One of the first, first world problems


You can always identify a first world problem by the localised Twitter storm it creates. The hastily assembled hashtag bandwagon offering a micro-moment of release, be it ironic, snarky or genuinely furious.

Why are there so many different bottle-top colours for milk? #paralysedbychoice

Why is the UK at the bottom of the country selection option? #somucheffort

My personal favourite is one that comes up every year and could be one of the very first, first world problems. (This is the furious one by the way).


When is someone going to fix the unbearable temperatures on London Underground?

Regardless of the terrible state of the world, in hot weather the Central Line dominates my Twitter feed.

During the recent record-breaking heatwave, passengers on the London Underground were subjected to temperatures that exceeded EU legal limits for transporting cattle. The law states that cattle should not be transported at temperatures higher than 30C. Those travelling on Central and Bakerloo lines were subject to a 42.3C heat. 

Another heatwave in 2006 had temperatures as high as 47C (116 °F) on the trains which is only 8 degrees short of being able to cook an egg.

Not only are these temperatures extremely uncomfortable, but also unsafe with an increased risk of heatsroke and fainting - not unusual occurrence for the Tube, and something I have witnessed myself many times.

Pretty soon it won't matter, because your unconscious body will be held up by the crush but even with a heatwave absent the average temperatures are in the late twenties, with the Bakerloo Line having an average temperature of 27C in 2016 and the Central Line reaching 26.1C. In August temperatures reached 31C.

In the Underground's 154-year history, TfL is only now addressing this issue of this close-to-egg-frying heat. Generations after us will question why it took so long. Perhaps they will point to the ancient Persians, who developed a system of ventilation for their houses using Badgir or wind-catchers - basically where towers direct the wind inside houses creating a natural and sustainable air conditioning system. They will say: 'Hey TfL, what gives? Those guys didn't even have smart phones and they outsmarted you. How about I release some open data about Badgir?'

I am aware engineers have suggested that air-conditioned trains on deep-level routes will be very difficult to achieve, and possibly even make the trains hotter due to the air being displaced to narrow tunnels. However, between London Underground becoming more and more crowded and the planet getting warmer and warmer, something has to give. Perhaps if Donald Trump would just ride the Tube to Mile End?

‘Air-cooled trains’ are set to arrive on the Piccadilly Line in 2023, a TfL spokesman confirmed, which is brilliant and infuriating at the same time. These will also be introduced on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo and City line, apparently at a later date.

I mean sure take another six years, but you should know the Zoroastrians are laughing at us.

In 2017 we should not have commuters fainting or needing medical assistance due to public transport conditions. The first, first world problem is actually a real struggle. #we'renotevenwearingcorsetsanymore

Correction: This article has been changed after a statement from TfL appeared to suggest that air-cooled trains would arrive on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo and City lines in 2023. We are grateful to our readers for informing us this may not be the case. 

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