Architect Wants to Replace London Underground's Circle Line with a Travelator

By James O Malley on at

Replace the London Underground's Circle Line with a travelator. That's the answer one architect has given to the challenge posed by one think tank on how to improve daily life in the capital.

According to the Evening Standard Christian Coop from NBBJ architects was looking to get his firm in the press, so has proposed the ridiculous scheme.

The idea is that the trains would be done away with and the inside of the tunnels would be replaced with three lanes of conveyor belts going three speeds. You slowest runs next to the platforms, and the fastest on the outside - a bit like the lanes on a motorway. Apparently if the fast lane ran at 9mph and users walked at 3mph it would reduce the time to traverse the entire 17 mile line from an hour to... umm... 56 minutes. They also claim that it would enable 55,000 people to use the circle line at any one time.

Of course, the idea is wildly implausible for about fifty million reasons. Here's a few we can think off to start with:

1) What about the lines that share tracks with the circle line - would these also be replaced with travelators? Would people be able to move easily as tracks diverged?

2) What about the stations where the platform isn't always on the same side? Some stations have platforms on the left and right of the two tracks together, others have "island" platforms sat between. This means that the slow lane wouldn't always be the one nearest the platform, without extensive station remodelling.

3) Too many (literally) moving parts is a recipe disaster. How do you even maintain it?

4) What about passengers with mobility needs?

5) Imagine how fucking infuriating tourists would be on these.

6) ...Why?

Perhaps we should file this idea away with the 'parasitic' homeless shelters on the side of buildings. [Evening Standard]