The TfL World Cup brings a whole new meaning to March Madness.
Now, I support TfL’s decision to
distract from Crossrail bring some levity to the world with a little tournament-style bracket, asking Londoners to pick their favourite Tube lines in what was billed as the TfL World Cup. (It’s more Harry Beck than Harry Kane, in truth). However, there are a few issues with the tournament – including, crucially, which line won.
We’ll get to that in a second. First of all, shouldn’t a TfL World Cup tournament have been held last summer, when London could have thrummed to the tune of “Three lines on the map, Oyster card’s still gleaming” and we could have welcomed a triumphant District line home with a parade down the Mall? A missed opportunity in our book; although they may have waited to try and sidestep accusations of copying rail fanatic Geoff Marshall, who has held a similar tournament for the past couple of years. Still, onto the results.
The TfL World Cup witnessed some epic clashes, with Trams defeating Buses in a stirring non-Tube shootout. A stunning upset came early on, as the Central line took down the Jubilee in the opening round – despite the grey line having been named the nation’s favourite as recently as 2017. We witnessed underdogs come out on top, with the plucky Piccadilly line sending the Northern line south.
It all came down to two unlikely contenders. In the brown corner, we have the Bakerloo line, shaking off delays at Willesden Junction to defeat the Metropolitan, Piccadilly, and Central lines. In the wait-that’s-still-a-thing? corner, we have – somehow, impossibly – the Emirates Air Line, buoyed by a wave of underdog love to wins over the Circle line, Trams, and Hammersmith & City line.
So then, we’ve got a TfL World Cup grand final between an admittedly rickety but still lovable Tube line, versus an oft-forgotten vanity project way out east, used almost exclusively by tourists heading for the O2, and of next to no use to the average Londoner. Who do you think won?
You are of course correct: the Emirates Air Line triumphed, making it very much the Boaty McBoatface of this exercise. It proves, once and for all, that apathetic Londoners will vote for the unlikeliest option simply for the lols – or simply that our jaded nihilism has now reached a sobering peak. Anyway, we are now obliged to bow to our eternal champion (well, until TfL elects to run it again): the cable fable that is the Emirates Air Line. Long may it reign…
Whatever the votes say, there’s only one answer to the best Tube line – it is of course the vivacious Victoria line, and you can read why here.
Also published on Medium.