Move over, Journey Planner – five-year-old Sol De Glanville can tell you how to get anywhere on London’s rail network without so much as an internet connection. The youngster, whose network knowledge was captured on this adorable film by his doting dad, can reel off even the most complicated directions from memory. In this clip, edited down from a much longer display by Transport for London (TfL), he gives instructions to get from Herne Hill to Epping and Crystal Palace to Stratford International – before setting out an accurate, if slightly indirect, route from Bond Street to Barking.
“It happened quite naturally because he’s always been interested in trains and buses,” said Sol’s mum Joy, who revealed her son had picked up the knowledge in the four short months since Christmas. On his way to school he’s always stopping to look at maps at bus stops. So at Christmas we asked if he wanted a Tube map and he said yes. We printed it off from the internet and my husband Simon framed it. Now wherever we go, he’s there suggesting how to get there.”
The 39-year-old from Peckham added: “He’s got a good memory and he’s always been very good at maths.” TfL said it hoped Sol would one day use his knowledge to serve the capital. “His parents don’t need to use Journey Planner when he’s around,” it wrote on its Facebook page. “He can tell them how to get to places on the Tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail services in London from memory. We’re hoping he will come and work for us one day.”
Asked whether her son had infrastructure-based aspirations, Joy added: “He’s always loved trains, and he’s loved the Tube map so I suppose at the moment he would like to be a Tube driver.” Transport bosses were so impressed with Sol’s skills after spotting the video – shared with a staff member by a friend of a friend – they offered the boy the chance to go for a ride inside a Jubilee line driver’s cab.
“We think he was pretty happy about it,” a message on TfL’s Facebook page added. Should you find yourself travelling without an encyclopedic five-year-old, you can plan journeys the old-fashioned way.