6. The train indicators at Earl’s Court
They’re technologically basic, they’re covered in bird droppings and the font is not as nice-looking as it used to be. But I can’t deny a part of me finds the train destination indicators at Earl’s Court persistently charming.
They undoubtedly generate and receive an equal amount of ire from the clusters of passengers that gather in disconsolate bunches at their base.
It’s essentially a love-hate relationship. There is the thrill, within seconds of your arrival, at seeing the illuminated arrow pop up next to your desired destination. But there is also the anguish of watching each station except your own flash before your eyes in a seemingly-endless sequence of vindictiveness – especially if you’re waiting for one of the less-serviced options, such as High Street Kensington or Olympia:
Sure, they have the appearance of being anachronistic. But it’s not as if they’re incompetent; they do precisely the job for which they are intended. And it’s not as if they’re redundant; the multitude of destinations available from Earl’s Court’s limited number of platforms requires something along these lines. Better to look functional yet understandable than flash yet incomprehensible.
Besides, they are an unequivocal tribute to and reminder of the vastness of the Underground. To Plaistow or to Parsons Green? Mansion House or Ealing Common? The curious and the carefree are spoiled for choice.