A blog about life in London

London Tube Challenge: Pure Madness

London Tube Challenge: Pure Madness

I was sitting on the tube this morning going no place in particular, when the thought crossed my mind as to what the world record is for visiting all the tube stations in the same day on the London Underground. I knew that there had to be a bunch of nerds, anoraks, mad people or whatever they are known as who get a buzz, thrill or gain some sick pleasure and excitement from visiting all the stations as quickly as possible. The London Tube Challenge was invented for such people. It is a challlenge that only the bravest, fastest and smartest people  dare to participate in!

When I travel on the London Underground my own personal tube challenge is to spend as little time deep below the streets of this city as possible. I start to twitch, feel ill and get claustrophobic whenever I’m on a tube for more than 30 minutes. When I’m on a train that suddenly stops in a dark tunnel and the announcement comes up on the tannoy that we are being delayed…I feel like I’m part of a living nightmare…oh no help, let me off I can’t take any more!

After a wee bit of online research I have discovered that the Tube Challenge is the official name given by the Guinness World Records organisation for those that attempt to visit all the London Underground stations in the fastest time possible. Would you believe that the current official fastest time is 16 hours, 44 minutes and 16 seconds, which was set on the 14 December 2009 by Martin Hazel, Andi James and Steve Wilson. I feel ill and my head wants to explode just thinking about it, that is crazy…

There are 270 tube stations on the London Underground Network and the rules of the London Tube Challenge are quite simple. All you have to do is visit each station once. Each one must be visited by either departing from, arriving at or stopping on them on a London Underground train. Pure madness.

How the current record holders came up with their route and plan that they used to become the current London Tube Guinness World record holders is a well kept secret. This is one world record that I personally think is totally insane…It is most definitely a tube ride into the fiery pits of hell if you ask me…


  1. Indeed, pure madness! Although I would love to visit every single tube station at least once, I know I simply couldn’t do it in a single day.

    Isn’t there also a similar challenge on bus routes?

  2. Wouldn’t fancy that much, I was stuck in the tunnel between Ibrox & Govan for 15 minutes. Felt like 15 hours. I read somewhere about the guys that visited every fitba club in the UK, more my style.

  3. I’m not too sure about the bus routes, but that wouldn’t be as bad as the Tube Challenge. At least you would get a bit of variety and scenery.

    Just recenlty people have been trapped on broken down packed trains on London Underground for up to 3 hours. That would have driven me truly crazy…

  4. Hi seeing as i am the current holder of this record i thought i,d leave a response a lot of people think its just about sitting on trains all day.On the contary it involves a hell of a lot of running and just a bit of luck pinched in with the service.

  5. Hey Andi, I can appreciate how much effort, planning and running around it must have taken to become the record holder. It is bad enough trying to get to an appointment on the other side of London and on time!

  6. For the lady at the top there is a smaller challenge called the Zone 1 only challenge held usually on a friday in May each year its only 64 stations and takes around 4 hours the record is 2h 37m i think.?also there are other smaller than that mouse bottle shapes can be made out of the map.In relation to the record route for example 1 of my runs is 2.4 miles from station to station which requires a lot of fitness work to do it well so i research everything by foot beforehand.

  7. Re the rules for the 270 tube stations challenge. Can you get off the train and make you way to another station by other means?

  8. The rules state you either must visit a station by tube by arriving at or leaving at or both for example High Barnet – Cockfosters it be silly going all the way back to Kings Cross then up to Cockfosters u are allowed to take a bus between the 2 stations or real men run it!

  9. Tuesday December 21st there is the Parks challenge visiting all the stations with the name Park in them 21 in all but widely spread out around London meeting at Newbury Park station 11am.

  10. I hope all goes well and there aren’t too many delays…

  11. For anybody interested this saturday is the best of all challenges the Random 15 stations challenge starting at Poplar 12pm with beer and darts afterwards at the rising sun.