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

jump to the end
There are 80 comments on this article
  1. NLW says:

    Thank you for posting this so promptly. The obvious question is why are two questions still ‘unsolutioned’ – have the answers received thrown doubt on the original answers? Happy New Year

  2. NLW,

    Not at all. I did not have any involvement with these two questions so don’t want to formally announce the answer without being sure. I will state that the general consensus for question 13 is that the number of services requiring a button to be pressed to alight is 10.

    Also, I am virtually certain that the answer to question 19 is Cannon Street but I was told this in the pub after a few drinks. I would not have got this but, apparently, the big clue is the reference to being well out of the League which is referring to the Hanseatic League who originally owned the station site.

  3. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Well, I think I did better than I expected. I managed to get correct answers to 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 17, 20 and 21. I also sort of knew the answer to 8 (both station and month) but was never 100% sure because I got kind of thrown off by the whole 2 days thing (which as you say confused a lot of people). As for the rest (besides 13) I either got the wrong answer or had no answer at all.

    Also, Happy New Year everyone!

  4. Anon E. Mouse says:

    I would also like to point out that I am ashamed at not getting the correct answers to the first two questions. In hindsight, I know I should have got them but I clearly overthought them way too much! (Of course, as they say, hindsight is 20:20…)

  5. Slugabed says:

    Also (Q10) at the buffer-stops at Ongar (or,to be more precise,the sand-drag at the buffer stop) were,and hopefully still are,the much-disputed colony of scorpions….

  6. Greg Tingey says:

    Sorry, deliberate cheating in the questions is not allowed!

    The Paris station is a fraud & I suspect Q 5 is fraudulent too.
    Come on, deliberate lying, rather than obfuscation isn’t on ….

    Re: “Mayflower & Galatea” – I got the yacht names & the pub … but
    The Original “Mayflower” sailed from, among other places, before reaching fake-Boston … Rotherhithe.

    Marylebone, surely?
    Could be CST as well, I suppose.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Surely the answer to question 13 is zero? The wording of “… MUST you press a button” (particularly with “MUST” capitalised) implies that there are certain times where “you” might be able to avoid pressing a button – for instance, if someone else is alighting at the same stop and presses the button before you. Or is that too pedantic even for the LR quiz?

  8. timbeau says:

    I got 2,3,4,6,8,10,11, 16, 17, 20, 21

    I submitted a “I don’t know: it could be X, Y or Z” for Q1 and it turns out it was X, so I don’t know whether I’ll get credit for that.

    Q5 I said had all been decommissioned without being used, which would not be inconsistent with them not existing (now), but I don’t know whether it’s true.

    Q7 – the picture in the question must have been modified as the background is different in the answer – it never occurred to me that the picture might have been an indoor location!

    Q9, 12-15 and 18 had me completely stumped

    So, depending on the answer to Q19, and whether my approximate answers to Qs 1and 5 are allowable, I think I’ve got between eleven and fourteen right.

  9. NLW says:

    My recent experience is that PAYG Oyster is simply presented at the entrance gates to the Aurline, exactly as normal. We did not queue separately at the pay booth to obtain any kind of boarding card.

  10. Purley Dweller says:

    I’m quite impressed by my performance. Looks like 10 or 11 right without q13. I’m annoyed with the tunnel length as I put it down as central line due to poor remembering of the Guinness Book of Records as a child and not bothering to check. I had spotted Mayflower but then got into a twist with Atalanta rather than thinking Pullman cars.

  11. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Well I didn’t make any real effort this year but it seems I only got 1 answer right (Q5) from my first couple of read throughs of the questions. None of it really “clicked” this year. Oh and the reference to public subways and toilets at Westminster being “effectively” part of Westminster tube stn brought back nightmares from my last job at LU.

  12. Malcolm says:

    Calm down Greg, nobody is “deliberately lying”. Questions may have been written with a certain amount of misdirection intended, but it has always been so. And the station in Paris may be “fraudulent” in some sense, but there is nothing fraudulent about the relevant quiz question, which asks readers to name and locate something which really exists.

