How many Tube stations did Simon get to in 12 hours?

Simon Boulton plotting his route before he set off
Simon Boulton plotting his route before he set off

It was always likely to be a tough test - visiting more than 300 London Underground stations in just 12 hours.

But Bridlington Lions Club member Simon Boulton almost managed it, despite his plans being disrupted last Tuesday.

His train adventure began in York, where he took a train down to London

His train adventure began in York, where he took a train down to London

The self-confessed Tube addict went on the underground adventure as part of a fund-raising effort to mark Lions Club International’s centenary this year.

And he might have managed the 300 milestone if it wasn’t for delays on some of the lines.

Simon told the Free Press: “There were plenty of hic-cups along the way. The trains started to bunch up, there were signal problems but I have been told that 278 stations is very good in 12 hours.

“It was invigorating, I really did enjoy it.”

Inside Kings Cross station

Inside Kings Cross station

He had been due to be joined by Lions Club colleague Chris Beesting for the challenge but illness forced him to withdraw, so Simon travelled alone.

You need to be in good shape to take on the adventure and Simon admitted he ‘virtually collapsed’ when he reached the end of the line at Baker Street at 7pm.

“My legs felt like jelly after running up and down stairs and elevators,” he said.

Simon managed to complete all the stations on the Metropolitan, Circle, Piccadilly and Jubilee Lines, and long stretches of all the other lines.

Simon with his rucksack of supplies, so he didn;t have to waste valuable time buying food and drink

Simon with his rucksack of supplies, so he didn;t have to waste valuable time buying food and drink

He spent months plotting the route which would give him the best chance of ticking off 300-plus stations.

Having originally planned to start from Heathrow, Simon changed his mind and set off from Amersham at 7am last Tuesday.

“I don’t think I could have planned it any better. You have to do the way you think you should.

“There are lots of theories but they only work if the Tube is working on time with no delays but that is very, very rare.

On the Tube, before he reached the heart of London

On the Tube, before he reached the heart of London

“The biggest hold-ups were in rush hour. I was stuck at a station on the Piccadilly Line for 15 minutes because of signal problems and then there was a points failure at Liverpool Street.”

After seeing 278 stations in such a short space of time, you might think SImon wouldn;t have seen enough of them to have a favourite.

But one of the newest on the network comes out on top, in his opinion.

“Heathrow Terminal Five - it’s spacious, modern and I really like it,” Simon said. “All the stations at Heathrow have a character of their own.

“It’s nostalgic, the oldest underground system in the world.

“You meet some very funny and intersting people on the Tube. And the staff are brilliant, there are some great characters.”

Simon is giving a talk next Wednesday at North Bridlington Library

Simon is giving a talk next Wednesday at North Bridlington Library

Simon’s love of the London Underground developed during two decades when he worked in the capital. But he admitted his challenge took him to parts of the city he hadn’t been to before.

He said: “I lived in London for over 20 years but the Tube has completely changed.

“There are better and more spacious trains and it was good to visit stations I had never seen when I was down there.”

After getting so close to reaching 300 stations last week, he is considering having another go in the future

“I would try to do it again to try to complete it all in 12 hours,” he said.

“But I am also thinking about something absolutely different to raise money for the Lions to raise even more money.

“One idea is to cover the UK by travelling on just service buses. I am just trying to think of stupid things to do.”

Before he decides on his next challenge, Simon will be giving a presentation on his Underground adventure at North Bridlington Library next Wednesday evening.

He will show more photographs from the day and talk about how he planned his route using maps.