The Anonymous Widower

Irene’s Law – Estimating Tube Journey Times

I may have talked of this before.

If you want to get an estimate of how long a journey will take on the London Underground, you count the number of stations and multiply by two, before adding five for every interchange.

That is then an estimate in minutes as to how long a journey will take.

My mother and I used to do quite a few long journeys on the Tube and it may have been something that she developed to keep me interested in the journey.  We certainly always played lots of mental arithmetic games all the time. But then she’d been a comptometer operator at Reeve’s in Dalston and that was a job all about memory and mental and manual dexterity.

Incidentally, with the introduction of the Harry Beck map for the Tube, the counting became a lot easier, so was this law something that evolved as people learned to use the new map?

Incidentally, most of our journeys were up and down the Piccadilly line, where because it is long with lots of stations, the rule will work pretty well.

The rule seems to work for the DLR and the Overground too!

January 11, 2013 - Posted by | Travel |

11 Comments »

  1. assuming no signal failures :p

    Comment by linyangchen | January 12, 2013 | Reply

    • It’s only designed for a rough estimate.

      Comment by AnonW | January 12, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] poster illustrates the two minute rule […]

    Pingback by The Two-Minute Rule On The Jubilee Line « The Anonymous Widower | January 13, 2013 | Reply

  3. […] that my mother told me that stops on the London Underground are two minutes apart. I called it Irene’s law for calculating journey […]

    Pingback by A French Version Of My Mother’s Rule « The Anonymous Widower | January 5, 2014 | Reply

  4. […] way is usually to take the Jubilee line to Green Park and then change to the Victoria line. Using my mother’s rule on seventeen stations and one change gives 39 minutes. but there was one flaw, the Jerrylee line […]

    Pingback by From Canary Wharf To Walthamstow Central « The Anonymous Widower | January 5, 2014 | Reply

  5. […] is interesting to apply my mother’s rule of two minutes a station and five minutes for an interchange to the before and after Crossrail […]

    Pingback by Getting To Paddington Station « The Anonymous Widower | October 21, 2014 | Reply

  6. […] using my mother’s Ready Reckoner, Dalston to Wimbledon will take just sixteen […]

    Pingback by Dalston To Wimbledon And Back « The Anonymous Widower | April 25, 2015 | Reply

  7. […] think Irene’s Law, that works so well for the Underground, could work equally well for Crossrail and lines linked to […]

    Pingback by Are Crossrail Developing A Philosophy For Linking With Other Lines? « The Anonymous Widower | September 30, 2016 | Reply

  8. […] I apply Irene’s Law, which admittedly applies to London Underground journeys, but seems to work in a rough manner on […]

    Pingback by Sorting Out The Kirkby, Ormskirk And Southport Branches Of Merseyrail’s Northern Line « The Anonymous Widower | March 18, 2017 | Reply

  9. […] a Scouse version of Irene’s Law would not be far out, if you allowed three minutes for each […]

    Pingback by A Sensible Large-Scale Local Train Map « The Anonymous Widower | March 27, 2017 | Reply

  10. […] Irene’s Law – Estimating Tube Journey Times, April 2, 2017 at 11:37AM […]

    Pingback by Irene’s Law – Estimating Tube Journey Times – Notes & Highlights | April 2, 2017 | Reply


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