The Tube Strike: Everything You Need to Know to Survive Commuter Hell

By Gerald Lynch on at

After weeks of seesawing negotiations, Londoners will tonight have to brace themselves for a 48-hour tube strike, severely limiting the transport service that runs like veins beneath the capital's streets. It's a mess, but with a bit of forward planning, you should be able to get to where you need to be. Just don't expect to be on time.

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions will stage a walk-out from around 9pm tonight, with the disruptions expected to last until Friday morning. Then, if the unions' demands for a re-evaluation of planned station ticket office closures aren't met, we'll get to enjoy another walkout on February 11th.

Ian Mansfield of has put together this ace map of the disrupted tube line, which is definitely worth a look below. Click it to expand it:

However, like the rest of the information in this post, use it only as a guide -- strikes are fluid, changeable things. As negotiations continue, things could change for the better. Or the worse. Keep an eye on for the latest updates. Good luck!


The Tube Strike Disruptions

Central line
So much for being called the "Central" line, as most major central London destination stops will be out of action thanks to the strike. Trains will however run between Epping and Leystone around every 12 minutes, and between West Ruislip and White City every 15 minutes. But with wait times like that, you can expect it to be a real crush.

Jubilee line
Not too bad a service, with trains (between Stanmore and Finchley Road, and between Waterloo and Stratford) running every every five minutes. Trains will not be stopping at Bermondsey or Southwark however, making the southern stretch of the line a little crippled. The Jubilee line is already notoriously slow, so it probably won't feel much different for the most part.

Northern line
This is one of the more confusing strike services. Trains will be running right across the whole line except from Mill Hill East. However, a whole bunch of stations will be closed. Both the Bank and Charing Cross branches of the line will be skipping Borough, Chalk Farm, Clapham North, Clapham South, Colliers Wood, Embankment, Goodge Street, Hampstead, Highgate, Leicester Square, Mornington Crescent, Old Street, Oval, South Wimbledon, Tooting Bec, Tufnell Park and Warren Street. Still, at least the hell that is Tooting Bec through to Stockwell on the morning commute will be a little more lightly subscribed than usual.

Bakerloo line
Trains between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle will run every six minutes, but trains will not be stopping at Edgware Road, Embankment, Kilburn Park, Lambeth North, Maida Vale, Piccadilly Circus or Regent’s Park. Those looking to head to Regent's Park for the zoo, for instance, would be better served taking the Northern Line to Camden Town and walking through.

District line
Though rains will run between Upminster and Wimbledon every eight minutes, there's a massive wait of 20 minutes between every Ealing Broadway to High Street Kensington service. Even then, these trains will not stop at Aldgate East, Becontree, Blackfriars, Bromley-by-Bow, Dagenham East, Dagenham Heathway, East Ham, Elm Park, Gloucester Road, Hornchurch, Plaistow, Sloane Square, Stepney Green, Temple, Upminster Bridge, Upney or Upton Park. Anyone reliant upon the East End of this line will be in for a whale of a time.

Circle line
No service expected at all, but it's a bit of a useless line anyway. Most destinations can be served by District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines alternatives (though obviously check for disruptions on those lines too).

Hammersmith & City line
Trains will run between Hammersmith and Moorgate every ten minutes, not stopping at Barbican, Euston Square and Great Portland Street. Not too bad, really.

Metropolitan line
TfL will run trains between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Aldgate roughly every ten minutes. Trains will not stop at Barbican, Euston Square, Great Portland Street, Northwick Park and Preston Road.

Piccadilly line
If you're heading central, the Piccadilly line will be useless for the next two days. But trains will run between Acton Town and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3 every ten minutes, and between Arnos Grove and Cockfosters every ten minutes. These trains will not stop at Heathrow Terminal 4 or Southgate. Leave yourself plenty of time to catch a flight from Heathrow then, as you should anticipate lengthy delays (and a lengthy connection between Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and out-of-action Terminal 4).

Victoria line
Trains should run between Seven Sisters and Victoria every five minutes, but will not be stopping at Warren Street. That also leaves Brixton, Stockwell, Vauxhall and Pimlico in the south end out of action, along with Tottenham Hale, Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central without service at the northern end too.

Waterloo & City line
No service at all here, but considering it's a one-stop line, that's not too big a deal.

Normal service. Not surprising -- everyone knows the DLR is the king of the tube system.

Around 100 extra buses are being laid on, as well as the standard fleet. It's a good effort, but that's not going to cover all the disrupted routes in any significant way, so don't rely upon it. Still, it is the year of the bus -- here's the bus fleet's time to shine.

London Overground
Normal service. Shoreditch's hipsters will be delighted (in a totally nonchalant way).

Normal service to the arse end of nowhere.

Emirates Air Line
Normal service -- although it's not like anyone's using it anyway.

River services
TfL promises "enhanced" services will be on offer. Speedboats for all! What? No? Oh...

Image Credit: Big Ben and London Underground Sign from