Last year, to celebrate 150 years of the tube, I made these postcards which are plans of the depots on the London Underground network. Last week, as a result, I was invited to look around Stratford Market Depot, which is where the Jubilee line trains sleep when they’re tired. I mentioned it was my favourite (that and Morden, hint hint) and it also happens to be my closest depot… so I gratefully and nerdily accepted.
Here’s just a handful of interesting things I learned:
The Jubilee line is 36.2km long from Stratford to Stanmore and a little bit over half of this is in tunnels.
There’s 63 trains (with seven carriages each) but due to maintenance, etc there’s only typically 57 (plus two spares) available to run at any one time. These all run during peak hours.
There’s a maintenance schedule for each part of the train and though I can’t remember the exact details most of the timelines were in days/weeks rather than months/years. The trains get a lot of looking after! Currently the windows are being replaced and I saw some new wheels being fitted. It takes about 6 hours to fit new wheels to one carriage and the wheels are filed to match the profile of the track so they don’t make hideous and alarming squeaky noises.
Here’s some trains hanging out being maintained at the depot. The roof of the main shed is pretty impressive:
Trains being maintained at the depot. There are pits below the trains for people to get underneath.
The main shed is about 200m long and is surprisingly (though not that surprising when you really consider it) clean and spacious. I’m reliably informed that a lot of the older depots are less so – the Stratford depot was built in the 1990s.
When the depot was built, 683 skeletons were unearthed in the process as the cemetery of St Mary’s Abbey (built in 1135) was inconveniently underneath one end of the site.
On an unrelated note, the control tower smells deliciously of bacon sandwiches at approx 10:30 in the morning.
Here’s a bonus picture of me pretending to drive a train. Pleasingly, there was just enough room to manoeuvre my hugely pregnant self into the seat without getting stuck!
Me driving a train in the biggest sized orange hi-vis available!
That red thing I’m holding is the “dead man’s handle” – it will apply the brakes and safely bring the train to a stop if it’s released. The drivers cab has air conditioning to stop them falling asleep.
I’m not sure of the plans for this year but last year the depot opened as part of Open House London – if you fancy a look round then check the listings nearer the time.
There’s a bit of content still to come but the Maryon Wilson Animal Park website quietly got up and running at Easter with all the useful information you need to plan a visit. A few people have already adopted animals via the website so hopefully it will continue to support the efforts the volunteers are making to maintain and promote the park.
If you’re in South East London (or from the North and not too scared to cross the river) then there’s a whole bunch of cute animals, including deer, available for you to visit! Have a look at the tours page and bear it in mind for the summer holidays…
The client had a very clear idea of what he wanted to achieve and, very handily, it corresponded nicely to the sort of work I enjoy producing. The aim was for the site to look professional and convey information quickly. Here’s a few of the points considered during the project which might help you if you’re thinking about how to present your own brand or business…
Keep it simple
Make it easy for people to find the information they’re looking for. Nobody likes having to click around all over the place trying to track down what they want to know.
There’s no harm in repeating information because people will approach trying to find it in a few different ways. If it’s presented clearly, it won’t overwhelm or confuse people.
There’s no need to dilute your message with other distractions. The HR Lab site is predominantly text based content. Good layout and typography are your friends!
Have a recognisable visual style
HR companies get criticised for being a bit dry (and not in a humorous way!) It’s a difficult topic to illustrate or describe visually and you’ll find a lot of the competition seems to consist of stock photography of business people shaking hands and smiling at their computers. Taking a different approach – in this case, the lab theme – can make you stand out and contribute to the message you’re trying to communicate.
HR Lab icons
Let people get in touch
Remind people that if they don’t get the exact information they’re looking for, they can ask. The HR Lab site provides a few ways to do so – not everybody enjoys making phone calls!
Recently, I witnessed two people who had only just met each other end their conversation with “lovely to meet you – are you on Facebook?”
Here’s a link to Drawn By Day’s Facebook page… but if, like me, you feel asking somebody for their Facebook credentials sounds a little too much like asking them for a date, you don’t need to worry. I am now armed with a small run of business cards to hand out instead:
The publication is printed by Newspaper Club, based in the UK, so I feel a little bit guilty that my copy has crossed the Atlantic twice to get from Glasgow to London! I received it today, and it’s full of lovely things to look at. My work shares a double page with the very talented Daniel Nyari. There’s also work from Nicholas Felton, a robot calendar and some delightful memo posters by Jason Franzen.