The Tubes in July are a midsummer nightmare, but help is at hand…
Going underground may put you a few feet and 10°C closer to hell, but there is consolation to be found with that rarest and most treasured subterranean forces: air conditioning on the Tube. In the midst of the current heatwave, we turn to Twitter user and London transport guru Geoff Marshall, who’s produced this handy Tube map of all the air conditioned lines. (Check out the full map here)
Whilst it’s set to be hellishly warm above the ground, air conditioning might just be your saviour beneath. As Geoff’s map reveals, your best bet for keeping cool is to hop on the network’s Sub-Surface Lines (SSL) – the District, Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines. The only four Tube lines with air conditioning, they’ll keep you cool from Uxbridge to Upminster (although if you’re doing that commute every day, you’ve probably suffered enough already).
London Overground trains are fully air-conditioned, as are the Trams and City Thameslink (stretching the definition of a Tube map here, but we’ll roll with it). Meanwhile, TfL Rail from Heathrow to Paddington and Liverpool Street to Shenfield is fully air conditioned – and if you’re wondering why that particular purple line has a whacking great hole in the middle, the answer is Crossrail.
Conspicuous by their absence are the deep-tube lines, where the trains are smaller, older, and thus lack air conditioning. Step forward the Central, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Jubilee, Bakerloo, and Waterloo and City lines, whose absence blows a giant void in air conditioning in Zone 1. As anyone who’s ever spent a summer’s day on these lines can tell you, they’re sweltering, but relief is on the way.
The Piccadilly line’s fancy new trains will bring air conditioning by 2024, with the Bakerloo, Central, and Waterloo & City line to follow – although the Central Line isn’t slated to get sweet, chilly relief until 2030. With no current plans to upgrade the other three, you’ll want to avoid the Jubilee, Victoria or Northern lines (at least the Jubilee is the first to get 4G coverage, which might distract you from melting for a while). When in doubt, consult the map!
In fact, combine it with this map of the cheapest pints near everyone Underground station, and you’ve got the recipe for surviving summer.
Also published on Medium.