What your favourite tube line says about your general vibe
Spoiler: The Northern line isn’t the substitute for a personality
Whether you are in London or at home right now, I think we can all agree that one of the seven wonders of the world has to be the tube.
Since the lockdowns began, it has been sadly pushed into the background to make room for safer and cleaner ways of travelling. While this is probably the best way to go about it during a global pandemic, I must admit that I long for the days when drinking on the tube on the way to Ministry Tuesdays was not just tolerated but actively celebrated.
So if some of you, like me, are missing the thrills and non-treacherous hygiene of the Underground as it once was, allow me to introduce you to what your favourite tube line says about you:
Let’s start with every London student’s dearest companion, the Northern line. In first year, your halls were on the Northern. In second year, you shifted 10 minutes up the road to Camden on the Northern. In third year, you will probably still live on the Northern. Like this tube line, you are one for routine, stability and the existential dread that one day, you may not be able to go directly to Warren Street without changing.
A good, reliable Mum friend, like the commute to Waterloo station, that always makes sure blacked-out Becky gets home safely from a night out but will themselves end up on the Bank branch instead of Charing Cross daily. You are known and liked by a lot of people at uni, probably because you stand two inches away from them, breathing down the back of their necks on the way to Kentish Town because “I just can’t believe this is your stop too, isn’t it so rogue?”
If you don’t live above Tottenham Court Road, then you’ll be one of those indie kids who decides to live south of the river because you think that claiming it’s cheaper and cooler than the north will help you develop a personality. When you get bored of your 45 minute commute to lectures, however, you’ll end up back in Camden just like everyone else, and never leave.
District, Circle and Hammersmith & City
These three are completely inseparable, and no one can tell them apart. Like the popular girl cliques from secondary school, you effortlessly manage to dominate the coolest spots on campus while not having a single purpose without the presence of the other two.
However, just like the journey from South Kensington to Liverpool Street, you have secret chaotic energy that you whip out only at the perfect moments to remind everyone that you’re human after all. You caption your Instas with “lady in the streets…;)” and tend to believe you’re a lot more of an influencer than your 900 followers think you are. What nobody knows is that these are your favourite tube lines purely because you ended up falling asleep on the Circle line at 3am and riding it all night one time in first year.
You love saying that you live in ‘Central London’, when really what you mean is the edge of Acton or Stratford. No one really knows why you ended up living on or riding this line so religiously, other than to boast about the ease in which you can get to the City for your summer internship at JP Morgan.
Like the line, you are the physical embodiment of a migraine and only get girls when you tell them you play rugby and study econ. No one really likes you, but after your dutiful appearances at Loop every week without fail last year, you’ll end up knowing some randoms and thinking that you’re a massive BNOC for it. Sit down and go back to your middle-class family in Ealing, darling. We all know you’d never leave London in a million years anyway.
Bakerloo is the oldest, loudest and stuffiest line on the Underground. Some may say it is also the shittest, but I avidly disagree. When the lights aren’t giving you an epileptic fit and the driver isn’t throwing you to the other end of the carriage every time the train stops, the Bakerloo is a very decent place to be. Like you, it’s quirky, modest and with a heart of gold, and for all its flaws, it will always welcome you back with open arms.
You’re a bit pointless, a bit slow and probably forgotten about a lot because you’ve never said a single word on the seminar group chat. But like Marylebone, Baker Street and Warwick Avenue, you’re classy in a timeless way, and always look impeccable on Zoom. You probably study something like art history or French and philosophy. If you’re brave enough to venture out and live here while at uni, you might as well be an actual Londoner because you’re secretly cooler than everyone else.
If anyone’s ever changed to get on the Jubilee line at Waterloo and gone through that crazy trippy vortex tunnel, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that people who ride the Jubilee are the kind of people who take a really boring subject, like archaeology, but smoke so much weed that it becomes interesting.
No one really uses the Jubilee line other than to get to Canary Wharf and chat shit about the posh people who live there. And those poshos are literally hanging out with you to do ket and whilst calling you a crackhead to their friends. If only they knew that you were actually a really nice guy who just makes strange life choices.
This person never stops going a zillion miles an hour, whether it’s smashing a 3,000-word essay in one day or downing wine like it’s water. You were the life and soul of the party in first year when being on the committee of five societies and yet doing the bare minimum seemed to go hand in hand. Somehow, you always end up with a first, despite getting fomo literally every night and deciding you absolutely HAVE to go to the pub again.
Try complaining about the Victoria line, but there’s literally nothing you could say. It’s fast, simple and really handy when you need to make a dash for Victoria station (apart from the fact that it’s a trek and a half to get to the coaches, which you always, always forget).
So yes, the Victoria rider is erratic, to say the least, and probably lives on the Northern but likes travelling on this line to feel the buzz of getting from Euston to Warren Street in under 90 seconds. But they’re a lot of fun too, and never make you feel bad about being blackout five days in a row.
If your choice of tube line happens to be the world-renowned Piccadilly, there’s a massive chance that you are a nerd, but not even in the cute way. We get it, it goes to Heathrow – it’s like saying you were two applicants away from getting into Oxbridge, no one really cares. They were probably rich Eton graduates with millions in trust funds, just like you.
Probably takes history or PPE, thinks they’re the biggest thing since Jezza Bentham himself, and watches TED talks on the weekends. You either live on Gloucester Road in the family mansion for lockdown or up the line at Holloway with your flatmates, consistently telling people that the reason your apartment is so big is only that it’s further out and you get more for your money. Yes, you can get straight to Russell Square, which is debatably closer to UCL than Warren Street, but it doesn’t mean you know the secret formula to life itself. Please, just stop being such a suck-up.
This line is literally the greatest thing that could happen to Transport for London, and you cannot convince me otherwise. It’s cheap, gives you great views and goes EVERYWHERE. People who ride the Overground are so cool that non-Overground riders usually find them terrifying and stand six feet away even without social distancing in place. You’ll live somewhere really alternative like Peckham, Shoreditch or Hackney Wick (all of which are conveniently on Overground) and go to UAL, or do a degree with some form of *artistic license* involved.
Usually spotted with too much black eyeliner on and rolling a cig for when you get off the train at Hampstead Heath to do some nature-inspired sketching, you are well aware that the bucket hat and baggy jeans that you’re sporting are basically uniform at arts uni, but you’ve convinced yourself that they will be completely original in the outside world. The Overground knows it’s the best and doesn’t let you forget it, just like this dyed-blonde diva, who rides the trains all day ‘to people-watch’, for fun.
Who are you again? You’re the illusive student who literally never comes to lectures because you’ve taken a weekend trip to Paris or you’ve taken a break from London to visit your country home. This line is your bread and butter because it links you straight from your bougie flat in Paddington or Farringdon to campus.
You would never think to take the line any further than this because you think that London stops after Zone 1 and that a ride longer than 20 minutes warrants an Addison Lee you booked on Daddy’s company card.
The only reason to ever acknowledge the DLR, let alone prefer it to the others, is that it goes to ExCel, the exam centre that students used to go to back in the days before it was an emergency apocalypse hospital. And honestly, if you enjoy riding this line for that reason, then you’re the type who’s had a LinkedIn account since the age of 14 and lives, breathes and dies by your medicine degree. Will always be insanely dull, and thankfully will never try to hide it either
Waterloo and City
You literally just want to work in finance. Your whole personality is finance. You opted to live at home somewhere in the home counties for your second and third year so you could dedicate all your time to applying for vac schemes. You love to identify with random businessmen on the tube who you envision yourself looking like in 15 years time.
It’s a sad existence really. Get a life!