‘I imagined hell as a burning pit with monsters until I got onto the Northern Line in a heatwave’

·4-min read
‘I imagined hell as a burning pit with monsters until I got onto the Northern Line in a heatwave’
‘I imagined hell as a burning pit with monsters until I got onto the Northern Line in a heatwave’

When I was younger, I always envisioned my idea of hell to be a burning pit of fire, riddled with monsters and demons who torture you with pitch forks and daggers at any given minute.

But this is wrong, my new vision of hell, is commuting on the Northern Line during a heatwave.

Nobody looks forward to commuting on the London Underground every day, especially when the UK is facing one of the longest and hottest heatwaves recorded.

Of course, the Tube is a ‘must-do’ if you’re visiting the Big Smoke for the day, or perhaps a weekend, and it’s such an easy-fix to get from one side of the City of London to the other.

READ MORE: Hour-by-hour forecast for London amid Met Office extreme heat warning

But despite it being “one of the world’s most reliable and innovate metro systems”, it is also one of the world’s most unbearable, sweaty-sickish, scorching forms of transport out there – at least in my opinion.

If you’re wondering why the London Underground is so hot – especially as you’re dripping with sweat on your summer commute – according to CityMetric, 89 per cent of heat on the tube comes from the tube itself, with things like friction from breaking and being dozens of metres below the surface.

News Shopper: London Underground
News Shopper: London Underground

London Underground

Famed for its sweltering heat and lack of air-conditioning in the summer months, London Underground can be a rough, uncomfortable place to be in the hot temperatures.

Nevertheless - the grind does not stop - and us Londoners have to get to work one way or another, so we grin and bear the sweltering journey five days a week.

Now, usually, I try to avoid the underground in the summer, and get to my working destination either by bus or train, but today I decided to face my fears and hop back on the national transport treasure.

My destination route started at Tooting Bec and ended at Holborn – which meant 11 stops on the Northern Line, change at Leicester Square, and then two stops on the Piccadilly line – 37 minutes total commuting time, according to the TFL website.

However, after missing the first tube at Tooting Bec due to the overflow of people, and accidentally going three stops on the Piccadilly Line rather than two (I was distracted by a gentlemen who was playing a type of zombie-war game on his portable PC, AKA a Steam Deck, it took me a grand total of 45 minutes.

News Shopper: A busy Holborn station
News Shopper: A busy Holborn station

A busy Holborn station

 

“Here we go”, I thought to myself, as I boarded the restless, stuffy Northern Line.

I managed to bag myself a seat, which I thought was extremely rare since it was 8.09am and four stops away from its beginning stop, but I wasn’t complaining.

“Maybe this journey won’t be as bad as I think” I quietly said to myself, but I soon realised that was a very silly, naïve thought.

We get to Clapham South and that’s when things became unbearable.

The Tube lacked ventilation, chewing gum was stuck to the bottom of seats, and floods of people were swarming on top of one another, and of course, myself and other tube go-errs began to sweat.

I was counting down the seconds left on this overcrowded tube – “5 more stops, 4, 3, 2…” I repeated in my brain, and I hopped off at my final stop, Leicester Square, quicker than a rabbit jumping for a carrot.

Next, the Piccadilly Line, this three stop journey – meant to be two – was bliss compared to the Northern Line.

I didn’t manage to get a seat but standing right next to the open window was way better, and if my entire journey was as smooth as this, I wouldn’t have a bad word to say.

By the time I arrived at Holborn it was 8.54am, and I was glad to see the back end of the underground, as I felt the slight breeze of the summers air as I approached the escalators.

On my 4-minute stroll to the office, I thought back to the tedious yet essential journey, and have prepared five top tips for those needing to travel on the London Underground, during an abominable UK heatwave:

1. Always bring a cold bottle of water (to drink or even to place on your forehead)

2. A hand-fan would be a handy and essential tool to take with you

3. Do not overthink about the temperature – it’ll only make the journey seem longer 4. Eat before you travel – this helps to avoid travel/heat sickness

5. Wear appropriate clothing!

Also, note to self, do not wear a dress that clings to sweat… Stay safe if you are travelling on the London Underground this summer.

Have you got a story for us? You can contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletters to get updates sent straight to your inbox.