  13. Malcolm says:

    On question 20, I suspect that although kilometrages are nominally measured from the Ongar buffer stops, a better definition would be some fixed point in Epping, with a fixed number (equal to the length of the former line to Ongar) added on. The point being that if the Epping-Ongar railway were to brave the scorpions and relocate the buffer stops (or, Ffestiniog-style, insert a spiral in their track), then the definitions of all points on LU would be most unlikely to be shifted accordingly.

  14. MR Ed says:

    Thank you for an entertaining quiz, and for putting us out of our misery so quickly!

    Is steam locomotive an acceptable answer for 16? My research found locomotives (none of them Metropolitan Railway) named Mayflower and Galatea (and Atalanta, which is another opera by Handel).

  15. Greg Tingey says:

    I thought “usual” crossword-puzzle rules applies, so to speak.
    I am seriously annoyed about the Paris answer, as a result.
    The “All in common, because they are figments” is, I suppose, amusing to a certain mentality …

  16. timbeau says:

    To clarify the kilometrage situation, at the points where lines meet, (e.g Mile End: 33,07) distances count up in one direction and down in the other on the intersecting line, so distances are not necessarily the distance from Ongar by the most direct route. The east end of Upminster depot is therefore 11,08 km, although a journey from Ongar via Mile End is 55km.
    Woodford Junction, being 10km from Mile End direct and 21km from Mile End via Hainault, is both 20.84 (main line) and 12.01 (branch).

    CULG explains the system better than I can.

    Ongar was the obvious choice as datum as it avoids negative numbers. Mile End would remain at 33,07 whatever happens to the buffers.

  17. Briantist says:

    Happy new year, all!

    Thanks for the quiz… I got only Q9, Q10, Q11, Q17 and Q20 this year.

    However, when I took this picture – – on Friday 21 October 2016 – I touched in and out (14:48 – 15:01) of the “Dingleway” with my Oyster nothing else, it’s clearly marked on my statement and my phone’s GPS history….

  18. Si says:

    One suspects that Question 1 stumped people not only with the ‘two timetables’, but that ‘Night Tube’ seemed to be far too easy for an LR Christmas Quiz. That certainly did me!

    I spend an hour or two after the questions came out, and got 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 20 and 21 (so nine) right, plus guessed that T was Dennis Thatcher, and had an inkling the pram button was on Tramlink – with a bit of effort, I’d have probably got them as well. I didn’t submit I felt I’d be able to spend another couple of hours with fresh eyes (the number red herrings on South Molton Street I went fetching…) later in the month, but in the end didn’t have the time.

    Platform A at Marylebone threw me as it is always referred to as a boarding area on signs that aren’t the ‘fixed’ electronic ones with the time|destination(s)|platform format used throughout NR (and I’ve not seen it on that for ages). It was obvious to me that’s what the answer was, but the pedant wanted to moan that it isn’t a platform, nor usually called one.

    6 was one that was easy enough once you realised it was a fake tube station, but if you didn’t spot that then it was a wild goose chase. Hopefully with the answer those who went snipe hunting can see the clues to it being in a theme park (and specifically Disney with the filename) and what they missed – I found them obvious but only after I’d twigged on to it being fake.

  19. Londoner in Scotland says:

    With respect to question 8, the Bakerloo station at Paddington was open for only two days in April 2016. It was shut from 2 April until 31 July for construction of an interchange passage to the Crossrail platforms and also escalator repairs. I assumed that the last trains after midnight on 1 April counted as the second day.

  20. John Bull says:

    The two missing answers were because I was stuck out in Northamptonshire and effectively internetless far longer than expected!

    I’ve added them in. To confirm:

    13) Nine was what I was after, but we’ll be reasonably generous with the marking as long as people have clearly grasped what we were after.

    19) Cannon Street.

  21. Mr Driver says:

    I think Question 14 could have another technically correct answer.

    East London Line control moved a couple years ago from New Cross Gate to Swiss Cottage, with one central Control for all London Overground lines (NLL, WLL, GOB, DC, West Anglia, ELL etc). However Three Bridges is still furthest away.

