London’s transport museum, located smack dab in Covent Garden in central London, reopened last Thursday after a two-year, $44 million redesign. This weekend saw lineups (queues?) of two hours long, filled with people who weren’t just your stereotypical transit aficionados––those nervous-looking sweaty men who curl up in bed reading train timetables from the summer of 1973––but rather families, young couples on dates, professional types, and tourists.
If you can’t make it to London, you can get a flavour of the museum by heading to its website, which is packed with goodies. You can search a century’s worth of posters, transit art, and photographs (15,000+!), download tube upholstery wallpaper, and learn everything you ever wanted to know about arguably the world’s most famous transit system.
As impressive as the new museum is the two-storey gift shop, which was filled with people browsing and buying transit-themed stationery, tea towels, tote bags, and furniture. Want to club in a London underground shirt? Shoot your favourite shot? Collect your favourite, er, ceramic cow?
Yes, we know that Toronto isn’t London (or New York, which also has its own transit museum), but it’s one thing to have a less comprehensive transit museum, another thing to have nothing in the same ballpark.
As for TTC shopping: we’ve previously reported that TTC merchandise is limited to a rather spotty store unimaginatively titled “TTC Transit Stuff” in Union Station, despite some excellent ideas for merchandise and promotion. You’d think that “Coxwell” boxer shorts would be a no-brainer.
Photo (c) Transport for London 2005.