete with name) can been seen on this Twitter entry.

Question 7

We asked you to identify the location given by a directions sign which pointed to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

This question gave us a lot of amusement when reading the comments. Despite what we thought was a very strong clue in the question, almost amounting to the answer, it baffled many.

We suspect that a lot of people would have worked out that it ought to be somewhere in the vicinity of Parliament Square. In fact, if it was roughly equidistant between the two places and where it should be, one would expect to find it in Parliament Street (southern continuation of Whitehall).


Sign in the gentlemen’s toilet in the subway under Parliament Street

The sign is where people expect it to be – just not a street level. The sign can be found in the gentlemen’s public convenience in the subway of Westminster station. The convenience and subway are owned by City of Westminster council and are effectively part of Westminster station complex.

We apologise to ladies for this question. In our defence, we were originally going to have a picture of the sign in the ladies loo but sadly there isn’t one. At the time of the quiz the ladies’ loo was out of action and ladies were given the option of using the gentlemen’s loo so the location was not out of bounds. We will try redress the imbalance caused by gender-biased questions in next year’s quiz.

Question 8

We asked what National Rail station in London was probably the “least used” in 2016 if calculated on an individual monthly basis and in which month it was least used – as trains served the station in question for only two days that month.


Rare sight of a train at Birkbeck station in August – taken on August Bank Holiday

Most people seemed to realise the answer was probably Birkbeck as there has been a lot of publicity about no trains Mondays to Fridays at this station during the Southern Emergency Timetable in July and August. However, a lot of people seemed confused by the fact that we specified trains ran on only two days because, although there is no Sunday service, there should have been a service on Saturdays. In fact, during the first three weekends in August, there were engineering works. Some people even realised this and appeared to query the two days but they appear to have not grasped that trains ran normally on August Bank Holiday Monday. So the answer was Birkbeck and August.

Question 9

We showed a picture of a piece of amber and asked you to associate two Underground or underground stations with it.


There is often a question on Crossrail artefacts and this one appeared in a a Crossrail Quarterly Update. It was found at Canary Wharf and is on display at the Natural History Museum which is linked by a Victorian pedestrian subway to South Kensington station.

Question 10

We turned things around here and gave an answer of 17 miles 528 yards and asked you to come up with a question to which this is the answer.


This is the distance underground of the tunnels from Morden to East Finchley (note: not Golders Green) via Bank on the Northern line which was for many years the longest railway tunnel in the world. Anything reasonable that asks for the length involved and either identifies the tunnel involved or the fact that it is the longest continuous tunnel on the London Underground will be accepted as an answer.

Question 11

We asked where you would have to go in Rotherhithe to take a picture of the cutting edges of a tunnelling shield.


The only tunnelling shield with cutting edges used at Rotherhithe was the one used for the road tunnel. The entrances at either side of the river have an arch made from part of the cutting shield as can be seen in this twitter link. So either the entrance to Rotherhithe tunnel or the roundabout leading to the entrance.

Question 12

We asked who or what connected London and Greenwich and is immortalised in connecting SELCHP Energy Recovery Facility (by Bermondsey Diveunder) and Silwood Sidings?


Sometimes it pays to go for the obvious. It can also pay to look at the question starting with the last part of it. The road that links Silwood Sidings and the SELCHP facility is Landmann Way. Both properties are officially in this road. Colonel Landmann was the civil engineer who oversaw construction of the London and Greenwich Railway.

Question 13

The answer we were looking for here was all of the individual Overground franchises and concessions (including the occasionally forgotten Romford – Upminster), DLR and Tramlink. By our count this makes nine.


We appreciate that the Overground part of that answer is somewhat fuzzy, so as long as you correctly identified all the relevant constituent parts then you’ll get a point.

Question 14

We asked ­where you would find the permanent LO East London Line operations staff based located furthest from New Cross Gate?


As ngh has privately remarked, this is probably the closest we have ever got to providing the answer within the question. The preamble states

­ But a team member (or three) bridge the gap between Overground and other services elsewhere

The answer is Three Bridges in Sussex. More specifically, Three Bridges Regional Operations Centre from where train movements are controlled.

Question 15

The dreaded picture of a pram button and the question asking where it could be found and why someone might legitimately press it.


On a Stadler tram on the Croydon Tramlink network. You press it if you need extra time to alight.

Pram button on Stadler tram

There was a completely unintentional clue in the original quiz photo which was taken using a cheap camera phone that must have had an imperfect lens. Right at the top of the picture was a spurious horizontal line of light green. This probably actually came from the vertical grab bar on which the button is located. This clue may have suggested that it is either something to do with the District line or the green trams of Croydon.