  22. ngh says:

    Question 1 could actually have another sensible legitimate answer:

    Chiltern’s much delayed (by public inquiry etc) Evergreen 3 project enabled the long prepared but delayed timetables for the 2 phases of project opening initially from Oxford Parkway (aka Peartree Park ‘n’ Ride) “for Kidlington London Oxford Airport” to London Marylebone and more recently on 11th December Oxford to London Marylebone services.

    Someone else’s photo on the LR Photo Pool of the first arrival of the second phase on 11th December:
    https:[email protected]/30727478374/in/pool-londonreconnections/

    You can see the butterfly habitat in Q2 if you look out the window at the right time in you journey too!

  23. I have added a couple of photos to the end of the article concerning Marylebone platform “A”.


    The crossover tunnel at Aldwych does not exist and never has done. It is not simply a case of being decommissioned for which I concede there is an arguable case for the other two.

    Greg Tingey,

    The “All in common, because they are figments” is, I suppose, amusing to a certain mentality …

    Absolutely. I really liked setting that question. In fact, I have wanted to put it in for years but was struggling to find three really good examples.

    Londoner In Scotland,

    But the Bakerloo line platforms don’t qualify as a National Rail station! In fact it doesn’t even qualify as a station as it is regarded as part of Paddington (Bakerloo, District and Circle lines) although, especially with the demise of ticket offices, to a passenger it might seem a bit arbitrary if it were one or two stations.


    Yes, but what two timetables would be introduced?

  24. DL says:

    The Emirates Air Line accepts Oyster PAYG at the ticket barriers – no need to queue up for a boarding pass in my experience. On the non-Thames Clippers river services you can buy tickets using your Oyster credit but not on tap in with them, that is the only case I am aware of.

  25. Purley Dweller says:

    You can tap in on Thames Clippers as well now. Contactless too on both.

  26. Purley Dweller says:

    Just reread the comment. Can you use Oyster credit on any other boats. I thought they just discounted the tickets if you had a travelcard.

  27. timbeau says:

    Oxford Parkway and its associated timetable opened in October 2015, not in 2016.

    Aldwych – ok, you’re right. There was/is a crossover tunnel but it was south of Holborn station. (and because the eastern platform was used at Holborn and the western one at Aldwych, it was in use right up until closure)

    Googling the Betjeman quote I found the reference to Holborn Viaduct – but what was the context of his Cannon Street reference? I was misled by the fact that Barry also designed the first river bridge at Blackfriars, or which only the piers now remain.

    Not sure if my answer to Q13 will be allowed, I listed the DLR, Tramlink and most Overground franchises. I though the 378s had driver-operated doors but apparently I’m wrong.

  28. Malcolm says:

    Indeed, the crossover between the two Aldwych lines has always been the only means of access to the westernmost of the two tracks, since that line ended in dead-end platforms at each end. And the crossover could be described as still in use, in a sense, if Wikipedia is correct in reporting that the train is still sitting there waiting for someone to make another film involving the London Underground.

  29. timbeau says:

    “that line ended in dead-end platforms at each end” – not quite, as one of them has a connection to the northbound main line north of Holborn station.

  30. Malcolm says:

    I wasn’t very clear. By “that line” I meant the westernmost track, which I had just mentioned.

    The connection to the northbound main line is from the easternmost Aldwych track.

  31. Littlejohn says:

    @Malcolm. ‘……. the crossover could be described as still in use…….’. Is it really a crossover? It seems that from 1917 the unused track was lifted from the eastern tunnel and the Holborn bay (the signals having been authorized for removal in 1912). So what was left is in effect a single track with a kink in the middle, where the crossover had been. Sources: Mr Wiki and The Aldwych Branch (Capital Transport 2009).

  32. Malcolm says:

    Littlejohn: Agreed it is only a crossover in a historical sense. Mysteriously, the said Mr Wiki has a picture, taken in 2011, of the eastern platform at Aldwych. There is some three-rail track alongside. However, I suspect this may be connected with the filmic use of the whole complex.

