There was a time when my preferred mode of transport around the capital was taxi, if not chauffeured car. Now, I take the Tube. This may have started as an austerity measure, but I’ve come to regard it as a boon.
The Tube lines are the veins and arteries of London, and here am I, a corpuscle being pumped along them, in common with untold numbers of other corpuscles, part of the lifeblood of this great city. Trains are quick, frequent and, if one stops in a tunnel, the driver tells you what’s happening. There are new carriages on the Victoria Line. What a piece of work it is.
But I generally travel at odd times. During the rush hour, one’s sense of solidarity with one’s fellow humanity can be strained. It was recently announced that more journeys are being made on London Transport than ever before: 3.4 billion of them a year, which, as the London Evening Standard pointed out, is one each for half the population of the planet-all of whom seemed to be going to St Pancras the other day.
Those of us who began as red corpuscles turned white. All right for me: I emerged into the glory of Barlow’s train shed with a day in Northamptonshire in prospect. At least the numbers show that London is alive.