Category Archives: Travels

Data mangling the Piccadilly Line

TfL have been nice enough to release a data set showing how busy trains are – the train loading.

They use a 6 point scale to measure the busy-ness:

Scale Definition Actual measure on train
1 Very quiet zero to all seats taken
2 Quiet 0 to 2 customer per m2
3 Fairly busy 2 to 3 customers per m2
4 Busy 3 to 4 customers per m2
5 Very busy 4 to 5 customers per m2
6 Exceptionally busy > 5 customers per m2

As I live in West London and work in Central London I’m interested in morning eastbound and evening westbound travel.

So, bad luck if you want to get on a train at South Ealing towards Acton Town between 0800 & 0830:

In the evening it’s very busy from central London westwards between 1745 & 1830, although once you get to Gloucester Road you stand more of a chance of getting on:

The numbers seem to suggest that the loading to Rayner’s Lane is the same as Heathrow destined trains; in my experience this isn’t borne out. The data gives a hint towards this in that Acton > Northfields trains are busier for the same time window, but I wonder whether the lower frequency of Uxbridge trains skews this a bit.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of your chances of getting on a train in the morning – I’d love to see this baked into Citymapper.



San Francisco

Spent a very pleasant couple of weeks out in the Bay Area, seeing friends, going to a Rope Dojo and then some trips out of the city. Some more pics up on flickr.

A few highlights:

The computer history museum in Mountain View is worth a half-a-day trip. Relatively accessible via CalTrain and then the Googler’s Shoreline Shuttle (just check the times the bus runs). It’s pretty huge and encompasses a wide range of stuff from punch cards, ancient storage, pong, Crays and the original rack Google ran from.


A trip up to the Marin Headlands is also worthwhile if you’re vaguely interested in military history, bunkers and the like. Especially great is the Nike Hercules missile site (check hours) complete with working missile lift, but sadly without the nuclear pits.

The California Academy of Sciences was ok – it certainly had very impressive biodomes and aquarium, but did feel a little short-changed given the cost of the ticket.

Amalanic alligator

For the more, ahem, alternative a trip around the SF Armory was fun and certainly impressive in places (pics slightly NSFW):

SF Armory (

The Fat Duck

I was 30 last week. Great. The good thing was that we got a last minute cancellation The Fat Duck in Bray and were there like a shot for dinner service on my birthday itself.

Everything was just perfect – the food utterly out of this world (and I think would have been even more amazing if I didn’t know quite a lot of the courses already), service impeccable, decor was muted yet somehow suited the mentalness of everything else.

I didn’t take pictures of every single course (most people did take cameras though) but I snapped a few. You can see other peoples’ up on Flickr.

Peak District

I spent the last week up in Derbyshire with some friends, although it mostly comprised an entire family clan. The weather was perfect for lots of walking and biking.

Stupidly I pushed myself too hard on one of the days and ended up with some eye trouble. Many hours in various hospitals later I was diagnosed with a Branch Retinal Venous Occlusion – essentially a small stroke leading to haemorrhaging – by the fantastic people at Sheffield Hallam’s eye casualty. This isn’t in any way normal for someone that isn’t crusty so I’m now being seen by Moorfields. Hopefully the haemorrhages will clear in the next couple of weeks and restore the vision in that eye.

RAF Welford

I passed a very well built sliproad on the M4 just before J13 today. What really caught my eye was the trusty enigmatic sign "Works Unit Only" albeit done in the military red pattern.

A quick check on Live Maps found me my sliproad – following it up the hill reveals RAF Welford, the largest munitions dump in Europe (apparently).

Cool :)


Map image