  33. Alex says:

    Just wanted to add this link to validate that Oyster PAYG (without need to swap for boarding pass) and Contactless both accepted on Cable Car. My personal experience is that both work just fine, as a person who often takes his bicycle across the water to work. (no extra charge for a bicycle btw!)

  34. Slugabed says:

    In about 1982 I walked the Aldwych Branch and can confirm that the situation is (was) exactly as described by Littlejohn.
    The Eastern platform at Aldwych was used for mock-ups of station refurbishments at the time,and was kitted out as Tottenham Court Road for part of its length.
    The tunnel North of this platform had track for a few yards,and was used as a dump for sleepers and building material for the rest of its length…a chain-link fence across the tunnel prevented access to the (then live) crossover tunnel which formed the kink in the live railway,where it crossed from the Eastern to the Western tunnel.

  35. Graham Feakins says:

    And here is a short clip of the Aldwych branch 1972 ‘resident’ stock arriving at Holborn being sent for its annual overhaul at Northfields depot on 7th December 2016:

    and (apparently returning a few days later) the other way at the Holborn junction onto the Aldwych branch:

  36. Taz says:

    @ Malcolm Note the unusual appearance of the track in the eastern Aldwych platform due to lack of the usual pit under the centre power rail. This is how the lines were first constructed, the pit being an after-thought in the light of experience. Access under tube trains was extremely restricted without it.

  37. timbeau says:


    It may no longer be a crossover as far as track layout is concerned, having been plain lined nearly a hundred years ago. But it is still a crossover tunnel. And CULG says it is 400m north of Aldwych station (and 200m from Holborn, but doesn’t specify what point on the platforms it is measured from)

  38. Twopenny Tube says:

    “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.”

    Aldwych has had a good run in the discussion on Q.5 thus far. The mention of “sidings” is intriguing What was there beyond the buffers shown in the photograph included with the answer? When and why was it (whatever “it” is) removed and does anything remain now?

  39. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Twopenny Tube,

    Long story. The Waterloo and City line was built without lifts to save money – ultimately a really false economy. So there was a steep incline to the platforms and sidings beyond that. One set of sidings had to go to make way for a new inclined entrance featuring the original Trav-O-lators. The other one got converted into a passageway through which you can normally walk through (but can’t at the moment, I suspect, due to Walbrook entrance works). You can’t reinstate the second siding because, from sometime in 2017, the route to the Walbrook entrance will sever it and you can’t reinstate the first siding without replacing the inclined moving walkway. And people wonder why I get so annoyed at suggestions to extend the Waterloo & City.

    When in BR ownership they just put in dead end buffer stops – a totally accepted practice on BR – which really did not take into account the consequences of a buffer stop collision in a such confined space.

  40. Zed says:

    A bit confused about Q13. I use the tram daily and I’ve always thought the doors opened automatically. I’ve certainly never pressed the buttons to open the doors. But maybe someone else is pressing it…

    As for Thames Clippers, previously you could only buy a ticket with Oyster credit at a ticket window, where a reader like the ones on the (ex-9H) and 15H buses was used, but this was replaced with Oyster readers at the pier that initially could not accept contactless – not sure if they do now

    Cable car – to my knowledge has accepted PAYG oyster at the barriers since opening, as that’s how I’ve always paid for it, but I’ve only taken it 4 times and none in 2016.

  41. timbeau says:

    The tram driver operates the doors, but according to Stephen Parascandolo’s website (may he rest in peace) tram stops are officially request stops, so the driver might not stop, let alone operate the doors, if no-one presses the button. (This, as I discovered the hard way, is also how trams work in The Hague)

    I would hope that the driver would stop at Wimbledon, New Addington, Elmers End and Beckenham Junction even if you forgot to press the button.

  42. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Technically all tram stops are request stops. Presumably that cannot apply to termini but I suppose the driver might not release doors if no-one requested it and no-one is on the platform.

    I have only known trams not to stop at stops when it has been preceded by a warning that all tram stops are request stops. And even then I have only known it happen on very late departures from Elmers End.

    I am not 100% certain what happens about actually opening the doors but have always presumed they are passenger opened.

