Tube-mad Dagenham boy, 7, impresses Boris
- Credit: Archant
The London Underground can be difficult to navigate even as a grown adult but seven-year-old Natnael “Junior” Binyam-Beyene knows the network inside out.
The London Underground can be difficult to navigate even as a grown adult – but seven-year-old Natnael “Junior” Binyam-Beyene knows the network inside out.
The Tube-mad youngster knows his Central line from his Walthamstow Central, has memorised hundreds of routes and can even replicate the announcements when you arrive at each station.
His encyclopaedic knowledge even caught the attention of the Tube’s high commander, Boris Johnson himself, after he was crowned winner of William Bellamy’s Got Talent, where he effortlessly reeled off routes and facts.
Jo Preston, the Dagenham school’s head, wrote to the Mayor to tell him of little Junior’s special talent – and Boris was so impressed he invited Junior on an exclusive tour of Aldwych station, closed to the public since 1994.
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But of course Junior already knows all about the history of the station as he’s been fascinated by all things Underground since he was three.
“It has so many sounds and some of the stations have interesting names like Barking, King’s Cross and Blackfriars,” studious Junior, of Albert Road, Dagenham, explained.
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The Central line is the Year 2 pupil’s favourite because it includes two of the busiest stations, Liverpool Street and Stratford, but he also likes the announcer’s voice on the District line.
Meanwhile the Hammersmith and City line makes him laugh when it terminates at Hammersmith or Barking because “it is not polite at telling people to get off the train”.
His amazing talent has been honed by daily revision of the Underground map and regular trips on the Tube with proud dad Binyam.
“Every time he goes on the Undergound he’s completely silent because he wants to listen to every word,” he explained. “He’s just so interested.
“Most kids want to go to the fun fair as a treat but he likes to go on the Tube for four or five hours at a time.
“I’m lost for words sometimes by the things he knows.”
Junior hopes to become a train driver or engineer when he’s older and he’s already got an idea for his first Tube design – complete with an on-board ice rink.
Watch Junior’s winning performance at bdpost.co.uk