'No message' at Walthamstow Central

 by Martin Belam, 9 April 2009

I'd love to know who was the person writing the functional spec for the London Underground matrix displays at Walthamstow Central who decided that there needed to be a special case for when there was:

No Message at Walthamstow Central

Even more, I'd like to meet the person who had to write the bit of code that must say something along the lines of:

if ($message = undef) { print "NO MESSAGE"}

Obviously, the code is there so that you can tell whether nothing is being shown because the monitor has broken, or whether nothing is being shown because, well, there is just nothing to show.

Nevertheless, on a purely semantic level, it did make me laugh.


It seems that the person on the digital displays did a far better job than the person on the analogue displays. Your photo seems to show a sign that points to two southbound platforms both which contain the 'first train' and the apparently arbitrary labels of platform 1 and 2.

The analogue sign makes sense in situ - and when the station was opened was the only sign of course. Walthamstow Central is at the end of the Victoria Line, so trains can only head southbound, or northbound 'out of service' into a siding. Departures alternate from platforms 1 and 2 so that one train can unload passengers and be cleaned whilst the train on the other platform is getting ready to depart. There is a crossover just south of the station so that northbound trains can terminate on either platform.

I quite like the sign beneath, with two first trains.

Thanks Martin - makes more sense now.

My favourite ever tube electronic display was at Westminster on a Saturday afternoon when they displayed all of the Premiership fulltime scores. I liked it so much that I waited to meet the duty station manager to thank him. I never saw it again.

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