    This does raise the point that there is some logic to all this. If there is only one exit door (as in a bus) and a request has been made to stop then the driver knows which door to open because there is only one (normally). If you have a long train then you don’t really want all the doors when just some (or maybe even none) of the doors will be used. The exception to this is the Underground where dwell time is so critical in the central sections that it is better just to have a simple rule that the door will be opened and closed by the driver.

  43. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @timbeau: (This, as I discovered the hard way, is also how trams work in The Hague)

    I haven’t ever seen them work in any other way!

  44. Robert of Addington says:

    Regular Croydon tram user here – my experience is that the driver stops at every stop. Depending on stop/busyness/weather (s)he may open all the doors or simply release all the doors. In the latter case, the user must push the button on the door to complete the process. Thus if nobody wants to board or alight there is no door closing process for the driver to follow before departing – (s)he withdraws the release on the still-closed doors, gets an indication on the dashboard – and an audible ping – that all doors are shut OK, and can drive off.

    Different drivers have different preferences for opening at quiet stops, as far as I can tell.

  45. DL says:

    Thames Clippers have Oyster readers at the pier that you can tap in and tap out on – but with some other river tour companies (Thames River Services and Circular Cruise Westminster River Tours) you can use your Oyster credit to buy paper tickets.

  46. cryptus says:

    The answer for Q4 appears to be incomplete; according to TfL’s Conditions of Carriage, bus routes 402 & 477 also fall into this category (see section 6.8.1 and note A3 at Not it matters for me personally as I didn’t submit my answers in the end, having answered a measly 7 1/2 questions (Qs 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 20 & 21, getting even one of those wrong!)

  47. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I had been led to believe that Oystercard was no longer accepted on routes 402 and 477. Note A3 does say
    This information may be changed at any time

    Then again the conditions of carriage are dated 12 September 2016 and I thought it had been withdrawn before that date.

    I may be wrong so am happy to accept these as valid answers even though strictly speaking I believe that these are not strictly TfL services as such but services on which TfL-style payment can be made.

  48. Man of Kent says:

    Arriva no longer accept Oyster at least on 477. Since March 2016, they offer a £1.50 cash single instead – see 477 entry in this leaflet It is unlikely 402 is any different.
    I’m unclear how it was accepted before, since the ticket machines were unable to read an Oystercard, only ITSO cards. For clarification, neither is it possible to use a contactless bank card.

  49. Timbeau says:


    I seem to recall Surrey buses straying into Kingston used to give a discounted fare if you showed an Oyster card. Now they just charge a cash fare equivalent to the Oyster fare whether you have one or not.

  50. Whiff says:

    Thanks for another thoroughly entertaining and educational quiz, even if my score of 1.5 was my lowest to date.

  51. Sam F says:

    @Si ahh the filename for Question 6 is “youwish.jpg”, which I had interpreted as “I bet you wish there was a clue here”, but of course it could mean “when you wish upon a star”. I suppose that’s too much of a co-incidence.

  52. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Sam F,

    One of my earliest happy memories was my father taking me to see the Disney film Pinnochio at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. So I immediately associated Disney with that song. The fact that the two word phrase had a double meaning was a complete bonus.

    The biggest mystery to me over the past 48 hours (and it has been driving me mad) is why on earth I gave the picture to Question 7 the name of “fields”. It seems that even if you set the question it can still consume your attention and frustrate you.

    Fortunately for my sanity, I have either remembered or worked out afresh what the connections was. “Fields” as in WC Fields. Geddit?

    I hope to sort out the winners this weekend, visitors permitting.

  53. Timbeau says:

    I assumed “fields” and the reference to “gentlemen” had a lavatorial association, but still failed to get the answer!

  54. Muzer says:

    Excellent quiz! There were some that I’m kicking myself I didn’t get, and some that I’m thinking, “fair enough, I didn’t know that”.

    What was the clue about Cannon Street being thought to be terminal? I was thinking that this had to mean that it was a terminus that is now a through station, which meant it basically had to be St. Pancras. I guess you could argue though that thanks to the District Line this is technically true for Cannon Street since the District Line platforms are through…

    Sorry if this is mentioned elsewhere, but did anyone get them all right?

