London-Barcelona metro unexpected differences

There are many webpages talking about the London Underground. The oldest in the world, very iconical, unused stations, etc.

Here I just want to compare a few things between the London Underground and Barcelona metro.

One of the subtle differences is the escalator speed. Yes, the escalators in the London Underground are noticeably faster than the Barcelona ones. One effect is that now when I’m in Barcelona and I use an escalator I lose my balance because I expect it to be faster. I didn’t notice this when I moved to London.

Another different thing is the train frequency. In London it is much higher than in Barcelona. When I’m in Barcelona if I go to the metro and I see “6 minutes” the first thing that I think is “ohhhhhh noooooo!”. In London, in zone 1 or 2 it’s quite unusual to wait for more than 5 minutes, usually it’s 2 or 3 minutes. More than 5 minutes usually indicates that a problem has occurred (this is only usual further away from the centre).

And the last thing that I wanted to mention here is the distance between stations. In London, outside zone 1, the distance between stations is much bigger than in Barcelona. In Zone 1 the stations are ridiculously close but in zone 3 or zone 4 some stations are quite far away. One consequence is that walking between stations might take too long. Another one and with bigger impact: when there is a lot of distance trains must leave a station before the train ahead arrives at the next station. If the train ahead has a problem (a broken door, someone stuck on the door, someone needs help because feeling unwell, etc.) the train behind must wait until the issue is resolved… and the train behind must wait in the tunnel which is quite stressful.

In Barcelona because the stations are closer and the trains don’t run so frequently the trains usually don’t leave if they can’t make it to the next station, or at least this is what I’ve observed in Barcelona in the zones that I use.

If you like this topic you might this other external blog post. Since living in London I’ve also noticed quite a few things from that blogpost.

1 comment to London-Barcelona metro unexpected differences

  • Great Pictures! I am just wondering though. Are we going to have to come down there and tickle that boy to make him smile? I mean, he has that beautiful girl on his arm and rarely is he even giving us a little grin let alone a great big smile! Better watch out for the tickle morrren!tichasd

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