Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Future adventures

I have an excuse to go to London during the weekend of Saturday 6th / Sunday 7th February (my NFL team, the Denver Broncos, will be playing in Super Bowl 50, and I'll be watching it at the Hard Rock Cafe), so I'll probably be starting my Labyrinth challenge and trying to set a time for one (or more) of the smaller tube-travelling achievements.

Amongst them is the "Mouse Challenge". This is to visit all 33 London Underground stations that are on or between the two Central London branches of the Northern line between Camden Town and Kennington. Turn the tube map 90 degrees anti-clockwise and it looks a little like a mouse with its nose at Kennington and its tail at Camden Town. The 33 stations are: Angel, Bank, Barbican, Blackfriars, Borough, Camden Town, Cannon Street, Chancery Lane, Charing Cross, Covent Garden, Elephant & Castle, Embankment, Euston, Euston Square, Farringdon, Goodge Street, Holborn, Kennington, King's Cross St. Pancras, Lambeth North, Leicester Square, London Bridge, Mansion House, Moorgate, Mornington Crescent, Old Street, Russell Square, Southwark, St. Paul's, Temple, Tottenham Court Road, Warren Street & Waterloo. The current record is 1 hour, 26 minutes, 48 seconds. It should be a good test of my route-planning algorithm which tries to minimise the number of stations that you have to visit more than once. However, it does nothing to minimise the number of interchanges, so I want to see how efficient it is. In theory, my route is fast enough to break the record.

Another is the "All Lines Challenge". For this you must travel between at least two stations on all eleven London Underground lines. Where two or more lines share the same stretch of track you must travel on the trains of all the lines involved. For example, a trip between Euston Square and King's Cross St. Pancras only counts for the line your train is described as, it doesn't mean you have done the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan together. I'm interested in this one because the top time is so much better than the others. The top five times are (in minutes:seconds) 33:37, 37:14, 38:41, 39:46, 40:25. The top time is 20% faster than the fifth best and the difference between #1 and #2 is more than the difference between #2 and #5. I can't come up with a route that would break that record even in theory. I wonder if I've missed a crafty trick, so I'm going to give it a try. I may lay out my logic in a future post.

Tube Challenge forum
Tube Challenge League Tables

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