I was, briefly, in That London last week. The ostensible reason was so I could cross off seeing the Abba holograms. I was one of the few homosexuals in Britain who still hadn't seen it and they were threatening to make me a straight if I didn't hurry up. The actual, secret, main reason I was going to London was so I could visit
Crossrail the Elizabeth Line.
I have been following the Crossrail Project for literally decades. I remember seeing reports of it on Newsroom SouthEast, back when it was being proposed by British Rail (I may not be young). I've watched it slowly crawl through Government and TfL until a spade went in the ground. I visited an exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects all about the design of the station. I watched, enviously, as bloggers and Twitter users and people I actually know in real life travelled down to London and experienced the new shiny world of Crossrail.
I planned my route. I was staying in a hotel near Stratford International station, at the back of Westfield. A moment, by the way, to say that the area around there - the former Olympic village - is a completely desolate space. It reminds me of when I visited Canary Wharf back in the early 90s. It's a lot of tall buildings with very few people; impeccably manicured lawns and nobody to use them. Anyway, I decided I would do the patented Merseytart exploration of the line:
STRATFORD →→→ WHITECHAPEL
LIVERPOOL STREET →→→ FARRINGDON
TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD →→→ BOND STREET
PADDINGTON →→→ CANARY WHARF
That way I'd cover the core tunnels, plus I'd visit the huge Canary Wharf station. If I had time I'd jump back on the train and visit Woolwich, because I'd been there when it was just a big hole in the ground so it'd be good to compare and contrast, but the main part was visiting the central underground stations.
I sadly boarded the train. They're nice enough - not a very satisfying noise, I'll be honest - but they were clean and open. Passengers were taking them for granted. I was the only idiot looking at them.