  55. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Preliminary examination of answers suggests no-one got them all correct though two or three got very close. For each question set, I am pleased to say there appeared to be at least two people who got the correct answer which suggests the questions were pitched at about the right level with a mix of easier and very difficult. Just trying to get a free evening when I am not exhausted to provide a definitive set of winners.

  56. timbeau says:

    “was a terminus that is now a through station, which meant it basically had to be St. Pancras”
    Or Blackfriars, Holborn Viaduct/City Thameslink or London Bridge, or Farringdon, or ………..
    CSt may have been “thought to be terminal” in the sense that there may have been plans to demolish it at some time?

  57. Anon E. Mouse says:


    CSt may have been “thought to be terminal” in the sense that there may have been plans to demolish it at some time?

    A quick wiki search has dug this up:

    “On 15 February 1984 it was reported in The Times that Cannon Street would close. At the time, the station had been closed for weekends and evenings, and the publication of British Rail’s new timetable for 1984–1985 revealed that it would lose all its direct off-peak services to the south-east. … This was denied by British Rail which pointed out that it had invested £10 million in re-decking the railway bridge, and that passengers traveling from the south-east during off-peak hours would most likely be visiting the West End and not the City.”

  58. timbeau says:

    That Times story of plans to close a London terminus were spot on, except in one important detail – exactly a month later, BR announced that a London terminus would indeed be closing.

    Line closures were very much in the air at the time – exactly two months previously, BR had announced that the Settle & Carlisle line would be closing.

    What became of that?

  59. JohnM says:

    With reference to Q5,

    The Victoria Line 09TS has Cab Heaters but no Saloon Heaters – do these count as train Heaters or not ?

  60. Malcolm says:

    “Train Heaters” would normally be taken to mean saloon heaters. In an ideal world, if the quiz were to be re-run, it might be reworded. But everyone’s memory would have to be erased.

    The wording would only affect the result if someone had found a different attribute that the three things have in common.

    Such as “They all appear in Question 5 of the LR 2016 Christmas Quiz”.

  61. Man of Kent says:

    @AEM, @timbeau
    Cannon Street’s off peak service from May 1984 was a shuttle every 15 minutes from London Bridge, until at least October 1989 (after which I don’t have any timetables to hand to check).

  62. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I did wonder about whether the 09 stock had cab heaters – or rather a cab heater (singular) in each of the two cabs. I thought it was fairly clear for the purposes of the question.

    One of the problems is to keep the questions short and comprehensible clear without losing clarity as to exactly what was meant. The original set of questions that I wrote were much more long winded but they were edited down, probably correctly in most cases, to remove the verbosity though I did have to change a couple of them again because the meaning had subtly changed (“come to fruition” and “completion” are not quite the same things and I really needed to spell out the description at Bank buffer stops). One of the lessons learnt to me was how really tight the wording had to be on the question involving platform A as with the original wording there were loads of interpretations I hadn’t considered.

  63. JohnM says:

    Pedantic of Purley (11 January 2017 at 10:00)

    One reason the Victoria Line had it’s heaters removed ( they were fitted on 67TS until refurbished) was that all the stabling locations except one are under cover so snow / ice is not a problem.

    They also ran on the Hainault-Woodford shuttle for several years so needed heating there – from what I remember they were not very efficent and frequently did not work.

    A question for the next quiz perhaps is where is the only stabling location on the Victoria Line that is not under cover ?

  64. Greg Tingey says:

    Strictly speaking … there isn’t any.
    Not according to aerial views & my copy of “Quail” at any rate ….

  65. Graham H says:

    @Greg T – the Victoria WTT 40 (the current one) shows the entire service being run from under cover locations at Walthamstow, Brixton, Victoria and NP. The only exception would appear to be the Seven Sisters to NP staff trains which seem to stable at Pfm 4 at Seven Sisters – is that under cover? If so, then there is no train set scheduled to stable in the open.

