London Underground terminology explained

January 25, 2011

Someone asked today what the difference was between ‘minor delays’ and ‘severe delays’ when riding on the tube. They were also intrigued by the phrase “Do not change here due to escalator work.”

Here is the official explanation for these terms as listed on the London Underground website:

Minor delay – Children are playing on the escalators and trying to run up/down in the wrong direction thus hampering all the people trying to use the clear left hand side.

Severe delay – Staff in the station foyer have got seriously unfriendly expressions on and so everyone who is lost is too afraid to ask for their help. A large crowd of bewildered passengers is in the middle of the floor area, turning around slowly as they attempt to work out which of the 37 exits (which are all just 5 metres apart anyway) would be best to use.

Do not change here due to escalator work – The escalators at this station currently work and we would like to keep it that way, so the more people we can discourage from using them then the longer they will keep all new and shiny.

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