Notice next to “pram” button.

This question turned out to be very difficult because there does not appear to be any online reference to this button.

Question 16

We asked ­what transport item might you relate to two contenders for the America’s Cup in the 19th Century, a pub at Rotherhithe and, very indirectly, to the musical “My Fair Lady”? For the opera buffs amongst you, a musical work by Handel can be substituted for the latter.


The answer we were looking for was Pullman carriages. Two contenders for the America’s Cup in 1866 were the yachts Mayflower and Galatea after which the Metropolitan Railway’s two Pullman carriages were named. The Mayflower is also the name of a pub in Rotherhithe located at the place where the Mayflower set sail to from Britain to America (calling at Plymouth on the way).

The indirect link to My Fair Lady was because Galatea is the name given to the statue created by Pygmalion and Pygmalion is the name of a play by George Bernard Shaw featuring Eliza Dolittle that was turned into the musical “My Fair Lady”. There is also the sort-of-operatic Acis and Galatea by Handel.

We said in the quiz introduction that there were no questions on Metropolitan Railway locomotives. We said nothing about carriages.

Question 17

We asked which were the first stations on the Underground to have Driver Only Operated trains.


The answer was given in an article The Last Stand Of The Old Guard? It was “the tea-run” between Acton Town and South Acton.

Question 18

This question referred to a passage from an autobiography. Crucially, in the preamble we mention that P is anxious for T’s wife to meet R. We ask readers to identify T and R. The passage was

Then I noticed J (P’s wife) talking to T who had characteristically turned up to the party self-propelled, or to be precise, in an experienced-looking station waggon loaded with his golf kit. ‘He’ll take us,’ J called to me, and I saw her helping to make room by swinging a suitcase off the back seat which was covered in not-very-new tufted nylon. T … sped through the formal checkpoints and manoeuvred nimbly through the string of black limos which had been slowed to the pace of dignified hippos. He rounded the awkward driveway … ‘Told you I’d do it for you,’ he said to me, tossing the keys at an amazed commissionaire, and so he had.


This question appears to have had almost everyone stumped yet we thought at least part of it would be easy for older readers.

Possibly, the trick to answer it is to concentrate on T’s wife. As we don’t yet know who she is we will call her Mrs T. The reference to the limousines suggests she is someone who moves in important circles yet she has a husband who is a golfing enthusiast and he clearly is not a person to stand on ceremony – and even appears to take a quite perverse delight in not doing so.

We would not have expected any long time Private Eye readers to have any problem in identifying T.

If you can get as far as identifying Mrs T as Mrs Thatcher then it is obvious that T is her husband, Denis.

This quite remarkable passage is taken from former BR chairman Peter Parker’s autobiography and he is obviously P. R is in fact railwayman Robert Reid that Peter Parker wanted as his successor. He was confident that if Mrs Thatcher met him she would consider him favourably and hope this would persuade her to have an insider rather than an outsider as the next BR chairman – it was no secret that an outsider was her preference at the time.

Question 19

There was some amusement here at LR Towers when a few people lightheartedly gloated that we’d used that Betjeman quote before. Of course we knew that we had. What those people failed to consider was that the illustrious poet may have described more than one station that way.

The answer here was Cannon Street – originally designed (in part) by J.W. Barry and still possessing two of the towers he designed. The capitalisation of ‘League’ was another clue – the station is built on the site of the London trading headquarters of the Hanseatic League.

Question 20

We asked was so important about the buffer stops at Ongar.


This has been mentioned on various occasions in the comments section of some articles. Somewhat bizzarely, this is the location from which all London Underground track is measured (in kilometres).

Question 21

We asked at which London terminal was there a platform 0 and at which terminal do trains get shown to be departing that station from platform A despite there not being a platform A.


Nearly everybody knew that King’s Cross has a platform 0. The platform A part of the question seemed to completely stump a lot of people.

Sign showing Waiting Area A

Not surprisingly, the answer is one of the lesser-used terminals. In fact trains are shown as departing from platform A at Marylebone. Boards around the station make clear that the departure screens are actually referring to waiting area A and trains shown as departing from “A” will, in reality, depart from one of platforms 4, 5 or 6 – all of which are quite a long walk from the ticket gates. There are times when the actual departure platform is not yet known but it is known that it will be one of these three platforms.

One entrant helpfully supplied this link for an explanation.

More recently “waiting area B” has been introduced at Marylebone. As this is on the paid side of the ticket gates and close to the gates, this appears to be in order to get passengers onto platform 1 or 2 before the incoming train arrives and alighting passengers prevent access to the departing train.

Notice at Marylebone

Written by Pedantic of Purley