  66. Greg Tingey says:

    All Vic-line platforms @ 7-Sis are in deep tube
    Carto Metro visual here

  67. Graham H says:

    Thought so !

  68. ngh says:

    2 possibilities:
    a) carriage wash siding (most easterly @NP)
    b) probably one of the approach roads to NP can be used to stable a unit (some previous LR discussion relating to bi-directional line signalling from Depot to 7Sisters)

  69. Graham H says:

    @ngh – A couple of WTT40 footnotes appear to be the only reference to sets not entering the depot via roads 52 and 53 (no ref to stock stabling /starting on 52/53); perhaps these are the explanation:

    z -to depot via carriage washer

    CS- Trains stable/start from Northumberland Park
    Depot Cleaning Shed (Siding Nos. 54-57)

  70. Graham Feakins says:

    The open air siding – the wash siding, can be seen here, complete with train at its terminating end at Northumberland Park:

  71. Graham H says:

    @Graham F -terminating ? Or just having completed a run through the washer?

  72. 100andthirty says:

    67 Tube Stock had their heaters disconnected long before refurbishment when they were removed. They were NBG – suffered water ingress causing flashover. As they were connected to the 600V supply, that was rather nasty. By the time this was done it had been realised that they weren’t needed.

    Other underground metros run without heaters too – eg Montreal – which has “real” winters. With apartments over suburban metro stations, and offices over downtown stations, Montreal customers sometimes don’t even put on an overcoat in winter to go to work. Montreal metro generates more heat than the Victoria line; it’s more hilly and had rubber tyres. It can get a little warm in summer.

  73. Graham Feakins says:

    @Graham H – The end that terminates at the buffers.

  74. Graham H says:

    @Graham F – sorry, I wasn’t very clear – what I meant was that viewed from above in a still, you can’t tell whether the train has merely run through the washer to be washed into the runout beyond, and then will reverse back out to stable elsewhere in the depot, or whether it will stay there to stable (although that would block the washer).

  75. Graham H says:

    …even odder, I can’t find in WTT40 any actual example of a train to which “z” applies – perhaps the staff shuttles use the washer road to reverse?

  76. Putters says:

    Graham H – Not sure if it answers your question, but each train that is timetabled as a staff train goes through the train wash to reach the staff platform. You can just see the platform in the picture – it is only one car long and stops only just short of where the train’s shadow starts. Not sure if it is a contender for the shortest-platform-with-a-timetabled-service-and-not-just-for-drivers-use-only-say on the Underground?

    If I recall correctly – there are enough staff train timetable moves to cycle the fleet through the wash without needing specific “train washing” shunting moves within the depot.

  77. Putters says:

    Need to add to the above – spotted the other non covered siding (19 road) hiding in the shadows in the piccy on the link, the other side of the main sheds from the train wash. Apparently it also has staff platforms – though I don’t ever recall going in that way.

  78. Greg Tingey says:

    That’s funny, as I thought the staff halt was HERE
    Which may also answer the original question.
    They won’t stable a set in the washer-road overnight as it’s much too close to the main road & be graffiti-vulnerable.
    But the other road, which appears to be just outside the shed, next to the maintenance shop is well inside the depot & for an outsider to reach it they would also have to cross the main WAML route …

  79. Graham H says:

    @GregT/Putters – the page in WTT40 dealing with the movement of staff trains shows one train a day – 2105- starting from what it describes as the “Old Staff Platform” on road 19. I can’t see whether this train has been stabled there (it would be an odd time to be bringing a set back into service)

  80. NLW says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the analysis of answers to the quiz.

Leave a Comment

In order to make LR a pleasant place for discussion, please try to keep comments polite and, importantly, on topic! Comments that we feel do not meet these criteria, or that contain language that could cause some people trouble at work, may be moderated or deleted.

acceptable tags

* (This won't be shown, but you can link it to an avatar if you like)

Recent Articles

In Pictures: The Northern Line TBMs Arrive


TfL have released a number of images showing the Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) for the Northern Line Extension. These were lifted into place at Ferrovial Agroman Laing O’Rourke’s TBM portal at Battersea earlier this month. The images highlight that whilst

Read more ›