Discovered: the west pole, somewhere in London
The only way is up. All roads lead to Rome. And just as you can only travel south from the north pole, apparently if you're on the Circle Line, you can only travel east, regardless of which way you're going.
As these pictures I took on the underground (hopefully legally) show:
- If you're going from Victoria to Liverpool Street, you go in an easterly direction.
- Want to go the other way, from Liverpool Street to Victoria? Ah, then you'll be needing to go in an, er, easterly direction.
Presumably if you can only travel east, we must be at the west pole.
Despite that being very illogical, there is a reason behind this. The Circle Line stations share its platforms with older Lines, eg the Metropolitan Line, which have quite obvious Westbound and Eastbound direction.
So how do you know which platform to go to? There are three ways of doing this. For this, you need a tube map. Find your starting place, and where you want to get to. Also look at the nearest NR [National Rail] station on the map.
- Check the boards before getting on the platform - ignoring the West/Eastbound text, see if your destination is on the board. If it is, then that is the right platform.
- Guess which platform is the right one and then look on the Electronic sign or the Light Box with arrows on it - these should then read: 'Circle Line via XXXXXXXX', the 'X's representing any one of the stations in between where you are and your destination. For example, if you are at High Street Kensington and want to go to Embankment, the sign should read 'Circle Line via Victoria'. If it doesn't have any of the stations in between where you are and where you want to get to, then you need to use the next step in conjunction.
- Follow the instructions above, up to looking at the Electronic sign - if the sign doesn't read any of the stations in-between, but the correct NR station, then you are on the right platform. For example, you are at Paddington, and want to go to Baker Street. The sign should read, 'Circle Line via King's Cross/St. Pancras'. If it doesn't, then you are definitely on the wrong platform.
Alternatively, it may be simpler to ask one of the London Underground staff. These people are easily recognised by their blue uniforms, and are incredibly helpful in providing accurate information.
This one wasn't, of course.